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(Like so many pieces of laundry, morning thoughts aren’t usually organized.)

September 8-15,  2019

Living with Parkinson’s

Sam & Phyllis Turner ©2019

ALOHA: Adult Loss of Hearing Association          
APDA: American Parkinson Disease Association
BSC: Bristol Stool Chart
CH: Cynthia Holmes, Ph.D. Neurology
CPAP: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure mask (for Sleep Apnea).
DBS: Deep Brain Stimulation (much improved since Michael J. Fox!)
HEH: Happily Ever After!
HOH: Hard of Hearing          
HS: Harvey Stanbrough Pro-writer and mentor (
IBS: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (often associated with PD)
MJFF: Michael J. Fox Foundation
NAMASTE: The Spirit within me honors the Spirit within you.
PSG: Parkinson’s Support Group(s)
PD: Parkinson’s Disease
PMD: PARKINSON & Movement Disorder Alliance
P.J.: Phyllis – my wife: SWOMBO (She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed) A contributor and #1 editor.
PT: Personal trainer Tresha,  including daily in-home exercise assignments for PD
RWA: Romance Writers of America
TAODW: The Art of Dying Well-A practical Guide to a Good End of Life, by Katy Butler
TCF: The Compassionate Friends (For parents who have experienced the death of a child or sibling.)
WIP: Work in Progress (Hiker Man) or (32º North) Title undecided. Writing is my vacation!
YISKA: Navajo for Darkness has passed.  (Also the name of a Navajo Border Collie who barks in Navajo!)

Tucson Mts. to the west. On our way back to Tucson from Corona de Tucson.

LETTERS: From Harvey S. …does anyone not read through to the end? That would surprise me. Anyway, another good issue.

SET: Thanks. Good question. I know Parkinson’s readers do.

09.09.19: I don’t want it to become a habit; however, I took a second Bayer aspirin this morning (I had one last night). It’s the powerful one that takes care of pain in muscles and bones. It helped me sleep last night, but this morning I could not stand up without using some sort of support. My left leg just wouldn’t take it. Phyllis got out her Walker, and I used it for the first hour. Using it from the bedroom to the kitchen to my office was just enough walking to loosen up that leg. I will see Tresha Wednesday.

This brings me to another important subject:

The Journal that becomes The Memoir.

That’s the one item Katie Butler left out of her book, The Art of Dying Well.  If you have not started a journal, you should start right now. If you wait until the last chapter of Butler’s book when you are in hospice, you are too late.

I’ve been facilitating journaling (memoir writing) since 1999 to fellow adults.

Their purpose for taking the class was to learn how to write their memoir. Yes: It could become an autobiography.  My goal in facilitating the course was to make writing their memoir as easy as possible. The first thing I asked them to write was their goal. They were given six minutes. Many wrote they wanted to learn how to write better. Some said they wanted to write their memoir. Of all the members of all the classes, I would say that 20% actually started writing a journal/memoir. Of that 20%, maybe 10% actually printed out their memoir for their family and descendants.

The sad part is that when they moved away (or died), I sometimes got a letter from a family member asking if I have anything their father, mother, grandparent, etc. had written for the class that I could send them. For a couple of years, I tape-recorded their stories and had them on file.  I did have an occasion to mail a cassette to one relative.  I no longer record their work.

Over the past fifty years, I’ve kept an epistolary journal of sorts. In the beginning, they were all handwritten. My first writing teacher (after retirement from 35-years of teaching), Sheila Bender, taught me that word. (Pretty classy, huh?)  Of course, I didn’t know that was what letter writing was called in 1950 when I was a sophomore in high school.

I started writing legible material when my father gave me a Smith-Corona portable typewriter. If I were to write from Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah, to my parents at Grand Canyon, Arizona, where we lived, they needed to be able to read what I wrote. My penmanship was that bad. (Little did I know that years later when I taught middle school, I would end up teaching 16th-century italics to a class of enthusiastic eighth-graders!). My parents saved my letters.  

In 1978, I read Elizabeth Forsyth Haley’s book, A Woman of Independent Means.  It was an epistolary book of letters. While it is a fiction book, the letters could have been found in the trunk in an attic. The letter started when the author was eight years old and ended when she was 88 years old. I can’t give you a sample of the book since all three copies were loaned out and I never got them back. But that style became my way of journaling for a few years.

May Sarton who wrote many books along with journals, including  The House By The Sea. A Journal (first published in 1977) presents this entry for September 16th, 1976: (excerpted) I was woken at six by the gentle ripple of what I think must have been an owls cry as it flew past. It is quite unlike any other bird sound. It is wonderful to wake up not knowing I have a clear day ahead and can walk to my own rhythm, not hurrying. This afternoon I intend to put up tomatoes… I simply couldn’t bear the rich accumulations yesterday lying in the flat basket on the kitchen counter; so I went to Lesswings and found the water stand for boiling. I can use the lobster pot. I’ve never done this before, so it is an adventure.

She continues for a few more paragraphs. Sometimes, she skips a day or two, but when she finishes the year, she has a book.

She writes in The Journal of a Solitude:

“Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.”
May Sarton

 “We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
May Sarton

After reading several of her journal books, it was as if she were giving me permission to write about any subject, any time, each day. And that’s just what I did. You can see by this issue that I’m still doing that.

From George Hand’s Saloon Diary, Tucson, 1875-1878  ©1994 (I have a First Edition.)

Whiskey, Six-guns & Red-light Ladies

Sept. 9. 1875: “Fine day. There was a report that two horses were stolen from near Camp Lowell. James Lee, John Wood, Adam Lynn, Juan Elias, and R. N. Leatherwood, mounted and armed, started out to find the thief. They found him and brought back the horses they hung the man on a mesquite tree. Mad dogs are in town. No other news. I closed and retired at 9.30 o’clock. {The posse described by Hand was a vigilante group known as the Tucson Minute Men. They were organized with the blessing of territorial officials to help enforce the law outside of the town limits. This hanging of a horse thief without trial was business as usual in the rural countryside, and was not a cause of concern among Tucsonans.}

Sept. 10. Posters were put up this morning warning all persons to tie up their dogs. {Fear of rabies.} The killing of dogs running large commences at 12 noon. Alex Wilkins, the barber, shot at John Wood. Wood knocked him down, took the pistol from them, and kicked him very hard. The Marshall took the barber home. Alex told Dr. handy he would kill Wood on site. I bought some whiskey this evening and took in eight dollars. Closed at 11 o’clock. Jerry and I took a walk, stopped in Brown’s saloon, looked at the Faro game a while, and went home.

Sept. 14. Stage arrived—no letters for me. Nothing new, very dull. Foster killed the fattest and finest beef of the season, 1000 pounds. I was sick all day.

Sept. 15. The dog killing still goes on– another wagon load was hauled off today. I kept sober all day. Very dull in the house. Closed at 9 o’clock.”

Margaret Ann who lives in La Posada, Green Valley,  keeps a weekly JOURNAL OF LATE LIFE ADAPTATIONS called  AND FURTHERMORE …   Here is her journal for August 25, 2019 … Last SUNDAY I met Tim at Java, and we walked the perimeter, ending in breakfast at The Pearl….. Then Tim drove me home and came up to my apartment to move my whiteboard to a better location for writing access….. I am using the whiteboard to manage my writing and publishing work and ideas for future writing…..MONDAY I walked a while in the gardens…. Wrote to my children the lessons I learned during Doug’s last days, in light of what I have read in “The Art of Dying Well”…. Started writing poems for September inspirations…. Answered responses from readers and other emails…. Ate lunch at The View…. News…. Brain games…. Read my news magazine while new CDs Bill gave me last week were playing…

She writes one page for the week. On the backside of her page, she adds a short prose poem, usually referring to the week she has written from the front page.



alert me

as I sit at my computer writing

that the garbage truck

with the friendly driver

is backing up to get into position

to empty the handy dumpster

in my parking lot.


Not that he can hear me.

I call him friendly

because if I happen to be out walking

 and we meet at an intersection,

I wave him on, since his vehicle is bigger and heavier—

but he always waves and motions me to cross the street first.

©2019 Margaret Ann Adams


And here is mine:

Hmm. You are reading it, so you know what it looks like. Duh!

I keep three journals going at once: besides Maytag Moments, I have a Daily Parkinson’s Diary that I provide for my team of eight doctors and professionals. The third journal isn’t really a journal; it’s my WIP. I’ve been writing it since 08.09.19. I’d rather sit down each day and write 500 or 1000 words. I used to do that before PD interruptions got in the way.

09.09.19: 1600: (continued…) Facilitated the writing class this morning. We wrote for six minutes on our definition of success. Then we shared our writings. We talked about flash fiction. Next week, I’ll bring  HS’s example of 55-word flash fiction. Maybe we’ll try it. I think it could be flash NON-fiction just as well. It will be fun.

1800: I’m participating in Archery League again.  No League last week.  I’m nervous that I may not be able to stand for the full event.  If not, I’ll come home early. We’ll have League again on Friday, and I can make it up after I’ve spent a week exercising my leg. (I exercise it each morning. For some reason, I didn’t exercise it today.) 1930: Finished shooting for the evening. No problem with my leg.  I shot 194/300. The lighted nocks help.  I can see instant results of where the arrow hits (and where it misses!).

09.10.19: 0900: What happens in Quail Run Writing (does not necessarily) stay(s) in Quail Run Writing! Bev helps Pauletta find the owl that is residing in Pauletta’s closet (?) No! Her garage? No! Where? On her patio.

We are in our North Room. We started at 0900.  It is now 0930, and we haven’t even gotten to the 6-minute writing. Finally finished our prompt and got to the sharing portion of the meeting:

FLO: Wrote about the ease with which she can use the dictionary because of training in the fifth grade. This was long before Google. She was and is an avid reader. She keeps a dictionary by her chair, another one beside her computer, and although Google has its dictionary, it’s just not the same as using her book, her dictionary book; her own personal time machine.

PAULETTA: Wrote of her “ESCAPE” to the movies. She explains that her escape is from a life filled with commitments, demands on her time, stressful decisions to make, and just being worn out.

PHYLLIS: Presented her piece about Joshua Slocum (a distant cousin of PJ’s), who was the first person to sail solo around the world.  

Three years ago, Julie took this picture of Sabrina and Zachery standing next to the model of the thirty-six foot THE SPRAY, Joshua Slocum’s ship, in the Slocum Museum in Nova Scotia.

BEV: Continued with the “mystery” of identical twins who were separated at birth.  We guess they are on the path of discovery as to whether they are connected. Bev assures us that we will find out at our next meeting.

SAM: Presented a continuation of his WIP about a man who has aphasia caused by a possible stroke after a three-day period of dehydration. The title started as The Hogan; then HikerMan; and now, just WIP. The title will come eventually.

1615: We drove to the bank to make a deposit and timed it so that we would arrive at Culver’s shortly before 1700. We were to meet Rebecca and Sarah for dinner and laughter. After dinner, when we came home, we watched the news and the documentary on bluegrass music. I went to bed at 2100.

09.11.19: 0400: Couldn’t sleep. Remembering this important day and the Twin Towers, and a long  moment of silence. —————————————-.

I just couldn’t

No problem with my leg but Phyllis has difficulty with her right arm this morning. She’s not going to exercise. We have a full day of activities today. Tresha had me doing stretching exercises for my leg and my back. It’s possible that I’m not standing correctly when I shoot archery. She watched me as I struck the pose that I use when I shoot.  I may be stressing my left leg too much and should lean back more on my right leg. I think she’s correct. I’ll try it tomorrow morning when I practice 1000: I took PJ to the Viscount Hotel for her bridge party. She didn’t have any trouble holding the cards. Hmmm. 1430: We met with Mara Concordia, of Peaceful Spirit Wellness Centers. We will be adjusting some of our vitamins. We signed up for a massage package for the two of us. 1700: PJ and I  had a protein smoothie for dinner; watched the news, and finished watching the documentary on Bluegrass.

09.12.19: 0500: Up and taking vitamins.  After my shower, I practiced shooting, taking note of my stance on my leg positioning. I had a tight grouping  while I was concentrating on strengthening my body on the drawback.

 0900: We met with David S., who is searching for and collecting data about the early life of the villagers who lived at the Grand Canyon. In 2016, we recorded an interview with a historian. I have that thumb drive.  It will be interesting to compare our notes.

1500: Tired. I have to take a nap. Slept for two hours. Watched the Democratic presentation and PJ read the remarks about who was successful who wasn’t after the debate. For the most part, the ten speakers offered thoughtful, impressive  answers. I thought of my high school International Relations Club. Do you remember that, Leonard? I’m sure you do. Did we travel to Freemont, Nebraska for IRC? We must have been Juniors or Seniors?

PJ and I were in bed by 2130 and asleep by 2131.

09.13.19: 0600: Amazing!  I never sleep this late. I must have been exhausted. My leg is movable this morning. Tonight will be a Full Moon; a rare event to occur on a Friday the 13th of any month. We drove to the bank, walked 75% of Park Place Mall, even split a  Mediterranean lunch in the Food Court, drove to Batteries Plus, and stopped at Walgreen’s. I wrote on my WIP until 1430, took aspirin and slept until 1630.

1700: Archery League. Conscious of my stance.  Shot 181/300 Surprising total since I shot so poorly the first four ends.

09.14.19: 0500: 0610: Practiced shooting under an overcast sky. Bounced an arrow off the east patio wall. Broke it. I’m down to four practice arrows.

Thanks for your responses.  Have a good week. If you haven’t started journaling, START RIGHT NOW!  Have fun with it. Blessings to all of you.

Sam and Phyllis

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