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Kondo & Joy


The ambulance siren wailed through the still night air. I lay helpless inside, my lungs straining to breathe. My mind raced through the events leading to my placement in this speeding vehicle. Less than an hour prior I had given birth to my first child, a plump, healthy boy. I should have been coddling him in my arms, examining his precious new body, and nourishing him with my milk. Instead, I was being taken seventy miles away from him and begging God to let me live long enough for him to meet his mommy.

My pregnancy carried me into the dog days of summer. The night air was oppressive the evening I went into labor. Emotions were running high as my husband and I anticipated the imminent joyful event. I intended to have a natural childbirth. My husband and I attended Lamaze classes together and were determined to ease our child into the world drug-free. I desired to nurse and caress my newborn immediately after birth. Much to my dismay, this not possible. My son’s head was large, and my pushing and straining were not enough to present him to the world. The anesthesiologist was called, and I was rendered unconscious. The doctor then used forceps to pull my child into the world. My husband was thrilled to have a son. He departed shortly after that to express the joyous news to friends and family. I, still unconscious, was taken to recovery.

When I awoke from my unconscious state, I immediately began to vomit. I felt disoriented and was having difficulty breathing. A nurse entered the room and immediately rang for assistance. Several years later this same nurse told me I was the color of a pair of new blue jeans. They rushed me to x-ray where it was discovered I had aspirated vomitus into my lungs during the birth of my son. At this juncture, events took place rapidly. I felt as though I was spiraling in the fast-forward mode of a drama with no end. My body went through the motions of breathing, but the oxygen was not entering my bloodstream. The doctor and my husband were immediately called back to the hospital. The staff worked at a frantic pace plying my body with IV’s, heart monitor, and an oxygen mask. I was being prepared for transportation to a hospital equipped to handle respiratory distress.

I remember the ambulance ride so vividly; perhaps too vividly. I frantically tried to breathe, only to have each breath rejected by my body. I was drowning on dry land. The nurse gave me concentrated oxygen once a minute or so. I pleaded for more, but for medical reasons, she could not comply. Thoughts raced rampant through my mind. I had been told that I had a healthy baby boy. Was he really healthy? Would I ever see him? Would he ever meet his mommy? Was I going to die? The realization struck me that yes, I very possibly was going to die. This was not the time to die. Not now. Not before I met my son. Not before I held him to my breast. As I gasped for breath and begged for oxygen, my mind struggled with the task of asking God for forgiveness of my sins. I felt on the threshold of death and knew my soul must be cleansed. However, I was afraid if I asked for forgiveness, it would be construed by God as an act of submission – a request for death. I chose not to ask for forgiveness, but instead to focus all my energy on surviving.

The medical team moved swiftly once I arrived at the hospital. I was rushed to the operating room where a tube was forced into my lungs. My body convulsed on the table. I felt as if every strand of hair on my body was standing on end. An intense heat overcame me – then peace. My last conscious thought being, ‘so this is what it feels like to die.’ For a brief time, I was captured in the wings of the angel of death.

I was in critical condition for several days. Despite the respirator, medication, and careful monitoring of my blood gases via a heart catheter, I was only given a ten percent chance for survival. For brief periods I was conscious. I expressed a desire to communicate and was given paper and pen. I could not speak due to the respirator. I repeatedly asked to see my son. This was not possible. I had aspiration pneumonia and was still quite ill. I yearned to see my baby. My whole body ached with my need for him. My husband assured me he was fine, and he taped polaroid snapshots of him eye level of my bed. My mother had flown down to care for him in my absence, so my husband could be with me as much as possible.

Finally the day arrived when I was no longer on the respirator. One of the first things I did was tell the doctors and nurses I wanted to breastfeed my son once I returned home. They gently told me this in all likelihood was not possible, and certainly not advisable as my recovery would be long and arduous. My milk had come in, and the doctors wanted to administer medication to dry them up. I emphatically refused. I had a baby at home – a fresh new life which I had created, yet he had not met his mommy. How was he to know I was his mommy once we met unless I could offer him my milk – the milk my body prepared for him during the months of his growth within my womb. I was determined to keep my milk flowing. My husband spoke with a nurse who was supportive of my decision. She obtained a breast pump and instructed my husband how to use it. This was in the days before electric breast pumps. Every four hours he pumped my breasts. When he was absent, a nurse pumped them. Once I became stronger, I was able to do the procedure myself. My heart ached for my now three-week-old son. I laid in my bed staring longingly at his pictures.

The day of my release finally arrived. My body was free of toxins, and my breasts were full. Several nurses came to speak with me before I departed. They gently expressed their doubts about my son nursing. He was now almost a month old and was used to a bottle and formula. They were afraid my breasts would be rejected by him and wanted to soften the blow. I dismissed their concerns and listened to my heart. I was his mommy. He would know.

It was a special, tender moment when I first held my son to my breast. We gazed at each other as the milk flowed freely from my breast to his cheek. He nuzzled against my warmth and found my teat. As he suckled on my breast, tears of joy streamed from my eyes. Mommy’s home sweet baby, Mommy’s home

The top three pictures are some of the polaroids that were in my hospital room.

Bottom left is my son, Garrett, and I a week or so after I came home from the hospital.

Bottom right was taken of Garrett in October, 2018 after he placed fourth in the World Championship Highland Games.

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Many of you have read my tales about Alex on my Facebook page. For those that have not, Alex is a cat that, much to the chagrin of my cat, Gizmo, decided to make my home, his home.

This blog consists of the posts from my Facebook page. If you didn't catch the saga from the beginning, well, here you go!

I have a doogie door that goes out to a fenced in area on the side of my house. After my dogs passed away, I kept the door because my cat, Gizmo, was used to going in and out. Through the years I have had many different strays come in for a free meal and a soft, warm place to rest. These visitors rarely hung around long because Gizmo let it be known that it was his house. Then came Alex.

1.5.19 Friendly, healthy male cat has discovered my doggie door. Does anyone know who he belongs to? Nashville, Illinois.


Intruder kitty is certainly taking liberties! But glad he is warm even though my Giz is angry. 😾

1.12 - later that day

Update on The Cat. His name is Alex and when he’s not sleeping in my recliner or on my kitchen table he lives about a block and a half away... His owner came and got him. UPDATE – same evening - He’s back. Attempted to lock him out but after 20 minutes of listening to him knock on my door, I let him in. He’s resting on his throne. (aka kitchen table)

The 'stray' cat knocking on my door! For those who haven't been following along with my cat saga I did find his owners. he lives about two blocks away but seems to prefer to come here and sleep on my kitchen table. I closed the doggie door as he was starting to pick fights with my Gizmo and this is what I have to endure until I give in and let him in. 🙀#suckerForStrays

Morse code, perhaps?

1.14 S Sleeping soundly. Gizmo sleeps upstairs with me

1.15 the 'stray' keeping an eye on Chubby the squirrel

Gizmo at the doggy door keeping an eye on The Stray who is keeping an eye on Chubby the squirrel 😀😂

1.15 Chubs

I had quite a few cardinals and blue jays at my feeders so I put out extra sunflower 🌻 seeds for them

and plenty of corn 🌽 to hopefully satisfy the family of squirrels that live in my tree. Those that have followed my story know them as Chubs, Chubby, and Chubette. You may recall my story about Chubs sitting in the tree in my front yard at just the right angle to watch me at the kitchen table, then when he had my attention he would jump down and bang into my door to let me know the feeders were empty. Well, as you know, the message is out.... Free food at Middleton’s, and I had no less than 8 squirrels devouring the feast I supplied. Apparently, the food is now in all of their oversized tummies because a squirrel just pulled a Wiley E. Coyote move and flung himself - arms spread- onto my front door then slowly slid down to the stoop. Guess we are out of food. He needs to learn to tap like the stray instead of crash......


ok, friends, This will probably be my last post about THE CAT. Yesterday I shut the doggie door and fixed Giz up with a litter box because THE CAT had sprayed in my house... He 'knocked' incessantly at my door for sometime, but finally gave up, I assume, to go to his REAL home, Not the case, Around 8:30 last night there was a human knock on my door. A teenage boy was there. I opened the door, and he asked if Alex was here. I replied, I'm sorry, there is no one here by that name, what is his last name? He replied, CAT. 😂I had forgotten THE CAT'S name was Alex. He didn't look like an Alex.....


He may or may not have spent the night inside last night..... 🤫 Gizmo is hiding out in his cubby on my desk because someone is playing with all his toys in the other room


I may have just let someone in the house. A very cold and dirty someone who I just gave a warm washcloth rubdown. He was very patient. he spent most of the day on my deck and scratching on my door. I actually put a blanket outside for him and covered him up this afternoon. His real family is not responding to my requests to come get him, and I just don't have the heart to let him stay outside in the cold even though he can walk the two blocks home! My giz is very very angry! Cats! 😸.


Alex update! I finally secured a valid phone number for Alex’s family. I contacted them a few times during the cold snap and they came and got him.(including last night) I just got home from the grocery store, and Alex was napping on the deck. He scooted in the house as I entered with my arms full of groceries. He went straight for the food (keep in mind he is definitely not underfed). I opened the doggie door so he could leave once he ate. But no, he ate- then went to the basement and used the litter box. Do I look like a 7-11? Apparently....


Here we go again. Alex. I promised myself he would never be allowed in the house again. Just now, As I started to type he jumped up on the couch behind me and started giving me a gentle neck massage. See pic. aghhh what am I going to do! I feel that if I continue to ignore him he will stay at his true home. Well, guess we will be starting over again with the ignoring. I have managed to keep him out for 2 days prior to tonight. He spends an inordinate amount of time scratching on both of my doors. He also has learned just where to sit on the deck so he can see me at the kitchen sink. Which is why my dishes haven’t been done in a Timely manner..... I can’t stand his amber eyes pleading with me. Which brings me to this evening. Giz was very insistent on being let out. His continuous meowing got the best of me, so I let him out. That in itself is a story. When I open the wooden door, giz gets down low to look under the screen door for 4 orange feet. Once he gives the okay I open the screen, he spends several minutes peering around the door and yard, if Alex has not been spotted he slowly ventures out. If there is a noise, or any movement he darts back in. See, we really do have an Alex issue. Alexitius... back to why Alex is giving me a massage as I type. I was in the kitchen putzing around and a movement out the front windows caught my eye. I have indoor shutters covering the bottom half of the windows, the top half is uncovered. Guess who was perched in my maple tree and moving limb to limb so he could watch me in the kitchen. Alex. I opened the door and he was in as fast as a lightening bolt. He ate, and played with the toys, being sure to rub his scent all over them. I closed all the doors so he is confined to living room and kitchen. He went door to door trying to open them, no luck, so he went to the kitchen cabinet and stuck his paw in the side, opening it and checking out my Tupperware. If you read this far, obviously the saga continues. I must go now, as the methodical purring and gentle caressing is putting me to sleep. Maybe it’s Gz that needs a new home. Kidding. Sort of.

2.9.19 For those following the Alex saga, I haven't updated lately because I am trying to ignore him. Tonight, I couldn't ignore him, so I let him in and wrote a poem about him. LOL😂😁

Ode to Alex

Alex, oh Alex, oh what can I say

You knock on my door, both night and day.

You’re sweet and loving to me, you are,

But to my Giz, you left a scar.

You have a home that’s loving and warm,

They treat you well, give shelter from a storm.

You come here to play, to snuggle and purr,

But this isn’t your home, no it isn’t kind sir.

Your ninja moves, so stealth and calm,

Some times you belie that you are a Tom.

I must admit, you’re nicer than Giz,

Except for the time on the wall you did whiz.

Which is why you must go, as sweet as you are,

To your home down the street – it isn’t that far.

They come here to get you each evening at nine,

They want you home; You are not mine!

So please stop begging at my door each day,

I find it so hard to turn you away.

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Okay, so I’ll admit, the only time I ever paid more than $20 for a bra (well, maybe more than $12 – gotta love sales combined with Kohl’s cash…) was when I received a rather substantial cash award from the Milken Foundation. My friend and neighbor took me shopping at Victoria Secret’s. Let me tell you – I had never stepped foot in that store because I preferred to keep my bits secret. Which means no one was looking at my private areas whether they were covered in a fancy bra or not! Besides, I am a low-maintenance type of gal and super thrifty too. However, once amongst all the beautiful lingerie and the gentle prodding of my friend (and the reminder that I was recently bestowed with a bunch of cash) I purchased two lovely brassieres. I called them brassieres instead of bras because they were fancy 😊. However, they were too pretty and fancy for me to wear, and I had no partner to tantalize – which may explain why twenty-years later they are still in my drawer. Oh, my! Marie Kondo would definitely have something to say about that! If you are not familiar with her method of reducing items in your home, she recommends you hold each item of clothing to your heart and ask if it brings you joy – if yes, you keep it – if no, you thank it for its service and donate or discard.

Holding my brassieres to my heart, I ask, “Do you bring me joy?” All I could hear was THE RED BRA saying, Good grief, Jenny, after all I have taught you about bras, and you’re still holding on to these? Now, if they were a fabulous red color like me, I could see keeping them, so you better have a pretty joyful story to explain keeping them.

And so, with THE RED BRA in my head, I responded to her that the joy was in the thought of who these lovelies may someday be shown to. I cannot donate or discard them because no service was performed as a result of my wearing them, therefore there is no service for which to thank. And so, they will be folded ala Kondo style and slipped deep into the recesses of my dresser drawer.

This leads me to think about a character named Missy from my novel, The Red Bra. She is a quite busty high school student who recently joined the cheerleading squad. She did not have a decent bra, and after her first night of cheering she realized she needed one with more support. After counting her money, she went to her friend’s house to ask for a ride to the mall. Here is The Red Bra’s take on the amount of money she had to spend on a bra.

Seriously! I mean really, girl! With what you got going on, you’re gonna need some serious support! RB exclaimed, pushing out her cups and straightening her straps. I know it’s been a while since I left the shelf, and I know I’m, well, ahh, let’s say, I’m of a premium caliber, but lord knows even bras a few steps below me are gonna cost a bit more than thirty-six dollars! How can you not know that?

Oops, guess I needed The Red Bra’s advice twenty years ago.

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Breastfeeding my son
Kondo & Joy
One Size
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