Archive for April, 2014

I Am A Late Bloomer

April 27, 2014

There have been only two things in my life I did early – I was born 2 weeks early and went to school a year earlier than was smart.  The birth was when I was ready – maybe the doctor miscounted or Mom wasn’t quite sure when to start counting.  Anyway, I arrived around 6 a.m., a day before my parents 5th wedding anniversary.  And there was my big sister to welcome me too.  As for school, my Dad tells the story of Ellen getting on the bus to go to school and me making a huge fuss to get on with her to see where she went.  We were in Southern California at the time and if I was 5 by the 1st of march, I could start kindergarten.  Later, when we moved to Seattle, I suddenly found I was a year younger than everyone else in my class.

I must have shot my wad on early things; after that, I always felt I was trying to catch up.  I was not making the greatest grades in school – mostly C’s with a B and A every once in a while.  Meanwhile, my older sister was just at the right age for her grade and did very well.  Not always easy to be three years behind her and having a lot of the same teachers she had.  When she graduated, I started in that Fall – there were a lot of teachers who remembered Ellen and I had the feeling they expected me to do as well as she did.  It didn’t work out that way – maybe I was a little in over my head at the time.

As a result, my parents thought I would have done better if I had waited a year.  When my sister Candy went to school, they made her wait a year, so she was a big older than the others.  She, too, had good grades and was active in school, maybe that extra year was a real bonus for her.  With the age difference, the three of us were more like 3 generations because we weren’t in the same school at any time together.  By the time Candy went to high school, she was in a different one than we were because they changed the school boundaries.  There were no reminders of an older sister  for her – it was a whole new place just for her.

I have to admit, I didn’t expect it would take this long – I am 67 and still working on what I want to be when I grow up.  Now one would think that from my start in life I would be a go getter – I was born two weeks early, at 6 in the morning.  My Dad once said I was born tired and never got rested.  I was 19 when I had my first date – I didn’t do well with boys because I was so unsure and had no experience about boys except my Dad.  I always thought a brother would have been a good thing, unfortunately my parents never went for the idea of trading in my younger sister for an older brother.  Always wondered why.  I was married at 22, by  then almost all the girls in my graduating class had been married for a while.  Then of course I went to Australia to be married.  I have never figured out what I want to be when I grow up – haven’t found anything that really “hits” me.  I am have to create it for myself.  I have never felt I fit anywhere.  So here I am looking at 67 and I feel as if there is something really cool just around the corner – not sure what it is or how it will look and feel.  All I know is I am open, receptive, unlimited, allowing with no preconceived ideas of what it has to be or how it will show up.  I am finally at a point of thinking in terms of “Whatever works”.

It’s not to say I have had a boring life, once that wonderful Armenian fellow I met at my aunt’s came into my life, things have been very interesting.  We were married in Australia and it is a bit disconcerting to find we will be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary in less than a month.  Put in years, it seems quite a long time.  But it doesn’t feel that long.  In many ways, I look back at the first years and it almost feels as if it happened to someone else or that I read it in a book.  I have learned so much, been to many places I have always wanted to go, some places I never thought about and others I have no desire to return.  I have met a lot of interesting and amazing people over the years, they have taught me so much.

I wonder what I am meant to do – sometimes I feel time is running out and I am getting too old.  But I have heard the phrase “You are never too old” and I continue to  learn and grow.  I am looking to the future and what will unfold – anything is possible for me.  I know I am not the same person I was and there is no changing the past.  I learned long ago not to beat myself up – I did the best I could with what I had and knew at the time.  I am learning that it is and was all perfect for me; I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without it.   I choose to learn to embrace the future and also learn to enjoy the journey – sometimes seems  a bit counterintuitive. When I think about what I was doing before, I hear Dr. Phil in my head asking “How’s that working for you?’ and know it’s not working for me.  Much better to try something different and see what happens.

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Playing With Photos

April 24, 2014

I am a little slow when it comes to some technology – especially when I don’t know something can be done.  I found I have a camera on my iPad (I know there are a lot of you thinking “Well, Duh!”) and by accident found out how to do it.  So I was out in the garden the other day when we had a bit of sunshine before the next rain showers and I tried out my iPad.  It took some finagling because I kept having the screen blocked – I found I had my finder over the  lens.  Plus I have a case it sits in and the cover was a bit of a problem because I have to  make sure it doesn’t block the lens.

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So there I was, one hand keeping the cover out of the way, holding the iPad with the other and trying to take  pictures.  It was hard to find a finger to push the shutter button and also not end up have it take three or four pictures in a row.  Next thing I know, I am ready to take a selfie – now how did that happen and how do I go back to pictures of the garden.  I finally figured that one out, then found I was doing square pictures – it’s been an experience and an education.   Would you like to see what I took with my iPad?  All I have to do is figure out how to down load them.

I just connected my iPad to my computer and guess what!  The pictures on are on my computer.  Will wonders never cease!


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The Scillas in the porch flower bed are more profuse and thick than this photo

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The blueberries are blossoming so I am hoping for a good crop.

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The Scillas by the garage are doing very well.

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They also are blooming by the corner of the garage and where the cherry trees were.

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We don’t really have pear blossoms left after the wind and rain.  We’ll wait to see if we have pears this year.

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The apple tree had fared fairly well, all depends on how much the fruit set before the rain.

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Even so, the apple blossoms are still lovely.

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Delores bought a couple of tulips at the tulip fields up north last year – they are beautiful.

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It was a sunny bit after the rain and before the next bout of rain.

As you can see, I did better than I expected, even managed to somehow turn it back to rectangular pictures.  I also took photos with my camera, I’ll show you if there is a difference in the next post.

 

Working Smarter

April 22, 2014

In February 2011, I had client ask for several quotes on short notice.  I worked my tail off for four days straight and finished before the deadline.  However, in the process I really wrecked up my right shoulder and was in such pain – I kept thinking it would soon relax and right itself, but it didn’t.  Not only was it the ice pick in the back of my shoulder, it was the stiff neck and very sore and inflamed shoulder joint.  To be honest, I was a mess.

That began the most intense three years of my life.  I started seeing Debye for massage for the shoulder pain and found it hard to do anything for quite a while.  I hurt so much and had trouble sleeping at night – not one of my of my better periods.   I started doing better after I began massages with Debye in May or June – way too long to get help – and then things began to really show up with Mom and dementia.   Around  July and August was the time when I couldn’t leave her by herself any more.  It was a very difficult time because I was recovering from the shoulder and it meant I couldn’t go out any more.  By December I was way past overwhelm and far into over my head.

I waited to long to find help – I kept thinking “It’s not that bad” but it was.  I was brought up with “Don’t ask for help, don’t bother or burden people”.  It finally hit me – I had been doing that all my life, especially with RA!  I remember talking to my sister Ellen on the phone around that time; I mentioned the Don’t ask for help thing and she had three words for me  – Ditch it, Girl!  She knew exactly what I was talking about, all three of us had been doing it for decades.  So I asked for help from the Alzheimer’s Association and finally had the help I needed.

February of 2012 I broke my hip tripping over my Mom – that sent me to the hospital and rehab for 8 weeks with another 4 in outpatient therapy.  By that time, my doctor, my family, my friends were really worried about me.  The therapists at rehab told me if I went back to what I was doing, I would be back in rehab permanently.   I realized I couldn’t keep taking care of mom without some major help.  I had arranged caregivers during the day so I could get out for a few hours a week for a break, but it was also time to think seriously of long-term decisions.

I went through paperwork to enroll Mom in the Providence Elderplace program – they would take care of all her needs and provide caregivers when she wasn’t at the Center.  It was good for her to go to the Center and be with other people – all the staff there is wonderful with all the people.    Also, her new doctor, PT, OT and anything else she needed was there.  They helped me find a really good adult family home for Mom because she was needing more and more care.  In October 2012 we moved her there and it was just the right time.  She was still able to socialize, any longer and it would have been harder.

More paperwork, then even more to apply for Medicaid – by that time I had gotten her checking account down to $2000 and sold everything to pay her monthly bill for Providence.  At the same time, we were applying for a loan and vast amounts of paperwork for that.  February 2013 Mom was approved for Medicaid but it wasn’t until the beginning of June when the mortgage went through.  Then 4 or 5 weeks of kitchen remodel for a wonderful kitchen.  So many other things still to do for the house.  I have been trying to sell the furniture so we can have our own things around us, but not much luck.  I don’t know if I just don’t know how to do it or if something is holding me back.    Plus, so much cleaning out!

February of this year I past the 2 year mark of breaking my hip.  My rheumatologist said 70% people who break a bone will break another one within 2 years.   I was determined to be in the 30% and I made it – no falls or broken bones since the hip. So here we are in 2014 and it feels like a brand new start.  I have decided to move our furniture upstairs and my parents down to the basement.  We need to paint the living room and I want Brad to create a new mantle with crown molding.  it has been raining so consistently I haven’t had enough clear days to move furniture and not get it wet.

So what does all of this have to do with working smarter?  I had a call from the client I worked with 3 years ago when I spent four days straight on her quotes.  I had a week to update them and this time, I paced myself over the week.  Yes, it meant I worked a lot on Easter but I wanted to be able to finish on Monday and feel human.  By George, I did it!  I took my time, took breaks, went out to do things and didn’t allow myself to get antsy in the that “Got to get it down” mindset.  She has a board meeting today where she will present i – no idea if the board will go for it this time or not.  They vetoed it three years ago.

So here I am, 3 years older and a whole lot smarter and wiser.   I have been doing a lot of quotes and very happy to report a lot of them have turned into orders.  I am surprised to look up and find my life has changed a lot from Feb 2014 – I’m not sure how it happened, I know I have changed a lot as well.  I am better at asking for help, knowing that when something comes up, I can handle it, especially knowing I have friends and colleagues I can turn to for help.  If it hadn’t been for Dave Gagley and all his help with Mom’s stuff, I would have been in a rubber room.  So many people are willing and happy to help, now I have ways to help other people when they are dealing with some of what I have been doing.

The hardest part is going to see Mom twice a week at the adult family home.  She can’t really carry on a conversation in worlds I understand, though it is in a very conversational tone – she understands it but the circuits between her brain and her mouth have too many shorts now.  I read to her, take my iPad to play music she likes and of course, she loves the chocolate and cookies I bring every time.  I don’t ever want her to think I have abandoned her, so I visit and enjoy what I can with her.  She is usually glad to see me, whether she recognizes me as her daughter or just a familiar presence.

Why Do I Have RA?

April 20, 2014

That’s a very good question, one I haven’t quite  understood after 43 years.  I talked to a medical intuitive a while back and she told me it was only my energy; I was hoping there was also someone else’s energy that could be cleared.  So it is all me – wonder what caused me to decide to experience it in this lifetime.

There is a quotation “Things are not done TO you, but FOR you”.  Well, that one takes some pondering – something I have spent a long time doing but not  really reaching any conclusions or answers.  Does that mean it is karma in some form, balancing out something from a past life?  I believe I have had past lives, though so far I haven’t remembered them myself.  Am I supposed to – is it necessary for this time on earth?  Sometime s I feel I have more questions than answers.

Is there something about my life that is overwhelming and I don’t know how to deal with it?Am I reluctant to take responsibility for things?  What things would that be?  Or is it for protection so I don’t have to deal with certain things “because I have RA”?  I realize I look at everything in terms of RA.  I see things I would like to do, but then see the physical obstacles that could prevent me because my joints aren’t always flexible.  I felt that way about riding the Duck, the steps were a little steep and somewhat difficult to navigate, but I went up and then back down.  Sometimes I am afraid to try – in case I fail and can’t actually do it.

Oh my, I can see I set myself up to fail by not giving something a try.  Part of it comes from feeling clumsy and awkward; I would rather not put myself in that position.  I also realize I am limiting myself – that I have put those limitations on myself.  I have felt clumsy and awkward most of my life, I was the overweight (not that much but enough) middle child between two slender sisters.  I don’t really know how it feels to be thinner.  I lost about 35 pounds when I was in junior college; now I realize I didn’t really believe it or feel it was really me.

Enough about that – it is the past and no longer something I want to focus my energy.  What just occurred to me is that RA may be possibly part of my Life Lesson and Life Purpose.  Maybe these are things I want to heal in this lifetime.  I was about to say “I think”  instead of stating it because I have always been like that.  One of my Life Lessons is standing up for myself, speaking my truth – at this point there isn’t an “I think” about it.  Another is taking back my power – what a wonderful discovery to realize I do have power when I always thought before that I didn’t have any.  What a concept!

I also realize I have had a very negative view of RA – it was done TO me.  I was an innocent victim sideswiped by RA – don’t think I can see it that way any more.  I have been writing about the gifts in RA, a much more positive view than in the beginning.  Anything to do with past lives, Spirit, etc. was not talked about because people who did were weird.  Heavy duty hocus pocus, woo woo and goofball stuff.  Yet that goofball stuff has really helped me, to understand a little better and also to take personal responsibility rather than continue seeing myself as a victim.

This seems a collection of random thoughts to me – I’m not sure it has logic or continuity to it.  As I write, thoughts come to me and I write them down.  It is one of those t imps where I am not sure where it is leading.  I admit to having to stop and wonder what to write next, then a thought comes and I start writing again.

I just thought of Louise Hay and what she wrote in her book “You Can Heal Your Life”.  She said that when you truly love yourself, things will sort themselves out – my words.  I have been focusing on two major things for quite a while – Loving Myself and Life Purpose.  So much of what goes on is a result of my thoughts and as she says “It’s just a thought and a thought can be changed”.   Also I have read and heard that what I am experiencing now is from thoughts not very long ago.  The problem I am having is recognizing what those thoughts are that continue RA and what the positives are to replace them.  I know a lot of those negative thoughts have been there for a very long time and it is hard to recognize them.

What surprises me is that my Mom’s dementia has brought some of the programs into the light so I can recognize them.  Then I realize how I have been operating with them all my life without knowing it.  I may not know yet the “Why” but I am learning ways to see what has been happening all my life; plus what and how I can change thoughts that once served me but are now invalid.  I am slowly creating new positive thoughts and patterns for this stage of my life.

Maybe Spring Is Really Here

April 13, 2014

Sometimes my body tells me when it is going to rain – usually if it has been a long time since the last storm.  I start to notice it in my hip – just about where my leg and hip come together.  Essentially it feels as if my leg is being torn out of the socket; it comes suddenly and hurts like the dickens.  It starts to rain and suddenly the pain is gone – boy, am I glad to see the rain come.  Not so much this last time, it was both hips and it was a day or two after the rain and about to start in again.  I saw my chiropractor and she did some adjustments which helped, but it was still very uncomfortable.  I was with a friend at lunch and I suddenly remembered something my Occupational Therapist in Connecticut told me – “You don’t do change of seasons very well”.  Maybe it’s true.

I started looking at what I was doing at the time, was I moving in a different way or did I remember an unusual movement.  I couldn’t think of anything but then as I was getting up from the chair at the computer, I noticed I was bracing myself a little differently – maybe that was it.  I put the chair a little higher so it was easier to get up – though it can’t be too high or it hurts my neck and shoulders.  Some days life feels like a delicate balance.  So far, with the chair a little higher, I am doing better.  I am also sleeping well.

Last Monday it was warm and sunny, so nice I went out in my bare feet to do some “earthing” in the grass.  I also took out my bottle of bubbles and blew bubbles in the sunshine.  That was fun!  They were so pretty shiny in the sunlight, I’m waiting for it to be warm again.  Yes, we have had sunshine and it is usually very pleasant in the sun.  In the shade it is chilly with a north wind – still nippy.   I am wearing turtlenecks and sweaters to keep warm while so many people are out in shorts and tees.  Am I out of step?  It is working its way up into the 60’s today and maybe into 70 tomorrow.  As for the garden, it is doing very well.

Thanks to Eddie who did it for me, the fruit trees have fertilizer stakes and we also had a bit of rain afterwards.  never did get to spray the trees for all the lichen and fuzzy stuff, maybe I will just have to pick it off.  Anyway, the pear trees are in full bloom and gorgeous – if the rain and windy don’t come too harshly, we may have pears this year.  The Gravenstein is just beginning to bloom, not fully out like the pear trees.

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We also did the blue berries and they are also blooming, plus we did the fig tree – not sure if it has recovered from pruning or not.  Eddie thinks we made a mistake pruning it, I am willing to wait and see.  I am so glad we gave them fertilizer this year, it hasn’t been done for 2 or 3 years.

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You can’t really see the Scillas, but they are there and blooming.

The grape hyacinths are still blooming and now the Scillas have finally begun to bloom.  So we have purple in the beds and it is lovely.   The camellias are still blooming, though they make a mess on the sidewalk.  I need to check the rhodos, Delores brought over some red buds for me to take to Mom, unfortunately I left before she came.  So I have them in a vase on the kitchen window sill and they are beginning to open up.  I will see how ours are doing and take some to Mom.

It feels as if everything has burst into bloom.  I have seem rhodos blooming, magnolias and azaleas – it is such a glorious time of year.  The trees have a lot more leaves and it is truly amazing.

My sister Ellen has some of her photos online – just click her name and see what beautiful pictures she has taken.  I’m so very proud of her, she is an amazing talent.  My sister Candy is too, she also has many facets and talents.  They have both captured spring – in Nashville and the Jersey shore.

The first flowering fruit trees have lost their blossoms, almost like a snow storm.  Now it is the puffy cherry trees, like balls of pink fluff.  It is such a pleasure to drive places and see colors and beauty all around.  Hmm, am I starting to wax poetical?

I need to get dressed now, I cleaned the bathroom this morning, Eddie vacuumed and the laundry is almost done.  He didn’t have to go to the Museum of Flight today and since we went to service his car yesterday, Saturday chores were spread between both days.  It is certainly a lot more fun to be out in the sunshine than the rain and wind.  We will all be wanting rain if it is too dry for too long, it’s a Seattle thing.  If you wait for a nice day to do things, you wouldn’t be going out very much.  Unless it is a gale and hard rain, you just go and do.  I remember a January day in L.A. when I went to renew my driver’s license.  It was a rainy day and there was hardly anyone at the DMV.  One of the advantages of growing up here.

The wisteria will soon be out, but I will have to enjoy my neighbors because we had it dug out last year.  It’s so lovely when it blooms, but the rest of the time it does a really good job of taking over everything, no matter how much I trimmed it back.  I am not going to miss it.

Is It Really “No Big Deal”?

April 6, 2014

Deep tissue massage with Debye has once again been an eye opener for me this week.  She has been my cheering section for these many months and she hasn’t understood why I don’t pat myself on the back and be proud of what I have accomplished.  I have realized I have only seen “big” things as accomplishments to be acknowledged; the little ones seemed to be no big deal, they were just things I needed to do.  As an example, no pat on the back for keeping my body straight all week, the courage to keep going and digging down deeper and deeper, becoming more and more aware or asking and trusting my Angels for help.

I was surprised when she told me how much progress I have made, my body is much more flexible than when I started last June.  Plus she is so amazed at how much more aware I am than when I started as well.  From inside me, I feel I am not very far along – only because I am comparing myself to Debye and Monty.  They have studied and had different life experiences than I have had, plus they have healing abilities and sight I have always felt I didn’t have.  I have an automatic response to look outside myself and compare  to someone who is farther advanced, travelled more than I have or has an advanced degree.  I tend to discount what I have done, where I have been and most especially who I am – it’s no big deal.  Pat on the back for recognizing it!

Is it childhood programs and training; society and what it values; not knowing who I am what my gifts are or just a matter of not having confidence in myself.  Maybe it is something else entirely – I don’t quite know at this point.   I tend to compare myself (usually unfavorably) to people who have achieved things of note, made a name for themselves and support themselves very well financially.  Or to people with wonderful gifts that they were either born with or became aware as a result of a near death experience or catastrophic accident.

Over the past 40 years or so, people have often said how positive I am while having RA; how I do so much or that I am an inspiration.  I have a tendency to discount it, not seeing myself as others do but as myself doing what I have to about RA and living my life.  I realize some of that is childhood programs of not thinking well of myself because that is boasting or bragging.  So seeing small accomplishments only as one more thing to do and big accomplishments as something to keep to myself or I will be boasting.  How many kids have grown up with that same refrain?

It didn’t help to have a very talent older sister with great artistic talent.  (I know she will read this and I’ll bet she will discount herself a bit – why is it so easy to see in others but not myself?)  It isn’t anything to do with fault or anything like that – she has a talent and she worked hard to develop and refine it to the wonderful work it is now.  I admire her so much and love to see her work.  She is also a talented musician.

Then at the other end is my younger sister who sings,  writes lyrics and music, as well as books and other things as well.  Being in the middle sometimes feels as if I am out in left field without my own place.  However, I know that is my perception, my feeling of not having anything special to offer or be.  That is lack of confidence and insecurity – as an adult I have a lot better perspective.  I see I have always tried to define myself as an artist of some kind, as if that is the only area to look towards.  Looking back, I think I would have gone to the reference section of the library and start at the beginning and explore what was available, seeing what is out there and what piqued my interest.

It’s funny, I have always liked writing, but I felt stymied trying to think up characters and situations.  I finally realized I like essays and opinions, what I am thinking and feeling or what is happening in my life.  maybe I just feel comfortable because I just write down what is going on, I don’t have to think about.  There are times when it is a serious piece, other times I like to write about either the funny things that happen or describe it in a more humorous way.  I am learning I am a writer because I write – not because I have published anything that is a big seller.

Today I am more able and willing to pat myself on the back , whether it is for recognizing I am beginning to spiral down or that I have had the light bulb go on full tilt about I didn’t quite understand before or for an accomplishment, no matter the “size”.  Too much ego and her negative ideas for so long – it is getting so much easier to see the positive in myself.

 

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LET’S HEAR IT FOR A PAT ON THE BACK!

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YOU ARE A BIG DEAL!!!

 

Time For A Happy Dance!

April 3, 2014

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We have been trying to get our taxes finished and filed since Barrie Lane – our tax accountant – died at the end of February.  I will say that his daughter Sarah has been swamped with work because she his doing taxes for her own clients and for Barrie’s clients.   She is doing a great job during a very difficult time.  I had my binder ready to go when we went to see Barrie, and it turns out he input things but they couldn’t find some of the back up material for some of them.  We had to scramble to replace those and By George, we did.

We usually go in around the 2nd or 3rd week of February because our business is due march 15th.  We had a tax extension that helped reduce the stress of coming up to a deadline and worried we wouldn’t make it.  We both have been pests and nag to find out when our taxes and my Mom’s returns would be finished – I wouldn’t be surprised to find other people were doing the same thing.  It was tough on the staff and they were friendly all through it.

We also had to del with 2012 issue once again.  Fro 2 moths we were employers for Kathy when she was taking care of Mom while I was in rehab.  When tax time came in February, Barrie created a W-2 for Kathy and we paid the taxes, etc. with our return.  Except the IRS came back a month later and said we didn’t pay enough.  Eddie paid it – under protest – because we don’t want to run afoul of the IRS.  Barrie sent them a letter telling them we paid it and sent the W-2 in to them.

Then February of this year we have a letter from Social Security saying the IRS shows twice as much as we submitted.  So I spent over an hour waiting at the Social Security office only to be told “This isn’t our department”.   Since their name was at the top of the letter, it seems logical to start with them – no, we had to deal with the IRS and send in the questionnaire.   I will say, Sarah and company took care of that and sent in the letter to the IRS as well as giving us a copy.  It is also possible the IRS will send another letter – no departments talk to each other.  We might even get our money back from the second payment, but I won’t hold my breath.  They are johnny-on-the-spot to collect but take their sweet time refunding money owed to us.

Finally, yesterday we were able to go down to Sarah’s office and pick up our returns.  I had the copies of the things they couldn’t find so they could scan  them into our account.  We signed the papers to have the returns e-filed and all we have left is the bill for the tax prep.  After all this time, it was hard to believe we had gotten to the end at last.

Definitely a Happy Dance afternoon.  I think we both slept well last night now that it is completed.


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