Monday, December 31, 2007

Geek, Dork, Nerd

My oldest grandson tells me the above words are frequently misused. So in honor of 2008, one of my first contributions to the greater good will be the simple definitions provided by my grandson:

Geek - a person who is intensely interested in one thing, ie computer geek, music geek, etc.

Dork - an extremely clueless person.

Nerd - a very smart person

So Bill Gates is a geek and a nerd but not a dork.


Here it is, the last day of 2007 and I feel obligated to take an overall look at the year. I don't really like to do it - I prefer living one day at a time. But in some ways I'm just escaping looking at my situation in it's entirety. So....

Last year at this time I was still in the exhausted fog from the extensive surgery I had in September 2006. It was a long and difficult surgery with a long recovery time to even learn how to take care of myself again. Although I got a new hip, it turned out that my femur was very much not healed and there was nothing they could do for my knee. I was very upset and decided to plan on having my leg amputated and getting an artificial one to speed up the process of being able to function. (I changed my mind about that eventually.)

As it turned out I stayed in that fog for the whole year. I felt worse than I felt after the wreck in some ways. Often I just could not get up in the morning. Sometimes I slept as much as 18 hours a day. Obviously, work wasn't going that well since I was barely able to work. I mostly tried to eat, sleep, work as much as my condition would allow and go to as many meetings as I was able. Grief at losing Ron receded into the background somewhat - partly due to time passing, partly due to the grief work I was doing, partly to the amount of effort it took to get through a day, and partly due to Cymbalta (the anti-depressant I was on).

I began going to counseling again in January of last year. In the beginning, counseling consisted of trying to find ways to write (which is what I want to do). Pretty soon we gave up working on that since I was clearly not able to to add anything to my life in the condition I was in. We just talked about how to handle the exhaustion, etc.

Sometime in the summer I was able to go back to getting some body work that has helped with my PTSD in the past and was immediately a lot better. We thought (the doctor and I) that my leg was healing so I went from the walker to a cane and then to walking on my own. Almost immediately I had severe pain in my leg and a ct scan showed that the bone was not actually healed. Sooo - back to the hospital for another bone graft surgery in September.

In June my boss told me they were putting me on part time and changing my title from Vice President to Director - and, of course, changing my salary accordingly. I lost my private office too. I was actually fine with it since I had been thinking that I should probably request the same change. I felt stressed every day because of my inability to function. Unfortunately, I still felt stressed because I still wasn't able to handle even the part time schedule. In August the Association's national office decided to have an event in Oklahoma and I was not sure I could handle that and neither were they. While I was worrying about that, I found out that I was going to have to have yet another surgery. After talking to a couple of people in the program, I decided to tell my boss that I thought they should hire someone to do my job and just contract with me for some of the loose ends I needed to take care of. As soon as I made that decision, I felt a whole lot better. We agreed to work out a contract which I'm now working under. It doesn't require much of me and doesn't pay much either but I feel sooo much less stress.

One of my friends asked me if I was going to be able to make it on what I have coming in which includes Social Security. My answer was that I have no idea. What I hope is that as I feel better I may be able to work more doing something else. Right now shelving books in the library sounds lovely, peaceful and calm.

When I thought my leg was healing, and that I was going to be walking within the year, my oldest daughter, Liz, and I booked a cruise to celebrate. Of course, it turned out I had surgery instead of walking, but we went on the cruise anyway - six weeks from the surgery. It was a lovely week. There's really nothing to do on a cruise except eat, rest and have fun. We did all that and we both felt very renewed when we came back. My theory is that everyone should take one week a month and go on a cruise. We would function ever so much better when we get back.

When I wasn't on the cruise, I was setting up my new business called, "Empowerment Services." I'm not that fond of the word "empowerment." But I couldn't find a synonym that described what I want to do. I want to help various groups of people with information and support to function better in their lives. It's all stuff I really love to do and stuff that's needed. I have learned that what's needed isn't always what's wanted so it remains to be seen whether this stuff works out.

I still have some more to do to get Empowerment Services operational. But I'm close. At my last visit to the doctor, we talked about what's next with my leg. It appears that nothing is really happening in the healing. So, I probably have another bone graft surgery in my immediate future.

Well, 2007. You haven't been that bad a year, all-in-all. I've been a lot more disabled than I had hoped but still have been able to do many things I wanted to do - the cruise being a prime example. My family, my program, my friends in recovery, and my Higher Power continue to sustain me. I am so grateful for the love of God and my friends and family. I have four marvelous grandchildren and have been able to spend more time with them this year. I know everyone thinks their grandchildren are special, but mine actually are incredible. Anyone would say so. So, of course, are my children or they wouldn't have their fabulous kids. I'm looking forward to 2008, having learned a lot about how to manage myself in my situation - what's important and what's not. Welcome 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007


This is a dream from a few days ago. I intended to document it but forgot. I guess it didn't make that much of an impression on me, but when I shared it at breakfast it got some weird looks and a few laughs - making it worth recording.

I dreamed I was at a campaign event of some kind for Hillary Clinton. Bill was there, and he made a pass at me. In the dream I thought, "Boy, is he ever clumsy at this. Those gals that fell for him must have had a huge talent for self-delusion." I wasn't even tempted. However, in the dream, he and Hillary had another child - a son about 8 years old who was a talented artist. I spent a lot of time with him and he drew wonderful, soaring pictures in my journal. I had a lot of fun with him. He was a wonderful kid.

"I will link my life with the Divine Force for Good in the world." - Twenty-Four Hours a Day

In my meditation book this morning I found the phrase above. I've been reading this book for over 24 years and this is the first time I remember seeing this. What's amazing is that I have been calling my Higher Power "the force for good in the world" for years and years. I thought I thought it up by myself. But it looks like I got it from the Twenty-Four Hour book. Which is fine. Somewhere I read that all genius is undetected plagarism.

This name for my HP helps me not be concerned about whether God is this or that or the other thing. That's a big help since I always want to know everything possible before I even begin to accept anything. I think I love my scepticism. I don't know if it's a character defect or not; sometimes it helps me, sometimes not. What is absolutely clear to me that there is a force for good in the world (in the universe, really); just as clear as the fact that there's a force for evil. Linking my own life with a force for good gives me direction, joy, peace, love and fun. Why would I not want to link up? I don't know, but sometimes I forget. Well, okay, a lot of times. At least for today, I'm remembering...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Learning How to Love

It's the Christmas season with all the urgent activity that goes with it. I've been organizing my "to-do" list with the hope that I will be able to get everything in before my energy runs out. Then I read my morning meditation and realized I'd fallen back into the old habit of making a list based on what my ego tells me I really must do. But according to my meditation book, the object of each day is to learn how to love, and since I have come to believe that learning how to love is what we're all here for, a different kind of to do list is in order. I wish I had some kind of wonderful, lofty thing to say about a different kind of to do list, but I don't. With the shift comes a different feeling in my heart even though the list looks pretty much the same. The only thing added was phone calls to people I wanted to tell that I loved them - and my own heart was lifted.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Raising Children

Right at the top of my Christmas list is the wish that there was some consensus on how to raise healthy children. It seems to me that there are a lot of opinions but not much concrete research. Talk about peace on earth, good will toward men....for an inveterate do-gooder like me, information on child raising would be the solution to a lot of the world's problems. Unfortunately, we all seem to think we should know how to raise our children, and we stumble through it without having a clue - most of us, that is. A lot of us are clueless that we don't have have a clue.

I have a daughter with a toddler. She expects herself to already know how to take care of her, and when her strategies don't work, she doesn't know what to do. But she's ashamed to ask because she thinks she should already know. So, she gets very frustrated. Frustration leads her to yelling, which in turn leads to loud screaming and crying from the baby.

I can relate since I experienced the same thing. I read Dr. Spock and that was some help but a lot of what went on on a daily basis was just not in the book. I asked a lot of questions of other mothers but what they said didn't seem to fit. For example, I asked a woman I met at a company party, how she got her two-year old toilet trained. She said she just tied him to the potty chair until he went and wouldn't let him up no matter how much he screamed. Even though I didn't have a clue, I was pretty sure that was wrong. But boy, she certainly was sure she was right!

I longed for something definitive that would help me with the day to day situations I encountered. Never did find it. So, I just went along everyday feeling wrong and guilty - which made me depressed and a worse mother. From talking to other mothers, no one ever felt they were doing things right. Like me they had no way to judge, so if their children weren't always happy and perfect, they were sure it was their fault.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Tis the season for an attitude of gratitude. I'm more familiar with grumpy than gratitude but....

  • I'm glad I survived the wreck. If you had asked me before the wreck if I wanted to die at the same time as Ron, I would have said, "yes." But that was because I was so afraid of losing him. When I woke up in the hospital, I immediately knew that it was his time but not mine and I wasn't afraid. Just terribly sad. I believe I'm here for a reason. I can think of several possibilities but I don't really know. For right now, I'm just focusing on healing and awaiting instructions from a higher power. I miss Ron like hell, like I knew I would, but I'm not afraid to live without him.

  • I am most grateful of all for family and friends. I am still amazed by all the energy and love that has held me up for the past two years. It's never even begun to slack up. I wish I could think of a way to write a story about it. I'm trying but haven't figured out how I want it yet. In this day and age of incredible busy-ness when everyone is overloaded with way, way too much to do, people carved huge chunks out of their lives to be there for me in every conceivable way. They fed me, clothed me, sat with me, cried with me, slept at my house to oversee my middle of the night fears and bathroom visits, cared for my cat, helped me pay my bills and take care of the massive amount of paper work involved after an accident and a death, helped me take a bath, did my laundry, cleaned my house, brought me 12 Step meetings in the hospital and at home, helped me do Ron's memorial (mostly they did it. I didn't do much), gave money to help with extra expenses, took me to the doctor, picked up prescriptions, went to the grocery store, mowed the grass, fixed my house so that I could manage in a wheelchair, took me to meetings, took me out to eat, took me to the movies and just sat around and loved me. Utterly amazing. I'm particularly grateful for my daughters who both had major changes going on in their lives at the time of the wreck - one moved from Virginia to Texas and the other had a brand new baby. They really had their lives disrupted one more time but stood up under it like the tough, loving women they are. I've heard it said that sometimes there's nothing you can do to repay what's given to you except to pass it on. This is certainly one of those times.

More on gratitude later.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I've been having some dandy dreams. They are very entertaining to me. It occurred to me that writing them down might be useful, so...

I dreamed I was having sex with conjoined twins. It went rather well.

I dreamed I was a man who was going for a job interview. When I looked in the mirror, I thought I looked anxious. So I decided to lower my eyebrows because I thought I would look calm. The whole dream was about plucking my eyebrows just the right amount at the top and brushing them down with a brush and then putting gel on them so they would stay down. When I finished, I left the mirror and the dream was over.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Back Again

I see I've been absent a long time again. That's mostly because I've been up to my ears in change. It took awhile to recover from surgery. Plus right before surgery I made the decision to step down from my job in order to have more time to do the things I need to do to heal, and to allow them to find someone to do the important work that I cannot do due to my recovery issues. It was a very good decision. I felt stress leave as soon as I made it. I had thought my recovery would be in a fairly straight line upward. I was wrong - it's been up and down and a lot of down. So, I spent the time before surgery rushing around to set up a new business through which I will contract to do a small amount of work. After surgery, as soon as I was able, I prepared for the CRUISE that my oldest daughter and I have been planning for a long time. We booked it to celebrate my being able to walk with a cane. But as it happened, I went in my wheelchair because it turned out that the femur in my right leg was not healed, and that's why I needed the surgery. So, we celebrated surviving adversity in pretty good shape instead.

The cruise was a great experience - just rest and kindness and good food and beautiful music. It was lovely to spend the time with Liz. She's been with me through this extremely tough experience and has managed to be positive through it all. And this is in spite of a difficult two years of her own. The highlight next to the beauty of it all, was the crew of the ship - representing more than 100 different countries. They were friendly and kind and fascinating people.

Now I'm back to reality - going through mail, paperwork from surgery (a full time job), and just trying to see what I need to be doing to play my part in healing. I've decided to put myself on a very high nutrition diet, increase my exercise, and do all I can to develop spiritually. That way I will know I've done my part to heal. The rest will be up to a higher power, of course

Monday, October 08, 2007

Battle of the Sexes

I am worried that these facts I pick up here and there; handled casually by the media like they aren't important at all; are as important as water and food to people but totally unnoticed!

I just heard on NBC (a talk show with two psychologists) that the "friends with benefits" phenomenon that seems to be popular right now, doesn't work at all well for women. Well, we women probably already knew that, but there's science that explains it. It seems that testosterone blocks the receptors in the brain that cause attachment as a result of the pleasure hormone that floods the brain during good sex. But women become strongly attached as a result of the pleasure hormone because, of course, we don't have enough testosterone to block the attachment.

Think how much heartache women suffer because we become so deeply emotionally attached to guys we experience sexual pleasure with while they remain completely detached. We decide that we're in love and expect him to be also. Think how much some guys disrespect women because they think women are "weak" based on our propensity for "falling in love" uninvited. And all the time it's a plot by biology for guys to run around impregnating women without getting attached while the women get attached and stay faithful out of "love." Oh how sad.

Of course, I also heard a couple of years ago - again on some t.v. show with psychologists - that when men fall in love (and no I have no idea what the biology is that causes it), their testosterone drops and so they become very attached and become like women in their desire to kiss, hug, cuddle, etc. Eventually this wears off and they are not as attached, and they don't like to cuddle, etc. unless it leads to sex. Think how much heartache women suffer because suddenly the love of their lives detaches from them and only cares about sex. Men wonder what happened - why did she become all disgustingly clingy but doesn't want sex? Biology again.

If people knew this it would really save a lot of pain for women. Men would have to work a lot harder to get into womens' pants, so to speak. We women wouldn't expect as much from the poor babies because we'd know they couldn't help but be detached. They're programmed to move from woman to woman and if they don't it's a miracle. Of course, our mothers and grandmothers told us this, but we didn't believe them. It turns out they were right. I hate that. Of course, all this just makes me want some testosterone or to be celibate for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Edith Bunker

I swear I have got to start writing things down that I read or hear so that I can identify where these fascinating things come from. I'm fairly sure that I heard this on t.v.: The character of Edith Bunker in "All in the Family" was developed based on what God would do in each of the situations she was in.

Wow. What a concept. I watched one re-run in the middle of the night with this concept in mind and it fit like a glove. All she ever says is "Oh, Archie" when he's at his worst. She might follow up with reminding him of what a loving person would do instead of what he's doing. She does the same thing with Gloria and Mike. She just encourages and loves everybody no matter how ugly they're acting. Even when people try to run over her, she doesn't really allow it but doesn't exactly fight back either. She just returns their attempts to control her with hugs and kisses. Very interesting. Now I'm tempted to buy the DVDs so I can watch "God" in the person of Edith Bunker as conceptualized by situation comedy writers.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Love is Like War: Easy to Begin, Hard to Stop

The above is a fortune I got in a fortune cookie from Pei Wei's yesterday. Hmmm. So true. I've had that experience time and again. Particularly with falling in love and then finding out that there's something or things about the other person that are totally unacceptable but not being able to stop being in love. Extremely annoying and life changing.

Go or stay? Go or stay? Go or stay? Constant internal conflict. The only sensible solution is to go and grit one's teeth and tolerate the pain of leaving someone very much loved but not unconditionally. It's especially important to do it when being with the person is not healthy for you. It's not good for them to be with someone who finds things about them unacceptable. I think this dilemma is commonly called being "between a rock and a hard place." Sucks.

And then, of course, is the situation I'm in now where I love someone totally and he's dead. Sucks. Can't really figure out how to love someone who's dead. It seems to require his presence. I know it helps a little to send him love wherever he is, hoping that he will receive it. Notice I didn't say it helps much. At a recent women's retreat I attended, we made "God Boxes." This is a technique for "accepting the things I cannot change" from the Serenity Prayer. When you run across something painful that you cannot change, you write it down and put it in the God Box as a symbolic way to teaching yourself to allow God to work on it. I made a God Box to put messages to people who aren't able to receive my love in the usual way and let God deliver them. I don't know if this will help or not but it's worth a try.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm Back

I really hate these periods where I don't want to write but I know if I don't I will quit altogether because I've lost the momentum.

So.... I'm home recovering from surgery on the 10th. It went well for a change and I'm feeling okay. I got to go home less than 24 hours later which was wonderful. I'm not crazy about having to be quiet and inside for so long but I'm doing okay with it. The last time I had surgery, "Six Feet Under" was running on some cable channel and I watched most of the episodes. It was the best series I've seen in forever. I swear I'd buy DVDs of it if that was available. But this time there's absolutely nothing on tv to watch. Even Dr. Phil seems to have turned into Jerry Springer. So, I might as well give some thought to my blog.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Clean Out

Well, today was the appointed day for me to bag up Ron's clothes. I decided that I was not going to postpone it even one more time. Today is the anniversary of the wreck which makes it a good day for clearing out the closet. I've cleared out quite a few other things but the clothes? NO. Everytime I headed for the closet I had the feeling that he would not like it one bit that I gave away his clothes. Of course, what was really going on was that I still had the feeling that he would need his clothes when he came back. I know, I know, that's crazy thinking but it's just part of grief. So I postponed and postponed.

The clothes are now in bags and I will take them to the Salvation Army. Ron did a relapse prevention group for the Salvation Army for several years. These were the homeless guys that had such terrible drug and alcohol problems that they literally had no where to go. He loved those guys a lot and spent extra time with them trying to help them make the transition to the world. He would approve of giving his clothes to them.

Ron loved clothes. Sometimes that was a problem when he was broke. But as I put each item in the bags, I could tell you when he bought it, where he bought it, why he bought it and what he loved about it. Each item was chosen with care and I was usually with him when he bought it. I think it's a good thing to pay attention to what you put on your body every day. Clothes are a big part of what defines you to the world. His signature was a touch of outrageousness and his Hawaiin shirts. I still don't know what to do with the "ear cuff" he bought several years ago for the express purpose of annoying his conservative boss. He sure didn't want to pierce his ears so he just bought a silver ear cuff that he could take on and off.

He liked to buy clothes for me too and had an unerring accuracy about what would look good on me. I didn't pay much attention to clothes when we got together, but I picked up his careful attention to that part of his identity. Another gift I'm left with. I should put all my very best clothes in his now empty closet.

Is it true, Is it kind, Is it necessary?

I picked this up in a meeting the other day. It wasn't the first time I heard it but it was the first time it stuck. I thought we should all have this tatooed on the inside of our forearms where we could consult it before saying anything to anybody. Usually what I say is true. I don't lie on purpose anymore. But the "kind" part is probably something I should work on. And the "necessary?" Wow I REALLY need to work on that. I wonder if even 50% of what I say is actually necessary. I think these questions are really designed to help people stop before they "straighten somebody out." But they're applicable to communication in general.

Friday, August 31, 2007


One of the things I'm grateful for is all the talented people that live in Tulsa. I've had the opportunity to see singers, musicians of all kinds, actors and other artists over the years. I guess I thought that the only REALLY talented folks were in the movies, on t.v. or made recordings. Well, that's not true. Lots of REALLY talented people live here - and probably a lot of other places too. They just haven't had the luck or whatever to make it to the big time. Which is why I love the new reality shows that show off talent that probably wouldn't make it to the big time otherwise. I used to say that they should make t.v. shows that just gave artists no one ever heard of, the opportunity to be seen. Well, see there, they stole my idea and are making millions! (ha)

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I feel like complaining today.

I've read a lot of books about grief over the years and, of course, more of them lately. And then I've also had a lot of advice about it. Some of the books have been very helpful. Some haven't. In fact, there's just a lot of crap out there about grief. "He's in a better place" is one of the things people used to say. Another one is "time heals all wounds." He may be in a better place and if so, that's good. But he's still gone from me. And "time heals all wounds" may be partially true but so what. If I'm in agony right now, the future doesn't comfort me one bit.

A couple of years ago I read a book about grief that was written by a spiritual teacher I really respect. Unfortunately his book about grief was total crap as far as I was concerned. He said his mother still existed in the universe in the form of energy so she wasn't really totally gone. That one is akin to stuff I've read more recently that people live on in the memories of the people who knew and loved them. Also, I've read that your relationship with the person just changes - you can still communicate with them - write them a letter. I'm sorry but it's just crap. Doesn't make me feel better at all!

The person I loved is not here and pretending that the energy that remains or the memories or the one-sided conversations are actually going to help is just nonsense. I can't touch the person; I can't kiss and hug the person; he or she doesn't answer when I call; he or she doesn't respond to my communication; I can't call him when I have a flat tire in another town and hear "hang on baby - papa's coming to the rescue." What has helped me in the books I've read and the people who have talked to me is the acknowledgement of the amazing pain that grief brings and the better it's described so that I can identify with it, the more it helps.

I read in one book that the agony of the longing for the other person can be just slightly alleviated by sending them your love and blessings wherever they are. That one turns out to be true for me. It doesn't take away the longing but it gives me some place to send the energy of the love I have for that person. It seems to me that a great deal of my pain consists of the inability to actively love the person I've lost. The day to day loving gestures and words have nowhere to go. Of course, I also miss the loving words and gestures that I received every day, but it is actually more painful to think of the person with love a million times a day and have no way to express it.

As I'm learning to survive the grief, I notice that I'm learning a new skill - living without someone I thought was vital to my happiness. As it turns out, the more I practice, the more I see it is possible to live without him happily - most of the time. It's like learning any new skill - hard in the beginning, easier with practice and time. One of the barriers, though, is the feeling that comes over me sometimes, that if I'm happy it means I love him less. Not true, of course, but I still have the feeling and have to talk myself out of it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Having decided not to join in the cultural race to look younger via various procedures, and therefore, won't be pretending to be 50, I have to ask myself what to do with myself. It doesn't seem to me that there are many role models. I've always heard that Native Americans and Asians respect elders for their wisdom. But that doesn't seem to be true of our culture. I think that elders are considered to be out of touch and old fashioned. It would be nice to sit around and give advice and be honored for it, but I don't think that's on the menu for my cronehood.

Of course, there's the story I've heard about how Eskimos used to put their old people on ice floes to float to their deaths since they were no longer useful and still had to be fed. I worry some about this one. As we all start to live longer and longer, and our kids have to take care of us to the detriment of their kids and lives...Well, I guess they really wouldn't put us on ice floes but they might want to.

So, I will try to be as useful as I can and will keep trying until I fall over from croneness. For one thing, it's fun. Just sitting around resting is sooo boring. In my work I've had occasion to visit quite a few nursing homes where people are sitting around. It always occurs to me that these folks surely must have some skills they could use. Couldn't they fold towels, sort silverware, hang a picture or something? They would be a lot happier, the people in their lives would respect them more, and they could lighten the load for the grossly underpaid and overworked staff of nursing homes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I can't help but wonder about this and it's another thing I see nothing about in the media. I know fast food is partly responsible for the obesity epidemic but the thing is - everybody used to smoke! I was a 5 pack a day smoker and never weighed more than 105 lbs. When I quit, I quickly went to 160 lbs. Hmmm. Wonder how many other people had the same experience. I know, I know - there are plenty of exceptions. My mother was very overweight and she was a heavy smoker too. But still...

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I'm on the other side of some of the worst of the grief, thank God. While I was in it I was so overwhelmed I couldn't put words to it. Now it seems important to try to describe what was happening to me.

First there was the constant realization - over and over- that he was gone. Not gone like he was out of town, but totally and forever gone. I would be thinking like I always did about things I wanted to tell him when he got home, and then realize that he wasn't coming home, and I wasn't going to get to tell him. It was as if I was storing up stories to tell. The were piling up and piling up until the weight of them was crushing me. Telling someone else wouldn't work because they were stories I could only tell him. I wanted to know what he would say; what he would think. There were more than 20 years of history that the stories fit in to. No one else knew the history.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I believe "crone" is the correct word for the stage of life I'm in. I'm certainly not a child. I'm not in my childbearing years. I'm not even postmenopausal since that happened about 20 years ago. Being a crone wasn't on my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up. I've been in this stage of life for over 6 years (since age 60), and I can't figure out what to do with it.

In this culture I think what I'm supposed to do is pretend I'm around 45 or 50 and get a lot of skin treatments, maybe even plastic surgery, liposuction, and hair dye. I do have the hair dye and I've given a few hours of thought to those other things. But since I'm limited on funds I have to ask myself, "what would I actually gain if I looked 15 years younger?" "Would it be worth the investment in $ and time and pain?" So....I guess that when I looked in the mirror I would see a younger-looking person. So what? Would I feel better about myself? Why? I know I'm 66. Looking younger wouldn't make me feel different. Or at least I don't think so. So... the change must be for other people. So... what if people thought I was 50? Well, that would only be people who don't know me because people who know me know I'm 66. I guess that looking 50 might be a good thing if I was looking for a job. But I already have a job.

Or, of course, there's the obvious: MEN would find me more attractive. Or they would until I took off my clothes or got under a bright light. It's kind of like wearing what we used to call "falsies." If a guy thinks you have big boobs and that's one of the reasons he was attracted to you, what happens when you take them off in his presence? Have you had a little conversation beforehand? "By the way, honey...." Or do you just let him find out on his own? Scary. I thought about that one a lot when my mother bought me my first padded bra because she felt sorry for my flatchestedness.

Okay. Am I looking for a man? No. When I think about this question, I think "what would I do with one?" We could have fun doing things together. It would be lovely to have sex enter my life again. But then there's all the rest of it. Would he expect me to do things with him that he likes but I hate? Would he expect me to sew on buttons, pick up his socks, fix his meals, change the toilet paper rolls, like his dog, etc.? I barely can do those things for myself in the condition I'm in. He might not like what I like and then I'd have to limit myself on those things - if I didn't want to annoy him. I don't know. Would I want someone who wanted me because I looked 50 instead of 66? Very scary.

Being a crone is very confusing. More on this later.

Monday, July 30, 2007

You Don't Love Me and You Never Did

This is about getting to be enough - so I'll do this one more and then quit for now and come back to it later. You Don't Love Me and You Never Did is enough for an entire blog for several years!

Now this is so lofty that I hate to even write it down, but it's what has been taught to me in 12 step programs for the past 24 years: The only solution to this dilemma is unconditional love. And, of course, unconditional love would mean perfection which none of us is capable of. But, with the help of God it's possible to move in that direction at least. What I know for sure from my experience is that when I'm focused on loving unconditionally, I forget about the "you don't love me and you never did" dilemma. For some mysterious, incredibly lofty reason, trying to love takes care of my need for love. My best guess is that my effort opens the channel between me and God and God's love fills my need.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

You Don't Love Me and You Never Did

On the other hand.... if they really are doing something that proves they couldn't possibly love you - what then? How do you know for sure? You could ask somebody but they will just be guessing. Aren't there some universal rules?

Everybody has rules about love. And everybody thinks his/her rules are the same as everybody else's and are absolutely right. So, if you break their rules or they break yours, then it means you don't love them or they don't love you, right? But what if their rules are totally different from yours? Well, then I guess we must straighten them out about what the right rules are! And the best way to do that is to yell and have a fit. Wait. Maybe that's not right.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

You Don't Love Me and You Never Did

Maybe instead of jumping to the conclusion that they don't love us and they never did, we could just ask for what we want and mention that if they would do it (or not do it), it would make us feel loved. Who knows - they might just do it. The trouble is - at least for me - that I react so emotionally (to an extreme), that simply asking would require a whole lot of self restraint. When suddenly completely sure that the person I love and who I thought loved me, does something that I think proves he doesn't love me, it's pretty hard to be calm and make a request. It feels like I'm dying and must defend myself from death!

Reasoning with me doesn't usually help much although Ron used to sidle up to me and say, "Hey, remember me? I'm Ron. And I'm on your side." Sometimes that helped. But my insane mind sometimes told me he was just trying to pull the wool over my eyes because he didn't want me to know he didn't love me anymore.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

You Don't Love Me and You Never Did

A long time ago when my dear friend, Brad, was still alive, I called him and he answered the phone in a terribly grumpy voice. I said that I didn't do anything so why was he mad at me? He said he was sorry - that he had been arguing with his mother. I asked what they were arguing about. "It started with the temperature to set the air conditioner on and ended with you don't love me and you never did," he explained. I've never forgotten that because it summed up every argument I ever had with someone I loved. It might sum up every argument anyone ever has with someone they love.

If you really loved me, you would set the air conditioner on the temperature I want.
If you really loved me, you would be on time.
If you really loved me, you would understand when I'm late.
If you really loved me, you would hug me when I want you to.
If you really loved me, you would not bug me to hug you.
If you really loved me, you would wear what I want you to.
If you really loved me, you would lose weight.
If you really loved me, you would pick up your socks.
If you really loved me, YOU would pick up MY socks.
If you really loved me, you would spend less money.
If you really loved me, you would spend more money (on me).
If you really loved me, you would have sex when I want to.
If you really loved me, you wouldn't talk to people of the opposite sex like that.
If you really loved me, you would understand when I don't want to have sex.
If you really loved me, you would put me before the kids.
If you really loved me, you would understand when I have to put the kids first.
If you really loved me, you would stop drinking, gambling, whatever.
If you really loved me, you would understand why I don't stop whatever and you would get off my back.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


When I was a kid one of the things I loved was my mother's habit of growing old-fashioned flowers in the summer. We had whole gardens of zinnias, marigolds (large and dwarf), salvia, petunias, snap dragons and others that I can't remember names for. Every few days she picked a huge bunch and arranged them in a turquoise glass bowl which sat on the dining room table. I thought we were very sophisticated for having those flowers on the table at dinner. I sometimes grew my own garden of flowers and picked some of them for the table.

When I stopped smoking more than 20 years ago, I was smoking about 5 packs a day, which cost around $150 a month. It would be a whole lot more now. I promised myself that I would never lack for expensive perfume or fresh flowers as long as I lived. If I could somehow find the money for cigarettes as broke as I was at the time, I could surely always find the money for things that smelled a whole lot better. I've kept the promise to have perfume I wanted, but only partially kept the fresh flowers promise. Sometimes I had them; sometimes I didn't. Usually I just bought something at the grocery store.

However, recently it occured to me that I could take a vase to my favorite florist (a little vase) and ask them to do an arrangement and pick it up later. Somehow having flowers all the time nourishes my soul. So I tried it and I love it as much as I thought I would. They always ask me what kind of flowers I want and how I want them arranged. I always tell them they're the ones with the talent, so they should use their best judgment. I get the most amazing bouquets for not very much money - around $25 a week which is a while lot less than I was spending on cigarettes 20 plus years ago!

Right now I have two amazing bouquets - one I got for $5.00 at the farmer's market. It's a huge bunch of zinnias (red ones mostly) and marigolds. The other one came from the florist. It's sunflowers, poppies (orange and purple), and various other ones that I'm unacquainted with - mostly maroon, plus of course, various other things that look like wild flowers. My soul is definitely nourished this week.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


My outlook seems to be sliding right smack into the negative. Most of what I've written lately seems to either be rants about stuff I see on CNN or complaints about grief and/or pain. The inside of my head seems to be deteriorating into sludge. Time for a change.

In actual fact (what a weird phrase), my life is good. I eat well, I sleep sort of well - at least better than I did when I was sleeping in the hospital bed. I have loads of fabulous friends. I have fun on a regular basis. I do miss my two guy friends that have moved away. But I still hear from them (thank you email) and get to see them from time to time. I have a great job even though I've had to go to part time due to my slowness to recover from the last surgery. I have enough money to get my hair done, my toes done and a massage every month. Two small closets are full of clothes that I think are fabulous (thank you Chico's for solving my dressing disorder). I have conscious contact with a higher power that comforts and directs me - the directions are always pretty much the same - take good care of yourself and work on loving the people in my life unconditionally. I have four great kids, four great grandkids. It's really hard to describe how great they are. I enjoy my relationship with each of them and they are so different. And, of course, there's Cisco the cat. He's a lover cat - talks to me, kisses me, cuddles me and teases me.

I love gratitude lists. This one isn't finished but it's enough for now.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Being a Woman

Guess what! I read an article in Psychology Today that cites recent research regarding why men judge women on the basis of their looks (plus what we need to look like to attract them). It was oddly comforting to know I'm not crazy when I've observed this stuff time and time again.

So, the article said that -in general - meaning not all men all the time but on the average - men are attracted to women with small waists, big boobs, long blonde hair and blue eyes. Now this obviously does not apply to gay people or people of color. Some of it could be extrapolated I guess but.... Anyway, according to the article, men are programmed by their biology to look for women who are healthy/fertile - which would also mean young. Women around menopause start collecting fat around their waists so a small waist means young/fertile. Big boobs sag more with age than little ones so it's easier to spot youth in women with big ones. Sick people's hair doesn't grow long - I can testify to this - my hair and nails didn't grow for months after the wreck. So, long hair - and the longer it is the better - means the healthier (thus more fertile) the woman is. Blonde hair usually darkens with age; therefore, the more blonde the hair, the younger (thus more fertile) the woman is. When a woman is attracted to someone, her pupils dilate and it's easier to see this in blue eyed women. Personality, brains - none of that counts at all with fertility.

According to the article, men are completely unconscious of their programming but the statistics bear out the over all pattern. Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you look at it), women who have boob jobs, liposuction, dye their hair blond and get hair extensions and wear blue contacts will attract more men even though it's all artificial. The guys aren't programmed to tell the difference between the real and artificial. I still think it's sad. The poor babies are chasing women who may or may not be suitable for long term companions/partners and those of us who don't fit the template get the leftovers.

The article also extrapolated the data to a whole lot of other things - like good looking people tend to have more girls, religions that tolerate polygamy tend to have more violent men, etc. But I was just interested in knowing why men seemed to be so ignorant when they chased women. Now I know. They can't help it, the poor babies. But being old, with a large waist, little boobs and dark hair - I am now officially out of luck!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Supreme Court Ruling

Okay, now I'm REALLY upset. Am I the only old person that remembers Brown vs. the Board of Education? I was a kid when the Supreme Court ordered schools integrated and it was NOT to "create diversity!" I don't think that was even discussed at the time. The truth was that the segregated schools were terrible. African American kids got horribly crappy education. In my town, the black kids went to a one room school and the teacher didn't even have an 8th grade education. When those kids came to our school due to the Supreme Court decision, they were so far behind it was totally pitiful.

Even as recently as when my kids were in school, the schools where the black kids went were falling down around their ears, they had fewer school books, etc. Of course, the kids weren't segregated by law then, they were segregated by residential patterns. But the schools were still lousy for the black kids. So, now the Supreme Court says race can't be the major factor in assigning kids to schools so the magnet schools are ended and the other desegregation efforts are ended. Well, we'll see how long it takes for the schools that are predominantly black to descend into crappy. I'm going to guess not very long based on how my city spends money to repair streets. The more black people there are in a neighborhood, the crappier the streets. Check it out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Rebecca and I went to the zoo when it was raining off and on. A lot of the animals were asleep. A couple of male chimps were standing in the rain with their lower jaws jutting out, letting it rain in their mouths. I've done that myself when I was a kid.

The rhinos were awake too. They were cuddling. We'd never seen cuddling rhinos before. They lay side by side and rubbed their chins on each other. Then one got up, turned around, lay down again, pushed his butt firmly against the other one and heaved a big sigh of contentment.

The meerkats were up and looking curiously at us. They seem to have actual facial expression. All the birds were awake too.

I think other than the ones I've described that were awake, all the rest were asleep. A rainy afternoon looking at snoozing animals made me want to take a nap too so I had to do it as soon as I got home.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Some things I really miss:

Having somebody I love incredibly much around every day to hug and kiss. I kissed Ron on the top of his head every time I passed by him when he was sitting down. Now I just have to kiss the cat twice as much and he really likes it. Wherever Ron is, I think he knows half the cat's kisses are his.

Having somebody around every day that I know thinks I'm just about perfect. Not totally but almost. That feels really, really good - especially if it's somebody you love and whose opinion you respect! And especially if it's someone who knows you snore and cuss and are lazy and sometimes even mean and still thinks you're almost perfect.

Being a Woman

The best thing about being a woman is the built-in desire to love and nurture. I love that in myself and other women. Even though I'm basically kind of self-centered, I still have the instinct to nurture. I see that in some men, and it's lovable in them too. Most women seem to have it unless they are severely damaged psychologically.

The worst thing about being a woman is always being judged by my looks. I really don't have the words to describe how I hate it. I've noticed that when describing a woman, men always mention how she looks first. It's undoubtedly biological, and they can't help it, but it's sad anyway. I can't make up my mind whether - if I had known this was how it worked when I was 20 - I would have tried to really work on how I looked. For most of my life I assumed I was only decent looking and that nothing could be done about that, so I made no effort to improve how I looked. Now that I know, I wonder what would have happened if.....

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Losing a loving partner is a bunch of losses - not just one. My dear friend Joanie told me after her husband died that when she was missing him terribly, she would just mentally list the things she hated about him and was glad to be rid of and was cured instantly of missing him. So some of the losses are of things I didn't like - hate is too strong a word - and remembering them does help a little, but I'm not instantly cured.

One of the losses that makes me feel better -

Worry - I don't worry about what the crisis is going to be next. Ron was a crisis junkie and had one every one or two weeks. Being severely co-dependent, I thought I should solve every one of them and just drove myself completely crazy. He lost things all the time - keys to things - I got a lot of calls from him when I was out of town asking me to come and give him the key to his office or his car or the house. He also lost expensive watches, fishing equipment and worst of all, his false teeth. There are still many, many sunglasses and reading glasses in the house and the garage because he lost them so many times he finally just bought 20 at a time.

The other kind of crises were the medical crises which were fairly constant the last 10 years of our marriage. He never wanted to go to the doctor, let alone the hospital or the emergency room. So, I spend a lot of co-dependent hours thinking up ways to get him to the doctor, the hospital or the emergency room. Once I called an ambulance and they made him go. Those were the worst because there was always a really good chance he was going to die.

Now that the worst has happened I don't have to be braced all the time. Of course, when I finally went to Alanon and got a sponsor and actually tried to free myself (and him) from my obsessive rescuing, things got a lot better. He never met my Alanon sponsor but he referred people to her. He said she was responsible for greatly improving his quality of life.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


I guess it must just be terribly impractical or someone would have done it by now. But I would like to see someone try. Or at least talk about it.

We're getting too much rain in the middle part of the country and there are wild fires on both coasts from drought. If we can move oil by pipeline.... I guess there must not be any money in it - gathering excess rain and moving it to where it's needed. But if I knew how to build a pipeline and could get some other crazy people to go in with me...

Friday, June 15, 2007


I am so confused. It's one of those times when the true motives of the decision-makers in government are out of my realm of thinking. Here's the way I'm thinking about illegal immigration from Mexico and it doesn't fit with what I hear on CNN:

Lots of people are coming to this country from Mexico. Some of them are drug runners, but that's another story. Most of them, though, are just poor people trying to get away from a hopeless situation. Here they get lousy pay, backbreaking work and live in substandard housing. But it's so much better than Mexico that they're willing to risk their lives and even their children's lives to come here.

For a long time now, businesses - large and small - have hired them because they work so cheap which increases the businesses' profits. It seems to me that's why people say they need these workers to take jobs Americans won't take. Well, of course we won't. None of us would want to live the way these folks have to live because we have other choices. We might very well do the jobs if they paid a living wage.

Now there's this big outcry about illegal immigration, and I can't really follow what the complaint is. Yes, it's illegal, but so are a lot of other things that no one cares about because they benefit people with power. Ostensibly it's because we might be letting terrorists in over the border but really.... I haven't heard one thing about Mexicans being terrorists. No one believes that.

Or it's because they aren't paying income taxes and their children are coming to school and using other services, etc. etc. Oh come on, there are thousands of wealthy people who aren't paying taxes, but if they were, our government could probably get out of debt. If all the illegals from Mexico paid taxes it would be a drop in the bucket against the national debt.

So, I don't get it. If we don't want these folks why don't we just help Mexico develop an economy that would employ them and give them the same substandard (by our standards) lives they could build here? Then they wouldn't come, right? It worries me that maybe all this hoo hah about illegal immigration is just so that we'll think something is being done and businesses can continue to hire them and maximize their profits.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I used to be equally afraid of physical pain and emotional pain. Both scared me to an extreme. I learned - I think from reading about natural childbirth - that a lot of the pain is caused by resisting it. Over time I learned to lean into physical pain; to focus on it; to really notice what kind of pain it was; whether it was hot or cold, sharp or dull, etc. And it seemed to diminish as I focused on it, or at least it became bearable. That skill has really come in handy in recovering from the injuries I got in the wreck. Now, there's a level of pain where I just scream and cry. Focusing on it is way, way beyond me. But below that level, I can accept it and just go on. I haven't had to take a lot of pain medication as a result, which I think has helped my healing.

But I'm still scared of emotional pain. That's one of the reasons I love the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Working them has relieved me of a tremendous amount of emotional pain. Some emotional pain is just inevitable though. Loss - especially of people we love - no way to escape hurting about that. But for some reason I continue to try to escape it all I can. Leaning into it, focusing on it - no way. I experience it when I just have to but otherwise... So, I think the escaping and resisting is partly what is making me so tired these days. Maybe I'll think about using the solution for physical pain on emotional pain. But... probably not right now. Later would be good....

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I had a really tough civics teacher. Her name was Mrs. Hisaw and she was incredibly mean. Every kid in her classes was terrorized including me. I heard somewhere that fear causes your memory to really go to work so that you can avoid the same situation in the future. So, of course, I vividly remember most of what I learned in 7th and 8th grade civics, thanks to terror and Mrs. Hisaw. Which in turn means that I have a deep understanding of the three branches of government, the difference between federal government and state government and how they work together, etc. etc.

Then a lot of years later when I became a foster parent of two babies with extremely severe disabilities, I got a nasty surprise. I decided to try to help them because I had the naive belief that there would be help - that there would be someone to tell me how to help them. It turns out there wasn't. In the end I got most of my help from other parents of kids with disabilities, and together we tried to create what our kids needed. We soon found out that our own resources were not enough, and we couldn't even raise enough money to create, for example, a school program for them. So, we turned to government because that's where other kids' schooling comes from. We had quite a fight over a number of years because no one thought our kids could benefit from school, but eventually we won. In that process, I learned a lot about democracy. It's supposed to respond to the needs of its citizens, and we eventually made enough of a ruckus that it did.

So, I'm really quite passionate about our system of government. It's slow; it's subject to corruption; it has many other flaws too. But because I've seen it work and really make a difference in people's lives, I'm deeply disturbed by what I see happening. I'm old enough to have watched a long process take place which began with the Vietnam war. Well, maybe it began farther back than that, but that's when I started paying attention. A large number of people thought our government had made a terrible mistake and fought to stop the war. Our government came after them. The FBI watched them, arrested them and harrassed them in many ways and what they were doing wasn't illegal. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. Then we had Nixon and Watergate, and it turns out he actually was a crook.

I think somewhere along the way the majority of people just decided our government was such a mess it wasn't worth bothering with. In later efforts to help parents of adults with disabilities find ways to meet their sons and daughters needs, I found that most of them did not want to bother talking to their government representatives. They had absolutely no faith that they would be heard. In recent years I've had similar experiences with trying to persuade people to communicate with government officials. I tell them - that's how democracy works. You elect people to represent you but they can't represent you if you don't tell them what you want. Falls on deaf ears.

This year I wrote my Congressman. I asked for something very straightforward. I asked him to tell me what his position was. He could have said he didn't agree with my request and explained why if that were the case. But he just didn't answer. I only received a reply after months of calls and faxes. He is an acquaintance of mine, and I think he's a good person. But he didn't respond until he was harrassed!

I'm beginning to think our government isn't a democracy any more - that it just runs to serve itself and the interests of campaign contributors. If that's true, it makes it even more important for me to stay on my soapbox and keep trying to persuade people to get involved in their democracy. I refuse to give up!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I just finished reading "Stumbling on Happiness" by Daniel Gilbert, which is a serious study of what makes people happy. It seems there has been a lot of research into this topic. Unfortunately, none of us seem to be paying attention. What was delightful about this book was how funny it was - it was the first time I've read psychological research and laughed all through it. Here's a little excerpt from the part where he is explaining how our brains work and how poorly they help us predict how we will feel in the future:

" In the late 1960s, a Harvard psychology professor took LSD, resigned his appointment (with some encouragement from the administration), went to India, met a guru, and returned to write a popular book called BE HERE NOW, whose central message was succinctly captured by the injuction of its title. Now, why would anyone go all the way to India and spend his time, money, and brain cells just to learn how not to think about the future? Because, as anyone who has ever tried to learn meditation knows, not thinking about the future is much more challenging than being a psychology professor. Not to think about the future requires that we convince our frontal lobe not to do what it was designed to do... and it naturally resists this suggestion."

Gilbert says that we treat ourselves like our future children - guessing what will make us happy in the future and then trying to create that for ourselves. But we're doing a terrible job of guessing judging by the number of divorces, moves and job changes. It seems that in spite of our heroic efforts, we have no idea what will make us happy and our future selves suffer as a result.

As examples are the fairly well-known studies that show that more money only makes us happy up to about $50,000 a year. When people make less than that, extra money really improves their quality of life. But over $50,000 it doesn't really make any difference. In fact, in some cases people are more unhappy. But have you noticed that this fact doesn't keep people from striving and making enormous sacrifices to make more and more money and buy more and more stuff? His explanation is that we are programmed by society to do this because people who are focused on money and stuff don't run around making trouble - the lifestyle contributes to a stable society and good reproduction rates. He doesn't think there's any kind of a conspiracy - it just happens because it works.

Hmmm. I guess that means if we decide to opt out of the rat race and run around making trouble instead, we should keep it quiet. Oh wait, I've already been doing that for years.

So, Gilbert says the solution is to ask somebody who is currently experiencing what you're thinking about doing in the future what the experience is like. He points out that no one does this much. If you ask people whether they would rather use their imagination to decide what to do in the future or ask some one, they almost 100% say they would use their imaginations - because everyone thinks he/she is unique. But we aren't. But it's an ego thing. Now he strongly emphasizes that you shouldn't ask somebody who HAS experienced something in the past. He goes into great detail explaining that peoples' memories are very unreliable and they may tell you that law school was wonderful when they actually thought they were in hell at the time. So you should ask a current student.

A thought - there would be a lot of things you just couldn't find out about that way. I'm not sure whether someone would tell you whether a face lift was worth it right after they had the surgery. Also, I guess you wouldn't be able to find out whether someone was good in bed unless you asked right afterward and if he/she was already involved...well that just wouldn't work although I'm sure it's something most people would really want to know ahead of time.

Anyway, I loved this book. It's another "if we can put a man on the moon, why can't we...." thing. Looks like solid information about how to be happy would be a priority. But it doesn't appear to be and even the information we have is pretty much ignored.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I finally have to admit that I'm experiencing loneliness. For the first year and a half after Ron's death, I didn't really have that feeling. I missed him. There was a huge hole in my life and my heart. But I wasn't lonely. At first I thought it was because there were so many people around after the accident that I didn't have a chance to be lonely. But that wasn't it. After I began to spend a lot of time alone, I still wasn't lonely. I was surprised. But then at about a year and a half I began to feel really lonely. I poked around inside myself to see if I could discover why. What had shifted was the feeling that Ron was going to show up just any time. I knew from previous losses that that feeling was the usual way my psyche reacts. There's just part of me that's not ready to give up on some sort of miracle. As time passes, so does that feeling. Once my whole being accepted that Ron was gone, I finally felt truly alone and without a loving partner: lonely. Well, that's probably how I'm supposed to feel for now.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Faces and Beauty

I'm not sure why I've developed an interest in this. It seems frivolous on the one hand and important on the other. Why are some people considered beautiful and some aren't? Frivolous, of course, since there are a lot of other much more important things to be interested in. Important since scientific studies show that good looking people - especially REALLY good looking people are treated far better by others that even nice looking people. But what is good looking or beauty anyway. What makes Brad Pitt a heart stopper as well as Russell Crowe. Weird. Julia Roberts is beautiful but her nose is all wrong. Just about the time I started staring at faces trying to figure it out, I saw a program on tv that said a plastic surgeon had figured it out. The eyebrows have to be a certain distance from the eyes, the eyes have to be a certain distance apart, etc. etc. etc. But the thing is all three of the Playboy girls have identical bodies and features but one of them seems to me to be more beautiful than the others. What's that about?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Weekend

Springtime in the Ozarks weekend. We were married there and went back every year to celebrate. Last year the weekend was very hard.

We looked forward to going for weeks ahead of time and never had an unhappy moment in Eureka Springs. Every year was different but every year was wonderful. To think that Ron and I would never do that again was heartbreaking.

This year a friend suggested that she spend the weekend with me and another friend joined her. It was one of the loveliest weekends I've ever had. Amazing blessings.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Goodbye Kurt

If Ron were here, we would have a ceremony to mark the passing of Kurt Vonnegut, one of the strongest links in the bond between us. Both of us were reluctant atheists when we first got together. Over time we came to believe in a force for good in the universe which we called God. But both of us continued to laugh while in anger and sorrow about the state of the world, and Kurt's characters continued to aid and abet us. In one of his stories there were twins - a boy and a girl. Together they were geniuses. When separated they were mentally retarded. Ron said he thought we were like that. I had to agree but I said I thought that meant we were seriously co-dependent. He said, well, I can't repeat what he said, but it meant he didn't care, he liked our relationship the way it was. Goodbye, Kurt. I may have a ceremony for you even without Ron's physical presence. It won't involve flowers, though, so don't worry.

The Cane

Yesterday was my first visit back to physical therapy since my last visit to the orthopedist. I've been looking forward to going since I knew Kathy would not just put me in a little room to do isometric exercises by myself. (A waste since I already do them at home). I knew she would help me figure out how to use the cane. I've tried but I could see immediately that I didn't know what I was doing.

Sure enough, I've been doing it totally wrong. The way that works is to use the hand opposite to my weak leg. That way I'm bearing weight on my left hand and right leg simultaneously - stability! Yay. So, now I just need lots of practice.

I'm actually kind of lazy. I've grown fond of the convenience of the wheelchair. It's fast, it's comfy (nothing hurts) and it gets me lots of help which I've become accustomed to. But it's time to move on or grow up or whatever.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Sometime in April, sometime in the 70s, is the time the tornado came through southwest Missouri and killed my mother and grandmother. I can never remember the exact date, but I've noticed that in April, my body seems to know something happened then.

In 1986 on April 1st, Ron and I got our marriage license in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. We laughed because we said we could always claim we were just April fools. Ron insisted that he wanted to be married in a church with a real minister. I was amazed because he was totally anti organized religion. He told me he would haunt me if I had a religious funeral. So, I didn't. But he had to be married in a church. So, we were married on April 16 in the Presbyterian church in Eureka Springs, with my daughter, Liz and her husband, Fred and their son, Adam in attendance.

The poor minister did not know what to do with us. He told us he was worried about our ability to be married. He didn't say why. Ron was so terrified he was shaking. For many years I thought he was scared because of the risks of marrying me - which were many and high. In the end I realized he was more worried about whether he could step up to the plate and change the things his other wives had left him about. We got lucky. He changed quite a few things. A couple of the major ones he couldn't seem to change and he thought I was going to leave him. But I didn't. I was tougher than he thought and I loved him too much. Leaving him wouldn't have improved my quality of life one whit. We had way more joyful times than unhappy times.

Now there will be a new anniversary - the massacre at Virginia Tech. My grandson, Adam, will graduate from there in another year.

April is a sad and joyful month.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Virginia Tech

Another terribly sad event. I am so relieved that my grandson, Adam, is all right. I wish I had some words of wisdom to say over such a terrible thing but... It grieves me that some tortured soul thought the solution to his problems was to execute all the people he could before taking his own life. This isn't new in humans but the scale is new enough to pierce our hearts.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Torture, Terror and Tyranny of the To Do List

Can't live with them; can't live without them. Without my to do lists I would be totally lost in my life and would forget important things and have to pay crumby consequences. But they keep me feeling anxious, miserable and less than at the same time. I have made lists, lists of lists, master lists, and lists of why I hate lists. In the beginning I felt better when I made lists - it felt like I had accomplished something. But right away I felt rebellious - as if someone else had imposed this list of chores and that I needed to protect myself. So, I'd go back to bed or the equivalent. Now I just make the lists and start trying to make myself do the stuff on the lists. I've tried rewards but I just reward myself before I've done anything. I love treats. I've tried accountability partners and that works the best but almost everybody I pick lets me off the hook. I must be bad at picking partners. So, then I feel guilty all the time.

Once I made a list of everything I thought was important to do and decided to work on it without interruption until it was done. I had to stay up about 36 hours straight to do it, but I finished the list. I decided being finished was not worth it. Another time I decided not to do another thing till I felt like it. I stayed in bed and read for days. Then one day I actually felt like doing something and got up. Then I just did what I felt like doing and got a lot accomplished. That lasted for several days/weeks and I thought I had found the answer. However, I decided I wanted to go back to school, enrolled and went. Assignments were absolutely necessary to complete when I wanted to or not, so my plan disintegrated.

I'm 65 years old and I don't want to die still being tyrannized by to do lists. My current plan is to make a list of ongoing priorities and work a little on them every day. I'm quite sure that changing this particular character defect will only happen with the help of God. But on my deathbed I'm sure I'm not going to be thinking about what I got accomplished from my lists. I'm probably going to be thinking about the people that I love so they will go at the top of my list!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


The Bible says that the root of all evil is the love of money, which would make greed the most dangerous of the seven deadly sins. But what about pride/ego? That seems to be even more dangerous because it leads to playing God. Maybe pride/ego causes greed. Greed, from my observations, can serve a lot of purposes - sometimes people want to accumulate more and more stuff to make themselves feel financially secure. The thing is, it never works. It always seems like there needs to be just a little bit more even when there's a whole lot. Fear of not having enough seems to persist. Pride/ego can cause people to want more and more so that they will be envied by others. Again, the thing is, does being envied actually improve quality of life? I'm just seeing a lot of greed around me these days. How much is enough?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Coming back

It's time to get back to this. A posting every few months is no good.

The last visit to the doctor was mostly good news. I can't just take off walking like I thought he might let me do but I can use the cane as much as I can tolerate it. When I go back in a couple of months, he will look again at my knee. If the healing is complete with the femur, he'll consider going ahead with the knee surgery.

I called about the writers' meeting on Wednesdays. For me to really get to work with finishing some of the essays I've started, I'm going to have to have a lot of support. My evil brain thinks of many, many other things to do that distract me and keep me from working.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Why don't we know?

I'm worried. I'm a news junkie so I'm sure I didn't miss it. Why don't we know from the media what is motivating the right wing Muslims to fight so hard? I hear plenty of guesses and I have some of my own. Maybe some of the guesses are right. But I've heard nothing about someone trying to truly understand what is causing the violence. People fight to the death for a reason - and it's usually not because they hate freedom or because they are sure they're going to heaven. How in the world will it ever be settled unless there's an understanding of motivation?

It seems to me that most of the fights in the world are about greed - more territory, more resources, etc. But this one seems to be different.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cracking up

I've thought and thought about this - why is there no relationship between "cracking up" and "cracking down?" Or maybe there is. One is going crazy/laughing hard and the other is enforcing rules with force. I didn't look this up in the dictionary but maybe there is a relationship! "I'm going to crack down on you until you crack up." Of course, it would really give me a start if I cracked down and they cracked up by laughing hysterically.


I've spent the last couple of months thinking about what I wanted to do with this and have decided to continue with observations. I had thought I might do something else more personal and still may do that. But for now, I really want to continue to record the things I notice. These observations would have been good for a couple of hours of conversation with Ron. I think I might miss that the most right now.

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