Saturday, November 15, 2014

WHAT I HAVE TO LEARN...

PREFACE
As the title addresses, what I have to learn...is a lot. I am always learning and hungry to learn. Sometimes the lesson is not so easy to identify. We go through good times and bad times and we should learn something from both, but bad times are harder to substantiate with a lesson. Our reality is made by our thoughts, so we are responsible for both the good and bad. Most people do not want to accept this premise.

STORY
I have recently gone through much change in my life. Experienced trauma in several different ways and I've had to work towards resolving what is the "now" of my life. In April of this year, I was forced out of my long-term housing (5 years in a house and location that I loved!) and had to humbly move back in with my sister. I am exceedingly grateful to her for her generosity because it is a terrible imposition and disruption of her life and home. During this vacation of my home, I broke my leg! The first broken bone of my lifetime. LESSON: I should have started sooner to pack and disseminate all my belongings of 30 years of accumulation, gotten a storage unit, and stored all that I could before it came down to a deadline.

After moving 140 miles to my sister's, and my broken leg healed, I caught a respiratory infection from visiting a cancer treatment center with a family friend who was going through chemotherapy. I was sick for 8 weeks! LESSON: ALWAYS wash your hands and sanitize while visiting a hospital/medical center! WEAR a mask if possible too! And keep your immune system strong (I had run out of most of my supplements that I regularly take to keep my health at optimum.)

I had been sick with coughing, low grade fever, and general exhaustion for 6 weeks before I went to the clinic for evaluation/treatment. I HATE modern medicine and was treating myself with remedies but needed an antibiotic to kick this bug out of me. I had almost healed when my sister gave it back to me again, and I just couldn't fight it off the second round. LESSON: Keep your immune system at optimum.

In one week in October, my family lost two dear family friends and our 19 year old cat. Three deaths within four days. Dan (74) died Wednesday night from complications of cancer treatment, Barry (67) died Tuesday from a heart attack, and Snowball (19 = 92 human years) died in his sleep of old age (warranty on all the parts ran out). This was HELL week for my sister and me. LESSON: Appreciate every day you are given. It's a gift, don't waste it. Tell your loved ones you love them every day.
Dan (1940-2014)
Barry (1947-2014)
Snowball (1995-2014)

CONCLUSION
The lessons were are presented with will be presented again and again, if we don't learn from them. I am very bad at meeting deadlines. It's a control thing and I have to get over it. I need to take better care of my health, especially when I'm depressed and overwhelmed. Many difficult times are hard to explain at the time, but great things will come out of tough times if you are open to seeing them, open to positive thoughts about the future. Embrace the present, enjoy your loved ones, and seek joy everyday!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

HEALING, BUT NOT HEALED...AND CAUSING MORE DAMAGE!

PREFACE
Four months later, my broken leg healed but the muscles are not back to normal yet. Fewer days of crying, more days of job hunting, scrambling for part time gigs to get SOME money coming in, and trying my best to show how much I appreciate my sister for all she's done for me.

STORY
I'm doing physical therapy (PT) once a week to strengthen my muscles that went unused/underused for 4 months. I get terrific knee pain when I overdo and the ankle is now being tended to, since there's so much more pressure on it and apparent damage was done there too. Management of pain is paramount at present.

I was tired. Haven't been sleeping well or in any socially acceptable time pattern (I sleep 6am-3pm, vampire hours!). When I have to get up and function in the normal "business" hours and it cuts my sleep time down to under 7 hrs, I get tired and careless (stumbling, banging into things, cutting flesh instead of food in preparation, etc...). On Tuesday (8/12), I had done two standee installations, driven to and photographed a third, and now at home was preparing dinner at 10:30p.m. All of this on 6 hrs sleep! I was heating up leftover meatloaf and while removing a plate I had placed as a warming plate on top of the food, it slipped out of my hands...dropped edge-first onto my left big toe...landing just below the bottom of the toenail. It didn't hurt at first, more than to say a slight profanity at my clumsiness. The "oh, f**k!" being drowned out by the clanging and circular-whirring of the dropped plate.  Then the PAIN made its way up my leg, spine, and hit my brain center!! I started to cry...it hurt SO bad...like it had been chopped off, or was being continually hit with a ball-pean hammer. I just wanted it to stop!

My sister leapt into action, offering help..."Do you need some ice?"..."You need some ice, right now!" she said after seeing the half inch black mark at the base of my nail, already beginning to bruise...and the redness spreading across my toe. She also got me a Vicadin and sat by me while I writhed in pain for the next 30 minutes...foot up on a pillow, wrapped in an ice bag...me crying (praying for it to stop hurting). She finished our dinner and served it up while we sat in front of the TV. She wanted me to go to the ER. (I am very opposed to frivolous use of the emergency room services, even now that I have health insurance to cover it...THANK YOU OBAMA!!) This pic is of broken toe...day 2.

CONCLUSION
I finally went to sleep with another pain killer and 2 Motrin. I knew right away that I will be losing that toenail. (It's happened before in my life...and you just KNOW.) Now I'm limping on BOTH sides! I hobble around, being extra careful NOT to bump that big toe...OMG! does that hurt! It's been four days and the toenail is almost all black with bruise, under the nail and everything red and swollen around it. I have been icing it and wearing my sandals to keep the pressure off but I still had to do (2) standee installations, (1) Ross shop, and a patron count for (4) showings of The Expendables 3 movie (last night). It's swollen and throbbing, but I have to earn some money! This too shall pass...and I just keep putting one sore foot in front of the other. :)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

MOVING DISASTER

PREFACE: 
I wish the best to all of you having to move by choice but please APPRECIATE anyone who is helping you! I just had to vacate my (5 year) rental due to my landlord lost the house in foreclosure and it was auctioned in January. So that means I moved NOT by choice. My 2/2 with 1 car garage was holding the accumulated possessions of 20 years with my late husband, momentos of my son growing up, 14+ years of crafting and fine arts, ongoing eBay sales items, and 10 years of teaching (student work) at college level. I had 60 days to whittle down the mass, pack and store it all...or get rid of it. NOT enough time doing it by myself! 

DISASTER STORY: 
The last night of moving belongings into a rented UHaul (by myself) ended in a bad step off the back of the truck as I BEGAN to unload this last load into the storage unit. I fell 4 1/2 feet and landed on my right foot, hearing a loud POP in my knee, crumbling down to try to catch myself with my left leg twisting my ankle, down...down...down landing just above my tailbone and then hitting the back of my head on the parking lot blacktop. Laying there for 20 minutes, crying from the pain, in a puddle with a light rain falling on me...not knowing what damage I'd done...the storage facility now closed to incoming traffic...I was completely alone, with a full moving truck to be unloaded! I finally limped and hopped my way back to the cab of the truck, crawled up into it, welcoming the heater available as it was dropping to 59 degrees rapidly! and my cellphone! I called everyone I knew within 50 miles and got mostly voicemail response. It was 9:30 on a Tuesday night. One of my friends said he'd come and bring others to help when I refused to call an ambulance. He came, with a friend and they both unloaded my truck. I couldn't walk but could press the gas pedal to drive the truck back to the house again for the things I had left for last minute loading into my car and distribution to others. They loaded up my UHaul truck again, and unloaded it again into my storage unit. THAT is true friendship!

At 2 a.m., I drove myself to the ER, used a Rubbermaid two-step ladder as a walker, and after x-rays found out I had broken my leg. I spent the next 8 hours in ER, getting pain shots and pills so they could straighten my leg to put a splint brace on. They released me to another friend to drive me away from the hospital, not that I was letting that happen. I had her drive me to my car and I drove to her house (up 2 flights of stairs! where the rest of my stuff was & my cat!). I was moving that day to my sister's house 140 miles south. I had already told her not to drive up to get me, I wasn't towing my car down, that I was capable of driving (with both feet), and would arrive later that day.

I am now recuperating with family in a spare room with all that I could pack into my subcompact Toyota. I had to suspend all my online selling, my artwork, and my crafting until I am (literally) on my feet again. Moving doesn't suck, it is a gut-wrenching life event that is like losing a loved one, especially if you aren't in charge of the decision. At this point, 17 days later, I don't know what I saved and stored and what was left to scavengers and the landfill. I have flashbacks about items that I'm not sure I still have in one place or the other. It was traumatic on so many levels that it will be some time before I am able to move forward, much less create and enjoy my arts again.


RESOLUTION: I am allowing myself time to heal. Writing about it is cathartic and hopefully will help others. I am so grateful for my dear friends who helped me through this and my beloved family who is helping me heal. Things can be replaced, people cannot! As long as your move includes those you love, you can always survive. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

SPRING HAS SPRUNG!

PREFACE
With spring comes renewal. Grass becomes green again, budding leaves and flowers everywhere, and change is in the air. My life is going through a big change and I don't have a clue how it will all turn out!

STORY
My landlord's house was sold at foreclosure auction on January 22nd. I have been getting letters all about it as the "unknown tenant" but with my name right next to that. So "unknown" but named...lol. Fannie Mae bought the house at auction, and is the agency that guaranteed the original "underwater" mortgage. Funny how things work.

It has been very traumatic to have to move again, and in with family again after 5 years of being on my own in a beautiful town and neighborhood. In central Florida, 2 hours from anywhere I would want to go (but didn't, except to visit family...where I'm moving back to!). I'm under a monumental amount of stress right now, and I broke down into uncontrollable crying today, just to slow me down some more.

I am asking myself what decisions did I make to get me here? Was I using good judgement when I signed up for a graduate level class in November and then continued to pursue that decision until I became $1000 in debt to family friend and 3 weeks away from the end of semester, still not knowing if I can pass this course or not. And when I do pass the class, it won't count for anything if I'm not accepted into the MFA program to complete my degree (of which I have 40/60 credits). It's all hanging in limbo, just like me.

Moving back in with my family entails the loss of freedom. No more walking around naked in the morning or sleeping that way at night. No friends allowed over. My cat isn't allowed anywhere there is carpet, so just my room and the enclosed porch. None of my furniture (my bed!) is allowed in except maybe my computer desk. And if I don't pass my class, I'll have to leave...move again!

I am grateful that I have somewhere to go, even if for only a month or two.

CONCLUSION
I must re-examine what I am manifesting if this is where I am right now. I don't want to be at this point, with these decisions and pressure, moving back to where I gladly left 5 years ago. I don't want to be "let go" from another college teaching job after 3 years because I don't have my MFA! I just wish I knew what to do, what to decide. I will meditate (which I have been doing more and more lately) and ask again, and again, and again, until I get a clear answer. My life seems to be nothing but change and renewal. Happy Spring!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

AND FALL IS UPON US

PREFACE
Good thoughts. Think of how you want your life to be and it will be. Thought becomes reality. I am really losing patience. Had a birthday, lost my job, may lose my home, car is in need of repair, haven't seen family all summer, NO dating prospects...

STORY
The weather is turning cooler, thank Mother Nature for that! It is a glorious time of year to be outside and to work in my gardens. I have three raised flower gardens in the front of the house and one veggie/herb garden in the back. The water from the well has quit twice now...very late this year for it to be short on water...hmmm. Got 23 plants on Friday from Lowe's, for $24! Such a deal!! Now I have to plant them before they wilt and die. I have been wanting some Cannas to plant and most of them are...some red flowers, some with variegated-striped leaves, some with dark coloring under the leaves...beautiful. And they were going to throw them away!!

I got notice that the house I am living in and have lived in for 4 years is going to be judged for a final foreclosure decision on Dec. 6, 2013. My backdoor neighbor said that even after that, it may be several months before any action against me takes place. I am expecting a miracle.

I haven't heard anything from the college about me teaching in the spring as yet. The schedule came out on November 1st and even if I'm not listed, they should know if they are going to bring me in to teach. I live for teaching, love it so much, and I don't know what to do when I'm not teaching. Teaching is what I am meant to do.

My health has suffered at my own hands. I have been idle for SIX months and my body is showing me that this has to be reversed or I am headed for trouble. My muscle tone is gone, my hip joints hurt...not to mention the increased pain in my knees and back, and I'm starting to look and feel my age. What a horror!! This is not how I want to be. I can change this. Exercise. I have lost 20lbs.

CONCLUSION
Get up, get moving, DO SOMETHING...build the life I want. Peace & Joy!

Friday, October 25, 2013

AND HERE WE ARE AGAIN

PREFACE
It seems that every three years, I am unemployed from teaching at college level. Never mind that I don't have my terminal degree (Master's in Fine Arts, like a PhD but not called a PhD, still no degree above it). Never mind that I get higher student review scores than full time professor colleagues. Never mind that I'm a woman, and post-secondary institutions are notorious for being male-heavy in their instructors/professors! Oh, and besides, I have no significant man in my life.

STORY
I have worked for this college for 3 years. I was told that my "credit hours" were to be cut due to Obamacare and I couldn't go over the requirements of 30 hours. WHAT!? I teach 10 hours a WEEK! That requirement to provide health insurance coverage for employees that work over 30 hours...is per WEEK. I teach 4 classes, 2.5hrs each class = 10 hours for fall semester (12 credit hrs). Plus 10 hours for spring semester (12 credit hrs).. Plus 2 classes, 6 hrs/week for 6 weeks for summer terms A and B  (12 credit hrs total). That comes to 36 credit hours for the YEAR! not per week. Ok, so cut me back to no classes in the summer = 24 credit hours (NO, TOO CLOSE TO 30!) Frustrating getting a straight answer out of anyone.

Along comes SACS accreditation and 4 adjuncts get axed due to no MFAs. 2 women, 1 black man out of 4. Hmmm. A vague promise to hire me back in the spring when SACS is off their backs. Meanwhile, I'm living on $692 (+ $162 food stamps) per month. Not a whole lotta living-wage jobs out there for a 57 yo woman without a masters degree.

CONCLUSION
I am confident that everything will work out for the best for me. Right now, my depression has kicked in and I have to go to sleep. Tomorrow is another day (actually it's already tomorrow...hmmm, looking out the window...looks like a better day!). Namaste'

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

RETIREMENT AGE DATING

PREFACE
I have to qualify the title "Retirement Age Dating" to what it means to me at this point in time. It means those single women and men just short of or at retirement age. Now retirement age use to mean 65 (and that is what it means to me) but now full retirement age is 67! or even 70! We are living longer and working longer. Of course, more women are living longer than more men but that's another article. There are a lot of places now that consider ME a senior at 55 and give me the senior discount!

STORY
(1) I have a sister 9 years and 5 months older than I and she has been single for more than 30 years. First single when her husband left her for a 16 yo girl (yes, really!) and then legally divorced from same husband 9 years later so he could marry same girl who was then 25 (!).  My sister raised her only son by herself, fighting tooth and nail for support from her well-paid fireman husband. She didn't date because of being legally married and also due to her son (not wanting a parade of men vying for his affections/approval, nor wanting any ammo for the estranged husband on her lifestyle or reputation). She had two serious relationships in the last 20 years but neither worked out satisfactorily. Just recently she put herself on a popular dating site with explicit wants and needs for a companion (not a sex partner or marriage prospect). She got DF who is perfect in a multitude of ways, but she is not romantically nor sexually attracted to him. He so far he is satisfied with the arrangement and caters to her needs and wants without looking for a love commitment or physical involvement.
(2) The lady next door is 63 1/2 and widowed now 5 years. She was very shy about starting to date again but has been steadily seeing a man 10+ years her senior. He is different than any man she has ever known and he doesn't treat her well. He's the first man she has had sex with since her late husband died. The sex is great according to her. Their relationship has been off-and-on over the past two years. He has broken her heart several times only to come back and start it all up again. He tells her to seek out her other options (date other men who are interested) and then becomes jealous and insults her when she does. She dated one man who is very wealthy and could take care of her in style, treats her like a queen (except when he wanted to have sex with her and after she said it was too soon, he said he'd be willing to pay...!...what is wrong with men in their 70's???). Her steady guy is on lots of medications and has recently been taken off two of them. He's back in her life again and she sees a big improvement. Maybe it has been the combination of meds that has made him so "bipolar!" but we'll have to wait and see on that.
(3) And then there's me...55...educated...full-figured...energetic...diverse interests/experiences..healthy sexual appetite. What do I find? Men who want one-night-stands or fall madly in love with me and I feel nothing or I really like them and never get a second date-or-phone call-or-any communication ever again...WTF? This happens across age groups and ethnic groups. I've dated men from 25-64 and most every race. I'm so tired of searching and being disappointed.

CONCLUSION
It is a crap shoot! In my opinion, you have nothing to lose in putting yourself out there, whether it's online or in real life. The only condition is that you have to be willing to accept love into your life. If you send good thoughts and wishes out into the universe, you will draw good things to you. Whether you pray or meditate, do morning and evening affirmations, write down your wants and needs, build a dream board or let go and let God...sooner or later, you will find someone right for you. My wish for you is that you recognize them when they come along!! Happy dating!