12 by the Numbers

My 12th anniversary of blogging happened recently, WordPress let me know.

Also, recently, a young woman known to me, had a stroke. I listened to the highlights of her story.

Sigh – stroke, abusive relationships, healing, tools to recover, running a small biz on what she did before, and can still do, though slower, and supplies to create her cottage industry wares, more costly?

Yes, I have experience of my road, I can share with her, to see if any of it is useful to her…

She used to work as a volunteer EMS provider, too – so sometimes? I can revert to long ago learned worldview & lingo and she still ‘hears’ what I’m trying to convey in words of encouragement – 😀

How to get disability from a system you’ve worked your entire life in to pay into? How to get court orders enforced, after leaving a life partner? Nope, I can’t tell her – Most times, I’ve found, it’s less time, money and emotional resources spent, if I just focus on what I can do, where I can, as I can, for folks who believe I have something they want…

And so, dearheart? My Blogiversary post, is for you….

There is life on the other side of stroke, like you and me have had – not debilitating forever, but leaves ya rather laid up for awhile or maybe a long while…., Life will wax and wane, like it always has, just seems like more highs and lows to deal with, now…

All ya gotta do is hang on, some days, push forth as tolerated on days ya can – and don’t lose hope, ever, even if it’s only exists in microscopic size.

But, okay – from the outside looking at me, ya think I beat it, I’m ‘back’ and life is a cake walk – so, here’s the truth – for you and others – no life is ever sans any challenges, ever.

Ya just gotta choose, do I show up best as I can today? Or do I give up?

And everyday, you make that choice, over and over again.

The Years Go By –

12

12 years of blogging,
Seems like just yesterday.
Takes me back to an office window
In the city above the clouds
With close up view of Pikes Peak.
A marriage, where one no longer loves,
Instead, stays out late most nights.
A house filled still, with no longer spoken grief,
A friend that stuck around, after my son died,
Attends some “Positive Thinking” seminar,
And alerts me to a book by Jill Bolte Taylor,
“My Stroke of Insight”
Interesting read, and teaches me some more,
About my brain and soul.
The thoughts, chemicals and neural connections,
That take place while I navigate Life in all its emotions.
But most of all, to recognize more quickly,
When lying to myself, or asking of damaged parts,
To do what they cannot do, just now, maybe never again,
But to focus instead, on building a new roadway,
To circumvent the now dead portions of my
Internal landscape.

11

11 years ago, a separation,
A hurried move, two part-time jobs and one,
Side hustle of database building, content writing and tutoring others to use tech and software.
All while trying to build a huge veggie garden,
Busysummer,
Followed by a stroke in the late fall.
Then, websites built on WorPress CMS and hosting for site biz started,
Only thing I can afford or think I can just now do,
Is budget an extra $16/month,
To upgrade personal account,
On shared hosting,
To buy room to host others –
Unlimited they say, if I stay below bandwidth and space levels.
I can try to do, just now
Something for local friends willing to pay modest costs,
For help in getting a website online, they have tried,
But are confused.
I can earn some money,
Perhaps with time, build out a modest living.
All now I am unable to do what I once did without a thought.

I can’t talk well at all,
Though if I whisper or sing,
Others can more easily bear to listen and hear, what I’m saying,
Unless I utter to them words different, from what my brain had chosen.
My right foot turns inward, way past mere pigeon-toed form,
Yet I don’t notice it, until my knee, hip
And back hurt mightily,
I must walk in way my brain shouts at me,
That I’m walking wall-footed,
But visual check confirms,
My right foot is pointed, straight forward.
No food or drink tastes as expected.
Except tuna salad on saltine crackers.
The doctor prescribes one glass of dark red wine per day;
I have to water it down 31 parts to 1, and sip on,
Throughout the day, for I’ve never liked wine
But I’m forbidden from drinking beer, ever again
Visiting with others wears me out,
For if many talk or make noises, all at once,
My brain saves itself the energy,
Through white-noise buzzing instead of
Trying to separate all the incoming strands,
And waste the energy to make sense,
Of the all the incoming noise
I must rest every 20 minutes,
Otherwise, the only sound I hear,
Is my racing heart pounding in my left ear,
And the only world I view is blurry.
I no longer can multi-task,
And even a simple meal,
Will burn or get ruined,
If anything more than box Mac & Cheese,
I stand or sit by the stove, and continually focus on
Until done, with timer set for each step.
Thus I return to the crockpot meals
5-15 minutes prep, put on low,
And it will cook just like it used to, while I used to go to work.
Put supper on the table.
For my mom and my son,
It’s the least I can do.
When they return back home,
From the world in which,
I no longer belong.

10

10 years ago, I stand before the judge,
And stutter-lisp my replies,
In voice that brings pity into my loved ones’ eyes,
But only brings that look of,
Impatience…derision…hate?
To the face of my ex, sitting across the aisle.
The judge proclaims my freedom,
To start my life anew, best as I can.
With a kindly added “Miss, you take care of yourself”
To me, before the final gavel rap.
Child support only, no alimony did I ask.
He offered payout, from 401(k) often raided,
And it’s enough, after penalty taxes,
To pay off the medical bills, the remnants of simple funeral bill
For son back in 2008, payments skipped by ex.
That I didn’t know about, till I tried to pre-pay for my own,
Just in case….
Back rent due to family, kindly carried on the books,
Paid and now have nest egg of $3,906, to start over.
My gums erupt blood, from stress of the day,
He still scares me, and I fast walk away.
But I breathe a sigh of relief,
Deliver name change info to the bank,
The DMV and County Clerk,
And drive home, feeling blessed,
I am now able to drive myself.

9

9 years ago, the first spring arrives,
At the place I still call home,
But felt as if I had arrived,
Where I was always supposed to belong,
First time I set first left foot,
Then dragging along the other,
Onto this land.
A very tiny home, on very tiny budget,
But space for son and I,
To be ourselves, heal
And grow in.

8

8 years ago, tiny biz
Slow but sort of growing
I brave applying,
For two hours a day
Library aide job.
I lisp through my answers,
To interview questions.
Sound more like Elmer Fudd now,
Then first generation computer voice.
The branch manager is kind,
And doesn’t insist I answer quick or fast.
My foot barely drags anymore,
Only when I’m tired.
And no one cares, how I talk
While I’m shelving books.

7

7 years ago, I’m getting stronger
Tiny biz numbers grow, all by referral,
I move from shared hosting,
To better, containerized server.
Business investment and increased cost shared,
Between me, and still affordable for my six clients.
No website of my own, too busy,
Building for others and working part-time,
Trying to improve the homeplace,
After massive storm and roof damage.
I work on the roof, that feels like hell on earth,
But don’t pass out, and glad I’m not a full-time roofer,
I once more count my blessings,
While treating sunburn and fatigue,
And can’t waste the energy to talk
That evening.

6

6 years ago, son graduates,
Mother retires and moves
Just me and Oakley, the wonder dawg, left,
With all this free-time, and no budget for travel,
Just what will I do?
More customers taken on,
More hours at library,
I’m now a tech, no longer an aide,
My voice only lisps or stutters,
When I overdo and get extremely tired.
More income, less grocery budget needed,
My century plus three years old home now fully rewired,
By my high school teacher with a little help
From me, and my brain now knows,
What each color of wires and screws,
Really means.

5

5 years ago, another interview,
I’m recovered enough to talk too much.
For more hours and increased responsibility,
At library day job.
Tiny biz now at full-service client list of 10,
But bills for what’s left over,
After scholarships, grants and work study,
At son’s college, hit my inbox.
Nothing to do but apply for Lead,
For my part-time hours will be cut,
From my little job, to pay for newly formed position.
And I am encouraged to apply,
By same boss that hired me when I couldn’t talk well or much.
I want my son to have what I was unable to do for myself,
Life got in the way. Amazingly, I am hired,
Start new position and the year marches on,
A spring day of brush and trash clearing,
And hauling back in, shredded mulch,
By the side of the homesteaders group formed,
I started as monthly program at library,
But we now work together,
For each homestead’s needs.
I am offered an ice-cold beer,
As I arrive with one leg bleeding,
From a fall and scrapes from brush,
That had nothing to do with balance,
Only me getting tired and losing my temper over my strength.
My mind remembers with longing,
The taste of ice cold beer, after working under hot day sun,
Long ago….
I take a hesitant sip,
It tastes like it should!
One goes down after another,
Though some turn warm half-empty,
And never are finished.
While I luxuriate in just visiting with folks,
I worked physically hard alongside today,
And didn’t fail in doing my part.
I walk home from host of the afterwork potluck BBQ,
Just three blocks back home, but I surely wouldn’t dare drive!
I’ve been drinking and feel rather sloshed….
The morning after 5 beers consumed,
Hangover and dehydration reign,
I realize, it might taste right – but no longer worth it.
I chafe over the day of misery and missed
Work to be done, cuz I’m miserable and can’t work well,
On what’s mine to do, on any streamlined front…
Not like I did often in my youth.
But it didn’t instantly kill me,
Just a reminder I’m no longer young,
Though another work day meant,
I discovered I could buck straw bales,
Onto a trailer, once more.
Again, after that hot day of work in the sun,
I’m reminded,
Stick with my well-watered down wine,
Sometimes poured in ratio of 8 or 10:1,
When hard day or many days, under my belt,
As I sit listening to music or,
Dancing in the living room,
With Oakley and she plays,
Her game fully, without fearing she’ll trip me.
Then? I don’t always pay attention,
When refilling the water mug.
I’m hydrated, everyday, and well,
Sometimes imbibe enough,
The ache in my joints and once in awhile,
My heart,
Eases off.
Beer doesn’t kill me, true,
But I no longer yearn for days gone by,
Or even want,
I’m often high of life, and the aches are bearable without,
More I can do, than I cannot
So there is much overall,
This year, To Celebrate.

4

4 years ago, foot traffic,
Customer engagement grows,
At full-time job of books, programs & community,
While referrals for tiny biz,
Are handled best I can via free advice given,
Or passed on to other providers, locally.
Existing client requests handled,
Late at night and wee hours of morning.
I hardly ever lisp or stutter anymore,
Though often drained from interaction,
After nine hours of multi-tasking.
Sometimes 150 people taken care of in just one day.
I discover I can balance on just my right foot,
To reach, stretch in tight space, without falling over,
To get an odd job done.
When did that heal and now I can once more do?
I don’t know,
I was too busy to test and log,
My monthly ‘gains’ stuff I used to do.
Son, with 3 semesters under his belt,
Takes the summer session off,
Moves to live with Dad and stepmom,
He’s burnt out from non-stop schooling and working.
I understand that feeling.
But a month after he moves,
Ex stops sending,
The extended by 2-years of monthly support,
In lieu of long term alimony or asset buyout,
To cover portion of schooling costs,
Which his half of estimated 4 years,
Already racked up,
Only recourse is contempt of court filing,
And I will not do, not while my son
Lives in his household,
For He will take it out on my beloved,
In sneaky, heart felt ways,
Rather than facing me.
As he always has done.
And nothing to do, but soldier on.
I am able, and I well enough now,
To take upon my own shoulders.
I rejoice in my recovery.

3

3 years ago, more changes arrive,
First seasonal flu, then pneumonia,
As I blindly repeat past cycles I should have learned,
Not to do,
Of working/serving others first, taking care of myself last…
If at all.
Most likely caught at job, as sick folks
Cough, hack and sneeze while traipsing through,
Choosing books and movies,
To keep them entertained while they stay ‘home’ sick…
I can’t breathe well, for awhile,
The lisp and stutter return.
I’m nearly down to the size jeans I wore,
When I was 20 years younger.
Come spring, new board of directors,
New company organization,
What I love at my job, duties once more changing,
And hours will be reduced.
What’s asked of me now, not focused on,
Direct customer service.
Resignation tendered and small, but paying its way biz,
Once more sole focus of my attention.
Son who moved in with schoolmate, months ago,
And working full-time steady, loses congenial roommate,
To upcoming ‘marriage’, and though invited,
To join the new couple in their new home,
He, instead, close to lease expiration,
Comes home, until he can,
Show year’s worth of pay-stubs for his ‘career possible’ job,
And perhaps? Put a down on a small place of his own.
Our household now numbers 3 once more.
And we are working and getting ‘er done,
To pay the bills, nip away at college debt lingering,
Together we invest in side of beef and hog,
To stock the freezer to keep him well fed.
Young men who work manual labor jobs,
Require more animal protein per day, than I do.
what? I can do this,
I’m healed up from last winter’s illness,
And folks figure I’m smartest crayon in the box,
On anything they need help with,
That deals with tech.
Because my voice no longer ever hints,
That I may be brain-damaged.
And I don’t offer up the info/possibility of it,
Either.
I only list out what I do/do not think I know,
Offer what I may be able to help with,
At this bargain price,
Those in my area can afford.
I have no wish to serve those,
Promising higher pay, benefits or steady checks,
For while I forget some things,
I remember well who stuck around and hired me,
When I held no value for anyone else.

2

2 years ago, son and I both get sick,
Early January it was, bad respiratory flu,
We recover, slowly but surely,
I stutter and lisp some in the weeks following,
I lose one recent new customer; a missed deadline.
Turned out okay, and they got elsewhere,
What they wanted, in less grand fashion than I envisioned building.
Refused my offer of entire refund,
But still,
Humiliating and no excuse, no matter what info I didn’t get,
I’m better than that, and it was, after all, only the flu.
By March I’m better, and mom has surgery,
I push her wheelchair out from hospital,
As newly hired security officers, set up screening
At the entry/exit points, because of first case
Of the new virus scaring many.
By June I’m very grateful, son is home with me.
Were it not for splitting home & utility costs,
I would fall behind, given requests from clients to keep
Their bill as low as possible, and only hold the line.
It’s not the stroke after effects, or being ill this past winter,
It’s the cares and burdens,
To carry – I’ll get back on my feet, here soon
I need only not tarry on fronts where I can do,
And rest whenever I can.
I start to suspect, as the year goes by,
And others around my locale, fall ill,
Or die…
Perhaps my son and I,
Had the dreaded virus, before
Ever it was newsworthy or labeled as a hoax by many.

1

1 year ago, after taking on odd jobs,
And meeting obligations,
While sitting in front of computer,
My muscle tone is gone, weight creeps
Back on, and blood pressure spikes here and there.
I no longer can work 18 hours a day,
Even just in front of the computer.
I’m thankful for final round of stimulus,
To keep it all going.
Income slowly improving,
Client requests and concerns over potential billing,
Easing.
I fear the quiet and various signs that show up,
Those I associate with
What happened in the time before my stroke,
Physical, Mental and financial stress,
But for $5.99 monthly HerbMentor subscription,
And $243 spent on herbs to use in tea, that will grow here,
Herbal Medica books, and seeds for herbs that work,
Plus lots of hours ‘wasted’ (?) in non-paid work,
Reading digitized versions,
Of pharmacopia and treatment pamphlets,
Published in 1880-early 1900s,
From Western doctors, using local plants,
Two online mini-courses virtually taken,
From one Herbalist and one Qigong Master,
I beat back the fears, and find what works
Well enough, just now, for me.

Zero or Lift-Off

This passing year, so far,
Has been another doozy,
A variant, most likely caught in May,
Son was just starting with symptoms,
The day we saw each other, for only the second time,
Since he got his own place January.
I treat the discomfort at home,
And make it through, without ER or Doctor visit.
Learn the results of son’s required for work testing,
One positive out of 10 taken, since 2020,
And he has been vaccinated.
Not a hoax and I did nothing special or drastic or experimental,
Nor believe I have any answers for others,
On pandemic fears front,
But it arrived at busiest time of year for 4 of my now 13 clients.
And still, three non-profits, waiting patiently in the wings,
For me to donate hours, to build & launch their dreams,
With what they and I together, can do.
Clients requested to double check my work sent,
I’m all but begging them to,
I’m not at they consider, my established & proven before, best.
Clients are nice about it, patient and sometimes leave,
Homemade soup or other gifts, at my front gate.
I remember to rest when needed,
Put learned options to treat myself,
On various health needs at home,
As I can stumble into kitchen and fix.
I’m stroke survivor, that’s true
But really, I’m just getting older,
Though, I guess, in better shape than I thought,
Seeing as how I survived this latest health encounter.

The road walked,
While WordPress marked,
My days of blogging history,
The stats, the pals made here,
Their shared journey and many others known to me,
Have been a part of my own path.
I guess, as I write this out today,
For one just starting her stroke recovery?

I can’t tell you what your journey will look like,
But know this….
You had a tiny biz before, and you’re still able to do,
You are back home in a community,
Of those who love and support you.
Don’t give up, I’ll help where I can,
Others will too.
Do not ever depend upon
Court documents or systems far from you,
To provide resources or cheerfully meet your needs.
And never, ever, give up your will,
To hold on, for just one more day,
If even you wake up struggling to breathe.
Seize any opportunity, to survive or take onestep forward,
Whenever you can.
You’ll be amazed, on what shows up,
And what fades away,
As your coming years,
Wash over you in waves.
But every day you live,
You’ll fear less,
And witness your true strength,
Better gauge your real value,
In ways you never imagined possible.
In the end?
That is worth showing up for.


3 thoughts on “12 by the Numbers”

  1. WOW… that is one road full of experiences TamrahJo…. Congrats on your 12 year anniversary…. And I agree we have a lovely blogging community here and found some wonderful friends…
    Sending LOVE and hugs ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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