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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Endings or beginnings?

This has been an interesting day. It began early with sending an electronic birthday card to my daughter. I was happy to note that she opened it. I wasn't sure she would. I have concluded that when I decide to do something that involves someone else it only matters that it makes me happy. If someone has a problem with that it is their problem, not mine.

Today was also my one year checkup with my surgeon for my hip replacement. After viewing my x-rays he said the implant looks exactly like it did the day he put it in. Yay! He also said it was because of what I had done and not what he did. His advice was- keep it up. I do not have to go back until 2019. I also acknowledge that my positive recovery is because I had a great physical therapist who worked with  me.

My next stop was to finalize a policy for pre-paid cremation- mine. No I don't plan on leaving earth anytime soon, but when I do I do not want to be a burden to my family. This is something I wanted to do for myself not them. An odd thing happened recently. I came into an unexpected sum of money. I knew as soon as it appeared that is was to pay for this policy. It came within $78.17 of the exact amount.

Next I had lunch with my friend, Betty, who is always available to act as my driver when I have an appointment in Albuquerque. It also gave me an opportunity to share some of my spirit photographs with her. I was very happy to find that she was able to see what I see. Nor everyone can.

All in all this has been a very interesting day. I'm not sure if I should consider it endings or beginnings, but I am grateful for the experiences whatever they were.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Follow the bread crumbs

Something happened yesterday to cause me to go back to 2006. A time when I finished my book, Journey of an Enlightened Egotist. The writing of this book was absolutely led by my guide. Every chapter was lived before it was written and I simply followed the bread crumbs. At the time I didn't have the money to publish it in the usual way so I chose to use the internet and Amazon. Although I don't believe it was a mistake it was not the end of the book's story.

Yesterday I started reading the book again. I didn't get very far before I realized how much information it contained in its 49 pages. I knew at that moment it was too good to waste and it made me very sad that I didn't even have one hard copy of the contents. Perhaps it is my age, but there is a big difference between online and pages you can actually hold in your hand.

I decided to check out a self publishing company that came up on my computer just to see what's what. I filled out a price check and got a quote. It really wasn't too bad and was within my means to meet. They required a minimum order of 24, which was also reasonable. I remembered that my first order from Publish America for my first book, Wake Up!, was 200. What a joke! I still have some left. I'm not doing that again.

My next step was to go through the book and clean it up a bit. I eliminated a couple of colored photos and changed a few minor items to give it a better fit. I liked the finished product, but something was missing.

I had over the years kept comments from some of the people I had given a copy of the material to. Even though this is technically my fourth book I had never used them to help promote what I had written. Now was the time! I had some wonderful positive comments from people who liked what they had read. Some of them are going on the back cover along with a short bio of my previous writing.

Whew almost ready for the printer.

The only thing left is the cover. For an extra $99 I can have the company create one, based on their interpretation of what I wrote, or I can do it myself. Since the book is being printed mostly for my own private use I don't feel it is necessary for anything to be on the cover except the title and the author's name- that would be me.

Now all I need is for my computer literate son to help me send the required data and the finished book will be ready in about a week. Actually I just need to have it by October because there is more to the bread crumb story that I need to share.

As many of you know I have been taking photographs with spirits in them since about 2000. I agreed several years ago (actually 2006) to use them to assure humans that we do not die. A few years ago I had talked to a local store owner about sharing the pictures with the community via an event. Things happen, as they will, and we never got around to it- until now.

The store owner and his partner just moved to a new store and we are planning an evening event for just that reason to be held sometime around Halloween. Although it is not meant to make money I will be able to offer Journey of an Enlightened Egotist in hard cover and Amazon E-book form to anyone interested. The book contains true spirit stories and much more.

It seems as if everything fits together like a puzzle if I just keep following the bread crumbs. Oh and patience helps too!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Time to let go

If you live long enough stuff happens to change your life direction. Time marches on and you are not the same person you used to be. 

In 2010 I finished an E-book titled Journey of an Enlightened Egotist and offered it on Amazon. It’s still there although it hasn’t received much attention. I have given more copies away than I have sold, but that’s alright because I don’t believe it was written as a money maker. It was written to share my journey in the hopes that it could help someone else. I have been told by several readers that it has accomplished that purpose. As I said, that book was finished six years ago and I thought it was the end. I was wrong it was the beginning of things I didn’t know were going to happen.

I have in the past admitted that I was a control freak. I thought I needed to be in charge of everything in my world. Someone once told me that I didn’t have to carry the weight of the universe on my shoulders. I grew up thinking it was my job to fix whatever I thought was wrong, especially if it was a relationship. 

On June 13th, 2014 I offered to share my home with my oldest son, who was retired military and about to lose his house and everything he had worked for. After he moved in it was another four months before he found a job as a Case Manager in our women’s prison. The move was not meant to be forever and it appears that he may be moving on to another state soon. He is not happy living in our little town and feels that he gets passed over for promotions at work. Jobs are given to people from other prisons and to those who really are not qualified to do the work. I don’t blame him for wanting to move on. Sometimes the attitude in this town is it isn't what you know, but who you know.

As I think about the last two years I realize it was an opportunity for both of us to grow. Fourteen months after my son moved in I found out I needed a hip replacement. For the first time in my life I also needed help to do simple things around the house. It was really nice to have that help available. During that time I also learned to be more accepting of another person’s way of doing things. My son and I both learned to help each other while giving the other space. 

I no longer have the need to fix problems that are not mine. It is time to let go of control and just focus on my needs and interests. Time does march on and it gives us opportunities to grow and learn new things.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fixing a lie

Wow how long does it take to fix a lie? It took me 78 years, 8 months and 15 days to fix a lie that appeared on my birth certificate. It has bugged me every since I first saw the way my mother answered the simple questions asked. She used the last name of her step-father (he never adopted her) instead of her own legal maiden name.

Today filling out a form for what will eventually go on my death certificate I fixed that! She will now always be Gertrude Ione Johnston not Cole. So there!

I loved my grandmother's second husband, but what is right is right and I hate lies with a passion. This intentional error just goes along with the fact that she said I was premature. Right! That's not what my birth certificate says. There isn't much I can do about that one.

My biological maternal grandfather died before I was born so I never had a chance to get to know him. That fact makes me very sad, but fixing the lie I fixed today makes me very happy.

I wish I had known you grandpa.
William O. Johnston 1886-1920

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The beginning of the end

Today I am seven days away from the one year anniversary that changed my life. 

On August 21, 2015 before the alarm clock went off I got out of bed and headed for the shower with my antibiotic soap in hand. I got dressed and rechecked my bag while waiting for my friend Betty to scoop me up for our trip to Presbyterian Hospital and my date with my surgeon, Dr. Carothers
Our seventy six mile trip to Albuquerque before the light of day was a little freaky. It was odd that I wasn’t really nervous. I just wanted to get the job done, having suffered pain for three to four years. Not one person I went to even suggested that I needed a hip replacement. Today thinking about all the time and money I wasted on chiropractors and therapists of all kinds makes me angry.

In July, following my intuition, I had checked out the best orthopedic surgeons in New Mexico and picked one to call for an appointment. After viewing my x-ray it took about five minutes for the surgeon to check his calendar and offer the date of August 21, 2015 for my needed surgery.  He said the surgery was not an option it was just a matter of how long I intended to deal with the pain of bones rubbing on bones. Let’s just get this over with I thought.

The date arrived and we were off. Dr. Carothers did his thing and I did mine and all went well. I was released from the hospital the next afternoon. I wanted to stay a bit longer because the food they offered was very good. Instead when my son picked me up I said I had been craving Arby’s all afternoon. It turned out to be my first experience of getting in and out of a car and manipulating a walker. Today I’m thinking- how in the world did I manage that so soon after surgery?  

During the next few weeks I got used to my limited movements and am very grateful for the help of my son, who lives with me. The thing I hated the most was the putting on and the taking off of those damn compression socks meant to prevent blood clots. It was one of the few things I really needed help with because I wasn’t allowed to bend past the waist. I was so happy when I reached six weeks and I could toss them. I wanted to celebrate! 

I endured a few weeks with a home physical therapist. I say endured because I didn’t like her approach. She treated me like a child and kept me from doing things I knew I was ready for. I finally ended our relationship and chose to go to Cibola Sports for the remainder of my recovery time. Mike Rohde is my idea of an excellent therapist. He encourages instead of discourages and his approach is team work.

So here I am seven days from the one year anniversary of my surgery. I expect when I go for my checkup everything will be fine. I am grateful that I had the courage to listen to my intuition and take responsibility for my own well-being. Of course I had help along the way, but it all began with a simple phone call and my desire to end my pain.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What's done is done

Driving by the Los Alamitos Middle School, where two of my three children and my youngest grandson spent two years of their lives, came as a shock yesterday. This is what I saw.
I was aware that for the last year there was a new mid school being built right next door to the old one, but I wasn't prepared for the demolition of the old one two days before the new school year. What a mess! This is a view of the front of the new school.
I can imagine the noise and the dust that will be raised as the remains of the old will be carted away. My grandson said he is very happy to be moving on to Grants High School this year as a Freshman. His time spent at the old school will not go down as the best two years of his life. I can imagine him cheering when he saw the remains spread out for the whole town to see.

I wish all the students and teachers in the area a great 2016-2017 school year. As my friend Lois would say onward and upward!

Monday, August 8, 2016

With a little push in the right direction

Sometimes my guide/angel gets a little anxious when I don't follow through with the plans he/she has in mind for my current growth. Give me some credit! I didn't take a class called angel messages in school. I am playing this by ear.

This morning I dropped off the lap robe for my ex, interrupting his viewing of the summer Olympics. Actually I interrupted his nap while the program was airing on his TV so I didn't stay long.

As I was walking down the hall someone quietly whispered in my ear, "go find the activity director and talk to her". The walk jogged my memory of a communication group I tried to start with the residents a couple of years ago. It didn't last too long, but I realized I hadn't completely given up on the idea. I believe it is healthy for the residents (at least some of them) to get what is in their minds out of their minds. Sometimes they just need a little direction.

After chatting with the nurse at the activity room desk I found the person I was looking for. I told her I was interested in trying again to start a communication group. She was all for the idea and said she would check her schedule to see what she could do to help.

I am thinking maybe last time just wasn't the right time, Maybe the group didn't include the right mix of residents or perhaps I didn't approach my job as its director with the right attitude. Sometimes I myself get a little too pushy. Seriously! I hope I have learned from my past experience to give the residents more space and time to think.

Feeling really good about what I had just initiated I strolled into the Administrator's office. He was happy to see me and I shared my willingness to try again. His reaction was, great go for it, and he added that there is now a new group of residents to work with.

Making things even better, on my way out of the building I  met a nurse who had worked at the facility in 2000 when I was the Resource Development Coordinator. She had quit 12 years ago and only recently started back. She said things were now different with new managers etc. Suddenly everything seemed to be really good timing.

I felt I was right where I was supposed to be with the help of a little push in the right direction.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Second thoughts

Our Walmart store has a depleted yarn section. It used to contain a nice fabric and craft section until the powers in charge decided that our little town had no use for such things. Where they got their information I have no idea. It was the only place in town to make these purchases and we have tons of craft people who live here. The closest towns are almost 100 miles away.

I did find enough yarn to make the wheelchair lap robe I shared in my previous post. In the meantime I ordered a couple of skeins online that I thought would be masculine colors. Perhaps I could donate the one I liked the least to the nursing home. Surely there is someone who could use the gift. Online the colors looked nice and it was called Painted Desert, perfect for a Native American who is a resident of the nursing home.

While I waited for USPS to deliver my order I went ahead and finished the original robe. It turned out nice and the colors seemed suitable for my ex- husband. While I was waiting I also completed three more baby caps for the hospital. What is that saying about idle hands being the devil's work? Not these hands!

In case you've lost count, that's one lap robe and three baby caps this week. I was tending to really like the robe I  had finished, but was reserving judgement for the yarn I was waiting for, which I thought was my first choice.

It came today and my opinion is yuck! It looks nothing like what I ordered. It does look like something an older resident might like though. I started another lap robe and this one for sure will be donated to the facility.

When things don't work out as originally planned second thoughts are sometimes helpful.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Where did THAT come from?

For almost a year I have been making and donating baby caps for the newborns at our local hospital. I've lost count of how many dozens that is. It's fun and the thought that every baby born in Cibola County will wear one of my creations makes me happy. The OB director told me when I dropped off the last batch that they have a little backlog. So I decided now is a good time to take a break and use my talent for something else.
My mind went back to a yellow shawl I made for my grandmother in the last year of her life, for no other reason than I thought it would make her happy. I remember hearing that when my mother visited her and saw it her reaction was, "Where did THAT come from?" My grandfather told her that I had made it.

That memory guided me to locate a crochet pattern for a wheelchair lap robe to make and give to my ex-husband. It seems like a perfect gift for his upcoming birthday or possibly sooner. Before too long the weather will turn colder and he goes for dialysis three times a week. The pattern I found is an easy one. I can't help picturing our daughter's reaction when she sees it. It makes me smile because it will probably be exactly like my mothers was, Where did THAT come from?