Friday, February 27, 2009

Two more nights of futzing with the computers has left me wishing I were an IT genius. I am not.

I have migrated all my data and installed all my software save the design programs to my new laptop. I have deleted all my data and uninstalled all my software on my old laptop. I have added the VPN connection to my new laptop so that I can access the server at work.

I have only slept 4 hours each of the last two nights and it is actually well into the morning on Friday.

I think, perhaps, I shall sleep just until the time B arrives on Saturday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hours and hours of installing programs and restarting and uninstalling and restarting and moving files and deleting files. While my software documentation system has greatly aided the process, I will be quite glad to have this transfer of data completed.

What am I doing, you ask? Putting my life on my new GREEN laptop. More retail therapy. Slightly ashamed, although I have 6 months to pay for it, so it will be paid out of cash. I am still debt free (save for the mortgage). I just haven't saved anything in the past two months. Instead, I have been working out my angst by upgrading a few things around the house...the television, the computer, the camera...

My dearest B will be the beneficiary of my current laptop. Perhaps after taking off all the design software I have on it, the sluggish processing will cease for her. Selfishly, the alacrity with which I decided to upgrade the laptop was rooted in the fact that now that B will have a laptop that actually works she will be able to play Scrabble with me from her couch and from the cabin! To be fair to me, I will say that I have been pricing them for the past year or so with an eye to upgrade and the President's Day sale at Dell brought the price down considerably from where I had previously been looking. The DVD burner could have been a faster model, but everything else is a giant leap forward. The 4 gigs of memory ought to make Adobe Creative Suite 3 happy!

Still, it is quite a bit of work to extract my life from one laptop and settle it within another.

A GREEN car. A GREEN front door. A GREEN phone. A GREEN laptop. All I need is a GREEN camera and I shall have color peace in all phases of my daily life!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kashi is sulking just now. I hope he forgives me before it is time to go to bed.

Despite his vehement protest, I gave him a bath this evening. He has not had one since before his surgery in August. Seriously, it was quite past time for him to be cleaned.

He trembles. He whimpers. He hides in the smallest space he can find. All this just at hearing the word "bath." Once in the tub, he is the most pitiful dog I have ever seen. It takes a steely will go through applying soap and water, which is nothing less than torture to him. The upshot of the whole experience is that my bathroom floor gets a good cleaning as well from the copious amounts of water Kashi manages to drip all over it.

Given that it is only 27 degrees outside right now, I am not sure bathing him was the best idea, but once he is dry, he will be soft and fluffy and smelling oh, so sweet!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I was carrying the laundry down again and Kashi whined to come with me. Despite the disastrous results last time, I thought I would try again. This time, I put him inside the laundry basket so that I could carry them both with one hand and hold on to the banister.

Kashi did not like riding in the laundry basket.

We both ended up at the bottom of the stairs without using all of the steps.

Feeling rather stupid...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I have accomplished another organization task in my home.

In my minuscule kitchen, I have this drawer in which I keep utensils and gadgets. No matter how many times I tried to keep it organized, it would end up a jumbled mess that made opening and closing the drawer rather difficult. Not so anymore!

After purchasing a metal drawer organizer, I was able to find a place for everything and put everything in its place. Part of this effort means the potholders are now hanging on a hook on the side of the refrigerator. While I would prefer to have them put away, I am quite pleased with the overall results.

Silly me, I have have already opened and closed the drawer a dozen times today just so I could savor the fruits of my labor.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I had an abolutely victory today at work, finally getting our new Donate Now button up on our website. Since I had to do battle with Dreamweaver, I consider it a great accomplishment as I am NOT a webdesigner.

You see, Dreamweaver has this pesky little default with images that are linked. It puts a box around them. In this case, it was ruining the look of the button that I had had to cajole my boss a bit to let me to the website in the first place. There is much skepticism that we will garner online donations, even though a significant portion of our support comes from individuals.

Anyhow, even though the border box on the image properties window was empty, it was actually not empty. By putting in a 0, I eliminted those borders and was able to successfully add the button to all the major pages of our website!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oh, my! Tiger Woods is returning to golf! You know where I will be next Saturday!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I am rather tired.

This evening, I fell several times because my left leg is not working very well. You have probably seen a sign somewhere that states the definition of insanity is repeating something over and over and expecting different results. Well, I suppose you could say I am insane.

I fell, because I kept rising from the couch thinking I could walk. I am now sporting several carpet burns and a short temper.

When this happens, I know it is because I am overly fatigued. I know this, but I have been unable to sleep much. I have had a lot of pain lately that makes falling asleep difficult and when I managed to do so, I have had terrible dreams.

I stopped the physical therapy, telling myself I would get a second opinion from another therapist since the one I was seeing transferred to another clinic. Yet, a week as has passed without making the call to gain another appointment.

I should get brownie points, however, for continuing the stretching and abdominal exercises that I learned from the therapy despite the fact that doing so is rather painful. I am trying. Having my pain increased tenfold from that blasted traction is just so discouraging. Then, too, my left thumb and right shoulder have never recovered from going without the pain medicine for a week. Between them and my back, everything I do causes pain. Everything.

B listened to me weep for a rather long time this evening, offering love and support that changes nothing and yet alters everything. I had been holding the pieces of my heart together, waiting for her to get home from choir. I knew she would not know what to say, but I also knew she would listen. God poured out a measure of grace to me this evening. In that, I am truly blessed.

May I remember that even if it seems as if I am being swallowed by darkness, a beacon of light has been given to me by the One who will never fail.

Needless to say, remaining positive has been as struggle as well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

As an educator, I witnessed something today that made my heart sick, especially knowing I truly am not free to step in and correct what I believe to be an egregious situation. Volunteers in an after school program were simply giving the students the answers to their homework; the computer instructor was merely holding typing lessons. While the latter was shameful, the former was absolutely and completely wrong.

I shared my observations as carefully as I could, but the truth is often not really welcome for the threat it holds to the Status Quot. As cynical as it sounds, I have found that most often those in leadership care more to keep things as they are than rock the boat by holding others to the standard of care, the caliber of work, that should exist. The specious excuse is that we cannot expect such high standards, blind to the fact that they are not high, that we are holding mediocrity as excellence. The specious excuse is that we cannot control employees or volunteers. No, you cannot control the actions of another, but you can hold them accountable for their actions. Especially those who works with the future of our race.

To give answers to a child should be akin to criminal. There is no excuse. You can lead a child to learning, you can teach her by giving her knowledge, but to tell her what to write so that her teacher believes she has grasped the lesson is reprehensible.

At least it is so to me. It saddens me that I fear I am rather alone in believing as I do.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I have been adding CFL bulbs to my household, targeting the ceiling lights. Because any light hurts my eyes, I tend to only have natural light in my home unless absolutely necessary. Whenever K comes over to write and cook, she flicks the kitchen light on and I turn it off. It is a lovely dance between us. At work, my boss comes into my office and protests that I am working in a cave. I shrug, thankful that the sharp pains I feel have been avoided.

So, I have not seen much need for switching out the bulbs. However, while I do not use them very much, making the change would save energy. The Home Depot had an impressive sale on CFL bulbs, so I decided to move forward with the great switch out.

I put the new bulbs over the dining table, at the top of my stairs, and in all of the ceiling lights in the basement. Also, I have now converted the utility closet and my own bedroom closet. Unfortunately, I did not purchase the right bulbs for the dining table, because that is a dimmer switch. I have to track down dimmable CFL bulbs.

I would also like to purchase candelabra ones for the four ceiling fans and the front porch light. However, all I could find was 15-watt ones that would not be enough light.

Still, another small step forward for the planet in my home. The bible teaches stewardship is important. I proffer that extends to the stewardship of His creation.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

NASCAR is back! The race had a few rather satisfying crashes, although the rain ultimately made for a less-than-thrilling ending. However, the prayer beforehand was magnificent to hear, an unabashed proclaimation for Christ. Amen!

Whenever I try to articulate my thoughts on the matter, I usually bungle it, but what I want to say is that I feel as if it is acceptable to be any religion save for Christianity these days. It is acceptable to have absolute beliefs in any religion save for Christianity. It is as if inclusivity is to be the new religion save for Christianity.

I believe in absolutes. I believe that Jesus Christ is God's Son and offers the only way to salvation. I believe that the bible is God's Truth and is not a message that you can pick and choose what you care to follow or not. I believe God is sovereign. I believe He is Creator. I believe Christ is Savior. I believe.

You do not have to believe as I do. That is between you and God. However, it is my opinion that I should be equally free to believe as I do without being labeled intolerant or a biggot or a an ignorant fool.

So, it was with great fellowship that I listened to the prayer to start the Daytona. I, too, believe. Thank you, Shephard of Christ's Flock, to give praise and honor and glory to the One who give grace and mercy in such great measure.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Remember that arduous project that kept me writing all hours of the night last fall on a rather impossible deadline? Well, the website was finally made live! Should you wish to learn about sustainable travel, mosey on over to

I must admit that I did not write two of the sections and some of what I did write was edited, but it is a fair representation of my craftsmanship.

Friday, February 13, 2009

B played Scrabble with me today. We each won a game. I suppose that should be just perfect for me, but really I do like to win!

A long while ago, I gave B a nickname: Bettina. Sometime after that, I felt compelled to give her a middle nickname: Matilda. So, many times I call her Bettina Matilda.

When she and her family were here over New Year's Eve, B announced that I needed a first nickname in response to my own announcement that I felt she needed a third one. After some futile casting about, I suggested: George. However, G felt very strongly that his wife's best friend should not be named "George." B then tried out Georgette, but it frankly was not quite the same.

Well, ever the brilliant one, Bettina Matilda arrived at not one but two nicknames for me and announced them by way of a lovely card that arrived as a beautiful surprise in the mail today. We did mutually decide to alter the order, but that one concession does not diminish her outstanding acumen. What is my new name? Myrtle Bernice!

Such a pair we are!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Trying to navigate a stairway while holding both a puppydog and a basket of laundry that has three loads in it is probably not the best course of action. Doing so on a stairway that has far too many piles of things on the bottom steps that need to be put away on the upper floor is probably an even worse decision. It is a good thing that Kashi and I had so many clothes to land on when we fell!

Despite the fall, my puppydog is doing much, much better. While his leg is still not very useful, his pain appears to be better and his hindquarter weakness has greatly diminished. Two weeks ago, he was done on the floor more than on his feet. I cried the whole day and felt it was time to put him down. But the next day he was better and the one after that still more so. The vet thought the cold (we had had snow earlier in the week) was too much for him. We started a new Chinese herb, and he turned this wonderful corner. I am trying to curb my hope, but I do feel better just looking at him.

Part of turning the tide, I believe, is the fact that he is getting both doses of all three of his medications. It was very difficult for me to remember his medicine, and most days he only had one dose between morning and night. After feeling like a very poor puppydog momma, I had the brilliant revelation that I should purchase a seven day pill container like the one I use, but get one for two slots for each day. However, I kept forgetting to get one when I was at the store. After growing more frustrated with myself, I finally remembered that I got one like that for when B and I were in Italy because I needed two weeks of my own medicine. A bit of searching later, I found it, filled it, and began an uninterrupted streak of properly dosing my dog!

Small victories, eh?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I have had several people over the past week ask me if something was wrong. It hit me today that what they were seeing is how much pain I am in because of this physical therapy. I believe quite strongly that there is something fundamentally wrong with that.

But rather than expound upon my discomfort or worry further about my now sixth asthma attack since the car fire, I shall dwell upon J.

I arrived home to discover a vintage Campbell's soup barrel tin on my porch. Tucked inside were several "I'm-thinking-of-you-and-want-you-to-know-it" gifts. The best of these is a small replica of a vintage Dr. Pepper serving tin. I promptly put it on the counter of my kitchen in a spot that had clearly been waiting for it.

A short while ago, J sent an email telling me that she figured I had been writing off-line. So well does she know me even though we are miles and months apart. Each time I have become absent, muting my own voice, it is because I fear that all my words are seen merely as massive amounts of wallowing instead of musing on my day. Who would want to read this stuff?

I can just hear J: "It's your life. You should write whatever you wish."

Well, today, I am writing about the impeccible timing of J. I am writing about how she always manages to sense when a tea bag or letter or Dr. Pepper patch will brighting an otherwise trying time. I am writing about how small things can reap great rewards in the life of a friend.

Monday, February 09, 2009

I had another asthma attack at the office. It was awkward and burdensome since I felt as if I were a distraction, even as I hid in my office with the door closed as I nebulized.

Why should asthma bring shame?

When I decided to leave, I was still trembling so much that I tried to reach B to "ride" home with me via Sprint. I couldn't reach her and turned to D. I shouldn't have called him, yet he is always willing to be a knight in shining armor. The most lop-sided relationship in history is most disconcerting. Yet. Well, driving home alone would not have been the wisest decision.

I am convinced that the smoke from that fire is still swirling about the furthest recesses of my lungs. I wonder how many more attacks it will take before I can banish this foe...

NOTE: The verdict is in: I do not want another moment of traction. The pain in my back exploded anew with each cough during the attack. I am most certain it would not have been so bad had I not spent another 10 minutes strapped into that torture device. Tell me again the benefits of physical therapy?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Do you believe it is possible to learn to embrace pain enough to revel in a life filled with the challenge?

I would rather write of great musings rather than coughing and pain and fatigue. I would. However, those things do not seem to be leaving any time soon. Nay, I fear they are here to stay.

Could I do such a thing?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

This day began with the worst asthma attack I have had outside the ER. It began about twelve hours ago, its violence startling me awake. Smothering in your sleep is frankly a horrible experience. Then breathing in drugs that leave you trembling from your innermost being outward just makes the whole experience worse.

I wanted desperately to go to the hospital, but I was foolishly ashamed that I had not showered when I should have the night before.

I risked my health because of shame, because I wanted to avoid being judged and found wanting in any way. That sounds silly. I get that. Still, I suffered at home.

Two doses of both inhalers. Two epipens. Three rounds of the nublizer with both medicines. Two cough pills (I am not supposed to take more than one at a time). I am still feeling shaky. I suspect that fire was more dangerous than I first thought.

But, wait, what have I to look forward to after such a dismal start to my day? NASCAR. A few spectacular crashes will surely put me to rights, eh?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

On the way home this evening, a pick-up truck caught on fire. The less-than-brilliant response team ended up blocking the street and trapping a half dozen cars right in the path of the growing smoke. One of those cars was mine.

Before long, smoke was surrounding my car, blocking my view of all but my panicked reflection in my windshield. While it was not that long before the smoke began to dissipate, I fear the damage was done.

Even with the windows tight, I began coughing rather violently. I reached in the back seat and snagged my nebulizer, but I am not sure that will be enough because I am still coughing and my throat is still scratchy.

Sitting there, I kept thinking about the California wildfires. This was one small engine fire. Can you imagine the impact of thousands of acres burning to a crisp? I cannot. Even for folks with a pair of fresh, pink lungs, I would thing inhaling the fetid air was disconcerting, if not downright frightening.

For the life of me, I still cannot figure out why the emergency vehicles blocked us in that way, nor why not one of the personnel came to check on me when it was clear my vehicle was blocking the traffic that had finally began to move once more.

I probably should have headed over to the hospital. I just wanted to come home and curl up in the green chair with my puppydog. I just nebulized again and hope that will be enough.

At least this day is over...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A while ago, B told me that she understood that I needed her to listen more than she needed to be the one to talk. Her words brought tears to my eyes at the blessings God showers down upon me and yet have prickled my heart ever since.

She needs me to listen. She has fears and frustrations with her children. She has doubts as a mother and a wife. She has all her hopes of having another child wrapped up in just one fragile embryo that is left from more than a dozen who have lost their viability over the past year. A third attempt and most likely last. She needs me, and yet she gives so freely of herself in our phone calls and Scrabble games (even though she has been squashing me on a regular basis of late).

I wish that I were a better friend to her. I wish I had more to offer than pain and coughing and failure and frustration and puppydog worries. I wish I could uplift her the way she does me. I wish my witness would be the balm and chastisement as hers has been to me, encouraging me to never stop striving to be obedient to Christ, to trust, to surrender. I wish I taught her to be loving and to love as she has taught me. I wish her to know the blessings as have I. I wish she could have B in her life instead of a P.

I pray that I can learn to shed more of my self, avert my eyes from my circumstances, and be who she needs me to be.

I love her because she has taught me to love and to trust that I can be me without sending the whole world fleeing...someone will stay...

Monday, February 02, 2009

In reflecting greatly upon the absense of my abdominal muscles, I postualted that perhaps they were also a factor in the rapid weakness in my legs since they should be helping my quadracepts when lifting my legs, such as on stairs. When I proffered my theory, the PT thumped herself on her head and exclaimed rather loudly that she should have made that connection.

That epiphany did little to mitigate the fact that I am leaving my physical therapy appointments in greater pain that when I arrive.


Happy Birthday, K! Take a break from your studies to celebrate the gift of your life! I certainly praise God for you!