Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's Thursday morning, May 22 and I am in the Penn Stater Hotel - ready to leave for Old Main and some coaching.  These are the last formal sessions for my Penn Staters in the CIC9 program.  I'll miss them, and I am looking forward to July when I am not on the road anymore this academic year.

I am looking out the window from the 5th floor at the mountains that surround this beautiful valley.  Just watched a squirrel run up a pine tree only to be scared back down by a big crow.  Somehow, I have to figure out how to spend time outside in beautiful and quiet places.  It has gotten harder to navigate the places that I would like to be with this bionic leg and ankle.  The one outside time in beautiful space that I know I will have is at 'the farm' in the Finger Lakes for a few days in August.  But I do stay put wherever I am, rather than wander and explore.  That is something I miss.

Grand son Gaven has his Waldorf School knighting ceremony this evening.  I will be home in time to help him get ready and be there with him.  I was on the phone with him this morning as he was trying to figure out how to carry his backpack, his saxophone, and the requisite bouquet of flowers to the school bus stop.  I hope the flowers arrive intact.

Grand daughter, Maeve has her high school prom tonight and she broke her right arm the day before yesterday. After much negotiation, she has the arm splinted such that she can attend the prom - beautiful black evening dress with accompanying splint.  Then she gets the arm cast tomorrow or early next week.

I have just a couple of days to finish the work on the Woodstock house so I can get a CO on it and we can close the sale.  I have grandsons and miscellaneous boyfriend scheduled to do yard clean up and some painting on Monday.  I just learned though, that the handyman who was fixing things could not figure out how to fix one of the windows.  I wonder if i can get a new window installed next week - actually need to install two windows or the dining room will be mismatched. Maybe, just maybe, Construction Junction has a couple of windows that are the right size.   It will be good when this house is no longer part of my life.

Life does happen when you are living it.  I do wish mine was just a bit simpler right now.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday morning, May 9 in the I-Hotel - Champaign-Urbana IL

The first leg of my flight home was cancelled, I imagine in anticipation of thunder storms.  And there is no way I can get from here to Chicago in time to pick up the next leg.  Tonight's flight on AA to PIT is full.  A few years ago, I would have rented a car and driven to Chicago and picked up some other flight home.  That doesn't work as I need a car with a left foot gas pedal and they are just not sitting in rental lots.  I have been renting from Enterprise since the amputation, and with two weeks notice, they will have a car waiting for me at the right Enterprise station.  But without the lead time, I can't get a car.  I wonder if it is easier to rent cars with hand controls.  But that's for futures.  I don't know how to use hand controls, and I would want some experience before I simply go for it.

Anyway, I am here at the I-Hotel - not home until afternoon tomorrow.  I have sent out notes canceling the morning quilting activities - and I was looking forward to that time.  But, it will come again.  Late afternoon tomorrow I am planning on taking my family to dinner - and then we head to CCAC for James' pinning ceremony.  He keeps trying to act like this RN degree is "no big deal", but he is very excited about it.

I am looking at the movie section of the local paper thinking that would be the way to spend a couple of hours.  Not too much interesting out there.  Think I will go see SpiderMan 2 at the I-Max.

So, my gmail inbox has 25,542 messages in it.  What do I do with them?  Most are absolutely irrelevant.  If I lost them all would it matter?  My former UW colleague and friend, John Peterson use to "accidently" wipe  out his email once a year or so.  He seemed to survive just fine.  I could probably figure out how to do that.  I do have a yahoo account that I look at very, very infrequently.  The only think it has is the Nolting long-arm quilters mail.  I could just leave the gmail account alone and adopt another mail platform that I tell my friends and work related folks about, and leave everything else going to the gmail box - then forget about the box.  I will ponder this a while longer.

Time to work on that expense report and then go see Peter Parker/SpiderMan 2.

(It's not raining here now.  The sky is blue.  There are, however, lots of big clouds out there).

Friday, May 2, 2014

May 2 in the morning -

Last day in Chicago for this trip.  This is a quick post - a shower experience and an idle thought or two.
One legged in the shower.  It really is important to have a towel right near the shower so I can dry this limb before dressing it with prosthesis.  I almost always do that, but not this morning.  And I can't hop - other leg doesn't do that well, and my balance ain't good enough.  Think a minute.  realize I did remember to put down the shower mat - and I didn't get it soaking wet.  It's a fine substitute towel.  I have observed before that every time I use a different bathing facility, I need to check it out and be planful about how I approach it.  This morning I forgot.

Second grandaughter got her driver's license yesterday.  First grandaughter got hers a year ago.  Both got permits near the same time.  One was anxious for the license - took the test four times before she passed, but did it in a short time span.  Second one only does things when she know she can do them perfectly.  So she passed on first try - but it took her a more than a year longer to achieve the level of perfection she was comfortable with.  Now first grandson (of three) has a permit.  This is scary.  He doesn't pay attention to anything around him except his guitar and bass.  I'll observe this with interest, but not sure I want to ride in a car he is driving.

I want to talk about Maeve's sermon in church last Sunday - but that's next post.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 1 - Location - Medical Center Marriott, Chicago, IL

In Chicago this week working with the folks at the University of Illinois Hospital (mostly).  Spending the weekend with a friend then heading to Urbana for the next IT Leaders Program (ITLP) as well as time with the folks on the Urbana campus.  This is two weeks away straight.  I miss my dog.  I really took on a lot of work this year.  I love it - but this aging body does not love the airplanes - or the alarm clocks.  My idea of the best possible morning is to wake up when the sun shines and lie in bed with a book.  Recent fun books - a series by a British ex-pat living in Thailand, Colin Cotterill, who writes about the coroner of Laos - an elderly gentleman who is solving mysteries with his motley crew of friends and professional colleagues.  This all takes place in the 70's, after we left our military campaign in that part of the world.  Great written pictures of Laos at the time and fun mysteries.

More about socks - I am actually wearing a pair of mismatched socks - I have on culottes that show my socks, and not a single body notices.  Of course, when people can see my socks, they can also see my prosthetic leg, and I don't think they pay much attention to the socks, matched or not  (and they were the same color - pattern just a little bit off).

And about the leg - or really about the foot.  When I got this newest prosthesis - and I think that was the beginning of March - I got a new foot as well as a new socket.  Prior foot had a bit of side-to-side rocking motion, but no front-to-back motion - in effect, it was pretty much like that fused ankle I lived with for years.  This new foot (now eight weeks old to me), has front-to-back motion.  I feel less stable with this foot.  It is certainly friendlier to use on ramps (up and down) and on stairs too.  But I often feel as if I am going to fall forward forward or fall backward.  I haven't done that.  I have tripped and tumbled, but that's not new.  But it is the sense of instability back and forth that is challenging me.  So, do I want to return to the old foot?  Do I want to keep working with this one a while longer?  I haven't figured out what the decision point is.  I imagine, I will know it when I come to it.

Day is done for me.  Need to repack my bag tonight and be ready to check out of this hotel in the morning.  Gonna watch a few more episodes of MadMen.  (Not gonna report on washing machine sex again).

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 6:53am
State College PA - The Nittany Lion Inn

So much for blogging daily, huh?  I need to be dressed an out of this room by 7:15 - so this will be quick.

Yesterday was daughter Julie's 50th birthday.  This is not an easy time for her - and I don't think it is about the years.  Regardless, she is doing good stuff, tough stuff, stuff that makes my life a lot easier.  She is very special.  I love her so much.  (And we are going to go see The Lion King in Manhattan in May).

Watching reruns of Mad Men.  Had not seen it before.  Last night as I was watching, Betty had an orgasm with the rumbling washing machine.  Ouch.  These folks are my contemporaries.  It takes place in 1960 - and Betty is 28.  I was 25.  I remember those 'men-in-suits'.  As I deliberately recollect, I especially remember John B and Phil.  Certainly better than a washing machine.

Socks - where do they go?  Why do two go into the washer-dryer and only one come out?  I remember years ago someone telling me that she safety pinned her husbands (not hers because she was probably wearing panty hose then and me too) socks together before putting them in the washing machine so they would come out as pairs.  A little too compulsive for me.  I wonder if I can let myself wear whichever two socks my hands land on in the sock drawer.  If I land on a pair, fine.  If I land on two loose socks, fine.  Sometime I do that if I am going to be around the house all day.  Need to let myself do it for whenever.  Should take the same approach with earrings as I have many singles in my box.

Those are my morning thoughts.  Time to dress and go.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16, 2014

Made mistakes in yesterdays blog.  Only a year and a couple of months older than last post.  My date on that post was a year off.  Then, as I read yesterday's post, after I posted it of course, I found a few typos.  Wonder if I can post today without typos.

Joy was my waking thought.  Even though it was 27 degrees at 8 am in Pittsburgh.  The sun was out.  My pansies are still alive.  And I watched Mary Poppins last night.  Maybe it was ten days ago that I used my new ROKU box for the first time and watched "Saving Mr. Banks".  Many reviewers consider it one of the best movies of 2013 - and I truly enjoyed the movie.  It made me want to watch Mary Poppins again.  Then Monday night I watched "Dancing with the Stars" on TV.  This year, one of the "Stars" is Amy Purdy, a bilateral below the knee amputee and an Olympic bronze medal winner in snowboarding. She is a "must watch" for me.  Watching her challenges me to keep on movin'. Another pair of "stars" on the program are the two young folks who won the Ice Dancing Gold Medal at the Olympics, Meryl Davis and Charlie White.  And back to the JOY stuff.  It is Charlie White who gives me joy.  He danced to "Supercalifragiliticexpealidocioius" and I thought he was just wonderful.  I think I have the show taped and I am likely to watch Charlie do this dance again and again.  Watching Charlie is watching joy in action.  That led me to last nights time with Mary Poppins.  Turns out it wasn't a "watch it again" event.  I had never seen it before.  Another two hours of joy!!

 I am working at letting myself take the time to enjoy some of of this media stuff.  Watching TV at home - except for maybe a couple of hours a couple of night a week - has always given me a feeling of not doing what I was supposed to be doing (whatever that might be).  As I work my way to 80 years of living (about 16 months away),  I am giving myself permission to 'do' less and to just 'be' more.  I started this last year by lying in bed with a book for an hour and maybe more in the mornings.  Next I am going to work at letting myself watch some of the wonderful old movies with this magic box attached to my TV.

And now it is time to "do" a few things - like file away all the papers that are surrounding my desk as the result of tax time and just life in general.  But first, I am going to head down to the corner and get a haircut.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Two Years Older

It's April 15, 2014 - Tax Day.  And I haven't pushed "submit" on TurboTax yet or mailed my check to the IRS. That's very high on today's to-do list.  But somehow, I have been thinking that it is time to blog again - to blog about getting older and older and older.  As some wise said, that is better than the alternative - and that is true for a large part on life, but not for the last parts of it.  For me, it is still better - but I am watching my body and my mind slow down.  One of the most obvioius slowing down signs for me it that I only want to spend twleve or thirteen hours a day out of my bed.  My bedtime has become 9pm.  Mostly I wake up around 6:30 am (later on darker mornings), but I don't get out of bed until 8 ish.  More about this slowing down in the days to come.

One of the things I started the year off was a committment to gratitude.  I can't always hold onto that, but I am trying to keep coming back to it.  Yesterday morning when I came down to the kitchen and looked out of the window, I was assaulted - in the most wonderful way - with the weeping cherry trees in my side yard having burst into bloom over night.  Great beauty and joy right out my window.  Ceertainly cause for gratitude.  It set the whole day off right - even as I was finishing up the taxes.  Today, the temperature (and it is spring) here in Pittsburgh, has dropped to just above 30 degrees.  Sleet and snow are forcast.  I overslept because the sky is gray.  I came down to the kitchen to find a gas mask as well as an unwashed pan and crumbs from something on my kitchen counter.  My attitude of gratitude was seriously challenged.  As a matter of fact, I was ready to be cranky.  (I really like a clean kitchen and haven't had that luxury in years except when I pick up the stuff of those othere people in my house  - and more about that later too). Then I looked out the window at the blooming cherry trees - and they are surviving the cold just fine, thank you. Beyond the cherry trees, my neighbor's huge magnolia has just burst into bloom.  Cherry trees one morning, magnolia right behind them.  Thank you world.

This blog thing,  it is a meditative practice for me - an activity to quiet me mind and, like quilting, to reach toward my own soul.  I want to take regular time to do this.   I will see what tomorrow brings.