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.

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