I have started a new project, though I have been thinking about it and wanting to do it for the past few years. So why haven’t I done it before now? Great question! I think it has mostly been – what I am beginning to understand finally – a result of my core belief, I am not good enough. I have seen myself in terms of what I don’t have – a degree, a specific talent, training – I can go on and on. I was also concerned about who would be interested in what I have to say, that no one would tune in to me. All those insecurities running around my brain. Strangely enough, about 5 weeks ago I calmly wrote an email:
I decided to finish up the last 2 verses of “My Favorite Things”. If Ellen and Candy have any photos to contribute, then I will redo it.
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things
When the dog bites
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad
My sisters and I were on a roll when Ellen first sent the Raindrops On Roses photo and I asked about Whiskers on Kittens – Candy’s cue to send a photo of her friends kittens. I realize now I thought I knew the words to My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music. NEWS FLASH! I don’t. So I needed to check out the lyrics and see where I went off track.
Raindrops on roses
and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles
and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
That’s the first verse and we only did the first line – I went into the second verse with doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles after Ellen sent apple strudel. By then we were off track but having fun.
Now to the 2nd verse, we have several pictures for that.
Cream colored ponies
and crisp apple streudel
schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things
The three of us have done well with the first two verses, it will be interesting to see what we come up with for the last 2 verses. Thank You Ellen and Candy – this “project” is fun to do.
This is one of those times when I want to write but haven’t an idea what to write about. Usually something has happened, I have learned or discovered something, someone said or did something unusual – none of it comes to mind. I ave noticed the moles are back – they have been digging in the bed by the porch and I can see the holes, not just a pile of dirt. They are busy little bodies, that’s for sure.
I have been working on my RA book; I think I have a better handle on the program now. I decided to use my sister Ellen’s ocean pictures for the cover and also the chapter headings – looks pretty good. When I feel I have the hang of the program, I will work on the book about dementia – both Ellen and Candy have flower photos and I think those will fit Mom because she loved gardening. As for my garden, well that’s another story. Nothing else has been done since I messed up my knee – I don’t think it is the best thing to do at the moment. I did receive the flower seed mats and I have decided to use quilt block patterns to set them out – maybe with white stones to outline them. I need to cut them in squares and diamonds ready to be put down.
As for the knee from my slide; I am doing better, I just started my third week of it. I have been seeing Cheryl, my chiropractor and she has helped; mostly it is resting and taking care of myself. I don’t do a lot in a day, just what I need to do and I have been having naps at times. I’ve been using my cane when I go out, around the house I do okay. It was hard to bend my knee to walk and now it is slowly getting better. I think of the things I need and want to do, then I feel too tired to do anything about it. I keep forgetting it takes a lot of energy to deal with it and rest is so important. This too will pass – it always does.
I look around the office and keep thinking how much I need to clean out and organize. There are things I no longer need and when I take the clutter out of my mind and home, there will be room for new things and ideas. I am a pack rat, though getting less so – it’s the sentimental streak that gets me. That is how I feel about the things someone gave me, or I used to use, etc. Too much emotion invested in things. One thing I have been learning through Mom and dementia is to take the emotion out of it. Taking it personally is also part of it. Now I am working on taking the emotion out of things – I have pictures and they have been part of my life since I can remember. But I am living my life, not my parents’ life – I want to have my own things around me. Not sure I remember what I have any more, 12 years is a long time.
It is our life now – Eddie’s and mine. I guess I feel a bit disloyal selling or giving away Mom and Dad’s things. But it is also disloyal to Eddie to not have our things upstairs. I feel caught in the middle a bit, I want to move on with our life together. I think I am finally at that point I am ready to let go for myself. The advice to people is to wait a year before making any major decisions – it is almost 2 years since Mom moved to the adult family home. She won’t be coming home or need anything now, she isn’t really aware of anything outside where she lives. (I think I am actually writing this to myself).
This is probably the first July 4th in quite a while that we have had sun for several days. We tend to joke that summer doesn’t start until July 5th, this is one summer that seems to be more “normal” (if you can define that). The sun and clouds have been playing hide go seek with each other, sometimes it is a hazy sun – not my favorite. We actually had almost 90 on Tuesday – much to warms for me. since I found out we have a furnace fan, I turn that on to help cool things off upstairs and bring some warmth and dryness to the basement. It works pretty well, so Eddie and I were comfortable sleeping that night. If it is going to be partly cloudy, then make it clear blue sky, bright sun and white puffy clouds. I don’t mind the clouds covering the sun for a bit – it has a lighter feel, hazy sunshine reminds me too much of L.A. and smog or East Coast with hazy, hot and humid. I think go it as the difference between having a bad headache and feeling great.
This seems to be a bit of a mind dump – just things running through my head. It would be a whole lot longer if I wrote about everything whirling around up there.
This is my 257th blog post – with 4 drafts – and what is more amazing are the 102 followers I now have. That is so amazing! I was so pleased with 25 followers and now it is 4 times that amount. I am very grateful for all of my followers, I appreciate the comments and to know there are people who are interested in my blog.
On the slight downside, I was getting a lot more spam, but I know they just want me to approve their comment so it will show up in better stats for them. It all gets deleted, so they have wasted all that time and energy for nothing. Recently it has slowed down to only a few at a time – I am not interested in house appraisals and inspections in Maryland, any more than all the ones from people selling cars. Give me a break! I don’t write anything about any of those.
As I look back over all the posts since February 2010, I started out with mostly writing about RA; then wrote at times about Ike Pono and what I was learning about myself. Later on I wrote about my Mom and dealing with dementia and about some things going on that have nothing to do with any of the other things. Yet, all of it affects RA and my state of mind; how can it not? I also have learned that it is important to find the funny side of things – if I don’t laugh about it, I go nuts.
I started thinking about all the years I have had RA, all the drugs, tests, studies, procedures I have had. When I am in the situation, odd thoughts come to me that are a bit funny. It isn’t as though I sat there and said to myself “What’s funny here? or what does this remind me of in the past?”. Things just came to me. The times I have been in the hospital, I would keep a pad with me to write down my experiences. I wrote a journal for several years and I had requests to be put on my list to send it to them. I realized that writing helps clear things out, help me see things a bit more clearly and there is something that compels me to write things down.
Before I came back to Seattle to live, I traveled a lot with my husband and also by myself. I would keep my journal going and at one point, I started recording it on a cassette tape. I found someone to type those tapes out for me – when I read the typed piece, I realized I had left out things. I may have been a little more conscious of editing because I knew someone else would see it. People used to tell me I had such an interesting life – reading my journals didn’t have the times of pain, depression, frustration, etc. I had at the time. I didn’t whinge because I was tired enough of it myself, I didn’t want to write about it. Besides, who wants to read that?
When I started this blog, one thing that was important to me was not to whinge (moan and complain) because I wanted this to be a positive blog. I’ve read other RA blogs and they tend to talk more about how they are feeling, what isn’t working, what is – I wanted to have more ideas and solutions. I know this kind of blogs work for some and I am glad they do. It’s just me. I started with the Connecticut Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation doing a support group. When I was having problems, it was good to have other people understand. But it felt too focused on me and how I felt, I wanted to do more with people and turn outward than continually inward.
I was asked to be the Speaker’s Bureau Coordinator and later a Self Help Course instructor and trainer. I really enjoyed those because I interacted with people, found confidence in speaking before people and seeing something positive happening. I usually talked about the basic fact of Arthritis – like all things, it was personal rather than just cut and dried facts. When there wasn’t a lot of time, my stories were the first to go. I received so much positive feedback and it made me feel so good when someone told me I had helped them so much. I had felt things were just negative about having RA, here was such an opposite view that surprised and pleased me.
It has not only been with the Arthritis Foundation this has happened. I have had several people tell me I am their hero. WOW! I was and am just being me, yet something spoke to them. I often wonder how many I have helped and will never know about it – but I have decided it doesn’t matter, I’m not supposed to know. I think we all inspire people as we go along our daily life without knowing it. To me, that is when we are most effective. I used to think if somebody didn’t mention it, no one noticed what was happening. But I would remember how many times I noticed something but didn’t say anything to the person.
So, to all my followers, you are the best and I truly appreciate each and every one of you.
It all started with my sister Ellen sending one of her photos and called it Raindrops on Roses.
So I emailed back – what about whiskers on kittens? So an email went out to my sister Candy since she has a cat. She sent back this one for whiskers on kittens – her friend’s kittens.
Next we needed fresh apple strudel – Candy sent photo of apple blossoms, Ellen sent strudel.
It was my turn, so I found a doorbell, sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodle.
Things have slowed a bit, I have the feeling I am missing something. Hmmmm, I will post this and figure out what’s missing. Since we are now older, the three of us sisters have grown a lot closer now – I am so happy about that. With Mom’s dementia, I am so grateful to have such supportive, encouraging, understanding and loving sisters. We may live far apart, but that is only in physical distance. We are close where it counts.
As a result of my slide, I have become reacquainted with my cane. It took a little practice, but I’m doing pretty well, not tripping over it so much. It has been hard to walk since Friday afternoon and the cane has helped. It was not my fondest wish to have this reunion, on the other hand, I am glad the cane is there. I have had it in my car trunk for the past two years, occasionally I use it if I am not sure of the of the terrain or if there will be a lot of people.
I haven’t done a lot of exercising, though Saturday I went in a couple of places. I was tired when we came home, so I had a lie down. Eddie wanted to walk by the river in Renton so he could check out the flight line for the 737’s – I was quite happy sitting in the car reading. Then we went to Panera for coffee, about the extent of walking. Yesterday I went to see Cheryl, my chiropractor. I explained what happened and how it had been feeling, so she worked on different places that connect with the knees. I had an Apple One To One at 11 to work on my book. I seem to have found something that seems to stump them a bit. Both Larry and I learned a lot about iBooks Author – says he likes a challenge. I told him I was ready to forget the whole thing because it has driven me crazy – but I am not about to let technology win. I decided to go home, have something to eat and have a lie down – sometimes it is smart to do that after an adjustment. I am glad I did because I was a bit more tired than I realized.
One of the aspects of RA and pain is how varied it is – with this situation at the moment, the pain has been different every day. Friday it was sharp pain in the outside of my knee, yet Saturday it felt as if I had a tight clamp below my knee. Sunday the clamp was in the middle of the knee and at times there was a sharper pain in the middle of the knee. Yesterday the clamp was around the knee and today the clamp is mostly gone but the outside of the knee feels as if someone is hitting my knee each time I bend it. That is one thing that really baffles me about RA – it is never the same from one day to the next.
Today is doctor morning, I am going to see my primary doc for a check up – he has been pleased with my progress, but not sure what he will say about this latest incident. I don’t plan to do any “running around”, just buy some cookies for Mom for tomorrow. She was alert and doing well last Friday, though I noticed she was in the wheel chair. Apparently her knee was bothering her, so they use the chair. Otherwise they make sure she uses the walker so she won’t forget how to walk.
I saw the doc and he was pleased with me – not necessarily the slide but my blood work, blood pressure, etc. Unfortunately he weighed me and I am 15 pounds heavier – Ye God’s and Little Fishes!!!! I suddenly realized the weight gain a week or two ago – I can’t believe I let it happen so easily. I have spent a lot of the last few months working a lot at the computer and not getting very much exercise; now the knee as well. Yet I have noticed I don’t eat as much because I get full much faster and I opt for fruit for dessert at night.
I went to the store for Mom’s double stuffed Oreos and came home – I am noticing my knee is now on the side, a little below the joint and it feels like badly bruised bones. Cheryl always says it takes some time for the body to integrate whatever happens and the next day may be uncomfortable. I have an open house at Breakfast Club – I am hoping things will be more comfortable in the morning. Afterward I will go see Mom. This is not the time to put up a facade of “I’m doing fine” because I’m not. It has worn me out and I am dragged out tired and not always sleeping well; I have trouble finding a comfortable position at night and walking is not particularly comfortable either.
I know I will come through this eventually and be more comfortable – it gets old very quickly to be hampered like this. I have a quiet week and don’t have much on the calendar because I know rest is important. I dealt with many other times like this one, though it doesn’t get easier and I haven’t “gotten used to it” either. However, it doesn’t last forever, just often feels as if it does.
THIS TOO WILL PASS.
An interesting experience on Wednesday, with ongoing repercussions. In February I passed the 2 year mark of not falling since my hip – a 30 per center. I have done quite well so far, then late Wednesday afternoon I went to get up from the office chair to have dinner and I found myself sliding. I had socks on and I didn’t brace myself, so I began to slowly slide to the floor. I knew I was in trouble but rather than panic, I was careful to see that I didn’t twist anything and only landed on the floor with a gentle bump on my left bun. Well, that left me in a predicament about getting myself upright again. I have had to do it before, I just walked my hips across the floor into the kitchen and over to the basement door.
Eddie was in the kitchen getting dinner ready and when he saw me working my way to the kitchen, his question was “What are you doing down there?”. I told him I was getting myself upright, but he didn’t understand how I was going to do it. He opened the basement door and I went to the top step, managed to get myself onto the landing and then put my feet two steps down and pulled myself up with the help of the railing. Voila! I was standing upright again. I wasn’t sure how things would be after my adventure – Eddie definitely doesn’t think I should be out without a keeper, but life happens. Life is uncertain, that’s why one eats dessert first.
Thursday I was fine and Friday morning I was doing well – though I did hear and feel a crunch in my right knee. I went to visit Mom and then did a a couple things I need to do. I had walked around for a while and began to feel it in my legs, so I went to have some coffee and read bait before going on to my next item. My legs were better, but I decided on only one more stop and then head home. I was glad to be home and I noticed my right knee really bothering me – it has been a while since I have had that kind of pain.
I didn’t sleep very well Friday night and I had to take some Advil to relieve some of the pain. Saturday we went out to do our usual chores, I used my cane for the first time in 2 years, took a little practice to get the hang of it again. I stayed in the car a lot and was glad to be home again. This morning it is still uncomfortable, but I did sleep very well last night – plus a nap yesterday afternoon when we came home. Tomorrow I will see Dr. Cheryl and I hope she can help; she did last Monday when my hip and the back of my knee were bothering me.
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
Looks as though I will have to take it easy a bit to keep from making it worse. I have another appointment at Apple tomorrow for working on my book; the more I use iBook Author, the more I learn as well as new things to frustrate me.For the RA book, I am changing my whole idea of the cover – I am using Ellen’s ocean photos – except she usually does horizontal and the cover and Chapter pages use vertical photos. I have found several for the Chapter headings, now I have to figure out how tot get the Table of Contents to work properly. I am either going to become very expert at it or chuck the whole mess in the bin. I want to learn and understand how to use it so the next 2 books will come together more easily. I will also have to learn how to do the form for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.; a whole different set up.