Thursday, November 28, 2013


Severely affected am I when contracting a virus. Thus, I procure a yearly influenza vaccination to ward off the illness. Usually, the injection site is sore but this year was different. A couple days after receiving the shot in the left shoulder the deltoid muscle below the injection site reacted. It was a bit tender and then became extremely sore during the next couple days.

I had to keep my left arm immobile from the shoulder to elbow by holding it against my side. Aspirin was not enough to knock out the inflammation. I dropped by the clinic where I received the injection and the nurse counseled me to ice the shoulder and take pain killers. That provided some relief while I was sitting upright on the couch. I could not sleep that night due to the discomfort. I tried to sleep on my right side, back, and prop the shoulder with pillows. To no avail. Tears would leak, not from sadness, but from pain.

The next day I met with a doctor who advised me to take a large dose of over-the-counter Naproxen Sodium. I procured some from the drugstore and consumed the tablets. It dulled the pain for the evening. The medication eradicated the inflammation and reduced the discomfort. I was able to sleep at least half the night. To my great relief, it worked! I had to take it easy for several days as not to stress the arm but it felt better.

My dad also had a reaction to the 3-strain version of the 2013-2014-influenza vaccine. Perhaps I also responded to what had affected him. I will procure the vaccine in the future, but probably in nasal mist form.

Achoo, the flu!
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved

Monday, November 25, 2013


By week three after my mother died, the daily phone calls from friends had dwindled. I received a total of twelve cards and $100 worth of donations to Alzheimer’s. My closest friends contributed funds to use toward gas. Sleeping four to six hours per night. Starting to have moments of normalcy again. Helped a friend take out her kids for Halloween and laughed for the first time in a couple months.

Worked myself into a state of fatigue by cleaning out the compost bins and garden beds. Sat on the couch to relax and glanced at a photo of my Mom. Cried intensely, probably more than I have before this moment. I suppose the physical weariness broke down more of my emotional barriers. Wept myself dry and fell asleep on the couch. Awoke, took a shower, and felt better, extremely weary but better.

Purchased a bottle of wine but only drank one glass. It sits in the fridge. I’m afraid that it will make me more depressed and that is a bad experience. The dwindling daylight hours and cooler temperatures are bad enough without chemically adding to the sorrow. I still need to change out four storm windows and seal a multitude of drafty windows in the house. I must keep as much of the warm air in the house as possible. I can’t afford to heat it over 58 degrees so the poor cats suffer the most. I wear layers and earmuffs at all times.

Continuously rejected on job interviews. It is very disheartening. I try and try and try to no avail. I must procure a better paying job. My dad is struggling to pay bills so there will be no inheritance. My finances are near collapse and I am terrified of defaulting on my bills and mortgage. I have begun to sell stuff and I may raid my meager retirement savings. I will be destitute as an elderly woman, if I live that long. Government programs always seem to end just as I need them so I will undoubtedly be homeless when I am eighty. I don’t expect to be rescued. I want to support myself by working, good honest work. Maybe someone will want to publish this blog….

Time of Tears.
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved

Friday, November 22, 2013


Little kitty cat
Curled up on my lap
What do you dream of, my dear?
With a wiggle of your whiskers
Twitch of the ear
I wonder what flits in your brain
Its diminutive domain

Sweet dreams, Tilly!
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


There are numerous opportunities to procure delightful creations by local artists! There is a plethora of events during November and December, too many to list on this posting. Visit the Art Mob Twin Cities MN page on Facebook, peruse the Events section, and invite your Facebook friends to various events. Join our group too!

Remember, you can always talk with the artist about customizing a piece of artwork. Color, design, whatever... Advance notice will probably be needed but be open to negotiation regarding the timeline and price. You don't have to be a millionaire to commission art!

Buy artwork which will someday make your heirs happy! (Think PBS' Antique Roadshow)

Over 10 events are listed on our Facebook page.

BLACK FRIDAY: (November 29th)
Prairie Woodworking is hosting an open house, which continues into Saturday.
Variety of galleries, art centers, and individual artist studios will be open.

AZ Gallery in St. Paul, Lowertown
NKB in Minneapolis, Northrup King Building
Third Place Gallery, Prairie Woodworking, other galleries, art centers and individual artist studios will be open.

CYBER MONDAY: (December 2nd)
Procure items from local artists via
Many individual artists, art centers, and galleries also have online options.

Over 10 events are listed on our Facebook page.
Events are added as I become aware of their existence.

#1 Buy a creation by a local artist (benefit the local economy),
#2 Donate the creation to a NGO 501(c)3 Nonprofit Charity to use at a silent auction, decorate their facilities, or give to clients (benefit the local community), and then
#3 Receive a tax-deduction from the charity (benefit your pocketbook).
Help an entrepreneur, others, and yourself in one play! HOORAY!
Note: Sports euphemisms can be adaptable.

Go forth and buy local art!
Copyright 2013 (c) Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Due to the forthcoming release of the second film, I thought that I would repost this issue of Ima’s Bookroom Review, Volume IV, Issue 4. Spoiler alert: Characters and plotline will be discussed. Five worms is the highest possible rating.

The Hunger Games (first book) Three Worms
Catching Fire (second book) Two and a Half Worms
Mocking Jay (third book) Three and a Half Worms

Of course, the overall review begins with the first book. It covered the material that I already knew from chatter about the first movie, which I still have not viewed. The main character, Katniss, is filled with internal angst amplified by the horrendous situations that she must face. The storyline is morbid but sadly somewhat plausible. The second book is a bit more hurried. The internal workings of the other characters was lacking. Katniss’ whining and endless physical ailments become rather tedious. The plotline of the final book is foreshadowed so the conclusion is easily anticipated. Katniss would have worn the special suit under her military uniform for the final venture, though.

The series offers a good exploration of the psychological repercussions of war and violence. The final chapters were rushed but show that trauma runs deeply and never truly fades. The three books should have been expanded by at least one more to expose the internal turmoil and make a stronger connection with the second-string characters. However, it the writing is solid with few errors and the series does merit reading.

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami Three worms (Reviewed in 2012)
Disturbingly violent twist on a survival story. Intensely violent with minimal character development. Don’t read if you are prone to nightmares. [Translated]

Ban children warriors.
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Week Two was difficult, after the death of my mom. I continued to cry several times per day. I kept the door closed at work because the sounds from the hallway were agitating. I cry every day. I am not accustomed to public display of emotion so it makes me feel uncomfortable on top of the sadness. My co-worker’s mom, who is in her 90s, has begun the transition process so I can provide direct empathy. However, the situation just made me cry more when I got home.

Sleeping a bit better 4-6 hours every other night but I feel exhausted after work. My house is getting messier and I don’t really care. I forced myself to do some yardwork but was totally exhausted after a couple hours. I feel very overwhelmed by the amount of winterization tasks to do. Admitted to myself that I needed assistance so I called a friend who will come to help next weekend. I will pay him with a meal of soup.

On the first day that I didn’t sob, I found the lost earring. It appeared on my dresser. How? I had searched that area before and it wasn’t there. Mom was that you? Or, just my own stupidity? I won’t know the answer until I join her – wherever that may be or not be. The ultimate question I suppose.

It is really good to write all of this out. I had kept a handwritten journal for many years when I was young but stopped in my mid-20s. Writing helps me to process the experience. One-way therapy though I am heartened by the number of people who read this blog. Your kindness and support is worth more than gold to me!

Motherless child.
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


My elderly backyard neighbor, Becca, informed me that she is moving in with her daughter and selling the home that she has lived in for 62 years. Becca and several generations of her progeny, who visit her daily, have been good neighbors. They smile, wave, and chat with me over the fence. They have even invited me to their home on occasion. I am sad that she is moving but her health is getting worse and it will be good for her to live with someone. Her hubby died just before I bought my house, over a decade ago. I hope the new people will be nice.

When I first moved in, the neighbors to the north were the first to welcome me. Lori, leaned over the fence and gave me a hug. She and her hubby were elderly but extremely friendly. They frequently invited me over to join in family gatherings. Their daughter lives across the street and she is affable, too. After they died, their grandson purchased the home and resided there for a couple years until his wife demanded a larger home. She is also the person who was smitten by the Twilight series.

There was a single dad with six kids in the house to the south of me when I moved in. They were cordial but not really friendly. Teenage drama can be overwhelming but one of the kids was pleasant and had a beautiful singing voice. Unfortunately, they did not take very good care of their home and decided to move to Atlanta. The new owner rehabilitated the house and was a jerk. He didn’t turn on the water to his house so his contractors stole water from my hose. When I confronted him he played dumb. I threatened to sue since I had eyewitnesses, my other neighbors, so he coughed up some money to pay my water bill. Thankfully, a really pleasant guy purchased the home.

My backyard is actually shared by two neighbors, Becca and Callie. Callie is rather gruff but she will say hello. Callie’s folks live on the other side of her lot so she gets a lot of help from them. I have to admit that I’m rather jealous of people who get assistance from their family. They have a support network that I will never have access to. I might as well be an only-child orphan.

The street that I call home is fairly quiet. I have grown accustomed to the hum and vibration of nearby trains. I can tell when a rail car is out of alignment because it sounds or feels different. It is annoying when the whistle is blown but they only do that when something or someone is on or near the tracks. I hope that there will never be a derailment, especially involving chemical spill or fire.

There is one obnoxious family on the block. A loud mom who raised two loud kids. The daughter got pregnant in high school and just gave birth to child number three. I feel sorry for the kids because the house is always filled with shouts. Eccentrics also reside down the street. They are an odd couple but seem happy together. He likes to ride his bike and sing loudly. She always has a very serious expression but laughs easily. I’ve always been curious about the inside of their home… is it as unique as they are?

I’ve been in my home for over a decade. It is better than renting, despite the challenges. I have never missed a payment though my savings are now almost depleted. I have cut back on all expenses so I now have to sell stuff. I am still desperately seeking a better job so that I don’t have to fear the next mortgage payment. My home is my haven from the harshness of the world.

Domicile Candy Abode.
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved

Monday, November 11, 2013


Judging an election is an endurance test. I arose at 4am to be at the polling place by 6am to hastily prepare for the onslaught of citizens clamoring for a ballot on November 5th. Grumpy residents moan and groan in an extended queue before the sun rises and the doors opened at 7am. The inundation is fierce and the judges do their best to keep up. Thus, begins the 13 hours of open polls and the hour or two of closing after 8pm. Minimum of fifteen hours of intensity, but I need the money.

“What do we want? Voters! When do we want them? Voters!” the chant grows louder by the hour. A throng of weary, bleary Election Judges have entered the final throws of the General Election. We just want the agony to end. After ten or eleven hours of repeating the same phrases, the voters lose their individuality. Some of our judges only served a half day, which made them more mentally alert.

The citizens tend to talk too fast and don’t like to repeat themselves to a partially-zombified judge. It takes a bit longer to locate their name in the Election Roster and they become petulant if you don’t find it instantly. Always, speak slowly and clearly to the judge, be patient and kind. Don’t use your own pen to sign the roster.

We rejoice when the Head Judge shouts out, “The Polls are Closed!” We wait for the final voters to complete their ballot and then rush around cleaning up the polling place. The Head Judge focuses on ensuring that the vote count data is printed in a hard copy, then the ballots and machine transported to the County Election Office. Shout for joy, the polls are bunged.

Did you vote this year?
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Jolted awake in the wee hours. I decided that I might as well travel to the bathroom and glanced at the clock across the room, which is not visible from my bed. It was exactly one week since my mother had died, to the minute. Eerie. Peed, returned to bed and cried myself back to sleep.

“No, you won’t need to pack
You’ve got a reservation
But you don’t have to wait
If you don’t want to
And you won’t feel a thing
All your friends are there already
Once you’re gone
You’ll never want to live again.”
Lyrics from Jeremy Messersmith’s perky song, “Deathbed Salesman,” keeps echoing in my mind. He is very talented at singing about rather somber subjects in a gleeful manner. I’d like to have him perform at my final celebration.

A week after Mum’s burial and I still felt tired and irritable. I continued to cry several time per day. Depleted physical and mental resources. My friends have invited me over to their homes but I am not ready to interact. Spoke with Roopa, she was very understanding about my meltdown on the night of my mother’s death. It is taking all my energy to survive a busy time at work. Thankful that there were few problems during my absence from the office.

Doing the bare necessities at home. Exhausted after running a few errands. Much to do outside/inside to prepare for winter and no chutzpah to do it. Picked the remaining herbs from the garden but was too late for some. Finally unpacked and bummed that I lost one of my favorite earrings, which I wore to the funeral. Searched the luggage, floor, auto, and called both my Dad and Betty to see if they found the earring. It is a simple elegant dangling silver teardrop by Monet, which I procured in the mid-1980s.

Worried about small skin scabs on the cats. I can’t afford to take them to the veterinarian. I had run out of the anti-hairball food so perhaps its because their bodies don’t like the new cat food. Odd that both felines present with the same allergy. I made a special trip to the pet store to purchase some of the no barf food. I hoped that the sores would heal but there was no alteration after almost a week. Their behavior hasn’t changed but Zozo has scratched off hair around the crusty sore between her shoulder-blades. I tried placing balm on it but she went wild and scratched it off reopening the wound. I will have to let it be and hope for the best.

Warmed by the heartfelt response of people leaving messages for me on my phone and Facebook. Tom, a Cree-Ojibwa Shaman, who is the spouse of an acquaintance of mine called me for three days to pray. I am of Dakota heritage but it meant a lot that he was so thoughtful. My employer and others donated in my Mom’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association, designated to research. Wrote thank you notes to my friends who got off from work, traveled a long distance to attend the funeral, gave me cards and gas money. Wrote notes to people who donated to other charities and helped me in other ways. Mom always emphasized the importance of thanking people. I will honor her teaching.

Disappointed that none of my neighbors gave me a card or dropped off food, which is the custom in rural Minnesota. I had done that for at least three neighbors who had a relative die and they did not return the gesture. What is wrong with city folk? I am friendly with all my neighbors. Since I don’t feel like cooking, a meal would have been greatly appreciated.

Sister #1 emailed to say that each of us owe $415 for the cost of Mom’s gravestone. I can’t afford that right now. I spoke with #2 and she doesn’t have the funds either. #2 wants to disperse Mom’s clothes and jewelry. I guess that I should of taken Mom up on her offer for jewelry back in 2011. My siblings will ensure that I get nothing of value.

Healing takes time.
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Went en masse to Dad’s after the unfun-eral to sort though the 100+ condolence cards. He had already received about 20 in the mail and was surprised by the outpouring of affection for Mum. People liked Mom because she was kind, generous, and helpful. Dad is gregarious but condescending. Changed clothes. Ate supper. Mom showed up during dessert. I could clearly see her shape and could feel her happiness. I tried to make contact with my niece and sister who are also sensitive but could not get their attention. Surprised that #2 gave me a hug as she departed.

Slept at Betty’s, packed my stuff, and headed back to Dad’s. #1 & #3 were sorting Mom’s clothes eager to send a box full to their homes. I couldn’t handle it. I went into the kitchen and cried into my tea. #1 made nasty remarks and I departed. I can’t deal with her drama. #3 wanted to come with me but I do not have the emotional strength at this time. She did seem sad that I was leaving whereas #1 barely grunted when I wished her a safe journey home. #3 had promised to give me gas money for picking her up at the airport but she never followed through.

Visited the windswept graveside and sobbed. The 1 white and 4 red roses that had been on her casket were tossed aside and onto the headstone of my grandfather. I presume it occurred while they were sealing the casket into the vault, lowering it into the cold ground, and filling the hole with soil. It felt like a sting that the mortician in charge didn’t mind the details. I moved it to be on top of her decaying mortal coil. I know her soul is gone but it hurts so much.

I haven’t felt this depth of pain since Grandpa died while I was in middle school. I had to calm down in the auto for a while before I was safe to drive home. Tilly greeted me with a “Hold me” meow; I gratefully obliged her. Zozo snuggled on the couch later. However, I fell into deep despair. Wept and wept until I was dehydrated. Slept horribly.

When I did dream it was intense. I was attending an opening for a large metal twisting sculpture, which was seven stories high with two observation decks. I had procured free general admission tickets and planed to rendezvous with a friend. On the way to the event I stopped to help an elderly couple whose son who worked on the project. Met with the friend and joined the crowd. After the official dedication, my friend got us special passes to the lower deck. We rode the elevator up to the deck and I was thrilled. We were getting ready to depart when we bumped into the couple that was leaving. They remembered me and gave me their VIP Passes. My friend, unknown identity since I never saw their face in the dream, and I traveled up to the upper deck and were greeted to a special reception with music, food, drink, and celebrities. I was only interested in the sculpture’s details. A gorgeous man said that I had a “childlike response to art,” which made me feel insulted and I yelled at him. I didn’t know that he was the elderly couple’s son and the chief engineer for the project. He apologized and the next instant I was marrying him with the couple smiling in the first row. That is where the dream ended. Very very peculiar.

Back to reality. The morning after returning home I finally schlepped my luggage to the bedroom. Not in the mood to unpack. Decided to harvest my remaining produce before it frosted or froze. Brought in several buckets of green tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, and broccoli. Too tired to clean up the outdoor garden mess – it will have to wait. Gloomy weather matches my somber mood. Reluctantly turned on the furnace.

Don’t erase Mom!
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved

Monday, November 4, 2013


The morning of the funeral I woke up and began to lament. Consumed a small breakfast and showered. Dressed and put on makeup and nylons, both of which I despise. No pockets and forgot to bring my small black bag but Betty let me borrow her purse. Went to Dad’s home. The funeral was scheduled for the afternoon. The mortician instructed us to arrive a half an hour before the visitation.

How do you bury the most significant person in your life? My mom taught me so much – how to walk, talk, read & write, ride a bike, the basics of everything. She shaped who I am today. It would probably be worse to inter a child or spouse. I don’t have either so burying my mother is the most tragic experience of my life.

The only other time that I felt this degree of sorrow was the death of Mom’s father. He was of part-Dakota heritage and we were close. I was in middle school and had spent at least one weekend per month with him since I was small. He taught me how to ride a horse, make proper knots, and use horse sense because I was profoundly naive. Grandpa took me to see family who lived on the reservation. He had been talking about death a lot during the year before he died. I didn’t want to see his body at the visitation; I didn’t want him to be dead. He spoke with horses and took his bow & arrow with him to the great hunting grounds. I still miss him.

Drained. Funerals are for the living but it doesn’t bring closure to the process. Mom’s body will slowly rot in a sealed tomb. Perhaps archeologists will dig it up in a thousand years and make wild assumptions about her life and death. Funerals only mark the disposal of the DNA. Her funeral was more than three days after her death to allow for relatives to travel in from out of the area. I just wanted the ceremony to be over, like watching my mom struggle to breathe for five torturous hours. She did not go peacefully into the night.

Dad was so anxious that we went an hour early. We followed the hearse as it traveled to the small church on the hill. Cried as they unloaded the casket, white with roses. Mom had picked it out several years ago. Tears washed away all traces of makeup before the mourners arrived. My blood pressure began to drop so I ventured into the kitchen for a glass of water. Nicked a brownie to increase my blood sugar since we didn’t bring in lunch before the service.

About 130 people attended on a cool autumn afternoon. I haven’t lived in the area for several decades so I recognized only about a quarter of the people. Nice to see cousins though the circumstances were sad. Betty’s son gave me a wonderful hug; he’s a sweetheart with a gruff exterior. A college friend of Sister #2 attended. He spent a lot of time with our family while in college because his family lived too far away to visit. We lost touch several years ago but Mom called him her adopted son. I managed to locate his place of employment and send him a message a couple days before the funeral. #2 even told me “thanks.”

The ceremony only took a half an hour but seemed much longer. I wept at the end of the line, furthest from the casket. Dad was closest to the coffin, with us in birth order. It was nice that statements from a niece and nephew who could not attend were read. #2 wrote a touching eulogy, which was read by the minister. I would have submitted my poem, if I had been notified. The hyper conservative preacher focused on conversion to Christianity. He kept stating that Jesus was the only way to Heaven. Not just once but three times during the service. He never spoke of how involved my mother was at church. All I wanted to do was punch him for his impudence. Mom was a Christian but accepted that I wasn’t. My soul is my business.

Folding chairs had been brought in to supplement the 100 chairs in the sanctuary. The chairs spilled into the atrium and balcony. The service was filmed to send to absent relatives. Deeply touched that six of my closest friends traveled from the Twin Cities. They all knew my Mom because she and Dad would occasionally visit. I would always host a potluck when they were visiting because they wanted to know my friends. Mom said that she didn’t worry about me because I had “such good friends.” That is because she taught me how to choose wonderful people as friends.

Stumbled out to cars to travel to the cemetery. Internment was on the windswept prairie. Mom wanted to be placed near her father and brother. A brief graveside prayer and I broke down while clutching my friends. I didn’t care who heard me wail. I could barely stand so they physically supported me. The wind blew coldly as they held onto me and cradled my head. I choked out a thank you; it was difficult to speak. Probably 20 people came to the internment. I don’t really know because I was awash in grief.

Returned to the church for dessert. Mom loved to bake so we thought it would be most appropriate. Most people had already eaten and departed because we were gone for about 45 minutes. Oddly, I felt relieved. The worst day of my pitiful life was over. Perhaps my relief was due to endless tears and exhaustion. The lead weight felt lifted. I sat with my friends after saying hello to a few relatives. I didn’t bother introducing my friends to anyone.

Friends are my Family!
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved

Friday, November 1, 2013


The Lovebird by Natalie Brown Three and a Half Worms
Sweet and melodic story of a young woman finding her own way. Intertwines Native American teachings in a respectful manner. Poetic prose interrupted by lists. A bit disappointing that the main character didn’t continue education.

The Facades by Erick Lundgren Three and a Half Worms
Brilliant writing becomes fuzzy at times. Librarian storyline is very clever and could be expanded. Ending is disappointing.

Ghosts of Bungo Suido by P.T. Deutermann Three Worms
Military fiction of a submarine during WWII. First half of the book is strong and some of the technical terms are not explained. A glossary and map would have been helpful. Second half of the book seems rushed but at least the characters aren’t perfect.

The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon Two and Half Worms
Fascinating method to learn about mourning and death rituals of another culture amid war. Book isn’t chronological, tends to ramble at times and could use closer editing. [Translated by the author!]

Paris by Edward Rutherfurd Two Worms
Fictionalized history with a few real characters mixed in with the imagined. Frustrating that it jumps through time, it’s excruciatingly difficult to figure out who is related to whom and how it connects. Females are marginalized and the story lacks vitality.

Keep on reading!
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved.