Define "Family"
Teresa M Shafer - For books that kindle thought and ignite the imagination!
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Define "Family"

Some of you may have noticed that I answered everyone's messages. I enjoyed having the opportunity to read your responses to my blog and I thank you all for your kind words and thoughts. I can't tell you how excited I am when I get a new message from one of you. Thank you all so much.
I did go to Virginia City the other day, I took a few photos but mostly I spent my time making a new friend. Her name is Emerald, what an amazing name right? Anyway, Emerald has inspired me to write another book. This one is going to be a lot more difficult than any other that I have written for a long time. Don't worry I will finish Michael's Folly and The Poseidon's Daughter before I embark upon this new project. I will need all of my concentration to write this new saga. I'm calling it Desert Magic. Emerald inspired the idea, I've always wanted to write a story about a woman named Emerald. Meeting a woman with the name was providence. She gave me the parameters of the character, just by being herself. Then later that evening a song gave me the idea of the story. It's going to be a light hearted story, and it will be tailored for Nevada. But it should be entertaining and even a bit educational for anyone to read. I would give you the entire idea, but I have been informed by one of my readers that he/she is using my blog content on their own blog. I'm not sure if they are plagiarizing me or referencing me. But, to be on the safe side I'm staying mute on the subject. I know that some people reference my blog, and that's fine. But, the way this person said what they said.... just made me wonder.
Anyway, I finally finished the next chapter of Cali's little adventure.
Time became a blur. It did not pass and it did not standstill. It became nothing. It simply did not exist. Cali either slept, or she didn’t, that was all.
Nonna kept the glass by the bed full. Cali drank a lot of it. Her body used what it needed and sweat out the rest.
One day, or rather awake time… Nonna wheeled in a deep bathtub, and filled it with hot water. She plunked Cali into the full bath and told her to stay under the water. Cali needed no encouragement. She hadn’t felt this warm since before her little walk in the rain. The tension in Cali’s chest had begun to ease a while ago, Cali would have said days but, she really had no idea how long. She could feel her body growing stronger. In fact just before Nonna had come in, Cali had felt her stomach grumble. She had been drinking broth. Now apparently, she wanted more. She told Nonna that he stomach had grumbled while the older woman was making up the bed.
“That’s good. I had expected as much. I made you up some real food… well it’s real food, for a baby. But, it will do just as well for you. You haven’t eaten solid food for a week. It will take you some time to get back to normal.”
The reference time did not startle Cali. She had expected as much. Pneumonia isn’t the common Cold, one doesn’t just get over it in a few days. “Can I call Connie now?”
“After your bath.”
The promise of speaking to Connie didn’t make Cali wash any faster. The warm water felt good on her body and lungs. She had already begun the process of coughing up fur balls, and the humidity right under her nose was helping. It was getting better. At first she saw nothing but green. Now, she was seeing mostly yellow. The rain had stopped a while back but, the flooding that it had caused was keeping Nickola busy. Mother Nature was giving Cali time to heal.
After her bath Cali went out to the dining room, it really wasn’t a dining room so much as it was a place where the table sat. The living area had a kitchen in one corner and a table sat between the kitchen and the back door. The back door was also in a corner. The front door was in the corner diagonally across from the back. In between, the collective space was the living room. The hallway sat about three quarters down the wall from the front door. A short quarter wall sectioned off the living space with the kitchen, and it sat right next to the hallway. It was this quarter wall that Cali leaned onto keep her balance on this, and many subsequent trips, into the dining room to eat.
The call to Connie was short. After Cali had eaten she was more than ready to go back to bed. The short time at the table had allowed her hair to dry. Nothing was keeping her from sleeping again. Not even the sound of Connie’s voice.
Over the next week this became a bit of a ritual, except for the bath. It became a shower, with the help of a wooden stool. On the second day Cali was told to shut her phone off and store it. There was a new one waiting on the window seal. She had a questions, but they were unimportant. Cali just used the new phone and tried not to think about the different sounds that it made when making the connection.
Finally, as things normally happen, she simply woke up one day and her head was clear and her body felt whole again. She was weak but, she was herself again.
Nonna could see the change in Cali. After the two had shared a meal, Nonna brought out a suit case.
“I expect we’ll get moving soon.” She answered Cali’s unspoken question.
Cali nodded. “Yah, we need to get this over with. One way or the other. This whole business needs to be resolved.”
“You should rest a couple more days, but I doubt that you will take that advice.”
“I will rest tomorrow as well, and I’ll take it from there. One day at a time. I learned my lesson about rushing things.”
Nonna smiled. “Good”
A thought had been rattling around in Cali’s head for quite a while. I might as well ask. “Why is it that the ghosts don’t show themselves to me here?”
“You are here to chase Demons, not ghosts. They don’t want to be a distraction.”
Cali had thought when she started this whole mess, that her Demons were ghosts. But, none of the ghosts that she had expected were even here. All that was left of the people that they had once been was in her memories, and her guilt. Nonna was right, Cali was chasing Demons. Some Demons she had brought with her, and others she had not. But, they all had one thing in common, they wanted to paralyze her. She couldn’t afford to be paralyzed. If getting sick had showed her anything, it had showed her just how little she could get done if she was stuck in one spot. It applied to both the physical and mental aspects of her life. Her Demon of guilt had kept her from many things, one of which was truly opening up and becoming part of, or having a family, even one that was a pick-a-mix like hers. Connie, Bobbie, Angela, Tao and Sami, Pooky and now Nonna, and perhaps Nickola if things went well, were Cali’s family.  
“Is Nickola on his way home?” She hoped that he wasn’t.
“No, I can recall him, if you like.”
“No, I need to rest up for a couple more days, and your neighbors can use his help.” A few days would give her the time to fine tune her plans. If everything went well, she could lay several Demons to rest at once, and give her sister… it felt good to think of Angela as a sister… Cali thought of Monica and how little she had acted like a sister. In contrast, Angela had always treated her as a sister. The thought of Angela made her smile. The thought of Monica made her feel remorse, pity, no… mostly the thought of Monica made Cali feel sorrow. Her sister Monica had begun to die the day their mother was put into the ground. It had been a slow process, and Cali wasn’t exactly sure when Monica had actually died and that creature that now lives in her body had taken over. She just knew in her heart that it had happened. She had witnessed it, and never realized. It was time to truly let go of Monica. It was time to lay her sister to rest. Instead she needed to focus on the family that she had gathered in her life. The family that she loved and that loved her in return. Now it was time to focus on helping one, and protecting the rest.  
It's a short chapter but, I needed to transition Cali out of being sick and put her back onto the track. She needed to feel comfortable doing what she is going to do. She couldn't have gone into the next phase without being completely convinced that it is what she wanted. Family has never had a good meaning for her. She needed to redefine the term in her own heart. If she had not gone through this, she would have faltered or hesitated at the wrong time.
All of life, every little piece of it, is an opportunity to learn and grow. Cali takes full advantage of every scrap that is given to her. In that regard she is a good example to us all.
Live well and be good to each other.

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