Monday, April 28, 2014

Rollercoaster of feelings.

My Mothe r, who is almost 90,  has to move out of her home after 42 years.  She has lived in the same spot for over 60 years. She has lived in the same neighborhood for that long as well. She doesn't want to move, and I'm here helping her get ready to do so. Today was not a good day. She was trying to help me wrap up some things for the boxes. She did okay but I think the memories and the reality of the move overcame her. When my mom gets anxious, she also gets irritable. She has her own system of doing things and at this point she has to rely on me and it is not fun. She gets depressed and she just says things like "I don't want to move and I just want to go on a nursing home." Once the move is over, I think she's going to be ok. But until then it isn't going to be easy. I have a very similar personality to my mothers.  Things between us can become tense at times ,and it is hard for me to remember that she is under this kind of stress and what it must feel like. I'm grateful for being able to be with her, and to help her with this. I just want everything to be smooth and comfortable for her. I think this is just an awesome thing to go through and I am just praying that we're going to be able to overcome this and look back with gratitude in a year or two and be grateful for where we will be. For those of you whose mother has passed on, I know you would tell me to be grateful for the time I have with her and to overlook a lot of things. Believe me I think about that every day. I try to remind myself when she talks too much, or she is too difficult, or she is being very demanding, that one day I may not have her in my life ?  I bite my tongue as much as I can. Not always easy to do.
I know this situation will be over in a short while.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hot Air! I am under it this time!

I had a great experience riding in a hot air balloon.   I got up before sunrise to watch the balloon fest associated with the Dublin, GA St. Patrick's day celebration.   It is unusual for me to get up that early for any reason.   I have gotten a new camera, and it motivates me to do things in search of great photo ops!  I had beautiful shots of the morning launch, and while I was there I ran into an acquaintance who was going for a ride in the balloons.   She is a bit older than I and she was there alone. She said I have always wanted to do this, and now is the time.   I realized as she was talking, and also because my best friend had said that riding in the hot air balloons was on her bucket list, that it was a once in a lifetime experience that I wanted to try.    It looks so amazing to watch those balloons going up at the mercy of the wind.    There is a quality of magic in it.

I made the decision right then and there that I wanted to do it and put my name on the list for a ride.   It looked like there might be an afternoon spot available, and so as I watched the morning launch I started to get excited.    I got the call confirming my spot and showed up amidst all the balloon captains and crews laying out and preparing the balloons to go.    I met a great crew of people and along with my friends to see me off went up in the Blue Flame with David Harwell.  David has been piloting balloons for rover thirty years, and he has owned seven different balloons. The Blue Flame is a splendid large balloon that fits three in the basket.  





 Once the balloon was inflated, it took almost no time for us to be ascending and leaving my friends shrinking on the ground.  I was really amazed at how calm I was, but also a bit alarmed to realize how little control there is for these balloons.


  You are truly subject to the wind and you have to go in that direction.   No control.    David explained to my fellow balloonist JoAnn Dotson and I that this was a fairly safe trip with the exception of the danger of landing in electric wires.   He would periodically reach up and pull the lever to shoot the flame from the gas burner into the balloon, heating the air and controlling our altitude.


   Other than the loud sound of the fire, like a super torch for ten or fifteen seconds it was total silence.   Amazing.



 Looking at the other balloons ahead and behind us was like being in a dream.   It reminded me of jellyfish floating in the water at different levels, but still going with the current.   Seeing my hometown from above was very disorienting, but when I recognized a landmark it gave me a whole new way of thinking and seeing things.     There were a lot of forests and fields around the town and we drifted over the Oconee River our Captain began looking for a place to set down.



  David said that there was a lot of forest ahead and we needed to find some "wiggle room" to avoid drifting over the woods and having to go a long long way.     We could see our chase team following us and David decided it was best to try to set down on the side of the road.  That was kind of scary because there were electric wires running on the opposite side of the road!   I realized we didn't have any brakes, and stopping was totally at the skill of the pilot! Wiggle room???  We went lower and lower and I thought surely we were going to hit the trees., which we did!




 The bottom of the basket scraped the trees and helped us go slower.    We set down right by the road and it was amazing!  The cars coming and going stopped and watched as we set down and then climbed out.    The process of deflating and packing the balloon was quite a chore, but it was a great feeling!  I enjoyed it a lot!    It was a real feeling of adventure, and I was proud that I could have the courage to ride the wind!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Another day with more certainty that I do have the shingles around my eye and on my face.   Darn it.   I had planned to drive to Florida to spend the next week with my mom.   I am not in much pain.  Some discomfort.  I am hitting it with all the meds that I can think of.  Saw the ophthalmologist today and she said that she thought the eyeball looked fine and to keep a watch on it.   I feel ok, A bit drained and taking all this medicine is a bit much for my body, but I am grateful that the bad pain that people talk of is not there.  I have a little pain.    Tylenol is managing it.  
If I were to go to my Mom's I would drive by myself and I am a little worried about this.  It tires me to do it when I am well.   I could go part of the way and stop for the night.   I worry about being alone on the road at times, although I am very cautious and observant when I am alone.    I also don't want to show up at my Mom's with a funny looking face and I am sure people will not feel all that comfortable.   I will wait until in the morning and see.  My right eye is swollen and looks like I got hit without the black and blue part.   I want to be in Florida and I feel stuck.  
  I didn't take the shingles vaccine because I thought if you had shingles once you couldn't get it again.   I had a mild case of it some years ago.   I definitely know this is wrong, so if you are a candidate for the vaccine go get it!    I just feel a little scared.   Don't know why.  Sometimes being alone, living alone is very easy, and sometimes I feel very small and wished I had someone to take care of me. Someone I could hide behind and know that they had my back.  I do have friends who do a darned good job of this when they can, as they can.  Thank God for that!!!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Shingles

I had a little area come up on my eyebrow next to the top of my nose and I had this idea that it should be seen about, so I went to the Urgent Care center and the Nurse Practitioner looked at it. She thought it might be shingles so we jumped on it with all of the anti-virals and antibiotics and steroids.   I am hoping it won't be shingles, but I feel optimistic if it is that we are treating it early.  I hate the idea that it is shingles.  I had them once before and I thought you could only get them once, and therefore didn't get the vaccine they have now.   If you have had the chicken pox you need to get the vaccine for the shingles virus.  Please do it!   I am sure you know people who have had it and how painful it can be.    Praying makes a difference and I am doing plenty of that so this will heal tomorrow!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Getting adjusted to not working full time.

Today was a bit boring.   I noticed a distinct change in my energy and enthusiasm.   I have expected to see some of these changes.   I was sorting through my sock drawer, matching pairs and weeding out those solitary widows who have lost their mates.   That is boring.   My lunch buddies from work called me and they asked me to meet them for lunch.  I hadn't planned to go, but I realized that my mood was getting a little blue and I shifted gears and headed for the door.   I have eaten lunch with Jackie and Tom for at least ten years.
I can truly say they are like my family and I think there was a fear that my retirement would end our friendship.  I knew that there wasn't any chance of that,  and it has been reassuring that our time together is just as precious as ever.   I actually did accomplish several things.  I washed a load of wash, I defrosted some frozen food and had a really good supper.   I walked my dogs.  I visited with three of my neighbors.   I completely emptied a box of reciepts and documents for 2013, getting ready for taxes.   I took care of several phone calls and kept an eye on the news and especially the weather.  there is a winter storm watch for this area and a strong likelihood of winter weather, snow and ice in Northern Georgia.  I really wanted to go and watch the snow fall and accumulate, but the forecast is for ice and I know how dangerous this is.   I did the wise thing and decided to stay home, but I sort of felt that was a mistake.  That somehow I was betraying my Seize the Day philosophy and becoming a grown up.   Who wants to be a grown up?   That is really depressing.
I also spent time with a program http://www.bitstrips.com that enables you to make cartoons and learned some of the operation of that.  It was a bit complicated and I wish I could learn more .  I don't think it is that hard, if you know what you are doing.  I believe people need to try things.   How do you know you have a talent if you don't allow yourself to experience it?  That is one of the reasons I think something like Girl and Boy Scouts are such a good thing for kids to be involved in.   Earning badges prompts scouts to try many different skills and learn a variety of new things that  enlarge a young persons experience base.  I have thought about being a scout leader,  but I would see that as a big commitment.   I might head that way before it is over.   

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Downsizing, letting go, organizing, simplifying.

I have a large stack of boxes full of papers and books that I brought home when I closed my office.   I went through most of the things when I packed them, but it got to the point that I just had to go ahead and put the things in boxes.  I had to get out of there.    It was just the need to make the break and to get my things out of that room and out of the building.   I had no place to put them but in the middle of my living room floor and there they have sat since the beginning of December.   I also had some Christmas decorations and a few other boxes to add to the stack.   Today I managed to get some of the mountain of boxes rearranged and organized a little differently and I managed to do a good bit of house cleaning and washing.   I am tired and feel at last I have begun the process of reclaiming my space.   I don't know what to do with my boxes from my office.   I kept a lot of files because if I continue to practice as a therapist I need access to some of this material.   I have collected different books that I use with clients in bibliotherapy.  I have also collected a variety of manuals and program development materials to help me put together programs and proposals.   I wish I knew if I were going to need these things.   I would love to toss a lot of it.  I doubt I will ever look at it again.   I am at a loss as to what to do with it all.   I really don't have room for it at home.  I need another room!   Any suggestions.   I am really focused on downsizing my clothes and some other collections that I have grown throughout the years.   I had a friend when I was a little girl who had the skill to totally clean her room when the time came.  She could through things out when she didn't use them anymore and she kept everything neat and clean.   Even when I tried to throw things out so my room could look like hers, I never did acquire that skill.    I am a hoarder, a pack rat, a collector, a save it you might need it kind of girl.   I wish I could be free of that and let go.    That is one of my goals for this year.   Throw it out if it isn't used, if it is old, or worn out, if it is a duplicate, if it is dated and stale.      I am just going to keep on trying!  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Addiction is a serious and fatal illness.   Another victim of this horrible disease was claimed this week.   I feel a real sense of loss and sadness, more than the usual amount upon hearing of the passing of a celebrity.   His acting touched me in very personal ways.  I think becuase he exposed a very vulnerable part of himself when he acted, and had the ability to see inside a character and bring out facets of the personality that we sense are there.    I have this thought that I only wish I had known he needed help, I only wish I had known that he was in distress.   Why didn't someone try to stop him?   Why didn't someone intervene?   I know it is said that if a person doesn't want help, then you can't help them.   I think we use this as an excuse not to try.   There are ways to try and extend a hand to people in distress.  There are ways to reach out and hold up a mirror to someone so they can see what is happening in their lives.   He had reasons to live.  He had reasons to continue to explore hiss potential and to be a father to his children.   

Lately, I have wondered if there were times I should have intervented in a situation, rather than walk away and say, "Let God take care of this."  Now that I am not working in a professional capacity, I find I have more energy and interest in the lives of the people around me.    As I continue in this life of not having to work at a job, I am slowly discovering more of who I am.  I am relaxing and taking things at an entirely different pace.   I am thinking more about others, and not so focused on what I have to do next in order to continue to work on a daily basis.    I reflect on how I was functioning and how I was managing my affairs.  I had no idea how much of my whole world was arranged in order to be able to continue at work.  I am amazed at how much of my "self" was lost in order to continue to work.    I don't think I am any different than most people who work hard in a fairly stressful and demanding job.    It is the price of stress.   I can understand how someone would want to find something to help them escape.   I am grateful for me that it wasn't drugs or alcohol that provided that cushion for me.