Thursday, September 28, 2006

A feel good trip.......................

Last night I ventured out into the real world. I was looking for some yarn to make some Christmas presents, and (my) Mister needed some wood for laying the new floor in our addition.

The first yarn store (right around the corner from Home Depot) did not have what I needed, but the clerk suggested another store that might have it and looked up the phone number so I could call before driving over. Not in her job discription I'm sure, but she did it anyway.

The second yarn store is one of those places that is so wonderful you could spend an entire day just looking at all the wonderful colors and textures. I found some yarn that the owner thought would work for my project, but she handed me a pair of needles and invited me to sit and knit a swatch to make sure. While I would have loved to, I declined since I had left (my) Mister with the OPs and didn't want to take advantage of his assistance. Still, it was an extreamly kind offer.

On to get the wood. Okay, I confess... I played the dumb woman that knows nothing about wood, because I didn't feel like searching for what I needed. It worked like a charm, and after only one call to check on specifics, I was on my way out with the wood. The clerk ask if I would like help getting the wood loaded, so I said, "Why not?"

I pulled the truck up and since no one was there to help me I started loading it myself. As I was doing so, a customer about to enter the store ask if I would like some help. It was much easier with two of us lifting. He could have went about his business, but he took a few minutes to make a positive difference in a strangers life. A very cool thing indeed!

I can't tell you how thrilled I was to witness human kindness first hand last night. I know it exsists, and I know it begins with my attitude, but sometimes, it seems like I have to search high and wide to even catch a glimps of it.

So thank you to all my little angel helpers, those of you I don't know personally, and of course (my) Mister. To the rest of you, I encourage you to always practice kindness. Not only is it good for you, it does make a difference to those of us receiving it, and raises the vibrational love of the entire planet.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"I'LL KEEP RUNNING because I want to get into trouble....

I read the above in a running shoe ad. The rest of the ad read, " My dream is to someday actually be scolded for exceeding the "30-minute maximum" on the treadmill.

Now there is a goal that I can relate to! Doesn't it also speak to the fact that attitude is everything. Instead of getting all jerked out of shape over some silly rule why not change the angle a bit and make it work to your advantage? Speaking of that... The lastest school issue...

My youngest is often rushing to school at the last minute because she is helping me with something. In addition to this she helps out a teacher at the elementary school for an hour a day. Well, the parking spaces she uses have been put up for grabs in a raffle to become reserved parking spots, at three bucks a ticket. I was a little more than mifted to find out that they could do this with public school parking spaces. Not having chatted with the principal in a few days I thought I would question the validity of this idea. The school's take on the matter is they are getting around things by only raffling off 36 of the total 39 spots. Oh, yeah! He also told me they could make any rules they want, as long as they put them in the "student hand book." He sputtered a bit when I ask him where in the rule book this parking rule was... Made my day!

Anyway, last night, when my youngest and I were talking about the matter (my) Mister came into the room and said, " If there are 36 spots, at three bucks a ticket, that is $108.00. Why don't you just write them a check and have ALL the spots reserved for you? WHAT A GREAT IDEA! I added that she could them give the spaces to all of her friends for Christmas presents. We had lots of fun with this plan until it occured to one of us that since it is a raffle they could sell more than the 36 tickets, so the plan might not work in the end. We then went back to the normal ideas like staging sit-ins and signing petitions. The point is, looking at the issue from an unusual perspective felt good and was really a fun bonding time for us as a family. That "me against the world" thing I guess!

What is going on in your life that could benefit from a breath of fresh air, and/or a new perspective? Try something new and see how much fun you can have with it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Craving more.....................................

I finished my book, Sugar Blues, by: William Dufty. Now that I have, I can give you a recommendation to read it, and the sooner the better. If you are looking for a formula book for "How to cut sugar out of your life," this is NOT the book for you. It isn't until the last couple of chapters that he even touches on ways to lose the sugar in your life.

What this book does discuss is the fasinating history of sugar, and how it has corrupted every government in the world. It also talks about what it does to one's body (in the authors opinion, with lots of studies to back it up.) After reading all of these things, my moral componate wants to give up sugar on principal, and not just because it is bad for me.

As soon as I finished reading it, I got back on Amazon and have ordered three more books on the same subject I will let you know what I think of them as I begin to read them. Just to complain a tiny bit, I paid more to ship the three books than I did for the books themselves, so they had better be worth the collective price of $23.00. I know, compaired to retail,,,,, Stop Complaining!

How is the cutting sugar and processed foods out of my diet going? Glad you ask...

For the most part, things are going well. I am over most of the withdrawl symptoms, with only a little throat junk hanging in there. The stuff I had in my house I was doing well with ignoring, but then my hospitalized resident came home yesterday, and her son brought THREE loaves of the really good (white flour and sugar) bread from the bread store to try and fatten her up. My mouth actually started salivating just typing that right now! I have been strong so far, but it is a great example of what a stong pull those kinds of things have on me. I guess I need to sit mouth down and have ANOTHER long talk with her. She just doesn't seem to care about brain, heart, kidneys, liver, and the rest of the body. How about you? Which one of your body parts inherited your stubborn gene?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bennefits of a newpaper... Even if you don't read it......................

Last Thursday I had to run a couple of errands. While I was out, I splugged on some new throw rugs for the kitchen/family room at 40% off. The next day I was seperating the adds from the news for the OPs, and I noticed an ad from the store I purchased the rugs from. For their Super Saturday Sale, these same rugs were to be 50% to 60% off. Seemed worth a trip back to the store to collect the difference.

Friday afternoon, our microwave started throwing flames with use, so we had to put it out of commision. Long story short, I received $44.00 back on the rugs, and found a microwave for $49.00, costing me only $5.00 when I used the savings from the rug. Had I not glanced at the adds, or was too lazy to go in and get the refund, I still would have needed to purchase the microwave for the full $49.00. My advice, the fifty cents to a dollar that the daily paper cost you is money well spent if you look at the adds/coupons and utilize the savings that these items can give you. Most stores will refund you the difference up to four weeks later if an item goes on sale and/or clearance in that time frame. I have made hundreds of dollars over the years by checking everything I buy to make sure there is not a better deal to be had.

Thursday, when I went to get the rugs, I also cruised the clearance as is my habit. I picked up a couple of things, and found this set of dishes that were really cool looking. They were not marked with a price, only stickers that said, "display only, not for sale." Since they were on the clearance rack I ask about the price. The employee could not find anything in the computer to price them from, so she took my name and said she would call when she had more information. This morning I heard from them, and was told the dishes were not on clearance. Without really thinking, I told the employee, " I never buy anything at full price," to which her answered incredulously, "Never?" I assured him, "No, never." So, he went on and figured out what the display items would be at 60% off, but I told him I wanted them 70% off because they were on that rack. I am sure by now he just wanted to get rid of me, but he very nicely replied, "well that would be $15.00 for the four pieces." I took them for that price. What do I plan to do with one place setting? I break it up and use if to hold a variety of other clearance finds to make a real cool, one or a kind Christmas present that has a high retail value, but cost me little and it tailored to a specific person on our Christmas list. A great way to be able to do Christmas within a budget. Try shopping only clearance or sale for one month and keep track of your savings. After that you too will find it hard if not impossible to spend full price on anything.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sugar blues..............................

I think I have mentioned that I am reading a book with the above title (by William Dufty). Written in 1975, one might think the information would be outdated, but this is untrue. I continue to find the authors take on the history of sugar facinating, and wanted to share something that I read from the book, because I found it amusing (and in my opinion, truthful). Sorry if there are any docs out there reading this... He made the generalization, NOT me!

"The difference between the expensive diseases like cancer and the cheap ones like sugar blues is crucial. Present-day orthodox treatment of cancer is fiendishly expensive. Your finacial ruin is your doctor's yacht. The treatment for sugar blues or hypoglycemia is a do-it-yourself proposition. Kick man-refined sugar and say good-bye to doctor and hospital bills. Mink coats and sunshine seminars in Bermuda can hardly be squeezed from that.

By the 1970s, the slogan was preventative medicine. What the diseasestablishment means by preventive medicine, however, is regular and costly visits to an MD or clinic for expensive tests, and maybe a free sermon on smoking or cholesterol if Doc can hide his paunch under his white coat and abstain from tobacco long enough to deliver it."

Do all doctors practice this way? Of course not. BUT, just for a minute, say this guy is right... As a culture we manage to give up processed foods, and over the next ten years diseases like heart attacks and cancer begin to dwindle and disappear, there would be lots of clinic and hospital staff out of work wouldn't there be. Come to think of it, if the aging generation gets healthy, I might also find myself without frail seniors to care for. Wouldn't that be great?

I am finding it a tough sell to convince brain and mouth that they really don't need processed food and sweets. I keep telling them that if we could give up cheese, then kicking sugar should be a breeze. Instead they are fighting back by giving me flu-like symptoms, and zapping my energy as they grudgingly give up the toxins stored in their cells. (I guess I should have taught them the rules of fair fighting!) They refuse to listen or believe that one can survive without chocolate, (I wonder who taught them that one?), but I am plugging away, and I will keep you informed of any battles I manage to win over them. Just for fun, pay attention to how many of the seemingly "innocent" foods you eat today that have hidden sugar in them. You might be surprised.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Too much time on my hands?........................

I am not complianing mind you. In fact, I am loving my new lazy days. Of course I am doing stuff, just not constantly feeding/changing/turning/washing/etc... someone to get to the end of the list and start over with the next one. Instead I am reading, and knitting, to my hearts content. And oh ya... Did I mention thinking?......................

We continue to pay down our debt, aquired from opening our business, and are on track to be debt free (except our mortgage) by next year at this time. Yesterday, I couldn't stop thinking of ways that I could speed up this process even more. I would love to cut things like, cable/newpaper/phone, heck I would even give up internet short term if it ment getting out of debt faster. Problem is, these are all business expenses, so they stay.

I figure we average a cost of about $200.00 a month for the care and feeding of our four pets. That is a lot of money... But when I ask for volunteers to be relocated to a good home, Emma glanced up from her perfectly arranged pillow pile, and gave me a look that said, "You couldn't possibly be talking to me!" Andy meowed, "Hey! I was here first. Pick someone else... And the next time you get up, could you bring me back a kitty treat?" Cecil didn't even bother to open his eyes and acknowledge that I had spoken. Only Ben came over and looked at me with his big puppy eyes full of hope... "Did I hear the word go? Did you mean like out on a walk around the block?" Full of hope, he started dancing around, and barking "Yes! Yes! Pick me!" Both of us gave up hope as I told him to stop barking, and go lay down... He had it all wrong."

Bottom line is, over the past two years, I have already sold what made sense to sell, and cut back what can be cut back. Do you have bricks in your toilet to use less water per flush? It is suppose to make a big difference. I can't remember the last time I paid full price for anything, and I think my family would be the only one in Americia that would be able to say they have not tried eight out of ten, randomly selected, brand name products (the two they would have tried, would have been purchased on sale, with a coupon).

So, dear readers, I am turning to you to help me out. Did you ever hear about that twenty-something woman who racked up a bunch of credit card debt, and set up a web site asking people to send her money to help her get out of debt? Believe it or not, people did, she paid off her debt, wrote a book, and had her fifteen minutes of fame! While I would be more than happy to volunteer to see if this could happen twice in a lifetime by gladly, and graceously accept any cash offered, I actually had something a little more down to earth in mind. Help me out by sending me your tried and true methods of saving money and cutting back. I would love to free up an additional $5oo.oo a month to put towards our debt snowball. I am hoping that some of you have money generating ideas that I could put to good use. My only criteria..... Keep it legal people... I don't want to be having to add legal fees to my debt snowball now, do I? Thanks, in advance, for your assistance.

Monday, September 18, 2006

You get what you pay for...... Right?.....................

About a month ago I got two copies of the magazine Smart Money. A couple of days after receiving them, I remembered that I had filled out some survey that had given me a choice of three magazines I could pick from as a thank you for taking the time to fill out the survey. I truly believe this is the first time I actually got what I was promised. I added them to my pile of unread magazines and there they lay. A few days back, I received another one in the mail, and this one I actually picked up and skimmed through.

In one of the articles they tore apart furniture from Crate and Barrel, and Pottery Barn. In case you don't watch television, over the past few years these two companies gained notoriety as charaters from shows like Friends "just had to have items from these stores." I guess if the furniture is grand enough for television, then it is grand enough for the real, up and coming comers of our country. Acording to the article, while it looks grand on the outside, and has extreamely grand price tags, the construction of the pieces tested leave something to be desired. This got me to thinking...

Are we ever like that as people? Grand looking on the ouside, thanks to expensive clothes, hair styles, and make-up, but not so grand underneath it all because of our attitude.

I love the story that my oldest told me about the time they were painting at her Sorority house. One of her sisters had to borrow paint clothes because she didn't have ANY old clothes. My daughter was sharing this story with me because she couldn't imagine not having at least a few old clothes laying around waiting to be useful for a messy chore. The best part of the story though, was after telling me the first part, she ended by saying the girl without any old clothes was one of the nicest people she had ever met, down to earth, helpful, and kind. The girl was also slightly embarrassed to have to admit that she didn't own "paint clothes," but took the ribbing she got in stride, laughing at herself along with the group. Her character is definitely more than the sum of her expensive outer parts.

What would people find if they started peeling off your veneer? Do your relationships stand up to the test of time, or do they end up wobbly and creaking like the bed tested from Crate and Barrel? Is your character made up of a long lasting hard wood, or particle board? I would have to admit that in my teens and twenties, I had a much higher percentage of particle board in my character, but have worked hard over the years to be able to offer longer lasting, richer character traits to my relationships. The higher the quality I offered, the higher quality I got back in return.

I think a much more acurate statement might be "You get what you ask for and give," instead, of what you pay for. If you find things are not going as you would like in your life/relationships, stop and take a look at what you are offering to those relationships. If you offer a person that is filled with love and respect for themself, then you are bound to give love and respect, and receive it in return. This way, when you are a ninty-year-old antique, rocking on the front porch, you will have lots of antique relationships to keep you company on your porch!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sex scenes just don't do it for me...................

In order to talk about this subject, I first have to confess to watching Lifetime (television for women). Okay! I like it. So shoot me! I like the mostly happy ending, or at the least the fact that all the movies have a wrap-up ending. I don't like shows that leave on hanging. I also like that they play the same movies a lot so if I don't get to watch the whole thing at once there are ample opportunities to see the parts I missed.

The one complaint I have is for some reason directors feel compelled to throw in "their idea of a" sex scene. This is the number one reason why I watch television with a book beside me. If the "passion" goes over a second or two, I just read a few pages while they finish. Option number two is to channel surf during the sex scenes.

Well... Last night the movie was about a staying minister's wife, (Come on! Who makes this stuff up?) that hooks up with the bad-boy-turned-church-handi-man. In one scene they are literally (or close to it) moving the bed around the room they are going at it so hard. Just before this scene my youngest (reminder, she is almost 18, so I didn't jump to turn the channel) had come in to say goodnight. I felt compelled to tell her not to worry, "real sex, with someone you love, is not nearly that much work!" The scene reminded me of really bad soft porn, and I saw that my youngest had the right idea and went to bed.

Don't get me wrong, sex (with (my) Mister that is) has an important place in my life. It is just other people's sexcapades that I don't care/need to know anything about. I like a good love story as much as the next gal, but some things are better left to the imagination. In fact, in my opinion, it is leaving some things to the imagination that makes the story so good in the first place.

We all know that sex has crept into our culture, and our young people take so much about sex for granted. That is why parents no longer have a choice about talking to their children about sex. Talking to them is the only way they are going to get the straight picture, the picture/values that you as a parent want them to have. Make it age appropriate, and make it clear as to what you believe and what you want for them as they reach the age of maturity.

There might be better visual aids that Lifetime television, but for me, the movie turned into a teachable moment. Use what you got, or can get. The important thing is to talk to your kids. They are hearing about sex from a multitude of places. Make sure the most important place (you) gets heard loud and clear.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Joy creates motivation...............................

If you are a "normal" Joe/Jane, there has been at least one occasion in which you just simply could not find the motivation to begin, or finish a task. How then, do we get things done? My simplistic answer is to find the joy!

How do I get out of bed after two hours of sleep rather than hit the snooze button one more time? I con myself into believing that I have an easy day ahead of me, or that I will be able to fit in a nap later in the day. Rarely does either thing materialize, but in the moment I think of how wonderful those things are and it gets me moving.

I am sure most of us would have to stretch to find "the joy" in cleaning a toilet or cleaning up after a pets. Laugh if you want, but I "feel" different/better peeing into a clean toilet rather than a dirty one. (Did anyone think Porta-potty?) It is in the outcome that I find the joy.

Last February, I started knitting (my) Mister a sweater. I made a mistake, and after ripping it out and making the same mistake three times, I put it away to take a break from it. Since that time, I have been too busy to have the uninterupted time needed to fix the dumb thing. The joy of knitting (and the fact that I have much more disposable time on my hands now) brought the sweater back out of the bag, and I am pleased to say I not only fixed the mistake (FINALLY!) but will have the back completed today and be moving onto the left front. I had forgotten how much I enjoy knitting. It is the joy of the process that has re-motivated me to finish the sweater.

I believe if we choose to search long and/or hard enough, we can find joy in everything. Once we find the joy, we can tackle and accomplish anything. This is along the same lines as stopping to smell the roses. Everything in life is there as a gift for us, if we are willing to take it. Our days are filled with life lessons that will make us better able to love one another. Again, we have to be willing to take these gifts; even when they are disguised in "un-gift-like" forms. The joy is in the choice people, and even when our egos work hard to fool us into thinking there is no choice, there ALWAYS, ALWAYS is! As your work day begins, and you find your self grumbling because a co-worker took the last of the coffee and didn't make fresh, used the last of the paper in the copy machine and didn't fill it back up, spread their clutter all over shared work space, step back and find the joy in these nuisances. It really is there, waiting to be discovered. I promise!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Some things on my mind...........

On average two to three times a week, (my) Mister will ask me a half question, and before he finishes I give him the answer. No matter how many times this happens, he ALWAYS responds with, "How do you know what I was going to say?" So I complete his sentence for him, and he gives me a look that conveys he thinks I am part smart-ass, and part spooky for being able to "read" his mind. Then, nine times out of ten, he will say to me a minute or two later, "So what am I thinking now?" Unless he has that secret smile on his face that means only one thing, I rarely get the second guess right. It could be that he is focusing on throwing me off, or I am thinking of something else and not reading the non-verbal cues, who knows? Who cares? Since I have no immediate plans to take my gift on the road and do readings for people, I have not worked to hone this skill that I think all of us have within us. I just like to have fun with it, in the moment, because the look on (my) Mister's face when I am right, is as the Mastercard commercial states: Priceless!

I have this same link with my children, but they give waaaay easier cues. My youngest, for example, ALWAYS begins a question with, "Hey Mommy," to which I respond, "What do you want?" Why is it then that if I am so seemingly good at reading my family, do they not read me at all? (Well... I guess I should say that they can/do read me when I am spouting steam from my nostrils when I am angry, but any stranger off the street could do that.) Somehow they have their signals crossed. If I am sitting and doing nothing, they tend to ignore me. The very second I pick up a book to start reading, or am typing on the computer, they start chatting and/or asking me all kinds of questions. I think this is some throw-back to some early genetic link from the times when cave (and I think Native American Indian) mothers carried their young on their backs for the first couple of years of their lives. Never being apart, the mother had to learn how to mentally multi-task, and their little one learned to ignore the "I am doing something" cues and seek to get their needs met on demand. Where do you think it comes from?

In our family, interuptions and switching to plan B, mid-stream are the norm rather than the exception. Most of the time I think this is all pretty amusing, and we all laugh when I either, 1. Hold up the book I am reading and say, "NO! I am not reading, I would LOVE to have a conversation with you." or 2. I try to ignore the presence quietly standing beside me waiting for an indication that it is okay to interupt me, until I say, "WHAT?" To which the reply is ALWAYS, "Well, I know you don't like it when I interupt you, so I was waiting for you to finish." Why is it that they don't realize that standing over someone, staring at them intently, IS interuptive? Beats me!

Really folks, I am poking fun at myself with this post. I wouldn't change my family for anyone in the world. I love them to pieces, mostly because they love me inspite of all of my flaws. I like the fun, laughter, and as Dr. Phil would say, "The soft place to fall," that my home/family is to me. I am very fortunate, to have what I have. If the price I have to pay for all of this love and support is having to read 'THE SAME DAMN PARAGRAPH THREE (or more) TIMES" I should just shut up and count my many blessings. Don't you agree?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dreams revisited..................

Yesterday, the social worker from Hospice stopped by to make sure I was doing okay having lost two residents in such a short period. I assured her I am doing fine, mostly because I take such comfort from being able to give residents and their families such postive experiences of the dying process. As our conversation took off from there, she told me something that has continued to haunt my thoughts ever since.

She said she went to visit one of her patients, that is residing at an area nursing home (that is suppose to be one of the better ones, and IS one of the more expensive ones), and went in to find her moaning, obviously in pain. When she went to ask the nurse about pain medication that is ordered PRN (which means "as needed"), the nurse's response was, "Well, she can have it whenever she asks for it. She didn't ask for it, and we don't have time to be running down there to check on her all the time." The patient IS UNABLE TO ASK FOR IT (you moron!), and she certainly can't be running down to you "all the time" now can she? (Disclaimer here... NOT what the Hospice nurse said to the staff nurse, just what I would have would have wanted to say to her.) The nurse solved the immediate problem by changing the orders to read "every hour." This doesn't even begin to address the larger problem of inadequate care our senior population is getting.

I know I have talked about this before. I don't even fully blame the nurses in these places, as it is really the way we have allowed the system to be set up. The only way things are going to change is if speak up and do something about it. In my state, the Governor passed a law making everyone working with seniors and children to be fingerprinted, to cut down on the number of felons employed in these places, and is now using that as a campaign ad to show how good of a job she is doing. I am absolutely sure that the nurse without the time has no criminal record, and yet in my opinion is abusing that patient by not checking on her more often. We need to do much more as individuals, and as a country to address this problem.

Remember my dream of the perfect nursing home, where care is of the highest quality and money is not a concern? Help that possibility to become a reality by praying/meditating/holding the idea up/ whatever you do to assist the universe in granting one's heart desire. Collectively, I know we can do this. Also, consider volunteering at your area nursing home, either as a Hospice volunteer, or just a regular volunteer. Get in those places, and then get the word out as to how they need to be changed. Contact those in govermental power and let them know the reality of what is going on. If nothing else, you can be the mouth and legs of the residents that can no longer speak up for themselves, at a time when they most need to be able to. In today's society, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to die in pain. (Okay! We really can't count tragic accidents in the context of this discussion. Can we?) Take a pro-active stance in seeing that this doesn't continue to be the norm rather than the exception.

Alright! I am getting off my soapbox for now. Thanks for listening to me, and have a wonderful day! Thanks also (in advance) for helping me solve this problem.
Dear Anonymous, AKA - mkc...................

Got your blog comments... Welcome! Was too lazy to go back and find exactly which post they were attached to, but I think I remember (at least two of them).

Glad you "stumbled" onto my blog. Hope you didn't scrape you knee in the process.

"words are often like seeds, they remain under the ground for some time and then fruit ..." I like that line from your comments. It is so true, and I wanted to be sure the rest of my readers saw it, so there you go folks.

As to your sugar addiction... I received my raw foods E-newsletter a last week, and they were talking about that very topic. A book was recommended titled Sugar Blues, By: William Dufty. On the front it says, "Exposing sugar, the killer in your diet - offering you a life-saving, sugar-free way to health. It is an old book, published in 1975, and I picked it up from Amazon Used Books for under three dollars. I have only read the first fifty pages or so, but it is very interesting so far. It talks about the whole history of sugar, all of the times it created wars, all the slaves it took to harvest, YUCK! I am guessing that eventually he speaks to the addictive nature of sugar and offers his solutions. I will keep you all informed if I find anything that works to help me get rid of it from my diet. After reading Fast Food Nation, I didn't eat at McDonalds For close to a year. (Never mind that I normally only ate there at the most two or three times a year in the first place.) Hang in there, WE CAN conquer sugar... One day at a time.

Wow! My comments to your comments is turning into a whole post. I will wrap things up by saying again, "Welcome! and thanks for the comments."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Make the most of every moment........................

The end of the above sentence is... Because we never know when it will be our last. Sounds gloomy doesn't it? I guess I am still thinking of all those families who got up five years ago yesterday to the most ordinary kind of a day, to have the world as they knew it destroyed. One of the ways I honor those people is to be sure and let those close to me know I love them, OUT LOUD and OFTEN.

Switching topics, but not really, my other Hospice resident passed away last Sunday. When the nurse came out on Friday both of us could see that something had changed, but we were not sure what. His daughter came out Saturday morning and stayed with him to love, honor, and care for him in his final hours. Being able to do this gave her lots of comfort and peace. That is the number one reason why I care for Hospice patients.

I know I have talked about this before, but I can't get over how, again, this man's choice of how he left this world was definitely HIS choice. I have been a part of several deaths by this time in my career. While each of the deaths were marked by the person's last breath, each one had bits and pieces of their signiture personalities, and like the song says, "They did it their way!" I write this to say to you, take comfort in that, both from the perspective of your death and having someone you love passing. Maybe I cling to this because I am such a control freak? Since I know I am not the only control freak out there, all the rest of you can join me in being comforted by knowing that, even if you don't appear to be interacting at the end, you can still be very much in charge.

Switching topics, not really, I thought you might enjoy hearing about the number two reason why I care for Hospice patients; life goes on! Though our resident spent most of his time with us in bed, he often told us how much he appreciated being with us, and his family often spoke of how they appreciated him (and them) being a part of our "family." Last Sunday, his daughter kept his door open part of the day because "He appeared to like all the noise and activity going on in the house." (from 10:00am to 11:00am) The TV blaired with Catholic mass, as usual. The dogs barked to get out/in/at passing cars/when someone came to the door, as usual. The phone rang countless times, as usual. Meals were cooked/eaten, voices were raised/told to lower, visitors arrived/loved ones went out, regular, typical life went on, as he did the hard work required to shut down a body that for years had worked so hard to keep going. After sharing one last joke with his daughter, he took his final breath and moved on. So did life. We called the Hospice nurse, as usual (when a death occurs at our house that is), she came/made calls/dumped his medication/called the funeral home, dogs bark... see above sentence substituting football blairing on the TV instead of mass. All usual, typical life evens around here.

When the family had gave their consent, the funeral home staff began to remove the body. Unable to get their gurney into his room, they left it in the hallway portion of the living room and carried his body to it. Between the time they postioned the gurney and carried out his body, my youngest got a phone call to come into work. She needed to call and cancel other plans she had made, and by the time she did this our resident's body was postioned on the gurney right in front of where the phone goes. Rushing to get to work, it was natural that my youngest sort of side-stepped over our resident's body to toss the phone into the cradle and rush off to change into her work clothes. Maybe not full of reverence, but very typical of life around here, and I am sure our resident would have saw the humor in it as we all did. When we were talking about it later my youngest's defense was, "Well, I didn't want (or have time) to ask them to move him!" Death is a very normal, inevitable part of life. Having Hospice patients has greatly helped our family become comfortable with that concept. I am very grateful for the gift that each of our Hospice residents have given to us by letting us be a part of their lives and their deaths.

Changing subjects one more time, though still talking about life events, BIG happy birthday wishes go out to (my) Mister today. Hope it is a great one honey! We love and appreciate you VERY much!

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 Revisited............................

This is a paper I wrote for my writing class, one year after 9/11. On today, the fifth anniversary, I decided to share it with all of you. I am one of those old enough to have grown up hearing the words, "I remember exactly what I was doing the moment I heard President Kennedy had been shot." I am sure that everyone reading this has heard simular words spoken regarding this tragic event. This is what I recall from that day, September 11, 2001:

Journal Entry # 3

Remembering 9/11

I awoke to my alarm, getting out of bed to begin my day. A greeting by my daughter, wearing her "I Love New York" T-shirt, was my first reminder. About twenty minutes later, going outside to put some papers in my car, I noticed that someone had placed flags in all of the yards up and down the street. I was compelled to walk to the end of the driveway and spend a moment drinking in the symbolism. That was the start of my day, one-year after 9/11.

Reminders continued as I arrived at my office to find a newsletter containing information to give clients, regarding 9/11 – related depression. Soon after heading out to my first client’s home, at exactly 8:46 (the time the first plane crashed into the north tower), the radio began to play Mozart’s "Requiem " as part of a continuing concert from around the world’s varying time zones. After listening to this for a minute or so, something compelled me to change the station. No matter what station I turned to, all were playing something patriotic. At that moment, alone in my car, I felt an overwhelming unity with the rest of the world. My thoughts began to drift back to the day responsible for this unity, last September eleventh.

The brilliant blue sky, with the occasional cotton candy cloud floating lazily by, along with the warmth of the bright sun combined to make the perfect fall day if ever there was one. I was driving from my first client’s home to my next client when I heard a bulletin on the news about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. At that time, the speculation focused on it being an accident. Of course it was! Who would ever have believed what we would soon come to know as the truth? I think of it as our nation’s last moment of innocence. Innocence soon to be shattered, by the ugly horror of the second plane making contact with its target, as the eyes of the world looked on. The news was coming in about the second plane at just about the same time I entered my client’s home. I remember sitting stunned, watching as they played the footage again and again. Still trying to make sense of it, I pretended to go through therapy activities with my client.

I went on to my third client’s home. By this time the enormity of what was happening really began to sink in, and I was finding it hard to keep any portion of my mind on my job. I felt a desperate need to touch base with my family, and make sure they were all right. Not that I was worried about their physical safety, but rather concerned about how they were dealing with the emotional assault being delivered into American homes via network television. I re-scheduled the rest of my client’s and headed home. On the way, I called my husband and asked him to come home as well. He works for County government an hour from our home, and I was beginning to have all kinds of irrational fears about our safety and the possibilities of additional attacks.

I stopped for gas on the way home, not because of any panic, but because I needed it. It was early afternoon and already there were long lines at the pumps. The length of these lines alarmed me and I suggested my children fill their tanks, as a precaution, when I arrived home. Twenty minutes after I had stopped to fill my tank, the price had already increased by seventy-five cents a gallon, and the wait in line was approximately forty-five minutes. Panic spreads fast!
By late afternoon, I had all my little chicks safe at home in the nest. The question remained, what do we do now? I sat transfixed in front of the television, watching the same footage over and over, hoping for some small piece of reassuring news. None came. The rising death counts, along with the enormity of the devastation, became hard to watch. At the same time I found it impossible to turn off the television. Each report being broadcast seemed worse than the one before. It was impossible to make sense out of all the confusion. I went to bed that night, still searching for answers, the television continuing its gruesome reports long after I had dozed off.
In the days following, life went on as normal, and yet things were different. I continued to get up, go to work, and come home to my family, even as I carried the pictures of the now demolished World Trade Center in my head and in my heart. Once the ban was lifted on air travel, I began to notice low flying planes that before would never have entered my conscious thought process. Not only did I notice them; I would watch their direction of flight, wondering if they were friend or foe. I am a self-proclaimed news show junky, but over the next several days my intake of news increased at least ten fold.

A couple of weeks after 9/11, the scraps of information had been pieced together and shared with the nation, and my outward calm composure finally gave way. I was watching yet another news show, this one about United flight ninety-three. At the end of the program they began to show pictures of the passengers, one by one, a seemingly endless portfolio. After about the tenth picture the tears began to flow. By the time the fortieth picture flashed onto the screen my tears had turned into a full fledge out-pouring of sadness, pain, and rage. There would be additional feelings of fear and anger to work through, but the healing process began as I watched those faces flash onto the screen one by one. The healing process continues still, but over the past year I have come to realize many things.

The rescue efforts began a sense of participation in the recovery, developed through donations of time and money, and helped us all to move forward towards that recovery goal. We were not alone in our pain, so we were more easily able to reach out to others. Both to heal and be healed. 9/11 brought not just individual reactions of horror, but a collective reaction as well. These actions, violating human consciousness, made the collective minds of our nation feel violated. Life was uncertain before 9/11, and will continue to be uncertain in the future. What is important, is how we rise up to meet these challenges of uncertainty, both as an individual and as a nation. Instead of focusing on the fear of the unknown, we need to live life with a focus on fulfilling our purpose. Choose to respond rather than react. A response comes after careful consideration of your choices, and is grounded in both steadiness and balance. A reaction comes from a foundation of fear, uncertainty, and a sense of separateness.

It is important to spend time with yourself. Sit quietly each day and reflect on life and the consequences of daily actions, striving always to increase positive contributions; while, at the same time, reducing negative ones. Look for opportunities to pull out of the rubble. Work together for the collective peace of all nations. Each one of us has an obligation to protect not only peace, but also freedom.

For me, September eleventh two thousand and two ended as it had the previous year, with me drifting off to sleep while listening to reports regarding events of a year ago. As sleep closed in on me, I reminded myself that while change can be hard, change presents an opportunity for growth, and growth is always good.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Speaking out for the children.....................

There as been an ongoing news subject in my area that I have, until now, refrained from mentioning. The lastest developments insist that I talk about the subject.

In early July 2005 a seven year old boy was reported missing by his adoptive parents. It was first thought that he ran away and was hiding out somewhere in the area. A search began with many volunteers combing the wooded areas day after day until a week and a half later the search was called off. It was reported that he had taken his small blue backpack with him, and for the next four months, as I ran along various country roads, I would search the sides of the roads for that back pack, or any sign of the missing little boy. I would have these dialogs in my head about what I would say to keep him calm and gain his trust if I came across him. I imagined finding him, alive and well, and telling him that he could trust me because I used to be a foster kid once upon a time and I knew how terrible things could be. As the months past, and it seemed highly unlikely that he would ever be found, I kept a prayer vigil going in my head for him as I ran.

Earlier this spring his adoptive parents were arrested on domestic assult charges, and ended up turning on one another. Each confessed that the other one had killed the little boy. The father took police to where he had dumped the little boy's body, and his remains were identified. I still find myself searching the fields as I run, thinking of him and praying for his soul.

A couple of days ago the adoptive father plead guilty to second degree murder, and agreed to testify against his wife. He says the wife killed the little boy and he got rid of the body as she instructed him to do. He also says his wife had been abusing the little boy for years, while he stood by and did nothing. This is what I want to speak to.

When I lived in my foster home, my foster mother delt out the physical/emotional abuse while her husband looked on with blind eyes. I knew it was pointless to speak up about my foster brother's inappropriate sexual behavior towards me as it would only result in me being punished for "lying." Like this little boy, I had no one to turn to because a husband refused to stand up to his wife.

If there is anyone out there (reading this) that is living this situation, I beg you to stand up to the abuser. At the very least take the child out of the situation. Be brave enough to put a stop to the violence once and for all. Decide today, this moment, that you are going to stop being a victim and become a hero and rescue the child. It is NOT okay to look the other way and pretend it isn't as bad as it seems. I know you might feel powerless yourself, but you CAN do it!

I also want to say, that you are not alone. I will help you to help the child. get in touch with me, and I promise I will help you to figure things out.

To all of the rest of you, who think this might be my strangest post to date, I thank you for reading and ask that you hold all the children that are at the mercy of an abuser up in prayer. I have been hiding from this post for some time, but my gut kept telling me to put it out there so here it is. I understand what a touchy subject a parent's right to physical punishment is, and I will say that I have spanked my kids. I did not however chain them up, or do the other things that was done to the little boy with the blue backpack. I thank God for that fact, because I do understand that out of control with anger feeling. There but for the grace of God go I!

I am sorry to be such a downer today, but I have to listen to my instincts. Thank you for listening to me, and God blessings for a great rest of your day.
An interesting approach to change................

This months online Kripula Yoga newsletter had a great article about change. They were referencing changing your diet to promote health, but I believe the ideas can easily be used regarding anything we strive to change. Below (in red) is a small part of the article. I wanted to share it, because I saw so much of myself in it, and I thought you might do likewise. If you want to check out the entire article you can locate it through Kripula's Web site. The title of the article is, Nutritional Changes: Making a Beginning, and was written by: Laura Didyk

"And I, like so many people, was prone to either trying to change it all at once or doing nothing at all.

Making a big change is much more exhilarating than doing nothing, but one must approach with caution. As with new relationships, I’ve always loved the very early stages of my personal health revolutions--the possibility in the air, the sense that I am on the edge of something monumental and life-changing. Things are going to be different this time. But my life has been marked by enthusiastic attempts at creating a healthier version of myself, followed by an unmistakable sense of failure.

I have had long stretches of eating badly: in diners across the country, in college meal halls, and, years later, in my own dining room. I have gained weight and lost weight; been an athlete and, nearly overnight, not been one. I have changed everything--given up sugar, caffeine, and nicotine--then decided I was being too rigid and gleefully started in again on all three, at once. I’ve spent months at a time doing daily yoga, then fizzled out and instead spent the time in front of the television. (I have to say here that I fortunately never smoked, but am guilty of the other two.)

What I didn’t know for a long time was that my expectations for change, for immediate and overnight health, were completely unrealistic and unsustainable. I wasn’t failing; I was setting myself up for the impossible. People are slow to change. Real, deep, permanent change happens over time. When the attempts at change are intentional, made with awareness and self-compassion, and approached by taking baby steps, it really can be lasting. We can also trust that when we change one thing, other areas in our lives will follow suit."

How true is that? For so many years I was so hopelessly black and white, all or nothing that real change took forever, or just never seemed to show up. In the past couple of years, as I have learned to be nicer to myself, I have also discovered that LESS truly is more, and change can happen slowly over a longer period of time. I have also discovered that as the author of the article states, by changing one small thing, other changes just seem to fall into place.

So, use this article to start today. Pick that one small thing that you want to be different and keep the notion of changing it in the frontal lobe (the thinking area) of your brain. In a few short weeks you just might be looking around and note that things are changed for the better.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

WORRY = Wasted Energy.............

Do you know that my youngest has ADHD? Those of you that already knew this will find the statement she made this morning very typical, "Man! Second day of school and I have already lost my backpack!" The really cool thing about this, is since this type of thing is so common place, it caused her no worry. She is used to things either turning up (usually when she is looking for something else) or figuring out a way to substitute/do without/replace the missing item. I have learned to go with her flow and let her handle it instead of trying to fix something that she doesn't see as broken. This has saved me many hours of stressing over things that in the big picture of life have little value.

I am pleased to anounced that, at least for yesterday, I was right about the art class that my youngest "had" to take. She was dreading it, as she feels she has no artistic ablility. I told her to forget about her artistic ability and just have fun with the process. She couldn't wait to tell me two things about art class last night. 1. There was a WHOLE TABLE FULL of kids that she liked in the class so that was going to make it fun, and 2. after the class completed their first drawing, the teacher (who is also the boys track/cross country coach, and knows my youngest well) was going through the stack and when he came to hers his comment was, "_______, we'll have to work with you." This made her laugh, so see, she was already having a blast in the class.

It is not easy to give up worrying. Many of us have made a life long habit of this activity, maybe even have our identity tied up in the fine art of worrying. Like any other activitity in our life, we should only hang onto it if we find value in it. Except for the fact that worry/stress sometimes made me not eat (so them potentially lose weight) I have never found any real value in it. (As soon as I am happy, I started eating and gained any lost weight right back.) I fret, and fret, and fret, and the worry remains. Until the problem causing the worry is resolved, sometimes in the strangest of ways, nothing changes. So why then can it be so hard to give up an activity that is so counter productive? I think for the most part it is because when under stress we go with what we know.

Say, hypothetically you lose your job, no money saved up, and no job prospects in sight. EVERYONE would expect you to be worried. In fact they may think you down right weird if you were not worrying about your financial troubles. Picture all the ways you might worry about this scenario..... Now picture not worrying about it at all? What was different about the two things? Did either make the problem go away? Did either make you feel better emotionally, so that you might better make head way towards solving your problem? No right or wrong answers, just an experiment to show you how much of a worrier you are, and how well it works/doesn't work for you.

Try it for real the next time a problem creeps into your life. Let me know what happens.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


My youngest begins her Senior year of high school this morning. Her comment, "This is the most un-excited I have ever been about going back to school." I know her pain, as high school and I didn't get along too well either. If it could have been me and the teachers, things would have been fine, but when you threw in the peers, not so much fun. She will be a much better college student I think.

Anyway, I think the skirt turned out pretty good. She likes it, and that is the important part, since that dramatically increases the odds that she will wear it more than once instead of letting it look good on her bedroom floor!

How about you guys...... Yeah or Nay for high school? Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 04, 2006

The fine art of control..............

Control might just be my number one desire. Too bad it is also a fantasy created by me, to make me feel better.

When I was younger, I loved to invite chaos into my life and then work like the dickens to gain control over it. If things were too calm for too long I might have to start looking at the real problems in my life. If I kept busy looking at others, then it was easier to not focus on myself.

Much smarter in my old age, I have learned that I can run from myself, but I cannot hide. Once I faced this fact, I found out I am really nothing to fear, in fact I am kinda nice. When I became more comfortable in my own skin, I didn't need all of the drama any longer. Still, at the slightest sign of it, I flip back into "control" mode.

Like I said yesterday, doing something, anything, gives me a sense that I am controlling rather than being controlled. What does this say about my beliefs that there is a purpose for everything that happens, and that everything that happens is suppose to be just the way it is?

Since I believe that there is a power much stronger than me that is ultimately in charge, why do I like to pretend that I am in control? I believe that this power, my God, protects and provides for me in spite of my meddling, and in fact might even find my ideas of being in control amusing. Just like a loving parent, he pretends to look the other way letting me have my silly notions that I am in charge, while keeping an eye on me so no serious harms comes to me. Talk about love.

Another thing I have discovered about control, is the more I am able to let go, the happier and more "in control" I feel. When I am able to accept a situation for what it is, I end up enjoying the moment and the simple act of being, rather than worrying about the next moment before it even arrives. The same is true of relationships. When I am able to let the other person worry about their junk, rather than try to fix and control them, the more I am available to love and support them, which makes us both happier. Imagine that!

So! What I need to learn is, like worrying, attempting to control a situation instead of enjoying the unfolding of it is a waste of time and energy. I need to focus on the fact that life's best presents come from being present in the present, whatever that present may be. Maybe I should have swapped out some "here and nows" for "presents?" There I go, trying to control how you would perceive the sentence, if you would be bothered by it, or amused? Enough all ready! I am off to enjoy the next approaching moment, and I hope you do the same.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Most of the time I have at least a slight idea of what I want to post about before I start typing. Also, most of the time I end up typing things I had no thought of prior to them coming out on paper. This peaceful Saturday morning, I feel like my brain is on vacation, and my fingers are on their own.

After a shakey Monday morning, my training diet and exercise program has gotten off to a good start. I have eaten breakfast everyday, though one of those days it was much closer to ten than nine by the time I got started. I have lifted weights, ran, and even did my stretching, and a little core work.

I also dug out my knitting this week. Have not done that since last February when I was on vacation. So what if I only knitted about six rows of the sock I am working on, it is a start. And just so you know I am not a total lazy slug, I also got my daughter's skirt finished (except the hand work) and read a quarter of a novel. Might not seem like much to you, but fitting these things in represents a lot of ME time. Much more than the week before. Now that I have started these things up again, the "me" focus can grow.

In the continuing "Everytime I see that bathroom trim unpainted, ............ and when do you think you might get around to doing it, etc...?" conversation with (my) Mister, he told me something I found very interesting. He said he sees something that needs to be done, and then sees the next thing, and the next thing, etc... He becomes so overwhelmed that he ends up starting none of them, and so the list grows, he gets more overwhelmed, and on and on...

I think what I find so interesting about this is that he has been suffering this for close to three years. I know I am not made like him, but I just don't get this. Maybe because I rarely give in to feeling overwhelmed. I have more of an "If I don't do it, it won't get done, so I might as well get started" attitude. When I am feeling overwhelmed, it is the act of doing something, anything that makes me feel better. The simple act of doing actually makes me feel more in control. One more example that supports the statement "opposites attract."

Speaking of attracting, (my) Mister has started helping me on a very limited basis again. I feel confidant that I can keep his assistance limited enough that he doesn't feel taken advantage of again. During the last month we uncovered a few strange and scary things, but we were able to work through them and I am happy to report that we came through it much stronger as a couple; more commited than ever to hanging on to the love we share and to our marriage.

On that fine note, I will stop my rambling and get to work. Hope you have a super day!