Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mini Miracle.............................

Sometime in early October, when my life was still consumed with marathon preparations, I had an interview for a respite resident, his wife/caregiver wanting to take a vacation to see her daughter. The resident's wife called me day before yesterday to confirm his placement and ask me if I might mail her the paperwork she needed to fill out for admittance so she didn't have to pick it up.

On my way to tan (I know it is bad for me, but so would be burning on the first day of our vacation), I took the package to the post office. Standing in line I thought I saw the wife getting her mail out of the P.O. box, but having seen her only once before I wasn't totally sure so I ignored my instinct and took the package up to the counter. Reminder, I live in a small town. The postal worker looked at the package and said, "Isn't she still here, getting her mail out of the box?" I replied that I thought it might have been her but I wasn't sure, thanked the worker, and took the package over to the wife.

Fight me if you want to over whether or not this constitutes a true miracle, it made my day, not to mention saved me the couple of bucks in postage it would have cost me for the postal worker to walk the ten steps to the box for me. Besides, miracles are in the eye of the beholder. I like to think that there are forces much greater than I at work fine tuning our activities and every once in a while we get a glimpse of the well oiled machine some call fate.

If you don't think that is astounding, listen to this...

With the purchases I made at the Kohl's store the day after Thanksgiving I "earned" $30.00 in "Kohl's cash (KC)." My oldest earned $20.00 and gave it to me as she had to travel this week and didn't think she would have time to redeem it. I took my $50.00 in KC to the store last night and got (regular priced) merchandise worth $180.00 for $3.50! No it isn't a typo, three dollars and fifty cents after redeeming my KC. Thrilled is an understatement of how I felt leaving the store.

Not impressed yet? Well it's your turn then. Tell me your idea of astounding miracles... I'm all ears...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Memories of my father...........................

Catching up on Sheri's blog, I read a post in which she shared seeing a bottle of Corn huskers lotion at her sister-in-laws home and bursting into tears because it reminded her of her father and how much she missed him. Of course this got me to thinking of my father, so I thought I would share...

For new readers, my parents died five months apart when I was eight years old. My way of coping with that was to block it out, along with the first eight years of my life. My memories of my father are few and fairly traumatic. The first one is the night he had a stroke and my mother and uncle rushed him off to the hospital in the family car. We lived in the country, and I doubt 911 was even around in the sixties.

The second memory of my father was being handed the phone and told to talk to him. No one explained to me that the reason his speech was all garbled was because of the stroke, and it frightened and confused me. My final memory of my father was being lowered into his casket by my sister and told to kiss him goodbye. I was so freaked out that to this day I have no idea if I actually kissed him or not, I only remember wanting to get down and away from there.

Intellectually, I think of these things and feel really, really sad for this poor little fatherless girl. Emotionally, I have no connection to these things; self-preservation at it's finest. Growing up, being parent-less was my norm rather than something to get upset about.

The first time I cried about not having had a father growing up, was about five years ago. My sister was visiting and for some reason I came across my one tangible keepsake from my father:

The box his company watch came in for years of service...

Not the watch mind you, my oldest brother got that (as it should be), just the box. I have no idea how I came across it, or why I thought it important enough to hang onto at the time, but over the years it has gained in value to me. Ya, there is the, "that used to belong to my father aspect," but the box is getting pretty old. If you look at the close-up you can see it was mailed one month after I was born, and postage at the time was only twenty-three cents. You can also see there is only his name, a city, and the state, no street address or zip code. WOW!

Anyway, my sister looked at the box that day, started to cry, and then got mad because one of the reasons I don't have more things of my parents was because the foster family we moved in with had a big auction and sold off all of my parents things and pocketed the money. I joined her in her tears that day, and it was the first time I was healed enough to mourn my loss. I'm calling it progress.

I share this stuff with you, not to make you feel sad or sorry for me, but to show you that memories are what you make of them. I guess I could have chosen to live a different kind of life and blame it on early childhood events rather than take what was available and make the most of it. I also share this with you to say, rejoice in your memories, whatever they are, and embrace the emotions they bring out in you. Instead of trying to hide them from yourself and others, see them for what they are; little pieces of time that helped to form the person you are today.

Of course, not all memories are pleasant, and hurtful memories can have a negative effect on us if we let them. This is where forgiveness comes in to help us move away from the pain and into a place where we can function the way we choose to.

So as not to end on a down note I will share one more bit about my father. One Christmas my sister gave me a album she had made with copies of the few family pictures she had. Here is a picture of me and my father. And remember folks, this was before the age when it became vogue for a dad to share in child care responsibilities. This picture also might explain why to this day I don't see the need for sitting down at a table for a meal...

Am I not the cutest baby ever?!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

P.S. ..............................

My mind must have been tired from compiling the lists because I meant to invite
Tiger and little dragon to participate in the tag. They are new to blog land so I thought it might be a nice welcome. Check out their blog, especially if you need practice reading German. Unfortunately, I can only read the posts written in English, but maybe I will learn German one day, and then I will know where to go for practice. Being well written, and thought provoking, a peek at their blog will be time well spent.

Tiger and Little Dragon, give the tag a try. Simple use the 8 categories and fill in your 8 answers to share with the rest of us. If you want you can then ask other bloggers to make their own lists to share.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tagged by Sheri, Lists of eights..............................

8 Things I am Passionate About

1. Making a difference in the world around me
2. Every person's right to have the type of death experience they desire
3. Never using credit again
4. Running
5. Making my home a peaceful place to come home to
6. My pets being a part of the family
7. Accepting people where they are at in life
8. Love is all that matters

8 Things to Do Before I Die

1. Learn to play more songs on the guitar
2. Complete my home remodel (losing hope on this one)
3. Complete a half-marathon in every state(halves are much more body friendly than fulls)
4. Celebrate my fiftieth wedding anniversary (cheating on this one by adding his, mine, and ours
together to be sure I get to have the party. Only five more years to go)
5. Write one of those books that are living in my mind
6. Be financially secure enough that (my) Mister can retire for the second time (ten years
should do it so hang in there honey. You will only be 67, that's still young)

8 Things I Often Say

1. Sit down/stay
2. Stop barking
3. Go out and go potty
4. Get in here, NOW!
5. Stop knocking my pillows off the sofa
6. You're so cute
7. Bad dog/ Good dog (do these two cancel one another out)
8. Go lay down

Maybe I need more human companionship

8 Books I've Read Recently

1. The Medicine Woman's Inner Guide Book
2. Raw Health - Pathways to Natural Healing
3. 50 Uses For Your Dog
4. Meditation In Action
5. Gotta Run - Life is a Marathon...So Double - Tie Your Shoes
6. Entering The Castle
7. New Pathways for Sock Knitters
8. Tempting Faith (not quite finished with this one).

8 Songs/pieces of music I could listen to over and over

1. Anything by the Cure
2. Color My World (Chicago)
3. Question of Lust (Depeche Mode)
4. Pachelbel's Canon
5. Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
6. Breakfast at Tiffany's (Matchbox 20)
7. Theme song from Terms of Endearment
8. Alleluia Chorus

8 Qualities I Look for in a Best Friend

1. Honesty
2. Integrity
3. Balance
4. Commitment
5. Love of shoes
6. Accepting of others
7. Qualities of loving kindness
8. Ability to laugh at one's self
A good kind of confusion..................

Usually (my) Mister is in charge of the television regarding OP viewing. Last night, he was busy doing something downstairs so I thought I would be helpful and put on Lawrence Welk, the Saturday night must watch around here.

I turned the TV to the correct station, and left the room only to return a few seconds later to some woman talking news-speak instead of Lawrence directing his orchestra. I (sadly) proclaimed to the OPs that Lawrence must not be on tonight, only to here wafting up from the basement, " Isn't it only Friday?" Good thing one of us can keep track of things like that.

Me, I get to live Saturday all over again, and plan to make the most of it. How often does one get a Saturday do-over? Not often enough that's for sure. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A conversation with a telemarketer....................

Earlier today I received a phone call from a woman selling ad space on place mats for a local restaurant. For $150.00 I could have an ad on 15, 000 place mats that will last from six to nine months. As reasonable as this sounds I explained to the nice woman that in my line of business I had found that paid advertisements never paid off. I went on to explain to her exactly what I did and how people don't tend to pick a place to take care of mom/dad/grandma/grandpa from the yellow pages. Sure, lots of the big places use advertising, but mostly these are big corporations. I have had virtually all of my placements come word of mouth and if my resident's are not related, then they are related to friends that recommended me. One big happy family.

Anyway, the first point of my post is to say how nice the person on the phone was to me. Even after I made it clear I wasn't going to buy an ad we continued to talk about the best ways to get my name out into the community and my dream of having a system in place that will list premier places that have passed certain standard of care items above and beyond getting a license. As I told her, this is important to me in the event that I will one day need to access the service from the other side. (second point of this post) If we don't work to create a system of quality care for the elderly when we are able to work for changes, those much needed changes are not going to be there for us when we need them. Think about it, and start putting money away TODAY to pay for your care tomorrow so you have choices and don't end up at the mercy of some poorly funded government program.

Sure, you might be in your twenties now, and old age seems ages away. Having just turned fifty I have to tell you that it seems like just yesterday that I was in my twenties. Time goes much faster than we think it will. The younger you begin to save, the less you will have to save to end up with more because the money will have time to sit and grow. Even if you can only save the cost of one large pizza a week it can add up to be a significant amount by the time you are in your eighties if you are consistent with your deposits and keep an eye on your investment.

No matter what your age, delay a bit of the instant gratification we all love, and invest in your future. The geriatric in you will be extremely thankful one day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Before the holiday madness begins....................................
I thought this a perfect thought to start this week with. As it says, feel free to post on your blogs or send it out to others in any way you choose.
Thanksgiving Day Blessing Circle

From our house to yours
this Thanksgiving Day,
grateful blessings are sent.

Please give them away.
Pass them on forward,
give them out to your family & friends.
Let's start a blessing circle
and hope it never ends.

A "Thank you" from one,
Here you go ... to another,
continues the circle
from sister to brother.
Let the love you receive
be given away,
as a grateful tribute
to Thanksgiving Day.
~ Penny Parker

Friday, November 16, 2007

With gratitude for my new BFF, Abigail............

Before I get into the details of my gratitude, here is a little anatomy lesson

Deltoid Muscles
The deltoid is the triangular muscle of the shoulder that forms the rounded flesh of the outer part of the upper arm. It passes up and over the shoulder joint. The wide end of the triangle is attached to the shoulder blade (scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The apex of the triangle is attached to the upper arm bone (humerus), about halfway down its length. Its strongest point is the central section, which raises the arm sideways. The front and back parts of the muscle twist the arm. The ligaments which connect the muscles to the bone endings are called "deltoid ligaments." Deltoid comes from the Greek word "deltoeides," meaning shaped like a (river) delta.

Back when I was on left arm restrictions for my wrist fracture, I was still working and doing one armed transfers with my right arm (yes I am super human, but didn't you already know that?) Over the last couple of weeks my middle deltoid began to let me know she didn't appreciate me abusing her like I had. Softly at first, a twinge here, a mild ache there. After the marathon it was easy to ignore the early warning signs. Last Friday, she decided to take matters into her own hands and like a child throwing a tantrum in the grocery store, she balled herself up and started screaming. I couldn't sleep, couldn't move my arm in any direction without pain, was having trouble lifting and holding things because of the pain.

Still not wanting to listen I tried masking the pain with some of the left over pain medication from my surgery. Didn't touch it. Then I pulled out the big guns my last muscle relaxer left over from I am not even sure where. While it made me feel relaxed enough so I didn't really care, it did nothing for poor middle deltoid. Enter Abigail.

I could have called the doctor, paid someone to cover for me here (Mister still being out of town at the time), paid the twenty percent co-pay for the office visit, got some more medication (that I had already proven wasn't working), paid the co-pay for that, just to end up at the starting point. Instead I called Abigail and made a thirty minutes massage appointment. Cost, $30.00 (plus tip), results; priceless!

I told her the problem and then crawled under the covers and started focusing on my breath. Thirty minutes later I could move my arm through all of it's range without difficulty. That night Miss middle deltoid and I both slept well. The following day I felt like someone had punched me several times in the shoulder, but general movement and use did not increase the pain. Knowing muscles like I do I had made an additional thirty minutes appointment for a follow up massage to the area. Yesterday the muscle acted up a bit, but never got to the previous level of discomfort. Tonight I will have another thirty minute massage to the area.

Maybe I will need one more massage after tonight's, but even so the total out-of-pocket cost will only be $105.00 (including tip). Because of my insurance plan, I could have only spent the cost of one massage for out-of-pocket expenses, but I would still have the problem, and be taking drugs (which to my body isn't a good thing). The insurance company, on the other hand would have been out at least $300.00 between office visit and medication costs.

It is incredulous to me then why they refuse to cover massage services, or even other healing energy work for that matter. Not only would it be better for the patient, it would be much more cost effective for the company. A win-win in my opinion. I guess they don't operate from a common sense perspective.

Again, I am blessed. I can afford to take a $100.00 out of my budget to pay for the kind of care my body appreciates. I understand that not everyone has this luxury, and how sad is that? Why can't we have more say in how our allotted insurance benefits are doled out? Maybe some people would try to work the system, but most of us only want what is best for our bodies and would act responsible towards them if given the chance. Insurance companies appear to love studies, so why don't they look at body work studies to see the benefits as well as the cost effectiveness of this type of treatment?

In the event you find yourself with bunched up muscles and no insurance there are a few things to consider when looking for a massage therapist. Make sure you go to someone that does therapeutic work, and not just fluff and buff feel good massage. The discomfort of the muscles being worked on should be tolerable, but if it feels good the entire time the only benefits you will get will be relaxation on the table. The first car that pulls out in front of you on your way home from the massage will undo any benefit because muscles can be stubborn and they need someone that can literally put them into their proper place. A good massage therapist will understand the body and be able to share that understanding with you. A good massage therapist will be able to find the trouble spots in the body without you saying a word. Often the point of pain is not the problem and the true source needs to be uncovered and dealt with for the body to work in harmony. A good massage therapist will have confidence in their ability and in the body's ability to heal itself with proper care and feeding.

Remember to take care of your body so it can care for you and provide somewhere wonderful for you to live.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This weeks "quote of the week" is on my favorite subject so I had to share it with you.

Quote Of The Week:

love yourself

"The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people
judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to
gestures of love. They think about love, and express their
love in every action. They know that love is not a mere
sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart
of the universe."
~ Deepak Chopra

Surface seven different answers to this sentence completion,
"I love myself because…"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

One more reason I hate painting..........................................

Have I mentioned the downstairs bathroom remodel that has been more off going than on going since we started it last April? In (my) Mister's absence I thought I would be all cool and get it painted as a hint that he get his butt in gear and finish it. After nagging our friend that is doing the drywall for us to come finish the tiny bit of sanding we were ready to prime the walls last night.

I had requested the paint and supplied be located before the start of vacation, and have been tripping over the pile of crap for days now. Finally looking through it to find supplies I found two rollers, both in plastic bags with (still) moist paint on them. Since it has been MONTHS since anything was painted around here my first thought was, "WHAT THE _____?" My second was, "Maybe I should take pictures and send them into the plastic bag people so they can use them for a commercial as they really did keep the air out."

Next onto the primer. Upon locating the can it was NOT heavy at all. In other words, ALMOST EMPTY. Yes, the space we are painting is small, but come on people the man knows that new drywall sucks up the paint and needs more than one coat. Please note: I am not always this bitchy, it is my hatred towards painting that brings it out in me.

With my few drops of primer located it was time to move onto the paint pan. The first one had left over dark maroon paint in it from when we painted our bedroom two years ago. My other choice had deep grooves in it. Trying to conserve the little primer I had I decided that pan would work if I propped it up so the primer stayed in the end of it. The first thing available was too lightweight and kept falling off the toilet every time I tried to put the primer on the roller. YES! I could have put it on the floor, but then I would have had to bend over and I had already completed my exercise for the day.

That is when I spied the brick. That should be heavy enough right? I forgot to take into consideration that the toilet seat is curved so with the first try the brick came crashing down onto my foot!


And you know, I was so frustrated at that point that I didn't even swear. I also didn't put the brick back or keep trying to prop the pan up. I just slapped the primer up and tried to finish so I could take a picture of my foot for this post. I will say that pain is a good way to get your mind off of a task that you despise.

And now it is me against the bathroom walls. My youngest will get more primer today after work and I will take on those walls again this evening. Do or die! If I am lucky this will spur (my) Mister on towards finishing the tile work when he returns from vacation. If not I think I have earned the right to nag, at least once or twice.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Creative vacation shots..................................

Nothing beats a great game of hide and seek with your grand kitty.

Andy: "Okay kid. Just do what I do...Close your eyes, stretch out your paws, and r-e-l-a-x. We'll be asleep in no time. You'll see."

Two heads are better than one so let's put ours together, OR, I've got your back so lean on me.

Franny: "You're the best big sister ever." Emma: "Don't worry Franny, I'll watch over you. Even if you are a pest at times. At least you're a cute pest."

Franny "helping" Grandma knit.
Running happiness...................................
It is finally cold enough outside that I was able to wear my new spider hat. It had an original price of $15.00, but I found it on end-of-the-year-clearance for ONLY $4.00. That made me happy when I found it, and all the joy came rushing back when I put it on last night.
Getting a late start, I only ran three miles. I have not made a practice of running at night so I don't have any reflective gear and didn't want to get ran over by a passing deer. My running enthusiasm waned while waiting for my aid to arrive, so I did my little procrastination trick before finally getting out the door. By the time I had ran a 1/2 block I couldn't remember why I didn't want to run. The weather was perfect, I had not listened to the play list that was on my XM so that was fresh and enjoyable, and with my new spider hat I was feeling playful and silly. As I got going I would jump over cracks in the sidewalk, run sideways, sprint to the next tree. This isn't exercise, this is F-U-N!
I traveled a route I had not done since the tornado, but what I saw mimicked what I have been seeing all over town. Several people had hand made signs in their yard expressing thanks for the assistance they received with clean-up after the storm. The few days right after groups of men went from house to house with their chain saws and cut up and cleared debris from yard after yard. Not because they knew the homeowners, but because they were helping their fellow man. The people they helped could not thank them directly as they didn't know who they were beyond angels of mercy, thus the door to door fliers expressing thanks and/or the yard signs. Seeing these along my running route did my heart good and swell with pride that I live in a city that still cares about others. What a blessed woman I am?
I completed the three miles in what seemed like no time at all. I guess I am still on marathon time and a little over thirty minutes is W-A-Y short compared to over six hours of straight running.
Speaking of the marathon...I mentioned yesterday that I went to the dentist this week. I have mentioned in the past that I have known my dentist for over twenty years and used to provide child care for his children. One of those children did the Detroit marathon last year so I took my medal in to share my story of the marathon. I was overwhelmed at the response I received from my dentist and his entire staff. I have showed a few people. They look at it, tell me how great it is, and maybe ask if I will do it again. This group ask very detailed questions, and showed genuine interest in the details of the race and true excitement for my achievement. I felt like a guest of honor at a party. And to think I had a moment of hesitation about sharing with them. Follow your gut people. It will lead you to many blessings.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

On vacation without leaving home.........................

Last Friday (my) Mister left for a boat building vacation. Yup, he will be home a real, functioning boat, called a nutshell pram. Or at least in theory it will be functional. This has been a lifelong dream of his, and I finally found a place that could make his dreams come true. In his absence I have been basking in the single life. If you can call twenty-four seven care giving the single life that is. I did make it out of the house long enough to go vote and go to the dentist (no cavities), and my care giver's helper is going to come today so I can go for a run, but other than that we have the home bound taking care of the home bound and loving it!

With (my) Mister gone I don't have to care about what I look like, if my legs are shaved, or if I have spilled food on my clothes. Oh wait! I don't care about these things when he is around, but I do sometimes feel bad that he doesn't have a more glamours wife. But then I think about just how great of a wife I am and being glamours pales in comparison to that. After all, am I not the wife that sent him off on a dream vacation while I hold down the fort? Told you I was great!

Hibernation has been great and somewhat productive (I am starting to win more and more when I play Sudoku). Since I work at home I have just as much time as I usually have and yet it somehow seems like I have more time and more energy. It must be that I spend way more time e-mailing and talking on the phone with (my) Mister than I think I do (hope his boss doesn't read this) because now that he is somewhere in a woods without cell phone reception I have spare time. Go figure.

It is snowing out as I type this. First flakes of the season. It has been wonderful donning the extra layer, gloves, and hat for a run instead of worrying about heat stroke. Now that cross country season is over I have the roads mostly to myself again. Not many people around here run in any less than stellar weather conditions. It makes me feel really powerful when I run in the rain, wind, snow, and cold.

Hope all is well in your worlds and that you can all figure out a way to have your own little working vacations. It is good for the soul.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Natural resources...............................................

The other day I overlooked a bargain while in the grocery store. I had purchased two for four dollars, but the clerk told me it was also buy two get two free, so while I finished paying my youngest went back to get the two free items. While waiting for her to get back I saw a customer purchasing those new energy efficient light bulbs. In (another) typical "out of body" experience of mine I went over to him without thought and thanked him on behalf of Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants for being so helpful and responsible to our natural resources.

Of course he (and everyone around within hearing distance) looked at me like I was some sort of weirdo (Moi?), but his reply said it all, "Well. It was time to start changing over."

We are doing the same thing; changing over as our old bulbs burn out. The new bulbs are expensive, so to go out and replace every light bulb in the house would not only break the budget, it would be wasteful. Picking up one or two every week or so is much more friendly on the wallet and we will still be changed over in a few months.

Yesterday, in talking to a resident's daughter who was calling to check in, our conversation jumped over to our natural resources and the fact that they are finite. From "mom's fine" to "Our leaders really need to start looking into alternative energy sources" just like a fast car zooms from zero to eighty in a few seconds. Someones sending me a lesson...

And since I really don't think the lesson would be to run for office so I can appoint someone to study energy conservation, or invent the answer myself, I think it is a simple reminder to do my part in the overall conservation of our planet's natural resources. Not even because they are running out, but because it is the right thing to do.

For centuries mankind has been abusing planet Earth, in the name of progress and growth. The gifts of the Earth seemed to be endless, plentiful, and ours for the taking. We created the concept of land ownership as well of ownership of all the gifts that the land could produce without a second thought.

Least you think I am preaching, let me say that I am a property owner, and my property has it's fair share of material goods on it. I have made countless purchases over the years without regard to where they came from or what was taken from the Earth for my personal gain. Even while being grateful for the item, it never occurred to me to include gratitude for everything that went into the creation of the items.

We can't change the past, or go back and be kinder to our natural resources, but we can begin to be more aware today and move towards a kinder, gentler treatment of them in the future. After all, their future is our future. If we want to continue to use energy our only option is to take care of what we have. One way to do this it to practice gratitude.

Are you a collector of stuff like I am? How much of that stuff has been packed in the Attic and not seen or used in a long time? What about the stuff that you do see on a daily basis? Do you love it, or is it just something else to dust? Look at all of your possessions through the eyes of love. If an item no longer holds value for you then move it along. Give it away to someone that can give it value and be grateful for it. This is another way we can save resources as well as clear space for items we do love and value.

With the holiday buying season here (those of you that were done with your Christmas shopping in August can skip this part) I have been turning these above thoughts into gift ideas. There are so many things I DON'T need. I actually think the perfect gift this year would be for my loved ones to come over and take something I no longer use. No shopping hassles, no wrapping, NO MORE DUSTING! What's not to love about that gift idea?

I have actually already put my order in to my oldest as to what I want from her this year. Let me start by saying my family hates to hear the words, "I figured out what I want you to give me for Christmas this year," as it is NEVER something that can be purchased. Strange as it might sound, the gift I have ask my oldest for is for her to put together her durable power of attorney/medical power of attorney papers in the event that something happens to her. Is she sick? Heck no. She finished her marathon in 4:19;52. This doesn't mean that something won't happen, and I truly believe that everyone over twenty-one should have these documents so there is no question as to THEIR wishes in the event that they can not make decisions on their own. She has been putting it off so what better pressure is there than "mom's wish list" to get something important taken care of?

Now how in the world did energy conservation turn into Christmas gift ideas? Just following my thoughts folks...Going with the flow...