Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I went to bed quite early last night and ended up sleeping straight through to this morning. But my night was filled with dreams.

I dreamt that I was on the beach in the water and suddenly my strength gave out. I couldn't move. I floated, pleading with my eyes for those around me to help me get back to shore. But I was left alone, trapped by a body that was no longer under my control. Slowly, I began to sank until I was lying on the ocean floor, watching those play around me. When my breath finally gave out, my vision faded into blackness.

I dreamt that I was hiking with the women from work, including my boss. We were walking and talking, trading stories about the guys we dated and stories about women who chased after men and about how we had to stay true to ourselves.

We were walking and walking uphill. Slowly, I realized that I couldn't go much further. I tried to explain that I couldn't keep up, but my boss kept telling me that I needed to hike. Finally, I sank slowly to the ground until I was lying across the path. I couldn't move my arms or legs and begged those around me for help. But all they did was tell stories about people who faked injuries for attention. I was trying to say that it was the MS, that I was over fatigued and temporarily paralyzed, but they spoke around me and did not listen to me.

My boss then walked up and leaned over to whisper in my ear. "You have to be your true self."

The women turned and walked away, while I lay in the woods staring up at the trees. After several long hours of waiting, I finally fell asleep.

I dreamt that I was back in grad school. I was trying to find my room. I had a guy with me, but I do not know who he was. We walked around the ground floor of this huge dorm that had an interior courtyard. I kept looking at my key to try to remember where my room was. We finally asked for help at the information desk and I was told it was on the 14th floor. The guy headed for the stairs while I looked at him in disbelief. Didn't he realize that I couldn't walk up the stairs?

I headed for the elevator which I hated. It was about three feet wide and did not always stop exactly where it was supposed to stop. A man walked up and wanted to get on the elevator with me. I kept telling him it was too small and couldn't handled the weight of both of us. Finally I shoved him out the door and hit the button for the 14th floor. The man grew angry and turned himself into a wasp, managing to fly through the doors just as they were closing. He stung me over and over until I managed to smash him against the wall of the elevator. My jumping around to try and avoid the wasp made the elevator swing back and forth on its cables. When it opened half way on the 16th floor, I pried open the doors and wedged my body through. After walking the entire way round the building four times, I finally spotted the stairwell and walk down to the 14th floor.

When I opened the door, I noticed the numbering was in the 2400's when I needed the 1400's and remembered that the numbers changed on each section of the square building. Turning the corner, I ran into the guy and then we headed to my room, 1411.

When I opened the door, I started crying out that it wasn't my room, it wasn't where I usually stayed. It was long and narrow and had curtains for dividers between the sections. The guy kept asking me how it could be the wrong room while I spun around and around in confusion. None of the furniture was mine. I recognized the flat panel monitor I got last year and found my new laptop, but nothing else was familiar.

I sank to the floor in tears and found myself scooping up the papers there. They were all medical bills, representing dozens of doctor visits and tests. They were all stamped in red ink with the phrase "Nothing can be done." I let the papers spill from my hands and then turned to the guy and begged him to leave with me.

He asked me where I was parked and I realized that I did not know. I remembered thinking that it would be easier to find my new Highlander than the old Corolla because it was a larger vehicle and the green would stand out. But when we got to the parking lot that was the size of one for a stadium every vehicle was a green Highlander.

I wandered from car to car until I woke up.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Tonight was a rerun of House in which a patient is diagnosed with MS. It turned out that he had some other disease (the premise of the show being a group of doctors who track down difficult to determine diagnoses). But the initial diagnosis of MS for the teenager was that of chronic progressive. It was a very gloom and doom prognosis. At one point the lead doctor, a curmudgeon if there ever was one, said to start him on the medicine now, without the definitive tests, so that he might be able to walk a few more years and talk a few after that.


Three shows all having MS as a main story line in such a short period. Could not one of them been a bit more optimistic about the disease?

I know reality is the wheelchair. Reality is irreparable neurological damage that the body cannot overcome. I know reality.

But isn't reality also those people who are pictured in the National Multiple Sclerosis Magazine who are swimming, biking, and going to the gym? How about those who have changed professions so that they might work longer? How about those who have had family and friends and neighbors rally around them to help cope with the cognitive and physical dysfunction? I would like to see that on TV...just once.

What next for Hollywood?

I supposed you are thinking that I should just turn off the TV, but it is such a companion in the evenings when I am huddled in the green chair. Lately my vision is too blurry to do much reading. TV is a great distractor.

Perhaps I should stick to HGTV and TLC for a while?

Have you ever heard of beer can barbecuing? Apparently it makes for moist chicken!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Below is my entry for the funniest true Christmas Story contest at work...would you believe that I did not win?!?

The Turkey that Never Was

When I was little, we had a German Shepard named Nicki. We had originally gotten him for a guard dog, but made one critical error in our selection process.

We had arrived at the breeders just before feeding time. All the puppies were crowded at the fence, licking the fingers my brother and sister and I stuck through the fence and wagging their tails furiously. The cacophony of barking and whining was music to our ears. However, as soon as the breeder’s assistant brought out the puppy chow, all but one abandoned us faster than a speeding bullet. Shortly all you could hear was the sound of metal bowls being scooted around the concrete sidewalk as the puppies fought each other over the food.

All but one. Nicki stayed behind to play with us, and so the three of us begged our parents to choose him. Needless to say his propensity for friendliness precluded him from ever being an adequate guard dog.

However, he did feel we owed him for that missed meal for the rest of his life.

For a while, we added milk and eggs to each of his meals so make them tastier. After all, as children we thought his food was pretty disgusting. We also fed him 12 cups of food a day. But then at his second year check-up, the vet was alarmed by how overweight he was and gave us a stern lecture about the problems German Shepherds have with their hips.

Poor Nicki was immediately put on a diet that did not include a-milk-and-eggs broth over his food and cut his intake from 12 cups to 4. Each morning and evening when we put out his food, he would quickly inhale the meager amount allotted to him and then scoot his bowl around the patio in the hopes we might take pity on him and give him more food.

All in all he was a well behaved, if a bit too friendly to strangers, dog. Until the Christmas I was 14.

My mother’s boss surprised her with a smoked turkey on December 23rd. We only had one refrigerator with a small freezer, so we did not know what to do with the turkey my stepfather had already purchased. Finally, it was his suggestion that we move the raw turkey outside, convincing my mother that it would be safe given that the temperature was hovering around freezing.

After he placed it on the center of our glass-topped, outdoor table, my stepfather spent quite a bit of time pushing the chairs closely against the table as a barrier to Nicki. When he was satisfied with the arrangement, he stood back and observed our dog for a bit. Nicki showed no real interest in the turkey, so my stepfather finally came back inside.

Over the next two days, he periodically checked on the turkey, but found no evidence that Nicki even knew it was there. Christmas Eve, he even crowed at dinner over his brilliant solution, once again pointing out that none of us thought as creatively as he often did.

The smoked turkey was a great treat and we were all stuffed after the Christmas meal. Nobody thought about the turkey outside because it had already been there two days. With all the containers for the leftovers, we still did not have enough room in the refrigerator and my parents were not in the mood to cook a turkey after preparing all the trimmings for our sumptuous meal.

The next morning, I saw Nickie lying in the corner of the yard when I put out his food, but thought nothing of it. At breakfast, my brother commented that we hadn’t yet heard Nicki scooting his bowl about, so my stepfather went to check on him after we were finished.

We were all surprised at the expletives that filled the morning air next (that was the one and only time my step-father ever cursed). We raced outside to see what was wrong and found him waving a bit of plastic about Nicki’s head.

Nicki was ignoring him, lying on his side in the sunshine.

When we grew closer, we saw our dog’s distended stomach. He looked nine months pregnant. Or perhaps more like a snake that had just had a rather large meal.

Somehow Nicki had gotten the turkey off the table without our even hearing a peep from him. He had eaten through the wrapper and consumed the turkey, plastic, gizzards, bones, and all…all but a scrap of plastic and the tiniest portion of the breastbone.

I suppose my stepfather was offended because he always took such care in picking out the turkeys at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Mom just laughed and said she was glad she didn’t have the cook the turkey. Nicki didn’t flicker a tail or bat an eyelash over the hoopla around him.

For the next 3 days, Nicki lay there in the sunshine, hardly moving. Each day his stomach went down a bit, sort of like a balloon being deflated, until he finally looked normal again.

It was another 4 days before we heard the familiar clang of his food bowl being scooted around the patio.

To this day, all we have to do to turn my stepfather’s ears a crimson shade is to suggest, while unpacking groceries, that we could put a few items on the table outside to save space in the refrigerator.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

I holed my first wedge shot from the fairway. On the 18th hole. We used a cart.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

I suppose it was Josiah Bartlett's fault that I foolishly walked the golf course today.

I always use a cart, even if I sometimes walk between shots since many of them are shorter than I would wish them to be. I always use a cart.

But I have wondered what it would be like to walk 18 holes.

By the 8th hole my feet were numb and tingling with pain. [How is it that a limb can be numb and hurt at the same time?] Even so, at the turn I told my stepfather that I wanted to continue.

By the 12th hole, I was calling myself all kinds of foolish, trembling a bit, blowing most every shot, wincing at my steps, and trying to hide it all from my stepfather.

Darkness kept us from finishing the last 3 holes. But I found myself a bit like Odysseus when he taunted the Cyclops from his ship after barely escaping the giant's rage after his previous taunts. I found myself trying to convince my stepfather that we still had light enough to finish. My words fell on deaf ears and we left the course. However, we were about the farthest you could be from the clubhouse.

It was a long, excruciating walk back.

For the record, the idea of backpack straps on a golf bag is far more attractive than the reality of having those straps. If you have them, then that means you are carrying your clubs instead of rolling them along on a hand cart.

I did have my first successful sand save...

Friday, December 17, 2004

President Bartlett's struggles continued this week on The West Wing. The exacerbation has not abated. He struggled with crippling fatigue. He had to be carried in the arms of another person off the plane. He was completely at the mercy of the disease. And when he tried to battle back, he apparently paid a high price (we won't know what price until the next episode).

Even knowing what the price might be...he choose to be the master rather than the slave...at least for a while.

Even knowing what the price might be.

I understand that choice.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Is MS the new Hollywood disease?

Tonight on Judging Amy, a woman with multiple sclerosis was in court because the state was trying to remove her child from the home.

I really didn't want to watch this one alone. I really didn't want to watch this one. I want to be a mother. My time to do so is running out. While I cannot really get around the theological ramifications of doing so, I have thought of becoming a single mother myself. Knowing MS would keep me from being a single adoptive parent, I figured the only way was insemination. How do you tell a child that her father was someone you picked out of a book? And how does choosing to have a child by myself via technology fit in with my absolute belief that God is sovereign?

Still, I couldn't help myself. I watched.

And I grew angry. The state wasn't taking her child away because she had MS, but because she was clinically depressed. Now I know that people with MS often suffer from depression, but why did they have to give her MS as well as depression? Not all people with MS are depressed. Many are coping far better than she was doing.

I was angry at the portrayal.

Yet, there was this moment. This moment when the loneliness abated. She described the almost unbearable pain in her feet when she awoke in the mornings. I knew what she was describing. I liken it to standing on knives. I dread putting my feet on the floor because I know how painful it will be. I finally stand and then hobble around until the pain abates.

For a very long while I had thought that I was alone in that symptom, but apparently I am not. Fiction though it may be, there had to be a source for the symptom.

Then, a while ago, I found another person describing the pain in his feet on-line.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

President Bartlett on The West Wing had an MS attack on tonight's episode. An episode I watched with dread and anticipation.

I had see the previews of the show that let the audience know MS was going to be a focus of the episode. I tried to ask two different people if they would watch the show with me, but neither one understood that I didn't want to watch alone.

He first noticed symptoms with one hand, slight tremors and and inability to really use it. The paralysis spread to his upper body. And someone had to feed him. Then it spread to his whole body. And someone had to carry him.

Part of the reason I watch The West Wing is because one of the main characters has multiple sclerosis. But I had been lulled in to emotional safety because he was doing fairly well. However, the majority of people who have relapsing/remitting MS eventually transition to chronic progressive MS. With the former, the symptoms and attacks come and go with recovery, if only in part, between times. With the latter, the disease begins its downhill course of ravaging the myelin sheathing in the brain and irreparably damaging neuromuscular activity. Walking. Talking. Thinking.

Myriad symptoms that are as idiosyncratic as people themselves. No set timeline or progression at first. You can have good days and bad days...or good years and bad years. It is a disease of devastating uncertainty.

Many people are living full lives, fighting the disease every step of the way. Others have given in, waiting for the inevitable and missing life in the mean while.

I find the disease to be incredibly lonely. For the most part, my friends, family, and co-workers who know rarely mention the disease. They do not appear to think about it either. For example, when I get too hot and grow weak and tremble and disoriented, they neither recognize what is happening or stop to help.

The cognitive dysfunction that I experience on a regular basis often frightens me with the enormity of what I am losing, what I have lost. But I am so fearful of others making light of the moment or criticizing the confusion that I mask. I hide my confusion and aphasia and wait for the moment that I can reconnect mentally.

The only time that loneliness is abated is when I speak with or read about or see someone with MS who is going through or has gone through symptoms I have battled. [Primarily because half the time you ask a doctor about a symptom you are treated as if you are crazy or a hypochondriac when really the doctor is not aware of the full range of symptoms that people with MS experience].

I understood how quietly President Bartlett sat as he lost ability to control his body. He smiled, made small jokes, listened...all the while his mind racing with questions and plans and frustration. While I have not experiences full paralysis, I have in both my arms and my legs at different times. This moment comes and suddenly or slowly it is as if your limb has disappeared. You cannot control it. You are trapped with nothing to do but wait until it passes.

It passes. And you cannot afford to wonder when it will happen again. It passes and you move on.

Tonight was a reminder of the reality of my life. I was sobered. But I was comforted in knowing that while I am lonely. I am not alone in this disease.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Silence on my part is usually an indicator that life is being difficult and I feel as if no one would really want to visit the dark side of my life. Funny, isn't it? Just the time I most wish to write and I avoid the keyboard with one specious excuse after another.

A strange occurrence might be a good place to start.

Two weeks ago, I put my rather long hair into two pony tails and cut it off. It was a rather dramatic moment, more befitting of the outlier heroine in one of the young adult fantasy novels I used in my dissertation study than a middle aged, frumpy homebody.

Okay, 37 is not middle aged (though I oft feel that way with between arthritis stiffness, MS pain, and asthmatic difficulty breathing). And, perhaps I am not as frumpy as I think I am. But I am a homebody.

I do wonder, however, if I were not so incredibly fatigued working full time with three chronic diseases, would I be more of a social butterfly?

Still, I had been wanting a change. I had been wanting something to mark that which has been changing inside. I wished to wear my hair completely down, but when I did, people at work keep making remarks. If it was not in a bun, then I pulled it back in a barrette, like a twelve-year-old school girl (or at least one from when I was in school). Doing so did nothing for my futile attempts to look my age in hopes of being treated as my age. [I am tired of being treated like a girl, carded on the rare occasions I order a drink, and generally patted on the head and told I will understand when I am older.] So I cut off the one part of me that actually made me feel feminine, attractive. It was a bold and frightening moment.

The weird part? Ever since then, I have been mainly sleeping through the night. For over ten years, I have only been able to sleep a couple of hours before waking. Each night was an endless cycle of going to sleep. Waking. Trying to get back to sleep. Waking. The morning would arrive, and I would feel only a hair more rested than the night before. I lived for the weekends where I could sleep later. For some strange reason, I could sleep from about 7-12 without waking.

I cut off my hair and find myself sleeping at least 6 and 1/2 hours straight. Let me tell you, it is a strange sensation to wake having passed the night in sleep. I expect it to only be 2 AM and it is already 7:30.

This week, I have hardly been sleeping at all, but that is because I am rattled by a recent event. When (hopefully not if) I can find balance again and close my eyes in peace and not fear, will the phenomenon continue?


I sent my hair to Locks of Love. If you do not have hair hanging below your waist that you recently chopped off in an attempt to satisfy some inner desire for change, perhaps you have some spare change to donate!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Wow...am I tired...yet satisfied a bit...I would have to admit.

I have spent the last three weeks working insanely long hours to try and get all the content for our new website rewritten. You see, we hired a company to draft it for us, and then it was my job to take their raw data and hone it into our voice.


I finished this weekend and am now waiting for feedback. The content is due back to the consultants for a read through with a focus on web writing on Friday. We are slowly getting closer to finishing this project...one that was started more than a year before I came to work!

Tonight I also finished a colossal personal task: I caught up my savings accounts on Quicken. When I bought my house, I let sooooo many things go. A year ago, I got my checking account caught up, but left the savings accounts since I could view them on-line. Tonight, I put in two years of entries for 4 savings accounts (two for me and one for each of my nephews). I am quite glad to be finished.

The whole process took five hours, but it was made less painful by my laptop! Using my WONDERFUL wireless home network, I was able to log onto my savings accounts and copy the data. I did so while watching the second half of the Farscape mini-series (a totally satisfying show that I have missed) and football...football...football!

Yesterday I puttered in the yard and with my bonsais for the first time since the rather large hole was dug in my front yard. It was quite a peaceful day.

So, even though I have been laboring far more than I ought to have been, I have several large projects completed. That is a great feeling. Truly.

Tomorrow evening I am hanging out in the green chair!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

“I see you. I see you. I see you.”

Words spoken to a young man in pain…in the world of fiction. Oh that fiction was reality. Or reality fiction.

My sister told me a few months ago that my parents were planning this big trip for their anniversary next year. They were going to invite our whole family to go to Colorado with them. If we all paid for the plane tickets, they would pick up the rest of the tab. [We haven’t had a vacation as a whole family in more than 20 years.]

Now, a few months later, my sister told me that they have changed their plans and are now planning to go to Jamaica. NOT that they have spoken of this to my brother, my step-sister, or myself yet.

Jamaica. A tropical paradise, right?

I cannot be in such heat. When I get too hot, I grow weak and disoriented. I sometimes faint.

Water, water, everywhere and not a drop for me.

The last time I was in a pool, I nearly drowned. I had only been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis for a year. I did not think how very many muscles you use in water or how quickly I could become fatigued. My niece, twelve at the time, had to rescue me because the cacophony of the indoor pool kept the lifeguards from hearing our cries for help. I was terrified.

A family vacation in a place that is too hot for me with water activities I could not participate in otherwise.

It hurts that my parents give no thought to my disease. They give no thought to my life or how very much I mask and I compensate for this disease.

Never mind the asthma. Never mind the arthritis.

They do not see me. They do not see me. They do not see me.

I know my heavenly Father does. I know I am seen. But I have not yet learned to let go of the longing for my family to see me…just once.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I could say that I have never been as frightened as I was earlier today, but I am not sure that a few of my asthma attacks were not as bad.

Perhaps the fear seems worse because of the knowledge of the reality of what could have happened…what could have happened because I live alone.

I ordered a pizza Monday. The day after Redskins games, Papa John’s has a fairly good special based on the number of touchdowns the Redskins get. Now, I do not want the Redskins to win any games, but I do hope they get at least two touchdowns. That way I can get a large chicken and extra cheese pizza for the bargain basement price of $8.99. I can stretch it into 4 meals, while still enjoying the fresh pizza the first night.

Today, for brunch, I heated up two slices of chicken pizza. Savoring the thought of what was to come, I sat down on the couch with my laptop on a TV tray and settled down to check in with work, surf, and watch a movie.

I thought staying home from work to concentrate on resting after yesterday’s ground breaking celebration might be just the ticket to sending this cold on its way.

But somehow…mid-way through the first piece…instead of swallowing the bite of pizza I took…I half inhaled it. I was choking and no one was around to help. Arms flailing around my neck, I try coughing it out. But it was not working. I coughed so hard I could feel the effort from the small of my back to my fingertips. The birds flew off their cage and started shrieking. Kashi ran in circles around me and started barking.

I reached for the phone, thinking to call 911 and knocked it behind the couch. I stood and started to make my way to the kitchen where the other phone was, but stars were shooting before my eyes and I didn’t think an ambulance would do me any good by the time it arrived. With tears streaming down my face and desperation making me tremble, I threw myself backwards against the doorway to the kitchen. After the third blow, the offending food flew out of my mouth and landed on the floor.

Asthma and choking do not go together very well, so I used the nebulizer to calm the coughing and wheezing I was still doing.

My dog, who will eat anything, absolutely anything, left the bite of pizza alone.

I had a glass of milk for dinner. I do not know when I will feel comfortable eating solid food by myself again.

Monday, September 20, 2004

I will start off by saying that yesterday, I...well...discovered a physiological reason for my less than stellar mood last week. It is no excuse, but I feel less like a letch and more like a real person having snapped at the president of my company twice.

I was a bit grumpy at my writing student's home on Saturday. The family had invited me for dinner and I sort of snipped at her father while he was cooking. The strange thing is that I know how very much he enjoys cooking an involved meal, using all five burners on his new stove and much chopping, mincing, stirring, and spicing. He works all week, is helping to raise five children, and is finishing up their home improvement project that has gone on for months. Therefore his time in the kitchen is a balm to his soul and a reward for his labors. Even if he were to cook liver and onions, I would enjoy being there for the evening because I was in the heart of a loving family, enjoying the fellowship of Christians, and sharing in the pleasure of watching the father/scientist/carpenter/chef relish his time among the pots and pans. Don't get me wrong...I would NOT eat the liver and onions...but I would still want to share the evening.

So...knowing that...why did I pick on her father as he cooked? His daughter had set my tastebuds to salivating with news of her father's plan to get out his Louisiana cookbook...especially after my red beans and rice disaster. Our meal? Shepherd's Pie. Granted it was a gourmet Shepard's Pie, one that truly took hours of skillful labor. But I was expecting jambalaya or something like that. I supposed I passively punished the chef for not meeting my expectations? I was snippy and disrespectful in front of his children.

Sunday's revelation made me feel a bit better, but not completely. I owe him an apology.

I also seemed to have run into a cold. Perhaps another reason for my weariness. I have been running a fever, enduring a sore throat, and coughing throughout the day. I slept a lot this weekend and napped this evening when I got home from work.

I had hoped to leave at 2:00 since I spent so much time last week working on tomorrow's event. But somehow 2:oo turned into 4:35. And I still had to go to Lowe's to pick up flowers for the display table settings.

Tomorrow I have to be there at 6:00 AM for the people setting up the tent.

Everything is printed. Everything is packed in my car. I CANNOT wait for this event--for five other egos and agendas while managing ours--to be OVER.

I will say that every day last week and again this morning, I listened to these really great sermons by John MacArthur on the disciples. Several times I was trying to take notes while driving (I know...not the best idea). I found myself looking forward to my commute just to heard the next part of the lesson. Shocking, eh? Me looking forward to my commute?

I enjoy most sermons based directly on scripture. Sermons that point out truth by looking at verses supporting other verses. Sermons that delve into the quotidian existence of the people, culture, and history of biblical times. Sermons that focus on the Lord's plans, purposes, and call to Christians rather than five steps to this or six ways to achieve this, focus on the "Thee" not the "me." Sermons where I have tasted meat that leaves me challenged to seek more, rather than milk that leaves a hollow feeling inside.

I have been praising God for the fodder of His Word this week. It never ceases to amaze me how fresh and how relevant those ancient words can be.

P.S. If you think this post is a mental or emotional rollercoaster ride (as I did when I just re-read it)...well then perhaps it is a reflection of where my head has been for a while! How wonderful it is that each day we have a whole new beginning.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I forgot to mention that my leg gave way four times today. I feel as if I am flirting with disaster..of MS kind.

So, to be honest, my concern is for my witness and my heart, but it is also for my health. If I cannot work, I cannot support myself. Where will I be then?

And, frankly, I do not mind falling down at work as much as I am sure I will mind falling down at the ground breaking ceremony.

In this case, pride would surely goeth before a fall.
I ran and ran today and snapped at the president again. I am not much liking myself.

This whole "eventing" experience is rough. I cannot begin to imagine how it would be if I did this for a living...yet maybe it wouldn't be so bad because it would be all I concentrated on each day. I truly enjoy the challenge of writing in a completely new genre for me, but doing so does not offset all the other hassle.

I shudder to think about the fact that I have another event on October 28th after this one on next Tuesday. And the word "behind" would not even begin to characterize this one.

I am tired, grumpy, and tired. Saturday is looking really great to me, really great.

I did get the press release signed-off-on in house. I drafted the president's talking points. I arranged for balloons to mark the entrance. I created a tri-fold company brochure for one of our funders (As a new organization, they have no real collateral and need something for the event). I laid out the items for our press packet that I will need to print and stuff tomorrow. I did something else quite productive in the morning, but I am so tired I cannot remember what it was! Oh, well...at least I actually left the office just after six tonight!

Besides printing for a few hours tomorrow, I also need to create badges for all the speakers, our senior staff, and our board. We have upgraded from stick-on ones to clear plastic holders that hang around the neck. If I finish that tomorrow, I should be as ready as possible for Tuesday.

Somehow, I need to learn to set myself aside and allow God the victory even in event planning!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I feel like I ran a marathon...uphill...backwards!

The press release is drafted. Woohoo! Now I have to go about seeing how many people I didn't please trying to balance egos and agendas with our theme that the residents should get the credit for this revitalized community.

I braided my hair in three long braids. Then I wrapped one in a circle in the back of my head. I wrapped the second around the first. And finally I wrapped the third around the other two. I had this vision today of how cool my hair looked.

Well, I just looked in the mirror...and I've been sporting the hairdo of a ninety-year-old.


What I have learned about red beans and rice:

  1. It generally is not a good idea to use a mix for making red beans and rice.
  2. If the finished product is more white than red, you know you have a problem.
  3. Ideally, the rice and beans should be cooked separately at first.
  4. Adding spices and/or butter will not help "faux" red beans and rice taste authentic.
  5. Barley does not taste right in red beans and rice.
  6. Only make a large quantity of red beans and rice when you are confident of the results, because mediocre meals are not meant to be repeated for six days straight.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I asked my best friend to pray for me today. If any others of you pray, I would be appreciative.

I sort of...well, actually...I...uhm...how to say this? In a nutshell, I snapped at the president of our organization during a meeting today. I felt a bit bad, but was still being ruled by my emotions and reaction to the circumstances surrounding the event next week and another one that now has to be rescheduled.

She heaped coals of fire upon my head by stopping by my office after hours while I was still slaving away to see if I was alright.

I truly am convicted over the vagaries of my emotions and reactions of late. Why should I allow other people that kind of power over my life?

God does not give us a spirit of timidity, but one of power and love and discipline, so Timothy writes.

I have not been timid of late about my feelings, but neither have I been loving or disciplined and I certainly have not been powerful in obedience to turning the other cheek to those who might wish to strike me.

It is no comfort that I was invited to my first charity golf tournament. Mostly likely I will not be able to go on Friday with all the work left before the ground breaking...but I do not really deserve such pleasure just now.

I need to become a paragon of patience, tranquility, equanimity, flexibility, kindness, gentleness, and graciousness first.

According to Luke, all things are possible through Christ.

After today, I would say that there much work that Christ has to do in this area of my life.

I will say, however, that a stressful, ugly day was finished by playing scrabble on-line with my best friend from the couch (and then green chair).

It is not about...truly...what we deserve. It is about the lovingkindnesses of the Lord.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Seriously, sitting in the green chair, working on the computer while watching football is simply great. I am really enjoying both the freedom of being wireless and the increased productivity. Tonight I worked on an upcoming event at work, getting a jump on my day tomorrow while watching football.

Last night, also while watching football, I wrote my latest communications status report. I was able to log onto my work server, pull up the template I created for them, write it, and then send it to my boss for a meeting today.

I tried playing Spider, but I have yet to figure out how to use the "click" part of the touch screen with that game.

On another note, I know...I truly know...that if you try to please everyone, you generally end up pleasing no one. Yet I tried with this event at work and failed miserably. How do people in politics live through a day on the job, much less their careers? I apparently am not that great at juggling egos, agendas, and desires of four separate interested parties. I had the opportunity to both "rise-to-the-occasion" and "take the higher road," and I only managed to feebly rise and take the slightly higher route.

I have another event in just five weeks...another opportunity to balance egos and present solutions not problems.

Sometimes...it truly is easier said than done!

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Well, here I am...Sitting in the green chair!

Yes, you read that right! I am utilizing my new wireless environment to post here. It is way, way cool--no doubt about it.

I got the laptop on Wednesday, but did not get the router set up until last night.

This guy I have sort of dated (a consummate computer geek) said he would set it up on Thursday, but by the time we had dinner and purchased the wireless router he recommended, it was 9:30 which is apparently his bedtime. So he left, promising me that he would be there at my house, waiting for me, when I got home. "Just call me when you leave work," he said.

I did call. He was on his way back from Front Royal and said he would be at my house by 7:15. I got home at 6:34 and jumped on mowing the grass (and growing seed). Then I mowed my neighbor's front yard because the house has been sitting empty for nearly a year and a half, and I hate his yard advertising that fact.

Still no Thomas.

So I took a shower.

No Thomas. No phone call.

Well, I bought a house without a man, surely I can set up a wireless network without a house, eh?

The answer was "no" with the Motorola router Thomas had me buy. The new "g" model mostly does not work with Verizon DSL. This I found out after 2 and a half hours of tech support troubleshooting.

After waiting one day, I was not about to wait another. So, knowing Target closes at 10:00 PM and it was 9:52, I jumped in the car raced to the store. Fortunately, the customer service person did not insist I get another Motorola. I highly suspect I got a refund instead of an exchange because I arrived at the return counter at 9:58.

I then raced over to Walmart, hoping that it was open another hour because I know Walmart carried Linksys routers. It was. There was an entire shelf of "g" models. And I was back in my study by 10:38.

Another hour and a half of tech support, this time with Linksys support techs, I successfully hooked up the router and put in a passcode so people cannot jump on my new technological highway!

Wednesday night I consoled myself watching a movie in bed with my laptop since I couldn't blog from the green chair. I thought that was cool...this is equally so!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

I encountered a veritable mystery tonight.

Somehow, someway...I managed to spend $117.00 at the grocery store and come home with mainly paper products, graham crackers (Keebler, never Nabisco), pink lemonade Gatorade (hard to find yet seems to quench my thirst when water does not after laboring in the yard), Cheerios (for Kashi), chocolate (for my desk at work to lure co-workers to my office and soften the blow on my edits), twizzlers (my boss's one weakness), milk, cherry cobbler mix, and a packet of shredded mozzarella cheese.

I virtually have nothing for meals.

What happened?

P.S. For the record, that whopping total did not include a single can (or bottle) of Dr Pepper.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

A Dr Pepper day if ever there was one.

When I moved into my new office last Friday, I was supposed to have the phone and data lines moved as well. But, of course, the technician did not show up. But…I was told he would be here first thing this morning.

Well, first thing this morning actually means, in technician speak, late in the afternoon. I was without a phone and a computer most of the day. I did manage to sneak on someone else’s computer for a while, but it was so decrepit that every time I asked it to do something, it paused to think for several minutes. Slow would not even begin to define this processor.

The call for Dr. Pepper came with trying to juggle last minute planning for two different events in two different counties with two sets of press packets, two sets of speakers, two sets of vendors, two sets of invitations, two sets of mailing lists…well, I could go on. But then I also was notified that two different grants are due tomorrow (I am supposed to have ADVANCED notice) and both of them needed a final review/edit. And four different partners of ours in the past two days have asked us to apply for awards on four different properties from four different agencies/institutions.

EVERYONE needed something from me and I was hard pressed to help anyone.

I had only a few minutes in my office today…not enough time to enjoy…to savor my new haven.

I suppose that I should be thankful…not for the helplessness I felt…but that I was needed at my job today.

Still, popping the can on the Dr Pepper tonight was such a wonderful feeling.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Yesterday I had a great evening. I sat in Starbucks (no…I have not yet succumbed to the coffee craze…I had the strawberries and cream drink) for a couple of hours with two really smart people. Talking. Thinking. Learning.

One was a woman from India who is here in the States studying engineering and other sorts of stuff I do not understand. What I did understand is that she is burdened by the poverty in her country and desires to do something, anything to help.

Her vision? Water. She has a vision of building a house on a piece of land she owns to provide a home for her mother and older sister. There she plans to begin working on providing better water source to a nearby village, where she and her family could also do volunteer work.

It matters not that as a woman trying to do business in a corrupt place her life may very well be forfeit. It matters not to her because she would not count her life worth living if she merely chose to life a life of relatively luxury here in the states while her countrymen were suffering. A noble vision she has.

Though, as a Hindu, she believes that she has another life to move on to if she dies. But does that make her decision any less noble?

I admire her vision and drive and intellect. I admire her willingness to do something, anything, in the face of such opposition. Yet I am saddened because I do not believe in reincarnation. I would hate to see her life spilt out at the hands of those who would be against her simply for her gender or because they were threatened by her unwillingness to either give or receive bribes or to take advantage of her countrymen in supplying water. Not when she has no relationship with Christ. Not when her future is of eternal death…as I see it.

Yet fighting that emotion, I still reveled in time spent truly discussing the largeness of life…. It most certainly was an enjoyable evening.

After she left, I went to my friend’s place for a bit more conversation and such. So there I was, just after midnight, sated with fellowship and a pleasurable evening. My friend walked me back to my car. But just as I stepped between my car and another I felt my right leg give way.

With MS, from time to time I simply lose the ability to use my legs. Most often it is when I try to get out of bed… and boom…they suddenly are not functioning. At those times, I usually sleep it off. I know that in a while, the function will be regained. So rather than railing against the situation, I try to just sleep until they are working again. But this time, for the first time, I was out and about…and trapped.

I had a shooting tingling pain in my lower back down to my right thigh. Every time I tried to bear weight, the pain sharpened and it felt as if my leg were simple gone. I could move it, but not bear weight. I stood there, trying to decide what to do and battling my anger over feeling as if the evening were spoiled. My friend had never experienced this with me. I felt stupid and helpless and angry and frightened.

With his help, I managed to get into the car and drove home with my left leg. Driving wasn’t difficult, but I risked whiplash with my breaking.

Once home, I wanted to just stay in the car until I could use my right leg again. But my friend insisted in getting me inside…even though I outweigh him considerably and doing so was a true labor of sacrifice. Shuffle my right leg forward…step with my left…lean on him…shuffle forward….step…try to suddenly become lighter…dread the steps…I was, understandably glad to collapse in my green chair (the favored leather wing back reclining chair with ball and claw feet).

My friend helped me get a little more comfortable in my clothes and brought me some water to set on the table next to me. He let Kashi outside, gave Fancy and Madison food and water and then covered their cage, set the alarm, and left.

Three hours later my leg was still not cooperating, I had to go to the bathroom in the worst way, and I realized that I had forgotten to ask my friend to put the phone within my reach. I had no way to call anyone for help.

I lay there for another three hours, trying to ignore the pain of my bladder and battling frustration. I was exhausted but unable to sleep. I felt trapped and alone. All I could do was think…and think….and think. What if this had happened at work? What would I have done then? Should I be thankful that I was at least with someone I knew?

I believe that God is sovereign, that there is a purpose to everything in this life... in my life as well. Therefore, for reasons I may not ever understand, there is a purpose to living with multiple sclerosis (and asthma and arthritis for that matter). Because I believe this, I don’t think that my anger is directed at God. For where would I be without my relationship with Christ? Where would I be without salvation, without unconditional love, without peace?

But can I truly be angry only at the disease?

All I want is a few times where everything is not so difficult. No asthma attacks. No bee stings. No car wrecks. No unemployment. No broken sewage pipes. No pain and stiffness. Remembering my name, how to spell, my age. Time spent with others where none of that infringes on the moment.

Is it wrong to want that?

Paul said he was content in all circumstances. Certainly he faced pain and suffering, trials and frustrations… prison…conflicts within the church…journey after journey where he faced opposition and battled disbelief even among his fellow Christians. Yet he was content in all circumstances.

I would have welcomed a measure of contentment last night.

Early this morning I was able to get around again. After relieving myself and letting Kashi outside again, I climbed the stairs to collapse in bed to finally rest for a while.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Well, I suppose that words cannot really express what the past five months have wrought in my life...but...then again...words are about all I ever really have.

God brought me to a truly wonderful job. I am the communications manager (and knowledge manager--but I have not yet gotten to that point) for a non-profit organization committed to developing vibrant communities through innovation and partnerships in the realm of affordable housing. They don't just develop properties...they preserve and revitalize them. Section 8 housing that is wired for broadband Internet access and a part of an electronic village with a community intranet populated with myriad software tools...have you heard of that? They also focus on developing resident driven community development programs that are focused on empowering the residents and creating links between the residential and business communities...youth...seniors...career and skill enhancement...community empowerment...all free.

I ENJOY going to work. I work for a company that is doing good. I write, edit, and organize all day. I am overseeing the development of a new web site, new marketing collateral, communications policies, file structure, and logo, stationary, and communications style guides. And I will soon have a very cozy, very private corner office with two large windows on Connecticut Ave.

I have met members of the British parliament, two ambassadors, the mayor of DC, and other elected and Federal officials.

Last week, the Director of Fannie Mae Northern Virginia Partnership Office sent me a basket of oatmeal raisin cookies as an apology (of course doing so was my very brazen suggestion).

Still...in the past five months, I have had two bad mammograms, totaled my car, had my insurance canceled (one payout and 21 years of driving well down the drain), been stung by a bee three times, had to spend over 10K replacing the sewage pipes in my yard, four weeks restoring the yard and the landscaping that was ripped out, fainted many times with no clear reason, oh...and a few more trials...

But...my best friend had a daughter...a beautiful gift from God. Both are doing well. I finally have an automatic car which is MUCH easier to drive when I am not feeling well or have weakened legs from the MS. I am on a trial medicine (dosage of statin) for MS. Kashi is well. Fancy has had five clutches of eggs (she hasn't learned how to build a nest yet, so the eggs don't hatch).

And did I mention the yard is finally back together...20 bags of mulch...40 bags of topsoil...five bags of gravel...moving 35 wheelbarrow loads of clay...digging up 20 plants...digging new holes for 20 plants...and watering and watering and watering the grass seed that the birds seem to be enjoying...

I am resting this weekend.

Monday, March 22, 2004

I am sitting at my computer working on a story of mine. Fernando Ortega's beautiful music is flooding the room with hymns of praise. Fancy and Madison are asleep on my thigh. Tally, a ring-necked Indian Parakeet that was given to me last week is perched on my shoulder preening my hair. Kashi is curled up in a ball sleeping. Truly a peaceful time.

I am thankful for companionship of animals, the beauty of music, and the escape of writing.

Last Monday, my boss was fired...and then I was down-sized. Out of a job again after only six months. I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't. This time, I don't have my refinance money. In fact, I have VERY little money at all. Very little. And I learned that you cannot have more than one unemployment claim in a year, so I have only 13 weeks of unemployment, money that is barely enough to cover my mortgage and nothing else.

It turned out that my Christian boss had... issues... to put it lightly. I kept thinking, as the weeks passed and he utterly disparaged my speech and interactions with others even as he praised my work, that I would somehow figure out how to act in a manner to which he didn't object. In November he told me that he wanted me to walk behind him as we went into meetings and that he didn't want me speaking in meetings unless he had approved my comments. He was extremely angry at me and was shaking his fist while yelling that he was in authority over me and I was to be in submission to him. I stopped listening to his praise because the criticisms always overshadowed any good he found in the tremendous amount of organization I was doing in the marketing department.

I spoke to HR several times. HR actually labeled his behavior a hostile environment. I spoke with the VP/GM who said he would speak with my boss if I wanted. But I knew that would be inflammatory to situation, so I tried to work it out myself.

In January, I was ill and missed 8 days of work. During that time, someone spoke to my boss about his behavior towards me.

Things were better for a while, but my boss was not doing what management asked him to do. He truly flaunted his desire to do things his own way, focusing on Marketing exclusively and neglecting his responsibilities to Sales. Talk floated around the building that his days were numbered. He was being reprimanded quite a bit and the displeasure floated downhill again. I was a tennis ball being smashed between management and my boss, as he would direct me to work on a project and then clear my progress with managment. Management would grow angry because my boss was not doing what they wanted him to be doing and thus I was not doing what they wanted me to be doing. The back and forth happened over and over again.

Three weeks ago, he grew so angry that he tore up the work I had been doing for over three weeks prior to that day and threw it in the trash. He deleted the files from the server. And then he got up and walked out of his office. I felt as if he had thrown me away.

After two very dark days, I tried to just focus on the work and once again tried to steer him toward the work management wanted out of our department (I know...that was not my job to do so). And I asked the VP/GM if my job was in jeopardy if my boss was let go. He assured me--three times--that it was not.

Then, last Monday, 23 minutes before it was time for me to leave, the VP/GM called me into a meeting where I he told me that the company was eliminating my position. Six months to the day from when I was hired. He walked me back to my desk where he watched me pack up all my things.

I am still in a bit of disbelief. Yes, I am out of a very negative and draining situation. Yes, I have had the time to get well from my recent illness. But I am unemployed with very little money left. My mortgage looms before me.

So...I am thankful for companionship of animals, the beauty of music, and the escape of writing.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I found a rather humorous e-mail waiting for me when I logged into my hotmail account this morning. Below is part of what I wrote back explaining why the laughter was so welcome.

If you only knew what a blessing your laughter has been this morning!

I coughed for a few hours last night before, in desperation (althougth not quiet), I took a few swigs of some prescription cough syrup (with the magical drug codine) in it. I took those swigs knowing full well that the bottle was from an asthma ER visit two and a half years ago and that two swigs was considerably more than the prescribed dose of one teaspoon.

I did fall asleep, happily drugged, for the first time in three days. However, this morning, as I was struggling to get ready for work, I grew clammy, threw up, and then fainted. Once I collected myself off the bathroom floor, I felt better. I supposed I won't be taking the syrup to sleep tonight.

Part of his reply:

I am glad that you were not seriously hurt when you fainted.

On a lighter side, I am sure there is a substantial number of people who envy the effect that just two swigs of cough syrup provides you: throwing up, passing out, and collecting oneself off the bathroom floor. Many people spend hours drinking and lots of money to have the same experience.

If they only knew the time and money they could save!

While I am feeling quite a bit better than this morning, I do believe last night's foolishness ranks right up there in the top ten rash decisions I made and then came to regret.

I did, however, have the fleeting thought that the "cure" was similar to the one James Harriot described when he treated a horse for spots and ended up nearly killing the horse from its reaction to the drug (rolling eyes, frothing mouth, a seisure, and a collapse before the horse got up again), though the spots disappeared straight off. The horse trainer thought the cure was a bit "dramatic."

My cough is better.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I got my car back today (yesterday). The repair shop almost redeemed themselves by washing & waxing the car, shampooing the carpets, and cleaning the windows inside and out. Truly the car has not looked so good in years. I say almost because they had the car for 23 days in replacing the bumper and right front & side lights. 23 days.

The rental company gave me coupons for three days of free car rental because they had given me a rather dirty car. When I picked up the car, it was pitch black outside and neither the representative nor I saw that the car had not been cleaned. I didn't want to miss any more work by switching the car out, so I have sat carefully in the front seat and tried not to look at all the crumbs and trash in the seats, on the floor, and in the trunk. The latter had a smell I couldn't identify, which grew more odious as the weather has warmed. Given that this was my first car rental, I do not forsee using the coupons, but it was nice to receive them.

And...work was mostly pleasant today. I suspect that it was so because my efforts were mainly on creating new collateral, which would count as marketing and not sales. And "Sales only!" has been my bosses mandate from management. He is unhappy about the situation, so today was a day he could practice a bit of subterfuge.

I got to play on-line Scrabble with my best friend this evening (and won a few times...it is always better when I win!). And the man from Saturday came over for some late night conversation to help wash away the last of my work angst from my mind.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

God gave me a precious gift last night.

I was with someone I hadn't seen in two years. We went to dinner and a movie and talked for hours. The company alone would have been enough, given how tough work is these days without any hope of change in the near future. But God is more gracious than even I could ask for.

During a truly relaxing evening, this person told me a story: He told me how, two year ago, when we first spent time together, he had just been through a truly difficult time. He was questioning whether he could endure when I sought him out to see if he would like to spend some time together. Forward as I felt at the time, I just wanted some company. It turns out that so did he. He never told me then, but he felt, that at that moment, when I walked up "out of the blue" with my invitation, he hear God say to him that he was not alone.

He told me, last night, that if ever I was in doubt that God was using me or that I was worth something, I should remember that I was, for him, the voice of God in a particularly dark hour.

I would have liked to tell him that his story was the same for me just now. But somehow, given that two years have passed since we last spent time together, launching into my own doubts and darkness would not have been appropriate.

God loves me. He loves me enough to send much needed company, a man willing to see a silly teen movie, eat Mexican food, and "wet the edge" with me as we debated this, that, and the other. And He topped it off with a reminder that His plans and purposes are not always ours, and that Christ can move in us to His purpose, even when we are unaware.

I only hope that I can remember this gracious reminder as I enter the chaos of my work once again.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

What a wonderful thing I just witnessed: Kashi walked down the stairs!

Instead of waiting for me to pick him up, he made his way to the top of the stairs and peered down. After a few long moments when I worried that his fear would get the best of him once again, Kashi made his way to the bottom of the stairs.

Woo Hoo! Yippee! Hurrah!!!!

Nearly five weeks later, Kashi has managed to conquer his fear. In the scheme of things, I would be hard pressed to say I conquered many of my own fears in shorter time.

May I always remember, MS moments and all, NEVER to use Pledge on wooden stairs again!

Monday, March 01, 2004

A friend told me that I should be more thankful. She is right, for I find myself thinking all too frequently about the problems I am facing at work. To that end, today I am thankful for:

God's grace for a rather stubborn child
An e-mail from a friend
A cinnamon pretzel
My Turbo Tax refund
Isaiah 35

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Notes on my life:

My new love...Domino's Dots. My are they tasty...but boy are they a boat load of carbohydrates!

One month later, Kashi is still scared to go down the stairs. I have tried to bribe him, cajole him, and scold him into making the decent to no avail. Have I broken his cavalier spirit with my stupidity in using Pledge on the stairs?

I was in an accident with a construction barrell. Four were in both lanes of the roadway. I avoided the bus, the electrical truck, three other cars, and three of the four barrells. After twenty years of shifting gears as I drive, I have discovered I am a lousy driver in an automatic car. I have had a rental for two weeks and still am not used to it.

My writing student never ceases to amaze me...perhaps I'll ask her to post a bit of her writing again.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I burned a whole pot of lentils! UGH!

I love lentils. I get all excited when I cook them and end up eating them for the next eight meals. Now all I have is burnt lentils. Funny how just burning the bottom layer ruins the WHOLE pot.

Is there some sort of life lesson in that?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I did my taxes tonight (I know this post will be dated tomorrow). I had two rather pleasant surprises and was eager to get that Federal return in the mail. It is stamped and waiting by the door for the morrow.

I completed my state taxes on-line. VA has a rather helpful website that makes the process of filing your return quite facile.

Thus, my tax obligations are done for the year, and I am receiving two rebates to boot.

Can the evening get much better than that?

Well, perhaps if I had a Dr. Pepper in the house...

Saturday, January 24, 2004

I did a fairly stupid thing. And my poor dog is suffering for my folly.

My wooden stairs are dust collectors. When they are dusty, Kashi slips on them and sort of stumbles down the last few. I am always worried that he will hurt himself. So I got the bright idea of trying pledge.


They are so slippery that even I am stumbling on them. After Kashi fell the whole way down the stairs (and survived with no lasting injury), he decided that he will not go down the stairs any more. With my (and his) bedroom upstairs, this is creating quite a problem.

I cleaned the stairs with 409. And I cleaned them with soapy, piping hot water. They are still slippery. And I am having to carry my dog downstairs each time he finds himself up there and needs to go outside or just wants to join me downstairs (his soft wine while waiting for me at the top of the stairs is so pitiful to hear).

Any suggestions on cleaning these stairs?

Thursday, January 22, 2004

I am ashamed for not writing...for allowing my new difficulties become crises instead of challenges.

I can say that after a two month period where I was afraid to come home for fear of finding another blue subpoena stuck on my door or another letter filled with further legal woes, I am free. The sub-contractor has a restraining order for the period of a year and a $1000.00 bond, and the civil suit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning he cannot raise the issue again. My lawyer e-mailed me yesterday that he was holding the signed, filed paperwork in his hands, and I should expect it by mail soon.

I learned more of the worst of myself during subpoena number three (He went after my medical records in the criminal case against him. I was prepared to go to jail for contempt rather than give him those.) I cried and grew rather hysterical for two full days before listening to a wise friend who told me bluntly that I had let the man win.

But alas, why write today?

Today is a momentous occasion in my life.

Today, at 36 years seven months and 19 days, for the first time...a man whistled at me! At me!

I was leaving for work when a man passing by in a car, slowed, rolled down his window, and whistled at me! Me!

Me in my prednisone enhanced girth. Me with my un-stylish waist length hair fashioned into a bun. Me with my black flowing skirt. Me. He whistled at me. Whistled and smiled when I looked back at him.

I've never had someone who's passed me by, turn his head for another appreciative look. I've never received flowers or cards or chocolates from a man.

My past dates never bought into the whole romantic thing. And I've only had sporadic first dates since the second year I was diagnosed with MS. The last being three years ago when nearly every first date ended up in an emergency room with an asthma attack as I struggled to manage a new disease. Hospital waiting rooms are not conducive to fostering notions of second dates.

I was whistled at today.