Thursday, March 29, 2012

The right way to love

It's been a jam-packed past two weeks for me.  Crazy busy.  Work has been busy.  Home has been busy.  I was on 40 mg of prednisone every day for five days, so I wasn't able to sleep for ten days, craziness.  Today I feel like there has been a break in the urgency of the past two weeks.  I thought, great, I'll write my blog.  I sit down to write and nothing comes to mind.  Nothing.  I feel like laying down and taking a nap, but I'm having a tough time with a subject for this day.

Le sigh...

My husband is still in Tahoe, skiing.  Lucky guy.  I miss him.  I'm doing just fine at home with the dog and the kid, but I miss him.  This is a good thing, right?  It must mean that I love him if I miss him.  Right?  Yeah, I love him.  I used to wonder if I ever truly loved anyone when I was younger.  I used to think about my parents and wondered if the feelings I had toward them was love.  I wondered the same thing about my feelings toward my brothers.  My feelings never felt like I thought the "loving feelings" on tv shows or movies looked.  I never once felt the pang of homesickness when I went away to camp or sleepovers.  I remember looking at the kids that were crying and wondering what was going on with them.  Did they love their parents so much more than I loved mine that they couldn't bear to leave them?  And if this was so, why were they going to camp if they all loved each other so much?  Wouldn't it be better to stay together, at home?  I wondered about my ability to love with boyfriends in high school.  I dated a fair amount, but I wouldn't say I was "in love" with any of these boys.  In fact, the boy I was dating just before senior prom broke up with me and I didn't get to go to prom.  The reason he broke up with me was because he discovered the only reason I was dating him was to go to prom.  This was not very nice of me, so I deserved the break up.  I still wonder how he found this out.  Hmm?  Then I met my husband and we fell in love.  I still can't say what it was about my feelings for him that made it clear I was "in love" with him.  I liked him.  We had a long distance relationship.  He was in Jacksonville, FL and I was in Chicago, IL.  We laughingly say we had five dates and were married.  He went out to sea for nine months immediately after our honeymoon.  I missed him, but I was fine.  I certainly didn't cry every day and, sadly, I hardly wrote him any letters.  He, on the other hand, wrote to me almost every day.  There were more separations in our marriage because of his job with the navy, and I tolerated them quite well.  I guess the way I love doesn't depend on being next to the person I love at all times.  I never wished we could be together ALL the time.  I didn't need to talk to him on the phone while he was at work.  I handled time apart very well.  Yet, I wondered if this meant there was something "wrong" about the way I love people.  Did this ability to give my parents, my brothers, my boyfriends, my husband, my son and other people I love, their space and be completely ok with time apart and enjoy my independence, as well, mean I didn't love people well?  In fact, now that I think about it, any time I was in a relationship with someone a bit too clingy or if I have a friend that needs a little too much of my time I tend to distance myself from them.

I'm beginning to think I attract people who don't need to have me cling to them to feel loved.  My parents are not the most touchy-feely people.  In fact, when I tell my mother "I love you" on the phone, before I hang up, she often stumbles over the words, "I love you, too."  They just don't come naturally to her.  My brothers and me are close, but we don't talk to each other often.  I think we like each other, well enough, but we aren't the kind of siblings that will go on vacation together.  I think we could, but we just don't think of it.  In the case of my husband, it's funny, I think I like being with him more now than I did when we were younger.  I guess we've gotten used to each other.  Don't get me wrong, I'm sleeping just fine with him away.

If they made movies about the way I show love and need to be loved, the movie would be pretty boring.  Maybe that's why they use the crying, clinging, "I can't live without you" kind of love for the silver screen.  There's a chance I could be wrong about all this and I'm just a cold fish when it comes to love, but I don't think so.

One of my readers, Brandee, told me about love languages.  Evidently everyone feels loved by one or more of the five love languages.  Somehow, I had never heard of this.  The five languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.  I'm fairly certain I'm not into the touch or the gifts.  There is a test one can take to determine your love language.  I think I'm going to take the test and discover which is my mother tongue.  I'm going to guess it is acts of service because I'm really missing the fact that my husband takes care of the dog and takes out the garbage.  I'll let you know how this turns out.

84.  Quieter day at work
85.  Readers with good information
86.  Hot coffee in the afternoon, sometimes
87.  This blog.  It explains why I am the way I am
88.  A great conversation with my son
89.  Another sunny spring day

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Updates and other stuff

I finished the piece I'm entering into the Humorous Writing contest at my school.  The more I rewrote and rewrote, the less funny it became, I think.  I'm still going to enter it.  I had a few friends read it.  A couple said it was hilarious, a couple said it was funny, one said it was witty, and another said it read like a news item.  Oh well.  It's my first attempt at writing for a contest.  I don't expect to win, but wouldn't it be great if I did?

I've been juicing.  I watched a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  It was streaming on Netflix.  This guy, Joe Cross, lost a bunch of weight by going on a juice fast of only fresh fruit and vegetable juices.  I don't think I can handle JUST juice, but I'm substituting the juice for two meals each day.  The juice is really good.  I usually make it with a big handful of kale, a cucumber, a stalk of celery, an orange and two apples.  It makes about two cups of juice and it tastes really good.  I have to admit, I get pretty hungry by lunchtime.  I haven't started bringing the juice to work.  My boss and co-workers give me an incredibly hard time about the "green stuff."  I hate when they do this.

I finally recovered from a very bad bout of bronchitis.  Last week was my first full week back to work and my husband's first full week of retirement without having me at home with him while I was sick.  He likes retirement much more when I'm at work.  I don't know what I think about this.  On the other side of this retirement deal.  I got rid of all my husband's dress shirts and ties.  There will be no more tie wearing in his future.  I think he loves this.

I've got a funny work story for you.  Last week I was working on a photoshop project for my office.  I'm not a graphic designer and I'm self-taught on photoshop, so it isn't the easiest thing in the world for me to do well.  I was having a difficult time with the project and I seemed to be making the same mistake over and over again.  Added to this frustrating process were the conditions I was having to work in.  The temperature outside was in the 70's and the building had the boiler cranking the heat up into the mid-80's inside.  I had to open the window to try to catch a bit of a breeze and, unfortunately someone was smoking outside my office window.  In fact, they were chain smoking.  Then, if this wasn't bad enough, the groundskeepers decided to have a conversation.  They were yelling at each other to be heard over the lawn mowers.  ARRRRRRGGGGG.  I couldn't take it.  I couldn't concentrate.  I finally said, "This is too much.  I'm out of here."  I shut down my computer, grabbed my purse and went to lunch.  It was great to get away.  When I got back to the office I was able to focus and finish the project.  My boss returned from lunch and asked me if things were going better.  I told him that they were.  Then he told me he had heard me say, "I'm outta here."  I laughed and continued to work.  After a couple minutes I thought to myself, I'll bet he thought I wasn't coming back to work.  So I asked him if he thought I wasn't coming back and he said the thought crossed his mind.  Hahahaha.  Yeah, I've got this job just the way I like it.  :)

Lastly, my husband is on vacation in South Lake Tahoe.  He's skiing.  I'm home, working, and he's in Nevada skiing.  I chose not to go on this vacation because it was to be a "guys" trip and I did not want to end up being the maid to three guys.  Unfortunately, the two other guys dropped out and my husband went on his own.  No worries, though, he's a friendly guy and makes friends wherever he goes.  He's having a blast.  In fact, just this morning he called to tell me it was a bit windy and overcast today.  He thought he would hang out in the hot tub and then get a massage, later.  Thanks dear.  I really needed to hear this.  You have a wonderful vacation.  :)

78.  My husband is wearing a helmet while skiing
79.  People praying for my husband's safety
80.  My son is really stepping up and helping out while husband is away
81.  Friend offering to take me out to dinner
82.  Learning that my son doesn't like the taste of celery (I had always assumed he didn't like my cooking)
83.  Crisp spring days

Husband having fun in Tahoe

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Churches don't say "I'm sorry"

A year ago, almost to the day, I wrote about forgiveness and the church ladies, here.  It felt so good to let that stuff go and be free of those unhappy feelings.  You would think that I would have moved past the hurts I felt from those ladies by now.  You would think I would have moved past the hurts I felt from the church those ladies came from.  You would think I would have moved past the hurts I felt from the church I left before the church ladies' church and now have returned to attend.  Yeah, you heard me right.  We are attending a church we previously left.

My family and I attended a church in our community for eight years.  We were pretty active members and the church didn't have any issues we couldn't live with.  Then, suddenly, the youth group we worked so hard to get up and running and active, folded.  To make a long story short, it folded because the leadership in the church believed that a youth ski-trip weekend was about skiing.  Seriously.  The snow wasn't good this particular weekend, so the leadership in the church believed canceling the weekend was the right decision to make.  They TOTALLY didn't get that church youth group weekends are about the relationships with young christians and introducing them to a relationship with Jesus.  They thought it was about skiing.  This was the last straw for the volunteer youth director and he felt he had to leave this particular church.  My husband and I and a couple other parents approached the leadership and were told, pretty much, the same thing the youth director was told.  We decided to leave this church.  We joined a church with an active youth group.  Active youth groups don't spring up overnight, but they do fail overnight.  Our son was 11 years old.  Our hope was for him to be involved in a church youth group.  The church was not sorry to see us go.  At least, they never told us they were sorry.

I've mentioned in this blog that I am a big believer in attending church.  We looked around the area and found another church.  We looked for a church with an active youth group.  We joined the church ladies' church and were VERY active in the youth group.  We stayed in the church for eight years.  Since we joined this church because of the youth group and for no other reason (other than they were christians and preached the truth).  My husband and I found ourselves becoming unhappy with the direction the church was taking (multicampusmegachurch) and unhappy with the philosophy of social justice that was being put forward and unhappy with the leadership (we couldn't stomach a preacher crying in the pulpit on Sunday).  It was time to move on.  I stayed with my church ladies' bible study, but that didn't work out very well for me.  (evidently, they like the crying)  The church was not sorry to see us go.  At least, they never told us they were sorry.

Churches don't say "I'm sorry."  I know there is no way to make all the people happy all the time.  I know it is not the job of a church to make anyone happy.  I know stuff happens.  Here's the thing.  My family didn't move out of the community.  We continued to see people we knew from these churches in the community.  No one ever asked us about leaving their church.  Nothing was said.  It was as if the eight-year relationship we had at each church meant nothing.  I think church people take the "no talking about religion in pleasant company" edict VERY seriously when they are outside the walls of the church.  But, it's really not the church people I want to talk about.  I want to talk about the leadership.  I mean, I know there are a couple hundred or more people in the church, but SOMEONE must have noticed we weren't there anymore.  Someone must have noticed our check had stopped coming.  And, at the first church, we told them we would be leaving.


Churches just don't say "I'm sorry."  Maybe this is why people leave church and don't go back.  Maybe this is why it still hurts, a little bit, when I think about the church ladies and ministers and other church leaders.  I know my mom made me say "I'm sorry" when I hurt any of my brothers' feelings (or bodies).  It's one of the things we learn when we are little; if you hurt someone, whether you meant to or not, you say "I'm sorry."  Do you hear this churches?  Maybe an "I'm sorry" once in a while would go a long way to help Jesus's public relations problems.

71.  Husband taking me out to lunch
72.  Good manners
73.  Photoshop
74.  Co-workers that know Photoshop better than I do
75.  Ginger tea
76.  Ice cold water in the drinking fountain
77.  People who pray for you

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I love blog stalkers

I love blog stalkers.  I love twitter stalkers.  I love facebook stalkers.  What is social media for, if not to peer into the lives of people we don't really know and find out how much we need to improve or, better yet, how  we are superior to most other people.  I welcome the blogstalker.  I invite you to comment with praise or criticism.  My goal, in blogging, is to get a good look at the way I am moving through this world.  I want to get a good look at the way I think about things.  Sometimes I need an adjustment.  Sometimes I'm happy to get the confirmation of not being alone in my way of thinking.  There is just something about seeing the words written on the screen that speak truth to me.  There are times when I get home from a party or my small group bible study or lunch with a friend and I dissect the conversation I just had.  I take some time and try to remember exactly what I said or what she said or what he said and decide if I made a fool of myself or not.  I'm sure I don't remember everything in the conversations just right.  I KNOW I give myself either a lot more criticism or much more accolade than I deserve for ANYTHING I say.  It's just what I do.  Seeing my thoughts written on the screen takes the memory factor out of the equation.  I need this.

I'll admit it.  I'm a blog stalker.  I read blogs I don't follow.  I love checking out what is going on out there in the blogosphere.  I read blogs on topics I have no interest in at all.  I love to see what other people are doing on their blogs.  One thing I've learned about blogstalking is to NOT publicly follow blogs you are stalking.  I don't follow publicly because, I've found, when someone is stalking my blog and follows publicly, I get a notice of a follower.  (besides this takes all the stalkery part out of stalking)  Then, when they decide my blog is not for them and they unfollow, I lose a follower.  I know it shouldn't, but it hurts my feelings a little bit.  I don't want to do this to others, so I don't follow publicly.  This is just me.  I don't comment on a blog I'm stalking.  I lurk.  Now, I don't mind if blogstalkers comment on my blog while their stalking me.  I'm good with this.  Again, this is just me.

Today I'm encouraging all my readers to get out there and blogstalk, facebookstalk, twitterstalk, ...whatever.  There are a lot of good blogs out there.  If you don't poke around the blogosphere and check them out, you could be missing some great stuff.  If you don't twitterstalk other people's twitter feeds, you won't know where the next party is.  If you don't facebookstalk your friends (or unfriends) you won't know what they are saying about you.  JUST KIDDING.  Everybody will only be talking about themselves.  It's what we do.

65.  Trader Joes Greek Style salad dressing (yummy)
66.  Bloggers
67.  Free high resolution images on the internet from wonderful photographers
68.  Coworkers who care about the job
69.  Notary publics in the building you work at
70.  Son's placating their mom, because they know it will make mom happy for a whole day

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

After you say never and then, do it

Thanks for all the comments on my hiking trip post.  The telling of this story has been in me for a long time and I was glad to finally get it out there.  Here's the rest of the story.

The police officers wished us a pleasant evening as they escorted us to our car and sent us on our way.  My husband, being the generous guy he is, invited the officers to join us for dinner at our hotel and gave them his business card.  They didn't take us up on the offer, but it was a nice gesture.  It was a good thing for me they didn't take us up on the offer.  After the adrenaline rush of riding in a helicopter and being rescued, I was tired.  I was tired in a way I had never been so tired before.

We were at the Tailhook convention in Reno, NV.  One reason we are at the Tailhook convention is because I work at a booth with the artist, Hank Caruso.  I was supposed to be working with Hank while I was walking around in the desert.  I was late.  In my typical ISTJ, duty fulfiller character, I went to my hotel room, got cleaned up and dressed, and got my butt down to our booth.  I went to work.  There is definitely something wrong with me.  I could barely sit in the chair.  I was in a trance.  It was almost too much effort to focus my eyes.  Hank asked me how I was doing.  I debated the question in my head for longer than this question needed thought.  What was I going to say?  I didn't want to embarrass my husband.  When we got into our hotel room to clean up, my husband suggested we keep this story to ourselves.  After all, he could have walked out of the desert without any problem.  I was the one in need of rescue.  After giving this suggestion some thought, he changed his mind.  He decided it was my story to share with other or keep to myself.  At the time of Hank's question, I hadn't made up my mind.  Hank went to the bar and got me a beer.  After all, we were at Tailhook and there is a LOT of beer at Tailhook.  I couldn't stomach the beer.

With a beer going warm on the table and my near inability to stay upright while sitting in a chair, I decided to tell Hank my story.  He was satisfactorily surprised and concerned.  I guess that was the response I was looking for.  Nevertheless, I was relieved of my duties at the booth and I went up to the room and straight to bed.  Stick a fork in me.  I was done.  Nothing held my interest.  My husband tried to feed me.  No interest.  All I wanted was water and sleep.  I was asleep by 7:00 p.m.  Hooray!

The next morning I was up and "at 'em" and ready to work.  It's amazing what 12 hours of sleep can do for a body.  I felt completely restored.  I was hungry and ready for breakfast.  Sweet recovery.  And then I ran into some friends.  Friends that hike.  Serious hikers.  They have special hats and backpacks and backpack bladders for water that have a flexible straw that they can keep in their mouths and drink water continuously.  Serious.  So, she asked me how my hike went.  Suddenly, I BURST into tears.  Nobody was more surprised by those tears than I was.  What the heck was going on with me?  Why was I crying?  I guess the very scary, I had to be rescued, hike in the desert had upset me more than I thought it did.  So what did I do next?

I planned a hike for Sunday afternoon.  My hiker friend was determined to get me "back on the horse" and go on another hike.  We went to Lake Tahoe and did a hike up Mt. Rose.  It was gorgeous.  There were trees and lots of shade.  It was a three mile hike up to a waterfall and three miles back down to our cars.  My husband brought six bottles of water.  Let me tell you this,... if my husband had not brought one drop of water, we wouldn't have gone thirsty.  If I asked every person I passed, up and down the Mt. Rose trail for a sip of water, I wouldn't have been thirsty in the least.  This was one well traveled trail.  Men, women, old ladies, old men, children, dogs, you name it.  Everyone was hiking on Sunday afternoon.  Hiking, as in real estate, is location, location, location.  And, Sundays are busier than Thursdays.  Live and learn.

Even though my friend got me back on the trail right away, I haven't hiked again.  Well, maybe a little in Sedona, AZ, but not too much.  I may get back into it, someday.  I'm going to have to see if this is what I want to do.  The end.

58.  Good friends
59.  Interesting work to do
60.  Fresh fruits and vegetables
61.  Overnight shipping for office supplies
62.  What the heck, Office Supplies.  Who doesn't like office supplies
63.  Text messaging
64.  My bible study small group

Monday, March 19, 2012

You don't get a trophy for trying when you're an adult

I grow very concerned for our nation while I watch a generation come of age without the skills needed to succeed in life.  Somehow the Millennials, those born about 1980 through 1995, have come to believe that the trophy they were awarded in t-ball some how signified success.  And that success was determined by the mere fact that they participated in said t-ball.  AND, the only reason they participated in the t-ball was because their parents took them to the t-ball game and paid for the trophy.  Somehow this false sense of achievement percolated through their formative years in school and extracurricular activities.  Along with this false sense of achievement has come an increased attitude of helplessness.  When confronted with a challenging task now that they are adults, the effort isn't put forward.  And why should it be.  After all, in t-ball, all you had to do was show up.  And, if you didn't show up, it wasn't your fault.  It was mom and dad's fault.  After all, you couldn't drive yourself to t-ball.  Mom and dad had to bring you there.

This generation has been crippled in a sad way.  It is difficult for me to feel compassion for them when confronted with the whining and complaining.  Yet this really is a very sad situation.  If I push past the whining and look at the bare bones of these adults I can see some real deficiencies and indulgences.  The one deficiency that jumps out at me is the dearth of competition with their peers.  This generation had to look for their heroes and bar setters outside their classroom or team sport or other extracurricular.  Comparing kids to kids was not allowed.  This may hurt someone's self esteem.  Unfortunately, they found their heroes in professional athletes or movie stars or whatever.  Since there was NO WAY they could compete in any real way with these individuals, the competition was removed from the immediate activity.  It wouldn't be fair if one child was better at something than another.  We don't want anyone to feel bad about their performance.  After all, they tried.  Competition was removed from the equation in their formative years.  Sadly, competition has not been removed from the real adult grown-up world.  These folks are unprepared.

This generation has also been crippled by the indulgence of ever available praise and assistance.  There have been so many programs devoted to this generation.  There were extra teachers in the classrooms.  There were reward programs geared for just "showing up" to class.  Every "disability" was viewed as a special need and more responsibility was removed from the child.  The only way a child was "special" was if there was a learning or behavior problem.  Gee, who doesn't want to be special now?

So what happens when these GenYer's grow up?  How do you feel proud of yourself when your best efforts amount to mediocrity?  How do you train yourself, as an adult, to work hard enough to achieve excellence when you've never been rewarded for doing so?  How do you train yourself to seek excellence in a world that doesn't care enough to tell you, you aren't good enough?

I guess you can get that tattoo or that facial piercing to feel special.  But, how about trying harder?  How about giving your work your VERY BEST effort?  How about trying to be the best instead of just getting by?  In the real adult grown-up world, your boss isn't "picking on you" when you don't get a excellent performance evaluation.  In the real adult grown-up world, your performance means more than promoting yourself on twitter or facebook or your website.  In the real adult grown-up world, most people DON'T get a trophy.  Only the winners get trophies.

I'm grateful for
51.  Complete recovery from my three week ailment
52.  A desk full of work to keep me busy
53.  A co-worker in the mood to bake cookies
54.  Finding a connection with my son and having a couple really nice chats
55.  Vacation planning
56.  Tulips in a vase on my kitchen counter
57.  The first paid advertisement on my blog  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Never say never

Let me tell you a story of why it can be dangerous to be in pretty good shape.  This is a recounting of something that I experienced about two and a half years ago.  Back then I had been working pretty darn hard at getting into better physical shape.  I was spending every lunch hour at the gym.  I was on the treadmill and doing weight training.  I was eating salads.  I was focused on getting healthier and stronger.  Even though I was in my early 50's, I was beginning to think I could do some pretty physical things.  I was thinking I was pretty strong.  I thought I could GO FOR IT.  So, what did I do?

I thought I wanted to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  I'll wait for you all to stop laughing....  You done?  I'll give you another minute....

Of course I knew I wouldn't be able to start out hiking with Machu Picchu.  I'm not that naive of my physicality.  I had a plan.  I thought I would start out with hikes around my area.  I thought I would go hiking while on vacations.  I planned to hike the Grand Canyon.  I thought I would be ready for the big hike after that.  There's that thing I've heard said about the best laid plans.  What was it?  Give me a few minutes to remember what that is....

Oh yeah.  We make plans, God laughs.  It's good to bring laughter to the world.  I hope God enjoyed this one.  I think he did.

You may remember how much I enjoy going to Reno, NV for the Tailhook convention.  I've posted about it before, here.  This event is held the weekend after Labor Day.  It's still pretty hot in Nevada and Reno, NV is at 4500 feet altitude.  I spent some time in the hotel's fitness room on the treadmill and you can, no kidding, feel the altitude in your breathing.  I could handle it.  In fact, I had heard that training at high altitude increased your cardio endurance.  I was feeling pretty strong.  I looked on the internet for some hikes to take in the Reno area.  I thought it would be great training for my husband and me to take a hike in the morning before all the tailhook events began on Thursday.  I made a plan to take a nice 5 mile hike up a small mountain, go around the summit and come down the other side.  I even found a map.  I figured if we began our hike at 8:00 a.m. we would be finished and back at the hotel by lunchtime.  I made a plan.  I chose the hike called Hidden Valley.  It sounded lovely.

Wednesday evening my husband and I had dinner with our friends at the hotel.  It's great to spend this first evening together.  We chat, catch up with what we've been doing since we last were together and look forward to a fun weekend together.  This time the dinner conversation turned to one of the guys reminiscing about his and his wife's trip to the Grand Canyon.  He recollected about a helicopter sightseeing adventure they took there.  It sounded lovely.  I mentioned we were planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, but instead of taking a helicopter trip (I said there was no way you'd get me in a helicopter) we were going to hike in and out of the canyon.  There were some chuckles, but I didn't mind.  We told them about our plan to go hiking in the morning.  We told them about where we were going and, laughingly, said if we were not back by dinner to send out a search party.

In the morning we packed a backpack with eight bottles of water, slathered on the sunscreen, grabbed the map and cell phones and off we went.  It was a gorgeous day.  We got to the base of the trail at 8:00 a.m. (doncha just love it when a plan comes together?)  The trail was wide and looked well traveled by ATVs.  There were horses all around and the grade was moderate.  We made it to the summit in two and a half hours.  I was a little tired, but ok.  My husband had surprised me by bringing the hotel chocolates from our pillows in the backpack.  They were a melty, messy treat.  Life was good.  When we began to look for the trail to go around the summit and descend back to our car we noticed the ATV tracks went everywhere.  We pulled out the map and made our choice.  As we were making our descent we notice the "trail" seemed more like a flash flood runoff.  The trail was very rocky and steep and I needed to hang on to my husband's shoulder to walk down.  I didn't want to twist an ankle up here on the mountain.  I wasn't going to be THAT damsel in distress.  We made it down the trail.  We started walking along, what we thought was, the trail to the base and where we had left our car.  Unfortunately, we had made a wrong turn.  We weren't too worried.  The valet who parked our car told us as long as a trail was heading downhill, we would end up back in Reno.  Our trail was heading downhill.  We walked for two more hours.  It was 100 degrees.  We were in the desert.  There was no shade.  I wasn't in as good of shape as I had believed myself to be.  I was starting to get scared.

It is now about 12:30 p.m. and we are in the desert.  There is NOBODY around.  My husband has figured out where we went wrong and we are now walking in the right direction.  I'm not having the easiest time anymore.  We walk for another hour.  I'm having a more difficult time in the hike.  I don't want to drink water anymore.  It's making me sick.  But, I keep going.  It's amazing all the crazy things people do in the desert.  I must have seen every size of shell casing for every weapon legally available for purchase laying on the ground.  I saw every type of trash item that could be used as target practice.  I saw so many shot up tvs and monitors, I couldn't believe it.  Just thinking about all the people that come out into the desert gave me a little hope, but we didn't see anybody.  My husband started to walk ahead of me to encourage me and tell me we are almost there.  I'm starting to have to sit down a lot.  There aren't any mountains anymore, but every rise in the trail is sucking the life out of me.  We walk another hour.  We come to a pile of rocks in the desert and I tell my husband I don't think I can make it.  I'm throwing up every sip of water I take.

Then, surprisingly, we see a guy driving a motorcycle in the distance.  We are screaming and waving our hands.  I am so desperate, I take off my pink shirt and wave it in the air.  He doesn't see us.  And we watch him drive away.  It's a moment of great despair, for me.  I tell my husband, we have to call 911.  I can't make it and he can't carry me.

This isn't something my husband wants to do, but he sees, I'm toast.  I pull out my Motorola Razor flip phone.  The battery is dead from searching for a signal.  (do you think this is when God starts laughing?)  My husband scrambles up the rock pile and pulls out his Motorola Razor.  He has one bar of both battery and signal.  He dials 911.  They answer the phone.  Hallelujah!  They ask for landmarks.  My husband starts describing what we can see.  I remind him to tell them we are on the Hidden Valley trail I found on the internet on the Reno hiking trails site.  His phone battery dies.  Silence.  We don't know if they heard him or not.  My husband reminds me that we are going to be ok.  Even if they don't find us, we can rest and it will get cooler as it get later in the day.  We can walk out then.  This gives me a little more hope.

Suddenly, we see a helicopter flying above us.  My husband attempts to use his watch to reflect the sun light to help them find us.  I, again, take off my shirt.  (I have obviously lost my mind, at this point)  The helicopter sees us and searches for a place to land near us.  It lands.  I, amazingly, find enough energy in myself to hurry toward the aircraft.  The co-pilot gets out to help me aboard.  I hug him so hard.  Where was all this energy when I needed it?  I literally JUMP onto the helicopter.  I'm going to live.  My husband climbs aboard and we lift off.  I look out the window and soon I see green grass, houses and a park.  They land the helicopter in the park.  Then I see a firetruck, ambulance, mountain rescue vehicle and two police cars.  All for us.  Well, me, really.  I get off the aircraft and they sit me under a tree and bring me a sports drink.  They remind me to drink it slowly.  They check my vitals and ask me if I want to go to the hospital.  I'm so embarrassed.  They remind me how much happier they are to rescue living people from the desert instead of searching for the dead.  It helps me feel better about the whole thing.  The police drive us to our car and tell us to have a lovely evening.

So I've gone from saying I'd never get on a helicopter to JUMPING on to a helicopter in less than 24 hours.  All because I thought I was in pretty good shape.  Thank goodness, I've gained most of the weight back and I haven't been on a treadmill in months.  I'm in horrible shape.  I think being this out of shape is going to save my life.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

42.  My husband
43.  Search and rescue people
44.  Good friends
45.  Wonderful memories
46.  Bottled water
47.  The knowledge that my husband wouldn't leave me in the desert, alone
48.  Health
49.  Cell phones
50.  A memory of a scary, but wonderful adventure

It's really not that good of a map

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Here's the thing.  Old ladies shouldn't get sick and have a cough.  I'm just saying, coughing uses way more muscles than you think.  Coughing is a dangerous activity.  I don't think there is a lady-like way to go on a coughing jag.  I pulled a tummy muscle.  Goodie, goodie, I guess I do have abdominal muscles after all.  They're just not toned in any way.  Oh, and I can tell you, I've got other muscles that aren't toned either.  And it's not pretty.  No it's not.  Tmi?  Maybe?

Yeah, this isn't the poise I need.  :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Failing at blogging

I feel like I'm failing at blogging.  I'm still not well, but I'm back at work.  There must be something seriously wrong with me and I'm not talking about my crummy cold that I hope does not turn into pneumonia.  Why am I at work when I'm not all the way better?  I took last Thursday and Friday off (because the doctor told me to) and came in today to an ENORMOUS pile 'o work.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I can't stay away from work too long.  The stuff just keeps piling higher and higher and deeper and deeper.  Today I'm feeling quite overwhelmed.  I didn't get a lunch break, so I'm taking a terminal lunch today.  And when I get home I'll dive into the bag 'o meds I received from the doc and go to sleep.  It's only 2 p.m. and I'm toast.  I need to work on my contest submission, too.  So much to do and no energy to get it done.  Now, if anyone has a little cheese to go with my whine... thank you.

37.  Sunny days
38.  Frequent flier points that add up to free airline tickets
39.  Fresh water
40.  Hall's cough drops
41.  Spring breaks

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My dog is trying to kill me

There are so many things I'd like to write about.  I'd like to rant about the people complaining and hating on Kirk Cameron for criticizing homosexuality and gay marriage on Peirs Morgan's show.  He said, ”Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve. One man, one woman for life till death do you part, so I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage. And I don’t think anyone else should either,” Cameron said. “So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don’t.”  So GLAAD is slamming him and friends and fans are distancing themselves and calling him a hater.  Of course this is his opinion.  Piers knew this would be his position.  Why is anyone surprised.  Kirk hasn't been double minded on this issue.  And he's not a hater.  Conservative christianity is not a hate group.

I'd like to write about Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke and the "slut" sh*tstorm.  What a surprise.  Rush said the American tax payer does not want to pay for her birth control.  The government should not subsidize her sex life.  Rush said, "What does that make her?  It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."  I know it is utterly surprising that Rush Limbaugh made an inflammatory and provocative remark on his own show.  I'm stunned.  *not*

I won't write about any of that.  I'm going to write about my dog.  I have a dog.  His name is Chet.  He is very old in dog-years, but I don't know what dog-years are so I'll just say he is 15 years old.  He is a Jack Russell Terrier.  He is trying to kill me.  He's been trying to kill me for the last 14 and a half years.  So far, I've been smart enough to out wit him and avoid death.  I have been injured, but not fatally.  He has a few favorite methods.  The methods mostly fall into the category of stealth operatives.  His favorite is to lay on the third step down on the staircase.  He usually times it for laundry day when I am toting baskets of laundry up and down the stairs.    He prefers to lay on the third step from the top of the staircase just before I am ready to carry the basket of dirty clothes down the stairs to the laundry room.  He's a clever one, that Chet.  Fortunately, I'm still smarter than a dog, but I'm afraid my day may be coming.

Another of his modus operandi is to stay very close to my feet while I am cooking.  He prefers to be nearby during times I am chopping with a very sharp knife or carrying a pan of boiling water to the sink.  He is crafty and manages to get underfoot just at the moment I am walking the knife or boiling water to the kitchen sink.  He's been known to bunch the small throw rug in front of the sink into an alternate obstacle for tripping.  This way he can get me coming and going.

When he was a younger dog he made his attempts for my demise by pulling me into traffic during walks.  He usually waited until we were near the end of our walk and he knew I was tired.  He would take his opportunity and YANK me into oncoming traffic.  I survived.  I was injured a few times, but not fatally.  Now that he is up there in dog-years he has developed a new method to try to kill me.  He has developed the ability to emit the stinkiest gases known to man.  They are released from both ends of his body, sometime simultaneously.  It is truly his most effective weapon thus far.  I sometimes wonder if I should take him to a vet because this odor is effective in clearing a room of any living creature in three seconds flat. Chet has a, seemingly, unending amount of these malodorous airs about himself.  And, it seems, he can produce them at will.  This odor can cause gagging and watery eyes.  Seriously, the government could use it as a WMD if they could bottle it.

I have a dog.  I never really wanted a dog.  My son and husband REALLY wanted a dog.  So, I have a dog.  I know I won't have my dog for much longer.  Sometimes, when he is sleeping, and he sleeps almost ALL the time, I wonder if he's still alive.  I know I'll be sad when his time comes.  I'll be sad, but I'll be safer.  :)

31.  Sunny days
32.  Spring-like weather
33.  Farm fresh veggies
34.  Essential oil diffuser for my office
35.  Pink grapefruit essential oil
36.  Pink grapefruits

Don't let this cute face fool you

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Blogging is more strenuous than it looks

I haven't blogged in a week.  I've been sick.  It's been a crummy, horrible, terrible cold.  The kind that sits in your chest and makes breathing a conscious act and not the involuntary respiration you've enjoyed in the past.  You all know what that kind of cold is like.  It sucks all the energy right out of you.  However, I went to work as much as I could last week.  I wanted to make sure I passed this crummy cold around to as many people as I could.  After all, they were nice enough to give it to me.  I just wanted to pay it forward.  Unfortunately I did miss my small group bible study last night and last week.  I didn't want to give this cold to them.  And, I missed church on Sunday.  So, I failed in my effort to attend church every Sunday in Lent.  I haven't been walking either.  There you have it.  I'm not all the way better, but I'm well on the way to being there.

I discovered, during this ailment, blogging is a lot more work than I thought it was.  Last Tuesday I was home.  I thought I was going to have some dental work done in the morning, so I took the day off of work.  I hate going to work with a numb mouth.  It just doesn't work for me.  I have to answer the phone all day, so I'm bound to bite my lip or do something like that and injure myself.  It's just not worth it.  The dentist (who thankfully underwent dental hygienist training), looked at my tooth and decided I could wait until May to get this work done. My insurance wouldn't pay until May, so it's worth waiting until then to have a crown replaced.  Crowns are BIG money.  So, I went home and thought I'd rest and get rid of this cold.  I tried to write something on my blog, but nothing would come to my mind.  All I could think about was myself and how crummy I was feeling.  I discovered even though blogging is a very self involved activity, it's harder than it looks.  Even though this blog is about me, (and REALLY, this blog is all about me, even when you think it's about you) it takes effort to look within myself and discover what I am thinking about things outside of myself.  It is work to put my words in an order that makes sense, not only to me, but to anyone out there that may take the time to read what I write.  Tuesday, I couldn't summon up the energy.

On Wednesday and Thursday I went to work.  I've told you guys I get paid to blog, because I usually write my blog at work.  This works for me.  But not this week.  It took all the strength I could muster to get the basics of my job accomplished.  However, I was FABULOUS at passing germs to anyone with the nerve to walk up to my desk and ask me to do something for them.  I was great at this.  I couldn't summon the attentiveness to read the blogs of my blogger friends.  This was so surprising to me.  I guess I'm getting really old.  Seriously, we are talking about sitting in a chair and clicking on a link to open a blog and reading, for pete's sake.  I couldn't do it.  I know when I was a sahm I took care of a kid when I had a crappy cold.  It's heck to get old.  Everything seems to take so much more energy.

By Friday, I was hanging on by my fingernails.  My boss was going to be out of the office most of the day.  My plan was to get a few things accomplished, like the super-important TEP request for $$ and the letters to and from the important elected officials, and then get the heck out of there.  Sometimes I can't believe how dedicated I am to doing a good job, even when I don't believe in what I'm doing.  I wonder why this is?  I think it has something to do with being a "type X" employee.  (I wrote about this here)  Or maybe it's just another way of me being focused only on me.  This is a scary thought.  I mean, do you think the people who allowed Hitler to rise to power and commit atrocities and worked in the government were only focused on doing a "good job?"  See where my thoughts can go when I can focus on more than just breathing in and out.  :)  Anyway, after I got my necessary work accomplished I went home and went to bed.  After all, what was the use of being at work if there was no one to infect with this crummy cold?

I hoped to have some energy to blog over the weekend, but it was not to be.  It was all I could do to get a few chores done.  Even though my husband is retired, he still doesn't know how to use a washing machine or dryer and cannot fold a t-shirt to save his life.  (I do not understand this in any way)  Btw, I didn't mention this, but one reason I went to work as much as I did, besides wanting to infect more people with this cold, was because it was my husband's first week of retirement.  It just seemed like I would be stealing his thunder if I stayed home from work, sick, while he was home, retired.  Does this make sense to anyone but me?  Anyway, this was all part of my thought process, but since I was under the influence of many doses of cold medicine, it could be a bit twisted.

Yesterday I thought I'd get back on track at work and on the blog.  Yet, when I arrived at the office on Monday I discovered I really hadn't accomplished all that much in my decongestant fog.  And, as icing on the cake of a Monday, my boss gave me a project.  He gave me a mystery puzzler project and said I could accomplish it any way I wanted.  I LOVE a project like this.  So, I spent a lot of time on it and GOT IT DONE.  I guess I'm a weirdo like that.  But, no blogging happened yesterday.  And, I was totally spent when I got home.  On the positive side, I discovered when your husband is retired, but doesn't cook, you can call him and have him order Thai carry-out and pick it up and have it ready for dinner when you get home.  This is the best thing, EVER!  I may do this again some time.  :)

I made it to Tuesday and I'm back.  I'm feeling like I'm going to live and my head is clearer than it's been in a week.  (no comments from the peanut gallery)  There are so many things I need to think about and write about and comment about.  AND, I need to work on my entry for the humorous writing contest.  It true, you know, when you've got your health, you've got everything.  :) 

21.  My health
22.  Eucalyptus essential oils
23.  Projects that allow me to use my brain
24.  Friends playing Words with Friends with me
25.  Old movies on Netflix
26.  Documentaries on Netflix
27.  Ok, I'll just say it, Netflix streaming
29.  Coffee
30.  Hot fires in the fireplace
Musenix was my friend