Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

~Philippians 4:4-9, NASB


Six weeks ago I wrote about these verses and tonight I listened to a sermon on verse 8. Was it a reminder from God on what I should be thinking?


Monday, May 30, 2005

Whew! I just finished working in the yard!

I am not sure my stepmother realized how much digging she was in for when she volunteered to help divide the hostas.

Those hostas were rescued by a friend of mine. The previous owner had poured stuff on them to kill them which failed. So he finally dug them up and left them at the curb. She brought over eight of them in plastic grocery bags two years ago. I thought they were in soil, so I kept them watered, but waited three weeks to plant them because I was quite busy. When I finally popped them in the ground, I was dismayed to realize they had no soil around their roots.

Well, these are a hearty lot, because the original 8 are now 17 in my yard and more than a dozen (I'd hazard to guess) in my parent's yard.

I was wheezing my way through the work even with my stepmother digging. Still, with the weeding she threw in, the yard looks better for her visit.

And...of course...two transplanted Texans took the opportunity to go eat what passes for Mexican food up here. She always is quite generous about letting me pack up the leftovers. I had dinner and will have lunch and dinner once more off our lunch meal.

It was a good day today!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Two days!

Two whole days I have managed to rest!

Yesterday and today, I slept late, lounged on the desk, played ball with my dog, read four novels, listened to six sermons, studied the bible, and watched four movies.

I would prefer another day of rest, but my stepmother volunteered to come over tomorrow to separate the hostas. They have grown so large that they no longer fit in the beds. She is going to take a few for herself, and I plan on putting a row of them on the other side of the back fence to spruce up the alley way.

While resting more would be ideal, I feel I shouldn't pass up the opportunity for someone else to dig holes for me!

Friday, May 27, 2005


I am SOOOOO very tired of people fooling around instead of working. Sending dozens of chatty emails, spending hours chatting live, doing school work, doing personal business work, and "visiting!"

Now, I have checked my hotmail account at work. And I do tend to "break" at in my bosses office, resting a bit from my work. But I know that I am working hard all day (and often evening and weekend) long. I work at both productivity and efficiency in all that I do.

If you are going to not work, then why be here? Why hang out in the kitchen, the conference rooms, and each other's desks, instead of working? Why hang out in common areas chatting away and disrupting others who are working?

A common theme at work: While the cat's away, the mice do play.

This is the single greatest difference from being a professor to being in the business world. In education, we were all cats...or mice... there was no playing around while a boss is gone. Is that because we were all "bosses" or because we took greater ownership of our jobs?

What do you do when you don't want to "play," when you want to honor your job, not degrade it?

Not joining in oft results in ostracization. How crazy is that?

Double ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Am I ignoring the log in my eye for the specks before me? Am I a pot calling the kettle black? I wish I knew, for I cannot believe at times how callously and carelessly people approach their jobs. Am I being too harsh? I wish I knew...

I wish I knew...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I watched someone facilitate a discussion today.

In my frank opinion, I truly believe that I could have done a far better job. Primarily, this is because on four separate occasions, the facilitator interrupted the participants. They were talking, engaged in the conversation, only to have their interaction broken off by a question that was being answered at the time or had already been answered.

The professor part of me watched in fascination, wanting to step in, and direct the conversation. I also reveled in the memory of the classes that ran over because my students were so engaged in the lesson topic, they wanted to finish the discussion. Of course, there were those times I had to pull it out of them...but even those were good times. Good because I enjoyed the challenge of bridging gaps and creating moments of clarity to make the connections necessary for understanding. I was also good at using one person's comment to illuminate or connect that of another, so the conversation centered not around my facilitation but on the topic itself.

There I was, thinking I could do this. I could do this better. And then it hit me. But I don't.

I am not very successful at leading discussions at work. Why?

I fear that the answer lies with me. I fear the answer is because I am so very thoroughly cowed by my colleagues. I become so lost in my interior dialogue of past remarks and battles with them, that I have little confidence left in my own voice. The frustrating part is that I know, really know, most of the time that what I would like to say is worthy of discussion.

How can I transfer who I was as a professor to who I am in management meetings?

Life was MUCH easier without the introspection that colors me so these days...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I realized today that for the first time, I am in a job that never ends...

That is to say, there will rarely be a great stopping point each day...at least for now.

I just arrived home. I have to learn to leave work...to just leave.

I have always worked hard. But I have always been able to manage what I do in a reasonable time frame. Now, there is so much to do, so much that should already have been done, so much than I am doing currently...that I will never finish. And I am beginning to wonder if working late does more harm than good...for me...for my job...

In any case, I have to sit and think a while...get my mind around this realization and how it might inform the choices I have been making for the last few months.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I have discovered another "plus" regarding the flooding:

In the basement, in front of the settee, there was a dusky rose colored oriental rug. While it certainly soaked up plenty of water and helped keep things from being wetter than they already were, I have never really liked it there.

My friend used the wet/dry vacuum on it with great results. We carried it out to the deck to finish drying...and left it for a few days.

Well, I was in the process of carrying it in when the phone rang. I dropped the rug on the kitchen floor and raced to grab the phone. When I returned to the kitchen, I was rather shocked to discover how very good the rug looks with the cabinets and the wallpaper and the appliances! The rug is also thicker, so I am more comfortable while standing before the sink and doing dishes. Two pluses, I'm sure.

I decided to replace the kitchen rug with the basement one. Now, I do NOT like the kitchen oriental rug in the basement, but given that I am in the kitchen every day and the basement but just once a week or so, I am sticking with the change.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I am humbled by the lovingkindness of my friend.

This weekend, my three-day retreat for her and her husband was by no means peaceful. Flooding, delayed trains, closed venues, and fatigue so great that the wee one was quite distraught by Sunday afternoon. That I overcooked the steak was nearly cruel.

I was so incredibly disappointed that the haven I had desired to give to them was more something to be endured than enjoyed. 'Twas to be a weekend of movies and games and peace and rest. It was exhausting and disappointing...because it wasn't what I planned. After all, it was now the second time that my friend's husband had gone to Mount Vernon and not gotten to walk the grounds. Well...he was on them for all of two minutes...and then waiting at the exit when we were separated because our tickets were apparently good for only 11 minutes!

I had plans. Good ones. Peaceful ones. Restful ones. Enjoyable ones.

My plans did NOT include fatigue and disappointment.

Yet, the gift of this weekend I had nearly overlooked in my own frustration was how very kind my friend is to me. She knew. I really thought I was hiding it. She knew how I was feeling. So even though she was packing, her daughter was fussing, and her husband was most likely dreading the long drive home (long does not even begin to describe the late night construction delays), she popped in a movie.

I was fighting a losing battle with the computer in a futile attempt to burn a CD with all our photos from the weekend (tonight I was able to get it done in just a couple of minutes) and her daughter was wiggling and fussing, and her husband was finishing the packing, when she put in I, Robot.

Our signature movie is Independence Day. We've watched it dozens of times. But I, Robot may soon be a staid second. Of course, even after the movie was done, my friend put in Independence Day as they were loading the car.

I almost missed it. I was so angry at the computer and my own shattered dreams of weekend retreat, I almost missed what she was doing.

She knew how I was feeling and let me know that nothing else really mattered. Through it all, we got to spend the weekend together.

I had a rotten day at work today...I came home in tears. In my brokenness I suddenly thought back to yesterday and the kindness of a true friend.

Hours later, the tears are gone. The weekend is over and the week beginning. I am tired already.

But God has reminded me that I am loved...and my soul knows it very well...

Saturday, May 21, 2005

My friend, her daughter, and her husband are napping right now.

I had a hard time sleeping with my finger, so even though I smelled something cooking downstairs a few hours ago, I rolled over and slept some more, trying to ignore the consequence of hours of labor without my medicine. I also had had to get up in the middle of the night to use the nebulizer because I had also forgotten to take my asthma medicine yesterday. Altogether, I was quite tired.

Still, at 9:30, when I would have preferred to sleep a few hours more, I dragged myself out of bed to join my friend and her family.

They are napping.

Funny, for once the silence in my house makes me smile instead of feeling lonesome. My guests are resting, peaceful, enjoying their accommodations. My best friend is here and will rise eventually to play games, watch movies, visit Mount Vernon, and grill dinner on my tiny hibachi.

Last night, while we were waiting for her husband's train to come in (it was two hours late), we went shopping. Still reeling from the basement flooding, I threw many "treats" into the cart. One of which was a new DVD player.

I had bought one two and a half years ago. For about two years, I have had to stop and clean the lens reader every two or three movies, sometimes twice in a movie. The DVDs would stop, get stuck, read the wrong parts, randomly turn on subtitles...etc. Using it was a chore, but I couldn't see spending money again even though battling the thing when people came over was even more onerous than usual.

So, last night I plunked down money on a new one. Of course, it has progressive scan, so I am feeling quite confident my days of forcing a DVD player to work are over.

I asked my friend if she would install it. I did so, because one of the things I love and admire best about her is her curiosity. We have the same cell phone and she is probably acquainted with ALL of its features, while I basically just make calls. When we see something she is curious about, she will jump on the internet and discover the answer. She actually reads directions to things, too. A marvel, eh?

Well, in VERY short order, she not only had the DVD hooked up, but she had found the instruction book for my universal remote and programmed in the new DVD player. I won't mention how very LONG it took me to do the same when I first got the player and then again when I got the universal remote.

When we watched the movie, not once did I have to force the player to continue. A good ending to a rather trying day...

They are up now. I am sure that this day will be far better than yesterday!

Friday, May 20, 2005

This day, this visit, is not going the way I had wished.

My best friend is here with her baby girl. They arrived yesterday afternoon, joining me at work first so that I could have her meet my boss. Traveling home from work together hit a snag because there was an accident when we were just a mile from home that added at least 30 minutes to the commute.

We then went to the store because I had not managed to do so before her arrival. [To my chagrin, I also had not managed to clean the bird cage, wash the dog, vacuum, dust, clean the bathrooms, or otherwise prepare for her visit.

We raced home from the store to speed feed her daughter and get her down in time to watch the season finale of CSI. We played a few games, watched a movie, and staggered off to bed because it was so late and we had the whole next day to play games, watch movies, and go out for a bit. One goal was to turn in the paperwork for my passport for our trip next fall. Her husband was to come the next evening and we would all spend the weekend together.

A great plan, eh?

Well, it rained. And rained. And rained.

And the basement flooded.

For hours and hours, I mopped and squeezed water in the bucket, the two gallon bucket that was filled six times. I put down every possible towel and even my queen-sized chenille blanket to stay ahead of the water. You know how laminate floors are supposed to "float" on the surface? Well, mine literally is floating on water down there. Every step squished out more water between the cracks. When all is said and done, the floor will be ruined.

My dearest friend did not complain once, even though it was extremely difficult for me not to spiral into despair at the situation. She was encouraging and helpful and pitched in to help rather unselfishly given that through all this we had a nine-month old baby girl who still needed to be fed and held and played with and put down for a nap.

When I moved here, I bought a wet/dry vacuum because of all the construction. The workers, in and out of my house at the time, had told me to get rid of the foam insert and use a pleated filter to better capture the sawdust. Well, you need the foam insert to use the "wet" function of the wet/dry vacuum. I had tried to use it before with disastrous results, i.e., water squirting everywhere when I was trying to clean up from the sewage pipe backing up.

My very dear friend, found the instructions, discovered the part I needed, went to Lowe's by herself, and brought it back home to "fix" the wet/dry vacuum. We were near the end of mopping as the rain had ceased and the groundwater flow into my basement had slowed (oh that the thing had been fixed hours earlier).

Ever the helpful friend, she challenged me to find the good in the situation:
  • the wet/dry vacuum now works properly both ways
  • I got the opportunity to throw out some things that I was not sure about keeping
  • the closet was cleaned out
  • I was not alone when all this happened
Still, I forgot to take my arthritis medicine, so while my back is already hurting, I know tomorrow will be worse. And...I burned my finger while preparing a late night dinner of sorts, so sleeping will be a bit hard since any moment it is off a piece of ice is rather painful.

Still...she is here. Her baby girl smiles at me. What more could I want?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Kashi seems to be doing better, as am I. I am trying to remain hopeful that the vertebrae problem is old and something he's compensated for which is why the doctor said he appears to show no clinical presentation of the problem.

Today at work, I spent the day working to catch up on what I missed yesterday and to design the postcard announcements for our next event.

It may sound weird, but the developer was particularly proud of the tile floor in the lobby, so I took a photo of it earlier thinking I might use it some time. It came in handy as a background for the design. I wish I could have done with the photo arrangement, but the tile as a background looked great...in my opinion.

The only part I really struggle with is the fact that I am not a designer and that were we able to afford one, our postcards could be so much better.

At the end of the day, I had been trying to leave for half an hour when my phone rang. It was a direct dial, which few people use, so I answered it...but I half yelled into the phone that I was not there.

It was my boss. Foot-in-mouth time, eh?

Never will I be able to rise above my innate clumsiness to exhibit even a modicum of class...

I did spend a while on my deck in peaceful quiet.

Did I mention that it was DONE!

[Except for the two foot section of one slat I overlooked and plan on addressing soon...]

Monday, May 16, 2005

Kashi became ill Friday night and so we spent half the night in the Animal ER. We were sent home with some medicine and no real answers, so after I slept a bit, I called his vet. The ER vet could not really examine him because he was squealing in pain and snapping at him. His regular vet is quite good with him and was able to determine that it was his left flank that was leaving him trembling and whimpering in pain.

He wasn't the only one crying...

She took x-rays and discovered that in addition to some irritation in two spots on his bowels, he has two vertebrae compressed together just before his pelvis. What is not clear is if it is an older injury that he has just lived with somehow or if that was the point of pain.

So after another five hours, we went home with more medicine and a "let's keep an eye on him."

He seems to be doing better.

I, on the other hand, had a hard day. I went to bed early both Saturday and Sunday and should have been plenty rested. But on the way to work today, I started feeling quite horrible. Quite horrible.

I was trembling and clammy and nauseous and weak. The longer I drove, the more I realized that I should not have been driving and needed to go back home.

Nearly the whole day I felt horrible.

Nearly the whole day I fielded calls from work and tried to sound less horrible.

Around 5:00, I went outside for a while and puttered with some flowers I had bought on Sunday. Given the rather severe allergic reactions I've had lately, it was a bit of a risk being, but I wanted to keep an eye on Kashi.

I finally felt better around 7:00, though I was still fielding calls from work.

My best friend distracted me some with Scrabble and listened to me moan and groan without much comment. It was nice to have some company whilst feeling ill even though it was long distance company.

I, for one, am glad this day is over and hope that tomorrow fairs better.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Yesterday my hands and feet were tingling all day, as was my vision blurring. I spent the morning working with someone on a new piece of collateral. As we worked, I began to feel quite ill. I got this sick sort of headache, I started trembling, and my stomach began churning.

My colleague noticed that something was wrong and after her query as to the cause, I realized that my barrette was on that spot on my head. She suggested that we go to the bathroom together and take it out.

But when she looked at me, expecting me to rise and join her, all I could do is just sit there. I couldn't understand her. I was too confused. I couldn't understand that even though I told her why I was growing ill, that she wanted me to remove the barrette. I mumbled something about needing to stay where I was.

We finished our project and she eventually left, while I remained at my desk feeling worse and worse. Finally, I made my way to the bathroom where I threw up. It was only then that I realized she didn't mean for me to change my hairstyle but to remove the cause of my illness.

I moved the barrette and began to recover.

While I still am puzzled that a pressure upon a certain spot at the back of my head can make me ill, I am concerned that this was the first time the illness was coupled with confusion.

I am wearing my hair down today...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I had great excitement in my life tonight.

There I was, moving the brush back and forth, back and forth, wishing I were finished with the deck when all of the sudden, there was a huge "boom" from what I discovered was a rather large explosion in front of my house!

The noise startled me so much that I spilled some of the stain on the deck. My first thought was that my new car had been hit (even after a year I worry about the thing). My second thought was that I had to spread out what I spilled so that it would spot before I could race around to the front of the house. While I was spreading the spilled stain out, I first was comforted by the fact that if something happened to my car, the alarm would be sounding. But then I realized if that loud of a noise was something hitting my car, the alarm would probably be destroyed.

Finally, stain dripping down my arm as I held the brush aloft, I ran to the front yard to check on my car.

My car was safe.

However, the noise had been an explosion!

There was this heavy duty truck (like a trash truck but not one of those) that had exploded in the middle of the street in front of my house (I am glad I usually park across the street)! Smoke was billowing upwards, flames licking up from underneath, and the driver waving his arms in despair by the side of the road.

Two fire trucks and a two truck later, the excitement was gone.

My car was still safe.

I finished the deck and was quite pleased with myself until about an hour ago.

I let Kashi outside to conduct his business and realized that the deck is STILL WET! It is too humid now, even though when I started it was pleasant and breezy and the first coat dried right away.

If it rains, I will be stuck with a colossal mess for a deck...much heartache...and exhausting labor to restore it.

I am thinking dry thoughts.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"You have lipstick on your tooth."

Were I to ask you how you know that you are supported at work, would the statement above come to mind?

Today, we had some pretty important visitors to one of our properties. I arrived first, and took the opportunity to shoot some photos of the buildings. [Always I am thinking of the web site!] The president and the chairman of our board arrived next. The visitors were late in arriving, so the two of them took the opportunity to discuss the thousand and one pressing matters before our organization just now. But once the chairman stepped aside to take a phone call, the president came over to chat with me. A few moments into the conversation, he casually pointed out that I had lipstick on my teeth and kept on talking. I rubbed my finger across my teeth, and when he finished what he had been saying, he said that I had got it and then went on to talk about something else with work.

For a few moments, I found it difficult to follow the conversation. I've only known him for a few weeks and he's our new CEO, yet he didn't let me go greet those federal visitors with lipstick on my teeth. And he let me know in such a way that held no embarrassment for me. A quiet, nonchalant comment.

Now if that is not support...what is?

It was a sweet moment...and a good day.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Alas, this weekend was filled with sunshine...so I worked on the deck and worked on the deck and worked on the deck.

Yesterday, it took me eight hours to clean both the upper and lower decks. Eight grueling hours of spraying and scrubbing, and scrubbing and spraying. Today, after visiting with my folks, I started staining. Finishing after dark, I completed the lower deck and the stairs down from the upper deck tonight.

It took me four and half hours to do that work, yet somehow I have to squeeze in the upper deck after work Monday and Tuesday because it is supposed to be rainy for the rest of the week through the weekend. Even if I leave on time, I am left with just about one and a half hours of daylight. Do the math.

Of course, if I were some strange sort of morning bird, I could work on it before and after work. But I am the quintessential night owl. My best sleeping time is from 7 am to noon. Getting to work is a challenge. Rising early to work on the deck is next to impossible!

While I was at my father's house, I spent some time walking around his property. My stepmother is a genius in the yard. She is currently working on a flagstone walkway from the driveway to the back yard. The walkway is lined with blooming azaleas. She also has several bird feeders. Most of hers are one poles with squirrel baffles. I definitely would like one of those because I feed the local squirrels as much as I do the birds. She also has a nesting box in the back yard. We peeked inside to see the babies. One stuck his head up, beak open wide as if he expected me to pop in a worm. He was so incredibly tiny, probably about the size of my thumb. Before I left, I saw her new feeder covered with yellow finches. I've yet to lure those to my back yard, so I was a bit jealous. It was so peaceful in their backyard, wind rustling through the leaves, the flowers blooming...

God truly is a master craftsman...snowy winters, blooming springs, green summers, fall foliage...I am thankful for the eyes to see such beauty...

Friday, May 06, 2005

I am so tired that I actually started to nod off while driving home. That was the second time this week I nearly fell asleep at the wheel.

I need somehow to get myself out the door at a decent time at work...

This evening, though, I was so productive between five and eight, knocking off all sorts of small items that needed addressing. How could I leave when I was able to clear my desk of half of the sticky note reminders I've been leaving to try and remember all that had been shoved aside to get the web site finished.

And, of course, I treated myself to some organization. I concentrated on the binder for the new web site. I found myself lingering a bit over those beautiful pages I slipped into the top-loading sheet protectors. The contract. The payments. The design sign-off. The content inventory chart. The text. All orderly. All there. It is DONE.

I plan to sleep and sleep tonight and long into tomorrow.

I am hoping it will rain so that I am forced to put off cleaning and then sealing the deck. If not, then I will feel quite obligated to go slave away out there.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I was confronted with a question today that made me realize I need to grow up a bit. Yes, work has been stressful. Yes, other people have made poor decisions that have ramifications that affect my job. All this and what I've written before are still true. However, I need to still reconsider how I view my world and work at my job.

At what point do you stop thinking about your own area, your own issues, and think about the company as a whole?

Not what is good for you, but what is good for us?

How do you balance your own responsibilities and agenda with also supporting the company bottom line?

Your area wins an award and is it your award or ours?

You want to promote yourself, but is it better to promote the company? Better for all... and thus better for you?

I have so very much to think about...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Have you ever stood by and watched someone throw his/her life away?

Standing from miles and miles and years and years away...

My niece is twenty and intelligent and introspective and beautiful and talented. She's been that way since she was quite young. Yet she chose to throw her life away. Again and again and again.

She chose to leave high school. She chose to leave home. She chose alcohol. She chose drugs. She chose theft.

She has a family standing around her wanting to help. Watching. Wondering how far she will fall. Wondering if this time she will cross that line, that line of no return.

She's faced hurt. She's faced disappointment. She's faced rejection.

And over and over again, she's wrapped herself in hurt and disappointment and rejection and deafened herself to the call of those who love her.

I learned this morning, as an afterthought, that she was arrested.

She could sing with professionals. She could write circles around authors. She has vision and she has voice.

Yet she chooses to throw it all away.

And all we can do is watch until she chooses to keep her life.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Do you believe that with a stroke of a pen you can change your life? I mean beyond the literal...a job, a marriage, etc.

I've been wondering about that. I find that I have chosen the present over the future. While the benefits of that choice will make life easier, I am not easy in the decision.

With a stroke of a pen.

Of course, the new website was essentially finished on Friday and I went home and slept fifteen hours straight...only to another twelve the next night.

Is my discomfort from fatigue?

Every day we make choices. Choices piled upon choices. Consequences piled upon consequences.

With MS, I should be ever more vigilant securing the future because that future may very well be not what I would hope it to be...yet I chose the present.

What remains is the choices I will make from this day forward...

Of course, what is most important these days?


I won the bet on finishing the web site. However, one knight in shining armor rose to slay a dragon laying between myself and the land of milk and honey, so I am inclined to pass my meal off to him.