I’ve been away awhile, and now I can’t seem to figure out how to add a new post. Oh well, I’ll try it this way.
There are certain events in our lives that are very stressful, both good stress and bad stress. Losing a loved one; serious illness; retirement; vacations. Add to that remodeling your house. I went through all of the above in 2014. I lost my mother, Velma Ruth Steward Robertson Hornsby, on June 17. She was 93 and in poor health, but it was still a shock. I am an orphan child. That was the week before my retirement, after 33 years, from Rice University. I’m still waking up at the usual time, but I quickly realize I don’t have to anymore. I dream often that I am back at work, although I really don’t want to – or maybe a little. Thirty-three years in Fondren Library, five more years in grad school at Rice, that’s a big chunk of my life. I’m still trying to reorganize my life, but I’m getting there. The night before my last day at work, I started having chest pain and a severe pain behind my left shoulder blade. I waited for it to pass for several hours, but it didn’t. I took myself to urgent care, thinking surely it’s not a real heart attack, but the folks at the clinic sure were taking it seriously. They gave me the drug for angina, and sure enough the pain started to abate. I spent 3 days in the hospital, after calling my boss to say sorry, but I’d have to miss my last day at work. Every possible test was given. I was poked and prodded and ex-rayed and ultrasounded … Finally one of the staff doctors decided it was all caused by my Barrett’s Esophagus, which can have the same symptoms. Now I know.
Now for the good stress: In August, I took my two sons and three granddaughters on an Alaskan cruise. One of the girls was already in college, and the other two were about to start. I didn’t know if we would ever be able to gather like that, and I hoped to make some lasting memories. Memories were made, and a good time was had by all. In September, I traveled to western Ireland with my folk singing Irish-American friends, Annie and Marie Burns and several like-minded folks. It was my first trip, and I fell in love with the beautiful landscape and the gentle people.
In October I went to Long Beach, California, where I attended Bouchercon, the main convention for mystery writers and readers. I’m a bit of both. Mystery writers are fun and funny and generous and not at all weird (well, maybe some good weird) or bloodthirsty, even if their books are. I’ve gotten to know several writers, and several are good friends. I couldn’t go this year, but I’ll be in New Orleans in 2016.
There was another reason to go to Long Beach in 2014. In October 1944, my mother took the train from Texas to Long Beach to marry my father, who was in between ships. His first ship, the USS Elliot, was stationed at Pearl Harbor. As fate would have it, his was one of the ships who left port on Dec. 5. When the Elliot returned to the harbor, he was stunned by all the damage. He said :here I was, a 20 year old kid, never been out of Texas, and I couldn’t believe what men can do to others. I didn’t mean to include this story, but with what’s going on right now I had to express my feelings, which are much like my father’s. Anyway, they were married at city hall. I was hoping it would still be there, but time marches on. The art deco gem where they pledged their troth was gone, replaced by a 60’s box. There was a model of that old one in the lobby, so I at least got to see what it looked like 70 years ago.
Let’s see if this works. If so, I’ll be back with photos.