My Past Week Minus Work and Physical Therapy

Let me say this up front: have a thoughtful Memorial Day. You might want to read posts from blogger Joy Neal Kidney who writes about her grandparents who lost three  beloved sons during WWII. As Joy reminded on Instagram the other day, Memorial Day is to honor and remember those who died serving the United States. Veteran’s Day is for those who served and came home.  We do tend to blur this distinction. Since so many who die in battle are young, they often leave no children behind. In part for this reason, more of us have veterans in our families or are veterans ourselves, and it is left to nieces and nephews to mourn the fallen family member. In my own family, only one person died during war for the United States (my ancestors arrived in the 1800s, so it’s possible that some siblings of my ancestors perished in war for their countries. This young man was the younger and newly arrived from the Netherlands brother of my great-grandmother’s brother-in-law. That doesn’t sound like a close relation, but our family was small and close and I knew Aunt Jen very well until she passed away when I was twelve. After being in the United States for less than a year, Gerrit Leeuwenhoek volunteered for this country in the Spanish-American war and was shipped to Cuba where he died of malaria. This letter was sent to Uncle Lou and Aunt Jen.

Later, Uncle Lou had Gerrit’s remains moved to the cemetery in Kalamazoo.


The dove kids are thriving. We see them hanging out on the railing near the plant that held their nest.

The hummingbird mama is doing well taking care of her twins. She feeds them regularly. Here she is sitting on them.

May is when the saguaros blossom. This year has been a little bit different, though, because they are blossoming more generously. Usually they bloom off the “top of their heads.” But this year the flowers trail down the sides as if there are so many they are spilling over. Nobody seems to know why, though they have made guesses. The gardener says it’s because we didn’t have much rain this year. Click on the image and you can see the flowers growing out of the sides of the tree.

I’ve been reading a novel manuscript, and Kana has been spending her time in the manuscript box, even as it gets filled up with the just-read pages.

My sweet Pear (the 21-year-old) seemed to be unwell, but now I think that she was having trouble getting up and down from the couch–and that in the early morning hours Perry was traumatizing her with his attention. I tried putting things in front of the couch so that she would have a “stairs” of sorts, but she is too fragile to learn something like that at this point. Finally, I had an epiphany. I needed to subtract from the couch instead of adding to it. I took out one of the seat cushions. Now she can step down to the couch without the cushion and then on to the floor. And Perry is now locked in our bedroom at night. What is surprising is that he’s being so good although he can’t roam the house.

Sorry for annoying you with some of my journal pages, but I am enjoying it so much and you can always skip :).

This one is in a very small book. The quote is from a poem called “Sisters” by James Lineberger.

And this one is all about the memories. 

I’m moving forward on the memoir, and I would definitely call it a hybrid at this point. I hope a few people like it when I’m done because I feel better writing this version than any of the previous 18 versions. (No, not kidding). I really hope it works this time. Needless to say.

I’m not sending too much out right now, but just thought I’d let you know I have a new poetry book in the works!!! (Shhh) Yeah, but publication date will be in 2022. That sounds so far away! More info to come.

Make a happy week!


Filed under #writerslife, Arizona, Art and Music, Cats and Other Animals, Memoir, Nonfiction, Writing

67 responses to “My Past Week Minus Work and Physical Therapy

  1. Hugs to sweet Pear! It’s fun to have baby birds hanging around. Life is wonderful to watch. Hope you are doing well.

    • I just gave your hugs to Pear. Every day with her is such a gift. Thanks, Kate. I’m doing ok. Hope you are getting to relax a bit now in your new home.

      • Still recovering from the move. Not sure whether moving into a brand new home would have been a better idea than redoing an older one. We have the beautiful mature landscape but getting contractors is getting harder and more expensive. I have my moments of thinking we should have waited out another year but I do like the house.

        • I hear you. I think we almost always have second thoughts after a move. Most likely you will end up being glad after all is said and done. I hear you on the contractors. Our house is at the age where a lot needs doing now. So many issues. But as you say the landscaping. The gardener would have not liked the wait with a bare yard.

    • Yes, you are definitely getting better!🎉

  2. Bless you for mentioning the Wilson family, Luanne.

    I have Dutch in my ancestry too, on Leora’s side if I remember right. “Genuine Dutch intrepidity” got my attention. Thank you for remembering his loss.

    • Your Memorial Day posts should be mandatory reading, Joy.
      My grandpa used to say “if you ain’t Dutch you ain’t much.” Of course he was partially kidding, but he was proud, too. He loved Uncle Lou and told me all about Gerrit.

  3. Congratulations on all your work in progress and soon to be out.
    You always say you’re not doing much, and then show us you are!🤣
    Good job on the cat front.

    • Lol! I think it’s maybe the way I work. I do small amounts almost every day. 30 minutes on the memoir and I’m exhausted. Somebody else might just feel warmed up at that point. Same thing with the art journals. Little bits at a time. And the book has been mostly ready for some time although I kept making teeny changes. Never let me recommend having five out of six senior cats at once. They are a lot of work. But they are seniors so young so I guess it’s unavoidable.

  4. It sounds as though your creativity is still in full flow – I like the blue/green journal pages particularly. I remember when Winston had his stroke and we learned about his bad back. He had a chair in the bay window that he loved
    – he would lie on it but also use it to get on the windowsill but it rotated so it wasn’t stable. We moved his chair and took the cushion off so he could get onto it easy and ended up getting a window seat fitted in the bay, which has a little set of steps up to it so he can still get on the windowsill!

    • Oh wow, you had to learn along with Winston, altering your space for his good! Thank you Re the blue/green. I always liked shades around what we used to call teal. Maybe still do? Have a lovely week ahead!

  5. Amy

    So glad you found a way to help Pear get around. It’s so hard to watch them age. And poor Perry—he just doesn’t get it, does he?

    It’s good to remember what Memorial Day is for. Far too many young people dying in wars. Wars started by older people. If only we could just stop having wars…

    • Perry is clueless. He still seems immature to me, but then Tiger is 17 and is also immature. I suppose that it is no coincidence that they are the two babies in the way they act.
      We definitely need to stop wars. I don’t see it happening with how humans act though. 😿

  6. Thanks for the updates, Luanne, and how exciting that you have a poetry book coming out next year! You are amazing with all that you juggle. And the cats … oh, the cats. Especially when they are seniors and every little sneeze or cough means a trip to the vet and a lot of anxiety. My husband tends to see them as young seniors, but I’m always scrutinizing their behavior, looking for “signs.” I also hear you about time spent on the computer. For me, it’s my knitting that gives me a creative break.

    • I’m so glad you have your knitting because I know how the art journals make me feel :). Young seniors, well maybe that’s true. Still, you can’t be too careful. Pear stood in her wet pee pad this morning and threw up a little bit :(. But she’s been ok the rest of the day. I think her bad paw bothers her–the leg that had the things hanging from it. They dropped off, but the leg is still not right and maybe they are growing back. Oh, thank you re the book :).

  7. Excellent update on your Memorial Day. I liked your solution to Pear’s issue. Have a wonderful Week, Luanne.

  8. It’s good to get an update on how you and your feline and avian families are doing. Senior pets are a worry. Our husky is entering his senior years, and he’s having some mobility problems. I’ve been looking forward to reading your memoir–and now I have a poetry book to look forward to as well!! Have a good week!!

  9. The “sisters” pages in your journal were moving to me, who never had one.
    And the letter from the soldier to your family about the loss in the Spanish American War was remarkable. Such a worthy memorial on this day.

    • Yes! Me too, never had a sister, and I can’t say I’m close to either of my SILs. I love that one, too. Poor Gerrit, never really living his life. He spent his teen years at an orphanage, then worked hard, then came to the US when his brother helped him, and then died a year later :(. I think he wanted to pay back the country that took him in, but he never got anything for it, of course. But he’s buried here now.

  10. Sad to think of all the young men and others lost to war. I’ve blogged about a few cousins who died in WWII. I don’t have any closer relatives who died in service aside from my uncle, but it was in the US after he returned from Vietnam.

    You’re putting those fabrics to very good use. The journal pages are wonderful. I’m impressed you find the time to do that. I don’t seem to want to get out all the art supplies and put them away, so they just don’t come out.

    Good for you taking care of all those seniors – a caregiver extraordinaire.

    Best wishes on the new memoir and poetry book!

    • It’s so sad. Have you seen the colorized footage of WWI soldiers in the trenches? Broke my heart to see it.
      Yes, I still want to go back to the idea of writing little pieces about the fabric and putting those in my scrapbook, but in the meantime, I have so much fabric and the art journal takes such tiny pieces.
      Thank you re the kitties, the memoir, and the poetry book :)! Hope your week ahead is a really good one.

  11. Thanks for your news updates of this and that. I love the journal pages!

  12. God bless Pear. I hope she is doing well. I do hope some excerpts from the new poetry book will be posted from time to time!! How exciting.

  13. Oh, I love to see your journal pages! You are so very creative…:)

  14. Your life sounds like fun! I love the journal pages. What a great way to preserve memories. Thanks for all the nature and cat photos. xo

    • Thanks, Carla! I got your email! The journal pages fulfill a lot of things that I like. Even the fact they are part junk journal means I get to use stuff instead of keeping or throwing away. A 3rd option :). XOXO

  15. Baby birds are the best. Fun to watch and they grow quickly. I admire your determination with your memoir. 18 tries? Impressive.

    • If by impressive you mean, fascinating at seeing how stubborn and stupid someone can be, yes. Definitely. I don’t know what is wrong with me, but this has been so hard to structure. I hope I’m doing the right thing THIS time.
      The hummingbird babies are almost ready to fly!!!!

  16. Such a lovely post as always, and again, co-incidentally crossing into events in my last week. I was visited recently by my friend Gerrit, of Dutch via Batavia descent. He remarked he has only heard the name once before – his grandfather! All I could offer was having a boss named Cornelius aka Cees, pronounced CASE. When his son came to Australia from Holland on work experience, we nicknamed him Briefcase.
    Gerrit brought his two daughters 8 and 6. They interact a little as you describe Pear and Perry. Perhaps they too should be separated at night.
    The letter re your ancestor was so touching, then I hit the Kalamazoo part and my ears pricked up. I have distant English ancestors who settled there around 1840. Name of Newell. Quite a bit of research and diaries of them on Ancestry.
    I’m also working on my memoir hybrid historical novel manuscript, and I can well believe you’re up to version 18. I’ve lost count, too. Let’s hope my agent goes for this version. My first memoir is available on in kindle version at the moment at $2.99
    Thanks for the hummingbird photo. We don’t have them here, so always welcome to see them in their natural state. She looks as if she was posing.

    • That’s quite a coincidence with the name Gerrit, too! LOL Briefcase, that’s pretty funny and so if your comment about the daughters.
      If you have ancestors who settled in Kalamazoo, they were some of the earliest ones. The city was founded in 1831! That’s amazing. Yes, Kalamazoo was first settled by the English around that period, and then starting in the 1850s the Dutch starting immigrating in earnest to a few cities in the southwest and west area of Michigan, including Kalamazoo.
      Memoir hybrid historical novel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow, that sounds so interesting!!!
      I bought your book btw. I’ve loaded up my kindle with free books everyday for the past several weeks on top of all the to-be-reads on there, so I hope I don’t forget about it and lose it in the midst! If you don’t hear from me about the book and you think of it, give me a reminder in a month or two. My previously stellar memory has been acting up lately!
      I wish you could see how small the hummingbird babies are. TEENY!

      • The Kalamazoo settlement is very early, yes. John Newell and his wife Elizabeth (nee Skirrow), and their seven children must have moved there around 1840 and had another bunch of children. I’ve seen several written histories as they would have been revered as pioneers by their descendants. Several other Newells went to other parts of the US including Michigan at similar times. My 3xGrt Grandfather Reverend Samuel Hughes (his wife was a Newell) took his family there in 1841 but returned to England a few years later so most of my research has been following his line down.

        Gosh! Thank you for buying my book. I hope it resonates with you (and you’ll still be talking to me after).

        • I feel like I’ve heard that name Newell regarding Kalamazoo, but I could be imagining it ;).
          If I hate it, I’ll still talk to you, but I won’t hate it. (A beta reader for my memoir seems to no longer be talking to me LOL).

          • Several of John’s brothers also went, and it seems they were farming at Gull Prairie in the 1840s. And each family had many children, so I’m sure the descendants are numerous and successful in various endeavours.

            I’ve heard of a few writing family history memoirs where feathers have been ruffled. . As you well know, writing memoir is incredibly personal and vulnerable thing to do, and leaves the reader the impression they have the right to judge you personally, rather than simply the book. All the same, it is very harsh and hurtful for a beta reader to snub you.

            • Thank you for saying that about memoir. It is so hard to know how to handle certain things because of other people.

              • Ultimately, as long as you are not defaming people, you have to write what is true to you, and accept that it is human nature to perceive the same situation differently. But it is tricky, and the subject comes up in every memoir class. I was asked to include my sister in law in my memoir and refused. It added nothing to the story in my opinion, and she would not have been pleased. Others I showed what had been written before publication. They were all supportive. One even said, “is that all?”

              • You can’t add everyone. It’s dilutes the story.

  17. Dove AND hummingbird babies–a wealth of riches! I wrote about my angst re: robin babies in my most recent blog. Am hoping they’re there and ok when I wake up tomorrow. Nature is so darn beautiful and yet always seems to make me cry . . .

    • Are the robin babies ok? I hope we’re getting an update! I totally hear you about nature. It’s very disturbing to me. For instance, being “on the side” of both prey and predator (sigh).

  18. My manuscript made the blog! I feel famous…along with Kana. I had no idea Pear was 21 years old; that’s an ingenious way to deal with the sofa. And, like so many on here, I love your journal pages.

  19. Hey girl – I’m still trying to catch up! Re “Joy Neal Kidney” – reminds me of my upcoming ultrasound of kidneys! 😀 (My low GFR number is 30. Ay yi!) Anyway. Lovely Pear, so dignified. Sweet journal pages!!
    Our second shots next week! Cheers!!

    • Yay for the vaccine!!!! I just switched back to an actual purse today instead of a clear shopping bag with sanitizer and all the rest! What is this kidney thing? How far out of wack is that?

  20. I think (still tests to do) I’m at stage two kidney failure. Not as bad as it sounds; it can be treated/managed/prevented from getting worse. At least now I finally got to “see” (telemedicine) a nephrologist and I’m doing tests…
    Normal number is around 90 to 120 mL per min., represents how well a kidney is filtering waste from the blood. The number does lessen somewhat as we age, but… my number got my GP’s attention so she referred me to specialist. I’m in good hands now! 😊

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