Thursday, June 26, 2008

Finishing touches.........................................

It was one year ago last May that I picked out the new tile for the walls and floor for the bathroom that we are remodeling downstairs. For a year it was either no time or no money for the project, finally we were able to hire the job out and we started to see progress.

It is shaping up nicely now, and we are finally in the home stretch. I am holding out on pics for the final outcome but I will share a little bit.

The shower/wall tile is hard to describe, but is darker, and then we have a small black band of tile that goes around the room (about half way up) on the (one) tiled wall and shower. We have a lighter colored tile on the floor and bottom half of the walls. Then I got a black toilet that sort of grounds the light tile and brings the top and bottom of the room together.

I found a really cool antique oak cabinet that our carpenter is making into a vanity and my sink is the kind that the people in the Holler commercials would drool over.

Now we come to the counter top, the last real expense of the project. Since we have all these other top of the line products we couldn't skimp on that (even though the part of the basement outside this bathroom is cement walls, studs on the ceiling, exposed pipes/duct work, storage/work-out area/furnace room/laundry room/just-plain-unfinished mess) could we now? We are getting the coolest stone counter that is black but has sparkles in it that pick up the light. The room is not that big and is rectangle shaped with the shower taking up the entire end of the room. I wanted a corner soap dish installed (along with the two I had installed into the wall of the shower. I hate all those bottles of shower supplies sitting all over the floor), and I thought it would be a cool tie-in to have the soap dish made out of the counter top stone. This silly thing cost $75.00 dollars. Ya! I'm that spoiled...

This is funny, because I have been working so hard to save money at the grocery store, consolidate trips to save gas, opt not to enter races I did last year to save the entry fees, all to get us to the finish line of being debt free (except our home) by early fall.

But I needed it. Right? I will make it back in re-sale value when the house is sold. Right? Quality is a good investment. Right? One justification after another...

Maybe there is no good reason to spend $75.00 on a soap dish beyond the fact that I wanted it. Now we are totally into ego, entitlement, selfishness, me, me, me.

So I will take ownership. Fortunately it wasn't a $75,000.00 car I wanted. I paid cash, there is food on the table, and gas in the cars. I am blessed beyond measure and count those blessings daily, and with gratitude. It is the spoiled brat in me that is making me type: Just wait until you see the pictures of the finished bathroom. Then you will get it!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

To let you all know I am alive and well.............................

The plan was to post yesterday (Sunday). I got out of bed early to do just that. Being the good mother I am, I opted to first look up a bit of research for the paper my youngest has to write for the summer class she is taking. That filled the first hour of my day yesterday, then I started my morning resident care routine. Once breakfast was over I decided I could not stand the futon mattress in the middle of the living room floor one more second (this is where it landed when the youngest sat up her garage sale last Thursday). That led to vacuuming, which made the other rooms look bad... Then I noticed that the pond was low on water - lunch break (fixing, not taking time to eat) - weeding, lawn mowing, a little tiff with (my) Mister. Where-in-the-world- did-the-day-go-it-is-already-time-to-make-dinner??? Tarot homework, a few business e-mails, and sorry folks but I put food ahead of posting.

But I had a good week, in spite of being crazy busy. I instantly remembered what I didn't like about home care (dealing with people's schedules) and driving in summer construction traffic) and what I did like (the sweetest little old people and all of their little quirks). I also discovered the job is like riding a bike... After five years I wondered if I would forget anything, but the medical terms shorthand came right back and my soap notes are as long as ever (when I was in school we were scared into believing if you didn't write it down it didn't happen and if it didn't happen you could be hauled into court and have your note blown up to life size and tore apart by some cut throat attorney) Needless to say, in my quest for perfection, if someone sniffles I not only document it, but why I think they did it, why they think they did it, why their caregiver (if they have one) thinks they did it, and what each person in turn plans to do about it.

I saw one lady that was being seen after a total knee replacement. She had one tiny area of her incision that MAYBE looked a little red. She ask me about it. If this were one of my residents I would have pushed around on the area, seen if it had any puss or was open, and through some triple antibiotic ointment on it, checked her temp a couple times a day and kept an eye on it. Easy peasy... In this case I took her temp (97.4) felt to the way outside of the incision for any warm areas. Did NOT touch the actual incision because I am neither a nurse or a doctor.

While I was doing this the client was telling me she didn't know when the nurse was coming out. I can fix that, call the office. This is the same office I worked for five years ago, so the receptionist recognized me, and put me through to a supervisor. I left a message detailing the knee and the client's concerns and then called the PT I work with ( a PTA has to be supervised by a PT) and left him a message telling him what I had done. As I am leaving he calls me and tells me this client is a rehab only and she doesn't have a nurse coming in. At least I now know why she couldn't remember her name! In this case, I am to call the doctor's office directly, and speak to his nurse. This I did, and of course was told to tell the client to simply keep an eye on it. Then I had to call the office back and tell the supervisor to disregard my first message and that the matter had been addressed with the doctor's office so it was all good. And then, as soon as I had hung up from that one of my resident's son's called to go over his mom's medication list for an upcoming doctor's visit. Fortunately, I have a good memory for those things so I was able to give him a list of all the non-prescription meds/supplements.

And yes, I will confess to doing all this while driving. I really do not like to talk while I drive, but I has another sweet client waiting for me to do her PT visit and they get really upset and worried if you are not right there when you say you will be. If they get worried, the blood pressure goes up, and I discover it, have to report it, and the cycle begins itself all over again...

Hope you all had a great week and that this one turns out to be just what you want it to be! I don't expect to be that busy and will try to post soon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Race review.......................................

Though I seem to have been lost from blog-land, I did not get lost in the woods this year at our (third) annual trail race. Due to an injury and a last minute emergency-had-to-drop-out, we ended up doing the race with five runners instead of six. The first year the race director informed us that it couldn't be done, but what the hell, no one has ever called any of us quitters.

I headed to the woods with our trailer (actually, (my) sweet Mister hauled it up and dropped me off and then came home to handle OP duty... WHAT A GUY!) two days before the actual race, and it was the first time since December that I have actually been totally, and completely alone. Talk about Heaven on Earth!

On Thursday, the area got more rain, the river was rising, and a bridge had been washed out. I sent out the SOS to bring extra shoes, and to plan on getting wet, and by Friday night I had been joined by the rest of the team.

We opt to camp at the end of the 78 mile race course, so bright and early (4:00 AM) we were up and preparing for our latest, greatest, adventure. In addition to only having five runners, one of them was only six weeks post knee surgery. With a trail full of hills we opted to each do a leg and from them on plan as we go. Finish or not we set out to have a great time, which is exactly what we did.

I am going to finish this post by sharing the post-race e-mails sent out yesterday. It really sums up why I am foolish enough to get up at 4:00 in the morning and spend the next 13 plus hours fighting towards the finish line. This weekend is about much more than running a race. It is about friendship and teamwork. It is about bonding and supporting one another. It is about living life instead of just going through the motions. Enjoy the comradely...


Hey All! We made it home safe too- glad to hear everyone is back and settled.

So-- I looked up our time from last year and it was 13:07 (not adjusted) That means with us at 13:17 and some change this year we were only 10 minutes slower than last year with only 5 people!!!! This to me is insane and I would not have bet money we could do it going into it. Not that I don't have confidence in us but it is a tough race! I think our teamwork, positive attitudes, and flexibility all came together and is the reason we did so well. Every single person was a huge, integral part to our team and we could not have done it without the people we had. That and the crack cookies ( one of the guys brought these insanely good homemade cookies and the way everyone was eating them we were joking that he must have put crack in them) I suppose... ;-)

I have attached our times and paces from this year- as a team we were right about 10 minute pace! Can you believe it? I am so proud of us you guys- those trails are beasts and we conquered them! XXX- we hope you had fun and will consider doing this again. XXX- you are a maniac in a great way and that is all I have to say. XXX, I would promise you don't have to do that 6.4 gut buster next year but that is what I said last year so no promises! Mom (me)- I am still skipping because we did not get lost on that evil leg- that one is yours forever. I have pictures but am having problems getting them downloaded so I will send later. We Northern "Crushed" (our team name is Northern Crush) my expectations of this weekend in both fun and performance. You all rule.


Well, I to made it home and just finished my first post race jog, and let me tell you that smooth flat pavement felt good. I felt as if I was flying the effort of climbing hill after hill no longer present. I was actually surprised my legs are almost back into working condition and with a little more time and stretching things should work themselves out.

I feel as if I have re-discovered my love for running and owe it to each and everyone of you for not giving up when things were not going our way and making me get off my butt and get moving again. Maybe this time I can stick to it and be more of an assist next year

As for finishing, well that I never doubted. I knew our team was Strong and the challenge of this year has only made each and every one of us a stronger runner. Have a great summer everybody and don't forget to mark your calender next year :)


Good lord, Northern Crush! Did you see that, with our handicap adjustment, we were 20 out of 28 in our division, 35 out of 49 overall? Wow!! That’s pretty fantastic for a team of 5 who wondered if we’d finish! Last year we were 26 in our division, 46 overall. We even improved, a lot, on our standing from last year!

So it looks like we have even one more reason to be proud! What a great performance by every last one of us. No runners were lost (not this year, not on our team, though that “evil leg” still trapped some teams!), the trucks got to the exchange points with time to spare (no mean feat with some of the roads nearly washed away!), and our runners came in fast and strong. 5 people, 15 legs, 77.8 miles. What a tremendous effort, what a great success!

Congratulations all around. This was a whole lot of fun and a great story to tell for years to come. I am certainly happy to be part of this team.


Hi you crazy running types,

Being new, I have no experience to compare this year to previous years, but, it feels like we collectively kicked ass (he is SO right about that!). What a wonderful experience and thank you for inviting me to play. I would like to play again next year if you’ll have me. I’ll make another batch of crack cookies, I promise. It’s been fun telling my friends about the race and all the wonderful people, they think I’m nuts, so that makes all of you, well, um, nuts too! Hopefully my legs will quit aching soon so I can hit the roads again, my training now is going to include trail running. Gotta go for now. Have a GREAT day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The (really cool) return of my past.........................

Several days back I was sitting with some thoughts about potential employment. Not as in "what am I going to be doing in six months," but of all the things I will capable/able to do six months from now. One of the thoughts that came into my head was traveling back to home care physical therapy with my friend who has a home care therapy company. The thought came in, I went, "mmmm," and the thought went on and that was that.

Until this past Saturday when this friend called me and ask me to do some visits for him. After saying yes, I thought to myself, "Did my thoughts create my reality? Did I pull this to me by thinking it? Or is he just desperate for help and my ego is having a hey-day with the other thoughts?" I settled on a combination of all three.

After this coming weekend I have no races scheduled so I can use the time I was using to run to help out a friend and take a look at how it feels to work outside my house after being home for so long.

With life being life, it has been about a year since we actually talked, so his next bit of news really knocked me for an exciting loop. He is having his fourth child sometime next month. His youngest of three girls is four, and this child is a boy so that is pretty cool. They found out about the pregnancy on his wife's fortieth birthday so I would say the number four might have some significance in their world, and I am hoping for a fourth of July birth. That is my oldest's birthday and she has always loved it.

Anyway, my friend and his wife have ask me to provide labor support for their birth and I am thrilled beyond belief. It has been around ten years since I last had the privilege to do this. It will be a refreshing change of pace to step out of the life cycle of death and witness the life cycle of birth. Now I just have to brush up on my Lamaze breathing and review the stages and progression of labor and delivery and I will be all set.

Oh! To help me out, please include this couple and baby in your prayers during the last month of pregnancy and that the outcome will be a safe, joyous, healthy birth when the time comes.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The power of now..........................

I know you must all be getting sick of me and my chatter about the changes in my life since discovering Eckhart Tolle. Even I have had a moment or two where I thought I might be off my rocker for taking something so in stride that used to blast me from zero to rage in ten seconds or less. If I am getting too Pollyanna for you I will understand you skipping out on this blog for a while.

With my first disclaimer out of the way, I next have to say that details will be sketchy because my story has to do with a resident and I want to respect the privacy rights.

Okay. I think I am ready to share...

There has been a situation brewing with a resident for a couple of weeks now, that mostly has to do with me being at a point of questioning my ability to care for her from a safety aspect, being that I am a staff of one.

In the last couple of weeks of consciously practicing being present/ in the now, I have caught myself in mind chatter on a regular basis. Yesterday I found this going on about the resident situation. Instead of being in the now I was worrying about the future. Her safety, my potential loss of income, blah, blah, blah. Projecting into a future that had not happen was not helping the situation so I had a very in the now conversation with (my) Mister and told him it was time to share my concerns with the family and see what happen.

I dialed the phone vowing to stay open and present to whatever came up.

Of course I got voicemail... But you know what? I hung up the phone and went and read a book. I didn't revert back to my old habit of ruminating on the problem, and/or potential solutions. In that moment I didn't have a problem, I only had a book to enjoy.

Now for the really cool part...

While I was reading my book, and then taking a bike ride with my youngest a solution presented itself to us. I am not sharing the details, but I will say it is not anything that would have ever occurred to me in a thousand years and yet it appears it is the exact perfect answer for everyone involved. I am amazed, thrilled, and grateful beyond belief.

With results like this how can I NOT be all caught up in the power of now? It is much easier than all the emotional drama I used to call my life, not to mention MUCH less stressful!


And in my defense for the above post topic, I want to tell you that when I was sitting in the hot tub last night the tiniest, most perfectly shaped leaf fell into the water with me and I was planning on taking a picture of it to share with all of you but I couldn't find it this morning so I had to come up with a new post idea.

If it turns up...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Send money please...............................

If you want to do that in the form of cold hard cash, feel free, but I was thinking more along the lines of positive thinking and ideas to generate money.

My youngest has projected that she needs to get ten thousand dollars in the bank to keep on top of her plan to cash flow college. Currently she is not getting full time hours at her hospice job and this is throwing her plan off a bit. We talked about her getting a second job and decided that there were other ways of making money that didn't require schedule commitments.

She has had a couple of garage sales and made about fifty dollars. HUGE bonus for me, she emptied her room to sell things and I CAN FINALLY SEE THE FLOOR OF HER ROOM for the first time in years! I swear ALL of the pets wander around in her room now with a look of "where am I?" on their faces.

She has put a few things on Craig's list but they haven't moved yet. Does anyone have any great, unusual, ideas that have worked for them in the past to raise money? Yes! It has to be legal! Her goal is to raise an extra $2000.00 and she has raised between three and four hundred of that amount since the middle of May.

When you are throwing up your requests to the Universe throw a few up for my kid that she might get some money tossed her way okay? And if you have any junk you want to send her way to sell, all donations are appreciated.

Speaking of the Universe, you might find this kind of amusing...

Late yesterday afternoon a marking guy for a home health/hospice company came to my door. Being in the middle of making dinner I invite him into the kitchen to give me his pitch, after I warned him that I was more than satisfied with my current home health/hospice team.

He started by telling me about how big his company was and all the awards that had been bestowed upon them. I deflated his balloon by telling him I believed that any company was only as good as the staff at the moment, and this sorta ended his marketing call.

He noticed the dogs and ask how many animals I had. I told him and he replied that his family "was looking for the perfect cat for the girls." I told him it might sound nuts but all he needed to do (if he was serious about wanting one) was to ask the Universe and the perfect cat would come to them. For some reason this prompted the man to ask me what religion I was. I got to say he held it together pretty good when I told him I was spiritual not religious, and believed that God was more loving than to hold a position that there was only one REAL religion/lifestyle (as so many faiths believe) and that the rest of us were all going to hell.

He told me he was raised Catholic, strayed from the church for years, started back with his family, didn't like the priest, found a church with a younger priest, and now he is content (what was I saying about an institution only being as good as it's current staff?) attending with his wife and daughters.

I went on to tell him that I would feel comfortable in any worship service (okay, maybe not if there were sacrifices going on), but I was most happy interacting with God on a one to one basis. Oh! I also told him about my free hospice house that I was waiting for my investor to show up and fund.

As he was leaving he told me I reminded him of his Aunt Dorthy, the one that had like a hundred and ten cats and was SUPER religious. I laughed with him and told him I sensed he would be having some great dinner conversation about our visit. He ended by saying he couldn't wait to check back and see how things were progressing with the hospice house and I concurred.

See, in the end, we found something we had in common.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Notre Dame revisited...............................

This time it was for our (fourth) annual 10K (6.2 miles) race.

I got into town Friday, late afternoon, with plenty of time to pick up our race packets and fix a great pre-race dinner. With both wheat and tomatoes on my do not eat list the girls were more than happy to forgo the normal spaghetti and bread sticks and eat what I was having; fresh green beans, asparagus, and some pasta made from rice and vegetables, dressed with a little oil.

The next morning, as I stumbled my way to the coffee pot a wave of nausea came over me. How strange is that? Stranger still is both of the girls were feeling the same thing. The only thing that seemed the reasonable culprit was the balsamic vinegar I had used on the asparagus. Who knew vinegar could go bad? And what did it matter at that point? We had a race to run.

I really enjoyed the race course this year, for a couple of reasons. First, because I have ran it enough that it is familiar and thus comfortable. Second, working with the homeopathic doctor has really helped my breathing. I didn't wheeze once while running, and was able to control my breathing the entire race. I suppose I should add that I may have had an easier time controlling my breath because each time I tried to push my legs a little faster I got that cold, clammy, followed by chills feeling, that would cause me to drop back to my normal running pace.

I did have a few thoughts about whether or not this would be the race I would receive my DNF (did not finish) status. When these would surface, I would focus on staying in the now, in being present and say things like, "Right now you are running fine. No problems or concerns, right this moment." Which was exactly true. Worrying about feeling sick and whether or not I could keep running (thoughts about an unknown future) were hindering my race. As long as I stayed focused on the actual present time/step, I REALLY didn't have any trouble, and before I knew it I saw the dome and then was running onto the the Notre Dame football field with one more race behind me. My time? 1:08;58. No PR (personal record), but I was very happy with the time as well as the entire experience.

Here is another way to explain why I was able to finish a race that I could have as easily dropped out of, in the words of Eckhart Tolle, from his book, The Power Of Now:

As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out of present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love - even the most simple action.

Enjoy your day!