Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Passion Week

This past Sunday, our Rector issued a "challenge" to attend every service during Passion Week. He said it would be an awesome experience. I'm looking for awesome, so I went Monday, Tuesday, and this evening. So far, it has been awesome. The Gospels are building up to the crucifixion and finally His resurrection. I can't wait to go home and share the lesson with my son.

Tonight's lesson was betrayal and how to handle someone who betrayed you. Jesus knew that Judas would betray him, and he let Judas know by dipping a piece of bread in wine and feeding it to him. According to our visiting priest, this little act seems inconsequential to us, but according to the custom, if you break bread with someone, you consider them part of the family. Even though Jesus knew he was going to be betrayed, he still showed love toward Judas.

So, the lesson for us is to love those who've hurt or betrayed us. Love on them. Forgive them. We don't do it for them, we do it for ourselves. That's what Jesus would do, and so should we.

I've been betrayed by two people, and I've held a slight grudge against them for almost 20 years. Well, I've decided to forgive and forget. We'll see how that goes.

BTW, I still haven't heard from the Doctor about my brain scan. I'll have to make time to call tomorrow to find out if they saw anything I should know about.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Grandchildren, Part 2

Grandchildren are a reward for having gone through the good times, tough times, trying times, happy times of raising children and still having some semblance of sanity.

I remember thinking my grandmother was senile when I was 12. She was actually 2 years younger than I am now. I wonder what my grandchildren think about me. We called her Oma, and my grandkids call me Grandma.

My grandson is the cutest little 2-year-old boy on earth. I know you're thinking that every grandmother thinks that, but this time it's true. He's so cute with his blond hair and blue eyes. He reminds me of McCauley Calkin.

I remember when my daughter was pregnant, she came home with a video of the baby moving in the womb. I watched the video and thought his face looked deformed. I was terrified the rest of the pregnancy that something was wrong with him. I didn't tell a soul, but I was really scared. And I prayed. Then when he was born and I saw his perfect little face in the incubator, I cried with joy. I as so grateful to God for this special gift.

He is a gift. I get such a kick out of the way he tells on himself when he's about to do something wrong. He gets a certain look on his face. Once, while I was babysitting, he crawled on the coffee table, slid around on his tummy with that look on his face, opening drawers and checking out the view from the "forbidden land." I figured he shouldn't be there, but I was told I could spoil him all I wanted, so I let him explore. Then he got on his knees in the middle of the table and said "Dit down!" He said it again, "Dit down!" I laughed so hard I cried. What a hoot!

One of the things I do with my grandkids (heck, I did it with my own kids) is bathe them in the kitchen sink. It really beats kneeling beside the tub, especially when my knees were so bad. He plays with the water and fills cups and bowls and splashes. I blow bubbles with the soap, and he pops them. It's a treat for him.

My grandson got a swing set for his birthday in January with a slide. The men set it up, and he couldn't wait to slide. I was out watching him climb up and slide down. I noticed an ant pile by where he was walking, so I told him to watch out for the ants because they were yucky. Everytime he walked by the pile, he'd say "that's yucky." He'd slide down, walk by the ant pile, say "that's yucky," climb up the ladder, and slide down. Over and over again.

The last time I babysat, we played in the backyard until it got dark and it was time for supper. He was actually ready for bed that night. The next morning, we headed back outside; we picked up golf balls, played on the swing set, and I pulled him around the yard in his wagon. My daugher and son-in-law live a block from a playground, so the next day, we went to the playgound. And again, I wore him out. Yea! My goal is to be able to keep up with my grandkids. Being able to wear them out is a bonus!

My daughter is such a good mom and a strict disciplinarian. I wish I was as good as she. Her son is very well behaved, and he minds so well.

My granddaughter lives 20 miles south of me, and my grandson is 20 miles north of me. I really don't like that they live so far away. At least we're in the same city. Some grandparents aren't as blessed as I am.

By the way, I still haven't heard anything about the CT scan. I'm hoping no news is good news and maybe the neurologist is looking the scan. I'll try to call the doctor tomorrow.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Eyes, Part 2

Yesterday I went for a CT scan of my head to see what's causing my double vision. The technician said that if anything bad was going on, they'd let my doctor know immediately. I didn't hear anything today, so I'm praying that's good news.

The double vision seems to be getting worse every day. I don't know if it's because I'm always reading or working on my computer. It's pretty bad when I drive home from work. The images are sharp, and there's definitely 2 of everything.

I'm thinking a really bad muscle imbalance. And maybe they can fix that?

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 15, 2010

2000 - Part 2: Scrambled Brain

May 2, 2000 -- After the accident mentioned in Part 1, my son was admitted to University Hospital, and he was in Surgical/Trauma Intensive Care for 3 days. The first 2 days were really scary. He didn't recognize me, and he didn't know the answers to the simple questions the staff would ask when they were with him. He once told me that I wasn't his mother. I asked him who was, and he pointed to the male nurse who'd been working with him.

He was beligerent and disoriented.

My daughter finally came to the hospital to see him. She was clutching a CD player and a Queen CD. We got permission to set up the CD player and had the music playing softly when we left that evening. The next morning when I arrived, the music could be heard in the hall! The staff enjoyed the music so much that they turned it up. And my son was 1000% better. He was responsive and could carry on a simple conversation.

I was so grateful to God, my daughter, and Queen!!!

The hospital was one of the best he could have gone to. University is a teaching hospital, so every time a doctor visited him, he had at least 2 students in various phases of education with him, consulting and conferring. After a week, my son was discharged from the hospital and admitted to a full-time rehab facility -- Warm Springs. Warm Springs was a fantastic facility. The only bad thing was he had a roommate that screamed all hours of the day and night. His head trauma was much worse than my son's, and they had big groups of visitors all the time. After a couple of days, he moved, and my son could rest, relax, and start healing.

The accident caused a mild case of palsey. Half of his face didn't move, so when he smiled only half his face smiled. The other side drooped. It was really scary. I prayed he'd recover. He was at Warm Springs full time for 2 weeks, then he came home and went to rehab every day for a few hours. The bus took him in the morning, and I picked him up every afternoon. That lasted for a month. He recovered quickly.

During this emergency, hospital, and rehab, my daughter and I were graduating -- I from college, and she from high school. I cancelled our graduation party because we didn't know what was going to happen. My ex brought our son to our graduations. The photo of him at my graduation in a wheel chair, gaunt, wearing a suit that was too big, and smiling with half his face breaks my heart every time I see it.

The physical recovery was one thing. The mental was another altogether. If you've ever had to deal with a head injury, you know what we went through. The personality, thinking, memory problems are scary, unpredictable, and difficult to deal with at times. In addition to the hospital, and rehab, we had to deal with his high school. They forced me to bring him to school to take his end of the year tests. It's probably no surprise that he failed them miserably. I was so upset and angry that they wouldn't wait for him to recover before making him take those tests. He didn't have a chance to study, he couldn't have remembered if he did study, and he was in no shape to take tests that soon after the accident, but one lady was uncaring, and she made the rules.

He went to night school for the next year and got his GED shortly after. Life has been tough on him since, and he's trying to keep a stiff upper lip. His memory is almost back 100%, his brain functions 100%, and he has a great sense of humor, quick wit, and he's very creative.

2000 - Part 1: The Drama Queen

There have been 2 years that were very full. 1998 was one, and 2000 was the other.

I started back to school in earnest in 1990 to get a BBA in Marketing from St. Mary's University. The last thing I had to do before graduation in May 2000 was turn in a paper. After doing so, I went home, took off my jacket, and declared out loud, "It's time for another chapter!" The words were barely out of my mouth when I heard an ambulance go past the house, and a few minutes later, I got a phone call -- My son had been in an accident.

I grabbed my jacket and rushed to the house 4 blocks away where the ambulance was putting my son on a stretcher to take him to the emergency room. He was talking and moving, which was a good sign.

It seems that he was hanging on the front of a mini-van when the driver stopped, and he lost his grip, landing flat on his back on the street, cracking his skull.

I met the ambulance at the University Hospital emergency room, along with a couple of the other mothers and called my ex. When he arrived at the hospital, he made sure he was the center of attention. He was white as a sheet, and he kept exclaiming "Oh my God, Oh my God!" Before I knew it, the staff in the emergency room was taking care of him and leaving my son alone. They were getting him a glass of water and making sure he was comfortable. I couldn't believe it!

It's funny -- now that I'm writing this, I realize that I never quite forgave him for that.

He has always been the center of attention. At parties, people would gather around him to listen to his stories. His stories were funny, outrageous, and true. He is a great host, always remembering to offer guests a drink or a snack. When we were in the hospital with our son, several of his friends came to visit. My sister, brother-in-law, and a couple of dear friends are the only people I knew who came to visit.

I realized during that time in the hospital and rehab how important it is to have someone visit you. I vowed that I would get over myself and go to visit friends when they were hospitalized or recuperating. Because, it's truly about them, not me and how I can contribute. Just having someone there to help get a drink of water or fill the emptiness of the hospital room is a huge help.

Who's the drama queen now?

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Grandchildren, Part 1

I'm blessed to have 2 grandchildren. My son has a daughter, and my daughter has a son.

Katie Pie was 13 months old when I first met her. She was born out of wedlock, and I love her. For 2-1/2 years, I picked her up on a regular basis and spent time with her, mostly one on one. I really enjoyed my time with her. We'd go to my house and watch "Finding Nemo" or we'd go to the library, and I'd read the books she'd pick out from the stacks. Usually when I'd read to her, the kids in the library would gather around us and listen. We'd make new friends everytime we went to the library. Then gas prices skyrocketed, and I couldn't afford the 80 miles each time I was with her, so we started doing things near her house. We'd go to someplace to eat, or Chuck E Cheese or the library by her house. Then I couldn't even afford going to her house, so I cut our visits down to every other weekend and she'd spend the night. I'd plan my schedule around our visits. There were many times I didn't do things with my friends because it was when I was supposed to be with Katie. After a couple of months, they told me she couldn't spend the night because she had to be 5. So, I backed off.

Then the Sunday following Thanksgiving in 2005, I went to get her, and she wasn't at the apartment. Having to find Katie was one of the games the other family played. I went to her great grandfather's house, and her great aunt told me that they were gone. Katie's mom took her and left the state to get married to someone in the service. Her mom was supposed to have told me, but she didn't. I was so upset. There was a huge hole in my life. It took about a month for me to rearrange my life so she wasn't the center any more. I took back most of the Christmas presents I'd bought her and went on with my life. About mid January, my ex called to tell me that they were coming back to SA. But, by then, the magic spell was broken.

The other family never accepted me as a good person. They blamed the situation on me. The fact that their daughter was promiscuous meant nothing. I'm not saying my son was completely innocent. It takes two to tango, but they made it difficult for me to see Katie. They never met me halfway. As a matter of fact, sometimes I couldn't find them to pick her up or take her back. I'd drive between the grandfather and great grandfathers's to find them. There were times that I had to wait for them to get back home. But I was patient because I loved Katie, and I enjoyed our time together.

I was beginning to get close to her again when her mom took her out of state again. My ex and her grandfather brought her back, and the other family has completely shut me out. Now all communication is between my ex and the other family. My ex picks her up and she spends the night with them. She's been at my house a couple of times in the past 3 years. I love her, and I see her when I can. But it's not like before. My life is a little complicated, and I hope that soon things will settle down enough for me to spend more time with her. I feel she needs to be with me to help her gain perspective and not be so selfish. She's learned how to work everyone. She pouts and pitches fits, and can be generally obnoxious at times. But that's part of growing up and learning her limits. She's really smart and I'm very proud of her and her accomplishments.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Eyes

You don't realize how precious something is until it's either broken or gone. I have a friend with Macular Degeneration who is seeing less well everyday. She's in her mid 80s and she's coping very well. I admire her for that. I also admire her because her sight isn't the only precious thing she's lost. She was transplanted when Katrina hit New Orleans. At 79, she came to San Antonio with the clothes on her back and not much else. Her sisters lived here, so she moved here. Since, her sisters have passed away, and she's staying in San Antonio. Believe me, she'd rather be in New Orleans, where she lived most of her life. She's going on with her life, living in a great retirement complex making friends and keeping busy with some of the activities they provide. She's funny and very intelligent.

I've been complaining about my eyesight for the past 15 months or so. My contacts weren't correcting my vision as well as they used to. Then by the end of the day, I couldn't stand wearing them. As a matter of fact, I carried my contact case with me so I could take them out at the first red light after work. Not very sanitary.

The Optometrist I was seeing wasn't helping although he's very nice, and he tried. So I decided it was time to see an Ophthalmologist. The Ophthalmologist took care of the chronic dry eye by inserting plugs in the lower tear ducts. They've taken care of the dry eye, but now I get crusty stuff around my eyes all day. I'm constantly wiping them.

Once the dry eye was taken care of, I had my prescription filled. The glasses didn't help any more than the ones I had last year. I have double vision. I wouldn't recognize my sister if she was walking toward me in the hall. And driving at night is a trip. The little yellow turtles in the middle of the road were standing up -- looking like they were stack 4 high.

I made an appointment for this past Tuesday to get my prescription corrected so I wouldn't have to pay for it again if it's wrong. The Dr. assured me that the prescription was right. That I have something wrong with the nerve in one of my eyes. He thinks it's atrophied like maybe from a stroke. He faxed the info to my Primary Care Physican, who wants a CT scan of my head and then is referring me to a neurologist. This is getting scary. I use my eyes at work. I'm an editor and I work on a computer all day. I haven't been able to read for the past year and a half. And I miss reading.

I'm sure everything is OK. I'm hoping they'll map my head and check for other possible maladies while they're at it. Maybe I can be assured that there actually is a functioning brain (although I'm wondering at times if it's still functioning) and that all the blood vessels and arteries are healthy. I've had high blood pressure (corrected) for several years. The Ophthalmolgist thinks my double vision is related to the high blood pressure. I go Monday to get the orders from the PCP so I can make an appointment for the CT scan and then the neurologist. I'll keep you posted.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Back at Work

I don't mind telling you, I was exhausted after my vacation. Saturday evening when I left, I said good-bye to my friend and wished her a good trip home. My TV was on the blink, so I set the alarm on my cell and crashed.

The alarm went off way too early, so I reset it (or so I thought). But, my ever-hard-working guardian angel woke me up in time to get ready and get to church on time, almost to the minute!

I'm back at work today, and it's difficult to get started. My computer was sickly the week before my vacation, and our tech reconfigured and reloaded it last week. Now I have to "personalize" it from top to bottom. Everything I'd set up to make my job easier and faster is gone. I'm not complaining, just stating the facts. It is nice to have a computer that works like a new one. He did a great job! And I even have newer versions of some of the applications!

And I have LOTS of email. Some personal (not very much because I checked my email periodically while on vacation), some junk, and lots of emails that were taken care of while I was gone. I still have to open them to make sure they are things I DON'T have to take care of ;O).

It's good to get away from the office for a week. Vacations are good, but they can be trying sometimes. I spent way too much money, and I ate too many great meals. The only exercise I got last week was shopping and going into restaurants. But it was fun! And I bought gifts for family instead of things for myself this time.

I've been working since late December to lose weight, and boy, did I backslide last week! All the things I'd learned through my Weight Loss Group, Weight Watchers, and Wellness @ Work were nowhere to be found. 50+ years of bad habits haven't gone away in a couple of months; I still have lots of hard work to do. As a matter of fact, one of the things I should be doing is moving. Here I am during my lunch hour, typing in my blog instead of moving. So, I'll pop in my Bhangra CD and dance.

Catch you later!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Church Life

I belong to St. George Episcopal Church, and I'm fairly active there. There are times when I don't darken the steps for a few weeks, but I don't miss any obligations there. I'm the Wedding Coordinator, the Flower Ministry coordinator, and a member of the Altar Guild (lead in my team). Most of these happened because no one else would step up.

I grew up Catholic in a small town Catholic church, going to the parochial school through 5th grade. Then I went to a private school through 10th grade. Then we transferred to the public school for the last 2 years. I'll have to tell you about that sometime ;O).

I continued going to church most Sundays after I moved away from home and when we first married. I didn't care for the church in my neighborhood. It was way too big and impersonal for me. I didn't believe the smiles were genuine, and I was uncomfortable there even though I was part of it for many years. So I stopped going. It really was a bad time to quit because my kids were late middle school and early high school. But their Catholic education was sorely lacking even though we went to church almost every Sunday. I realize now that I should have filled in the blanks myself, but I've always been busy trying to keep the bills paid (EXCUSE).

Anyway, after several churchless years, I met someone while working on a newsletter that I produce for the Friends of the San Antonio Library who talked to me over the course of time that we worked together. First she was singing hymns that they were learning in choir. Then I told her that I needed to get back to church, and she suggested I join St. George. I asked her what kind of church it was, and she said Episcopal. Of course, my response was "Oh, I'm Catholic." I couldn't think of going to a different denomination. She'd tell me stories about what was happening at her church, and the terms she used were the same as Catholic. Before I knew it, I was grabbing a friend of mine to check out this church one Sunday morning.

I immediately fell in love with St. George. It was small, with a gorgeous stained glass window above the altar. I even loved the smell of the church. I felt at home -- at peace there. My friend didn't care for it, and she never went back. But I did. I made friends there in no time. Everyone there is friendly, loving, and truly cares for everyone.

Shortly after I joined St. George, I went to the Ministry Fair they held in the gym and signed up to be a Greeter and to work one Saturday a month at the Bargain Boutique, their resale shop. Before I knew it, I was working every Saturday at the Bargain Boutique, and I was also on the Prayer team.

Being on the prayer team was very stressful for me. Growing up Catholic, I'm not good at spontaneous prayer (although I'm getting better), and the thought that my prayer partner wouldn't be there one Sunday and I'd be on my own was my undoing. So I dropped the prayer team, and evenutally, I fell off the list for Greeter. In December of 2007, I quit working at the Boutique.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Begin at the beginning

A Blog to share my soul? To share my thoughts? To share my life? We'll see. I've wanted to blog for some time, but I never felt I had anything to share. If I don't get started, I'll never get anywhere, and I'll never know if what I have is worth sharing.

2010 has been the beginning of changes for me. I started Weight Watchers right before Christmas so I'd have something to help keep me in check during the holidays. It worked well! Because of Weight Watchers, I didn't stuff myself at every opportunity that presented itself. And that felt good.

Then a friend said she was going to start a Weight Loss Group (6 weeks) for cognitive behavioral therapy. I was so excited. I was finally going to address that damn loud voice in my head that keeps telling me I can eat this and start again tomorrow.

Then something else started -- a Wellness @ Work workshop for 6 weeks that addressed all sorts of health topics such as understanding the nutrition information on food packages, how to understand the ingredients list, diabetes, etc. And Weight Watchers @ Work was starting at my company.

OK, so the weight issue was covered. Then our church began another session of Financial Peace University. I'd gone through it completely in 2008. Started it again in 2009, but when I got to the part about setting up a budget, I couldn't justify the extra gas to the meetings, so I dropped out. I started it AGAIN this past January, and the same thing happened. I got to the budget part and my budget is so TIGHT that I couldn't squeeze out the extra cash for the gas to the meetings.

That's OK because I was a slave to meetings and reconfiguring myself. Before I knew it, I was sitting in front of the TV watching NCIS on DVR and not doing any of it anymore. And that's not good.

One thing that did happen in the past 7 weeks was I realized a huge pattern in my life:
I get excited about a new program. I get started on the program. I work the program for a few weeks. Then I get busy because I'm an entrepreneur as well as having a full-time job. Then I get distracted. And before I know it, I get back into my old patterns. That's what happens with Weight Watchers, Financial Peace University, Avon (Oh, did I mention I'm an Avon rep as well?), everything I start.

So, they say that recognizing the pattern is the first step. So, it's duly recognized. Now what do I do?

OK, I got excited, started, and busy. This past week, I've been on vacation to visit with a friend who came to town, and before I knew it, I was distracted. I've gained about 5 lbs back in just a few days, and last night I put away at least a bottle of wine. So, am I back into my old patterns? I SURE HOPE NOT!!!

I pulled out my diary yesterday and started recording what I ate. But most of what I ate didn't have nutrition labels so I couldn't track it. I'm definitely going to have to do something QUICK! My answer to that was to stay home today and regroup. My son said I should be with my friends because I'd regret not spending as much time with as I can. And I may regret it. But, you know, I like being home. I like my home. I like being alone.

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