Saturday, September 23, 2017

September Update

I copied the following from my other blogspot post, wanting to update both blogs at the same time, but not wanting to write different text for each.

A lot has happened during the past ten months. Following my aunt D.'s death in October 2016 and my mother's death on the 15th of November 2017, my father died, a few months after his 100th birthday, followed by three of his brothers, my last uncle on my mother's side, and on the 5th of this month, one of my last three aunts, my father's sisters. In December of last year, I was diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes. I've lowered my weight by 37 lbs. and my A1C by 5.5%, and before the end of this year, my doctor wants to discuss how much to reduce my medication, with the possibility that I can rely for the most part on continuing with exercise and proper diet.

Through hospice, I enjoyed working with a grief counselor, who came to my home every month or so, our last visit being during August's second week. Since I have fragrance and chemical sensitivities, I cannot do groups or other possibly toxic environments. Our meetings have had a profound effect on my grieving process and the ways in which I recognize and can deal meaningfully with the inevitable and unexpected losses of life.

Our parents' estates were settled, the last of the paperwork going through in...August? This month? I have forgotten. The brother and his wife who provided so much help to our mother during her final year bought the house for as low a cost as we could justify; if they have not already done so, they should very soon be moving in, needed repairs having been made. Everyone chose favorite keepsakes from the house, personal papers went to the sister who volunteered to transcribe and preserve letters, family history, and such, and the remainder, clothes and appliances and excess furniture, was given to charity or hauled away by city waste disposal department.

From my mother's trove of quilting creations and supplies, my sister-in-law from the Twin Cities asked me to choose a quilt top or two, which she has promised to make into finished quilts for me as she has time. And so I will have at least one more of Mother's quilts...if only to cover me in my coffin, although I look forward to using it as a bed cover at night. I must mention that to her and to my husband. At the memorial services and funerals that I have attended recently, I have found such things to be meaningful to many mourners. If nothing else, it gives people an extra something to talk about.

In my dreams just before waking, Mother looks happy and much younger. In her forties to early fifties, which is when we spent the most time together.  She was wearing her favorite red t-shirt to which she had added embroidery and her blue shorts, casual and relaxed. When I last saw her, she was coming out of the woodworking shop in the back yard, which my husband and I have built during this summer. She smiled as she walked toward me, just before I awakened.

This post can be found on both of my blogspot blogs, where I place occasional updates, as I do here. More often I can be found at WordPress (themomentsbetween, straycoffee, quiltedpoetry, theartofdisorder). And Mother's website is still RhodaBerry, also at, where there are photographs of her art and her quilts, the family, and a page about the books that she finished and published before her eyesight failed, the last one or two years of her life.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My Father Died

On Sunday, late evening, my father died in his sleep. We had celebrated his 100th birthday, last December.  With Mother gone, he slipped away, for no particular reason; physically, he was active, in good health, with no mental deterioration other than an occasional lapse of memory. Fully engaged in life, the world around him, and still holding solid, fact-based opinions on local to international concerns.

Is still a shock.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My mother died, last week

 . . . and her last remaining sibling (Dorothy) died at age 98 on October 26th. Transitions.

Most of my siblings plan to make it to my mother's memorial gathering, at least, if not the interment at the cemetery. I assume that Dad also will attend. My showing up may, in the end, depend on what the weather's like. Even so, I will take along my nebulizer and a couple doses of albuterol. (Note to self: get a prescription refill.) 

So many thoughts. Happy that she is now beyond the dementia that set in during the summer, the partial blindness from macular degeneration, and awareness of the most recent political campaigning.

And so we continue on with continuing on.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A periodic update

Today I received the 2016 Alumni Directory for the college from which I graduated in 1968. As to be expected, some of the names that I would have hoped to see with email or postal addresses still are not there. Great sadness that some of the people who were most dear to me will most likely never touch my life again, this side of death.

As an update, my poem did come out in Star*Line: 

Race to the end
Last galaxy in gets to start
the next Big Bang
Elizabeth Bennefeld, Star*Line 38.4 (Oct. 2015)
My concentration and energy died over the holiday season, and I never did get back to the other two poems that I'd submitted to Star*Line. I wrote every day for quite a while, however, and have not shut down completely during the ragweed pollen season, which is now, I hope, close to tapering off again.

 Late last year, my name was mentioned in an article by Diane Severson in Amazing Stories about women writing SF poetry.  That was rather fun.

The last of my clients are gone. When I got down to the last one, I had to tell her that I could no longer do the work. It's not that the work (computer support for her professional and teaching activities) is difficult, so much as that it is always last minute. "But I'm resting..." only sounds like a feeble excuse. It is now quite relevant to getting things done. 

I am not serving as co-editor or editor for the 2016 SFPA Halloween Poetry Reading. I do not know if anyone else will volunteer, but it is no longer my problem. I have reminded those whose responsibility it is to recruit or cancel. 

I have several places on WordPress where I blog: quiltedpoetry, themomentsbetween, and straycoffee [i.e. stray coffee breaks], all followed by -- that is, poetry, pictures (photos and photo art), and nattering.  

My 70th year of life is coming to a close. Nearly twice the age I'd thought I'd make it to.  Both the parents are still alive. 

I have both Twitter (lizlbennefeld) and Facebook accounts, now. Stop in, if you like. 

Feeling the desire to support the arts more actively, I have joined as a patron. Creators that I am now contributing to  are A. J. Odasso and Wild John Reinhart, poets; and Pamela Dean, Judith Tarr and Laura Anne Gilman, writers of speculative fiction.

Don't be a stranger! 


Monday, November 23, 2015


Today I canceled my commercial webhosting account. I am not getting back into any commercial activities on the Internet or here at home, and so there is no reason to pay commercial rates or use commercial web space. Thus quiltedpoetry(dot)com has, theoretically, at least, disappeared from the Internets.

I could have waited until March, but just wanted to get it out of the way. Since I have not been using the space or the domain emails for many months, I was concerned that I might forget. Better to take care of it four months ahead of time than to let it slide into new charges.

Please visit one of my WP blogs for updated information on writing activities, photography and daily life. 

Ah! I forgot to mention that I am finally dropping the nickname "Liz", which is an unfortunate holdover from childhood, although not quite so bad as "Bess", which I was called during my 15+ years in data processing with a regional (now nationwide) financial institution. It was during those years that I sought a name change, but it failed to take root.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I have retired


First, I am redirecting my The Written Word domain to this page until the domain expires (years from now), because I have retired from freelance writing, editing and consulting. My trade name runs out sometime in 2018. I kept my commercial archives of client manuscripts, etc., for two years.  I quit accepting new customers for academic editing in 2009, and new job search clients, the fall of 2012.

Aside from miscellaneous short personal jobs for three friends, I no longer have other people's manuscripts/job search, &c., on my archive/backup disk. Nada!

Second, we dropped our landlines a while back, and so are reliant on email and cell phones for communication. I would recommend email, since I pretty much keep my cell phone on Do Not Disturb. As senior citizens we are on everyone's commercial call lists, and I cannot write poetry when I am being interrupted by telephone spam.

Catching up on news


My poem "Race to the end" was published (on page 5 of) Star*Line 38.4 at the beginning of October 2015. I have yet to receive my contributor's complimentary paper copy. I am happy!

I've enjoyed the poetry writing, especially the Poetry 101 Rehab and RonovanWrites Haiku challenges. They've inspired me to write a lot of poems, for which I am grateful.

I came back this year to co-chair the Science Fiction Poetry Association's annual Online Halloween Poetry Reading. My co-chair is Shannon Connor Winward, who is enthusiastic and capable. It is good to have more people than myself know how this goes. I really don't intend to come back to do this again next year...although without responsibility for promotions and the answering of questions, it's really not that bad, this year. I guess I could be persuaded, all other things being equal.

Last year what wasn't equal was my sister's dying while beginning chemo/radiation treatments for cancer. This year it's my worsening eyesight and my laptop computer's disintegrating noticeably from one day to the next, even though scans show no problems. Blowing dust out of the insides seems to helped somewhat, but I'm still getting blue screens.

I've been enough out of it from various allergies and stress to have dropped the ball on all of my planned and regular correspondence. I don't feel guilty. I do feel uncomfortable about it, but in the manner of sadness. I cannot anymore do everything, and maintaining correspondence does not seem to be on the top of my priorities list. I may die alone (family not included in that) and abandoned as a result (and also hungry or adding paper cups and plastic forks and spoons to regular usage, since I'm flunking dishwashing again), but writing and reading and interacting with Al are taking the top three spots (that list is random, not ranked), and often, these days, there's no room for any of the items below those three.

I have located and ordered a replacement for my laptop: an Acer notebook that's actually got both Windows 10 and a DVD writer/player built in. Also 1TB drive and double the memory I was running with. I will be forever repaying that money to the proper fund, since instead of saving, this summer, I was ... directing that portion of my allowance elsewhere.  And I am glad. For writing when I can't get up to the desktop comfortably or for enough time at a stretch, I still have a functioning netbook. It has Word, and it doesn't have Internet capabilities at this point, which aids in concentrating on writing.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Every post wants a title

My poem has been postponed to issue #4, evidently to accommodate unexpected numbers of advertisements. I look forward to seeing the next issue, which should be available during the coming week via PDF. I think. In the meanwhile, I still have two poems to revise and resubmit, now that I am recovering from the allergy season. Except that someone's been burning leaves in our neighborhood, I think. Ah, well! I have enough albuterol from last autumn for my nebulizer that I should be able to make it through to bronchitis season without having to seek out another doctor. (Mine went missing at the end of June 2014; according to the Clinic's mass mailing, he left them, but they did not communicate his whereabouts).

Having decided to ditch POWWeb, its having become too expensive now that I have retired, I am closing down stuff left and right. Still finding email forwardings that don't go anywhere, etc. Oy vey!

I have, however, made use of another free WP site, where I am just doing informal stuff, as with here. Well, no, not exactly. I know that I can do more stuff with blogger, but I really like WP.

Anyway, today (is it midnight, yet?) ... yes, today I started a new blog at WP called StrayCoffee. Since retiring, I have been short on people to blither at, and so I have a WP, now, where I can write when I am taking a break with a cup of coffee (or tea or cup of yogurt or some ice cream...jelly sandwich?) and pretend I am talking with someone. My phone rings so often with calls from what the Internet tells me are telephone spam that I have quit answering calls totally, if I don't recognize the numbers. I think that I can set it up to only put through calls from people on my contacts list. Sometime when I don't have anything else to do.