My Novels

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The two kittens seem to be thriving, but I'm still nervous about their ultimate survival. After all, I thought ALL the five kittens looked healthy and fine, till they started dying. So I'm not taking anything for granted, and I'm keeping a close eye on them and the mama, Bitty Kitty. IF they do make it, I'm probably going to keep them, since both are males.

The past couple days have been nice, in that I've not done any labor on the remaining projects we still have to complete. Painting, etc. still needs to be done. Yesterday afternoon DH mowed the huge lawn, and I just relaxed; today I've done a bit of housework, nothing else much. I may go on the bike ride later, or use the ski machine when I watch Dr. Phil. It's getting awfully warm, around 82 today, and 86 by the weekend. I knew our cool spring weather wouldn't last much longer...

Here's an interesting article about longevity:

Belarus Woman Celebrates 116th Birthday


MINSK, Belarus (AP) - A woman believed to be the oldest in the world celebrated her 116th birthday Wednesday in the former Soviet republic of Belarus.

"I'll drink to my own health with pleasure," said Hanna Barysevich, a former farm worker who lives in a house outside the Belarusian capital Minsk.

"I'm tired of living already, but God still hasn't collected me," she said with a smile.

Barysevich was born on May 5, 1888, in the village of Buda, 37 miles east of Minsk, according to her passport. Her parents were poor, landless peasants.

"From my early childhood I didn't know anything but physical labor," said Barysevich, who never learned to read or write. She worked in a kolkhoz, or collective farm, until age 95, then moved to the house she shares with her 78-year-old daughter Nina.

Barysevich lived through the Bolshevik Revolution, two world wars and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The worst period for her was the reign of dictator Josef Stalin: Her husband Ippolit was declared an "enemy of the people" for allegedly harming the collective farm, arrested and taken to Siberia. He was never heard from again.

She raised her three children on her own, including throughout World War II, when she used to take her family to the woods outside the village to hide from the Nazis.

"A lot of men courted me but I preferred to live on my own," she said.

Today, Barysevich moves with difficulty but unaided. She complains of occasional headaches and worsening vision "but nothing else bothers me."

She attributes her longevity to genes: Her paternal grandmother was 113 when she died. As to diet, Barysevich prefers simple village food: homemade sausages, pork fat, milk and bread.

Daughter Nina said her mother has a good appetite, a tough character and very strong nerves.

"Throughout my long life, I understood that it isn't worth it to get upset and take everything too close to the heart," Barysevich said.

For her birthday, she hoped for a raise in her monthly pension, equal to about $50, and a chance to go to a Catholic church for confession.

Last month, the Guinness Book of Records recognized a 114-year-old Puerto Rican as the world's oldest living woman. Barysevich said she'd never thought of applying for the distinction.

I don't know if this lady's long life makes me feel glad or sad; it seems great at first, but then I think of the aches and pains, the jaded attitude I already have...and wonder if living that long would be a blessing or curse? Not sure.

Here's an Anne Sexton poem that expresses some of my feeling about life:


It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you’ll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.

Of course, you must remember that Anne committed suicide at age 46...but I can understand THAT direction too.

And so it goes....

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