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Kansas writer

Debra Guiou Stufflebean

Author's Blog

Plucky old Gal

I'm blind as a bat without my glasses, but like a bat I have sonar capability. I'm walking my dogs when it became apparent that a mosquito got trapped behind my glasses. I removed them, put four dog leashes in one hand and proceed to beat myself in the face with the other hand. Geez the mosquitos are bad this year! I sprayed my arms and legs so I guess I only have myself to blame for the facial attack. I'm pretty sure that I killed the bugger but the match was a draw since I now have a big mosquito bite under one eye. My eyesight has progressively gotten worse the older that I get. I grumble about it every day because after I scan my chin area in the mirror for unwanted chin whiskers, I have to remove my glasses to pluck the unwanted hairs under the eyebrow. I don't know how many X-magnification that my vanity mirror is but it's the maximum. I just wonder, at what point do most women just give up on plucking their faces? And then mascara goes out the window too. I called one of my daughters so excited the other day because an online ad for fake eyelashes popped on my laptop screen - $50 a pair BUT they were magnetic! No mascara or glue necessary, just position an eyelash strip on top of your own eyelash and underneath your lash and click! The two fakes would stay in place sandwiched around your regular lashes. She said, "Mom, I'm pretty sure you can get those for $10 at Walmart, but let me know how they work out." Well I couldn't SEE to put them on, let alone position them correctly and there is no way that you can wear your bifocals and do that! I thought about using tweezers because I'm a pretty good plucker, but that didn't work either. Even if the tweezer holds the top one, you have to see to position the other lash directly under it or they'll click and then you've got something that looks like a caterpillar crawling towards your nose. I give up! My hats off to you ladies who have the eyesight to continue to wear eye make-up but I fear my time doing so is running short. I'm leaving instructions, however, for my daughter/granddaughter whichever finds time to visit me in the nursing home, to rub my chin and pluck any unwanted whiskers. I am grateful that the same French genes that make me so hairy are the same ones that keep my hair dark so at least I'm not a slave to getting my hair colored!

Adjusting to Change

I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking it any more - except that I'm not really mad - I'm sad, and the reality is that I have no choice but to accept the human condition of aging. What's the alternative? Death? Perhaps it is the lack of control that I find myself butting up against. I am married to a man who is running out of steam. His health is compromised and restricts a variety of things, from yardwork to travel. I know this wasn't in his plans for the future either. My adult children have their own problems that if it were within my power, I would love to fix for them. My grandchildren seem to have forgotten us and forgotten that for years we devoted our spare time watching the precious darlings in their various activities. Even my dogs are plotting against me, shedding on every square inch of my home so that I am a slave to housework. Believe me I know that I need a healthy dose of GRATITUDE to fix my ATTITUDE. My pastor had suggested that we keep a gratitude journal this year, but it fell by the wayside as one more thing on my "to-do-list." Maybe that was just an excuse, because as a writer, nothing makes me feel better than unloading my feelings. Then it occurred to me that maybe people need to decompress first in order to clear a path to gratitude. And so I decided to start this blog. I'd love to hear from others about how they handle this time of adjustment, so long as we make a deal that we'll end our posts with one thing we're thankful for. Today it is my home. I love my house and my yard and it brings me much satisfaction when it is clean and kept up. 

Is Most of America in the Middle?

I read a newspaper article today about the rising Democratic Socialist party. It's the bookend of the Republican Tea Party. At times like this, the last thing we need is even more polarization. For several years I have found myself more in the middle than what either party platform was promoting. I think many Americans are there with me. The problem is that voting for the independent is often a vote for the status quo because any challenger needs to have those dissatisfied cast their vote for them. Would America be better served with a 3-party system? Would it be possible for us to get there by pushing back in favor of the middle ground where negotiations run this country instead of polarity? I think at the very least, we need an independent Supreme Court but have my doubts as to whether even that is doable. In my opinion the courts let us down when they allowed big money, instead of capping contributions, to buy elections. Make our candidates raise money the old fashioned way, one voter at a time.

Giving Birth

I can't get over the similarities between writing a book and birthing a baby. Months go into the preparation of a story during which time it grows. Recently I did an expanded and revised second edition of my book, "A French Huguenot Legacy." It took many late hours, not to mention many LONG hours sitting in a chair typing on my laptop. Hours would go by before I'd realize that I hadn't taken a break which can result in lower back pain and walking kind of funny. I even experienced tendons snapping in the groin area, similar to when the baby would ride low in the hip region. I guess these are called "flexors" and boy are they painful, usually occurring while getting up after hours in the same seated position. Of course, I'd turn to my husband for sympathy and whine about how a massage would sure feel nice.

What precious sleep I did get is often interrupted by waking moments when you lay awake trying to come up with a name. You dream about what it's going to look like when the package finally arrives, and wonder whether others will understand if you can't hide the pride you feel. When it's time, you're so ready to get it over with, only to be told that it's going to take a little longer, you'll need to push a little harder, and the due date is only an estimate. When it comes, it won't be perfect. They never are; they're the product of fallible humans. So if it takes so much time and energy, why go though it? The answer is revealed in the title of my last book. You want to leave a legacy. Not everyone will have a best-seller (or son/daughter who will become President) but at least you've left a part of yourself behind, a baby that will tell others something about you; a baby that will share wisdom that only you feel you can convey, a baby that will inspire others to use their gifts.

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