Saturday, April 29, 2006

We need to talk...................................

Why is it that those four simple words, strung in that particular order, instantly transport many of us staight into intstant anxiety? Is it me, or does most everyone immediately think that the worst is about to happen?

Two days ago, someone said those four little words to me. Instantly my heart leapt into my thoat, my body kicked into the fight or flight reaction, the pit of my stomach registered dred, and I began to shake inside. And, of course, my mind raced straight to "What have I done wrong? Pretty strong reaction for such short words, don't ya think?

Some other things needed attending to before we could have "the talk," and brain spent that time pondering why she tends to leap to conclusions before hearing the facts, without coming to any specific conclusions. And to end your suspense, the subject of "the talk" had nothing to do with anything I had done, but with something I would need to start doing as part of a resident's plan of care. (Sorry no more details..... Can you spell HIPA?...... How about RELIEF, no Rolaids needed this time.)

I kept wondering if others would have as strong of a reaction, so I turned to my resident Guinea Pigs, (my) Mister, and my youngest. I posed the question "What are the worst words I could say to you?" My youngest replied, "If you told me I was ugly." (Hey! She is seventeen, aren't they all into looks at that age?) After a little sidebar chat about loving yourself, and beauty comes from within, I ask her how she feels when someone says, "We have to talk?" Her IMEDIATE response was, "That's ALWAYS horrible news." When I ask her why, she too had no clear reason for her reaction.

Posing a slightly different question "What are the worst words anyone could say to you?" to (my) Mister, his response was, "If someone told me that you were dead." (Okay! Not quite as self-centered, and it is good to know he cares!) When I ask him what he thinks when told "we have to talk," his response was "That we have to talk." Three thoughts 1. He is too literal for his own good. 2. He has become an expert at keeping his emotions well hidden, even from himself. 3. I am a "jump to conclusion nut case" that has worn off on her kids, and he represents the greater population. More than likely, all three hold some validity.

Maybe the whole thing can be chalked up to simple conditioning. I laugh at my dogs, because when they are naughty, and take off out the front door, the way I get them to come back is to get their leashes, and call down the road, "Want to go for a walk?" They come charging back from the corner, happy as clams that they get to go for a walk. I always make sure that when they come, I actually take them for a walk (abet a short one, sometimes just the length of the driveway) so it keeps working for me about ninty percent of the time.

Conditioning? I often eat because it is lunch time, (or someone else is eating) not because I am hungry. I do laundry every day, not because we are out of clothes, but because I hate to see them piling up. I lift weights because it is Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, not because I get any great pleasure from it. (Though, I am still hoping to fall in love with it someday.) Maybe this is the same way with hearing the words "we have to tak?"

While I think it is too much to ask that someday I learn to respond like (my) Mister did to those words, I am hopeful, as I continue to work on loving myself, I might make headway with not taking the words so personally. Maybe I can condition myself to think something is wrong, instead of I DID SOMETHING WRONG. That would be progress don't you think?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Introducing Dili.....................................

I created Dili to help me tell stories.

Dili is short for diligent which is defined in the dictionary as:

"Characterized by steady, ernest, and energetic application and effort."

I figured if the stars could get away with some of the names they dream up, why can't I? Remember................. Constructive criticism will only make me a better writer, so please feel free to give me some feedback regarding this piece.

Keep reading to meet Dili................ Enjoy!


Dili entered the classroom and proceeded to her usual spot, last table on the left. She had discovered that this was the best place to block out the chaos that had become the norm during class time. Settling her books onto the table she made sure her tape recorder was set to hit record, then dug through her backpack for her stack of note cards. It had become Dili’s habit to study during class; and then weed through the hour and half tape at a later time to get the twenty-five minutes of information the instructor would somehow manage to impart between the giggles and stupid comments of the silly school kids.

None of the others seemed to take school seriously, but then most of them were in their twenties (if that) and didn’t have as much riding on their success as she did. Dili had tried to fit in and make friends, until the day that two of the other students had very blatantly set out to guarantee her failure on a timed exam, by hiding the various bones of the lower leg from her view so she could not identify them. The instructor had watched with blind eyes, and from that moment on Dili kept to herself; her only focus to get through the program, and get on with her life.

Dili had barely finished looking at the first note card when the instructor arrived and class got underway. Today’s topic was about old people. The medical term for that age group was geriatrics. Suppressing a smile Dili thought to herself, “That’s probably what all these young kids think I am, a geriatric.” Some days, she did indeed feel old, but that was usually only when the pressures of life increased to the boiling point. Most of the time she had tons of energy. Dili was sure she could work circles around these kids, confident that they would burn out quickly if they lived her life of eighteen hour days six to seven days a week.

Bringing her attention back to the present, Dili noted that the classroom had become strangely quiet. The instructor was sharing something about her grandfather, and seemed to be having trouble speaking. As the other students looked on, tears began to form in the instructors eyes, and she turned away to face the chalkboard. With no conscious thought, as though she was having an out of body experience, Dili rose from the last table on the left and walked to the front of the room. She gently gathered the instructor into her arms and offered her silent comfort. After about thirty seconds the instructor whispered her thanks and went to the bathroom to compose herself.

Heading back to gather her things, Dili couldn’t help but be proud that she was who she was; someone strong enough to offer support without worrying about how it might be received, or what others may think. Someone who had seen enough personal tragedy to be able to reach out and comfort another. Someone that cared.

As the other students began snickering and making snide comments, Dili could only feel compassion for them; they still had such a long road ahead of them, and so much more to learn. She finished gathering up her things and quietly exited the classroom the same way she had came in, with dignity and grace.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

These are more views of the same flower that I posted the other day, and ask if readers could identify it. Just goes to show that everything is simply a matter of pespective!

In case you still don't know what type of flower it is, it's a tulip.
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Tying up some loose ends...................................

About the chocolates...................

While we still have several of them left, the contest is officially over, with not much new to report. The winner is officially John and Kira's. The chocolate from Bissinger's was good, but compared to the other two, was nothing special. In fact several of the pieces had fillings that were so over sweet, that they blocked out not only the taste of the chocolate, but it was also hard to even determine what the filling was. The chocolates from La Masion Du Chocolates, is a very high quality product, and I think it comes down to personal taste as to which one becomes the favorite. I had a friend taste both, and she perfered La Masion. Where they would edge out in front for me, is in the size of the chocolates. Their box is smaller, as are the individual pieces, (And there are more pieces in the box.) making them better for portion control. I also want to tell you, that after the first mention of the taste test, I sent John and Kira an e-mail and told them about my taste compare contest, and gave them my link so they could check it out for themselves. I actually got a response back that refered enough to the blog post that someone had to have read it. I rate this high on customer service, and any company that makes me feel like an individual gets brownie points. Which is a good segway into the next topic........................

I have sent my registration in for the Compassion In Action training, and now I need to find a hotel. Of course it sounds easy to punch in map quest, print out directions, and then click on hotels and there you have it. It NEVER works out that way for me, but eventually I aquired a number to a hotel that appeared to be close to where the conference is happening. I called the hotel to be sure of the location and see if there were rooms available. Someone aswered the phone, and before I had gotten a half of sentence out of my mouth ask if I could hang on a minute. Of course I said yes, so onto hold I went, and five seconds later got a RECORDING TO LEAVE A MESSAGE. You've got to be kidding me. Right? I did not leave a message, and after stewing about this for a bit, I decided to call another hotel that looked fairly close as well. This time the person that answered actually talked to me, but when I ask where they were located in reference to the conference, SHE HAD NO IDEA! Okay! We are not talking Chicago here, but Addison IL. And even if she herself didn't know, don't ya think she could have put me on hold and found out the information? So now I am trying to figure out who I should give my business to, since both places treated me so poorly. If anyone reading this, knows Addison, PLEASE drop me a line and let me know where a good place to stay is. Thanks. And on a more personal note.......... You know who you are.................YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! ( as in "Yes! I WAS thanking YOU for the information.) I am nervous thinking about meeting you in the flesh because of all the great things I had heard about you from our mutual aquaintance. Not to mention the fact that I have set on my butt about getting this training for two years, and you were so promptly pro-active about seeking it out. Don't be surprised if I rub your arm a lot while we are together...... I am hoping that some of your goodness rubs off onto me.

Also on a personal note of sorts....... About commenting....... Those of you that tell me you would have left a comment, but you didn't know how...... Join the club........ I have heard so many tales of bad things happening when you click on something you should not have clicked on. This site is not one of those times. Simply click on "Reader's Thoughts," and that will pull up a window with a box you can type in (under "leave your comments.") Write whatever is on your mind, (I know there is something you are dying to say!....... You NEVER have trouble speaking up when I am driving, or want to pick the movie!) and when you are done, click on the little circle beside anonymous, scroll down until you see the funny blue letters and type those letters in the little box below. Hit the "login in and publish" button, and that is that. NOT scary at all. If you want me to know who you are, you can sign your name, or else use your code name (Like "my other right arm," "(my) Mister," "You know who you are," "Our mutual aquaintance," To keep the rest of the reader's (and myself) guessing. Now, scroll down and practice........................... It won't bite. I promise!

Since telling the universe to back off on bringing me change, things have been a little more calm around here...... I HAVE been able to get my running and work-outs in, and maybe today I will even get those last two windows clean! IT COULD HAPPEN! It is suppose to be in the sixties outside today, and the sun is shining. Sunshine means a new crop of weeds will be peaking their heads out of the ground to get warm, and fight with my flowers for survivial, making it impossible for me to relax in my hammock. (That was purchased as a joint present for Last mother's/father's day present, and used exactly three times since. This year there is talk about a new gas grill. Not all that romantic, but at least I KNOW it will get used!) So much to do......... So little time................ Enjoy checking things off your own personal to do list today!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Truer words were never spoken..........................

A dear friend of mine (You know the kind that functions like another right arm, just when you need a helping hand.) sent these words to me, and I needed to pass them on to all of my readers. I'm sorry that I don't have a source to put with them. The words she sent are below, in quotes:

"As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken, probably more than once, and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You'll fight with your best friend. You'll blame a new love for things an old one did. You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back."


I read those words three times in a row, and each time I was reminded of a different broken heart, both received and given. Each time, I wondered if I would be able to go on, but in the end it was all I could do. I am postive that if they do an autopsy when I die, they will find my heart covered with scar tissue, as well as a few places that were cut and bruised during the falling and then re-building of that protective brick wall that surrounds my heart. And yet, if pressed, I would have to admit, (in retrospect,) that something good was born out of each broken heart, so I wouldn't change a thing.

There is a song (sung by Collin Ray) that talks about "All my roads, bring me to this momement," and it is so true. Each of us is the sum total of each of our individual experiences. Some of those experiences we can control to a degree, and some completely pull us along like a tide moving out to sea. Regardless, every experience makes us just a little different then we were before we experienced it. Once we go through something, the only thing we can change about it, is our present attitude towards it.

Because I am a control freak, (as well as a coward,) in the last several years I have been more aware of the situations I place myself in. By listening to the voice within, I have often been able to steer myself towards positive loving people, and away from choices that were negative for me. Does this prevent heartbreak? Not at all. Loving, positive people, still move away (physically or mentally) get cancer, face scary life experiences. I have just found it easier to move through those losses/changes when the memories of the relationships are bright and sunny rather than dark and gloomy. I am a big believer that life can be hard enough without my help, so why not take care of myself as best I can through the choices I make?

I have also discovered that it helps to find a postive in even the worst of heartbreaks. I have made reference in the past regarding the fact that the foster home I lived in was not always the best of environments, but always I remember to add "that at least it allowed me to stay together with my ( four other) siblings, so things could have been worse." I have been fortunate enough to always be able to look back and say, " Things could have been worse." (NOTE: I said "Look back on," NOT "while going through it.") Attitude adjustment....... It works wonders!

So, even if you forget your camera, take lots of snapshots with your mind, fillingly them away for when you need a pick-me-up. Believe that it truly is "Better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all." Allow yourself to grieve your loss and heartbreak, but remember to eventually move on; taking what you need with you, leaving behind the rest. Most of all, ALWAYS BE LOVING AND KIND TO YOURSELF.................. It is the best way to practice how to treat others!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I promised him that he could be next to stand in for me. Is that not the cutest face you have ever seen?
This tag is compliments of Has to be me

Answer the questions for yourself as you are reading my answers, I think you might find it interesting. I left off question twenty-five which pertained to tagging five other people. Feel free to steal the questions for personal use, if you so desire.

On your mark, get set, Go..

1.Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18 and find line 4.

From the book "RUNNING WITHIN" By: Jerry Lynch and Warren Scott. Page eighteen, line four reads, "Powerful yet primitive area of the brain ultimately governs the" So as not to keep you hanging...... "cortical brain function. Try this experiment: use your consious cortical brain functions to force yourself to stop breathing. Take a deep breath. Hold it. Go!" Oh right! The question only ask for line four.

2.Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, and catch air?

It's a little stale, (got busted with the windows open again.)but I got it.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?

Bits and pieces of the Today Show this morning, while breakfast was happening.

4.Without looking, guess what time it is?

ten forty-five.

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?

Ten forty-two. I did better today than I did when I was reading the tag on Has to be me blog.

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

The oxygen concentrator, the movie "The Untouchables," The bathroom door sliding shut, the dryer running, the fish tank...... Enough, I am shutting out the rest....

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?

At six this morning. I walked to the road and back to bring in the paper.

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?

Since I have had MANY interuptions since starting the survey, my memory is a blur, but I am pretty sure I checked my bank statements to see what had cleared.

9. What are you wearing?

Navy shorts, one of my Eeyore T-shirts, short white running socks, my old running shoes, which become my every day shoes when I get new running shoes. With my fallen arches I have to wear supportive shoes or my feet hurt more than usual. Glasses, I have not found the thiry seconds it takes to put my contacts in...... Maybe after lunch.

10. Did you dream last night?

I had a dream in which I kept trying to drink orange juice, and each time I took a drink it burned my throat. When I woke up from the dream, (my) mouth was so dry I couldn't stand it, and my throat was burning. A much needed drink of water took care of the problem and I promptly went back to dream land.

11. When did you last laugh?

This morning with my youngest as she was getting ready to leave for school. I think it was something along the lines of "It is NOT thirty two degrees (ie. freezing)in your school. I'll be coming over there with my thermometer, just to prove you wrong."

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?

I am in my living room, which is decorated with photos I took, a picture my sister painted for me, My "honor" wall dedicated to (my)Mister's dad and my brother who both fought for our freedom, and the art work that I purchased from my yoga teacher. The first "real" art work I ever bought. Oh! Ya! And this really great mirror that used to hang in (my) Mister's grandfather's bar.

13. Seen anything weird lately?

Besides the last time I looked in the mirror? When I was working on my friend, she had her arm extended out to the side, elbow bent, hand pointed towards the ceiling. I ask her to wiggle her fingers, and when she did, her left rhomboid (one of her shoulder muscles) did this funny little dance. I'd never seen that happen before!

14. What do you think of this quiz?

I'm having a good time, and hope those reading/taking it along with me are likewise amused.

15. What is the last film you saw?

At the theater, where you go to eat the yummy movie popcorn? "The Family Stone." I'd give it a seven. I like Sarah-Jessica, but it was just a little too predictable.

16. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?

I have these really great plans to build the perfect nursing home. I have it all planned out in little quardrents that all feed into a big area for social gatherings. I would pay (and treat) my staff so very good that the best of the best would want to work there. The residents would have consistent quality person-centered care, with no more than a four-to-one caregiver ratio. There would be a handicap accessible pool heated to ninty-nine degrees that the residents could go into anytime they needed to float their cares (and aches and pains) away. There would be places for out of town guest to stay to promote longer visits for the residents, the best chefs I could find to prepare the meals, with fresh food, and the kitchen would be open twenty four hours a day. The best part....... It wouldn't matter how much money one has. Quality care would finally be available to everyone, not just for those that can afford it.

17. Tell me something about you that I dunno.

This one was hard for me. There are lots of things that most of you don't know about me, (like my birthday is in October)but I wanted to think of something that not even the people that know me knew. So........ One weekend, a girlfriend and I stayed trashed (Oh what you can guess. That remains my little secret.) for thrity-six hours staight, just to see if we could. Don't remember much about it, but I can honestly say I never felt the need to do this more than that time.

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?

I would do away with all the rules but the golden rule. In my perfect world people would treat one another with love and kindness as a matter of course, so rules would not be necessary.

19. Do you like to dance?

I LOVE TO DANCE. In fact have a hard time keeping still if I hear anything vaguely resembling music.

20. George Bush.

Be nice Patty............

21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?

Guess what? She was. Not her given name, but as a baby I called her pumpkin, and remember I refer to her as my pride.

22. Imagine your second child is a boy, what do you call him?

Right again! His baby name was Bubby (Still is to his little sister, much to his horror.) And, he is the joy that goes with my pride.

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?

There's no place like home!

24.What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?

Thank you for loving me, for taking care of me, and for welcoming me home.
Is there a full moon or WHAT?....................

There is a saying, be carefull what you ask for. Remember when I said I needed to change things up in my life? I DIDN'T MEAN THIS MUCH! Let me state for the record........ IT WAS JUST A THOUGHT, don't take me so literally. (Talking to the universe there.......)

Nothing drastic, just tons of schedule adjustments. And yesterday, not being able to publish when I wanted to. Now, the side bar of my blog has disappeared to the bottom of the page AGAIN. I have given up trying to understand why that happens. Blame it on Blogger, and let it go.......... With me, it is always the little things that drive me nuts. In fact, when I was walking up the driveway, after gettting home (at eight in the evening..... I am usually well on my way with the bedtime routine by eight) after finally running (Was only able to fit it in two times last week.) I remember thinking to myself, "maybe something drastic happen so I can deal with something in a calm relaxed manner, instead of continuing to spaz out over nothing. This girl needs a chill pill.

Good news........ My TB test is NOT getting read and/or looking scary. I went to the dentist, hardly any plack, and the dentist agreed we could "watch" one of my fillings (remember they are almost as old as I, and beginning to get soft and need work.) for another six months. I enjoy seeing my dentist. Once upon a time, I provided childcare for his now twenty-eight year old son, so it is good to catch up and talk about our running adventures over the past six months. (Another bonus of living in small town USA>) Dear sweet mouth, on the other hand, is not such a fan of going to the dentist. The hygentist and I have come to an agreement. He can pick, prod, and scrape to his hearts content, but when it comes time for that vibrating polishing tool, he is to get in and out just as fast as he possibly can. This keeps mouth quiet for the most part. Trust me, after dealing with people with dentures on a daily basis, mouth is going to the dentist whether she likes it or not. I plan to keep my teeth for many years to come.

More good news....... I am down to only two more windows needing to be washed. Of course it has rained everyday since I did one of the large windows, so it (as well as the french doors that the dogs use to go in and out to the back yard) look as if it has not been touched, but I know different. And I bought a new vacuum....... Would you believe that the one I had would only run for about twenty minutes before shutting itself off. (and it is not because it was old. I bought it bran new, it has had this quirk since day one, and I have put up with it for close to two years.) This week....... NO MORE...... Told you I needed change. I don't know what Dave would say, but this week it was definitely okay to take it out of the emergancy fund for the sake of my sanity. (Actually it came out of the business account, but I am trying to liven up an otherwise boring tale.)

Now that I have livened up you world with the detailed report of my mundane existence, I will end for now and go sling the breakfast hash. Actually I think pancakes is on the menu, (Can anyone really face hash this early in the morning?) so flipping (up, not out) will be appropriate. For the next half hour anyway.

Be on the look-out for another post later today. Has to be me tagged me, and this is one you can take while reading my responses. An interactive blog......... Imagine!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Can you guess what type of flower this is?
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Going into the pain..........................

A friend of mine has been having a bit of trouble with some pain/numbness/tingling in her mid-back/arm, and came over yesterday to confer with "doctor Patty." As I was massaging her sore muscles, I could not help but compare and contrast her reactions to those of my youngest daughter's when I do the same to her. If my daughter asks me to work on her, you can believe that she is in a bad way, because she claims "I hurt her." First rule of theraputic massage....... It doesn't always feel good. Like a two-year-old receiving a time out, sometimes our muscles have to be encouraged to behave. Anyway, the hardest part of working on my daughter, is in getting her to relax the muscles so they will go back to doing what they are ment to do. She is not used to her body mis-behaving, and has not had the need to work through much pain in her young life.

My friend, on the other hand, is older and wiser. As anyone that has been around for a while, she has had her share of pain to deal with. She has made a consious effort to go inside of her body, and listen to the signals and subtle cues, and to learn from them. As I was working on her, she was able to enter into a relaxed state, that encouraged her muscles to also relax. She has learned the fine art of working with the pain, rather than trying to escape from it.

Regarding my body, I am pretty good at facing and working with the pain.

Regarding emotional pain, I am pretty much still spending all of my energy fighting it, rather than embracing and working through it. When I make declaration like, "I don't care what others think" I am running from pain. If I really don't care, I don't feel a need to declare my feelings of not caring. When I am being my most defensive, is when I am in the most pain.

Someone told me the other day that I have a very forceful personality. No disagreement from me on this one. I agreed with his assessment, and we moved the conversation along. Had I been brave, I might have expressed my opinion that my forceful personality was born out of pain and fear, and that while I am coming across to the world as a force to be reckoned with, inside I am feeling like a fraud that will be discovered at any second. This persona of a forceful personality was born out of a need to protect myself; from my inability to deal with emotional pain. Remember the movie Sybil? Maybe I don't have names for the various personalities living inside of me, but they are there never the less. How else can I explain my ability to be having a knock down drag out DISCUSSION? with (my) Mister, the phone ringing, and me answering it and having a sweet sounding pleasant conversation with whoever is on the other end of the line. As soon as the phone connection is severed, "miss dagger throwing insults, fight to the death to make my point" takes over again, as if the phone had never rang.

Or take the game Rock, Paper, scissors................. Rock smashes scissors, scissors cut paper to ribbons, and paper takes the light out of rock by covering it. In order to protect my broken heart I can smash, cut, and cover any light that one can bring on, even if doing so makes me more miserable than I was before. And you thought you had issues!

From a logical perpective, I know that my defensive behavior is neither productive or beneficial to anyone, especially not me. Sometimes, I catch onto this logic before creating too much damage. The longer I hold onto my justifications for my behavior, the more pain and suffering I go through. No logic in that statement. Many (many) years ago, when I was in junior high school ( For all you youngesters out there they call it middle school now.) I had an argument with a girl that I had been friends with since Kindergarten. We didn't speak to each other for the next three years. Can I remember what I was upset about? NOT AT ALL. But I feel really sad that I wasted all that time on something that was so unimportant that I can't even remember it.

I have had enough death in my life to know that nothing is as important as the people in our world. I either need to get rid of these personalities inside of me that cause pain to myself and the people around me, or I need to figure out how to go into my perceived pain to work though things once and for all. Does anyone have the name of a good exorsist? No! Then I had better get busy confronting my pain instead of the people in my world. Think postive thougths for me please.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

New Years Resolution soon to be fullfilled, thanks to my blog.......................

As 2005 drew to a close, my oldest and I had a conversation regarding our hopes and plans for the coming year. The idea was to hold one another accountable to their resolutions. Our together resolution was to keep running races together. We have completed one, and have two more scheduled, so we are on target with that one. Yah! My individual resolution was to finally complete the compassion in action training that I have been talking about taking for two years; ever since I met Danion Brinkley and learned about his program. To make a long story short, (Or at least short for me.) one of my readers checked out Danion's web site after I mentioned it, found out that there was to be a training close enough for me to drive to, got the info to me, and I am going to be getting the training next month. I am so excited. A HUGE thank you goes out to (you know who you are) for her interest, investigation, and eagerness to learn and grow.

For newer readers, Compassion in Action is a program designed and implemented so that nobody (Dannion's focus is on America's Veterens) has to die alone. The training gives one the tools (and the piece of paper, that says one has the tools) to offer support to a dying person, and their families. Not only will this training be extreamely benificial in my current career, (and therefore bonus....... the trip is tax deductible) but is a great stepping stone towards the path that I know I am suppose to be heading down. Talk about a win win win!

Right now, the weeds nestled in and among my flowers are calling to me. I find weeding very theraputic. (When I do not have to jump up every five minutes to attend to something else that is.) The weeds seem most happy to give their little green lives for my enjoyment. Maybe, because there are always more waiting to take their place........... They must have nine lives like a cat.

Friday, April 21, 2006

"Only dead fish go with the flow." (From a plaque in a Welsh pub.)..................

It's been a while since I talked about a book I am reading. This may be explained by the fact that there have been many things vying for my attention as of late. The pile of reading material beside my chair keeps growing and growing........ Anyway, you are going to love the title of the book that I found the above quote in........ Improv Wisdom Don't Prepare, Just Show Up, Written by Patricia Ryan Madson (And recommended by Jana Stanfield.)

I have only read about a third of the book, but the point I think she is making is that life is one big improv. Another way to look at this is with the saying, "Shit Happens." How true is that?

Never more true than this morning........ It has been four hours since I typed the above paragraph, and Boy! Has it been happening! ( Do you think I brought it on by thinking the above statement?..... Na........) I'll spare you the details, and try to pick up where I left off.

I am a planner. I like to know what I need to do, as well as when, and how I plan to do it. Why is it then that no matter how well planned, life has a way of meandering wherever it feels like? I have come to believe that a sign of maturity is learning how to roll with life's punches. Some days I do this better than other days. Some days I just feel like having one giant two-year-old temper tantrum. (And once in a while do just that!)

One of my many phone calls this morning was one of the hospice workers canceling her scheduled appointment with one of our residents. She told me she had not gotten her TB test as of yet, and saved me lots of grief. How? Next Friday, I will be visited by the agency that licenses Adult Foster Care. It is time to renew my license, and it totally slipped my mind that (my) Mister and I also need to have our TB test updated. We still have time to get it done before next Friday, instead of having to do a bunch of follow-up paper work. Of course there are already six different things on the calendar for Monday and Wednesday of next week, but we figured out Monday, and as I told (my) Mister "I'll worry about Wednesday after we get through Monday.

When the stress gets too high, I figure I have two choices. (Since killings is both a sin, and illegal.) I can either laugh or cry. Not only does crying ruin one's make-up, (Ya! Like I wear make-up.) and makes one look like crap, it's a terrible waste of good hydration. Laughter, on the other hand, is good exercise not only for your face and belly muscles, but also for your soul. There are times when I take life way too seriously. I know I am doing this when I am feeling (emotionally) miserable day after day. This is when I need to remind myself that as important a ripple in the big pond of life that I may be....... I am just one ripple, and it is okay to let the rest of the ripples in the pond help me out now and then. It is even okay to let the rest of the ripples carry me for awhile. I don't have to do it all? What a concept! Maybe I'll give it a try...... Just as soon as I finish laughing at my crazy life. Feel free to join in.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Brown made my day..........................

I am happy to report that all three boxes of chocolate are safe and sound under my roof now. That tracking thing really works. It was interesting to keep an eye on the packages. I guess one can do the same thing with the post office if you ever need to send something important.

Interesting to note: The most expensive chocolates (La Du Masion) came in the smallest box, the middle priced ones (John and Kira's) came in the middle sized box, and the least expensive ones in the largest box. The least expensive, (Bissingers) was also pre-packaged and sealed in celophane, (Nothing wrong with this, just an observation.) the other two were definitely hand packed when the order was received and then shipped out directly. For a point of reference, I paid eighty-eight dollars for La Du Masion (This is the one that I HAD to get over night shipping at twenty-seven dollars), John and Kira's (I already feel like they are part of the family) cost about forty-five dollars, and Bissinger's was around thiry-five.) Now! On to the important stuff.

The taste.............. Bissinger's is at least as good as See's, (My favorite before the taste test began.) and very enjoyable, but none of us are rating it outstanding at this point. La Du Masion taste totally sinfull, but so far all of the pieces taste very similar to one another. Their flavors are maybe a little to subtle, or else we are not diserning enough to appreciate the subtlety of each piece. John and Kira's is in the lead at this point. (Three pieces into the taste test.) Not only do their unique flavors permeate the chocolate, but the flavor lingers after the last bit of chocolate has melted away. After tasting John and Kira's, my youngest used words like, "Died and gone to Heaven....... This is what I want for every gift I get in the future.......... I'll give you three weeks wages if I can have the other two lavender ones ALL to myself." (My) Mister on the other hand said, "What's Lavender taste like?" He is smell and taste challenged to say the least. Either that or it is just a guy thing. After I told him to "Lick your teeth after the chocolate is melted" he was able to pick up the hint of orange in the Bergamot flavor, which says a lot for the taste/quality of John and Kira's chocolate. My youngest and I are thinking of kicking him out of the taste test. Why waste the good stuff on someone that isn't really appreciating it? (In our defense this idea came after (my) Mister made the comment "I'll take a bag of Hersey's Nuggets any day." Anyway, this little taste test idea is turning out to be as wonderful as I thought it would be. Stay tuned, and I will keep you updated as we nibble and savor our way through the assorted chocolates.

Has to be me ask me how it was I could lose weight while eating chocolates. Well, I am not really losing weight. I have actually gained some weight (according to the scales) since I began lifting weights, but remember I have also lost five percent of my body fat, so I look like I have lost weight. Being healthy isn't about what the scales says, but about your body composition, and the percentage of fat one carries around. I came across a picture of me from about seven years ago (I thought I was fat then too.) in which I weigh around one hundred and fifty pounds. My current weight is around one sixty. (I can't believe I am telling someone what I weigh....... Talk about progress........ I used to lie on my drivers license....... How pathetic is that?????) I look much skinnier today then I did then, especially in the thighs. Maybe I will pose for a picture (I hate doing that!) and post them side by side so you can see what I mean.

In preparation for the half-marathon, I was really watching what I ate as far as content goes. I have been sticking to this plan pretty much since, and it is working well. I try and make my meals around two hundres calories and eat six times a day. (At least four times.) Some meal examples: A protein shake, an apple with reduced fat peanut butter, a piece of Ezekiel 4:9 bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a half of banna sliced on top, a mini (Pepperidge Farm) one hundred percent whole wheat bagel with three to four ounces of deli turkey and a squirt of spicy mustard, (These whole wheat bagels are a relatively new discovery for me, and they are REALLY good. My family hasn't figured out that they are also good for you, so they will eat them too.) a protein bar, (Zone is the one that has the highest protein/lowest sugar ratio from my research, and again, my family will eat this brand.) a salad with a can of tuna added, seasoned with a little vinegar and oil or lite salad dressing. I try and make my biggest meal of the day mid-day, and add veggies to this meal to make sure I am getting enough of those. What I have been able to stay away from (for the most part since Lent) is cheese. I have been battling that one for years. The sharp cheddar that I adore has just plain too much fat to have any place in a healthy eating plan. I am still a taste test kind of cook, so I know that I probably get two or three hundred calories a day tasting to season what I cook for others. I am finally owning up to and counting these calories, another big hurdle for me. If I want something, I eat it. I just try and eat a tiny amount of it, exchange the calorie count for one of my six meals, and/or else step up my exercise to cover the extra calories. I am going to hang onto this current attitude towards eating and food over the summer and see if I can get rid of some more body fat this way. We shall see. Does that answer your question Has to be me? Eat high quality food in small quanities, with a sprinkle of treats and see what happens.

Sorry if I bored you all with a detailed discription of mouth's latest pleasures. Remember I am using this blog to cement my commitments to a healthy lifestyle. Writing about my choices and activities helps me to stay honest with myself, which is a big piece of the puzzle, so I say again........ Thanks for being there for me, and for listening. Know I appreciate it greatly.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A life of its own...............................

This whole chocolate adventure is taking on a life of its own. This tells me either: (1) I have crossed the line on this whole chocolate thing, (2) I need a new hobby, or (3) I am over indulging that inner brat of mine again................

Less than twenty-four hours after ordering it, I received my chocolate from
La Maison Du Chocolat. How's that for promt delivery? Took me fifteen minutes to get all the tape off the box and reach the chocolate, and they had mailed it in an insulted container to insure freshness and non-melting. This speaks to the quality of the company don't you think? This being the most expensive of the three, the box sure looked tiny. I consoled myself with the saying "good things come in small packages," and placed it lovingly aside to get online and track where the other two boxes were. Did you know you can do that now? One more thing brown can do for us!

Though we had nothing to compare, (of course) we had to sample some last night. (My) Mister and I tried to hold out for our youngest, (she said she would be home from her track meet by eight...... We waited until eight-ten!) but ended up starting without her. She caught up with no problem once she did get home. So far, the jury had reached the verdict that La Maison's chocolate is at least as good as Sees. (We have only had three peices so far.) It is very rich and creamy, and satisfying. Translation....... I willingly surrendered the box after we each choose one piece to share. (My) Mister didn't have to pull it out of my grasp and/or hide it from me. Mouth later told me it was her idea of Heaven. Bonus....... Acording to the box, five pieces is a serving at only one hundred ninety calories, (never mind that one hundred ten of them are fat calories) that qualifies it for one of my two hundred calorie meals! The other two boxes are slated to arrive today, and mouth is so excited that she was talking in her sleep last night!

Speaking of food................... You may remember that I was using protein powder as a way of being sure I was getting enough protein in my diet. I have tried a few different kinds, but all of them seem to have an after taste, and/or be chalky and thick tasting. When I went to our member's club store (the place where you buy in bulk) I found a MEGA size container of premium whey protein by Body Fortress. Twenty grams of protein, one gram of sugar, and two and a half grams of fat per serving. Cost the same for eighty one servings as the others cost for sixteen servings. Best thing....... It actually taste okay! Much better than the other ones I have tried. Yesterday, I mixed it with Lactaid (milk) and added a little vanilla and cinnamon, and it made a really yummy (one hundred ninty calorie) meal. Mouth gave this a really high rating, so if you have been searching for a good meal replacement and/or after work-out snack, give this one a try.

All this talk about food has mouth in an up-roar. I'd better go feed her before things get ugly. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm it.......................

I have had the honor of being tagged by One4JC to list ten things that I like. The list is suppose to be original ideas. (Not yet listed by others.) Since we all know I am one of a kind this should be a walk in the park. Hey! That sounds like a good place to start............

1) A walk in the park...... Holding the hand of someone I love, with nothing to do but enjoy each other and the world around us.

2) Chocolate........ Yes! I know this is a given, so I thought I would get it out of the way. Let's face it.......If I hadn't included it in my list you would all think someone else had made this list and just used my name.

3) Being awake in my house in the early hours of the morning.......... While all of my loved ones are sleeping safe and sound under my roof.

4) Half and half in my coffee................ Yup! The real thing. No powder, or fat free junk for me. I have given up lots of food items for the sake of getting healthy, but I am keeping this one...... After all, I only drink coffee in the morning................ How bad can that be for you? (Don't tell me! I don't really want to know.)

5) The fraud protection on my debit card. (The instructions said unique didn't they?)....................... While I was typing number four, the phone rang and it was the fraud protection department wanting to be sure my spending spree yesterday was done by me and not someone else. This gives me lots of piece of mind using my debit card on line and when traveling.

6) My muscle definition........................ For the greatest share of my life, I have been over weight and out of shape. Even though (technically) I am still over weight, I am strong and able to participate in activities that I would never have considered doing in my younger years.

7) The people in my world..................... While I was typing number six the phone rang, (Are we seeing a pattern here? Know that you won't find the "phone ringing" listed as one of my likes!) and it was my son confirming that he was coming over after work to do some yard work for me. I am blessed with many wonderful people that love me dearly, and no list of my likes would be complete without mention of them. (The phone just rang AGAIN! ENOUGH ALREADY!)

8) Knitting.................... I find this craft creative, relaxing, and an extremely enjoyable way to pass the time.

9) Playing photographer.................... I love shooting an entire roll of film, click, click, click, and then waiting in anticipation for them to come back from the developer to find that there is one or two REALLY good ones out of the bunch. I am working on switching over to digital, but there is just something missing being able to see the pics as soon as you shoot them. I feel the same way about finding out baby's sex before birth. Anticipation can be really fun.

10) My life............... I am at a point in my life where I am really really content. Not that I have no future dreams and/or goals, just that I have learned to appreciate the blessings I have been given. I am a lucky, lucky girl!

Now comes the time when I am suppose to tag ten people to compose their own list of ten likes. Of the two regular blog commenters, one was the one that tagged me. That leaves has to be me for me to tag. And I would also invite any other readers to take a minute and count some of your blessings ( one through ten) in the comment section. So....... has to be me and nine anonymous readers........... YOU ARE (now) IT! Have fun!
The chocolate is in the mail..................

I voted NOT to go through the whole production of a big Easter dinner this year. (Well, for several years now.) I made my family a nice dinner, (Ribeye on the grill, roasted red-skinned potatoes, etc...) not just every dish known to man, the table isn't going to support all the food, why SIX different deserts kind of dinner. Yesterday morning, remembering my pledge to taste compare the different chocolate companies I have been discovering, I justified that since I didn't spend the money on Easter dinner, I could take money out of the budget for chocolate.

So..... By the time the first show case show down on the Price is Right was over yesterday, I had placed an order at La Maison Du Chocolate, Bissinger's, and John and Kira's. Two hours later, I had received e-mail notices from all of them that my orders had been processed and were on the way. Talk about service!

The three of us are looking forward to our nightly tasting parties. (Though (my) Mister did have to share that he "hoped I didn't order any with nuts in it." Mine and youngest favorites, his not so much.) I ordered three assortments, which should give us a good all around comparision. La Maison, only offered overnight shipping (at twenty-seven bucks)the rest had standard. We will see how long it takes for all three to arrive. (It was at this point that (my) Mister said, "You mean you ordered from three different companies? I thought you ordered three different kinds from one company." If I didn't know better, I would swear that English was not his primary language. We have had AT LEAST three different conversations about the need to compare COMPANIES to determine which one was best....... Focus Mister, focus!)

Anyway, get excited...... I can tell you that mouth sure is. Brain has been really keeping a tight control on mouth these days for two reasons. First, the up-coming trail run in June. Second, I have found that I really feel better when I eat less. I have more energy, and the food I do eat is more enjoyable.

Speaking of enjoyable....... Check out this blog the next time you need a pick-me-up. It is posted by a cat!...... Kitty Litter: Diary of a cat named Sy Blessings for a faboulous day!

Monday, April 17, 2006

It's all in the priorities..................

Yesterday, I was musing about the need to move meditation upward on my priority scale. In regards to myself, I am a believer in "shut up or put up. Translation........ If you aren't going to do the work to change the behavior, don't bore your loved ones with your woes over and over and over. The reason for this is simple. If something is of importance to me, I have always been able to figure out a way to make it happen. If it isn't happening, then I am either not ready to have it in my life, and/or it has lost it's purpose in my life, and needs to be let go. Did you ever notice how we have no trouble focusing on the things we place high value on? Case in point...................

I am not a huge television watcher, but I do like to put it on when I go to bed, because it helps drown out the other house noises and I fall asleep faster. A night or two ago, I was drifting off listening to a show on the food channel. I picked up on the fact that they were talking to a chef about his amazing chocolate. I vaguely remember telling myself to remember his name so I could check him out on the web. My next semi-consious thought (a couple of hours later) was that the bed-alarm was going off signaling that one of our residents was attempting to get out of bed un-attended. The next morning, (many hours later) I was in the middle of my computer routine, and I remembered about the chocolate. Within fifteen seconds, I had recalled his name, and was punching it into the computer to find his web site Chef Hilly's Kitchen How it that for recall? Sad but true, when I was thinking about my problems with meditation, I had to admit that chocolate seems to rank higher than meditation on my priority scale.

We all have things that we would never get through a day without doing, and we all have things (that we spend so much time talking about ALL the (valid) reasons we can't do them) that we never seem to get around to fitting into our day. Some things (like going to work, and/or taking a shower) are very basis must dos, executed to maintain our existence. (You're telling me you have never been stuck next to a stinky someone on a crowded _______ thinking to yourself "One of us has got to go!"? Once we get the have toos out of the way, the rest of the things we spend time on are usually the things that come easiest to us, leaving all of those guilt enticing items un-accomplished, YET AGAIN! What's a gal/guy to do?

I believe that first we should examine why something is on our list. Is it there because we want it there, or is it there because someone else wants it for us,or we think we should want it? I have found the things that are difficult and/or guilt producing are usually of the latter catagory. Once I truly own something, it seems to be much easier to fit into my day.

Maybe it goes back to being kind to myself, and loving me, even if I like chocolate better than meditation. At least its dark chocolate! The stuff that they are now saying is good for us. (I wonder how much that cost the chocolate companies...... To pay off the lobbyist that promote all of the food industries? Who cares who started it........A big thank you to whoever started this trend, and keep up the good work.) Heck, the way I feel after savoring a quality piece of chocolate, might even make eating chocolate a form of meditation for me. Maybe I'm killing two birds with one stone, and didn't even realize it. What-da-ya think?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Another score for meditation................

I heard a news story yesterday, stating that peo (Remeber this spot!)people that practised meditation retained their memories better than people that didn't spend time meditating. Add that to all the other benefits, and is it any wonder why I would love to develop a serious pratice? The problem I have is not the desire, but rather how to fit it into my life.

No matter my resolve, my caregiver urges always seem to get in the way. Case in point...... I sat down to type this blog, and got so far as to the remember this spot, before I stopped to work on my youngest daughter's stiff neck. This was my choice, not her request. I found it impossible to focus, with her sitting over on the sofa moaning in pain. I feel a great deal of responsibility for the care and well-being of my residents and family......... Translation............ A piece of my brain is ALWAYS on high alert to catch anything out of the ordinary. The other day, someone actually ask me if I had a room bugged, because I could hear what was going on in there from two rooms away. NO! The room is not bugged....... It is simply that I have trained my hearing/mind to always be on alert. I can be in any room,(doing any task,) and detect the tiniest sound/movement, distinguish what it is, and determine whether or not it needs my attention with about ninty percent accuracy. (Is someone getting up, or just re-ajusting their position.) This is a good thing, for the people in my care. The problem comes in when I try to add meditation to the mix.

Some things that happen when I sit down to meditate.......... I do a couple of cleansing breaths, find my focus, and the phone rings/dogs bark/a walker is moved/someone calls my name/........ OR I find my focus and that focus is almost immediately shoved aside with "is ______ trying to stand up without help/ did I give ______ her/his _______/ what am I going to make for dinner/does anyone have any appointments I forgot about/ did I call _____ about _____/ and on and on and on." ....... OR I find my focus, and the next thing I know, I have relaxed to the point of dozing off. Am I a lost cause of what?

What I console myself with is the fact that this is only one chapter in my life. Time will pass, and I may find myself being able to keep my focus for hours at a time. Right now, I try and focus and relax several times throughout the day. If/when one of the above interuptions happen, I simply shift the focus onto the need at hand, knowing meditation will always be there for me to come back to. It is a lot less stressful than getting upset over the interuption. That is why they call it a practice, because it is always on-going and evolving. If I could do every aspect of it perfectly, I would have no need to pratice would I? Meditation is only one thing on a long list of things I want to get better at, and truthfully, it is not that high on the list, though part of me wishes it were. I think that maybe that is the place to start, finding the desire to move it up on the priority scale , and stop making excuses for why it isn't.

In tomorrow's blog, I will continue this idea of priorities, and maybe shed some light on how I can raise meditation time a point or two higher on my priority list.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Blessings to you dear readers.................

As you begin your final preparations for your Easter celebrations, may you experience peace, love, and joy. Sometimes, one can get so overwhelmed with the details, the big picture is missed. Take time to smell the Easter Lillies, and give thanks for any miracles that were shown to you during the season of Lent.

And......... For the faithful, (reader) thank you for your support. Having you out there has been a wonderful motivator for me to keep plowing my way through the ups and downs of life. By attempting to share my thoughts, ideas, and feelings with you, they have become much more focused for me. My blog has become a wonderful addition to my world, and I hope it has become the same to you. Though I might not recognize you on the street, you have become part of my extended family, and I wish you fabulous experiences as you dance your way through life.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Memory of a Miracle..........................

Yesterday, was my baby's birthday. I wanted to share the story I wrote about the day of her birth yesterday, but couldn't locate the file. I finally (actually, Mister told me where it was) found it, as you will see below. Enjoy!

In the early hours before daybreak, April 12, 1989, an arriving miracle disrupted my peaceful dreams, delivering a slight twinge of pain. So slight in fact, I thought it might be wishful thinking or perhaps my imagination. But no! There it was again! This time waking me enough to make me aware of an additional sign. I lumbered out of bed, as quickly as my misshapen body allowed, and padded into the bathroom. A surge of excitement coursed through me. This was to be the day! The day my youngest child would enter the world!
Though daylight was still several hours away, the euphoria I was feeling chased away my sleepiness. I returned to bed to share the good news with my sleeping husband when another aspect of this miracle occurred to me. My husband, a long- haul semi-driver, was normally gone for two to three weeks at a time. I had been very worried that he would not be home to share in the birth. Not only was he home, but it was also his birthday; what a special bond he and his child would forever share! I attempted to rouse my husband by telling him that I had a very special birthday planned. He mumbled something like “that’s nice, but can’t it wait awhile?” and drifted back to sleep. After trying to pique his interest without much success, I decided to begin my preparations without him.
On my way upstairs, I put a load of laundry in the washer, and grabbed the soup from the freezer. After putting the soup in the crock-pot to thaw, I got out bread for sandwiches as well as the mixer to make a birthday cake. Yes! I was having a baby, but we had planned a home birth, and in addition to our three other children (his, mine, and soon to be ours), we planned to have nine adults attend the birth. I was brought up to always have food for your guests, and cooking would help the time go by.
By six thirty the cake was in the oven and the daycare families were starting to arrive. I ran a group daycare home, which means I cared for up to twelve children at a time, with an assistant when more than six children were in attendance. It was wonderful to watch the excitement spread as one child shouted out the news to the children arriving. Having gone through the ups and downs of pregnancy with me, it was as if the soon -to - be addition was part of their family, too. In between arriving children, I began to make phone calls to our “guests,” to tell them today was a great day for a BIRTH-day party.
The smell from the baking cake finally enticed my husband out of bed, and when my own children woke up I told them that they could skip school if they wanted, to help me give birth to their sibling. By the look on their face one might have thought Santa had made a mid-year visit. My oldest (then ten) went to make sure the baby things were ready, while my middle child (then eight), began to taste test the lunch I had prepared. I guess that each of us handle excitement in a different way! I have always maintained that my children are my pride and joy; _____makes me proud with all she endeavors, and _____can always make me laugh! This particular morning was no different! By eight thirty, breakfast was finished, and the school age daycare children were off to school. The cake was frosted, (yes, ________ had given it his taste test approval) and both my assistant and my mid-wife had arrived. I guess it was time for me to switch gears and get serious about delivering this baby. Leaving the daycare duties in my assistant’s responsible hands, I went downstairs to the family room with the midwife to see how labor was progressing.
Since I had not had any “real” pain, I was first surprised and then began to panic when the midwife announced I was dilated to SIX! Only four to go, and I was still waiting for the baby’s Godmother and my still photographer to arrive. When I announced I was having a home birth, and the requests to participate began to pour in, I decided the best course of action would be to give everyone attending an assignment. Not only would a specific task provide them with a role in the delivery, it would also keep everyone from stepping on one another’s toes. I wrote up a birth plan in which I outlined my hopes for the day, along with everyone’s “jobs.” In this way we would all begin the day on the “same page,” our focus on the impending birth. I had someone to support my children, someone to take video, as well as two people to take still pictures. There would be someone capturing events in the journal I had been keeping for the baby. In addition, I had a (female) friend providing labor support so my husband could enjoy the experience without responsibility. Hadn’t he done enough already? The plan was for him to assist in the delivery when the time came. Can you tell I enjoy being “in control” of things? This is pretty amusing, considering that the guest of honor, not yet born, was really the one in charge.
Up to this point he or she seemed very unimpressed with all of my plans. I continued to have minimal discomfort, and yet I felt ready to push. There was no way I would do this, because everyone had not arrived. As I went more inside of myself to slow down labor, the tension in the room picked up. At one point I said to my husband “go out and get them,” as if the people we were waiting for were just out in the driveway waiting to come in. Bless his insight, he merely said “Okay,” and went up the stairs to do as I asked instead of rationally explaining he had no control over their arrival.
I began to slowly pace, as I rubbed my swollen belly. _____ came up to me (munching potato chips) to inquire, “Mom, why are you walking like that?” “Because I can’t run” was my terse reply. I have a vague recollection of _______ being swooped out of my path; I’m sure so someone could explain to him that now was not a good time to “bother” mom with lots of questions. I continued my pacing in peace for a moment, and then the phone rang. It was my former husband wanting to know “how things were going.” I told him the kids were fine as I silently nodded to my labor partner that another contraction was beginning. She in turn reported to the videographer that I was having a contraction, while talking on the phone to my ex-husband! Getting divorced had not severed our unspoken communication bond, and I believe he had picked up on the tension the children (and I) were feeling. Once reassured things were fine, he was able to go back to his day. I did not tell him I was in labor, wanting the news to come from his children. This way he would be able to express his happiness at their excitement, instead of feeling awkward in the moment. The conversation lasted just slightly longer than the contraction, and as I hung up the phone, I remembered it was Wednesday, and Wednesday was story hour day at the library. Someone went upstairs to make sure the daycare children were ready to leave for story hour, and they found baby’s Godmother at the top of the stairs. “Good!” I said, “Now I can push this baby out.” With those words, the tension in the room increased, the big moment growing ever closer.
As everyone gathered around the bed, my labor partner and I began to work with my contractions, like a well-oiled machine designed to push the baby out. There were incredible comments like “It’s a girl! It’s a boy! It’s hair! And lots of it!” These comments would “pop” the tension for a moment, and made everyone feel an intricate part of the process. ________ said, “Oh mom! It’s beautiful!” Later that night, when things had calmed down, she was to replace that statement with, “Oh mom! It was the grossest thing I have ever seen, but I didn’t want to say anything to upset you.” See why I refer to her as my pride? As the tension mounted, things became a bit overwhelming for ________, and he began to cry. I gathered him to my side and asked him to help me with my breathing. We began in unison “hee hee hoooo, hee hee hooo,” but _______ soon increased his speed. As I instructed him to slow down, before he either hyperventilated or passed out, everyone, including _______, began to laugh and the crisis passed. My oldest snuggled him up to her side, and I went back to the work at hand.
Timing is a crucial aspect of the birth process. At the point where the baby’s head was ready to come out, the midwife instructed me to stop pushing for a moment. I can remember thinking to myself “I can push if I want to, and no one can stop me.” I was so inside of myself, focusing on baby’s descent, that I wasn’t aware the statement had been expressed out loud! Thinking back on it, I am amazed at the concentration I was able to muster in that room full of people. My awareness was centered solely on my labor support and the baby. The connection with my still unborn child is one definitely hard to explain, and yet very real indeed. As I mentally encouraged my child to descend, I was rewarded with continuing contractions and increasing pressure, a sure sign this portion of our journey was coming to a close - - an ending that was very much a beginning. As the midwife calmly said, “Okay, give me just a little push,” the room grew silent. After reaching down and touching the top of my child’s head, I pushed, barely noticing the burning sensation that accompanied the birth of the head. With the head out, a great relief washed over me, and I felt it was the perfect time for a nap. Everyone else disagreed with me, and in unison urged me to push one more time. For the past nine months I believed the baby to be a girl, and now we would find out if I had been right. Everyone held his or her breath as I gathered up my remaining strength, took a deep breath, and pushed. Baby slid out of my body into daddy’s waiting hands. As he proclaimed, “It’s a girl!” a collective shout rang out from the crowd as if we had indeed scored the winning touchdown! Immediately the mood in the room went from one of tension to one of celebration. Miss _____________ did not seem to mind the noise at all. She simply looked around, checking out her surroundings, occasionally stopping to pose for the camera.
As I cradled my newborn daughter in my arms, I pondered the miracle of life, and how each of us would never be the same after today’s experience. As we had worked together with a common goal, a special bond had developed, held together by the new life “we” had delivered safely into the world. Shortly after _________'s birth, we sealed this bond with a ‘Blessing cup’ ceremony, in which we gave thanks for her life, expressed hope for her future, and reveled in the arrival of our miracle.
Every single thing I hoped and dreamed about my birth experience became reality. The few things I had worried about worked out as if planned, including the day care children leaving for story hour just as labor was getting intense; Baby being born by the time they returned an hour and a half later. This has to be thought of as something greater than mere coincidence! If lingering doubts regarding the validity of miracles remain, closely observe the world around us. Ponder the determination of a baby learning to walk. Over and over she takes that first step, which often results in a tumble, until finally figuring out how to balance her round belly over her chubby legs - - and make it safely across the room from mommy’s arms to daddy’s waiting ones. Share the joy of a couple having spent seventy-five years loving one another, during the good times, and the BAD! Note the timing of an unexpected kind word, just when it is most needed. Be on the lookout for your own personal miracles, just waiting to be discovered, and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What a great deal.................

Refering back to yesterday's post, Has to be me commented that she too shops for good bargins. This got me to thinking that it might be fun to hear from my readers about their GREATEST ALL TIME DEALS.

I have already shared with you about my three pair of shoes for three pennies. (Did I tell you that one of them was the brand name Candies, so I always ask people if they like my penny candies? Boy does that get me some stange looks!) The other day, a family member called me up and ask me if I wanted her to pick up some Boost. (Boost is a nutritional supplement that I use for my residents if they need to gain weight or get more protien.) She found some for a dollar a six pack. Normally a six pack is aroud seven dollars and fifty cents. I had her pick me up twenty-four six packs for a savings of one hundred fifty-six dollars. That is an amazingly good deal.

I would love it if you shared your best bargins with me. I find hearing about great deals both motivating and inspireing. Your deals don't have to be limited to purchases. Maybe your best deal was winning a bet and not having to do the dishes for three months, or agreeing to go on a blind date, meeting (your own) Mister/Misses and living happily ever after. Those type of deals are wonderful to hear about as well. Looking forward to my own little version of "Deal or no deal," only without the brief cases or all the hot babes in the low cut dresses.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The things I do for (my) Mister...............................

Mid last week, (my) Mister told me about a book review he had heard on his drive home from work, and ask if there was any room in the budget for a new book. As thrifty as I am with money, there remain two items that I just can't seem to put into the same sentence as the word budget. One is shoes, (No surprise there right?) and the other is books. Can one ever have too many of either?

Just because I don't put a limit on book buying, doesn't mean I don't look for a deal. A day or two after (my) Mister's request I was deleting junk mail, and came across a ten percent discount, for any one book, from a book store in our area. The store used to be closer to my home, but since they moved (a wopping twelve miles or so) farther away I usually just go to the one in the mall. (You guessed it, an entire ten miles closer to my home.) I have very few loyalties when it comes to merchants. (Pretty much Goodwill is it!) I go where I can get the most bang for my buck. So off I headed with my ten percent coupon in hand to fulfill (yet another of) (my) Mister's heart's desires.

I found the book, and headed for the check-out area. As I handed the sales clerk the coupon, she ask me for my member card. I told her I did not have one, and that the coupon said nothing about needing one. She very nicely explained that it said so in the fine print, and I very nicely ask her to please point it out to me. She proceeded to squint up her eyes and scan the fine print, finally saying, "It says here, to scan the member card, and then take off an additional fifteen percent." I pointed out that since the words ten, and swipe member card, were not mentioned together that that could mean I had interperted the fine print correctly. Now I know, that I was stretching things a tad, but two dollars and fifty cents in my vacation fund was worth it. I received my discount, and the story ends happily............. Not just yet!

As I was walking away, I was thinking that the total bill still seemed a little high for what I had purchased. I stopped to review my bill and noted that I had gotten the ten percent off, but not the twenty percent that the big sticker on the front of the book said I was entitled to. I headed back to the counter, to sort things out. Seems someone forgot to remove the stickers from the books after last weeks sale. Sometimes those silly laws that our hard working legislators dream up work in the consumers favor (and not the credit card companies favor.) I could feel my vacation fund bulging as the clerk handed me an additional two dollars and sixty-five cents. I headed home happy as a clam...........

Arriving home, I couldn't wait to share the story (the savings is mine, but I might let him come with me on vacation.) with (my) Mister. After receiving my atta girls from him, I reached into the bag for his book, and NOTHING! Seems in my glee at saving so much off the price, I had gone off and left the book on the counter. Talk about taking the wind out of my sails.

The plan was to drive back to the store for the book the next day, but then (my) Mister had his mishap, so I am not sure when I will get back to pick it up. Lucky for him, I had also got him a clearance book titled HOW TO REFUSE TO MAKE YOURSELF MISERABLE ABOUT ANYTHING. Considering his pain level of the past couple of days, the timing was perfect. (Except for the fact that he doesn't really feel much like reading right now.)

I understand that many of you might think I went to far too much time and trouble for a small savings. Maybe your're right. From my point of view, I have learned that the more I respect and honor the things I have been given in life, the more I receive. This is true for both tangable and intangable things. Part of honoring the money I earn has evolved into being a responsible spender, as well as a giver, with the former supporting the latter.

I, myself, once believed "I don't have time to clip coupons, bargin hunt, and shop around for the best deal." Interestly enough, as I begin to give it a try, the time to complete the tasks somehow became available to me.

As further encouragement, I stopped typing to add up the found money that came into my life in the past seven days. (From coupons, rebates, and change found in the sofa/car/laundry.) The total was twenty-seven dollars. If we multiply this by fifty-two weeks (in a year) the total is one thousand, four hundred and four dollars. One could take a pretty nice vacation with that don'ya think? Add in the average amount of money I make doing respite care, (five to six thousand a year........ Which could also be earned by a second part time job, or selling things one no longer needs.) and there is enough money to take a REALLY nice vacation. This is why to me, there is no such thing as too little savings to be worth the trouble. Finally I can see the big picture, while being willing (and patient enough) to follow all the tiny baby steps on the path towards it. Learning to do so has been very rewarding to me on many levels.

Monday, April 10, 2006

No real post today..........................

I spent the time usually devoted to posting on writing two detailed reports to fax to doctors when their offices open later this morning. One was for a resident, and one was for (my) Mister. He did something to his back (again) and has been getting lots of tender loving care; as well as sleep. (He is sooooooo lucky!) I told him that yesterday and today DOES count as vacation, no matter what kind of pain he is in. I also told him he should be taking notes so he would know what I mean when I say I want him to take care of me when I am not feeling well. I am sorry guys, but we women FAR surpass you in the area of caregiving.

One quick funny story..........

Yesterday afternoon, the phone rang. I picked it up, said hello, and heard this distant scratchy voice say, "I have to go to the bathroom." For a second, from the tone/level of the voice as well as the content of the sentence, I thought it was a prank call. Then I realized it was (my) Mister. One more reason to always keep your cell phone by your side!

Hey! Remember how I was saying that I needed change in my life? Well, things have been pretty changed up for the past twenty-four hours. I guess that is a reminder to be careful what you wish for.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Are you stuck in a rut? (and not presently in the middle of a trail run...............)

I would be the first one to admit that I take great comfort in routine, and don't like the winds of change. Akin to opening the windows to let the cool spring breeze blow through the house to remove the stale winter air, change can be a good thing. We usually don't agree with that statement until after the fact.

Years ago I heard a story about a young bride that was learning to cook a roast. As she sat watching her mother preparing the roast for the oven, she ask her why she cut it in half. Her mother replied that she did so because that is the way her mother did it. The next time the young bride saw her Grandmother, she ask why she cut the roast in half before cooking it. Again, she got the answer, "I don't know why you do it, it is just the way my mother always did it." Several weeks went by, and the young bride went to visit her Great-Grandmother. "Grandma," she ask. Why do you cut the roast in half before you cook it?" "What are you talking about?" Her Great-Grandmother questioned. "Well," the young bride said. "Mom was teaching me how to cook a roast, and she said you have to cut it in half before putting it in the pan. I ask her why, and she said because that was how her mom did it. Grandma said the same thing. So why did you cut it in half?" Her Great-Grandmother gave her a smile, and replied, "Because I didn't have a pan big enought to fit the whole roast into."

How many things do we do over and over without even thinking about it? If questioned about our behaviors, would our reasons support them? Just think about how opening up to change, or questioning our routine behaviors might freshen up our lives.

Why am I thinking about this subject?

A big part of my life, is keeping things very routine and consistant for my residents. They all have their own areas for eating, sleeping, sitting, etc.... Part of this is to help reduce the spread of germs, part of this is because we all need our own space that no one else invades. A big part of this is because when you are working with someone who is memory impaired, routine not only helps them to feel secure, it helps them retain their independence. Using the same color linens, drinking out of the same (type of) cup, pills, and meals at the same time. All musts in my line of work. Favorite television shows being interuped can cause major meltdowns. ( I have learned to have a back-up tape of The price is Right, and Lawrence Welk to avoid this.) In my quest towards samness for the good of the residents, I am beginning to wonder if I am growing stale? Right now, I have the perfect excuse to keep every little thing in my life the same, avoiding change like the plague, but is this a good thing? How can one grow with out a healthy measure of change?

Did you recognize yourself in any of the above? Are you one of us that enjoy keeping a tight little handle on everything, and are thrown for a loop if someone upsets the apple cart? Do you go with the flow of life, or you more of an I'm drowning, but I refuse to learn how to swim kinda guy/gal? Is the world going to come to a standstill, because I post my blog BEFORE I check my e-mail? (It is surprising what a total control freak I am. What? You're not all that surprised?)

I have not spent much time on this thought, and have no idea at this point in time as to what I should mix up and/or change. I do know, that by writing it down I have set my intention to do so. Now, all I have to do is stay aware and listen to answer the question as to what. Stay in touch to find out what gifts I am rewarded with by setting my intention to revitalize my soul.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Do you watch Dr. Phil?........................

I can't say that I watch his show, but it is usually on for one of the residents that enjoys it. Such was the case yesterday, and while I was starting early dinner preperations, I caught part of a segment about a women that has a thing about the dividers that are supposed to be used between grocery orders. She says it drives her nuts, and if people don't place them after her order, she sneaks expensive items (like a multi-pack of batteries) into their pile of stuff, and takes pleasure out of the fact that they don't notice and make the un-wanted purchase.

First, let me say, I take great pride in the fact that I am very conscious of putting the divider at the end of my order. It never occured to me to get upset if someone else choose not to do so for me. I just grab the divider myself, or else leave a space on the conveyer belt so the cashier will know when to stop. The reason I am so big on making sure I put the divider behind my order is that I believe it to be a courtesy to the person behind me. Translation.....I am trying to butter them up because ninty-nine percent of the time, standing behind me translates into a long wait.

The store that I buy the biggest share of my groceries at used to have baggers, but like more and more stores, went to a system where the cashier bagges and you place the bags in your cart. Since I find it impossible to unload, watch to be sure things ring up correctly, and bag all at the same time, I request that the cashier wait until I load, and pause while I put the bags in the cart. In addition to that, something often rings wrong, or I need a rain check for an out of stock item, so they have to find the posted ad, (which never seems to be at the lane that I choose. What is that about?) the paper work for the rain check, and then write it out by hand. (I mention this, because in today's electronic world old fashion paper and pen really freaks some people out!) And then there is the fact that I usually have a large number of items. I almost always end up apologizing for making the person behind me wait.

Speaking of volume loads, let me tell you about the fun my daughter and I had on our last trip. All seemed to be going well, until we rounded lane four and discovered that the mini-rice cakes were priced ten packages for ten dollars. That reminded me that the "get you in the store gimick" of the week was mix and match ten for ten with the eleventh item free. By lane six, I was suggesting a second cart, but my daughter insisted that "she could do it." By lane ten she could barely push the cart. When she saw me taking down four bottles of Tide laundry detergent (what a deal that was) she started to relinquish, but being my daughter,said instead, "Give them to me, I'll find room." By the time we got to the other end of the store my daughter was really into the challenge and her adrenaline was pumping, fueled by the comments of the other shoppers about the size of her load. (I think a couple of them actually applauded her as she pushed by.) The frozen food isle almost did us in when we saw the Healthy Choice meals ten for ten, but we managed to get to the check-out lane, only dropping one (of her) frozen pizza whatevers.

That one cart ended up bagged into three carts, with an in-store savings of one hundred fourteen dollars. (And we didn't even buy any green beans because I was sure at least half of the twenty cases of canned goods in the basement had to be vegatables...... I was wrong! Green peas, yes. Green beans, nada.) I told my daughter that the new rule was to be "only one cart allowed," because she was so hyper from her victory that she had two of the carts unloaded into the car before I was finished paying. (Took him forever with those rain checks.) And got the third one unloaded while I was going to the service desk to cash in the dollar off coupon the cashier had forgot to take off my order. (Some people will do anything for a buck! I offered to go to the service counter because the poor woman behind me had been so very patient, and I didn't want her to have to wait any longer.) All I had to do was get in the car and drive us home. That was great.

Oh! Dr. Phil's advise for the day? Pick your battles. (I don't know that he said this to the divider lady, but I heard him say it to someone during the show.) I agree with him on that one. It is easy to get all worked up over something that in the scheme of things has little importance. I tend to get more worked up over the little things than I do the big things, and I am working on that. Maybe I should try and take my weirdisms on the road, with an e-mail to Dr. Phil? Naw! I am sure he would say there is no help for me......... Though he does sometimes give away pretty cool gifts...... Maybe I'll think about it.

Friday, April 07, 2006

(My) Mister is such a villain....................

Boy! That goes against all the good things I have said about him in the past. Decide for yourself if you would give him that title.

Our female dog just had puppies again. Before you jump to conclusions about what Mister did, or think "I just love puppies." Let me explain.

When a female dog goes into heat, their bodies go through a cycle of pregnancy and birth whether they really get pregnant or not. They gain weight, their breast swell up, and boy are they moody! Anyone reading this that has ever been nine months pregnant can relate to the horror of this. Going through all of that without getting a baby at the end, how terrible would that be? (As soon as I wrote that, I realized that some of you may have experienced just that, loosing a late term pregnancy. I am sorry if I upset you.)

When we got our dog, the plan was to breed her, so we did not get her fixed. (I can never remember if a female is spayed or neutered.) We even tried to get her knocked up once, but she wouldn't have anything to do with the male dog. (Boy, was Buddy - the male dog - upset about that!) Right after that failure, we got her papers back from the Kennel society telling us they would not register her because of the fact that her du-claws are on top of her feet instead of down. Being a responsible pet owner, I decided that it would be wrong to have puppies without a pedigree. (Okay! Don't think I am prejudice against the common dog...... I just agree that there is a pet over-population problem, and having puppies for the simple reason that I wanted the experience of puppies is not a good enough reason, as continuing the blood line, breed would be.)

Now I am sure you have figured out by now that since trying to breed her, and deciding against it in the future, we have never gotten around to taking her in for the operation. I have the best of intentions, but seem to put it out of my mind until she is going into heat, and then I think it would not be a good idea to interupt that whole cycle thing. Last week, she "delivered her puppies." The first sign of this, is that I notice I am not tripping over her a hundred times a day. (I like to call her shadow, because she is always at my side.) The next sign is noticing that several of her toys are in a bunch on the sofa. These are her babies, and she only leaves them to eat or relieve herself. She nuzzles them all up to her breast and "feeds" them, and if you try and move them, she patiently gets them and brings them back. Oh yes! If our male dog wanders too close to the sofa, she becomes devil dog and tears his head off. (Talk about major PMS!)

The vet told us that the only way for her to move on, was to take the puppies away from her. That is what (my) Mister did last night. (Okay! I will admit that my daughter and I made him be the bad guy. We didn't want our baby mad at us after all.) All evening she kept coming up to me and letting me know that someone had stolen her children. When I got up this morning at five, she was already up and still looking for them. Now she is laying beside me sad and depressed. I feel so bad!

Some of you might be thinking, "Get over it! It is just a dog." I used to be one of you. When I was finally able to open my heart to feeling, I changed my mind about dogs (and cats) understanding and communicating with us. Okay! Doctor Dolittle may be a bit of a stretch, but they do have a way of making their needs known. They also have a way of reading and responding to our moods. When I am sad, both of my dogs try and comfort me. (I know! They try and lick my tears because they taste salty, not because they know I am sad. Leave me alone, it makes me feel better.)
Regardless of your personal beliefs, it is a proven fact that pets make our world a better place. (As long as people clean up after them..... Be responsible people.) Many people would be sad and lonely without their pets to love and talk to. Seeing this first hand when I did home care, was what pushed me over to the side of pet lover. My pets make me laugh (more than they make me mad because they have been naughty) and we all know laughter is the best medicine.

In a day or two, our female dog should be back to her bouncy little self, (and our male dog will be allowed back on the sofa beside of her,) and all will be well. I promise to work harder towards getting her surgery so she doesn't have to go through this again. And (my) Mister is off the hook, until the next time I make him be the bad guy.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It's harder than it sounds................

Did I tell you that I am training for my next race? It is a seventy-eight mile trail run. Before you go saying "The girl is nuts.", (For the.... How many times have you said that?) the race is ran in teams of six people, with each person doing a minimum of ten miles. Sounds much more managable now doesn't it? That's what I thought until I did my first ever trail run yesterday afternoon.

In my normal style, I jumped at the chance to participate, and then worried about where I would find trails to practise on. Monday, at yoga class, one of the other students shared that she was glad I was back, and in the process of filling her in on my absence, trail running came up, and she told me about some trails five minutes from my house. (Don't ya just love fate?) I can't believe that I have lived in this area for eighteen years and never knew of their exsistance, but it would be counter-productive to dwell on that fact, so moving on.......

I laced up my new trail running shoes, (Which are pretty ugly, but very supportive. Since they were soon to be the color of mud, I figured I could forgo style just this once.) and stepped into my new adventure. (Figuratively and literally.) Thirty seconds later, I was already wondering what I had gotten myself into. Two minutes into the run, all I could do was give thanks that the race was still many weeks away. Over hill (that felt more like a mountain)over dale, I kept running that dusty trail, (Isn't there a song that goes something like that?) dodgeing ruts, tree roots, and the occasional squirrel. Twenty minutes was enough for the first day. (This out of the mouth of the woman that just two weeks ago kept her legs in motion long enough to travel thirteen point one miles. Figure that one out!)

Funny thing was, after catching my breath, I found myself planning my next run. I am really excited about taking on this challenge, and how good/strong/healthy I am going to feel/be by the time June rolls around.

To change the subject........

Hey maintenance man..... Which by the way..... After careful consideration, and vote counting, he has decided to be refered to as (my) mister. A big thanks to all you anti-Pooky folks, as well as to anyonomous for her/his suggestion. As I was saying......

Something REALLY needs to be done with the hand-held shower head. It is spraying so bad (where it is conected, not the head itself) that not only did the resident get a shower this morning, but so did I, not to mention three quarters of the floor and the toilet. (Can we consider that multi-tasking?) Please put that on the top of your list. (To either repair or replace, your choice....ASAP!) I also wanted to remind you about the need to re-attach the dryer vent to the dryer, though the plants in the room are loving the extra humidy created by it being unattached. The rest of us, not so much. Oh ya..... remember that "little bit of bad news".... his words not mine.... you shared with me last night (that we only had one can of green beans left. Tell me it isn't so!) Remeber they are on sale twelve cans for six dollars, so if you have time at lunch you can pick up twenty-four or fourty-eight cans. Get the ones with no salt added please. Thank you for your help..... You're da bomb!

Sorry readers, but I know he reads my blog, (because he is a nice guy, but mostly I think because he wants to keep an eye out for what I say about him.)and you wouldn't want us to run out of green beans now would you?