Category Archives: Just Stuff

What I Have Been Learning

Okay, a few weeks ago, I posted that I was in the hospital, being treated for an infection on my right leg, that had become infected. As I had not been in the hospital since 2006, it was a shock to my system to find myself in the back of an ambulance, being whisked away to the land of needles and nurses.

I spent 13 days in that hospital, had surgery to clean out the wound and had a couple xrays as well. Physical and Occupational Therapy people put me through my paces but the most remarkable of all the services was the use of the Wound Vac. The purpose of the wound vac (as it was explained to me) was to aid the wound in healing quicker.

The afternoon of the 13th day, I was transported, by ambulance once again, to a rehab center. Technically I was on the mend but not mended enough to nor require around the clock care. I would be able to receive all the care I had in the hospital except for surgery.

Today is my 12th day at the rehab center and I have to say, that in addition to making some friends, sleeping and eating, I have had loads of time to think. I have been thinking, lately, of what I have been learning from the experience.

 About others: People may take a job because they need the money, and there is no shame in that because we can all use money. However, it is evident that this can create resentment in the heart of the employee which can then be taken out on those form whom they do their job.

About Others: People may take a job because it is a stepping stone to something greater and grander. They can be curious about everything because they love soaking  up knowledge. They can also sleep walk through their shift because they can become jaded to the work, since the work is not the job they will have in the end.

 About Others: People may take a job because they believe they are a perfect fit for the responsibilities. They strive to make the most of the experience because they love seeing others feel as good as they do while sharing the moment.

About Myself: I have had to learn to practice what I preach to the nth degree. To hold my tongue when I would rather lash out and to speak up when I would rather dismiss something with a wave of my hand.

 About Myself: I have had to remember that there are ways of getting one’s point across without blame. To not only say something to the people who have the power to make the “issue” go away, but to offer a potential solution. Of course, the next step is to let go of the need to know how it will be resolved.

About Myself: I have had to accept that it is okay to let my emotions show when I am afraid. And that being afraid is okay. What is amazing is. feeling the fear and doing it anyway (sometimes I have had NO choice in the matter).

I have tried to be an active participant by not only doing what I am told (for the most part) taking the medications, doing my therapy exercises and answering and asking a myriad of questions.

I have tried to present an energy of tolerance and acceptance, especially when those around me are so caught up in their own pain that they have lost their religion.

I have made it a point to learn the names of everyone with whom I come in contact, their roles in my wellness journey and to show I am interested in them as people. Why? Because people care more about you when they know you care and that makes the situations such as eluded to in the previous paragraph a bit easier to handle.

I smile, make jokes, sing at the top of my lungs and speak gratitude to and with everyone from the janitorial staff, the nurses, aides and doctors, the kitchen staff (important to make friends with the ones who make your food) and administration. Sure, I get looks, groans and watch people as they walk away with their heads shaking but I also get smiles, hugs and hear laughter ringing throughout the halls as people go about their business.

As I have been rather a recluse for over a year, I very much resented having to be at the mercy of the folks who were necessary to every thing I needed to do from eating to bathing to toileting. Yet, I knew that I could either suck it up and be a “team player” or fight them every step of the way, on general principles. The biggest general principle I wrapped my head around, was to treat others as I wish to be treated.

side note…  I have to say, that sometimes it has not changed the situation, it only changed me, which changed my perception of my situation. Guess we are never too old to learn, eh?

In a place where some people come with hope of leaving one day, some come with no hope of leaving alive and others know they are here temporarily, there can be no predicting moods or motives. Since one cannot control the participants, one can only create one’s own personal atmosphere. It isn’t about “grin and bear it” it is all about “be at peace and share it”!

p.s. I do have a lovely window here, through which I can watch critters frolic, the sun rise and set and stay connected to Mother Nature. I am truly blessed.

AND thank you for all the love and support, I feel ya and send it back from the bottom of my heart!

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normally

Normally, I write a poem most days and of late, I have not been doing that… I am out of my element and have been since Friday, July 26th, when I was taken, by ambulance to a local hospital.

Surgery was done on Sunday, July 28th and I am now sitting here in the bed with a machine (wound vac) attached to my right leg, to drain the infection out of my leg through the opening in it.

So, I had my sister bring my laptop, so I can stay in the loop as much as possible and I may feel the urge to write at any time. But, when there are nurses, Doctors, aides, etc. who are popping in whenever it is best for them, I have precious little time to myself, except when I am sleeping (which I am doing like a new born baby does)

It appears I may be in here for the rest of the week. They are being thorough with their tests and care. Everyone wants me to be able to go home as soon as possible but they want to make sure I do not have to come back.

Thank you for ALL the prayers and support for me and my family, they have been scared to death (not that there is any reason for it) because I am not someone who EVER gets sick. I am not sick, but I have a medical situation that requires the attention of professionals.

God Bless you all!  Take good care of yourselves and know that your health is worth the world.

xoxo

Performance Art – Tallis Steelyard

Performance art
I realise I might occasionally have been disparaging about performance art and street theatre. It’s nothing personal. Admittedly I feel that some performance artists ought to realise that merely standing on one leg shouting your verses into a howling gale doesn’t make them better verses. Similarly, with street theatre; it still works better if you’ve learned the script. I don’t care if it is ‘improvised.’ You’ve still all got to have some vague idea what is going on. After all, if you cannot understand it, what hope has the audience got?
Admittedly I do succumb to the temptation to ridicule performance art more easily when I’m in the company of Lancet Foredecks, if only because he is one of the leading practitioners. Thus one morning he almost stormed out of the Misanthropes Hall, after I’d twitted him about the previous day’s offering. He’d intended to produce a deeply significant work about a man torn between food and drink. So he had a plate of sausages and a bottle of wine. He would place the sausages off to one side of the pavement and the bottle of wine off to the other side. Then he would recite his poem as he crawled backwards and forwards between them, ever dithering, never arriving at either. As it was a dog ate the sausages and as he tried to rescue them, a bystander drank his bottle of wine.
As he stormed off he shouted, “I bet you five alars that you could no more organise a piece of performance art than you could fly!”
Well to be fair I thought no more about it until an hour later somebody dashed into the Misanthropes and announced Lancet had been arrested outside Murgaton’s offices. Apparently Lancet had been performing one of his pieces on Money-mongers’ Square. It’s in the Merchant Quarter and is almost entirely surrounded by the offices of major usurers, collection agents and official consignees. If you know the square you’ll know that wherever you stand you’ll be outside somebody’s offices. It just happened that Lancet was outside Murgaton’s. I doubt this was deliberate. After all, if Lancet might have wanted to offend, wasn’t interested in merely offending old Murgaton.
Apparently Murgaton sent a clerk out to ask Lancet to move along, and Lancet point blank refused. To be fair to old Murgaton, rather than just send the heavies who loiter politely by the door to deal with Lancet; the old man went out himself. Lancet, puffed up with righteous indignation told the usurer that he wasn’t going to move for somebody who’d sell his grandmother if the price was right.
Old Murgaton took umbrage at this and at this point he did summon the heavies. But rather than administer a salutary beating, they hauled Lancet into the offices. It’s at this point the legal complexities become baffling. Apparently the entire square is considered to be one large financial house, so internal financial regulations have the authority of law. Murgaton decided that Lancet had inflicted upon him twenty alars’ worth of offence. So he demanded the money and Lancet was locked upstairs in one of the lesser offices until he saw sense and paid.
Given that Lancet rarely has twenty dregs, never mind twenty alars, this debt wasn’t going to be repaid with any rapidity. So Murgaton pointed out that Lancet was being charged rent and board for the room and this would be added to his account. At some point they would be forced to sell his indenture to pay off the debt.
Now Lancet is one of the most profoundly irritating people I know, but I’ve known him an awfully long time. He and I were small children sleeping in the same stable. So I felt that something had to be done. Firstly I did the obvious thing. I stepped outside and asked the nearest small child where Mutt was. Five minutes later he joined me.
“Mutt, we are going to earn money and do good.”
He raised a cynical eyebrow. “How?”
“We are going to rescue Lancet Foredecks and he is going to pay us.”
As he still seemed unconvinced I laid before him the bare outlines of the plan. He pondered it briefly. “It’ll get ‘im out, but won’t mean he’ll pay.”
“It will be a debt of honour, of course he’ll pay. Anyway I’ll let you collect the money.”
Mutt shrugged and went off to find Shena so he could do his bit.

I now contacted other people. First was Calina Salin. As a small child she shared the same stable as Lancet and I. Of course she would help, especially when I pointed out there was money to be made. Because I was passing I called in to see my cousin Thela. She is a temple dancer at the Temple of Aea in her Aspect as the Personification of Chastity. Whilst feeling no particular tie of loyalty to Lancet, she too could see how she could raise money for the order. Also I suspect she just felt it could be fun.
Finally I went in search of the Gorris Brothers. I don’t know whether they are brothers, but I do know they are one of the best distraction teams in Port Naain. Given them money and they will fight each other, going hammer and tongs, until you want them to stop.
Thus with my preparations completed I made my way to Money-mongers’ Square. There I waited. The first to arrive was Calina with a small troupe of dancers. They proceed to work through a series of routines in the square. A crowd gathered, because, strangely enough, attractive young women wearing very little do tend to attract attention. After a while Calina ensured that a neatly scrubbed small child passed through the crowd with a collecting tin. To be fair, those gathered all contributed. Barely had this happened than Thela arrived with a company of temple dancers. They proceeded to work through their routines with vigour and precision. Also, unlike Calina, they had brought music, or at least tambourines. They too seemed to be accompanied by a number of entirely charming and well-scrubbed children armed with collecting buckets. Having seen Thela’s team make a collection, Calina summoned her girls to take the field once more. This time they were dancing to the rhythm of the competition’s instruments. Thus Calina led them in a faster and more virtuoso performance. Thela was not going to let Calina have things all her own way, so she too pushed her dancers to perform to another level. By now the square was filling nicely and I decided I better go into Murgaton’s before the square was so packed I couldn’t move. The downstairs of the usurer’s office is actually a reception hall where you can state your business to a variety of clerks and receptionists. Only if you have business of more than usual significance will you be asked to go upstairs to the individual offices. It has to be said that the hall was full of people trying to see out of the windows into the square. But I noted immediately with the crowded hall my two hirelings. I made a signal and the Gorris Brothers hurled themselves at each other, punching, kicking and shouting imprecations. I watched them for a minute or two and was genuinely impressed. This wasn’t just two people fighting whilst everybody watched. They took their fight to the audience. The whirling and kicking mass that was the brothers seemed to ricochet around the large reception hall. Even those with no interest in the fight had to watch it to ensure they weren’t suddenly entangled in it. First one, and then a second heavy tried to break the fight up. They might as well have attempted to stop the tide sweeping up the estuary. The Gorris Brothers are truly professional. The heavies were caught up in the fight, carried along as part of the brawl and were then spat out again. Finally somebody blew a whistle and every heavy, from wherever they were in the building, converged upon the reception hall.
At this point I quietly ascended the stairs, stepping aside as Mutt and some of his coterie rushed up past me. I went along the first floor, trying all the doors until I found one that was locked. I opened it with a crowbar I had with me and released Lancet from durance vile.
Arm in arm we companionably made our way back down the staircase. In the reception hall the Gorris Brothers had finally been cornered and would soon be ejected. I made another sign as Lancet and I passed out of the main door and into the square. One brother threw the other through a window and dived out after him, taking care not to cut himself on the broken glass.
Outside Lancet and I made our way across the square. He looked around. “Did you organise this?”
With becoming modesty I merely gestured back towards Murgaton’s. “The best is yet to come.”
Almost on cue, the windows on the top floor opened and Mutt and his colleagues let down a banner which read, “Come to Murgaton’s. Bring your grandmother so we can value her in case of impulse buyers.”
Before Lancet could comment I held out my hand. “I believe you owe me five alars. I feel I’ve organised a rather impressive piece of performance art.”
And now we’d better hear from Jim Webster.
So here I am again with another blog tour. I’ve released two collections of short stories from Tallis and if you’ve enjoyed the one you just read, you’ll almost certainly enjoy these.
So what have Tallis and I got for you?
Well first there’s, ‘Tallis Steelyard. A guide for writers, and other stories.’ The book that all writers who want to know how to promote and sell their books will have to read. Sit at the feet of the master as Tallis passes on the techniques which he has tried and perfected over the years. As well as this you’ll have music and decorum, lessons in the importance of getting home under your own steam, and brass knuckles for a lady. How can you resist, all this for a mere 99p.
Then we have, ‘Tallis Steelyard. Gentlemen behaving badly, and other stories.’ Now is your chance to see Port Naain by starlight and meet ladies of wit and discernment. There are Philosophical societies, amateur dramatics, the modern woman, revenge, and the advantages of a good education.
So come on, treat yourself, because you’re worth it.

Summer’s Magic Happens in July

Gee whiz, everyone is feeling the heat these days to get out and enjoy the The Magic Happens

So, whether you are apt to STRUM a guitar, EASE yourself into the pool, or have some other special way of enjoying the SUMMER, take us along!

 By the way, see what I did there, those are the prompt words we challenged our writers to work into their articles.

I offered a couple different pieces, in between cutting the grass and making lemonade! 

Hello July

chow chow chow

We truly appreciate your kind attention to our words of wit and wonder!  Thank you for sharing, if you are so moved. AND if you would like to join our ranks, let me know!

Happy Summer! Annette Rochelle Aben, Editor, The Magic Happens Magazine

 

Magic Happens Under a June Moon

We believe it does!  The Magic Happens when you join us!

SUNRISE DIGNITY SWIFT

 were the choices our contributors faced and they delivered thought provoking, entertaining responses.

My contributions are found at these links:

Give a Bunch of Balloons

Pastor Possible

Self Respected Man

Thank you for returning to our magazine month after month; we do this all for you! After all, every magician needs someone for whom to Make Magic

Love, Annette Rochelle Aben, Editor, The Magic Happens Magazine 

May we Fill Your World with Magic

The magical month of May has arrived! So has our latest Magic Happens Magazine

There are many varied and interesting responses to our monthly prompt words of:

 FRONTIER MAGNETIC FORGET

 so, be sure to drop by and check them out!

My contributions can be found here…

Long Mays Journey

The Ultimate Frontier

Family Time Fridays

Thank you for reading, commenting, sharing and caring enough to support The Magic Happens Magazine

We are at your service, as #HumanityThrivingOutLoud

Cheers!  Annette Rochelle Aben, Editor

Mother Mine – Tallis Steelyard

It has to be said that as a gentleman who works with many ladies of mature

years, I have discovered more than I really want to know about the

relationship a woman has with her mother. Some of these relationships are

good. As daughter grows older she comes to recognise the mother for the wise

lady she is, and as the mother grows older she recognises the sensible woman

her daughter has become.

Some are not so good, but few have been as troublesome as the relationship

Madam Rosamie had with her mother, known universally as the Dowager. For

some reason it appears that the Dowager held her daughter in supreme

contempt and made no secret of the fact. What made things difficult for

Madam Rosamie was that the Dowager was always so nice to everybody else.

Now I’m not sure at what age a girl will start buying her own underclothes.

Such matters are not ones that I’ve ever thought to ask about. But even into

her fifties Madam Rosamie would receive from her mother a large parcel of

nether garments. These were always for a lady two or three sizes larger,

made of a cheap scratchy material, and were in the sort of colours one would

only wear under three layers of black. Rosamie was left in a quandary, she

was not somebody who would wish to casually ‘throw something out’, but these

were garments she wouldn’t have inflicted upon a scullery maid. (Even if she

had one of the appropriate size.) The drawers she finally sent to a local

stable where they used them as hay nets for their horses. The brassieres she

gave to a local greengrocer who used them when he wished to put on a novelty

display of melons.

Now Madam Rosamie was a respectable widow with children of her own who were

old enough to have left home. She maintained quite a large household because

she enjoyed entertaining. So she had more kitchen maids and downstairs maids

than you might normally expect to find.

Not only that but because there was no gentleman of the house who might be

tempted into philandering, Madam Rosamie could hire pretty maids without any

fear of the consequences. Indeed the situation worked to her advantage as

pretty girls, realising the nature of the house, would often apply for jobs

with her.

Obviously it was something soon noticed, and at her soirees one would find

bemused ladies who were accompanied by sons and nephews, all of whom had

suddenly developed a passionate interest in the poetic art. As an aside I

might mention that several girls did make good and happy marriages.

Yet the Dowager stalked into the house, glanced round, and came to the

conclusion her daughter was running a bordello! Now I suppose people are

entitled to their own opinions. This is fair enough. But I feel that they

are not entitled to vent their opinions to the Watch. (Running an unlicensed

bordello is an offence)

Obviously the Watch had to get involved, and whilst courteous, they were

firm and needed to be convinced. The question has to be asked, whilst it is

doubtless easy enough to prove an establishment is a bordello, how exactly

does one prove it isn’t? Providing evidence that something isn’t happening

can be tricky.

Eventually the Watch realised the difficulty they had put Madam Rosamie

under and so they agreed that one of their officers, posing as an odd job

man, would live in for a period. This seemed fair to Madam, and Watchman

Pilkin moved in to a small box room. He turned out to be a real treasure. He

was a man who could fix virtually anything, and at the end of the fortnight,

Madam Rosamie insisted on paying him for the work he’d done, even though he

was also drawing his Watch pay. The maids were so sad to see him go they had

Cook bake a cake and there was something of a small leaving party for him on

his last day.

A week later he had to move back in. The Dowager, realising her strumpet of

a daughter had cozened the Watch, proceeded to advertise her daughter’s

putative establishment with discreet advertisements in appropriate

newssheets. Eventually she even had somebody walking ‘round the city with a

sandwich board. He would give passers-by handbills with graphic

illustrations for the illiterate.

Pilkin, now in full uniform, dealt with the situation. Initially he

courteously clarified the situation for the potential client. But when that

failed, as appropriate he became stern, mocking, and in three cases resorted

to percussive castigation with his truncheon. Eventually the word got ‘round

and the steady flow of potential customers finally dried up.

Still everything comes to the one who waits. Madam Rosamie was holding a

garden party and of course the Dowager attended. Now it appears that she had

spotted two of the servants sneaking off, so she followed them. In this case

it was the youngest maid and the boot boy, both of who were aged about

fourteen. Madam Rosamie and the rest of the staff of course knew about their

infatuation, but wisely pretended not to. At the same time, they maintained a

gentle watch over the activities of these two young people. In reality, this

is something quite easily accomplished as each generation, in the face of

all the evidence to the contrary, assumes that it is the first generation to

discover love. It never seems to occur to them that the older generations

have in their time tried all the same ploys that they are now attempting.

But the Dowager decided she would covertly follow the young couple with the

aim of catching them ‘in flagrante delicto.’ In this she was aided by the

fact that this part of the garden was a maze of winding paths and bowers.

The Dowager noticed that if she took a higher path, she could make her way

between two rose bushes and be in a position above and behind her prey.

Alas for the Dowager, the bushes were thicker than she’d expected, but there

was still a path of sorts. Unfortunately for her it was both steep and

slippery due to the rain. She skidded, lost her footing and rolled down the

steep slope becoming more and more tightly entangled in what was in reality,

a bramble patch.

Her struggles were to no avail, merely getting her more tightly entangled.

Fortunately, her two young potential victims heard her cries and ran to the

rest of the party to get help. Thus, it was that Madam Rosamie and I were the

two bold souls who discovered exactly what the problem was. I borrowed an

old pair of trousers from the junior footman, who used them when it was his

turn to clean the guttering on the roof. I added to it a jacket borrowed

from the gardener and cautiously I penetrated the maze. After almost

stumbling I returned to the top of the bank, acquired a rope, and had a

group of the heavier servants bracing themselves to support me as I made my

way down again.

When contemplating the situation, it initially seemed that the obvious answer

was just to tie a rope to the Dowager and pull her through what was left of

the brambles. After brief discussion this was discounted.

With a pair of secateurs, I tried to cut the brambles away from the

discomforted lady, but eventually I realised that this was fruitless. The

only option was to cut the clothing off the lady and pull her out of it,

abandoning it to the thorns.

This, as you can imagine, is a ticklish operation, especially with a lady

with whom you are in no way familiar. Still I somehow managed it without

outraging probity too much. I tied another rope around her ankles, took the

end up the bank to the now growing collection of guests and staff, and

arranged for them to pull while I returned to help guide the lady past

obstacles.

They had only pulled her about a foot before it was obvious we would have to

think again. The Dowager had got her hair entangled as well. By this time it

was raining heavily. The number of potential pullers was diminishing by the

minute and I would have to act swiftly. I asked for the clippers that the

cook used to cut the hair of male staff and applied them. Now I am no brute.

I didn’t cut all her hair off. I merely used the clippers on those patches

where the thorns were entangled. Finally, soaked and muddy I gave those

enthusiastic souls who had remained the order to pull heartily.

If a few minutes we had dragged the Dowager up the slope, got her onto the

path at the top, untied her legs, and her daughter, radiating a sort of

manically cheerful concern, escorted her into the salon. Here she was met by

the assembled guests who applauded her vigorously on her escape. Old towels

were fetched and she was allowed to sit down whilst a sedan chair was

summoned. This took her to the Goldclaw Baths. There she could get herself

clean, a hair dresser could doubtless be prevailed upon to do something to

her hair, and her maid could meet her there with a complete change of

clothing.

I might comment at this point that since the moment when she reached the

path and I untied her ankles, the Dowager has never addressed a word to me.

On the other hand Madam Rosamie speaks most highly about me to all her

friends, claims she cannot run any form of party without me in attendance,

and even, if we meet in town, will address me in affectionate terms as ‘My

dear Tallis.’

 

 

And the hard sell!

 

So welcome back to Port Naain. This blog tour is to celebrate the genius of

Tallis Steelyard, and to promote two novella length collections of his

tales.

 

So meet Tallis Steelyard, the jobbing poet from the city of Port Naain. This

great city is situated on the fringes of the Land of the Three Seas. Tallis

makes his living as a poet, living with his wife, Shena, on a barge tied to

a wharf in the Paraeba estuary. Tallis scrapes a meagre living giving poetry

readings, acting as a master of ceremonies, and helping his patrons run

their soirees.

These are his stories, the anecdotes of somebody who knows Port Naain and

its denizens like nobody else. With Tallis as a guide you’ll meet petty

criminals and criminals so wealthy they’ve become respectable. You’ll meet

musicians, dark mages, condottieri and street children. All human life is

here, and perhaps even a little more.

 

Firstly;-

Tallis Steelyard, Deep waters, and other stories.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07PTS3FGS

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PTS3FGS

 

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. Discover

the damage done by the Bucolic poets, wonder at the commode of Falan

Birling, and read the tales better not told. We have squid wrestling, lady

writers, and occasions when it probably wasn’t Tallis’s fault. He even asks

the great question, who are the innocent anyway?

 

And then there is;-

Tallis Steelyard. Playing the game, and other stories.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07PV1N7XZ

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PV1N7XZ

 

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. Marvel at

the delicate sensitivities of an assassin, wonder at the unexpected revolt

of Callin Dorg. Beware of the dangers of fine dining, and of a Lady in red.

Travel with Tallis as his poetical wanderings have him meandering through

the pretty villages of the north. Who but Tallis Steelyard could cheat death,

by changing the rules?

 

If you want to see more of the stories from the Land of the Three Seas, some

of them featuring Tallis Steelyard, go to my Amazon page at

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jim-Webster/e/B009UT450I/

 

https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Webster/e/B009UT450I/

 

Tallis even has a blog of his own at https://tallissteelyard.wordpress.com/