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Friday, November 2, 2012

Everyday Gratitude

I noticed my friends have started sharing things they're grateful for and plan to do so all month.  I have lots to be grateful for this year.  The beginning of the year started off rough with a job change, and then a wreck that changed everything.  

While I have lots of HUGE things to be grateful for, and there are many people whom I still owe many thanks, I wanted to start off with some of the small things that make me happy.  Two small things that make my day are long socks and coffee. Strange, I know.  People understand coffee, but the long socks? 

Since the wreck, I have noticed that certain areas of my skin perceive touch, heat, and cold differently.  Both of my lower legs, from the ankle to the shin and my mid to lower back are sensitive to cold.  So, I've stocked up on T-shirts and I'm always looking for long socks.  I've already begun to feel the seasons change.  I wonder what's in store for me in January!

Coffee is another matter.  Every coffee drinker understands the pleasure in coffee, and even some who don't drink coffee love its smell.  I have been drinking coffee since I was about 15, and I've enjoyed it almost every way imaginable.  Weak coffee, I drink straight up black, moderately stiff coffee needs creamer, and espresso, well, either it must be gulped like a shot, or it needs everything in it, the works: creamer, flavoring, and schlag (whipped cream).  I just really enjoy coffee; decaf or regular.  Right now, I have a favorite.  It's decaf espresso roast from abcreserve.com.  I have a history with this brand, so like all coffee drinkers, I'm biased, but since I have time to blog, I will tell you the story of my history with ABC, or America's Best Coffee.

My friend, Hubert and his brother Ronald opened a coffee shop in Arlington, TX around 2004.  I stopped in before work a few times, and thought it was a pretty cool place, and the coffee is way better than the McDonald's of coffee.  I was recently divorced at that time, and I needed a place to go after work, and I'm much more comfortable in a coffee shop than in a bar.  In a short while, ABC became to me what Cheers was to Sam, Diane, Karla, and Norm.  The regulars became friends.  Some are coffee shop friends, and others are more lasting friendships.  The people I met at ABC became part of my support network, helping me through one of the most difficult episodes of my life.  Most of them did not know my story, but their very presence and interest in me as a person made a huge difference in my life.  It is most unfortunate that Hubert and Ronald sold the store. The coffee is still wonderful, but the atmosphere that my friends brought to their business is not the same.  That I can order and brew my favorite java is a privilege that I missed during my travels.

I have been on a cleanse the past week or so.  One of the requirements of the cleanse was that I give up my stimulants, or caffeine.  I opted to drink decaf (I know, it's not exactly stimulant free, but it's better than no coffee.  Having coffee is better for me and for all around me).  Lately, I have been wrestling with getting the best brew.  At my house, with the equipment I have available (a leaky cuisinart espresso maker, a krups il primo that leaves sediment in your drink, a borrowed drip coffee maker, and a french press), the best brew for my buck is the french press.  I'm not willing to spend a ton of money on a machine, and I want some good coffee.  Is that too much to ask?  NO, I say.  So, I finely grind my beans, put them in the french press, pour on boiling water, steep for approximately four minutes, and voila!  I have awesome coffee.  For those purists who are screaming to yourselves, "NO, it should be a coarse grind for a french press!" I know.  I just like it this way.  At my house, I can brew my ABC coffee any way I like.  So, order your own, and brew it the way you like it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Too much time on Twitter

When I'm not at my desk, I don't spend much time on the social networking sites.  However, I've been at my desk a lot lately, so I've abandoned facebook while my buddies are asleep, and I've spent more time on pinterest and twitter.  I'm not sure I get pinterest, but my friends tell me that it is a useful tool to remember the stuff that you may use later, like pinning favorite vacation things, house renovations, and recipes.  One of the things I notice in 'retweeting' the entries of other people over and over, it feels as if all the creativity is sucked out of me.  I become part of the endless chatter of information (I'll be generous enough to call it that) which bombards the stressed out, overactive adult mind.  

Having precious creative energy expended on chatter is a big waste of time that I could be doing something productive, like reading or writing or daydreaming.  I need to start making plans for my next creative endeavor, too.  I have three paintings to my credit thanks to Paint with a Twist in Arlington.  I never knew I could do that until I just decided to go one day.  It's pretty therapeutic, also.  Somehow, Amy, the shop owner, actually remembered my name after the first time she saw me.  That has happened to me before, and the person told me that she couldn't forget me because I'm a 'character.'  I have to admit that I enjoy being a character.  The word character actually conjures images of stories, books, and far away places, but most of all, a sense that I can be who I am and I can become whatever I want to be.  Development of literary characters is very deliberate and structural in its creation.  The same is true of my personal character development.  Since my adolescent years, I have been very purposefully and creatively making decisions about the kind of person I want to be.  I want to be intelligent, caring, responsible, spontaneous, fun, and well, lots more things.  I am becoming the things on my list, and my life is becoming the life I always wanted to have.  The final, perfect product will never exist, but the journey of becoming is the top priority.  In this, there is no failure; just a place on the continuum. 

Will I delete my social media profiles in the name of creativity?  No, but when I notice that I'm spending time looking at items that don't support who I choose to be, it's time to log off for the day.  I'm still becoming what I hoped to be as an adult.  At this point, I am enjoying the ride, rather than looking for the end of something and the beginning of something else.  It's on this ride that the adventure continues!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Another plug for the placebo effect

As I was remembering my time in Albuquerque, I thought of the Native American traditions to which I was briefly exposed.  Their thoughts on living, healing, and dying are so much different than those of the rest of the world.  While I was there, I worked a subacute-rehab floor.  I had to quickly learn a new electronic charting system as well as work with a population with whom I was only remotely familiar.  Instead of having two critical patients or four nearly critical patients, I took care of 6 to 8 patients at a time.  Most of them were getting physical therapy and occupational therapy.  Most recovering from surgery or from a lengthy illness passed through this unit.  Sometimes, people didn't recover or got sicker.  It was there that I got a chance to see the realm of a med-surg nurse and a palliative care nurse, frequently in one day.  

I forget the reason I was looking for a specific co-worker, but I found her in a patient's room giving medications.  I will never forget the feeling of horror that I got when I saw her trying to get a pain pill down the most feeble lady that I've ever seen.  I wasn't sure that it looked safe for this poor woman to try to swallow.  I exclaimed, "Poor thing!  Don't we have anything IV that we can give her? Look at how she's suffering!" Her son and daughter were at the bedside.  The nurse looked at me with the most terrified look.  When she came out of the room, she told me that this woman and her family had been offered hospice.  Her husband supported her decision to go to hospice while her children did not.  They expressed concern about this dying woman becoming 'addicted' to pain medication and did not want her to have IV narcotics.  Most of the nurses on the unit were familiar with this patient and this situation, but I was not.  The family members hadn't seen me, and my horrified reaction had an impact on her care.  After that, her family allowed her to have IV pain medication, and the next day, she transferred to hospice.  She went from a place of care being torture to being able to pass away with peace and dignity.

It seems that we over medicate the general population with narcotics and withhold the relief they bring from the dying.  When I worked in ER, I saw patients who didn't manage their chronic migraines, they just came in for another 'fix.'  Sometimes I felt great empathy for their pain, and sometimes I did not.  The woman who came in with a ponytail and chewing gum didn't get nearly the sympathy as the person who appeared to be photophobic and phonophobic.  Another patient that I remember well, I had an opportunity to take care of at the beginning of her illness, and when I went to work at another ER, I encountered her again.  This was a professional woman who, at her job, was a supervisor.  She had a horrible thing happen to her foot that would be too graphic to describe here.  Over time, she went from being a vibrant woman with high, positive energy to being a 'frequent flyer' in the emergency department.  Indeed, she had had surgery on her foot and had suffered from chronic pain thereafter.  She had been prescribed narcotics and more narcotics.  By the third time I saw her, I was comfortable enough to talk to her about my perspective regarding her situation.  I empathized with her pain as I remembered what her foot looked like the day I met her.  I knew that her pain was very real.  I encouraged her to ask her doctor to refer her to physical therapy and to develop a pain management plan.  I also encouraged her to ask her doctor about non-narcotic analgesia so that she could get back to being her vibrant self rather than letting this illness define her.

I was a person who experienced frequent pain and had several surgeries in my 20s and 30s.  I sought out alternatives to try to treat the root cause of the pain.  I didn't want to live on narcotics because I saw what they did to my patients.  Healing takes longer, but it was worth the investment in all the things I did to try to heal myself.  Now, I'm more interested in helping people find a healing path as problems come up rather than treating urgent symptoms.  Placebo effect?  Maybe, but belief in sugar pills, energy, crystals, and prayer are powerful beliefs that have the potential to change the relationship a person has to a disease process without causing the damaging side effects documented in more profitable treatments.

The Placebo Effect?

As I'm beginning the next phase of my career and life, I've been out of the hospital environment since my wreck in April.  My paying gig is a telephone triage job, but for years, I've led almost a double life. It's time to be out of the closet about how I feel about healing.  

In 1995, I graduated from nursing school with my head full of knowledge about bodies and substances that I hadn't imagined before.  At that time, I believed that I was helping people by giving medications, and the more the better.  I thought that they were only needed for short periods of time.  It somehow escaped me that people live on drugs.  Drugs for everything known to man and the great 'Prescriber' exist to alleviate personal responsibility for health.  After all, whose fault is it if the treatment doesn't work?

My first several years in nursing, I was a pediatric nurse.  While sometimes I gave very potent medications to children, the goal was always that they would be able to be well enough to come off the medications.  Even children who had had heart surgery were later able to come off of their digoxin and lasix.  Parents were generally very keen to follow instructions about diet and to comply with medication regimens for their children.  My first journey to adult health nursing was in ER.  I still remember the first time I had to catheterize a grown woman for a urine specimen.  I thought I would pass out!  It was in ER that I learned about long lists of medications, very different types of chronic illness, and a very different expectation for the nurse from the doctor and from the patient.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes people need prescription medicines.  I have one that I'm taking now for a condition that probably won't ever completely resolve itself.  However, there has been a prevailing mindset that prescriptions, surgeries, and high tech treatments are here to vanquish all disease from the body as fast as someone can get a burger in the McDonald's drive through.  There's a marketing lie out there that would have someone believe that there is actually a magic pill for each symptom they may have and that they can't make it through life without 'lifesaving' medicine.  If you weigh the risks vs. the benefits, it might not be worth the risk.  Many elderly in the service area of my former workplace had falls at home.  When their medication lists were reviewed, it was no wonder.  Polypharmacy will end up killing more people than the 'lifesaving' medications help, if for no other reason than that someone's grandma got dizzy from all that shit, fell, broke her hip and subsequently had hip surgery only to die a short time later from a fatty embolus to the heart or to the brain.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Can we avoid getting high blood pressure, heart disease, and alleviate risk factors for having strokes?  Yes.  It's the  hard way to do things.  Proper diet, in this rich nation, is harder to obtain than ever.  Pesticides and GMOs remain off the labeled ingredients, so buyers must beware about what they ingest.  It's worth the investment in health to buy 'real' food.  It's also worth the investment to research symptoms and consult alternative practitioners.  Proper supplementation and sessions with an energy healer (chiropractor, acupuncturist, or a Reiki master) is worth the effort.  Even if someone believes that these treatments are no better than the placebo effect, the placebo effect is powerful. 

Thank God for doctors and emergency rooms.  I needed them this year.  I was discharged from the trauma service at JPS before I could fully turn my neck or drive a car.  My astounding recovery has been from my self-care with the help of my chiropractor and my acupuncturist.  



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Insomniac, me? Hah!

My eyes are sleepy.  My body is entirely too keyed up to allow sleep to happen.  My brain knows that I have to be back up in about 3 hours to get myself and my covered dish ready to go to my day-retreat.  I'm completely excited to see friends and gather for food, fun, and relaxation.  I bought some meditation music a few weeks ago and have been enjoying it, also.  After work, I finished an email before going to bed.  All I could hear in my head were the lyrics: O my beloved, kindness of the heart, I'm coming home.  I rolled over.  I'm coming home...still playing within the confines of my brain.  You know how it is.  For those of you who remember the 80s well, if I write the numbers 8-6-7-5-3-0-9, your day is ruined. Or it could be Amadeus, Amadeus, rock me Amadeus.  Now you get the idea.

What is it about the idea of going 'home' that makes us pause?  The lyrics, "O my beloved..." make me feel as if someone is calling my name.  There isn't a flesh and blood person who calls me his 'beloved,' yet I still feel called 'home.'  It made me think of all the church hymns about heaven.  I'll Fly Away comes first to mind.  It doesn't do the same thing for me.  Listen: "Some glad morning when this life is over, I'll fly away.  To a land on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away, O glory; I'll fly away.  When I die, hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away. Just a few more weary days and I'll fly away.  To a land where joy shall know no end, I'll fly away...." (I took those lyrics from my memory)
 I'll Meet you in the Morning goes like this:

               I'll meet you in the morning by the bright riverside
               When all sorrow has drifted away
               I'll be standin' at the portals when the gates open wide
               At the close of life's long weary day

               I'll meet you in the morning with a how do you do
          And we'll sit down by the river and when all the rapture is renewed
               You'll know me in the morning by the smile that I wear
               When I meet you in the morning In the city that is built four square

                I will meet you in the morning in the sweet by and by
                And exchange the old cross for a crown
                There will be no disappointments and nobody shall die
                In that land when life's sun goeth down
http://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/monroe-bill/ill-meet-you-in-the-morning-17449.html

I've sung and loved those songs for much of my life, but today, they don't strike the same chord (ok laugh at the pun) that they did for me before.  In the songs about the fantasies of heaven, God isn't calling my name.  He isn't beckoning for his 'beloved.' There isn't anything sweeter than a reunion with someone you love.  I think I will continue to ponder about being 'his' beloved and hearing him call me home.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Christian Heretic Chronicles

I have run across another blog that I really like (so far).  I don't know Sandra, the author, personally, yet she writes things that I feel as if I could have written.  You know, stuff about migraines, skeletons in the closet, and stuff of our lives as humans.  This entry, I felt as if I could have written myself, except that instead of seeing a NAET practitioner, I see an acupuncturist.  I found this story at chroniclesofachristianheretic.blogspot.com

The demons are duking it out in my head tonight. A migraine is squeezing my eyeballs and pounding the walls of my brain. I have felt a duel of some proportion coming on for a few days. At first I thought it was some kind of sinus infection resulting from that cold and small fever I was fighting. But then I realized the militant action was amping up every time I gave thought to the latest series of half-remembered dreams I've been having. 

Some months ago, in an NAET session with my healing dude, I experienced the first awareness of a whole mess of memories being repressed. All progress on my recovery, physical and spiritual, came to a screeching halt. Minuscule glimpses have leaked through to my consciousness, always at great cost in emotional and physical pain. My psyche has gone to great lengths to lock these memories away so that I could survive and doesn't relinquish custody of them lightly. 

I've been dreaming again of things I could never admit--to myself, much less to anyone else. The dreams are wrapped in the coded language of the unconscious and even so I only remember fleeting images upon awaking. But my body remembers. 

All of me aches with the desire to acknowledge the memories. Yet my muscles clench tight in a permanent flinch that forces the horrors out of sight. The battle between being safe and being free rages in my very tissues. My brain throbs. My belly heaves. My innermost parts burn with exquisite agony of knowledge that cannot be spoken. 

The skeletons in my closet rattle and writhe. I long to teach them to dance. But they do not respond to my direction for I know not their name. The demons at the door, charged with my survival, won't let me in. They fight me with all the ferocity of the cornered animal I once was. 

I am safe now. A woman long grown to maturity. Safe and cared for. As safe as I could imagine being. The demons don't have to work so hard. My survival is not at risk. My sanity is not threatened. 

Rest, ye demons. You have earned it. Let the skeletons come forth as they will, to be named, to dance in healing and joy. Let the battle in my body cease for we are all in one accord: I am loved. Broken, despised, rejected, still I am loved. I AM. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Day

I received many birthday wishes yesterday via Facebook, text, voicemail, and actual phone conversations.  I am grateful and humbled at all the people who wished me well.  Many people wanted to know what I did or had planned.  Many people expressed concern that I didn't have something special planned.  I thought about it a bit, and since I wasn't at all unhappy about my day, I don't think anyone else should be, either.

My birthday was yesterday, Sunday.  I did my normal thing (except that I forgot to call Erich).  I got off work, went to sleep, got up, went to Whole Foods, put a dent in Erich's plans, and came home to make chili.  I signed in to work at 10 pm as per usual.  People keep telling me the stuff I should do for myself.  The truth is that I do lots of cool stuff for myself on a regular basis.  I go out to eat.  I either make or buy a latte if I want it, and I go shopping when I need to.  As I said in an earlier post, life was harder for me in my 20s than it is now.

I can think of things I want in life that are absent at this time (a man, spiritual, fun, and grown up enough to have his act together...cute doesn't hurt, either), but in all, I would rather have my life with my adventures and woes than anyone else's. No matter what other adjective might be used to describe my life, it is never boring. I'm nerdy and have many idiosyncrasies, but unlike during my childhood days, I can't imagine wanting to be someone else.  For all the adversity, bullying, and disadvantages I had early in life, I'm making up for it now.

So, my birthday was no big deal compared to the rest of my week or my life, but dang, I have a good life.  

Happy Monday, everyone!
The adventure continues...


Friday, October 5, 2012

Thoughts and Mantras

It is from our thoughts that we create our lives and in turn, the world around us. It is said that if we can control our thoughts, we can control our lives.  To me, a woman used to blurting out whatever I think, that's pretty profound.

What if, for one day, I can control my thoughts (not to mention my words) when I'm in traffic?  What if I can release the irritation and anger that I feel toward others and make room for acceptance and peace.  That's not just altruism at work, it is pure selfishness.  I don't like feeling annoyed or angry.  I love those moments when I am comfortable in my own skin and feel as if I'm at peace with the world.  Most of you reading this actually know me, so you know that while I'm very free-spirited, the moments of 'walking on sunshine,' are indeed moments where I've had to reign in thoughts, words, and actions.  Those are moments of sweet bliss.  I need to spend more time in that happy place.

Yesterday started out to be a perfectly happy day.  I took a three hour nap after work and spontaneously woke up without any struggle.  Since I was off last night, I spent those first moments catching up on all my games of words with friends.  I got ready to go to my physical therapy appointment.  I didn't really want to go.  I have probably had only one dizzy spell since my last appointment, and I feel sure it was either from sleep deprivation or from using my exercise ball as an office chair.  However, I made an appointment. I didn't have a good reason to cancel except 'I don't want to,' so of course, I got ready and set out to get to Arlington Memorial for the dreaded session.  As I was exiting I-30 to Cooper street, there is a yield lane.  Everyone was moving fine.  I turned my head to make sure someone wasn't flying over the bridge when I felt a bump.  What in the world?? I thought I ran over an orange cone.  It wasn't as simple as that.  There was a car in front of me that decided for some unknown reason to stop there.  I left the imprint of my license plate in her back bumper.  Since I didn't see it happen, I was in a bit of shock for a minute.  I got out of my car to see how the other driver was.  She was on her phone.  I asked, "Are you ok?"  She twisted up her face and said in the most pitiful voice, "I don't know." Then, just as pitifully, as she was continuing her cell phone conversation, she asked why I hit her.  Her words struck me the wrong way.  I realized immediately that this woman was being precious (my Southerners will understand the inflection and inferred meaning).  I felt as if I were channeling Julia Sugarbaker from that 80s TV show, Designing Women.  Instead of the full rant that she would have launched, though, I just looked at this woman, and said loudly enough for the person in her cell phone to hear, "I don't know what you're talking about!" I was looking for a pen and paper so that I could give this woman my insurance information.  She had actually called the police (for those of you not in the DFW area, a non-injury accident just requires the drivers to switch information, not a full police investigation).  I pulled off into the Burger King parking lot (after I cancelled that Physical Therapy appointment I didn't want to keep anyway) and waited for the police.  I took photos of her bumper.  The officer didn't even fill out a report, nor did I get a ticket.  I just got her information from him, and he gave her mine.  As I was standing there, the firetrucks came up, sirens blaring.  Shortly after, the ambulance came squealing in, also with lights and sirens.  Precious indeed!  Not to mention opportunistic.  I didn't see any obvious damage to my car except for my bent license plate, so I went my  merry way (I went to the car wash, and discovered some things were loose later).

Later, I went to a Reiki share where I had an opportunity to release the tensions of the day.  The fender-bender had left its impact, and some other thoughts had been nagging me, so I wanted to work on all of those things.  GO AWAY was my mantra for the annoyances of the day.  The host of the event and I have a mutual friend, and we had met five years ago.  She actually recognized me as someone she should remember, so we caught up a bit.  I had the opportunity to share the story of my wreck and my miraculous recovery up to this point.  It seemed to encourage the people there, and it served as a reminder that sometimes when you get what you asked for, it may come in an unexpected package.

On the point of living up to the ideals outlined in my first couple of sentences, I failed yesterday.  Today is a new day with new opportunities (and a new PT appointment).

The adventure continues!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

If I didn't have kids, I would____.

My friend, CB, is an RN, a wife, and a mom of five children.  I just read her blog post about what she would do if she didn't have children.  We humans always want what we don't have whether it's a life change or something as simple as a day to ourselves.

Most women who make that statement forget about the time when they wanted to get married and to have a family.  They forget about the times when they felt left out, and felt the sting of losing touch with their friends who became moms and the friendship fell away.  My friend imagined herself sleeping late, reading books, working out, and going back to school if she didn't have children.  Maybe, maybe not.
I spent my 20s going to school and working up to three jobs at once.  It really wasn't so glamorous.  There wasn't much reading for pleasure or sleeping in.  From my perspective, the woman who was relatively happily married and had some children had an easier life than mine was at that time.
My the first half of my 30s was spent with the man who is now my ex husband.  The very things he loved about me were the things he believed his duty to change about me.  He made a concerted effort to re-create his parents' marriage in our relationship.  It was the biggest tragedy of my life to have to leave.  Later, I discovered that I hadn't made an informed decision when I married him.  There were secrets. I didn't know them until several years after our divorce.  Sometimes I wonder if I would have done anything different at any point on the continuum of that relationship had I known the secrets at the beginning, in the middle, or even just before the end. I spent the rest of my 30s recovering.  I'm now in my 40s.  I have had fantastic adventures that my mom friends have not, but like most of them, I have a job to work, bills to pay, and mundane things of life the same as they do. In my profession, childless women end up working more major and minor holidays.  Sometimes, we foolishly agree to it.  Mostly, co-workers say things like, "You don't have kids, why don't you work insert holiday here for me?" I always wonder if people think that childless women were hatched from eggs.  I'm somebody's daughter, sister, niece, and aunt.  That family counts, right?

I love my life even when it isn't fun.  It's always exciting.  From travel to car wrecks to boyfriends who break up with me on the phone like we were still in 7th grade (yes, that did just happen) life is never boring.  Considering all things, now that I'm in my 40s, I have to concede to my 'mom' friend that my life is charmed.  Although I love children and would have loved being a mom, the reality is that I need to enjoy my nieces and nephews more.  I have plenty of them to love, and of course, they're the most beautiful children on the planet.  I'm missing some of my photos since I changed computers.  Pictured are four of the six children!

Mischief managed!

Dancing fancies!
Just plain cute!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Reiki Master and the Registered Nurse

I was in the process of changing the name of this blog to The Reiki Master and the Registered Nurse, but I just couldn't quite do it.  I still have hopes that I will be able to pop out a Mozart aria again.  Even if there isn't anyone else to listen, it would just be nice to know that I can do it.  I have rehearsed Mi Tradi Quelle Alma in Grata, but have never performed it.  The last time I tried, the most I could sing was about two phrases before my support fell out from under me.  The swelling in my back looks much better than it has in previous months, but it is still there.  The speed with which I walk is improving.  Maybe the speed with which I sing the words 'palpitanto il cor' will pick up also.

Now that I am back to work and have also received a level three Reiki attunement, life is much different than it was before.  I have met some wonderful new people and been able to participate in a healing circle on a regular basis; I have returned to my hot yoga practice, and I have not so successfully tried dating again.  Life is mostly all good.  Certainly, other people in this world have more difficulties than I am experiencing at the moment.

One of my difficulties has been a health health issue that has come up.  I will not mention the details because to most of my blog readers, it would be entirely too much information.  However, it is, at least in part, something I have experienced before.  The conventional treatments require general anesthesia, and surgery.  So, I am exploring alternatives to these options even as we speak.  In my reading, I have discovered several remedies that will help said problem, but there isn't an alternative that eradicates the issue.  This is where the Reiki master and the Registered Nurse conflict with each other.  Conventional wisdom says to just have surgery and be done with it.  The human part of me says, "NOOOOO, not another surgery!  I have been here and done this before.  NO MORE.  The Reiki master in me says to take the gentler, kinder approach to my body and search for alternatives.  Surgery is really a violent thing and should be avoided, if possible.

General anesthesia and the constitution of this redhead just don't mix well.  The last time I had surgery, I came out of the anesthesia and wasn't breathing.  I was so drugged that I didn't care.  I saw the ceiling light, and I heard lots of feet rushing my way.  The anesthesiologist was tapping me and telling me to breathe.  I still remember that breath.  It felt like my alveoli had collapsed. Don't ask why I think that, I don't have a good answer.  At any rate, taking that first breath felt like a thousand little fires in my chest.   It was as if each alveolus had heartburn and that acid was burning through my chest.

In the months after that, I had a hard time because I had 'phantom' pain where the excision occurred.  It was a much more emotional experience than I thought it would be.  I spent months going in and out of the doctor's office, and I felt more like one of the doctor's 'herd' than a real person.  I can most definitely avoid being part of that 'herd' again, but in truth, I would rather avoid the whole hospital encounter.  I spent years working in one.  I will leave it at that.

Until next time, the adventure continues!

I miss my sweet dog, Ruby Slippers.





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fear Can Make You Cling to the Strangest Things

I have given lots of thought to the expression in this photo (taken from Facebook, by the way).  Today, I am probably less fearful than I have ever been in my life.  There are people who would say that they've never seen me fearful, but there's a whole level of anxiety for the person who would 'rather go than stay home,' that would rather stay hidden than to be exposed.  Some of you know what I mean.  Step one in shaking off the fear is to adopt Nike's ad campaign and make it part of your life.  You know, just do it.  I have done just that: gone where I wanted to go, did what I wanted to do, and moved where I wanted to move, but somehow I felt compelled to change rather than just floating with the wind.

It was that compulsion to change myself, my life, my circumstances that brought me the the wreck. (Yes, I'm writing about that again!)  It was change I was craving, and it was change I received.  I was just hoping for a little prettier packaging on that.
In reflecting on those moments in the hospital and out of my body (and a little out of my mind, too, for that matter), I realize that I have nothing to fear.  That realization has helped me to let go of ideas, theologies, and belief systems that don't serve me any more.  The dissonant harmonies of conflict are coming to a head and being released.

Now, I'm not afraid of dying.  Being out of my body made me realize that there is more freedom than restriction when the nonphysical aspect of my being is no longer present with the body.  Even more importantly, I'm not afraid to live.  I'm not afraid to seek out knowledge, answers, or just to explore the abstract or the concrete in this grand universe any more.  Recently, I realized that I had some primordial fear of going to hell.  I was 98% sure that I wouldn't be going there, but as my life is way outside the box according to church rules, I had a little residual fear.  Questioning, exploring, and re-evaluating my belief system was fear evoking for me over the last several years.  Living outside the confines of a religious box that I grew to know so well was disconcerting.  However, my relationship with the church has been rather like my relationship with dairy products.  I love them, but they don't really love me back.  Just like Neo in the Matrix, I've chosen my pill, and suddenly nothing is the same (except maybe my waistline).  For those who may be uncomfortable with this kind of talk, God is bigger than the confines of the structure of the church, and he's certainly big enough to handle any question I might have.

And the adventure continues...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I Chose to Stay

It seems that I have written a lot about my wreck the last few months.  As it was my single most significant life changing event up to this point besides being born, I'm still processing it.  As I think back to my time in the ER, it seems very significant to me that I was standing over my body outside the CT machine cheerleading my 'patient' from death to life.  "Come on, you can make it!  You can live!  You can do this!  Come on honey!" the coaching and coaxing began.

For those of you who know me, you know that I have firmly decided that I should have the letters DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) tattooed on my chest when I'm too old to wear tank tops (Will I ever really be too old for tank tops??).  From being burned out working critical care, I have a steadfast belief that we should allow people to go when their time is up.  Prolonging life is more cruel than it is helpful, most of the time.  Many of you know that in my work, I have seen and sensed the presence of angels as people were passing from this life to the next.  One of the most dramatic instances of a cruelly prolonged life ending with a great band of angels was something I witnessed nearly two years ago.  Poor Karen* was blown up like Harry Potter's aunt Marge her last  few days.  When we stuck her fingers for blood sugars, we didn't get blood anymore, it was serum.  She was on medicine to keep her blood pressure compatible with life, to make her urinate, and everything was breaking down.  I happened to be the nurse on for her last three days, and it seemed that I was the only consistent face that her family had seen.  They made the decision to take her off the ventilator (the cause of her blowing up like Aunt Marge) at the end of my shift, so I clocked out, and I stayed with them.  I turned off the medicines, and the respiratory therapist pulled the ET tube.  Her children went to the waiting room during this time as they didn't want to see her gasping for her last breath.  One family member stayed with me as Karen* breathed her last breath.  I opened the window, and my eyes started tracking a pattern.  The family member asked me, "You see them, don't you?"  I did indeed see them.  By the droves and dozens, angels filled the room.  Karen's* breathing stopped, but her heart rate remained.  I asked her, "What do you need?"  Almost instantly, the answer came to my mind.  I asked the family member to go get her children. Karen* was not going to leave until she said good bye to them.  I faded out of the room while all Karen's* family circled around her until her heart had beat its last.  

*I'm sure you figured out that Karen's name isn't really Karen.

Besides that story being way cool, it is an example of why I believe that prolonging life is normally cruel and unusual punishment.  The general population doesn't talk much about end-of-life care nor do they make decisions until tragedy looks them in the face, for the most part.  However, people who have ever hung out in an ICU talk about such matters frequently, and sometimes very nonchalantly. We have seen the power of the tube, and some of us have decided that some places just weren't meant to be intubated.  That being said, if you had asked me prior to April 1 what I would want for the outcome of the circumstance of my wreck, I would have shouted, "LET ME GO!! PLEEEAAASSSSSSSSEEEE, DO NOT RESCUE ME! I DON'T NEED RESCUING!"

When they found me, I was unconscious.  I thought I was asleep and trying to wake up.  Then, I thought I was dreaming about work.  Then I thought I was at work.  They didn't ask, and they rescued me anyway.  While I was 'at work,' coaching my 'patient' from death to life, I made a choice.  It was in that moment that I chose to continue to be here. In this body. On this planet. You know, to live.  I agreed to be here and do something awesome, at least in the microcosm of my life.  

Since that time, I have stronger family ties, stronger friendship ties, and lots of new people coming into my circle.  While I'm not in Europe anymore, I certainly am still on an adventure.

 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Forthcoming book

I have been talking, and talking, and talking about putting together a book.  Finally, I have been working on this project, and it is something that I will probably be finished with it this weekend.  I haven't decided it's final name yet, so if you have read the blog and seen my Europe photos as well as a great idea about what the book should be called, send it to me.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Some Cheese with that Whine?

So far, I have had an amazing recovery from the broken back, concussion, and lung contusion I suffered from in the not so funny events that happened on April first.  The first time I tried to sing, it wouldn't come out.  I was completely shocked.  Of course, it led to a cascade of downward spiraling emotions that ended in lots of tears.  Since that time, I've accomplished many things: 1.  I can walk without the back brace or the walker I had.  2.  I can put on my own shoes.  3.  I can do simple household chores (and cook, but since when is that a chore?).  It is by no means a full recovery, but I'm functional.  I'm in no shape to go back to working in ICU lifting, turning, cleaning, and calculating, etc. However, considering the shape I was in nearly three months ago, it is quite miraculous.

I haven't been upset about my friends beating me at words with friends, although some of my "random opponents" appear to be using the cheats that are available for an extra $2.99. However, I have been emotional about my voice.  The first few days, I could barely speak above a whisper.  My cricoid cartilage felt as if it were jammed back to my esophagus.  I still feel pressure there (it's the 'adam's apple') at intermittent intervals, but it is slowly coming back to me.  This morning, I was listening to my favorite aria on YouTube. I decided to try to sing.  I actually got out a couple of phrases successfully.   I started to write this blog about all that frustrates me about being well enough but not my best; in other words, to whine.  I stopped to see all the gratitude I owe to all the people who have helped me, to all the people who participated in my treatment who were just "doing their jobs," and to the Universe who still has something here for me to accomplish. Here's a link to the aria that sparked the inspiration for the post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y4QfT4OL68

Thursday, June 7, 2012

From the Brain to the Blog

BLISSFULLY, HAND IN HAND

They're headed straight for the train

Hand in hand

Blissful and oblivious

To the danger where they stand

She thinks it's the light at the end of the tunnel

He wants to think it, too

He never told her what he knows

Now, he's not about to

As the train comes, she jumps off the tracks

But he stares into the light

He's never been the strong one

He's just the "big mouth" in the fight

He could just jump out of the way

And tell her what he knows

He's too proud, he doesn't love her enough

The cards in his hand show

As the seconds turn to an eternity

She pleads with him for his life

He cries and begs the train to stop

Her advice he ignores

After all, he's a man who knows more than his wife

In his mind, his wisdom shows

Gallant effort and ability

She begins to doubt

She warns and pleads, and tells of the danger to come

If he won't move away from the train

Pleadingly tugs his hand

She finds stable land

She can't watch the collision to come



Day after day, and year after year

She questioned her decision

To let him go, knowing of the impending collision

He loved her, but not enough

To step out of harm's way

Not enough to tell her what was going on that day

Though he didn't die in the wreck

She lost him anyway

That path she couldn't go

Bent on destruction

He loved her when things went his way

How could she know

She meant little to him

He didn't care much about "them"

Marriage meant nothing at all

Oh, the shock! The unbridled anguish


Blissfully, they walked hand in hand

Oh! That wretched day

copyright 2012 Rhonda Wittmer

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

So, you think you can't sing

Someday I will sing again

I don't know where or when

I'll not complain about my voice then

Someday I will sing again

I heard an old recording

The video had gone

The sound of my voice lingered on

The old tape had seen better days

It went to the old tape grave

The church Christmas solo one year

The Mary/Joseph duet another

They were perfectly perfect

For what they were

I didn't appreciate them then

All I could hear is teachers in my head

Pushing my patience

Always picking: Oh the dread

Of hearing all that I did wrong

It wasn't until later I understood

Nit-picking was their way to achieve perfection

The voice was already good

For now the voice is gone

Oh, how I miss you!

I'll practice and wait

Until you return

copyright Rhonda Wittmer 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hard at Work

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm unable to do the job for which I was educated - nursing.  Before my car wreck, I was working ICU and CVICU.  Not only does that require a brain cell or two, it requires a strong back and some skeletal muscle strength.  I'm a bit short on the strength needed, and I don't really have a desire to set foot back in a critical care unit.. So, for a while, ICU will have to wait.

In the meantime, I was reviewing some photos that I had taken in during my last two trips to Europe.  Some of those were framed and given as gifts to family members and friends.  In the last few weeks, I have also been looking at other people's photos.  The ones I like are fantastically imperfect!  I am going to post some of my favorites.  If you would like some, let me know which one, what size, color or b/w, framed or not framed.

In many cases, I have multiple photos of the same shot from different angles or perspectives.  There are more photos available than I have posted here. All photos posted in this blog are copyrighted.  If you would like to use a digital copy for a screen saver or some other limited personal use, please ask first.

Thanks so much for your friendship and support!

Friday, May 25, 2012

God and Sausage on a Stick

On my facebook page, I told all my friends, acquaintances, and online buddies that I had a dream about what I was going to post.  It goes something like this: Imagine, people are marketing God as if he's the latest sausage on a stick!  Of course, I had fair food in mind.  I like my fair food as much as anyone.  It is a splurge that my friends and I  look forward to from year to year (fried coke, fried beer, funnel cakes, corn dogs, or insert your favorites here).  Walking through the "food" section , smelling the aroma of the delicacies cooking, the lingering scent of pure sugar in the air, and reading the large, "loud" signs used to attract people like me who smell everything and can't tell from where each scent arises, reminds one that Autumn is approaching (or, in Texas, it might be below 100 degrees F or 37.5 degrees C).

Let's give this idea some thought.  The preachers throughout the bible belt are always trying to "return America to its Christian roots," on one hand (In my mind I hear loud, boisterous preaching).  On the other, they're promising, in a very teacher-like tone of voice, that if you behave like a "good little Christian," God will bless your every endeavor, and you're exempt from failure.(The caveat is that if your endeavor doesn't exactly work out, there's a problem with your faith.  The guilt ensues) If one manages to have an epiphany in which they return to their roots while being faithful and dutiful, the AMEN corner will start shouting and all will evangelize the world to their brand of religion.(Translation: Oh, I mean that they'll start a word of mouth advertising campaign.)  What a great marketing tactic!   This simplistic, magical thinking that one could manipulate God into such a  formula is equal to treating the experience of eating a sausage on a stick (a simple pleasure) as equal to the 'abundant blessing of God.'  I think not, but the politicians and TV preachers alike are on the bandwagon to manipulate the hearts and minds of those who will listen,.

photo by David Hayward



      

  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Photo art for sale


winter wonderland  copyright 2011
narnia tree copyright 2011
 Dear friends,

Most of you know that I was in a horrible car wreck on April first.  I spent a few hours unconscious, and I broke my back.  Although I am recovering better than anyone could imagine, I am unable to go back to the kind of work I was doing before this happened. Also, in shopping for prints at the local craft store, I noticed that I love my work more than I like the prints I see for sale.  In addition to the wintery pictures and those taken at Dachau, I have lots of colorful rooftop pictures from Austria and Switzerland.                        
My thought in taking  the photos out the window was this: Dachau was hell for all who entered there in the 30s and 40s.  I wondered what their July days were like.  The day I was there it was completely dreary on the inside, but the outside was gorgeous beyond belief.  What must the prisoners have felt?  Did days like that bring more hope, or did it bring more dread? What did they see? How did they perceive their surroundings?  I hope you all can make this journey with me.

myopia copyright 2009





hell in paradise copyright 201


The wintery photos were taken as a result of the great snow of 2011 (a foot of snow in Texas is a big deal here!). In that fantastic snow, I walked to the park near my house and took the photos.          









             
The Narnia tree got its name from the point in the movie where Aslan opened the tree for the children to return to England.



I also wondered how the trees were reacting to the snow.  They had probably never seen that much snow in their entire existence!  It was quite shocking to us humans.  Imagine their shock!

If you would like to see most of these the ones in the blog, they are on display (and for sale) at The Pie Place in Burleson, TX. Stop by and enjoy some lunch and their delicious 3.1415....

I also have beautiful, colorful, shots of various landscape in Europe.  They are mostly rooftop shots, landscape shots, and some photos of great art works.  If you have questions or would like to purchase any items I have, please call, email, comment on the blog, facebook (RedSoprano's Musings is my public page) or tweet (@oneredsoprano) me.  Thanks for your love, support, and word-of-mouth referrals!
                                                                           


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Blind Contessa's New Machine

I just read The Blind Contessa's New Machine for pleasure rather than for information.  It is a first novel for author Carey Wallace.  Her writing style is for me is delightful.  I found myself turning pages rapidly, and reading as quickly as I could.  However, the end of the story seemed abrupt. Also, the epilogue left me wondering about the intervening years between the end of the story and the deaths of Turri and the Contessa.  I guess I compare it to the epilogue at the end of the last Harry Potter novel.  In that epilogue, I can fill in the details of the characters' lives and know that after a difficult number of years, they all got the lives they wanted.  In the story of the Contessa, I don't have any idea how she reconciled living the rest of her life and how Turri would have felt about receiving his machine back.  On the other hand, I have the opportunity to fill in a large portion of the story.


 

 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Biology of Belief

I finished reading Bruce Lipton's Biology of Belief last night when we got back from our road trip.  I'm anxiously awaiting the group discussion to follow.  So, I'll give it a little plug here.  First, I should warn anyone intrigued by the title.  Lipton is a scientist who taught biology to medical students.  The book is filled with lessons on cell biology.  Next, I should tell you that cells are cool.  We have a few trillion of them that make up who we are.  Finally, there's a little quantum physics involved.  You all studied Einstein's theory of relativity and subatomic particles in some kind of high school chemistry class.  Evidently those subatomic particles aren't actual matter, they just suggest matter (or something like that).

The science that is utterly cool can also be a little tedious.  There are examples of the actions of cell membranes using a sandwich made of a slab of butter with olives embedded in it for those of us who haven't taken a science class in 20 or more years.  There are also pictures of subatomic particles; the Newtonian view and the "modern" view.  Those would have been better had I read an actual book rather than an e-book.

I found the science fascinating. According to Lipton, Darwin's idea of the survival of the fittest is not correct.  People, animals, and even cell groups live in community with each other to ensure survival of the community.  He lays a foundation of cell biology to explain to readers how fatalistic it is to believe that life is decided mostly by our genetic makeup (good news for most of us).  Cells, people, animals, and all things interact with the environment.  It is this interaction that decides most of who we are. 
The idea of cell memory reminds me of the concept of muscle memory. Muscle memory enables me to type at a reasonable speed without looking at the keyboard.

After studying cell biology and quantum physics, Lipton concluded that he is no longer an agnostic scientist but a "believer."  Spirit, energy, emotion, and God are part of our cellular makeup and are part of who we are. 

I look forward to a lively, more detailed discussion of the book in my online group!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Extra Virgin Margaritas

This morning was a regular morning; a regular "good" morning.  Mom announced that we must do something with the bag of limes.  Since I can't drink alcohol at the present time, I suggested limeade. She peeled and got the seeds out of the limes, and she put them in the blender. I started thinking about Margaritas.  I intervened at that point and added agave. The thought of a margarita was looming.  An indeterminate amount of water, ice, and a bit of orange juice was then added.  The result is a frozen, on the rocks, extra virgin margaritas!






Help, I'm crying, and I just can't stop!

Read the title again.  It's a play on the 1980s commercial for lifeline; the old lady in the commercial shouts, "Help, I've fallen, and I can't get up!"  Well, yesterday was just one of those days.  I didn't fall, but I started crying and just couldn't stop.  Those of you who know me are aware that I am a little on the emotional side by nature anyway.  There have been a couple of occasions recently where my feelings have been hurt.  On both occasions, my normal self would have addressed the situations with a healthy dose of snark, but the post April 1st self cried and couldn't stop.  Well, I couldn't stop quickly or easily.  It's not very fun.  It's not until later that those tears started to feel  like "cleansing" tears.

It makes me wonder that why, after our toddler years, we like to hide and stuff our emotions.  I know that public displays of emotion are not always appropriate (For heaven's sake, if you see someone weeping in the grocery store, it would just be uncomfortable, right?). Sobbing in public is reserved for emergency rooms, intensive care units, and funerals.  I'm not saying that we should "let it all hang out," but I think there should be a little more space and comfort given for those moments when the emotion rises.

Viele Grüße!   


Friday, April 20, 2012

In and Out

reflection

the real me, Grandma, and June
I don't usually do book reviews on my blog, especially for books that I haven't quite finished, but I have a new spin on a worn out topic: my relationship to food and to my body.  Geneen Roth's Women, Food, and God isn't just another self help book for fat girls who obviously must have had a difficult past.  June left me the book and told me to read it (she was shocked to observe
that in the two weeks she spent with me that I hadn't read a single book).
So I started reading.  I thought it would be about as exciting as reading something by Beth Moore.  For those of you who don't know how I feel about Beth Moore, let me sum it up in a couple of  words: brainwashed regurgitator of patriarchal religion (little woman must cower to big, all powerful, knowing and wise husband).  How pleasantly surprised I was to find that this author appears to be the complete opposite of Beth Moore.  She's honest about her own struggles while supporting the reader with the idea that she must feel her own emotions in her own body and work through the self-judgment.  At the end of the process, she should have learned to love herself enough to want to listen to her body's cues about hunger (this could also apply to thirst, cold, heat, fatigue, and all of those little things we ignore so that we can just plow through the day to accomplish the work in front of us).  Her premise is that we create a weight problem (whether we're 80 lbs and anorexic or 200+ and out of shape) through obsessive eating habits to hide what's really going on inside.   In reading the book, thus far I am feeling supported; and the large, looming fears seem to be manageable.

 In addition to having a difficult childhood and a more difficult marriage, nursing school added to the mix by ingraining the philosophy that 'my body and my needs are not worthy of attention while I'm at work'.  Every nurse I know who has practiced for more than 10 years recites a similar philosophy.  Patient care is to come before all else.  It makes us obsessive and task oriented.  The physical consequences of adhering to this philosophy are devastating.  Besides the unhealthy eating habits that are exacerbated by working in a pressure cooker where life and death are literally in her hands, some of these women have had emergency hysterectomies, bladder lifts, back surgeries. (If you're wondering what makes a hysterectomy or a bladder lift an emergency, it happens when someone ends up in the ER on her day off with her organs literally falling out of her body.)  I have tended to work in areas that have a healthy male RN population.  The men don't buy in to the "nurse martyr" syndrome so easily.  Many like to rescue people and move toward other goals.

The idea that we flee from unpleasantness of emotion by indulging in "comfort food" when we aren't physically hungry isn't exactly a new one.  The idea that we can disconnect from our bodies and live mostly in our heads is presented in a way that resonates with me.  I can't reproduce good examples of why I feel that way, so you'll have to read the book for yourself and see how you feel about it.

As I have been reading the book, I am reminded of my April 1st car wreck.  There are hours where I was living an out of body experience.  I don't remember the collision.  I don't remember being taken out of my car and placed into an ambulance.  What was happening in my head at that time, I do very vividly remember.  At first I thought I was asleep and dreaming about work.  Then, I really believed I was working.  I worked hard to save someone.  I was doing a marvelous job of being the perfect nurse, making perfect decisions for the best possible outcome for my patient.  I gave everything I had to make sure she lived.  I wondered why I was working in an ambulance, and I wondered who at my local NurseFinder's branch scheduled me to work in ER.  I haven't worked ER in about 10 years.  Although I was performing wonderfully, I was working night shift.  I preferred days.

That was all in my head.  It was so REAL.  At that same time, I was taken out of my car by someone, transported in an ambulance, and taken to ER.  I had at least two CT scans, but I don't remember being in that machine at all.  When I came back to my body, I was aware of lying on a stretcher or table, and someone cutting my clothes off.  I didn't know what had happened, how I got to ER, or what was wrong with me.  I found out that I had a lung contusion, four fractured vertebrae, and horrible whiplash. I remember a female nurse's voice telling me, "At least your face is still pretty."  Later, I discovered that while there was glass in my hair and scalp, my face wasn't cut up by the glass. I felt uncomfortable and needed to be repositioned.  I couldn't turn myself.  I didn't understand until later why they wouldn't turn me.  I couldn't comprehend my injuries, but I was beginning to feel them.  Now, three weeks later, I am acutely aware of the pain in my body.  The bruises are starting to heal, but my back is still quite swollen.  My ability to walk is better, but I still need a walker to steady myself.  Last night, I started feeling the emotional pain of these injuries.  I even hoped that RJ, the driver of the car who caused the crash, felt as much pain as I was feeling.  Then I felt guilty about wishing that on anyone, even him. I sobbed.  I have tried to "resign" from this princess-like existence that I have had.  Everyone waits on me, and helps me.  All the assistance I could possibly need is right at hand.  My brother was here to help when I couldn't get out of bed or get to the bathroom by myself.  My sister got up in the middle of the night with me when I woke up in pain many nights.  My mom heard me say that I wanted RJ to hurt as much as I do.  She heard me sobbing in guilt, pain, and frustration that after these weeks, I'm not well yet.  The scary part for me is what I don't remember.

Women, Food, and God is helping me to feel my pain without being angry at my body for being hurt or (temporarily) disabled.  I encourage all my friends who need some extra support to read this book, male or female.  It gives another perspective that gives way from self-judgment to allowing love in, therefore,it is completely worth the time and effort to purchase and read.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Texas beauty

When I started my blog last year, I had several photos of Vienna flowers, landscape, and buildings.  I decided this year to appreciate the beauty of Texas by taking some pictures and posting those.  June and I were at Veteran's Park the other day, and she took these for me.  In Canada, they're still having winter weather.  She was amazed at the roses and other flowers in bloom here.
The March showers have yielded beautiful April flowers.  These are at the front of the park near the parking spaces and benches.  I'm sure that the other parts of the park had more hidden treasures, but in my current condition, I couldn't make it to my favorite spot.

Speaking of my current condition, I walked 973 steps from the driveway to the fire hydrant and from the fire hydrant to the stop sign at the end of the street then back to the house.  I had an appointment in the afternoon, then we went to Big Lots (I didn't count the steps there, but didn't go around the whole store), and finally to Whole Foods.  I made a loop around the perimeter of the store and the cafe.  (Tonight's menu: portabella fajitas). 

Enjoy the Texas flowers from wherever you are! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Your Mama was Wrong

 Somehow, we Americans, for generations have passed on a little
saying.  Sort of a "golden rule" to encourage children to always wear
clean underwear.  We carry that into adulthood with all seriousness.  Seriously, the emergency workers have seen every kind of underwear and the lack thereof.
The truth is that THIS is what happens when you wear your good under garments and are in a wreck: They get cut off!  Now, I have to wait until I  am able to hobble into the store to buy new stuff.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Almost unreal

Sunday started out like any other regular Sunday.  I got up, talked to my friend Patt, and made pancakes.  Live via internet, we watched TD Jakes install the pastor for the Fort Worth Potter's House, and I made pancakes.  I had been staying at her house for a few weeks, and was moving to my new place that day.  I made a trip over there.  Unloaded some stuff I had packed and other stuff that I bought at Target.  I washed new silverware (and cut my finger); my friend Sam came over to bring the mattress for my bed.  I had a full schedule booked for the following week, and all was well with me.  I went back to Arlington for some more things, and decided to skip my ritual Whole Foods Market run for the day.  I got on the highway, and I remember talking to Patt last.  Hours passed, for which I have no memory.  The only thing I can say is that I thought I was working or dreaming about work.  There was someone in an ambulance that I was working on (What?? I remember thinking that it was crazy because I have never worked on an ambulance.  I wondered why I was asleep and dreaming when I had so much to do.  "Really, this is not the time to be asleep," I chided myself.  Then my dream took me into the ER at JPS.  I remember wondering when the agency scheduled those shifts for me.  I was supposed to work OBS, not ER.  When I woke up from the "dream," if you want to call it that, I was lying on a stretcher and someone was cutting my clothes off.  I had a neck brace and some other contraption that kept me from turning on my side.  Suddenly, I wasn't at work anymore.  It didn't take me long to figure out that I was in the ER at JPS for real, and they all knew who I was.  They found my agency ID badges, all three of them, including one for this very hospital.  They started asking me questions.  I started asking them a big one: WHAT HAPPENED?  They told me I had been in a car wreck.  "What wreck?" I thought I was working.  I don't remember any wreck.  To this moment, I don't remember the wreck.  I remember only the consequences of the wreck.  They asked me for my family's phone numbers.  I remember yelling my mom's number through slurred speech.  She didn't answer.  I remember thinking that this isn't the time to turn off your phone for prayer meeting.  I shouted out my uncle's phone number. I remember hearing his voice.  I think I told him to get Mom because she didn't answer.  I remembered Patt's phone number and had them call her, also.  I remember seeing Rheiko and Tiffany in the ER.  When I got to my room, I was heavily medicated, and started "drunk" calling everyone whose phone numbers I might remotely remember.  They all answered me and came over the next day or so to see me or called me.  The outpouring on facebook has been amazing.  There are a few other things I haven't remembered that I should remember, but for the most part, I'm doing better than anyone expected.  I'm still sucking down pain pills, walking with a back brace and a walker.  I feel tipsy most of the time.  I told my brother that being tipsy is only fun when you have some sober time in between to appreciate it.  I actually think my grandma can probably walk as well as I can right now.  I got to talk to her today.  Mom said that she didn't remember who "Rhonda" was when they were just talking about me, but when she heard my voice, she seemed to remember at least a little bit.  When we were little, we would make her cards and write, "I love you very much," on them before we signed our names.  When I told her I loved her, she responded with, "I love you very much." Of course, when I asked to talk to my mom again, I had to remind her that my mom is Rose (two daughters were present, that was confusing for her).  The day has been filled with lots of sweetness, pain, and crabbiness (on my part).  The small victory for today was that I walked to the end of the street and back.  What a setback?  Yeah, but I have to see the victories as they come.

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's a little surreal

When I left Texas for Vienna, I gave away lots of stuff.  I mean TONS and TONS.  A few people have asked if I need some of my things back.  Usually I say no.  Not because I don't need the stuff, but it is more that I don't want to take back what I gave to someone else.  However, I did make one exception.  As I was cleaning out my garage last year, I found an old computer.  I gave it to the friend who was helping me. She doesn't have a computer, or an email account.  She marveled at seeing her first instant message last year!  I told her that the computer should be refurbished but that if it still works, it should be fine for surfing the internet.  When I got back to town, I asked her how it was working.  She told me she had it refurbished but that she still hadn't used it.  I told her that I needed another one and that I was shopping around for one.  Needless to say, she offered me the one that I affectionately call, "the dinosaur."  I originally got it in about 2004.  For some reason, I am deliriously happy to have the dinosaur and to be typing on it now.  Another friend of mine restored a 1959 trailer/camper (it looks like a silver bullet).  I am as happy with my dinosaur as she is with hers.  Maybe I just feel good about having recycled and restored something that most people would have thrown away without another thought.  OR maybe I'm just excited about getting a "new" computer without putting that kind of cash out for it. 

The other surreal factoid in my life right now is that I'm working per diem at a hospital that, 10 years ago, I was working at via contract.  Lots has changed there, and nothing has changed there.  Somehow, I think that I have a lesson to appreciate from that time in my life.  The computer has recycled itself, and I like to think I have also refurbished myself.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recognizing Amazing

We miss out on AMAZING when we prejudge the package in which it comes.

That thought struck me just as I was signing off my favorite social network the other day, so I published this as my status.  It is easy to see how true this is in the music world.  We looked at the audition videos of Paul Potts and of Susan Boyle.  We were completely stunned when they could actually sing, but there was that extra "something" that made chills go down our spines as we felt the emotion with which they sang. How much of that was a pang of guilt because we thought, "Oh, Seriously??" until the magic voice came flowing out of their mouths?
OK, I know my friends who are "serious" musicians don't really think much of these two singers because there are lots of "better" (i.e. more trained) singers on the planet.  I have to say that these two are my heroes.  I do like their voices, but even more, I appreciate their stories.  (My favorite line from Paul's BGT audition video is when Simon says to him, "You work at Car Phone Warehouse and you can do that?")  They share their gifts honestly with the rest of us on the planet.

There is an idea on the planet that the best voices come in the prettiest (most slender with pop-star looks) packages.  I think we miss out on a lot of great singers because we have the package idea wrong.  Would Joan Sutherland be a great star if she were up and coming today? Yet, there is another idea that there are working singers performing today only because they are pretty.  Just read the YouTube comments on Annette Dasch's interpretation of Haydn's Nun Beut Die Fleur das Frische Grün, or on anything posted with Anna Netrebko singing in it.  You will get the idea.

I haven't interviewed any of the mentioned singers for this bit of commentary, but of one thing I'm relatively certain: If the music weren't calling them, they wouldn't be performing today. Following the music is one of the most difficult things a singer can do.  It is difficult for all of the reasons mentioned above; there is always someone prettier and someone more talented in the audition line.  What do these singers bring to the table that are lacking in those who are not so well known?

What other AMAZING things do we miss just because they don't look like what we thought they would?