Yellow Jacket

I was minding my own business.  Truly, I was.

While seated on the swing, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine, totally oblivious to any danger…I was assaulted. POW…just like that.

The yellow jacket popped me before I realized it was on me.

At first I wasn’t sure what had happened.  As I straightened my leg I felt an odd twinge at the back of my calf and then white hot burning pain.  I looked up to see the offender flying away from me.

I grabbed my calf – the pain was intense and spreading in shock waves down my leg – electric like shock waves, white hot, burning pain.  A quick look at the back of my calf revealed a raised area, white in color, and within the center of it a bright red circle.

To the kitchen I hobbled for a zip top bag full of ice – then to the bathroom for an antihistamine capsule.

Twice this year I’d been stung by red wasps.  They hurt.  Wow, did they hurt.  But, the pain from them was nothing compared to the pain that Yellow Jacket’s sting delivered.  And, the reaction my body had to the venom, unparallelled.

I was stung at 4:15 yesterday afternoon and when I went to bed last night at 11 my calf was still painful, my lower leg swollen, and flashes of hot pain were still streaking down my leg.

This morning at 5 a.m. I woke to muscle cramps in that calf…. The muscles directly below the sting knotted up and I could not make them stop cramping.  Nothing I tried helped.  When I rose at 6:30 a.m. I could not straighten my left leg and so I hobbled about.

As I sit typing this at 7:18 a.m., my calf muscles throb with pain and the slightest movement of my foot or leg threaten to knot them up again.  Massage is not an option. The muscles are too sore to touch.  And, I am still unable to straighten my leg fully.

The skin around the sting site is red, warm, and elevated for three inches in all directions.  The sting site itself is hard and about the size of two quarters placed side by side, swollen, sore, and incredibly itchy.

As much as I dislike killing anything, I think I will go on the offense whenever I see a Yellow Jacket.  It’s kill or be killed.

They offer no warning.  They don’t buzz, face you down, or drive you away.  They don’t wait for provocation. They just light on you, sting you and fly away to sting again another day.

And, if you are the unlucky one to stumble upon their hive and disturb them…they chase you.  They sting you.  Multiple times.

Yellow Jackets, take notice.  My defense was down and one of your kind slipped in and attacked me.  I won’t make that mistake again.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  For now on, the only good Yellow Jacket is a dead one.

No forgiveness.  No grace. No mercy. It’s an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. You crossed the line and I’m going to get you and your family.

Venom is that way you know. It’s a destroyer.  You filled me with your venom and now I’m out for vengeance.

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Corn Candy

Tis the season – Corn Candy season that is.

Mom likes the “witch’s teeth” variety (orange and chocolate) and I prefer the traditional (white, yellow, orange).

I can (and do) eat it until I’m sick of it.  I’ll take them individually (as in one right after the other) or by the handful (yes, all at one time).

If I never give in and eat the first piece of Corn Candy, I don’t have a problem.  Sure, I want it but I don’t CRAVE it.

But, if I eat one piece, I want another.  And, another leads to several and before I know it I’m on high fructose corn syrup overload.

High fructose corn syrup (or corn anything) is a major no-no for me.

For the past few weeks I’ve been nibbling (more like noshing) Corn Candy when I’d visit Mom.

I visit Mom every day.

Four days ago I woke with something I never wake with – pain.  My finger joints were swollen and sore. I noticed my shoulders, knees and ankles were as well. And, I felt TIRED…exhausted.

And, every morning since I’ve awakened to the same symptoms and each day they are more intense and involve more joints.

At the first twinge, I knew what was wrong.  And, I knew what to do about it.  But, didn’t.  I also knew that if I did something immediately within 2 months I would be nearly pain free and by early spring would be back to normal without pain.

That “something” required me to stop eating Corn Candy…any candy.  It required me to stop cold turkey.  When your body and mind (and mouth) crave something it’s really hard to say no to those cravings. Eating less is not an option.  That satisfies nothing and only makes the cravings stronger.

The only way was for me to totally and fully give up Corn Candy.  And, in doing so, give up all other sugar apart from that which is natural (aka an apple, orange, grapes, etc).

Yesterday, I visited Mom.  The candy dishes were scattered about – all full and all displaying their sensory offerings.  They were pleasant to my sight (colorful and interesting shapes), their aroma was tantalizing…. I knew what they would taste like.

My mind said “just one.”  My body whispered “one handful.”

Instead of reaching for one, I replayed my last experience…last taste of Corn Candy – how it felt in my mouth, how quickly it began to dissolve and how the flavor intensified when I chewed it.  And, I lingered on how quickly I’d desired another.

“Just one” wasn’t an option. My joints needed NONE.

This morning, as I type this, I watch my stiff and sore fingers tap away at the keyboard of my laptop and I’m sorry for what I allowed my desires to do to them and the rest of my body.

I can’t undo what I did.  The effect will linger for several months.  The bad thing is – things will get worse before getting better.

Why did I do what I KNEW would hurt me?  Apparently I believed a little wouldn’t hurt.  And, when a little didn’t immediately cause problems, I failed to take heed to that little voice in the back of my mind that warned me, “You’ll be sorry.”

I am sorry. Deeply sorry and chagrined that I was foolish enough to allow myself to give in to Corn Candy.

The fact that “corn” is a part of its name should be enough to cause me to run the other way.  But, no…I ran to it.  I embraced it.  And, I ingested it.  I welcomed into my body something that I KNOW is poison to me.

Why would I do such a thing?

I did it because I wanted it and assumed I was immune to the effects of it.  I was stronger than it was.  I was in control – of my desires and my body (and of the effects of the candy). I deserved it.

I could go on and on with the ways I rationalized partaking in what I knew was not good for me.

Truth is, I was foolish.  Old enough to know better.  Experienced enough to do better. I chose poorly.  I lied to myself.  And, I believed my lies.  Yeah, I was foolish.

I gave control of my will and the future well being of my body to a bag of Corn Candy. And, I now suffer the consequences.

What about you? What’s your Corn Candy?

Desist and Know

Today dawned dark.  Thick clouds obscured the sun.

At 8 a.m., darkness grew greater as a storm rode in.  Rumbling, grumbling thunder announced its approach and darker still it grew until it became so dark that I could barely see into my back yard.

It was no better in the house. With lights off, the darkness within bespoke the darkness without.

Nothing stirred, within or without.  Not a breath of breeze.

Quiet.  All still in the gathering darkness.

And, then it hit.  A torrent of rain, pounding the roof and blinding what sight I did have into the world beyond my window, blurred my vision as it cascaded down the window pane.

Flashes of lightning lit the clouds.  Flickering menaces of electrical madness back lit clouds in colors pink, green, blue and yellow.

Thunder boomed and crashed about me as wind whipped the tree tops in a furry that threatened to strip them of leaves.

Flicker, flicker, flicker, FLASH, rumble, grumble, flash, flicker, flicker, FLASH/BOOM, rumble, rumble, GRUMBLE.

The constant patter of raindrops on the window and the rushing sound of heavy rain lulled my senses and calmed me.

Thunder punctuated my thoughts as I opened myself to the storm and the wonders of it.  The beauty of the storm amazed me.

And, then it was gone.  Silence fell hard upon my ears in the quietness after the storm.

I stepped to the door and peeked out.  The fresh scent of rain filled me and I inhaled deeply, enjoying the sweet smell of wet earth.

Not a leaf stirred, so still it was after the storm.

For several minutes I stood in the silence.

And, then I heard the sound of rain coming across the roof tops to the west of me.  Gentle at first, then becoming harder…louder…until it filled me with the roar of falling water.

Thunder grumbled once again and I sighed.

Ahhh.

The tension I’d felt earlier had left me with a stillness…calmness….

I felt relaxed, at ease…peaceful.

Another deep, cleansing breath – then a yawn that further loosed my jumbled nerves and relaxed the tenseness remaining.

Be still and know….

As I sit and type this, rain still patters down, the sky remains dark…so dark that colors are muted shades of brown and gray.  Thunder still grumbles occasionally.  And, I am left amazed by the power given the storm to change so much.

And, as I typed “so much” the rain stopped as though shut off at the faucet. Birds began to sing as I was typing the previous sentence – and are now the only sounds I hear.

Be still and know that I am….

If I were a bird I would be joining in the chorus.  My voice would blend with the Chickadee, Wren, Goldfinch, Cardinal, Sparrow, Grackle…would rise in praise and thanksgiving.

Storms give live and bring renewal.

My spirit was withered and dry, stretched taunt by stress, anxious and tense, knotted and hard.

Be still and know that I am God.

Desist and know God.

Stop the mad struggle. Relax the tension. Lose yourself. Find God.

Awareness of God begins where self awareness ends.

601

Today marks the 601st post here on Suzansays.

Feelings are mixed as I think back over previous posts.

Especially so after googling 601 and finding 601 to be the error message that flashed on the computer screen to indicate information overload in the movie The Andromeda Strain….

And, after finding 601(actually i601) to be a US government form entitled Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility…. (I’m still shaking my head over this one.)

Ah and 601 is a radio service authorization form of the FCC.  So far, blogging is not regulated.

After reading this post, you may be thinking it should be.

A Harbinger of Frost

On June 28 of this year, I posted that I’d heard the first Cicada and remarked that it seemed a bit early.

Folklore says look 3 months beyond the first heard Cicada to the first frost.

Three months forward from June 28 = September 28.  A week ago.

Last night the low temp was 42 and tonight the low is forecast to be 37 here (or 33 northeast of here).  We are under a frost advisory.

Early.

Eerie.

To find out more Autumn and Winter weather forecasting methods check out the Natural Almanac.

I might add that according to the Natural Almanac we shouldn’t see a snowfall this winter.  Our morning fogs came in September this year, not August. But, according to Snow Lore 101, we should see snow 4 ft high.   😉

Who knows, right? I surely don’t.

What I do know is that a tried and true prognosticator is telling me my day has begun – the  sun’s coming up.

If I’m going to squeeze all I can from this present day, I’d better get up and get busy.

This present day – that’s all I have.  I can plan for and look ahead to the future, but I can only affect the future by what I do in the present – now. It’s now that matters and what I do now counts.

Three months ago I was thinking forward to the first frost.  Today I’ve wondered about the first snowfall. Thinking and wondering doesn’t do much more than spin our wheels unless it motivates us to take action.

Thinking, wondering, looking ahead – these should drive us to be better, do better, live better in anticipation of what lies ahead.

October Blue(s)

Beautiful blue skies are the backdrop for October’s blaze of autumn foliage.  Anyone who spends much time outdoors knows the color October Blue.

But, what about October blues?

There’s a certain sadness associated with October.  Summer’s final blush faded with September and we say “Goodbye” to what was and prepare for what it’s coming.

As I type this, I’m able to look out the window and into my backyard.  Okra plants stand 12 feet tall with yellow hibiscus blooms crowning their tops, and at their feet summer peas sport white blossoms, both busy with the task of producing delicious Summer produce.

The problem is, Summer is no more.  And, after today, Summer’s heat will be gone as well.  Today, the temp is forecast to rise to 90 (perfect okra and purple pod pea weather) and tonight rain will fall as the first COLD front of the season moves in.

In the extended forecast, there are no 90 degree days…not even 80 degree days.  Saturday will see a rise of perhaps 65 and by Sunday morning the temp is forecast to be 42.

What will happen to the garden when chilled to 42 degrees?  It depends, of course, on the warmth of the next few days and nights, but I expect the plants to slow production drastically.

In the next few weeks, the garden will be pulled up, turned under and laid to rest.

Summer is gone and Winter is coming.  It’s time to bid farewell to warm weather chores, say our goodbyes to Summer’s ease and bounty, accept the coming darkness as each day grows shorter than the one before, and face the future with thanksgiving for what was and anticipation for what will be

I’ll admit – I feel a twinge of October blues nagging me today.  I’m not ready to turn loose.  I don’t want to move forward into the year.  I’m so not ready for cold weather.  I’m not looking forward to being cooped up inside. And, I don’t want to pull out sweaters and jackets or turn on the heat.

I like it fine the way it’s been…the way it is now.  I don’t want it to change.  Can’t we just bypass Winter this year and slip from Autumn into Spring?

Ah, wishful thinking is often foolish thinking.

And, wrapping my October blues about me and bemoaning the loss of what was and grouching about what will be doesn’t warm my heart or bring me comfort.  October blues change nothing but my mood – from sunny to cloudy with a chance of rain.

October blues – be gone.  I don’t want you.  You depress me, you deprive me, you distract me.

Seasons change.  That’s life.

Letting go of the old and embracing the new is the only way to live.  And, live is what I want to do.  And, I’ll do it without October blues, thank you.

Yep, gonna get me a good strong dose of October blue today while the sun shines and enjoy the wonder of today as I face forward and free myself of the past and open my hands to each new day ahead.

Change is coming.

No…change is here.  Slow down long enough to appreciate it but don’t hang onto what was.  Reach out for what’s next.

Live hard into it.