A Day In the Life …


 

MY FRIDAY BEFORE MEMORIAL DAY weekend was mighty busy. More than I bargained for, actually. It started with me wearing my “Homeowner’s” hat; taking a lawnmower in (hand to wrangle it into the back of my truck, then out again) for maintenance and then paying “bail” to get my weed eater/brush cutter sprung outta jail so I could do some serious work in the yard over the weekend.

Then I switched hats (after getting spiffed-up) and met my mystery writer friend, Joyce Oroz, for lunch up in beautiful downtown San Juan Bautista. Writerly hat donned, I was hoping to leave the grey skies behind as I headed inland, but apparently the grey extended its hand all the way into (and beyond) San Juan Bautista. As I walked the block and a half to the restaurant, I took inventory of my warmer weather attire, and I crossed my fingers, hoping we’d be eating inside at Jardines. Thankfully I didn’t find Joyce outside in the patio, but nestled nicely to one side of the Mexican restaurant’s indoor seating area. A pesky pain in my arm interfered with my high spirits a little bit, but after a lovely, filling meal, we chatted with the assistant manager about utilising their garden patio (dining area) for a book signing. He was quite sure something could be worked out, but would have to get back to us on Monday or Tuesday. We were happy with that and bade our good byes to the manager and each other.

My shoulder and arm kept hurting (I couldn’t figure out why) and by our departure was quite bothersome, so, before leaving San Juan Bautista, I rung up my family doctor to see if I could—by some miracle—be squeezed in … no such luck. They didn’t like the sound of the symptoms and since I could not be seen by them, their automatic (CYA) response was to recommend I go to the emergency room.

Sigh. Not happy with the recommendation, I did comply. But calculating the timing and my itinerary, I chose the hospital on the Peninsula over Salinas because it would be closer to my next destination … and if the worst happened (which I doubted), I’d be closest to my daughter—so much more convenient for her (and I prefer CHOMP to SVMH anyway). Another reason was I’d be more likely to make it to the event at Open Ground Studios since it usually took less time at CHOMP than at SVMH. Even with CHOMP being busier than usual, I made it out in under three hours—just in time for the event.

So, I spent some “quality” time at CHOMP, admiring the paintings hanging in their waiting room as I went through the “triage” of care, then was led into the inner sanctum for further evaluation. Kinda wished I’d brought my edit with me—time would have passed faster (maybe). I always feel like I’ve wasted the staff’s time when it’s a false alarm—but I am thankful it wasn’t the worst-case scenario (heart attack—I always have to consider it since I’m on blood pressure meds and have a wonky heart that likes to skip beats, then add an extra now and again). Instead, it was most likely a neck/nerve issue that I’ll have to address at a later date. (Drats!) Well, with Memorial Day weekend upon us, it was put into the back burner. I can’t read a crystal ball, but I do foresee more doctor appointments in my near future—several, in fact … plus a stress test (ugh). Sniggle and sigh … all in one breath.

With that out of the way, I was finally able to switch hats (Painterly) one final time and enjoy (mostly, since my arm still hurt) a wonderful evening with my fellow artist friends and the public that came to see the exhibition of art created in classes and by OGS members. I didn’t participate this year. It felt kind of weird not having any work displayed—other than the piece on the Co-Op Member’s wall at the back (along with my books), but I’m glad I didn’t—I would have been scrambling the last month or so, even more than I already had been! Time to let other artists get the spotlight—well deserved, too. I’m so proud of the amazing things that are created with the OGS walls.

By the time I got home, I was ready to crash and take some medicine that would work better than the Aleve (which gave me zilch relief). Saturday I awoke to no pain (the cycle was broken—yay!) and the day was spent recovering from the busyness of Friday. I didn’t even touch the weed eater—I’d planned on spending the day whacking away at my burgeoning weedy yard, but recovery was more important. The weeds could wait for another day. Monday was the first day I attempted using the weed eater … oh, my. I am so far out of shape—the vibrations did not feel good on my neck, so I laid it to rest in front of the garage … and have yet to pick it up again.

I think I’ve finally resigned myself to not doing any of the heavy work needed to bring my yard back into a more tidy form … instead, I’ll be making a call to have someone come in and do the work for me—this is a very hard thing for me to let go of. I love my gardening—even the hard stuff. Maybe I’ll have him out to work this weekend. Maybe I’ll have another story to tell. We’ll see.

I cannot believe it’s June already (insert serious eye-rolling here)!! Until next time, I’ll say adieu. Have a fantastically blessed Friday and weekend.

Patience, Please …

WAITING. I’VE NEVER BEEN good at that, even though (until recently) I’ve thought myself to be a pretty darn laid back, relaxed person. Patience is one of the Fruit of the Spirit. As my daughter went through all her various growing phases, patience reined (well, mostly). Thank God for the abundance of patience given to me to get through those times. I think I’ve mentioned her lolly-gagging through meals … and our desires for her to hurry-up, right? And her response back to us? “I’m savouring it, Mom … I’m savouring it!” Lesson learned (at least for awhile …)—from a five year old.

But lately, my patience seems to have grown thin … even a wee bit moth eaten, with holes everywhere, allowing my impatience to flow through. Waiting on my slow internet connection … pages open so painfully slow.

Sitting, waiting in a doctor’s office. Waiting for my car to get fixed. Waiting. Waiting for doctor’s offices to return calls … or get authorisation to set up procedures. Life is definitely a waiting game, that’s for sure. It’s what you do with that waiting, right?

I’m not sure why I’m becoming so impatient. Impatience, coupled with frustration, may be my downfall. Doctors have become so specialised, so narrow-minded in their scope of care. I know the insurance industry has a lot to do with it. Sitting, waiting for my eye doctor’s staff to call me in, I’ve been ruminating on the fact that they (at least this office) will no longer do an eye exam (for glasses) in conjunction with an exam to check for eye disease. Apparently it’s not allowed (so they say) by insurance. I have to make two separate appointments. Or be thinking ahead enough to schedule the two together. That may be the reason I left them five years ago. Hmm. The doc I was going to in the interim uses numbing eye drops—which I seem to react badly to—to do the pressure test (to check for glacoma). At this office, they use a machine that puffs air on the eye, so the numbing meds aren’t necessary. The dilation medicine does sting a bit, but that’s no big deal.

… And then there are the patients that should be in hospital for just a wee bit longer. I’ve heard horror stories of patients having out-patient surgeries (like a hysterectomy)—that used to be done in-patient—and released after an overnight stay … where it used to be a minimum of three to five days. Insurance companies, not doctors, rule the roost these days. And we all must wait for them. Sigh.

It’s been well over a week and I have yet to hear back about a procedure that used to only take a day or two to get authorised and scheduled. Another procedure, I’ve been waiting for three days. It’s all about hurry up and wait. And I guess I’m just tired of waiting. I’m an action kinda gal. A get-it-done kinda gal. And, I don’t know about you, but I’m an oh-my-gosh-…-hurry-up-so-can-get-it-on-my-calendar-already kinda gal. So all of this waiting is driving me up a wall. To say the very least.

All of that said, I find that trying to rush, scurry and push things into happening usually causes more stress than necessary, so I’m trying to breathe … breathe slowly, smile and enjoy the quiet time forced on me as I wait. Key word is “trying” … My daughter’s concept of savouring—savouring time is a sound one … and one I should fully embrace. I’m trying. I believe in enjoying life, honest. It’s just that there are bouts of impatience that get the better of me …

Breathe … stop and smell the roses … chill … relax. Yup. I definitely need to slow down (as I keep glancing at the clock—I don’t want to be late for a doctor’s appointment!).

Have a blessed day and weekend, folks! Until next Friday … peace be with you!

All In Good Time … Patience

WAITING. PATIENCE. QUEUES. How are you at waiting? I think, once upon a time, I had an over abundance of patience—kinda necessary when raising a child (or working with children), both of which I’ve done. Friends would say I had “the patience of Job”—took me awhile to realize what they were saying. What a complement. But … I think, when my daughter reached fifth grade and I was a co-coach (for the fourth consecutive year) to seven kids on an Odyssey of the Mind team … with all their new-found hormone-spewing emotions, something happened to that unending supply … it kinda got up and went. Escaped, really. Fled, screaming and yelling into the night. I loved each and every one of them—we’d become a close knit family—but I swore never to coach again. Never.

After that, well … I had a “normal” level of patience (what is “normal” anyway??). It would ebb and flow depending on the situation. As I grew older and wiser (insert sniggering grin), patience was easier to muster. It was almost like the “old” me had regained some of that youthful reserve. There are still times where I find myself pushing when I could be chillin’, but not as bad … definitely.

Waiting in lines? I actually have found it fun. I use the time to people watch. Watch their impatience or passivity—how they handle waiting. I decided to look up some quotes about patience and this one by Joyce Meyer fits in here perfectly: “Patience is not simply the ability to wait—it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” Perhaps they need to be somewhere five minutes ago (oh, I do remember that)—getting agitated, trying to make things go faster, complaining, maybe even making nasty comments. Sometimes it can be quite comical (not their intention, but that’s how I see it that way) and I need to squelch a giggle or smile.

Watching people, like I said … but also interacting with them. I’ve found striking up conversations while in line helps pass the time, too. Once, while “suffering” through the summer heat and l-o-n-g lines at Disneyland, I pulled out a bag of freshly washed string beans and we three (father, very young daughter and yours truly) started munching. Cool, sweet and perfectly healthy. People in line would stare and then comment on how smart it was to bring such an easy and nutritious snack (and wishing they’d thought of it). Then the conversations began. Time flew. Stress flew out the window. Perfect.

Other times, as I stood in the grocery store lines, with my daughter in tow, I’d strike up conversations with people. My daughter used to look horrified as I talked with complete strangers (after all, hadn’t I taught her not to talk with strangers?)—only to find out the horror was not caused by that, but the fact that is was so easy for me to chat with a complete stranger. She finally asked: “How did you do it?” Hmmm. I honestly couldn’t tell her—at least not at the time. I know now. Having faith and simply allowing it to happen. Make the first move, say hi or simply make a positive comment about something happening while we are waiting or compliment/comment about something they are wearing or purchasing (“oh … my, that cake looks yummy!”). It’s easy. Doesn’t require any thought, really. Then let nature take its course. It may stop right there, or in may evolve into a complex discussion about something totally unrelated. I love it (insert grin).

As a writer, photographer and artist, I have found that patience is, indeed, a virtue. I’m not as too good at being patient whilst waiting for the “right” shot—many times I give up just before the optimal opportunity arises—and kick myself in the rear for not waiting just a wee bit longer, missing an extraordinary shot or two. I have garnered an abundance as a writer, but it has been a long, painful haul. One does not rush writing or art—and obviously, taking pictures if you want to catch the “perfect” shot. But, especially with writing and art, when it happens, it happens. It is so obvious—at least to me—when things get rushed. This is why, even though I’m way past my self-imposed deadline for my book, I am not rushing. I want to get it right. I want it to be the best it can be.

Patience?

Definitely a virtue and one to hold close as we navigate through this life.

I’ll leave you with some little gems I gleaned from my search on patience. Have a blessed day, filled with love and patience for your fellow man and in all the things you run up against, both big and small.

  • Patience is a virtue: “Only Patience has the strength needed by all the others (virtues), from Psychomachia (Battle of spirits) by the Late Antique Latin poet Prudentius, during the early fifth century A.D.
  • “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
    A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
  • “A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”
    Henri J.M. Nouwen
  • “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
    Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
  • You can learn many things from children.  How much patience you have, for instance.  ~Franklin P. Jones
  • Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience.  ~George-Louis de Buffon
  • Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.  ~John Quincy Adams
  • Have patience, my friend, have patience;
    For Rome wasn’t built in a day!
    You wear yourself out for nothing
    In many and many a way!
    Why are you nervous and fretty
    When things do not move along fast;
    Why let yourself get excited
    Over things that will soon be past?
    ~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, “Patience” (1940s)
  • Patience is the companion of wisdom.  ~St. Augustine
  • Patience is also a form of action. ~Auguste Rodin
  • One moment of patience may ward off great disaster.  One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.  ~Chinese Proverb

Done…

…WELL, ALMOST DONE.  I have edited my story, attempting to create two books out of the 66,000+ word manuscript.  It is in now the process of a professional edit at the publishers — after I bravely handed it over to my four Beta Readers to see if I’d chosen well.  My Beta Readers agreed — definitely more than one book…one specifically saying three books, and he wants to see more!  While it was in the hands of my Beta Readers, I actually came to the same conclusion.  Like minds…

I have read, re-read and still, I find this story fun, engaging, with surprises around many corners and I want more!  And more is piled up in my brain, ready to spill out onto the keyboard when I am ready to sit back down and get serious again.  But, right now, I am anxiously awaiting the return of my manuscript, which I am sure will be rife with corrections…corrections that will need rectifying very quickly if I wish to keep my October, 2013 release time frame.

In the meantime, I have been on holiday, enjoying myself…not thinking (well, not too much at least) about writing.  I have my cover art well in hand…in good hands of a wonderful artist, Michele Littlejohn-Luccketta of The Potters Hand.  Tomorrow, she will reveal her handiwork to me and I am excited to see it!  She will also take my picture for the author’s photo on the cover.  I want to keep my book and all that goes in to it as local as possible…except the publishing part.

I have yet to create much of anything artistically at the Open Ground Studios, except for the mini-workshops that are open to the public.  I’ve made origami creations, Japanese sumi-wash painting, had fun at a social night or two, gone to several exhibition openings for fellow artists and this weekend, I will participate in a workshop led by Frank Trueba, to learn how to make/create Japanese wood-cut prints and enjoy his exhibition opening.  Just so you know, most — if not all of this — is available to the public, so if you are interested, come check it out (click on the link above to find out more).

My holiday seems to be drawing to a close, as my brain is beginning to fill to overflowing with ideas for the new books in this series.  This makes me happy — yet I am clinging to this lovely feeling of holiday-time…the leisureliness of it, not wanting to get back to the grind of frantically putting to paper all the thoughts piling up in my head. But if I don’t begin to ‘release’ some of these thoughts, I feel my head may explode…

To make matters worse, my brain has the notion of taking all of my personalized stories and those stories told in the classroom over the years and weaving them into an anthology…well, perhaps an anthology series, since there are quite a few stories to be had.

But, for now, whilst keeping myself busy having fun — cramming in as much leisure time as possible — I anxiously await 7August13.  That is the promised date on which I will receive (perhaps before) my edited manuscript for correcting. It seems so far off — yet so very near!  Exciting.

The countdown has begun.

 

The Waiting Game: A Way of Life

EVERYONE HAS PLAYED IT, ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, over and over again.  You know what I mean.  You sit there, on the phone, waiting for the representative to come on the line before you die of boredom because of the elevator music.  Or in line at a grocery or retail store as the clerk calls for a price check or the customer fumbles with writing a check or searching for their debit card.  Waiting for your child to finish up what he’s doing so you can move on to the next thing. Waiting at a doctor’s office, to be called into the room long past your appointment time.  Or waiting for results of a test or procedure, waiting to find out how it will effect your life.

How you handle all of these types of waiting is quite revealing.  I used to be fairly impatient, always in a hurry to get from point A to point B (as a very young adult–too busy to notice anything in life).  For a type B person, that’s unusual, I think.  But life has a way of getting in the way of itself.  All the time.  So, even a type B personality can get frustrated.

As I’ve aged (I’d prefer to think of it as mellowing), I have slowed down and learned to appreciate things.  Waiting in lines, on the phone and various other waiting games were still causing aggravation — that is, until I learned to multi-task while waiting.  In the beginning of this revelation, I always made sure I had a book to read.  If at home, I’d putter in the kitchen, completing some chore that was within reach of my long corded phone as I played the “on-hold” waiting game.  Then, with the advent of cell phones and computers, I was able to surf the web, check appointments or wander through the grocery store with my grocery list (and hope I didn’t hit a dead spot while waiting on the phone).  Simply wonderful.

I found that I interacted more with people in the lines where I was waiting, joking about the time it was taking to break the ice, then diverting onto a completely different subject.  It was liberating.

But, I found, with the more serious Waiting Game issues, just finding something else to do was not enough.  After a grueling year of “why am I feeling this way?” with no answers after doctors appointments, tests and trials of medications, my husband and I finally got our answer to his question.  And when he found out it was untreatable cancer, his response was to give up.  Actually, he had given up long before the diagnosis.  His waiting was finally over and his solution was to close out the world and just die.  Leaving my daughter and me to cope alone.  That waiting reinforced in me that one cannot idly stand by and just wait.

For me, God is the one thing I can depend on completely, no matter what the circumstances may be.  He is my constant in an ever-changing world.  My Rock and Foundation.  Usually, I turned to Him in times of need.  Jim’s heart attack, his life-threatening aneurysm, and then his cancer.  Two times, my husband survived to live another day.  The last time, I simply needed to know He was there for us as we went through these last days together.  And He was.  Without Him, I would never have made it in one piece.  And He continues to walk with me daily — whether I remember He’s there or not!

Even now, God is the one I turn to for patience as I wait for results of tests.  Two appointments.  Nothing major.  And I have friends, right now, playing that same waiting game — one for surgery, several others for healing of loved ones.

When I put it (whatever it may be at the time) in His hands, it allows me to continue on with everyday life, from day to day, with greater ease.  Test results are all normal so far, so I am praising Him abundantly as I move on through to the next round…

And, just when I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, I get a sinus infection, which makes my brain & vision fuzzy — I hate being sick (I don’t really know of anyone that looks forward to it).   Oh, it could be so much worse, especially after seven hours of emergency room germs bombarding me at the height of the flu season, so I praise Him for that too.  Praise — and healing, please.  And a great big thank you!

So, until I’m better, I’m off to my snugly bed, with chicken soup, my home-brew of essential oils wrapped around my neck and a wonderfully darkened room, to play the waiting game — once again.

 

 

Say Aaahhhh…

I HAVEN’T BEEN TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM for quite some time.  Apparently things have changed drastically since then.  Or, perhaps it was simply because of the overwhelming number of flu cases that have begun to poured into the ER this year.

The visit certainly provided me with heaps of fodder for blogging (she says with a smile), though, I think most of it might sound more like complaining than anything.  Well…maybe.

It was with great reluctance that I entered the bowels of the hospital…it always seems such a waste of time:  the usual four hours it takes to process, assess, poke and prod, then diagnose, no matter how bad I am feeling.  And, unfortunately, whether there for an illness or visiting a sick friend/relative, I usually end up leaving with a sinus infection (I forgot that little gem last night)…my body does not like air conditioning (especially hospital’s forced air a/c) for more than about 15 minutes.

At about three hours into the visit, I finally made it past the waiting room and was relieved, happy I’d still make it home at a reasonable hour. That feeling of hope was dashed when the lady escorted me passed several people sitting in chairs in the hallway.  She mumbled something about getting me into an exam room as soon as one was available.  And left me to more waiting.

Funny thing, waiting.  I’m working on a blog entry about waiting, so I won’t go there right now.  That’s a whole other story.  But, I will say, I don’t wear a watch anymore and depend on my cell phone for entertainment and checking time.  And I could not see a clock anywhere to tell me what time it might be, so occasionally, I’d check my cell.  I only had 23% power left on my cell when I walked in.  By then, I was down to 10% and had shut the phone off so I’d have enough power to call for a pick up.  I had not driven because I was plagued with bouts of dizziness, and it would have been foolish to get behind the wheel.

My dizziness felt like it was long gone, so I wanted to bolt — but since I’d taken a taxi, I was stuck and felt obligated to see this through.  The room did not materialize until after the nurse did another assessment of each of us in the hallway, the doctor had come through and questioned and “examined” us in plain view of each other, and I was temporarily escorted (I must have looked drunk as I weaved up and down the hall–at least not from dizziness, but I was having a wee bit of balance issues by then) into a tiny room to do an EKG…then, back to my seat in the hall for even more waiting.

I think it’s safe to say that my hospital has outgrown it’s emergency room facilities–again.   Even with all of the recent expansion it’s been doing, they need a larger facility (and more staff wouldn’t be a bad idea–those poor doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff were working their collective tails off!).  Stacking patients in the hallway behind closed doors to make room for the next wave of patients is not my idea of efficiency…but I guess, one must do what one must do…

Finally, in a room.  And things moved a bit faster then.  But my first clue about how much time had actually passed was when the x-ray tech came to take me for some tests — he mentioned he had come on duty at 11:30.  I was was shocked and asked what the time was — his answer?  “About 12:30 or 1.”  I had come into the ER around 6:30-6:45 in the evening.  All I could do was sigh.  Thank God for patience.

When it was all said and done, and I was properly assessed, poked, prodded, x-rayed and diagnosed, I had been there over seven hours.  A record I do not ever want to repeat.

A very dear — and clearly dedicated — friend of mine pulled herself out of bed to come pick me up and take me home…I will be forever in her debt for her rising above and beyond the duty of friendship to rescue me from the hospital and deliver me safely to my home and the sanctuary of a warm (did I mention the hospital was freezing?), cozy bed.

I thank God again and again for patience, and especially for friends like Nan.  They are precious gems, hard to find, to be held close to the heart.  Thank you Nan!