Jezzie Belle

Life on The Edge 8/13/20

When most of my friends think of me living on the edge, they don’t realize that I live on the edge of poverty. It is a difficult place to be. I have been here most of the time since I had to take an early retirement for medical reasons. It is not easy living on Social Security. If you can do anything to add to your retirement saving do it now. Don’t wait. Tomorrow is never promised.

Your world can come crashing down around you without any real warning.


Part of the time that I was living on the edge was because I engaged in very poor money management. It is a long story but getting organized and paying bills was not in my wheelhouse until I could start doing everything online. Oh happy day!!! I could finally pay my bills(almost)all at one time and get them over and done with. It has been AWESOME!!!!


Having your bills paid immediately can certainly help with money management. Then you see in black and white just how little you have left to work with. It makes you take a bit of a pause but then you just keep on truckin’!


There were times that Miss Teffers and I had very, very little money to get by on. We had been used to having a little more leeway in our budget and that was gone, so we had to find a way to manage.


We did have to utilize food pantries some at that time but for the most part by being very, very strict with our food budget we managed on our own.


Once a month when we got paid The Teffs and I would go out to eat. This has always been one of my favorite things to do. There are many who do not understand how much pleasure this gives me but it does and that is that.


After the joy of eating out once for the month Steph and I had a rotation of meals that we ate.

We ate them all of the time. Sometimes we might throw in one or two meals that were different

Throughout the month but for the most part we ate the following meals in rotation: Macaroni & Cheese, Eggs Scrambled with Spinach and Cheese, Potato Meal, Potatoes Scrambled with Eggs, Boxed Stuffing with Canned Chicken, Oatmeal...Then back to Macky Cheese. We did that for more than a year. We were happy with the meal choices. They were carefully crafted to get the most bang for our buck. Sometimes we were lucky to be able to add a side to a meal. That was always very special.


Sure we could have had more variety if we didn’t go out to eat that one time a month but you can’t put a dollar value on pleasure and happiness so we followed our bliss.


A lot of time has passed since then and we have had a better food budget. There have also been periods where we have been gifted monetary gifts or gift cards for food shopping. I have purchased special things at those times that we didn’t normally get.


Over time I became spoiled. I especially became spoiled about fresh produce. Oh my how I love my fresh produce, salads, fruit, raw Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower and Broccoli top the list. I am

Cabbage and carrot crazy. I roast them in the oven with sweet onion. Oh, such bliss. I don’t know anyone who gets as worked up about the glories of fresh produce as I do. I just hate that I can’t go to the Farmer’s Market. Sigh!


Well, I realize tonight as I was contemplating my shopping list and food preparation for this weekend that I realized just how spoiled I am. I have been taking too much for granted. I can’t really afford the groceries I WANT. I have someone who is very unselfishly helping me with buying groceries but I remembered that I don’t have to have lots of fresh produce all of the time.

I can have a little produce, mostly whatever is on sale, or things that are inexpensive but my daily repast does not have to revolve around fresh produce. I can’t afford it. I can’t afford it and I need to pare down the shopping lists. I don’t want to take advantage of anyone.


My household income has been cut in half with all of the bills remaining as they had been. That is why I need to remember that I am not just skating close to the edge of poverty. I am there. Well, actually sixty dollars a year over the poverty line. That is a hoot. I’d give Social Security that sixty dollars a year BACK if that meant that I could receive other benefits. I can’t and I don’t.

I am grateful that other people can receive said benefits and am glad that they have that lifeline to support them.


So that leaves me to reconfigure my budget. Since I am feeding one person I can add a few other things to the budget and be a little more creative that I had to be several years ago.


It is time for me to wake up and smell the coffee. I need to cut costs wherever I can and the grocery bill is a good start. Oh, and just so you know. I am not only avoiding eating out, I am not ordering food in even though I get serious cravings.


So, it is time to rethink everything. Wish me luck. It is time for a change!


Hugs to all,


AA

Jezzie Belle

The Fibro Flare Up Continues 8/12/20

I have been dealing with a fibro/lupus/CFS flare up for more than 4(I think) months now. It

Has been brutal and the past several days have been absolutely hellish secondary to atmospheric changes. This time the pain has been an issue but the fatigue has been unbelievable.


I wrote yesterday about it and the days preceding it but today has been a whole new animal.

The act of standing up from my chair requires heroic effort. Just. Standing. Up!!!! It is like I am being pushed back into my chair by some unseen forces.


Every movement is like I am having to push through mud up to my chin but even my face feels the pull of the force that my body has to fight. I am worn out so very quickly.


I have to stop to rest in transit from the bedroom to the kitchen. So after about 10 steps I have to stop, rest...as in sit down and rest. Then go to kitchen, another 10 steps...sit and rest. Then wash hands, fix a drink, etc.


Even the most simple meal prep is an arduous task at present. Early I did manage to get some already cut up celery and cucumbers to go with a bit of leftover tomato salad that I had. I finished mixing everything up at the table. I am just glad I had these items that were prepped and ready to go.


Tonight is Quorn nuggets and I thought about just forgetting it but I am really hungry so I managed to get them going. It seems ridiculous to have a box of nuggets be able to beat you

To the floor, but they did.


This is all a tough row to hoe. I am trying to eat fewer inflammation causing foods but having something to eat that is easy to manage is important too. At least I am not just living on Cheetos. This is better, right?


I am already setting up a battle plan for Zyoh and I to do more food prep this weekend. It is obvious I am going to need help getting more than the basics out of the way.


I haven’t had the fatigue and muscle weariness this bad in a long time. I keep saying that and it keeps getting worse. I am surprised about that. Very. Surprised.


I have slept a lot today but also I have felt too bad to sleep. This is ridiculous. If I am going to feel crappy, let’s do it and get it over with. You know what I mean.


Tomorrow is bound to be better so that is my focus. One day, one hour, one minute, one second at a time.


Hugs to all, AA

Jezzie Belle

Fibro Flare Up 8/11/20

This has been a difficult week for me starting Saturday evening. All of the work that I did

Saturday caught up with me really quickly. OUCH!!!


I thought that Sunday was more of the same, but there was also the sleep. The sleep of the living dead sleep. The kind of sleep that I almost never get any longer.


The sleep continued through yesterday and into today. Then it rained and stormed. Everything became clear after that.


I have done a little bit of cooking the past several days. The most consuming dish was the baked french toast. Last night's dinner involved using pre-cut veggies.


Tonight I wanted something that involved cooking again. I wanted it bad and spent a solid hour convincing myself that I could do it. I went to the kitchen and did most of it. No chopped fresh onion to go in the dish. I just didn’t have the wherewithal to do it.


I spent an hour cooking something that would take 30 minutes for most but I got it done, well except for the fresh onion.


It was disappointing but I was able to gussy it up to acceptable and ate it. I have leftovers for another day and know what to do to make them taste better.


I really need to be able to get some frozen meals for these days but right now I have to buy ice and it takes up my extra space. So, it is an interesting situation all of the way around.


I hate fibro flare ups. I have been dragging from one for four months now and to have things exacerbate the situation is just so crappo!!!


I am just glad to get some sleep and to manage to at least cook. There have been times when I couldn’t, so YAY I did better today. And I thought that breathing was going to be my high point for the day. Fooled me, LOL!!!


Hugs to all,


AA

Jezzie Belle

The Sleepy Girl Zone 8/10/20

I have had a few weird days. I have slept a LOT!!! That is weird for me right there. I have wandered in and out of FB and WWF2 between heavy bouts of sleep but other than making French toast casserole yesterday I have been in the sleepy girl zone.


In those few moments of waking I had a eureka moment in which I created the title for my NEXT novel. Yeah, I know...what about those writing projects that you haven’t finished yet. I know, I know…

I was going to work on them during NaNoWriMo even though it is supposed to be about writing a novel in 30 days. I have been a NaNo rebel before, but I had been thinking about this novel that has

Sort of been rumbling around in my mind for a few years. Well, out of the blue a title erupted and now I think the novel will just have to happen. We will see. In the meantime there will be some notes

For the novel, just like there are notes for novels and such everywhere, including lost in old programs that cannot be opened. Yeah, that makes me cry to think about it.


Others are lost in old computers, disks that got damaged and a thumb drive that is just not cooperating. There are also missing printouts and file folders. You get the point, but let’s add the

Millions of words that never made it out of the rambling labyrinth that is my brain.


So there we go...words are my life’s breath, my passion, my reason for existence and yet, they

Elude me in so very many ways.


I made a lot of progress during both sessions of Camp Nanowrimo and I am so ready for the big event in November so it is kind of exciting to think about something totally new for they which is the

Main point.


So there you go...a new novel is percolating in the background. I am sleeping like crazy, and my

Writing continues a little bit at a time. That my friends it pretty darned awesome if you ask me.


See you on Tuesday...night night to Monday!!!


Hugs to all,


AA

Jezzie Belle

Painful Awakenings 8/8/20

I recently bought a cookbook of sorts that I was so very excited about getting. When it arrived I settled into my chair to read it. That never happened.


Inside the front cover was disgustingly sexist and racist artwork. Yes, it represented another time. It was of women as sexualized beings.. The women were supposed to be Pacific Island ethnicity. I was so appalled that I didn't know what to think. I closed the book and tossed it into the trash.


Then as I sat back in my chair contemplating the artwork I realized that had this not been the summer of “Black Lives Matter” it would be highly likely that I would not have had the same reaction. I might have been sort of disgusted but not aghast and angry. I certainly would have read the book before sending it to the Goodwill which had been the original plan. That book did not deserve to be read or passed on. It needed to be trashed. It represented ugliness.


I looked up the man that the cookbook was paying tribute to. He was also a wild game hunter whose trophies lined the walls of his restaurant. My family members are hunters, but we eat what they shoot. They don’t hunt for trophies. Shooting wild game for sport is sick and perverse.

It is a rich man’s sport. Rich men can shoot skeet, play golf or perform works of service in their communities. They can use the money they spend to slaughter animals for sport to fund arts programs in their local schools.


I used to find some animal trophies to be kind of cool. I wanted a moose head for my wall. Don’t ask why a moose. I don’t know. I won’t even try to rationalize my want from days gone by with the fact that moose can be used as food. I know that they often weren’t. I knew that and I still wanted a moose head for my wall.


I am finding many ways in which I have lots and LOTS of room for personal growth. I can be sexist, ageist and racist to start with. I have these things inside of my head. I am savvy enough not to say such things out loud. Well,  that isn’t true. I often share memes on Facebook that take a jab at men. I sometimes take perverse pleasure in these memes too because men need to be called out on their bullshit, but some women need to be called out too. I need to stop that. I need to stop sending those memes. Even though some men laugh at them others don’t and take offense. I get that. I really do.


I have so much to learn and unlearn. I have a serious need for personal growth. I keep finding out just how serious that need is on a daily basis. It is hard to admit that, who have always considered myself to be open minded and accepting, need to do close introspection of my thoughts and beliefs. Time to scour my soul and work toward a better me.

Jezzie Belle

Ghost Writing 8/8/20

This is not about writing a book for someone else. I am not qualified to do such a thing.


This is about writing that has disappeared. No longer exists or is truly traceable. Its

Anchor is gone.


Since I entered the world of the internet I have written for more websites that I can even remember. I was able to stretch my writing wings and get published. Lots of articles, personal

Essays, review and stories were published on e-zines of all kinds. I was in seventh heaven.

It was every writer’s dream to have one’s work acknowledged, wanted, considered and

Published.


Some writing I got a few cents for or some kind of reviews on a consumer website. Ereviews.com I think was one of Those websites. I got paid a little money for a short article about employee retention or something of that nature.


Most of my work was unpaid. I had a regular column on a coffee blog. I wrote about ritual and pagan spirituality. I wrote soulful personal essays for an e-zine that a friend of mine published. There were short articles for a website designed for women in their 50s(The owner of that site

Really didn’t want me as a writer because I was only in my late 40s. Her editor wanted me though and so I wrote for the website.).


There were food reviews for several websites, a  movie review or two, book reviews,  and music reviews. Those were such fun and they were not for sites like Yelp and such. These were

Ezines of times long gone.


I got to “meet” some authors, interview them and publish those interviews in other ezines. I remember Morning Glory Zell, Z Budapest and Viktoras Kulvinskas. There were others.

Not all were of a countercultural persuasion but most were.


My writing flourished and I enjoyed seeing my work on the web. It was an exciting time.


Then, one by one websites started to close down and disappear. I ticked off 2 of the website owners and they removed my articles from their websites. The coffee website that I so loved

Writing for was sold to someone else who didn’t know how to operate and maintain it. His efforts to “improve” and deeply monetize the site led to its demise.


Finally the day came when the last of the websites/zines shuttered because it was just too much of a burden on the owner/publisher. The stories were left online for two years I think but

After that my words were wiped out and lost in the great wonder of the internet’s black hole.


I know that on the “wayback” machine some things can be located but that is not the same as being a website you send friends and family to in order to read your work.


It was gone. All gone. Just vanished. Literally hundreds of small pieces of work that had my byline on them just disappeared over time.


It has been disheartening, and yet I remember the glow of being published all of those times.

It was an awesome time. So very much fun.


The web is a different place now. Sure you can write reviews like crazy everywhere. Blogs abound creating media personalities. I was a very late arrival to the blog scene even though

A guy named Mitchell tried to get me to write a blog because a famous website was trying to

Get bloggers for its newly launched blog site and was paying writers to write just a few paragraphs a day, every day. I considered it and even started the process but there was a problem setting up my blog and payment account that ticked me off so bad while trying to deal with the support people that I left the idea of blogs in the dust for more than a decade.


Writing for places on the internet is not as easily accessible as it was in the early days. Websites are “slicker” and want more polished work. They don’t have a “come one, come all” attitude. Getting to pitch your story, essay or article isn’t an easy process any longer. Like everything the web has changed.


As the web was changing my personal life changed too so writing wasn’t the same priority that it has been. I had other things that needed to be taken care of and became very ill during part of that time as well. When the dust from everything started to clear the opportunities had narrowed

As described above and I ended up writing a few blogs posts along the way. Some were inspired, I am amazed at my writing in them. Most were pedestrian at best. A few were inspired by words given to me by my friend Jodi so that I could create stories just for fun. There was also a sentence of the day website(or something like that)which inspired other posts.


My use of blogs, yes plural, don’t ask, ‘k! Has helped to fill my writing compulsion. I am not a great blogger or even a consistent blogger but I do what I can to meet my need to write.


Eventually these blog sites will disappear as have 2 already and those words will be ghosts haunting the bits and bytes of the web. It is okay. I am getting used to that already. I have

Written my fair share of ghosts so far.


Much love to all,


AA

Jezzie Belle

Little Dog's Princess Bed

I spend much of my day in a recliner in my room due to severe fluid retention issues which affect my heart. I have my “life” organized around that chair.


When I am in the recliner I have a sheet to cover me and my feet, as well as two blankets to prop up my book, computer, tablet, whatever is in my lap.


If I leave my chair I used to put my pillows and sheet to the right side of my chair on the floor.


Little dog LOVED this she would roll on my pillows and sheet, then nap on them when I was away. Even a trip to the bathroom would find her lying on my pillows like she had been there all day.


I did not mind sharing my pillows and sheet with little dog. A few dog hairs did not faze me in the least. It was just part of having the joy of little dog in my life.


Well, one day I smelled something that was VERY doggie. I picked up the dog. It wasn’t her. I sniffed around on my pillows and sheet but couldn’t find the cause. I sniffed my clothes, no dice.

I was confused, sprayed fabric freshener on stuff, and went on about my day.


Later, I noticed the doggie smell even stronger. Well, after a search and destroy mission I found one spot on my sheet that was the culprit. I decided that washing everything could not wait until the next day so I got the laundry going immediately.


After the items were all washed. I had to come up with a plan so that little dog didn’t get them doggie smelling again. The problem was that it took her special place away from her and we couldn’t have that.


Now, you need to know that little dog had her own bed three feet away from where my pillows and sheet had been kept. So this was a very spoiled and pampered little dog.


To compensate for her loss of my pillows and sheet I made here a “princess bed.” It was composed of two very fluffy pillows and a special Hello Kitty blanket for her.


Oh how she loved her princess bed. She knew it was special and she was quite regal when she was on it. She felt all fat and sassy.


Little dog still slept in her other bed too. It was after all her primary bed. That is right, primary! She had special places in almost every room in the cottage. Little dog was living large.


When it was time for little dog to cross the rainbow bridge. I got her Hello Kitty blanket from the princess bed washed up, and you have to know that there was another special blanket on the bed to comfort her for the duration.


We took little dog’s Hello Kitty blanket with us to the vet’s office. She took that final sleep on her Hello Kitty blanket with Chrissie and I loving on her.


She was then wrapped up in Hello Kitty for her burial and sleeps forever with part of her very special princess bed.


Sleep well little princess dog!

Jezzie Belle

An Icy Hot High

I have fibromyalgia/lupus/neuropathy so pain and dealing with pain are things that I am very familiar with. I woke up from a nap earlier only to find my thighs burning like crazy. So I sprayed them with Icy Hot. This helps to alleviate the pain better than almost anything since I don’t have the luxury of a full-time massuese.


After spraying on the Icy Hot I went to the kitchen to make dinner. One of the first things I did was prepare a glass of ice water. As I lifted my arm to get the ice, eau de Icy Hot raced up my

Nightgown, to the neck and sleeve. I was blasted with Icy Hot and it was a most “cooling” sensation to have a hit of Icy Hot while I was in the freezer.


Then I fixed dinner, enjoyed same and was refreshing my water glass when I was blasted again.

This time it made me a little high and I thought who in their right mind would huff Icy Hot but I bet they do because this stuff has the goods. That being said I hope to never get high from Icy Hot again. I didn’t like it, even though it was a deep high. I prefer other things to make me high

And huffing just isn’t my style(unless it is fresh laundry then all bets are off.)


So beware of Icy Hot creeping up your clothes to either freeze your nose and lungs or

Make you high. Remember you heard the warning here first.


Hugs to all,


AA

Jezzie Belle

Chronic Pain & Fatigue Suck 8/3/20

Most of my readers know that I live with both chronic pain and chronic fatigue. It is hard for many to realize just how difficult it is to live with these issues.


Tonight I was cooking dinner. It was something I had planned and sounded really tasty.

It was deer steak with Vidalia onions in a red wine reduction. Now that may sound like

A lot of work by itself but the most demanding part was chopping up the onions. The rest was pretty much pour and stir. Easy peasy, right??? Nope!!!


By the time I needed to start the rice to go with it I was wasted. I mean totally wiped out. Doing good to stand. Yeah, that bad.


I was wishing I had purchased frozen brown rice that I could just microwave and be done with it. This wish(and whine)was from a woman who was going to make INSTANT brown rice. Okay, measure, pour, cook in a few minutes it is done. I cannot tell you the Herculean effort that was involved in making the rice. I had to find the pan, then the lid for the pan, this involved dish drainer “Jenga,” get the rice, get the measuring cup, measure the rice, measure the water, add a little wine to the water just for fun. I mean after everything else why not pour in a tish of wine that was sitting right there.


I got the rice on after what seemed like forever. It cooked quickly. The venison was ready

And it was time to eat. I was too tired to eat. Yeah, that.


So I piddled around on Facebook for a while. I managed to get myself upset about one thing

When I was just trying to get information for another thing. I became sick to my stomach.

Not unusual and it is the kind of sick that I need to eat a bite or I will get sicker still.


I dished up a little bit of dinner. It was damn tasty. I don’t think I used enough wine but I can rectify that when heating up leftovers.


After I ate, I was less queasy but more tired. Somehow I found the energy to package the leftovers and clean the rice pan. Right now, I am composing this to avoid washing the last of the dinner dishes and refreshing my glass of water. I am really thirsty but also really wiped out.

I. HURT. SO. VERY. MUCH!!!!


This is all just over fixing one easy to cook meal. ONE. MEAL!!! I get so disgusted with myself.

I work on self-love and self-acceptance but dammit I have things to do. Most days are this hard.

That is one reason I make myself look for new and interesting things to do. Things that pique my interests. Most of these things involve the kitchen, of course, because that is my happy place. I love to cook but I hate not having someone else to cook for. I assure you the food that I make would not fly with the neighbors. You ought to hear their reactions when they ask what I am cooking as we sit on our front porches. I wish I had a secret camera to video these conversations so I could share them on my Facebook page. They are priceless.


So when you see me planning to engage in fun, and maybe a little crazy, projects in the kitchen just know that if I get any of them done it is a huge victory for me. HUGE!!!


If I don’t get them done, just know that they aren’t forgotten, they are just set aside for another day. Also, sometimes I eat the ingredients for whatever I wanted to make, like the fermented salsa, but hey, I can buy them again another time.


I fight the pain and fatigue every day. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose but I fight. If the best I can do I sit in my chair, rest, eat peanut butter crackers, drink water from the bathroom tap without ice, then you better know that is the BEST I can do that day.


On the days I can do more I am excited beyond words, like a little kid doing a happy dance. That doesn’t mean that I am pain free or that exhaustion isn’t threatening to chop me off at the knees but that I have been able to storm the gates and do some things that I really want to do like try to make fermented cucumbers but get so excited that I used chlorinated water which messes up the fermentation process. EPIC FAIL, but I did it. I peeled and sliced the cucumbers. I put everything together. I got it started. I ended up with a contribution to the compost pile BUT I got the whole process started. To me that is the exciting part. I did it. The rest is a learning process. I have more cucumbers in my fridge right now but I think that they will be in a cucumber, celery and onion salad. Mmm….sounds good. I love my veggies.


If you see me posting something about chronic pain and/or fatigue please know that I am very well acquainted with both of them and have been for most of my life. I have fought the battle long and hard. I reached a tipping point where my health failed enough that I was less victorious than I once was but I ain’t dead yet my pretties. And I sure as hell am not going to roll over an act like it. 


I am one hell of a warrior woman. I will fight to the bitter end, whether it is to have a better day than yesterday or to fight off the zombies. I am ready to fight but remember that behind all of that fire is a battle that not everyone can even imagine. Maybe it fans the flames...I don’t know but the fire isn’t going anywhere. It rages within to keep me going.


Deep Peace to All,


Ardee-ann

Jezzie Belle

Dennis & The Succulents 8/1/20

I was in a relationship with a very special man, Dennis, for almost 5 years. We would probably still be in that relationship had he not passed away in March.


I could write a lot about Dennis but I already have over the years on Facebook. He and I met

In a slots room on a virtual reality game. We both knew within minutes that we were talking

To someone who was very intelligent. That piqued our interests greatly and led to us wanting

To learn more about each other.


Our relationship was cemented while playing slots

And doing the math on how to use charms from the game to increase our winnings, which

Charms worked the best and in which games. That’s right. The true geek relationship, we did

Math together for hours at a time. I have to laugh about that now. So romantic, isn’t it?


And yet our shared geekiness was the cornerstone of our relationship. I can’t tell you the number of Facebook memes that I shared mostly for the benefit of Dennis. Sure I have lots

Of other wonderful geeky friends on Facebook but a lot of these things were special to our

Relationship.


Dennis once told me that I was that only person who got all of this cultural references and they were many from Alice in Wonderland, to science fiction, Battle Bots, comic books, Saturday

Cartoons, Old fashioned monster movies, science, math, physics, chemistry and more. He could be hard to keep up with. The man was an absolute genius. His cultural grasp was

Immense. I am just glad that I was really good at Trivial Pursuit AND that I know enough about

Most things to be dangerous.


Dennis was a very generous man. He was generous to a fault. Because of him I learned what

Really good wine tastes like. Not just expensive but really good. I would read the reviews about the wines and would be blown away at the reviews. This is from someone who still likes Arbor

Mist, something that made Dennis shake his head in despair. LOL!


I also learned about fine spirits from Dennis and that there is amazing rye whiskey in this world.

I was hesitant about the rye but once I tried it I was hooked. I still have a little bit of Whistle Pig

From a batch that is long gone. I savor a swallow now and again. It is so smooth.


I also have a bottle of very nice rum with about a half inch left in it. The price of the rum blew my

Mind and Dennis told me that i was not to be drinking it in Coke. I never let him know that I broke that rule. Most of it was sipped in a genteel manner but a little bit went into some Coca

Cola. I am going to make rum sauce with the last of it but it is hard to say goodbye to the best

Bottle of rum you have ever had. You have to know that Bacardi 151 and Southern Comfort were my libations of choice for most of my life with Meyer’s Dark Rum and Smirnoff Vodka

In the mix as well.


Dennis did gift me with more than spirits and wine. There were roses, there were fruit arrangements, lots and lots of fruit arrangements. Dennis gifted me with the first chocolate covered strawberries that I ever had and was shocked that I never had eaten a single

Chocolate covered strawberry much less had anyone gift them to me. I think he made up

Occasions so that he could send me chocolate covered strawberries for a while.


One Mother’s Day, I received three different deliveries from him because he knew that there wouldn’t be any Mother’s Day gifts from my son. Dennis decided to fill in the gap and as was his

Nature he did it in a BIG way. I had a house full of flowers, fruit and balloons. There were balloons with all three orders. It was amazing.


Dennis once said that anything worth doing was worth doing to excess. He also told me that I could quote him on that. I am not sure he was the one to coin that expression but that is how

Dennis lived. He was an interesting man.


Dennis and I had back to back birthdays. Mine is on March 26th and his was on March 27th. We

Loved gifting each other with unexpected gifts. One year I made his “Mad Hatter” birthday, which he loved. I can’t tell you how the man spoiled me with gifts.


This year was unusual. Maybe Dennis knew how short his time was. He tended to be very spontaneous with his birthday gifts and was known to wait until the last minute to shop. I don’t

Know how much he spent on express shipping over the years but it was a lot.


2020 though was different. We were talking about birthdays the first part of March. Dennis wanted to know what I wanted, so I sent him a list of things to choose from. To my surprise

I think he got them all. I got jewelry, I got subscription boxes, I got a three month subscription

For bamboo plants, I got clothes, I was shocked.


Dennis died a few days after he asked what I wanted. That is why I was so surprised at the number of gifts he purchased. Maybe he knew, or at least suspected, that it was his last time to gift me. Maybe he wanted to surprise me because he knew that I was going through a really difficult time. Whatever it was, the man went on a shopping spree on the Saturday and Sunday before he died on Tuesday.


I know that some of his gifts from subscription boxes will still be coming for a couple of seasons. I have expected that. Sometimes though things come out of the blue. That is why I am writing today.


One of the things I hadn’t asked for but Dennis knew I was enjoying  succulents. I was

Already getting them so I didn’t request them on my list, but about 2 weeks after he died

I got a second box of succulents, for the month, from the company that I used to buy succulents.

I told Zyoh that I was surprised to be getting another batch so soon. As she was looking at them

She found a gift card and mentioned it. I was distracted at the moment and only partly caught what she was saying, but then I heard her say, “Oh…” in an odd way, I looked at her, as she

Stood there with the card in her hand. She then said, “It’s from Dennis.”


Zyoh reluctantly handed me the card. It said, “Roses die but succulents are forever.” At that point I burst into tears and I didn’t care if the neighbors saw it or not. The plant and the card arrived the day after Dennis’ birthdate.(An added note it was the day after I had found out that

Little dog was terminally ill.) So this was a real shock. It. Was. A. Real. Gut-Wrenching. Shock!!!


I hadn’t expected succulents from my sweet Dennis and I sure hadn’t expected a card that read like that. I was blown away.


A few days later I double checked the website and found that they had a three month gift subscription. So I was prepared for how long I would get the succulents from Dennis just as I have been prepared for all of the on-going gifts I have coming from him. It has just been my way of “bracing” for reminded of losing him in a very upfront way on a semi-regular basis.


Last month, I received an unexpected shipment of succulents. I had cancelled my subscription

Due to finances but decided that there must have been a payment made that I missed which wasn’t likely but I had also complained about problems with shipments for 2 months in a row(very unusual for this company)so thought maybe they were just sending another order to

Make up for that.


Well, this week I got another shipment of succulents that I knew darned well that I hadn’t paid for or ordered. I wrote to the company to find out what was going on. I told them I was confused

But I did tell them that I had gotten some succulents as a gift from Dennis because I really needed them to check that out. I needed to know what was up.


Well today, I got the response from the company. It seems that Dennis had been very adamant with the company that he needed a one year subscription of succulents. So they accommodated him. That was just like Dennis but at the same time it was a surprise still. I mean the man had already gifted me like crazy right before he died but in his last days he made SURE that I would have a year’s worth of succulents from him. Again, I wonder if he sensed that his time left on this planet was going to be short. He had been really ill.


After I read that email I cried. I am crying as I write this. Even beyond the grave Dennis can still

Surprise me with his generosity. I bet he is laughing at me for being surprised. He is also probably pleased with himself for sliding this past me and catching me unaware. Dennis was

Ornery, and yet, sweet like that too.


So, “Roses die, but succulents are forever.” As long as I don’t kill them I guess they do. I hope

When I am gone someone will take and enjoy my succulents, many of which were a final gift

Of love and affection.


Thank you Dennis. It was one hell of a ride for a pair of geeks who spent hours doing math about gambling on a virtual reality site that had no actual payoff. Just the glory of winning.


Hugs to all,


Ardee-ann