Friday, April 29, 2011


I live in what's called, "tornado alley" because we have so many of them.  But it looks like the southeast part of the U.S is what's getting the historic tornadoes.  It reminds me of the April of 1976 when my mother and grandmother died in a tornado.  It was another of those big ones that was a mile wide and stayed on the ground for miles.  However, it came down in the country so there were only three deaths.  People ask me if I'm scared of storms and oddly, I'm not.  There was absolutely nothing my mother and grandmother could have done to escape.  The third death was a woman who was in her basement and was pulled up along with her whole house.  So, if it's your time, it's your time.  Being killed in a tornado is an interesting way to go and it saves a long illness, and it's nobody's fault.  I'm not saying I'd like to go that way but it's on my list of not-too-bad-ways.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Life as My Art

A bunch of us are studying Don Miguel Ruiz's book, "Voice of Knowledge."  We've been studying his books for over a year.  People come and go, but our core group keeps hanging in there.  We are learning how to apply the Toltec ideas to our lives.  This particular book focuses on the idea that we are all artists because we are creating the story of our lives.  From the Toltec tradition, the idea is that everything is perception - that none of us can actually see the truth because we have been taught from the time we learned language what the truth is from others and their perceptions.  Even if we unlearn what we've been taught, all we have is our own perception which is very limited.  Therefore, he says, we are the creators/artists of our perception of our lives.  Better make it beautiful and full of delight!

If I started out my day with the idea that for this day, I'm going to create a beautiful story and show off my talents as an artist, my way of being would be a lot different!!

Friday, April 22, 2011


I'm finally adjusted to the new height of my right shoe so that my whole body doesn't complain all the time.  I'm still not standing straight although I am straighter.  My vanity is affected because it's very, very obvious that the shoe is built up, and before it really wasn't noticeable.  But I am way too old to care very much about that.  My back is only bothering me a tiny bit, which is a miracle - probably due to the physical therapy and the change in my shoe.  Yay for that.  I am a lot less behind on things.  You wouldn't think that a person with nothing to do would have so much to do!  But I am as busy as I can stand to be.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Finally got around to seeing Limitless.  I think it's one of those predictor movies - we could use a pill to speed up our brains. Probably someone is working on  it right now.  Of course it would have to be a big secret because if we all had it no one would have an advantage.

In my usual way I watched the action with enjoyment while simultaneously critiquing the plot.  Now I'm going to have to see it again because I've got all these questions:  It seemed clear to me that he was a drug addict and an alcoholic from the beginning before he ever took one of the pills.  But he didn't protect his supply very well - the first thing any good addict would do is try to figure out where to get some more and preferably make some more.  Hiding the last of his supply in a shell in his girlfriend's apartment and then in his jacket (then giving his jacket to someone to hold), seemed pretty dumb for a junkie with a four-digit IQ.  Before he started making money and trying to be somebody, he should have made sure he had a lifetime supply of the drug. 

He was, however, very junkie-like in his immediate decision to overdose himself and make himself sick with no regard for the consequences.  He was also true to his junkie-hood by immediately going for the good times and taking crazy risks.

A person with a four-digit IQ would not be likely to go into politics.  If his objective was to have power, the folks behind the scenes have more power than the politicians.  If he was so smart he would have known that.   Plus would a really, really smart person not know that there would be a whole lot of other people trying to get some of this stuff and that they might not be the good guys?   I was surprised he didn't think of that before he completely ran out of pills since he found his ex-brother-in-law deader than a doornail.  And how did he find his ex-brother-in-law's stash in the oven when the bad guy searchers didn't? He wasn't on the pill at the time.  Why weren't the searcher's on the pill?

In the end he finally figures out how to use the drug so that the effects last.  But the screen writers took the easy way out and didn't try to explain that.  Shame on them for ducking what could have been fascinating.

I can't help it - I've absorbed so much sci-fi I just automatically critique.  Luckily it doesn't ruin my enjoyment.  So I'll watch it again so I can see if I missed something.

Monday, April 18, 2011


"I grew up trusting no one, but I know if I keep doing what I've always done, I'll get what I've always gotten.  I want to change."  Hope for Today.

Since I knew as a kid that I was supposed to look perfect even if I wasn't perfect, I didn't learn from my mistakes.  How could I?  I tried very hard to not make any mistakes, of course.  But when I did, I denied and lied so no one could help me do better in the future.  I was used to being judged and criticized when I made mistakes so I just wanted to keep that from happening.   I carried that way of being into my adulthood.  I've never met anybody that tried as hard as I did to make no mistakes.  I was wound up tight trying to do everything right all the time.  By the time I was thirty I needed a lot of sleep.  I was exhausted.

After all that I decided trying to be perfect didn't benefit me at all and just gave up.  That didn't work either. I made a lot more mistakes and blew off any negative feedback I got.  When I got into recovery and found out how much like everyone else I was because they told their secrets and laughed at their mistakes, I began to learn new ways of dealing with life.  I got off my own case and stopped expecting myself not to make mistakes.  I learned from my mistakes instead of denying and hiding.  I'm still not perfect, but that's okay now. Sometimes I can't believe how much I've learned!

I chose trustworthy people to tell about myself.  There were a couple of professional counselors that I trusted.  And most of all, people in recovery because they weren't going to give me a hard time - they'd made the same mistakes themselves.  Since they had learned from their mistakes, they could show me how to learn from mine.  Judgmental, critical people aren't the ones I choose to talk to about my deepest self.  They usually make themselves feel better about themselves by criticizing me.  I'm not evolved enough to be able to handle a lot of criticism although I'm better than I used to be.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

We're Only as Sick as our Secrets

"The times I most want to hide out with my secrets are probably the times I most need to reach out and share (with someone trustworthy)."  Courage to Change.

I grew up in a family where image was everything.  The very first priority was to look good.  It was a small town and my parents were school teachers so they felt their jobs depended on looking perfect to the whole town.  I knew I wasn't perfect and felt ashamed.  So I learned to never ever say anything about my imperfections to anybody.  By the time I was an adult I was carrying a heavy load of secrets.  If I made mistakes, the proper response was to lie.  It was so deeply ingrained that I didn't even have to think about it.

In the recovery program I heard the saying, "We're only as sick as our secrets."  I couldn't even imagine what that meant.  Then there was the saying, "(the program) requires rigorous honesty."  I was clearly in trouble since I had no idea how to be honest and no understanding of why I should be.  But little by little, because I was so desperate to feel better, I began to tell the truth about myself and my life to trustworthy people and experienced the relief and freedom that brought me.  I felt like I was floating about a foot off the ground. Now the telling of the truth - especially admitting my mistakes - is so ingrained that it is automatic.  If you ask me a question, I will tell the truth before I even think about lying.

Recently I've realized that there are tons of people in the world who would consider my openness about my thoughts, feelings and mistakes totally wrong and crazy.  They probably think I'm completely wrong to do it - that nice people don't air their dirty laundry - and they seem to consider the most minor stuff something to keep secret.  I forget that this way of being is extremely common in the world and with a lot of people consider it a virtue.  I am sad for them because they won't be able to experience being themselves.  When I was hiding and lying trying to look good, I lived with shame and lost the sense of who I even was.  I wish I could give the gift of truth to everyone, but that probably is not going to happen.

One of the other things I've learned in my recovery program is that when I'm noticing other people's imperfections, I probably need to look myself to see if I am practicing those imperfections myself.  So, it must be time to see where I am hiding secrets myself.  At this moment I don't actually see it, but I'm sure I will now that I'm aware.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

RIP good friends...

Today one of the other parents that were involved the the lawsuit that closed Hissom Memorial Center in Sand Springs heard that the process of tearing the old place down had started.  So we drove out there and were lucky enough to get to go in through the fence.  The project director saw us taking pictures through the fence and after we explained who we were, let us in.  His boss saw us and was a whole lot less happy with our being in there but we talked him out of his upset.  We walked around and took some pictures which I will post later.  I brought a sage smudge and said some prayers.

I guess the internet is full of people saying it's haunted.  They've sneaked in and say they saw blood everywhere, etc.  I don't believe in ghosts but a lot of terribly cruel and sad things happened there so I will be glad when the buildings are gone. 

We said goodbye to Donald, who was the son of one of our friends.  The terrible treatment he received there first alerted us to the how bad the conditions were.  He died from aspiration pneumonia due to lack of care.  We said goodbye to Ann who was the first and only ombudsman there.  She did her best to make change and testified for us in court.  She died soon after - I believe from the heartbreak and stress she experienced although it was technically cancer.  We said goodbye to Tim who was the first attorney who helped us.  He had been with the Department of Justice but resigned when President Reagan stopped the Justice Department from helping close institutions.  Tim died of complications from his own disability before we won the lawsuit. 

There are many who died before they could experience the new living arrangements in the community.  We said goodbye to all of them.  Hissom is a metaphor for me for all the cruelty of the world.  I am grateful to have had a part in ending that particular nightmare.

Friday, April 15, 2011

25 years

This weekend is the 25th anniversary of Ron's and my wedding.  Some years I'm sad and some years I'm not.  This year I'm coping with sadness.  I really miss him.  We were married in Eureka Springs and every year we went back to celebrate.  It was a big deal to us since both of us had been married twice before, we were very grateful that we were still delighted to be married and wanted to celebrate.  It's hard to celebrate without him but I am still grateful.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Now I'm Scared

Awhile back I posted some sarcastic stuff about balancing the budget on the backs of children, old people, disabled people and said that maybe we should go back to allowing people to starve to death, making old people live in poor houses, and having children work like my grandparents did (both of them went to work in factories at the age of 8).  Now I hear that Maine is considering amending it's child labor laws to allow businesses to pay anyone under the age of 20 $2.00 less than minimum wage.  Hmmm.  The law would also allow them to work more hours than they're currently allowed to work.  A cheap labor pool.  Great.  Progress.  Businesses will make more money.  This benefits us how?

Monday, April 11, 2011


My right shoe is now built up 11/4 inch which is double what it was.  I've had them for a week and am still stumbling around trying to stand up straight.  The physical therapy folks tell me I will be able to do it in time.   It's amazing how crooked my hips and back are.  No wonder my back has been hurting. 

I've also been taking B12 shots and have about twice the energy I did have.  Yay!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


One of my readings this week said that when I turned my life and will over to the care of God in the third step, I gave up worry.  Hmmm.  Well, I didn't give up worry.  I kept on with some of my worries - I feared that Ron's health would continue to deteriorate and that he would die and leave me.  I didn't think I could handle that.  Of course, that did happen and I did handle it.  The problem is that I spent around 20 years worrying every day that he was going to die.  When I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I always checked to see if he was alive before I got back into bed.  It's pretty obvious from this point of view that if I had let go and let God, I could have enjoyed having him in my life more than I did when I worried all the time. 

Either God is in charge or He isn't.  If he's in charge (which I'm pretty sure is true), then whatever happens, it's God's will.  I don't always like what happens.  In fact, I frequently don't.  But if God is a loving God and a force for good in the universe, then everything that happens is for the good - or at least God is powerful enough to use it for good.  Tall order.  But I'm working on trusting that this is the truth.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


I'll bet I could write a 1,000 page book of just incidents where I said something and the other person heard something else and another one of times I heard something completely different than what was said to me.  One such incident was sad - I was talking to one of the people I supervised who was complaining about how disorganized our department was.  I was trying to get her to say what she thought would fix it, because I really thought she might have some good ideas.  I was sick of the chaos myself but was stumped about how to fix it.  It was Friday at the end of the day and I was tired and so was she.  Finally I suggested we talk about it on Monday because I could see she wasn't getting what I was asking. 

Well, on Monday morning she came in with a huge long letter which she read to me.  Apparently, she had been thinking about our conversation all weekend and thought I had called her stupid.  Good grief!  I don't know if she ever believed me, but I apologized for being unclear in my communication - that I certainly didn't think she was stupid.  It was just clear to me I wasn't asking the right questions so that she could see what I wanted from her.  It turns out she just thought we should use Microsoft Outlook to schedule meetings - which in my mind was fairly irrelevant for taming the chaos.  We had a Helpline with crisis calls all day and a boss who thought up new things for us to do every week.  I thought she might have a way to deal with that.  But no.  Unfortunately. 

I could think of literally hundreds of more examples.  And the sad part is that the person with the misunderstanding is usually completely positive that their interpretation is accurate.  Sometimes I wonder how the world of people runs at all considering how bad we are at communicating with each other.

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Sun

Right after the wreck in 2005, an aquaintance came by with some dried flowers she put in one of my vases and placed it on top of the tall bookcase across the room from my bed so I could see them from the bed.  She also brought a stack of magazines that I read off and on throughout my recovery.  Bless her!  The magazines were called, The Sun.  They have no ads and the stories and poems seem to be mostly written by people you never heard of and/or they're written by readers.  I don't even love the Oprah magazine as much as I love The Sun. 

It must just be my kind of magazine because I just love every single story and poem and photo in it.  This month the lead story was an interview with a guy who graduated from West Point and served in the Armed Services.  He has made a study - beginning with some ideas he got from classes at West Point - of peace and what it would take to have world peace.  Ahhh!  A grandiose thinker like me!  He has made it his life work to teach what he's learned to anyone who will listen and his audiences are growing.  He says that the United States is seen as a conqueror - as a country that only gets involved when we want something - which just perpetuates resistance.  He asks that we consider what would happen if we truly came to help and left when we were finished.  He suggests we work against terrorism like we have done with organized crime - catch people, try them and put them in jail for a long time.  Cut off their money supplies, etc. 

Another story was written by a guy who had just had his beloved dog put to sleep.  He told about the process he went through in dealing with the last illness and how he finally made the decision to let his dog go.  It was a touching story, of course, but more than that it was a study of love and gratitude.  He said he knew that people were probably thinking, "It's just a dog, for God's sake!"  His philosophy was that this animal had accompanied him through a divorce, depression, spiritual deserts and a life-threatening illness so he felt accountable for returning love and care to the being that provided it for him.  I know there are a lot of people who don't think animals should be valued as much as human beings, but I'm guessing they've just never experienced the unconditional love of an animal companion.

Blog Archive