Saturday, December 31, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
2011 October 16
We are on vacation at the beach in North Carolina, as guests of my brother Vinny. Two weeks of relaxation, time spent with family and trying to completely remove all thoughts of the remaining chaos to be sorted through before we get on the road full time.
I am grateful to Jennifer who has been keeping an eye on the home front, thereby allowing our time away to be less stressful.
Thinking about all that remains to be done at this point in our vaca would be counter productive, so I'm not going to follow that particular flotsam any further.
I apparently got rid of my bathing suit in my purging. I have spent a week here without one. Maybe today I'll take a trip to Walmart and see if they have any fat girl clearance suits available. Or I'll at least get a tank top, so I can get a bit of sun without looking like a farmer.
Raymond plans to spend the day watching football. My brothers, Vinny and Dave may come along with me on a short shopping excursion. It amazes me how willing they are at times to go along on such trips. Excursions that Raymond would never join. Remains to be seen if Greyla will tag along or not.
The beginning of this two week vaca was a little rough for me and for Greyla. The day before we were leaving, I fell on my brother's concrete porch and jarred myself pretty good. I think I also managed to pick up a few germs from Nicky & Anamaria right before we left which managed to ferment and manifest the day we traveled and for a few days after we arrived. Poor Greyla is getting a little too old to make the jump from the back compartment, especially since she's used to having the entire area behind the front seats as her domain. When we have a couple extra passengers, requiring the back seats to be up in a sitting position, she gets a bit cramped. She seems back to her old self, though. She's settled into a vaca routine and is appearing quite content.
I have been walking more than I do at home. That bodes well for the future, I think. While I am not comfortable walking in our home neighborhood, the fact that the last several days I've walked between a mile and two miles encourages me that I will be more inclined to walk when I am in a place where I feel more comfortable.
While I am looking forward to getting on the road, I find myself consistently wondering if I could live somewhere in NC. While I love the mountains, I wouldn't ever want to be that far from the ocean. We've talked about living somewhere like Greenville, where East Carolina University is located. But, who knows where we will end up...
I'm more than a little concerned about our choice of motor home. The Class C with a slide seemed like the perfect fit for us and I guess time will tell. My worry is that it's too big at 30 feet. My other concern is the shape. The fact that the body of the vehicle is wider than the cab is worrisome to me. It hasn't really been a factor on the road, except for going through toll booths. Perhaps, it is just something I will become accustomed to as time goes by.
I need to let go of all the things I tend to worry about, until such time as there is need to worry, I guess. I also have to stop what my therapist referred to as "black & white thinking". I have a tendency to want to make things be this way, or that way, when in fact, most things are somewhere in the middle. Good thing I know I'm a work in progress.
2011 October 15
Over the last few nights I sensed more than remembered working out some lingering "stuff" in my dreams. Perhaps because I am away from the day to day preparation for getting on the road, my mind is finding it easier to sort through some of the complex relationships that have been neglected in the chaos. I found myself dreaming about people from New Hope Church. I haven't retained many details, but the overall sense is that I have disappointed some whom I call my friends. Is that truth, or just a reflection of my perpetual guilt? I suppose one way to get to the root would be to talk to the people I can remember dreaming about. I am not sure either they or I can really do that, though.
There is a veil of sadness that seems to envelope my relationships with many at New Hope Church. Whether that comes from me, from them or from a combination of us, I don't really know. Perhaps both they and I felt abandoned. After all, I simply disappeared from the community and the very few folks who did reach out to me, I avoided because I couldn't find an honest way to tell the story without edging it in anger toward Rodger Woodworth. Even now, it's hard to say that the reason I left New Hope Church was because my then Pastor suggested that "perhaps it's time for you to find another church". Granted, I could've mentioned that if we were truly a church based on reconciliation, telling me to find another church because of personality differences between myself and the lead pastor was hypocritical. But, at that point I could no longer sit under a man for whom I had little respect, so I welcomed the escape. It didn't occur to me that to simply leave the fellowship without explanation would hurt me so much. Neither did it occur to me that many in the body would simply continue on without any thought as to my departure.
There were some folks who knew the whole story. They were ones whom I thought were close enough to me to be confided in without worry about gossip. Perhaps I was wrong. It seems that there may have been some sharing, but how much I don't know for sure.
All of this is moot at this point in time, I guess. I have since returned to New Hope after encouragement from one of the Elders. Rodger is no longer lead Pastor. Yet there still seems to be some unfinished business. Yet I have no clue how to address what I feel is unfinished.
So while I am away from my daily routine, my sleeping self is addressing some of this unfinished business. Each night I dream about different people and different relationships. Sometimes I remember only the people in the dreams. Other times I awake with only a general sense of what I dreamed about and an even more general feeling that my sleeping self is working out whatever needs to be addressed.
I am slowly coming to grips with the idea that life in all its aspects is fluid. Perhaps nothing lasts forever. When I initially came to New Hope, I was certain that I had come "home". And, indeed, for a while I had. Yet, the dynamic of the church changed and the change had a negative affect on me. And that's OK.
What hasn't changed is the fact that Jesus is Lord. That is the most important lesson to have taken away from this whole episode. And there are lesser examples of insights and morals uncovered as well. And as my brain works through the layers of my subconscious, I am learning to trust that all will be fine, eventually.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
2011 September 10
Jamie Roth is a Facebook friend. Today she posted this:
Jamie Roth :"Today is the day to step out of any attachment toward recovery, recovered, survivor, survived, etc etc. You don't have to connect with energy of things in your past if you don't chose to. You can be healed and whole. I have past addictions and experiences for which I "survived". But I've moved on to just being me. Here, and now, with those experiences as a part of my past. I live in the present moment of thriving. This has really become something important for me to share with people. I really believe its time for people to step away from attachments to past experiences. I understand how it can feel empowering to say things like "I'm a survivor" or "I'm a recovered..." But it's actually just keeping you attached to that energy. Instead you can just be who you are right now. For example, I do not say things like "I'm a survivor of sexual abuse". Instead I just say, "I experienced SA when I was a child" Feel the difference? It was an experience. It's in my past. It doesn't have to continue to affect me today. I'm just Jamie, really."
It is an eye opening concept for me! I am 61 years old and still have my Mom's voice in my head saying,"Oh! she has no idea WHAT she wants!" And her asking both J & K (1st & 2nd husbands) if I was pregnant when they approached my parents about marrying me, implying that the only reason anyone would marry me was if they HAD to! That feeling continued to color so much of my relationship with R (DH) when we were in the middle of infertility treatments, years ago. At one point, I actually told him that we should get divorced so that he could marry someone else, who could potentially give him children. As if our relationship had no intrinsic value, if I couldn't reproduce.
How long will I allow my Mom's voice to haunt me? I mean, I'm 61 years old! The Mom I knew has been gone from this life for 35+ years. Letting her words continue to affect me now is no longer acceptable. The time has long passed for me to erase those words and replace them with more positive ones. Yet, I am not sure how exactly to make a new soundtrack. And, maybe it wasn't just my Mom. I mean I remember people in my Dad's family saying negative things to me when I was growing up. But is that even the problem?
Maybe the problem is in my self perception. Why is it so hard for me to accept that there are people, young and old, who like me, in fact, love me? Is this a universal problem? I mean do lots and lots of "normal" people have trouble believing that they are loved/liked? Is it one of those areas that we simply don't talk about openly? Or am I just odd in this regard?
I don't know the answer. I do know that I am tired of living as if I am unworthy, undecided and unlovable. The time has come for a change. I'm not sure how change will come about at this point, but I know that it's overdue. I'm also certain that recognizing the need for change is a positive step toward making a change.
For the record, Mom, Mary E, Joe E, Marshall, Rodger, Wende, and anyone else who said negative things to me about me in the past, I'm beginning today to erase those recordings. Why should I allow you to continue to define me? The Creator of the universe loves me, who am I to argue with that?
I want to like myself. I want to love myself. I think it's about time to make a change in the soundtrack of my life.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
2011 Sept 1
Last night I lost the post I had written. One of those weird computer glitches or normal human error, who knows? Probably human error, since it was the end of the day and that is more likely. Anyway, now I will attempt to remember all I wrote last night. It was a positive post, with a glimmer of insight for me. Here goes ...
The final day of August was a good one, as was the previous day. One by one, things are being accomplished.
On Tuesday my brother Dave came over to help with some items that needed to go to our sister Janet's house. First we took a heavy dresser and a console table. Since Janet was at work, we were responsible for loading, unloading and all the lugging involved. I am not as young as I used to be, out of shape, tire and sweat easily. The same can probably be said of Dave. When we left my house, the intention was to deliver these items, return home and take another dresser to her house. With this in mind, I mentioned to Raymond that it would be helpful if he could empty his dresser, but I didn't really expect him to pay any attention to my suggestion. Dave and I were sweaty and a little tired when we returned from Janet's, deciding we'd move the second dresser on Thursday when Janet was off and could assist. Imagine our surprise when we found the drawers to R's dresser in the upstairs hallway! So, another load, deliver and unload took place. Since R is on the disabled list, he did things that didn't require lots of lifting, like removing mirrors.
When we returned to the house after the second trip, Dave and I were tuckered out! As we sat drinking our iced tea and trying to recuperate, I mentioned that the last thing we needed to move was R's three orange crates of LPs. Poor Dave was flabbergasted! He had assumed we were done for the day. But since I was going to be driving Dave home and since the record albums are intended to live at the house where he lives, I was attempting to consolidate trips. This is where R flabbergasted me; he said, "I can probably get rid of a lot of those albums, if I go through them." I was speechless. Dave was grateful for the reprieve; albums are HEAVY! The reason R's announcement was so surprising is that I have been asking him (OK, maybe nagging him) for eight months to do something with all his vinyl.
Wednesday started with an early appointment, followed by stops at Target and Trader Horn for a few small needed items. When I got home, I hit the basement, while R went upstairs to sort through his albums. I managed to do a load of laundry while stuffing a couple of contractor's trash bags with stinky basement stuff. And I bagged a couple of quilts to be taken to the laundromat, since they are too large for our washer and dryer. R managed to make one "keep" crate of records and two "get rid of" crates of LPs. I am so proud of him! The keeps will live in my brother Vinny's basement for now.
One of the things I bought at Target was bubble wrap. One of the reasons I needed it was to safely encase my favorite statue, given to me for Christmas several years ago by my youngest brother, Jimmy. The statue is of a yellow Lab, rolled on his back with his hind legs akimbo, a stick in his mouth, with joy and determination on his face. We call the statue, "Bax" because it so resembles the rescued yellow Lab, Baxter, who brought us love and gratitude for the six years we lived with him. "Bax" sat on an eye-level shelf of the bookcase in our living room. I smiled every time I looked at it. Not simply because it brought back memories of a sweet, eighty pound cuddle-bug, but also because it was a most thoughtful gift from my baby brother. Jimmy has given me other thoughtful gifts, but this one brought tears to my eyes the day I received it. However, a motor home is no place for a statue with delicate, projecting limbs, so "Bax" will also live at Vinny's for now, along with a few other Lab statues that hold a special places in my heart.
The bookcases will have a new home with my friend and niece, Jennifer. They will provide a sturdy place for her children's books. That makes me glad. Our books must be removed from the bookcases today and they too, for the most part will find new homes. There is another bookcase in R's office, but he isn't ready to deal with it yet. I'm OK with that now. The situation with the albums showed me that if left to his own timetable, R, too can let things go. He simply takes a different path.
Our dining room table and chairs have found a new home, too, and may be moving this weekend, or at least, very soon. I loved that dining set when I got it. Granted they weren't the exact craftsman replica I coveted, but I envisioned big, holiday, family dinners around it. OK, so those big dinners never happened. There were some small dinners with some family and with friends. Now, it's time for the table with two leaves and six chairs to provide a space for some other family's dinners, crafts and games.
Some things are easier to give up than others. Raymond is having trouble giving up his books, just as he had trouble with his records. I am looking at it as an opportunity to buy a Nook. While there are only a few books I plan to bring with me, I love to read and usually borrow my reading materials from my local library. After a conversation with my favorite librarians at our local Wood's Run Library, I like the idea of being able to download ebooks from the library, which can be done as long as we have a local address of record. R is less enamored with tech gadgets, but I'm thinking that in time, he'll come around to eReaders. It took months, but he uses his laptop all the time, now and he loves his iPod.
So, today, I'm thinking a trip to the laundromat, bill paying, checkbook balancing and maybe, lunch with my sister. I feel that we're making slow and steady progress toward the goal. What I finally realize is that although the goal is held in common, R needs to take a different path than I do. We're not on separate paths, so much as adjoining ones. What is simple and easy for one is not necessarily easy or simple for the other. The ultimate goal is the same for both of us, so I'm just taking a deep breath and trusting that we'll get there, each in his/her own time.
Monday, August 29, 2011
2011 August 29
I am feeling more balanced. I am sure that attending church yesterday helped. As did spending a few hours at my brother and sister-in-law's yesterday afternoon.
I am happy to say that the message brought to the people at New Hope Church yesterday was exactly what I needed to hear. The fact that it was my first time ever sitting under a female Pastor was invigorating. There was a whole level of identification available to me that I have never had with a male Pastor, regardless of how impressive his credentials, his sermons or his teaching ability. The interesting aspect for me was that her sermon actually focused on identity and our need to see ourselves through God's eyes, as HIS. That is our primary identity. And though we say we know it, too often we allow ourselves to lose sight of that as the most important way we identify who we are.
Too much of the time lately, I have felt without identity. Maybe, because I am no longer working as a care provider for those two little ones I love so much. But also because for quite sometime I have been without a spiritual home base and have allowed myself to become lazy spiritually. In addition to that, there is the fact that we are in the process of purging our stuff in order to live a simpler, less 'stuff oriented' lifestyle. Too often we become defined by what we own, instead of by who we are.
Spending time absorbing yesterday's sermon was centering for me. And spending time at B & A's in the afternoon, further helped me to see that although what we are doing may seem out of left field for some, it is the right option for us at this time in our lives. This AM, I was able to face a couple of tasks that I had been avoiding and complete them. Granted, they are small things, but they are done. I'm feeling more optimistic in general and less overwhelmed. The actual number of items on our list hasn't decreased by many, but my overall outlook has improved and that seems to be making all the difference.
Perhaps I'll even be able to make that phone call to my organizer friend soon.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
2011 August 24
Yesterday was pretty exciting! In fact, it was so exciting that I almost forgot to write about it. Well, didn't forget exactly, just got so tired that I went to bed before 7:30 PM. Don't judge me! Apparently earthquakes can really suck the energy out of a person. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
The day started off with a visit to my Urologist for my regular three month cystoscopy. Dr. T saw no new tumors! YEA!!!! And double YEA, since that means that I get bumped up to every six month cystoscopes now. I forgot to ask him how long I have to be tumor free to get bumped to once yearly, but I'll ask him when I see him in six months! Curious too to find out how long I must remain tumor free to be considered cancer free.
After the doc, I picked up my brother and we had a late breakfast together. That was nice. One of the things I will miss when we're traveling is those occasional breakfasts with Vinny. Is it odd that one of my brother's is my best friend? Well, even if it is, I don't really care. He's one of only a few people whom I know I can always count on.
When I dropped him off, our Daddy snoozing on the front porch so I just headed home.
I hadn't been home very long, when there was a shaking of our whole house. Truth be told, I was in the bathroom and thought I was hallucinating at first. The bathroom window seemed to be moving in and out. I also had a strange butterflies - in - my - stomach feeling, as if we were moving up and down in an elevator. As I ran down the stairs to the first floor, yelling, "Raymond, did you feel that?" I was pretty sure it had been an earthquake.
Now, I have heard about animals who react prior to such occurrences. Let me assure you, Greyla is not one of those wonder dogs! Before I had ventured to the second floor, I had been on the front porch, reading the newspaper. Greyla was stretched out on the glider. She did not move from her spot, neither to accompany me indoors, nor, apparently as a result of any rocking and shaking the house did. I looked out to find her still in her recumbent position on the porch glider, oblivious to any earth movement. I find it a little odd that a dog who goes on alert at the sound of people talking a block away, has no apparent reaction to the rumbling of the earth. Oh well, she IS an enigma.
Since we wanted confirmation of what we assumed to be an earthquake, I went immediately to the Internet. Doesn't everyone? Sure enough, at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/ I was able to get the scoop and was amazed that it was felt as far north as New England.
All in all, the day must have taken a lot out of me, because at 7:15, I headed to off bed. Did that earthquake sap anyone else's energy? Maybe it was just a coincidence, although I don't believe in coincidences.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
2011 August 14
The first clue that we are not lumberjacks, should have been the fact that we do not own a chainsaw. We do, however, own a reciprocating saw which we use like it's a chainsaw!
Raymond was determined to remove a large branch from the maple tree which grows next to the spot where we park our RV. He had already removed an offending portion of the branch when it proved to be too close to the ladder on the RV. Now, he was simply making sure no part of this tree limb ever came in contact with our home on wheels again.
I had just driven us home from our first weekend camping in the RV and went in the house to have an iced tea and a little rest while Raymond plied his skills as a tree limb amputater. Raymond assured me that it would take him "about 30 minutes" to trim off what he felt was necessary. After about an hour, I thought I should see if I could help in any way.
The offending branch was very long and very thick. I took a turn at trimming some of the lesser branches, so Raymond could take a little break. This was a much bigger job than either of us anticipated. But, we kept at it. Little by little, we were piling up a whole lot of maple tree in our yard and there was still a lot to go!
Eventually, we had managed to trim away many of the smaller branches and were left staring up at the main branch which needed to come down, according to my dear husband. The problem was that the branch was very tall and very thick. The branch was going to be taken down in increments, because otherwise it would simply be too heavy. We put all of our skills to use and attempted to predict which way the top portion of the branch would fall. Then Raymond took his turn climbing the ladder, but he wasn't happy with its placement, so he came down, repositioned it and scaled it again. It was a humid day and we were hot and sticky. In spite of that we were trying to hold on to all the good feelings we had from our successes during our first weekend away in the RV.
Raymond was concerned that the branch might fall onto our fence, while I was certain it would fall onto the cement area where our garage used to be. We were both wrong!
Raymond was standing on the eight foot ladder, about five feet off the ground. I was attempting to hold the ladder steady, directly behind him, but on the ground. When the branch fell, it came straight down, just to the left of Raymond. It grazed his arm and then continued downward until it hit the support brace on the side of the ladder. It was so heavy, that it broke the support brace. As the support broke, the ladder toppled to the right, causing Raymond to drop in the opposite direction. It all happened so fast. Suddenly, the ladder was laying on it's side off to my right and my husband was laying on his side off to my left. As I began to step toward Raymond, something told me to look where I was stepping. It was that still, small voice that kept me from walking directly onto the saw blade. Raymond had locked it in the "on" position and it was still going! My first thought as I reached out to Raymond was that he had dislocated his left shoulder this time, because it looked like he had landed on his shoulder. But, he said that the pain he was experiencing was in his left leg. Let me just say that Raymond is usually very accurate in self-diagnosing injuries. Probably all the years he spent playing various sports and having all sorts of sports related injuries have given him a pretty good basis for recognizing what part of him is hurt and how badly. This time, as he tried to stand, he said, "I ruptured my Achilles tendon."
We took a trip to the ER, where I left him, while I went to see if any of my brothers could help me finish the task Raymond and I had started. This was the only way I could get Raymond to go to the ER. He wanted to finish removing the tree limbs from the parking pad, so that we could pull the RV into the yard. He was concerned that if we left the RV in the parking lot, someone might vandalize it. I promised him, that while he was at the ER, my brothers and I would clean up the tree cuttings and pull the RV into the yard. And when that was accomplished, I would come back to the hospital to get him.
Thank goodness for Vinny and Davey. They came over, got blistered hands, sweaty bodies and sore muscles, but that branch surrendered! We got the part that Raymond had cut cleared away and then finished cutting the remainder of it. Then, with them guiding me, the RV got backed into the yard without any new damage!
I dropped my brothers off at their house and headed back to St Margaret's ER to check on Raymond's status. He was in an exam room, waiting for the CRNP to return. He was accurate in his diagnosis, the ER doc confirmed that he did indeed have a ruptured Achilles tendon. He came home with a hard boot/cast on his left foot and leg, crutches, a prescription for pain killers and instructions to call the orthopedic group in the morning and to keep his left leg non-weight bearing. The CRNP suggested that he shouldn't climb stairs and should stay in bed, with his leg elevated, except for bathroom trips until he could see the orthopedic doctor. Yeah, right!
I love my husband, but he is not a compliant patient. Thank goodness he only had to wait until Tuesday morning to see the doctor.
In spite of the fact that it is a ruptured tendon, the doctor and Raymond have decided to go with the more conservative treatment. No surgery. Raymond is wearing a lovely black boot with an slightly elevated heel and major support from his toes to his knee. He will be wearing it for at least four to six weeks, possibly longer. The good news is that he is permitted to weight bear slightly, as long as the device is properly in place and he is getting better using his crutches.
And the lesson learned? We are NOT lumberjacks!