Jack’s Walk – A short Admin Note

Late yesterday afternoon, my mother died peacefully in the company of her best friend and myself. Mom’s been inching toward death since mid-August, and while I’m sad that her life has ended, I’m relieved to have her dying ended.
We’ll be having a short service followed by burial on Friday afternoon, so Jack and I will be taking the rest of this week off. We both hope that you have a Merry Hallowe’en, and we’ll see you again on Monday, November 4th.


An Admin Note about Jack’s Walk

Hey, Bubba, what are all those spots on you?

Umm, what spots, mom?

Jack and I have been walking at odd hours for the last few weeks because I’ve been spending most of my time at the nursing home with my mother. Mom is in the last stage of her life and is expected to die soon, but it’s turning out to be a long, difficult journey for her.  She has a lot of pain that isn’t always well controlled and she’s s full of fear and anxiety. She often calls out “Help, Oh please help” or asks for mommy or daddy and occasionally for me, but when you ask her what she wants or what’s wrong or what she’s afraid of she goes quiet. She’s also developed a large ulcer on her coccyx from the continuous bedrest. Mom is a big woman, about 240 lbs. and it’s difficult to reposition her so there’s no pressure on that area. About every hour I’ve been rubbing her other pressure points to hopefully avoid another ulcer, but it pains mom and is difficult for both of us.

The nursing home where she lives has given us a private palliative care room with a big, stuffed electric recliner for me. The support workers check on us often and have been fabulous with mom, but I can’t say the same about the registered nursing staff. Some nurses are reluctant to give mom pain meds – one nurse insisted that she had to ask for them herself because writhing in bed and calling out for help apparently isn’t good enough. Some nurses forget to crush mom’s pills and some try to give her  plain water without thickener which makes her choke. I’ve asked and asked for that to be written on her chart, but it hasn’t happened. That’s partly because of the long weekend – some of the nurses come from an agency and don’t know the residents, so I’m hoping that will improve this week. Just to be sure, I’ve put a large sign over mom’s bed about what she needs in case I’m not there.

I’m telling you all of this because I’m burnt out and there’s still a lot of road ahead. My fibro has flared up and I’ve got shingles. I expected both those things, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I have a chronic form of shingles that flares up often, especially when I’m tired or stressed and right now I’m both of those. Something has to give and unfortunately it’s Jack’s Walk the virtual and Tree Tuesday, both of which I’m putting on hold. The nursing home doesn’t have wifi and even if it did I’m not thinking clearly – it’s taken me 3 days to write this – I’m in pain, I’m exhausted and my mom needs me. So does Mr. V whose heart has been acting up with atrial fib.

Jack’s Walk and Tree Tuesday will be back, but I don’t know when. I’ll try to keep posting a daily book, which gives me something nice to think about, but if I miss a day you’ll know why. I’ll be around and I’ll stay in touch. Jack says gawoof, gawoof in his big boy voice which means see you soon.

Jack’s Walk

Early morning at the park ©voyager, all rights reserved

Tomorrow I’m going to be having my last 6 teeth removed and 2 dental implants inserted. It was supposed to be sleep surgery, but the Dr. won’t take the risk because of the combination of drugs that I take so I’ll be awake, which sucks. I will get nitrous oxide and I have some marijuana oil for before and after which the Dr. says will be fine by him. I’ve been told to expect a few bad days post-op which could mean a bad week or two factoring in my fibro. Why am I telling you all of this?

Well, Jack and I have decided to take a virtual vacation. Starting tomorrow until August 19/19 Jack’s Walk won’t be here. You’ll just have to guess what the Bubba and I are up to. Tree Tuesday will also be absent for the next 2 weeks, but Fungi Friday will be here and so will the daily books. Next week the books will feature a few of Caine’s favourite artists and I know you won’t want to miss that. Giliell will also be back from holiday next week and I know she has lots to share from her vacation in Spain. Those are all good reasons to keep tuning us in.

Jack and old, toothless me will see you soon.


Blacklist Acting Funny…

Just a quick admin note – I just noticed that our blacklist sends occasionally comments in limbo despite them not containing any of the blacklisted phrases and not being submitted by banned users. I will have to clean up the blacklisted list, there are some generic things in it that were added by Caine back in the past probably to deal with some temporary acute issue.

I have no idea what causes this, it does not happen very often. If your comment does not appear after you post it and you were not banned by either Caine or me, it might just be a hiccup. In that case wait or write a short follow-up comment telling me about this. From now on, I will check the trash more often.

The Tactical Kitchen Auction

Have you always wanted a kick-ass knife that can handle any kitchen task with ease and also protect you from Ninjas? If so, then you should head over to Stderr where Marcus is auctioning off 2 of his handmade knives, here and here. The auction closes on May 5/19 at 10:00 so be sure to check it out soon.

All of the money raised will go towards paying off the legal bills from the Richard Carrier lawsuit. The ridiculous suit is finally done and gone, but the bills didn’t vanish with it so if you’re in the market for a tactical kitchen knife now is the time to buy. You’ll get a fabulous knife (seriously, both knives are wicked) and you’ll be supporting Freethought Blogs. That’s what I call win-win. Of course, if you just want to make a donation to the fund that’s easy too. Just click on this link to go to our Go Fund Me page.

Good luck to you and thanks.

We’ve Been Spring Cleaning

Seasons change and so do blogs. Here at Affinity we’re making a few changes to how things look. The first change you’ll see will be the top section of the left sidebar. We’ve collected all Caine’s cancer related writings and artwork into a new page that will stay permanently attached right where it’s always been only we’ve made it better. We’ve added all  Caine’s cancer related writings that happened between Cancer Chronicles so it’s now a comprehensive list organized by date. We’ve also added Caine’s death notice and the eulogy by her husband and best friend, Rick. Beneath that you will find Caine’s cancer related artwork and then tributes made by members of Caine’s international community. The page ends with a reading recommendation from Caine herself. Comments will be left open on the page and they’ll be  monitored regularly. The page is called Fuck Cancer: Caine’s Journey and it will be posted directly after this one. I hope I’ve managed to capture everything, but if you find any errors or omissions please let me know at affiniysubmissions@gmail.com. The address is always in the left sidebar under the colourful percolating head.

The next change you’ll notice is the addition of the blogging team. Just click on the person’s name and it will take you directly to their introductory profile post. Underneath that you’ll find the addition of our Twitter account following the TNET.

Some of you may have already noticed one of the biggest changes; no more ads. Finally. The ads have been removed from all Freethought Blogs making this a great time to check out the other bloggers on the Freethought Channel, where a lot of talented writing happens. The full roster of blogs is on the left sidebar. A bit farther down you’ll find a list with the most recent postings on the channel.

One last thing. Affinity isn’t just a blog, it’s a community and we welcome you and your submissions with glee. I am happiest when I get to see what’s up in your world so please send us whatever you’ve got to share: trees, flowers, birds, rocks, fish, animals, hobbies, food… anything, really.  We’re a curious bunch and if it interests you, chances are it will interest us. Just use the address on the left sidebar.


Affinity is growing

It is with great delight that I announce that rq is joining the blogging team here at Affinity. Many of you are familiar with rq from the comments section of the blog where she has been contributing for many years. She is now ready to step up and do some blogging herself and we couldn’t be happier. She brings a lot to our team and we can expect posts on an interesting mix of subjects ranging from Baltic culture to the arts. Perhaps she’ll even share a peek into the random and interesting things that cross her path. For now there will be no fixed schedule for rq’s posts. Instead, they will come as happy little surprises that surface amidst our already mixed bag.

So now we are four. Four bloggers in four different countries, all with different interests and different points of view, but all wanting to share our worlds with you. We’re also a curious bunch and we want this blog to be a vibrant international community where other people share their worlds with us. That’s one of the best parts of Affinity. It has many voices and you just never know what will pop up. We also hope that one of those voices will be yours. We still invite you to share your favourite recipes, photos, arts and crafts with us. You don’t have to be a great photographer or a master artist to contribute. I’m certainly neither of those things.

I would also like to take a minute to acknowledge the founder of Affinity, Caine. This blog was her vision and she always welcomed contributions from her readers. Her voice was always encouraging and it is because of her support that I even dared to try blogging. Caine expressed a desire for rq to become part of this blog and I know that she would be thrilled by the news.

Affinity just became more interesting. I hope you’ll all help me welcome rq.

A change for Submissions

Giliell’s post of earlier today noted that we want Affinity to continue being a community gathering place and that your submissions are an important part of this blog. We want to see your photos and artwork, hear your stories and share what matters to you so we have set up a new mailbox and are ready to receive whatever you want to send. Charly, Giliell and I will be sharing this mailbox so it would be helpful if you could tag your submissions with a topic such as trees, birds, flora, recipes or Tummy Thursday. If your submission doesn’t fit one of those categories be creative with your tags and we’ll figure out where it goes. The new email is:


and it has been linked in the sidebar. I’ve tested it out and it’s working for me, but if you have any difficulties with the link please let us know. We’re looking forward to seeing what you have for us.

Remembering Caine

Descent of Night, ©Caine/Chris Ford, all rights reserved

In April of last year Caine blogged about the creation of this painting, Descent of Night. I fell in love with it instantly and wrote Caine to tell her how much it reminded me of shooting off fireworks at a place called Corner of the Beach. My husband and I do this every year on our anniversary and the colours Caine chose are the colours of the cliffs surrounding the beach. The rich reds and oranges with browns and touches of green. And all those stars are so full of energy, just like fireworks in motion. I asked Caine if it would be possible to get a good quality photograph of the piece and she said yes with no hesitation.

Imagine my surprise when I received a package that was not a photograph, but rather the painting itself. I was dumbstruck. Caine only knew me at that time through a few photo submissions and some comments I’d made on the blog. I was essentially a stranger to her and here she had sent me this incredible piece of art. Imagine! The painting is now a cherished possession of mine. It not only reminds me of fireworks, but also of the kindness and generosity of a stranger who became a treasured friend.

I know many of you also have stories or thoughts about our beloved Caine so we’ve created this thread for you to share them. It will be left open and once I can figure a few things out it will be linked in the sidebar. The rules that Caine put in place still apply. Anything disrespectful will be immediately removed and don’t be an asshole.

A Tad Messed Up Here…

Hey, Everybody! Sorry for the absence, as you can seem, my fingers are not in good shape. They are actually much worse than shown, I managed to take these photos several days ago. The list of things I can’t manage right now grows longer and longer. When they aren’t being incredibly painful, they go numb. Basically, every day I feel like shit, but it will be over soon, Monday the 6th will be my last day of radiation and capcitebine.

I’ll get back to blogging as soon as possible, I have to wander off to pain clinic now.

Quick Admin Note.

I may not be around on Sunday (21st), I’m in a state of pain and misery again, and can barely think. Going by previous days, I won’t get much uninterrupted sleep either, so if I end up with an opportunity to sleep Sunday away, I’m taking it. So sorry, hopefully this will be under control again soon.

Going Missing (Admin Stuff).

© C. Ford.

I’m so sorry, but I have been eaten alive by pain all day, and nothing has gotten it under control so far. Tuesday is the all day appointment day: labs/research/oncologist/Y program application/radiation/oncologist/caregiver group/possibly swimming if I stop wanting to scream, and probably more stuff I forgot. So I’m going to flake off entirely on Tuesday (17th).

If I somehow magically get the pain under control, I’ll show up.  Right now, I can’t cope with sitting at all, so the thought of sitting down to do blogging is not a welcome one. My apologies, I hope this will be under control quickly, so I can get back to doing the things I love to do.