Thursday, June 29, 2006

I May NEVER write a real post again.....................

Feeling a bit overwhelmed right this second folks. Our new resident arrived two days ahead of schedule, and the statement, "She is a handfull," is an understatement. BUT in a good way. She is VERY sweet, and handles re-direction very well.

Anyway, I don't have time to give you all the details of her early arrival etc..., but I snuck in here because I HAD to let you know that I have been receiving all of your prayers constantly since Wednesday afternoon. Things that I really worried about are just not happening, and the only reason that makes any sense to me is because we are well insulated in your love and support. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and please don't stop now.

I kinda even hate to ask for more, but you're all doing such a great job here goes. I have not been able to run since Monday, and had to miss NIA tonight. I know this is temporary, but I am afraid of getting out of the habit and then letting all of my hard work go to fat. Pray that I am able to carve some me time out over the weekend, and keep bugging me to make sure I get back on track as soon as possible.

Thank you all so much!

Love, and love,


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wish I may, wish I might, have this wish.....................

As I told Has to be me, I am stealing her post for my own purposes, and it is my wish that she doesn't mind.
For a couple more of my wishes, that happen to also be hers, take a minute and go read her latest post. Our joint wishes are numbers two, six, seven, nine, and ten. Though to ten I would have to add I wish that I could have that adventerous spirit towards all things and events that present themselves to me in addition to the ones she listed. Oh, yes! And regarding number seven, I think I am short..... Only five-three and I can't tell you how many times over the years I have uttered the words, "I wish I were taller."

Do you know how bland life would be without wishes? (We can add hopes and dreams to wishes, and use these names interchangeably, yes?) From the time a mother sets the first birthday cake in front of her child, we begin to pass the heritage of wishing down to the next generation. Is there anyone that couldn't finish the first line of this blog? (If so, let me know. It is what one is to say when they see the first star of the night, and you shouldn't be missing out on this.) Did anyone fight over the wishbone from the turkey at family thanksgiving? (Again, for my friends that don't celebrate this American holiday, two people each take an end of the dried wishbone from the turkey, and pull. The one that ends up with the longer piece after it breaks gets their wish.) These are just a few of the wish traditions that I have passed along to my children.

Question? Do you think that there is such a thing as a "too trivial wish?" Like the beauty pageant contestants, we all wish for world peace, but if she were to take the mike and wish for, say, her one front tooth to not stick out farther than the other front tooth, (Using another of my wishes for demonstration purposes.) do you think the crowd would boo her for being too superficial? Would they be right to do so?

I am all about the small wishes............ "I wish that light would stay green so I don't have to wait. I wish the phone would stop ringing for a full five minutes so I can just lay on the couch." (NOTE: Those EXACT words came out of my youngest daughter's mouth just last evening, so I am not the only one that wishes for things like that. She is SO just like her mother!) "I wish that (my) Mister would find a spot on a wall that would work for a doggy door so I don't have to let the dogs in and out every five minutes." I could go on and on, but I will spare you, which I am sure was exactly what you were just wishing for!

I would like to end this post by sharing three of my "bigger" wishes with you. I think that I have probably already shared them in the past, but I also believe (Or am I wishing it to be so? that the more we talk about/write about our wishes, the better chance there is for them to come true. (Except the birthday one...... Who came up with that rule that you can't tell anyone what you wished for when blowing out your candles, or it won't come true? Probably someone that had a curious cat like me in their life.)

My first big wish is for my children to be happy, healthy, well rounded adults, and to enjoy every minute of their lives, without regret.

The next one is to be a part of creating the perfect nursing home for elder care that will become the model for all others. A place where we love and nurture our elderly, without concern about cost. A place of person-centered care,where an atmosphere of peace and tranquility is the norm and not the exception. A place that is nurturing not only to the elderly, but also to the staff and family. (This sorta falls into the category of "If mama ain't happy, no one is happy." How can a facility think that someone that hates their job will do a good job?")

The last wish I want to share is the wish that I make a positive differnce in my world every single day. Nothing makes me happier than feeling like I have done this.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Monday afternoon reading............

In between and around phone calls yesterday afternoon I really did get some time to read one of the books I have been working through...... Improve Wisdom, Don't Prepare, Just Show Up, By: Patricia Ryan Madson.

The part I was reading yesterday was about saying "yes" to everything. That sometimes we limit ourselves and our possibilities because we are to quick to say no to an idea and/or an action. Most of us have trouble saying anything but yes when it comes to a request of help from someone, but I think she was talking more about saying yes to ourselves. Say yes instead of selling yourself short, and don't over think an idea before jumping in and simply experiencing it.

Somthing else she was talking about is something that I am definitely guilty of. How about you?............. You are attending a gathering with a bunch of strangers, and you find out that you will be required to participate in the dreaded "go around the circle and introduce yourself" activity. This is what she said about it, and it is exactly what I have a tendancy to do: "Most participants have no memory of the names of those who introduce themselves just before, or just after them. We are either preparing our own remarks, or judging how well we did. Everyone does this to some extent- think ahead, when we ought to be listening." Maybe the lesson here is to try to sit between two people you already know, but probably not! She goes on to say that what we should be doing, instead of preparing an outcome, is to ready ourselves for whatever may happen. If we are actively listening, we will find that we already have the answers. "Subtitute attention for preparation." Mmmmm...... Now there's an idea!

Here is the last thing I read about, "Support someone elses dreams." She says to "pick someone and for one week agree with all of their ideas. Find something right about everything they say or do. Look for every opportunity to offer support. Give them the spotlight. Notice the results." Interestly enough, last October, I did exactly this with/for (my) Mister, only changing dreams to reality, and I did it for a solid month. I did it as a way of trying to break through my need to practice "right fighting."

For the entire month, NO MATTER what he said or did, he was right. I planned lots of little surprises to show my love, and a couple of big ones. Remember, date night around here is not just deciding to go out and then doing so. I have to get someone to come in, plan and prepare everything, blah, blah, etc., etc.... Not an easy task, but I did it to show him how special he is to me. I even got his co-workers to help me out and planned a big surprise lunch for him at work. (Note: He works an hour from home, so not only did I cook everything, I had to haul it, keeping it warm and/or cold, in addition to the blah, blah, etc..... above.) AM I GREAT OR WHAT? What results did I notice?

Of course (my) Mister was in seventh-heaven. Who wouldn't like to be right AND loved? The little experiment came to an end when he made overnight plans without talking to me first. (NO! I am not his mother, but we do have a twenty-four/seven business, and right OR wrong I also think that is something I am entitled to as his wife.) When I told him his actions had hurt my feelings, and made me feel like he was behaving like a single guy instead of the married man that he is, this was his response" "Why do I have to be the one to do everything in this relationship?" Have you already guessed that my little experiment stopped right then and there? If so, you guessed right.

Again, right or wrong, I am still waiting for him to make up for his hurtfull remark. I need to hear something more in-depth than I'm sorry. It is a nice start, but not enough. If he had said "I'm sorry," when I first shared my feelings, instead of what he did say, that would have been the end of it. Maybe you all could give him a few suggestions because he tells me he has no idea what else he can do besides say he is sorry. For me, this is not about forgivness, (that's done) but about forgetting/letting go of the hurt it caused me. I want him to help me do this through his actions towards me. I don't know about you, but actions have always spoke louder than words to me, and I have told this to (my) Mister many times.

I can't seem to let go of how he was so willing to take for granted his rightness during that month, but when I shared my feelings with him (as, by the way, he requested me to do) his first thought was to blast me with a completely un-true statement. ("Can't seem to let it go" is kinda an understatement don't you think? Here I am still talking about it NINE months later. Go ahead and blast me on how I should just get over it..... Seven times seventy and everything...... Maybe that will help me do so?) I would love to hear how some of you think you might have reacted to the situation. NOT agree with me, but help me see another side to it? Thanks for listening!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Where did Monday morning go?.................

Ever have one of those days where you look at the clock and think, "Where did the time go?" I know this usually happens when we are having fun, or when on vacation, but I had one of those weekends, and it seems to be continuing today.

Not that I am complaining, things are going very well for me in fact. I guess I just have more things that I want to do than there are hours in the day.

Like make more strawberry jam before the end of strawberry season, which will be any day now. And read all the new magazines waiting for me. And shave my legs, sort throught that pile of pictures, get out my SUMMER clothes. You know, all those things that sneak up on you when you take time to sit and relax for ten minutes. When I went out to grill some burgers for dinner last night, I saw blossoms on my peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini, so soon we will be eating really really fresh, and putting the extra in the freezer. This is good, but also takes up time.

Lucky for me, I have lots of help and support from my family, and somehow everything seems to get done.

Anyway, I just finished lunch, seven layer salad, (I've eaten this for dinner, lunch, dinner, lunch, and have one more serving left for dinner. I put extra peas in it and it turned out really yummy!) and have a whole hour before I need to start thinking about dinner. I plan on spending that time reading, so I am going to end for today so I can go do just that.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Another request for prayer and positive thoughts................

NOTE: I started this post on June Twenty-four, but didn't have time to finish it until June twenty-five.......

Earlier today I talked with the Hospice nurse about the new resident that is suppose to be moving in on July first. She met and evaluated the resident yesterday, and is concerned with some of her behaviors related to her currently unmanaged Dementia.

I have spent many hours talking with the resident's son, and it is clear that he has been doing everything in his power to care for his mother as she has progressed deeper into the stages of this disease. When he finally accepted that he needed some "Professional" help, things really began to fall apart.

Imagine that you woke up one day to find you were in a strange land. One in which everyone but you spoke the language, (Medical jargon)and were very comfortable with the "laws of the land" while you had just a brief knowledge of them. (The stages and behaviors of dementia/Alzheimer's)While you are trying to learn to navigate the basics, one of the citizens of the land started telling you how things "NEED to be done, and when you question something, they tell you that you are being heartless to your loved one if you choose not to do it that way, and then cut you off from further discussion, by hanging up on you.

While you are still trying to come to terms with all of the new ideas people are sharing with you, the "professionals" that you have found to provide the day to day care for your loved one tell you that she is "mentally distrubed, and a danger to the staff." Oh! Ya! They tell you this over the phone, in a loud angry voice, throwing in a few personal attacks as well regarding YOUR character. What would you do?

When I heard how those "professionals" were handling this situation, I first wanted all of their jobs. Am I saying that they were not entitled to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or anything else they might have been feeling? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Having said that, in no way are they entitled to behave like that. It is behavior like that that gives health care a bad name.

I know that this man needs lots of gentle, loving education to gain comfort and confidence in what is needed to provide quality care to his mother. One needs an entire different state of mind when dealing with dementia and end of life care. It took me many more than one attempt to "be okay" with going into the world of an Alzeimer's patient without "feeling" like I was being dishonest telling them something that didn't totally jive with "my" reality. Things like time and place lose all meaning for a person with dementia and trying to tell them that they just took a shower that morning has NO meaning if they don't remember doing so. It is also not practical to think you can simply stop doing what you are doing to help them take a shower. Is it a lie then to tell them "I'll help you in just a few minutes,why don't you look at this book until then," if it calms and reassures them? I have learned that the answer is no, but it took some doing. Imagine if the person with the forgetfullness was a beloved parent? That would be much harder to come to terms with I am sure.

I've tried to explain the situation to you without breaking confidentiality. Taking this resident isn't about making money. My first attemp was to help the son find good care at another facility, but this isn't happening. I am really feeling that I need to try and provide care and assistance to this family. I also have to consider the residents that I already have, as well as MY family. This is where your thoughts and prayers come in. It is my prayer that things work out, however they are meant to, and that I recognize the way that things are suppose to go and can them make that happen.

In talking with the nurse, she told me that her concern is for me, and it is only because she knows me and my home that she thinks things have a chance of working out. I told her that the only reason I even considered taking this on was because I am so confident in the assistance the resident, son, and I will get from her and her agency. Talk about a mutual admiration club.

So, as it stands today, the son has changed Hospice agencies from the first one to the one I am currently working with. (The same group of people that I wrote the "angels on Earth" blog about after the passing of our last resident.) They have already begun increasing the son's knowledge and comfort about Hospice and dementia care, as well as begin to work on managing the resident's medical needs. The last I talked with the son, he told me he felt more trusting or the two people he has talked with from the new Hospice agency. I have the room ready for my license person to okay this coming Thursday. If things progress the way I am expecting the resident will move in on Friday or Saturday of next week.

I am working really hard at listening to my intuition and "gut." I want this to work out in the best interest of us all. Even if the resident doesn't stay with us long term, with the help of Hospice I want be able to give the son and the resident an experience of helpful respect in the short term. The goal is to find the best environment for the resident. Please keep positive thoughts and love for all of us in this time of transition. Thanks everyone!

Friday, June 23, 2006


Yesterday, early afternoon, I had a visit from law enforcement in the form of animal control. Besides being mildly annoyed that he showed up five minutes after I had finally sat down to eat my lunch, I was really saddened by his visit.

First, it was obvious that this was NOT this guys favorite thing to do, and I felt bad for him that he was having to play "bad cop," when he was clearly not comfortable doing so. The poor man rang the door bell which of course sent Ben and Emma into bold barking fits of noise. I invited him in and he ask if the dogs bit; I guess he HAD to ask since it is a hazzard of his job, but you've all seen pictures of my dogs and fierce looking they are not. I told him "No! They wouldn't bite him, they would just try and get out, or keep barking if I stepped outside to talk with him.

Once inside he shared the reason for his visit; (His words, not mine.) "You're neighbor is out to get your dogs." He went on to tell me that this neighbor was keeping a log and taking pictures, and was planning on taking me to court. WOW! I explained to the officer that with the business I run lots of people come to the door, and if they don't know about the dogs they often open the door without sticking their foot inside first, (a trick I teach all frequent visitors) and off the dogs go for a little joy run. At this point he refered to his clip board and ask if they had been loose at eleven thirty that morning. Sure enough. Either the young man that helps me weed my garden didn't latch the gate, or else the meter reader had visited and left the gate open, but as I was making lunch I heard this scatching sound coming from the garage and when I looked out there were their two happy faces, panting tounges and all.

By this time, the dogs had figured out that the officer wasn't there to visit with them so they went back to snoozing on the sofa. The officer continued to share my neighbors complaints and this one was my favorite. "You allow your daughter to walk the dogs, and she is unable to control them." It was all I could do not to laugh, but even the officer had a smile on his face when I told him that my daughter was seventeen, and while she might let them get away from her for fun, she really has no problem controlling them. (They weigh about twelve pounds each.) I could tell that the officer had many conflicting emotions, having to do his job and follow up on the complaint, but finding it hard to believe my little cuties were really a menace to the neighborhood.

I was quick to claim responsibility for my dogs. I understand the leash laws and know I am suppose to keep them from running loose at all times. I really tried not to offer excuses while giving explainations as to why I am not always successful at this. Bottom line is we need to get better at stopping the dogs from being dogs if we want them to remain part of the family. This makes me sad for them. I understand the not everyone is a dog lover, first hand in fact since I used to be in that camp.

Mosly, I feel really sad that my neighbor has nothing better to do with his time than keep a log of my dogs transgressions. He was here when I moved in eighteen years ago, and though he never spoke directly to me, he has screamed at me once when I was in the middle of chasing Ben to disipline him for running away and Ben stepped onto his grass. He has also called the city on me a couple of times when the trash people dumped my trash and left a couple of pieces of it in the road. (I was happy that he did this as at the time I was calling the city for the same reason. They had changed trash companies without a citizen vote, and the new company was leaving trash all over the place. I actually thanked him for calling that time.) My point is neither of us has spent a lot of time over the years getting to know one another or being friends. Imagine my surprise, while at the community center last fall getting flu shots for the residents ,when this man came up to me and started chatting and shared with me that he was battling bladder cancer. He was feeling upbeat about his recovery, and I offered him encouragement, wished him well, and walked away thinking it very strange that he had bothered to talk with me, especially about such a personal subject.

So, me in my little glass half full world, added this man's health problems to my prayer list, and he put my dogs on his hit list. As Alanis would say, "Isn't it ironic?"

As soon as the officer left, I posted notes on both doors to warn people not to open the door before someone comes to it, and have posted their leashes at the door to hook them up before opening. I am debating whether or not I should start chaining them up when they go out to potty as a safegaurd to the gate being left open. And I am stepping up my prayers for my neighbors peace. Please join me in that, as well as praying that Ben and Emma adjust to the new rules of captivity. Thanks!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The best things in life aren't things.............

I had a conversation yesterday about the importance of "stuff."

We all know the saying, "Keeping up with the Jones," and we all know people that make having lots of stuff a primary life goal. The friend I was talking with shared her continued gratefullness of hot and cold running water since having lived, for a time, in a place with neither. Having always had it, I tend to take water for granted, until the power goes out so we can't flush or fill. A day or two after the power is restored I am right back to my old taking water for granted ways. I need to work on practicing gratitude for all things!

Don't get me wrong, I like stuff, and I have lots of nice stuff. One of my favorite things in the whole world is my drawer warmer that affords me a lot of cooking time variablity, being able to cook when I want and serve still warm meals at a later time. I am not against having stuff. The problem begins when the quest for stuff clouds our vision of what is really important in life.

About eight o'clock last night my youngest came into the room and shared with me what a looser she was that the only thing she could think to blog about was the fact that her mother never cooks dinner anymore. What she should have said was I haven't been cooking much besides stuff that is ground, mashed, or otherwise made soft and chewable. I haven't been cooking her long list of favorite things. Never mind that just yesterday I ask her what she wanted me to make for dinner and she couldn't come up with any ideas. I think that what she was really expressing through her words was not getting her regular doses of "mom and me time." One of the ways I express my love for my family is by cooking their favorite foods. I have not been cooking the normal two dinners as of late, having been pre-occupied with moving furniture. In addition to that, she has been gone working her two jobs, and we haven't been hanging out as much. She hasn't been grocery shopping with me in the past month. Isn't it great that she misses me? And yes! I am making her top requested egg pie (most people call it quiche) for dinner, and have hidden some notes around the house to remind her that she is loved and cared for.

How do you express your love for others? One of the greatest things you can give to another person is your time. Stop to hold the door for someone. Take the time to listen to a co-worker that seems a little out of sorts. Make a point of thanking those with thankless jobs. The grocery store that I shop at has a very busy deli, and there is always a waiting line, and never enough help behind the counter. The other day someone new helped me, and when he had given me my turkey I said "thank you" and his reply was, "WOW! I am here to serve you, and you are telling me thank you." Didn't seem that unusual to me, but apparently he was not used to hearing it and it made his day. Everything we do has the potential to help others, so remember that your smallest actions really do make a difference and practice kindness often.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Never to old to learn something new................

One of modern times better inventions (in my opinion) is ready to assemble furniture. For the price, the quality is pretty good, and with the detailed directions, any idiot can put the stuff together. This idiot, who has a form of dyslexia, took the entire morning (In my defense, remember that I still had to do all the other things that needed to be done this morning, so maybe if I had been able to focus only on the dresser it might have been finished faster..... but probably not!) to do so, but do so I did!

I am in the process of increasing my license from five to six residents. You may remember that when we have our respite resident, she uses our bedroom and we become displaced sleepers. In addition to that, I have been contacted by a man that can no longer care for his mother. The experiences he has been having trying to find quality care for his mother breaks my heart. I talked with (my) Mister and my youngest and ran the idea by them of moving (my) Mister and I down to the basement and making our old bedroom into a full time resident room, having the second bed in that room for the respite resident. Both of them gave their verbal consent, and this is when things got interesting.

I ask (my) Mister to move our bed down to the basement. His response, "I can't do it by myself." See, (my) Mister has a big problem asking for help. I can't begin to tell you how many times over the years that he has struggled with a task (like moving a full sheet of drywall by himself) for a prolonged period when there were several people in the house that could have helped if we had known that he needed help. I have questioned, nagged, yelled, etc... to get him to ask for help, and all that this accomplished was getting myself all worked up and angry. Not good for a marriage.

This time, I did nothing when he said he couldn't move the bed by himself. This was Sunday, and Monday morning the bed remained in the room. I decided that I would give it a shot and move it myself. Maybe the picture will be more amusing if I tell you that we have a queen size Tempurpedic bed. The bed has the ability (for the head and feet) to move up and down, so the box springs has a bunch of mechanical parts and IS HEAVY. KInd of like trying to move a sofa sleeper. With some trial and error, I got the box springs down the hall, through the kitchen and down the stairs with minor damage. (The bruise on my leg is much worse that the dent in the wall.) Lucky for me my son called in the nick of time and was able to come over and help me move the mattress and bring up a chair and the twin beds from the basement. (my) Mister came home from work and said "Boy! I see you've been busy." Do you think?

Later that evening he said to me, "Do you still want me to touch up the paint in the room?" I had ask him to do this at the same time I ask him to move the bed, and he got the paint out and that was as far as that went. Tuesday, my youngest and I touched up the paint. No comment from (my) Mister regarding the painting, but I am beginning to wonder if he really wants to give up his room like he said he didn't mind. I can only trust that he is an adult and meant what he said.

Tuesday night I went out and bought the above mentioned dresser, and told (my) Mister that he could put it together if he wanted to help me out, and if not I would take care of it. He started it, and I very much appreciate the part that he did get done. This morning I finished it up. I should have taped myself and sold the tape as a comedy. With my learning disabilities the simple concept of right and left is a struggle, not to mention being able to follow detailed directions. Put piece G into slot L then slide F into......... WHAT? Wait! Put piece G...... Okay, this is right..... no wait.... it's upside down, so it's really left, but then........ By the time I got one drawer assembled I had to start from scratch with the next one since I had so many do-overs getting the first one together. Go ahead and laugh..........I am making fun of myself here. Just when I thought I might have the silly thing licked I looked at the dresser and noted that I had three of the drawer handles facing up, and the other two facing down. Thank goodness I never had the desire to be a mechanic!

In the end, the room is ready for the licensing person to come and look at so he can do the paperwork to increase my capacity. Much more importantly, I realized today that I have let go of a lot of expectations that I used to put on (my) Mister. The past couple of days I have been feeling extreamely calm and peaceful; to the point of wondering what was up. The only thing that I can come up with is that is no longer is important how (my) Mister responds to my request for help around the house. I mean this in a good way. I used to get all cranked up if he didn't respond the way I wanted him to. Now I can see that it just isn't all that important in the big picture of life. He and I don't have to put equal importance on every little thing, as long as we are in agreement on the really important things. Maybe I've taken a tiny baby step towards not needing to be so much of a right fighter? Maybe I am learning to stop having to have control of every little thing? Whatever is going on is all good! Imagine! This old dog learning something new after all this time. Pretty Cool!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

An afternoon post...............

This morning was a perfect morning for weeding.............. To bad I never made it out there to do so. One thing led to another and another and now the afternoon peace has decended upon the house and I am listening to Dave while waiting for the nurse to arrive for her weekly visit with one of the residents.

I talked with my sister this morning. Cardiac Rehab is going well. She is increasing her time and speed on the treadmill, and feeling great. I am really proud of how hard she is working to be responsible for her health and well-being.

While we were talking, she shared a story she was seeing on the Today Show about how eleven people from one family all had their stomachs removed secondary to having some form of cancer. (or pre-cancer, or something....... I was talking to her so she missed some of the details.) I have heard of women having breast removed because there was a history of breast cancer in their family, but I would guess it would be much easier to live without a breast than without a stomach. Not that I am making light of what it would be like to lose a breast, but from a body system point of view.

The stomach breaks down nutrients, and sends them off to the various cells of the body. If the stomach is removed, then it is my (uneducated) guess that they hook the esophagus right to the intestines, so how does the whole nutients sent to the cells things happen? I have never heard of stomach transplants, but maybe they have them. If they don't have stomachs does that mean they have to blend everything before consuming it? Can you imagine drinking a blended steak? Salad? Cheese? I had a hard time imagining...............

Yet say no to the removal of the stomach and know that you would be saying yes to cancer, and a painful poor cure rate cancer at that? How does one ever begin to wrap their mind around those choices?

Brings me right back to counting my blessings. There is no way that I can hear a story like that and whine "poor me" about anything. I have been blessed with health, and an ability to take care of myself and my family. I have been blessed with loving, caring relationships, both from a giving and receiving perspective. (My) life is indeed good, and I am richly blessed!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Waiting for the oatmeal to cool................

As I sit waiting for the requested oatmeal to get cool enough to serve, I am full of questions.

First question, do you know how much time one spends through out the course of life getting things hot just to wait for them to cool off?

Next question, how in the world do squirrels manage to stay on the tinest of tree branches without falling off?

Why does a cotton wood tree have to "shed" so much cotton, that then clings to every window screen that I have to the point that if I didn't know it was summer I would swear there was a raging blizzard outside?

Speaking of summer...... If it is suppose to be the season of vacations, why is it that most people have every weekend so packed with activities that they look forward to fall just to get a vacation from activity?

Why does it bother me so darn much when my rugs are not perfectly staight and centered?

Will I ever get through the ever-growing pile of books and magazines that I want to read?

Do you think the oatmeal is cool enough by now? Better go check............ Have a great day!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

FASHION SHOW........................

Here are some of the outfits under consideration for the senior pictures. What do ya think?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Another fun Saturday.............Here already?.........................

I can't believe it's been a week since my great adventure race, but I guess the calendar doesn't lie so it must be true.

Another big adventure awaits me this day................... Shopping for outfits for Senior pictures! Note I put an "s" on the word outfits, as in more than one required! Back when I was graduating, (Yes! I told you before............. They really did have high schools in those days...........) in the fall of your senior year you picked out a sweater, washed your hair, and spent thirty minutes posing for the camera. I remember thinking I was so cool because they had a tree prop with an outdoor background, and I had my picture taken leaning up against the tree. As soon as I passed out my pictures all the guys teased me by asking what I was doing getting my picuture taken laying on a tree. (Get it? Turn the picture sideways, and I WAS laying on the dumb tree.) That's what one gets for being ahead of their time I guess. Entire different program these days........................

The sooner you book your appointments, the better deal you get. You all know how I love a good deal, so we booked for later this month, and got a four hour (No! You did NOT read that wrong) block of time with the photographer, (actually two, two hour blocks) three specialty graphics shots, (the one we really like had the student's name in big blocks and then the student in on/around/in/whatever the blocks.........Soooooo my youngest.) and a location shot if you want one, all for the low low price of forty-six thirty four. (A whopping seventy-five percent off the regular price!) One is suppose to bring (at least) four to five outfits to change into. One can bring team uniforms, (in our case cross country) collections, (in our case shoes) friends, (in our case best one is going to be on vacation so youngest will go to her session later in the summer.) cars (she is still debating on whether or not to use the Corvette. I told her why bother unless she can figure out how to pose so her matching red shoes are in the picture while not looking like a pin-up girl, and since this doesn't seem likely the car is probably out.) pets, (I vetoed this as I would be the one to watch them while the remaining pictures were being taken.) anything one can dream up.

For months my youngest has been getting advertisements from different photographers trying to get her business. I think she got almost as many of those as she did from colleges. Since the place that we decided on said most people spend in the area of six hundred dollars on the pictures I guess it is worth the cost of all that marketing.

Anyway, my youngest, being practical, went through her things and has pretty much everything she want for her sessions. She would just like a new top to pair with one of her skirts. Translation, we will spend the biggest share of the day looking for the perfect top and end up going back to the first store and buying a new skirt to go with the perfect top that is at home hanging in the closest (or in her case, laying on the floor............... That girl has GOT TO GET BETTER about keeping her room clean BEFORE she becomes a roommate or there could be real trouble!) Regardless, we will have lots of fun, and it is suppose to be really hot and humid today, so I guess it will be a good day to be inside shopping. Wish us luck!

Friday, June 16, 2006

I'll say it again...........................

We don't always get what we want, but we usually get what we need..................................

Two nights ago, I went with my youngest to Goodwill so she could pick up a couple of pair of Khaki pants as required for one of her part time jobs. While she was looking for those (I tried to be helpful, but our tastes were not matching that night, so I thought it better just to get out of her way.) I browsed through the books and ended up buying three (for two dollars). One of them was the book "Embraced By The Light," an account of a near death experience. I have a memory of when the book came out, but at the time I was freaked out by the whole death thing so I wouldn't read it.

Wednesday my youngest had her work schedule changed making it possible for her to stand in line and wait for the strawberries to come in out of the field. I really needed to get some this year, as I forgot about them until the end of the season last year and all of our jam and freezer berries are gone. She ended up waiting two hours, getting twenty-four quarts of berries for her time, and feeling bad for all the other women that were still in line when the supply ran out.

Where am I going with this?..........................

Without the distraction of the computer calling me away from the other things, not only did the berries get taken care of, (30 jars of jam, and bunches of bags of frozen whole ones for smoothies) but the house got cleaned that day as well. The next day, while the guys were fixing the cables, I read the whole book Embraced By The Light. It was exactly what I needed to do those two days!

I am not here to debate the whole life after death experience, or what is going to happen when I die. To hear her message that we all have a purpose to fullfill, and the most important thing any of us can do is to love one another speaks to my heart and I know it is true. Did she dream this stuff, did it really happen, is she a con artist trying to make a buck? I believe not, but it doesn't really matter how I came to hear the message. The message is valid, it is what I needed to hear, and is what I need to stay focused on. Each of us has something to give, and each of us are in our own particular situation because giving from where we are is exactly what we need to be doing. Being happy to serve and love in the most insignificant of ways has a very major significance on increasing the love in the world.

In the book she discribes how the smallest of kindnesses has a ripple effect that goes on and on to effect many more people than one would ever expect. The same is true for a negitive action, which helps me to try and focus on keeping my actions, thoughts, words, and deeds of a positive nature. Reading this book has reinforced my desire to approach life with a loving heart, first and formost towards myself. When I am less than postitive, I have to forgive and give loving kindness to myself that I might begin the ripple effect and keep it flowing towards others. If I am constantly negitive towards myself, how will I be able to love others? So........ My goal for the next few days is to look at everything through the eyes of love. Give it a try yourself, and let me know what happens.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Have you missed me?

Been having some problems with connections to the net. First to those of you that I usually comment on your posts, I have done so SEVERAL times and when I tried to publish I would get booted off line and loose them. Grrrrr..............

The cable guys just left. Ended up they gave us an entire new system of cable and connections (said the ones outside were twenty years old at least and were surprised that we had been able to see anything on the television. Add that to the fact that we have eight televisions hooked up to the cable and they were REALLY amazed!)

Good news, the OPs have their cable TV back. Better news, I have a sound secure internet connection again. Best news, they were here at least four hours and it only cost us a twenty dollar service fee. Talk about amazing!

So, it is too late in the day to write a real post, but like it or not............ I will be back in full force tomorrow. See ya!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Another one about to bite the dust..........................

Another bill that is! It was my goal for this month to pay off our truck. The money I need is sitting in the checkbook, and yet something is keeping me from transfering it to the pay-off. It might be my intuition "knows" that I will need the thousand dollars for something else, but I don't think this is it. I think it is more about the fact that for ALL of my adult life I have been involved in the "money struggle game," and I am finding it hard to give up this identity. I have always taken pride in the fact that I could stretch a dollar to make ends meet, and I am finding something missing when I can simply write out a check without wondering if I should hang onto it until the next payday is closer.

Okay! I know you are all out there thinking if this is the only thing I have to whine about I need to just grow up and get over it. I agree, and trust me, I really am NOT complaining about my good fortune. It isn't even as if I am totally debt free. We still have a trailer payment, a first and second mortgage, and there are still five credit cards being payed off with the monthly payment to Greenpath. That is still a fair amount of debt, it is just that we also have a fair amount of income to handle the load. What I am questioning are the feelings I am having.

When I dreamed of the day when money wasn't a stuggle I would imagine doing things like buying things NOT on sale, and paying full price without even thinking about it. The reality is that I still get a thrill out of finding a great bargin, and have more fun seeking a deal than simply making a purchase. I did not imagine it would be this way. I am finding that I don't want to give up my identity as a penny-pincher, and I guess there is really no reason to.

The other thing that I am finding strange is my reluctance to talk about how well we are doing with paying off our debts and not using credit, because we seem to be in the minority when it comes to this. I don't want to seem to be bragging about our good fortune when others are struggling, but at the same time I want them to understand that if I can be successful, then they can do the same.

The best thing that has come out of this whole getting out of debt thing is how it has transfered to my youngest. The other day she told me that when her dad was telling her about how he was planning on going into debt for a new car, she responded by telling him that he should buy a thousand dollar car and pay cash for it! She and I both cried when we found out that her car would cost more than it is worth to fix it so we will be replacing it. Her plans were for the car to get her through four years of college, and we are sad at the thought of having to part with our beloved car that has been through so much with us. We were hoping to get two hundred and fifty thousand miles out of it, but it is not looking good.

My youngest has taken two part time jobs for the summer to put money away for college, and I couldn't be more proud of her. At seventeen, to understand that it is better to pay for things as you go along rather than rack up a bunch of bills speaks to her maturity level don't ya think? I would like to think this is because of something I did right, but it is far more likely that is from watching all the mistakes I have made with money and learning from them. Either way it is a good thing, and that is what counts.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm Back..........................

Our first annual trail run was an awesome experience! So awesome, that I got sick of hearing myself use the word "awesome" to discribe the experience as it was unfolding.

In case I have not given the details of the trail race before, it was a seventy-eight mile relay with a team of six runners, and two driver/navigators. One of my friends volunteered to be one of the navigators, and she, my youngest, and I went up a day early to scout out the route. What a good thing this turned out to be, as some of the roads were not identified with road signs. This could be because some of the roads were more like trails than roads, and what a great time we had figuring it all out. As we found the legs that I was to run, my excitement built as I saw the narrow trails right next to steep drop offs. This would be an adventure for sure!

We had originally planned to run the race with five runners, but at the last minute added a sixth person as advised by the race director. We could not have ask for a better teammate than the person that answered our e-mail request for an additional runner. I have dubbed him VTR (veteran trail runner) as he had done the race several times before. Not only was his experience invaluable, but his speed was pretty welcome as well. What was most amazing was how we functioned as a team with many of us never having met before arriving at out camp site.

Our goals for the race were to Finish, have Fun, and then be Fast. FFF was the moto for the day. We completed the race in thirteen hours thirty-five minutes and thirty seconds. None of us could come up with a time when we had had more fun, and considering the details of the day, we were pleased with our time. The trails taught us so much about ourselves, and the lessons learned as a result of some wrong turns and missed marks changed all of us for the better. We are so much stronger after coming through the race as a team, and I am sure that we will all hold the experience of the race up as a marker for our next life challenge for some time to come.

This morning, I am experiencing that slightly un-anchored feeling now that the race is behind me, and there is nothing really pressing to divert my focus too. The difference is, that I am getting used to that feeling, and know that in a few days my mind will be clearly centered on my next goal/plan/race/challenge whatever that turns out to be. Today is a day to not worry about eating/running/planning/doing. Tomorrow, (or the tomorrow after that, or the tomorrow after that) is soon enough to get back on track, and I know from experience that I definitely will.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Send me to my room......PLEASE!....................

In observing a young mom trying to cope with her cranky kids in the store the other day, I couldn't help but find it amusing that all the things I used to do (or threaten to do) to my kids as a means of controlling un-suitable behaviors, are all the things I long for as an adult.

How great would it be if someone said to me, "Go to your room, and don't come out until you have thought about your behavior, and how you might handle things in the future." I would happily comply, assuming that is, there was some imaginary person waiting in the wings to handle all of the things that I would normally be doing outside of my room. I could lay on my bed and rehash the details, rewrite the outcome, imagine a "do over." Then I would repeat the sequence sprawed out on the floor, and finally compair all of my ideas in a leisurely fashion reclined on my bedside chair. When whomever had prounced the punishment returned to see if I had learned my lesson, I would have a whole new perspective to share with him/her.

And then there is the question "If you were stranded on a deserted island, what one person would you want to be stranded with?" My question is "Do I HAVE to pick someone to be with me? Can't I just be ALL alone?" Once upon a time, long long ago, when I was single, worked outside of my home, and my children would go to their father's house every other weekend, I used to turn off the phone, shut up the house and go the entire two and a half days without talking to anyone. (But myself of course.) It was heaven! Mostly, because I didn't have to worry about meeting anyone's needs but my own.

People tell me I will miss ______ when they/it are/is gone. (And even though I think to myself, "Are they nuts?" I don't argue, because I know they just might be right.) I guess this it along the same lines of "not appreciating something until it is gone," or "wanting what you don't have, grass always greener on the other side of the fence" kind of thing. Sometimes I even get sad looking back to the time my kids were little and safe under my roof. This saddness is always fleeting, and I really am happy that they are living their own lives as I have have been living mine. It is all part of the cycle of life, as it should be, and I really wouldn't change a thing.

When I sat down to write todays post, I really didn't have a topic, so I decided to do the morning routine first, confident that when I came back to the computer the blog topic would have formed in my head. I find it interesting that the above came out, because it obviously was on my mind even though not in my conscious thoughts. Maybe it's time to plan an escape. Even if it is only a ten minutes detour from the daily grind. I think I could manage that without anyone noticing.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Butterflys are free to fly, and land where they choose......................
First let me say to Has to be me................... I added this picture, just like you said I could. What you forgot to tell me (that I stumbled onto) was to click on the little blue button above. Once I found that, it was easy.
Yesterday, I wasn't hungry at lunch time, so I went outside, and sat down to enjoy the sun for a few minutes. As I was sitting there focusing on clearing my mind, A butterfly (actually I think it was a moth, but hey!) flew over and landed on my shoulder. We sat like that, enjoying one anothers company for a full two minutes before he flew off to continue his exploring.
This little encounter reminded me that there are so many miracles available to us, on a daily basis, if we just take time to stop and notice them. Much of the time, I am so focused on inner junk that I miss the wonder of nature. Even if you live in a big city, you can marvel at the way something green will find its way up through a crack in the concrete. Talk about persistance! These things are put in our path to teach us lessons. Sometimes that lesson is very simply to experience joy in the world around us.
My hope is I can use the calm I felt while the butterfly was on my shoulder as a feeling I can recall when things in my world are not quite as peaceful. By spending time reliving and remembering that feeling, it is my hope that it will become a tool to be retrieved when I need it.
What are your weapons against the chaos in your life? What do you rely on to transport you out of your day to day stresses? Remember to invite them in and spend time with them often, (when you are not stressed,) so they will be at your disposal when you need them most. Just like all other relationships, our self-relaxation triggers need to be nurtured and cared for if we want to be able to rely on them to give back to us. Remember to check out the miracle, that is patiently waiting to be noticed today.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Maybe you can, but not me......................

I tried to write a post, and then upload a picture to it. Every time I tried, it pulled up a new post. It is not that important to me, I guess because I only tried twice. I also tried to export it, but they wanted a file to export it to, and having no clue what file my blog it, I let that one go too. And just in case you were wondering, I didn't have a specific picture I wanted to post, I just wanted to see if I could do it. Maybe next try.

On to more exciting news.....................

I LOST A TOENAIL from running. What? You're not that impressed? I would not have been either, except that I have been told (and read) that when this happens, one can consider themselves a true runner. My youngest is holding out for the time I throw up either during or after a race to give me this honor, but I am thinking she is going to be holding out a while for that one. I have not quite got to that plane of self-torture as of yet.

One race down, the big one next weekend. I ran the six miles in one hour and three minutes. Only a minute faster than last year, and yet the race was much better for me. Everything I have learned over the past year went with me, and I felt very strong!

I had been doing visualizations for the course (It was the first race I did last year after starting my running in January.) especially for the one big hill. As I said, I felt really strong during the race, and about a half mile in, I picked a guy that had passed me and told myself I would stick with him for at the next four miles. It worked, and I actually kept up or was slightly ahead (for a few seconds at a time) through mile five. The hill was somewhere between miles four and five, and after I had reached the top, I was flying for about a quarter mile. Then I started to get this nagging feeling about this long stretch of horror. Instead of keeping my focus on the race, I was racking my brain trying to figure out if it were this race or a different one that this stretch was in. This was just enough distraction to slow me down, and my pacer began to take a slight lead. And then it happen............ There is was right in front of me.................. The dreaded part of the race that I hadn't even remembered (which should give you some idea of how bad I felt at that point last year if I had totally blocked it out of my mind post last year's race.) Logically it should have been no problem because I had lots of power left to take me home, and it was flat and smooth. The problem was, I had to waste energy to mentally talk myself through that last quarter mile, and this slowed down even more.

Maybe I should be disapointed, but I am not. I ran a much improved race over last year, and my body felt really good being out there. The other reason I am not disapointed, was because I learned so much from the experience. It was one more lesson in how powerful our thoughts are. I am totally convinced that had I rehearsed the last quarter mile of the course as well as I did the hill, I would have kept my pace up and soared to the finish line. I can take this information, and apply it to my next race. How can I be disapointed at that? More importantly, I can apply my discovery to everything I encounter on a day to day basis to tackle all the things that I currently let get the better of me. How cool is that?!

Friday, June 02, 2006

We can't always get what we want.............. But we get what we need!

It is still early, the coffee cup remains three-quarters full, and I am not fully awake. It is my habit now to wake up with the computer; paying a bill, reading a blog or two. I had just shifted my mind to "what do I need to do today?" and promtly decided to not decide until the coffee cup was at least half empty. To pass the time, I grabbed a magazine (out of the middle of the ever growing pile waiting to be read) and my eyes were immediately drawn to the title of an article, "The Ultimate Hamstring Stretch." Maybe I didn't want to think about my to do list, but my to do list sure wanted to be sure I put stretching on the top of the list!

My legs are feeling pretty good, but last weeks eighteen miles took more out of them than I would have guessed. (I am not used to that many hills and valleys.) Stretching and some yoga posses are just what I need to do today to be in tip top racing form for the morning.

I just love knowing that if I take time to plug in and listen, I always "Hear" just what I need, no matter the topic. The problems start when I am not paying attention. (Remember, the "I don't need to get gas right now" story?) I am not sure how you hear things, I have two prominate ways of doing this. Yes I hear voices sometimes, but relax they are always in my tone/voice. I also get messages in my solar plexus, sometimes subtel, sometimes it is more like a punch. (Who doesn't pay attention when they get punched in the stomach?)

The cool thing is we always have a choice to listen or not listen when we are given messages. Each choice brings a lesson, so I guess one could say there is no wrong thing to do and you would be right. For those of you that are slackers like me, I have found that when I do listen the lessons are usually much easier to swallow. (How much panic and stress I would have saved my body had I stopped at that gas station!) I will also say that there are some times, when looking back, I can almost say I was glad I didn't listen because the adventure that came out of not listening turned out to be a fabulous learning experience, and I became a better person for having gone through it. ( Like the voices that were plaguing me in the days before the half-marathon telling me I was crazy to think I could do something like that. Now when I face something hard I tell myself, "If you could finish that race, this will be a piece of cake.") I guess the key to growing is getting better at learning when to listen and when to ignore our internal messages.

Today, I challenge you to tune in and listen. Even if you don't act, practice hearing so when you really need to act you will be ready. As I leave you to go stretch my hamstrings, I am going to share a quote that one of my trail running teammates sent to us for inspiration. (Sorry I don't have an author for you.)

"How do will you ever know what you are capable of unless you do something you find very, very hard?"

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Food............... Haven't mentioned it in a while...........

From my first post about my ending love affair with food, my blog has seemes to have taken a totally different direction from where I expected it to lead me. I guess that is proof that the love affair has truly ended. Kind of like running into an old friend; while I enjoy catching up, they just don't hold the importance in my day to day life that they once did. Considering how many years food was a main focus in my life, I still find these new events puzzling.

Since my pre-race diet worked so well for me for the half-marathon, I have been pretty much keeping it up since March, with the modification of usually having something with cheese or a higher fat content if I want it after my long run day. When I went to the hospice training, I hauled my own food with me, not being sure what they would be serving. It wasn't until the drive home that I reflected on the fact that all three days there were all kinds of munchies, donuts, and assorted snacks, as well as pizza on the final day. None of it held any appeal to me, or even tempted me. Now I know there are those of you that have never veiwed food as anything more than what it is, fuel for the body, and I doubt you will see the magnitude of the previous statement. For those of you that have experienced the diet-go-round, binges/purging, "Oh my gauwd if I don't have a piece of that ___ right now I am going to kill someone," lifestyle you just might relate to the wonderment of that fact.

There have been many times in the past when I would be at a social gathering and manage to avoid (what I considered at the moment) bad food. The key difference was that it was a huge battle doing so. I would station myself as far from the enemy as possible, and if it approached (on someone else's plate for example) the real fight would begin. "Come on, just have a little." Followed by, "Come on you fat slacker. Go ahead and give in AGAIN! JUST LIKE LAST TIME!" Or various versions of these words until I was so caught up in the food that the entire social event was lost to me. Do you know how much guilt I could have avoided, had this whole mystifying not into food thing had happen to me twenty years ago? I am guessing at least enough to have kept me from ballooning up to over two hundred pounds, and maybe even enough that by now I would have a better understanding as to how this happened in the first place to help someone else deciding to end their own love affair.

I am guessing that what happen was I healed the something inside of me that was relying on food for medication. If this guess is correct, then I really can't give someone else a magic formula of steps to take to breaking it off with their beloved. Maybe, what I can give someone is the knowledge that it is possible to do so. It seems for me, the less I tried to control my food consumption/issues the more they controlled themselves leaving me more available to focus on other desires.

One of those desires is being more assertive in getting my needs met. Through the years, I have always talked a good game about needing this, and wanting that, but the fact is as soon as life happened, (as it always seems to) I threw my needs out with the trash and took care of everything and everyone else. Now I make sure and get my "me time." (If running in eighty degree, ninety percent humidty is your idea of quality me time that is. Maybe next year it will be focusing on learning a new language, or how to paint, or..........................) What I do with that time is not nearly as important as that I DO do something daily (or near-daily) where the focus is on ME. I have always given lip service to the idea that if I don't take care of me, then I won't be any good to anyone else. Now I am actually putting it into practice. I am sure this too is due to whatever I healed inside of me, however I managed to heal it.

And now that I have shared all of that, it is only far to also tell you that I am expecting a big shipment of chocolates from John and Kira today. (Stop laughing, and/or calling me names.) After I placed my first order, they sent me a coupon for fifteen percent off my next order. You know how I can't resist a good deal. I ordered some for the doctors and hospice that have been so fabulous to me and our residents. I ordered some for gifts, and yes I ordered a box for me. (And I have to tell you, when I called to place the order John himself answered the phone, and was so helpful and friendly, I am already looking forward to placing my next order just to have another chat with him. In addition to that, shipping is the same price whether you order one box or twenty boxes. How is that for a deal/great marketing technique?) The difference with eating chocolate now, is I enjoy it, rather than obsess and then guilt over it. Talk about having the best of both worlds. Yummy!