Changing of the Month, Changing of the Season

You might think from the post title that fall has come to Phoenix. Not. It’s still hot. And, yet, there is something of fall here, if only in our minds. Today is a holiday in the United States. We celebrate Labor Day because the lives of laborers in the 19th century (and early 20th century, too) were often horrible and sometimes horrific. If you want to read more about what it was like through fiction, try Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle or Rebecca Harding Davis’ Life in the Iron Mills. Although many workers in this country have reaped the benefits of unemployment insurance for some or much of the pandemic, before 1935 no such assistance existed. I was thinking that Labor Day 2021 ought to be dedicated to medical–as well as the whole chain of food delivery–employees since they have been our front lines against covid.

***

Last month I participated in The Sealey Challenge, reading poetry every day. For the first half or more, I read a book a day. Then I chose more complex books and gave myself 3-4 days each. I’ve never read so much poetry in one month in my life. Well, maybe in grad school, but I mean I’ve never enjoyed so much poetry in one month in my life hahaha.

I also participated in an Instagram mixed media challenge called #seekgathercreate. It was a lot of fun. You start off by collecting four different objects each week to use for the page. The rest is up to the art journaler. Here are a couple of pages I made for it.

***

This month I am participating in Genealogy Photo a Day on Instagram. There are assigned topics for each day, so my job is to post an image, generally from my own family, that fits the topic. What I like about this besides the interactions with people on Instagram is that it makes me think about my family history from a different perspective. I think it makes the old new for me.

***

I’ve been revising my memoir. I was going to join #pitmad on Twitter, but then I realized that my manuscript might not be a good match for finding an agent that way. I also realized how short my memoir is now. A few years ago it was too long, but the new version is significantly shorter. Too short for a traditional publisher, most likely. Nevertheless, after some finishing touches I am doing this week, I doubt I will try to lengthen the manuscript. If I like it the way it is, then I want to publish it the way I like it. Of course, this is what I am thinking today!

***

Pear is hanging in, but I had to up her pain meds a bit so that her leg doesn’t bother her. I’m taking it one day at a time. Tiger is now drinking way too much water. She is 17.5, so she is not a spring chicken either! I worry about her kidneys, plus there is something going on with her liver. Here is Perry lying next to Pear. Maybe he hopes he can comfort her.

***

Not only is it Labor Day today, but this evening begins the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Shana tova! Happy New Year! XO

 

69 Comments

Filed under #amreading, #amrevising, #writerlife, #writerslife, Art and Music, art journaling, Cats and Other Animals, Family history, Memoir, Poetry

69 responses to “Changing of the Month, Changing of the Season

  1. With increased water consumption could Tiger be diabetic? I hope not. You have a lot going on with cats right now. Most people think today is a retail sales day but it goes back to the incredibly bad conditions workers had. Even kids were forced to work. We hit a bit of fall after Ida went through. Enjoying it very much!

    • I went back and looked at Tiger’s medical records after reading your comment. Her blood glucose was 103 at the beginning of July. The reference range is 72-175. Her SDMA which is one of the kidney disease markers is 14 and the reference range is 0-14. So probably this is kidney related?
      Yes, about Labor Day! Those poor kids. Whenever I think back on how my family had so much less generations ago I have to remember that for the most part they seem to have been pretty blessed. It doesn’t seem that any of the relatives worked in factories as kids. Now, they did farmwork, chores, and probably further back were apprenticed to learn trades as chlldren. But the whole thing about kids working in factories is so dehumanizing.
      Glad you are enjoying your fall!!!!

      • Let’s hope it’s nothing serious. My parents both had to quit school at 13 to go to work. I don’t know where they worked. They never talked about it and I didn’t ask. My dad’s parents had a farm so perhaps he worked the farm with his dad and brothers. There were a lot of garment factories in the area and I know my dad’s sister worked in a cigar factory. Wish I would have asked more.

        • Oh yes, it would have been great to have that knowledge now. 13!!!! Truly amazing. I will say that my grandfather did quit school at that age, but that was because he was blind in one eye. And while he worked, it was in the family’s retail store and he still had time to play sports as much as he wanted.

  2. Sorry to hear cats are still having a hard time. I love the journal pages. It’s always nice to get together with others to inspire a more productive day. Even if it is virtually. You sent me some prompts and now I can’t find them. My brain has gone on a walkabout alone again. Deep sigh..

    • Marlene, got your email! I’m glad you found them, but if not I would have re-sent, no worries. The new one that popped up today is something like: what are the choices you made in raising me? HAHAHAHA, didn’t realize I was making choices. Just thought I was doing what needed doing while working and all.
      Thank you so much for your kind words, too. XOXO

  3. You are keeping very busy with your challenges (and cats)! I hope they all stay well.
    Shana Tova, Luanne!

  4. Best wishes on your new month challenge, Luanne. I hope the kitties do well.

  5. Thanks for the update on the kitties! What can you do, especially when they’re old, except try and make them comfortable. And you’re keeping yourself busy in such creative ways!
    We recently learned that Max’s UTI is drug-resistant which frustrates our vet. She’s on a mission to clear the UTI because it can contribute to the kidney disease Max already has. I’m not sure what we’ll do. We’re hesitant to try another antibiotic because what she has is drug resistant, according to the lab. Meanwhile, she rules the household 😉

    • That is scary to have a UTI that is drug-resistant. Has she come up with any ideas yet? What about holistic–have you thought about going down that road? XO

      • We took Max to the vet on Thursday. She had had a “bad day” on Tuesday: moving very slowly, off her food. Since we and our vet wanted her to have an ultrasound, Thursday was the earliest we could get her in. So, this is what we’re now doing: subcutaneous fluids every 3 days, and twice daily injections of antibiotics. She’ll have a follow up exam in a couple of weeks. I’m grateful to Greg that we can do this because I have a fear of needles and it really takes two people to do the fluids and the injections. Max’s kidney enzyme values have shot up again, and our vet suspects the bacteria from the UTI has gone into her kidneys. She doesn’t know for sure, hence the “big gun” antibiotic treatment. If this treatment does clear up the UTI, we might have to continue them indefinitely to keep the UTI at bay. At this point, our vet projects that Max will have another several months to a year left if the treatment works. If it doesn’t, maybe then weeks to a few months. Did I say I’m grateful to Greg because I couldn’t do this on my own.
        Right now Max seems more like her old self, but that might also be due to a reduction of her Gabapentin. As you know, loss of balance is a side effect. Since Max has lost so much kidney function, our vet said the current Gabapentin dosage was too high and we should cut it by 50%. Since we’ve done that, she’s become more alert, more talkative, more balanced, and more likely to use the litter box properly. Of course, she’s also become more willful and when Greg gave her the fluids today, we were only able to keep her still for about 250 milliliters rather than the prescribed 300 milliliters. Better than nothing.
        So here we are. We won’t know until the end of the month if the antibiotics are working. She didn’t have any symptoms of a UTI so we can’t judge by that. And now I feel her loss of balance was probably because of the Gabapentin becoming too potent. Thank goodness the rest of our kitties are in good health. We’re making so much headway with Raji, too. Yesterday, he tolerated my snipping his pointy claws while I held him in my lap. I only managed one paw before he twisted away, but we were both shocked and thrilled that he let me do that much 🙂 XO

        • First to Raji. Yay! That is really something. Good job!
          about Max: you are trying so hard to do everything you can do for her. I really commend you for that as I know how hard it is. And those subq fluids. Oh my. Felix was so complacent at first, but then he started to wise up and became difficult. I am also a klutz and the gardener is afraid of stuff like that. I ended up telling him NOT to help me as it made me more nervous. He brings a lot of nervous energy into things :/. But I will say that I think subq fluids are almost miraculous in their own right.I’m sending Max and you and Greg huge healing vibes, HUGE ones. Hugs, too. XOXOXOXO

  6. So glad to hear that Pear is holding steady. You are managing to get a lot of creative work done. So inspiring! I feel a tinge of autumn here also, though no outward signs of it. Things are beginning to settle down here, and I am thankful. Many blessings to you and your family for a wonderful new year! We are cooking brisket today in honor of Rosh Hashana. 🙂 xo

  7. I remember reading The Jungle in college. It made a very big impression on me.

    I love this comment from your post: “I’ve never read so much poetry in one month in my life. Well, maybe in grad school, but I mean I’ve never enjoyed so much poetry in one month in my life hahaha.” I know just what you mean!

    I’m so excited to hear that your memoir is nearing completion! Please keep us posted.

    I wondered the same thing as Kate about whether Tiger might be diabetic. Our dog is diabetic and still drinking copious amounts of water because the vet hasn’t been able to get his blood sugar regulated. My husband is taking super good care of him.

    • How is your sweet dog doing? Keeping on top of numbers? how often does his blood sugar have to get checked? And do you have to give shots every day?
      The Jungle was one scary book. I feel as if I ought to reread it as it’s been so long. Have you ever read Life in the Iron Mills? It’s a very short book, but gives an idea of what it was like for people to work in the iron mills in those days.

      • The vet put the dog on human insulin because the canine insulin wasn’t bringing down his blood sugar. He’s been going to the vet every three weeks or so to have his blood sugar monitored throughout the day. He seems to be feeling better and he’s eating well, but I’m concerned that he hasn’t regained any of the weight he lost.

        No, I haven’t read Life in the Iron Mills. I think there may be books about working in the textile mills as well? The conditions these people worked under, particuarly children, are beyond comprehension.

  8. I think a lot of folks don’t even know what Labor Day is about. I say many posts on social media thanking veterans for their service today.

    Sweet kitties! I hope y’all find a sweet spot where everyone is feeling good for at least a long while. I love your mixed media pieces, Luanne. I keep saying I’m going to start back up. There’s always something going on. Bathroom remodel last week and this week. You know that’s been fun with 4 cats and a dog. 😫

    • Veterans?! What is wrong with people? Good grief.
      Oh remodelling is a great excuse hahah! I hate it so much that I’ve sworn I would never do it again. I don’t even want any painting done by me or anybody else. I have a half bath that accidentally was decorated CSI style (as in blood splatter by dark red paint–don’t ask), and I still don’t want to change anything. Too much trouble with all the kitties, so I totally understand.
      Thank you re the mixed media. It’s just so much fun just to make a mess and see something you like come out of the chaos.

  9. I love your mixed media pages! I wish I’d known about this Instagram project. Now I’m going to look for the Genealogy project there so thanks for sharing it. I don’t believe we follow each other on Ig so look for me. I am @starlightgrrl.

  10. Thank you for posting this wonderful round up. Despite all the ups and downs, you push on, and that is all any of us can do, don’t you think? I saw one of the commenters mention some people think Labor Day has to do with veterans. Hmmm….. Perhaps they should read Kate Moore’s Radium Girls, and other suchlike on working conditions. Here in Australia Labour Day has its origins in the 8 Hour movement. Eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
    These days, much of those gains have been eroded. I could say more but I’d get political 🙂
    Blessings to Pear and all the cat family.

    • I hadn’t heard of the 8 Hour movement. Interesting. That 8 hours for recreation is a little suspect. Isn’t that the same 8 hours needed for commuting, shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.?
      Thank you for the blessings!!!! XO

      • That made me chuckle. We haven’t made much progress in the modern era when we remember that it takes two working to provide a home these days; and we are still arguing about equal distribution of household chores.
        The Labour Day movement goes back to the mid1800s. In the day, that was the wife, (or servant’s) job while the husband worked. Here’s a little ditty I found:
        Eight hours to work,
        Eight hours to play,
        Eight hours to sleep,
        Eight bob a day.
        A fair day’s work,
        For a fair day’s pay.

  11. You have kept creatively busy, Luanne

  12. Thanks for updating us on your corner of the world, Luanne. I’m so sorry you’re having kitty problems. It’s heartbreaking.

  13. Happy New Year! xoxox
    Good luck with kitties; I see Perry is helping you take care of them!
    Re memoir being “too short for publisher” – how short is it? Mine was in the vicinity of 40,000 words or 217 pages. (I had photos as well plus a few other appendices.) Mind you, I self-pubished! 😁

    • Yes, that is also short. Mine is about 33,500 words and 151 pages. That’s with lots of blank pages, too, because of the nature. But it’s also single spaced, like poems. Too short for many publishers. We’ll see if the ones who claim they want hybrid really do or not. Think of it this way, if a poetry collection (full length) has 5,000-10,000 words, then why wouldn’t a hybrid have more than that but less than a traditional prose book?

  14. Wishing you well with your memoir…I love those journal pages! You are a creative soul! Good luck with the kitties…

  15. Good year to you and yours! xo
    I screenshot some of that poetry you read last month so that I can see what’s available at the library. A few of them really piqued my interest.
    Obviously, for your memoir, you’ll need to remember more, lol!

  16. Amy

    Sweet, sweet Perry. I hope his sweetness comforts Pear. And poor Tiger. Your cats are sure giving you heartache these days. I am so sorry.

    So how did I miss this genealogy photo challenge on Instagram? I still don’t quite get Instagram, but that sounds intriguing. I am a dinosaur who still prefers Facebook and hasn’t a clue how to use Twitter!

    • Hardly anybody is doing the challenge this month. I don’t know if it’s petered out or if it’s because the words are difficult this time. Today was bus. I wrote that nobody in my family was a bus driver, THEN I watched the gardener’s uncle’s funeral this afternoon online (recorded), and discovered that his middle job was school bus driver!!!! It wouldn’t have really clicked if not for the challenge.

  17. Luanne~ As always, it was a pleasure reading your blog post. Excellent reflections on the meaning of Labor Day. Your collage pages were intriguing!
    I’m immersed in finishing touches for HAND OF GANESH, which is now with my publisher.
    Happy Wednesday!
    Elaine

  18. So much going on in this one, Luanne, but your writing, reading and mixed media creations are making me feel truly lazy. Savor the experiences, enjoy your days and by all means your memoir should be just the way you want it to be.
    Bless your heart for your aging cats home – such hard times for all but I love the picture of Perry and Pear. Animals know.
    Happy Rosh Hashanah to all!

  19. What a nice post. I don’t usually use the word “nice,” but that’s exactly what it is–nice. It gave me a little peek into your life and in doing so, let me know you a bit better. Thanks for sharing. p.s. I LOVED the cat picture.

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