Revelations from My Right Leg

Confirmations, Lessons Learned, Reflections, Resolutions

In my feeble attempts to make productive use of the much longer than expected downtime I’ve had in recovering from my Halloween hip replacement, I had an “aha” moment and figured that this would be a good time to write something about what I’ve learned from this experience. Given the timing, I decided to extend the subject matter to include some other thoughts that have gelled in my mind over the last few years. I hope to use this mental (and I still can’t do much physical) exercise to do what most people do at the turn of the new year and make a stab at setting out some directions I might follow in 2018.

I am more like my mother than I would have wanted to admit.
I could go into a LOT more detail about this revelation, but suffice to say that this experience has made it easier to order my husband around. I prefer to think of it as asking him to do things for me that I cannot easily or safely (in his eyes) do for myself. Both of us recall that Mom treated Dad the same way.

I am not as patient as I thought I was.
We have often accused Mom of having “instantitis.” When she would ask for something or think of something she wanted to do, she always had to get it or do it right at that same time. Spouse likes to say that I suffer from this condition, too, though when I find myself in the same situation, I generally don’t have to have it right then. I think he just does it right then so he doesn’t forget, though there have been more occasions where I have repeated a request because I wanted something done (that I can’t at the moment do for myself) pretty much instantly!

I can eat like a “normal” person
I have always been a slave to my scale, and more often than not skipped breakfast, which is really my favorite meal of the day. One of the steps that I have removed from my usual morning ritual since my surgery is the dreaded obligatory stop at the scale. The result, up or down from the prior day’s number, used to set the tone for the rest of my day. It hasn’t for the last two months and now I am enjoying my favorite meal every morning!

As long as I have something with which to entertain myself, I can just about live in the recliner in my “woman cave 

right leg
This is what I call the room added to the back of our home before we bought it. It gets the morning light and overlooks the lake across the street. It has a separate HVAC system from the rest of the house so I can set and maintain the temp at a level that is comfortable for just me. My desks and computers and bookshelves and magazine rack have their places in this room, organized and maintained to my satisfaction alone. My bathroom, bedroom and kitchen are only steps away. Spouse has his similarly configured “man cave” on the basement level of our split-level retirement home, where he does the things that make him happy while I do the same over his head.

There is a tray next to my comfy seat for my food and recycled napkins and tissues, since I hate to throw any paper goods out before I get maximum use out of them. The tray also holds my oldest most comfy pair of glasses and the TV and satellite dish remote controls. I can easily reach a nearby desktop where I stack my current reading materials plus fresh napkins and tissues, because my recycled paper goods still have a limited life.

Before my current confinement, I often spent days at a time in this spot, where I could feel the warmth of the sun, read and write and learn, all in the comfort of my seasonally adjusted sleepwear, braless. I cannot, however, continue to confine my living to just this very small and limited comfort zone. I have essentially been forced to do for the last two months since I have not been able to drive in that period, or even steep comfortably in a bed (instead of the recliner) and I’m still not sure when I will regain those most essential of capabilities. I can only read so many books and magazines and watch only so many TV programs. I have to get out of the “woman cave” and DO SOMETHING/BE SOMEWHERE ELSE!

I cannot live without live and in person human interaction
I love my husband and I love my family but I have to be around other people to whom I am not related by blood or marriage. The visits I had from my sister and her daughter gave me more of a mental and emotional lift than I’d expected, but I really miss seeing my friends, anywhere and everywhere around town, in encounters planned or unplanned. I even miss just having the option of reading a book or writing something in someplace other than the woman cave. I miss “retail therapy” even if I don’t buy anything but just cruise up and down the aisles in any type of retail establishment whatsoever. I didn’t know how much I missed just being exposed to others of my fellow human beings, even if the only thing I do is make contact with someone else standing in front of a shelf or behind a counter, shopping alongside me, looking for a book in the library, or taking my order in any of those places that I still can’t get to on my own!

I need some external affirmation
I used to think that, no matter what, as long as I enjoyed whatever I might be doing, whatever contribution I might be making to my fellow man, I could continue to do it without knowing that it was appreciated by others. I loved I writing and sending messages of encouragement to the students I mentored last year (2016) and what kept me going this year (2017) was receiving replies from last year’s students when I sent them something. I have not heard a peep from this year’s students so have not been inspired to continue to reach out to them for the remainder of this school year or to continue with a new set next year. My own forgetfulness in missing the online training for repeat mentors may have contributed to this decision, but still… I will also admit that I like hearing from my fellow Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning (ORICL) members when they have enjoyed a discussion that I led, a trip I organized, or a class from an instructor I recruited.

I spend too much time on details and peripherals and don’t pay attention to the bigger picture right in front of me
This is true with my writing, my research, my politics, my sporadic cleaning and organizing, even my attempts to get around places that I know well without injuring myself for the time being. Over these past two months I haven’t been able to sit at my desk comfortably for long periods due to the continued swelling which gets worse if I don’t have it elevated. I’ve also fallen way too many times when I was thinking about where I was going and what I would do when I got there when I should have been concentrating on stepping up with my good leg! I couldn’t even begin to count the numerous pieces of writing I’ve done which could and should have been only a page or two, and often less than that, but ended up being much much much longer. I guess I think anyone who reads them wants to know all the background and ins and outs and possibilities like I do. Or the number of people I’ve reached out to for advice in writing my first grant proposals for the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association (ORHPA). All of them have told me it’s not that difficult. Or the hours I’ve spent on several occasions over the last few years, trying to improve the appearance of this blog although, come to think of it, most of the blogs that I follow have kept the same look over all that time. Maybe this will be one instance where I stop wasting time on details!

 

Happiness is being a carefree Old Fart

As I was catching up on emails today, I came across this prompt from yesterday.  In the bad old days, when I was working on my last job, being this far behind on emails would have caused a great deal of stress, both internal and probably also coming from Twit and Princess Fairy Dust.  I am so fortunate to be out of that situation and to not feel like I’m required to stay consistently current with friends and family,  because they are all generally healthy, happy and content as possible given the possibility of a Republican takeover of the federal government.  I can say this knowing that most of them are Democrats like me, and if they’re not we’ve already forgiven each other for mutual political lapses, and the RNC ended just last night.

Spouse and I live under the same roof and are generally carefree, content and happy in our retirement home.  One reason for this current state of bliss is that, although we keep different schedules and pursue different activities as individuals, we both seem to feel that it’s part of our “marriage contract” to monitor each others’ well being on a daily basis, and to act accordingly.   Our daily interactions start when he joins me in my “woman cave”, usually bringing his morning wake-up beverage with him.  He’ll come through the door and ask, every day, “Whatcha doin’ dear?” knowing full well that I will be either sitting in front of my computer or reading in my grandma’s pink upholstered rocking chair.  He’ll then sit down on the my other grandma’s pink flower covered couch and we’ll begin our mutual morning status checks on sleep pattern and quality of the previous night and the expected aches and pains of old age.

The pattern this morning, however, was very different.  I got up and initiated my usual morning routine but, after plowing through the second fifty pages of The Big Sleep, I started to feel a little sleepy myself, and realized that I had hauled my buns out of bed an hour or so earlier than usual.  So, I decided to mix things up a bit and go back to bed where, if I was able to catch a few more Z’s, I would probably be a little more energized for all the additional reading and computing I expected to do today.  I did fall back to sleep, and when I woke up I simply restarted my morning routine where I had left off, back in the woman cave.

In the interim, unbeknownst to me, my poor caring Spouse had come up to join me and became a bit concerned to find me not upright in a chair but quietly prone back in my bed.  When he returned to restart his usual morning routine he made a point to tell me that he really to make sure that I was OK since it was so unlike me to sleep during the day, unlike him and most other husbands I know who, for some reason, as a group, feel that a midday nap is a right and requirement to keep their grizzly bear grumpiness in check, especially if if they have been cooped up in the house with their wives all day i.e. every weekend while they were working.

Daily Prompt – Carefree

 

Claw_Foot_Tub_and_Shower_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_090521-153983-149048“Life is like a hot bath. It feels good while you’re in it, but the longer you stay in, the more wrinkled you get.”

– Robert Oustin

Speedbump in the Road

Metaphorically speaking, that’s the excuse I’m going to use for extended delay in Places of My Life posts.

It happened when I started writing L, M, N, O and P.  Well, really just the first two but I’m kind of obsessive about posting in alphabetical order i.e. meeting the “requirements” of the “A to Z Blogging Challenge” in format if not on schedule i.e. within the month of April.

Aside from the standard excuse of “life happens,” which I could so use right now, I would like to add that I was speeding down the road to completing the challenge, which was not easy considering the length of the posts I wrote.  When I reached L and M, and started drafting those entries at my breakneck speed, I found that I needed to slow myself down to more carefully consider the material and thoughts I really wanted to convey.  The post I started for L included Las Vegas, Laughlin, and Lake Tahoe (plus nearby Reno).  These are all cities in Nevada where I spent a lot of time and/or where momentous life events took place.  After some consideration, I dropped the last three cities and decided to limit myself to my Vegas experiences alone.

While I was considering and deciding on this truncation, I also started my M post in hopes that I would not fall further behind on the schedule.  I copied and pasted my usual plagiarized from Wikipedia background info on Malad City, Idaho, the very un-L.A.(which I could also have written about as a Place of My Life) town where my husband lived and completed high school in 1972 (same year as me) before rebelling against his parents and moving to So Cal with one of his older brothers.  (Husband is baby of his family.)

I then went back to work on the Las Vegas post, where I had written a couple of stories including (1) how it was the weekend getaway destination for my parents when Sis and I were little; (2) a memory of one of my earliest trips there with them and (3) how the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino provided entertainment for three family generations simultaneously on at least a couple of my kids’ school holidays.  Those stories had already made the post way too long, which defeated my prior purpose.  I also came to realize that I should limit the places of my life to the Places of MY life alone, that MY life and the development of MY thoughts and attitudes really happened before I became a parent.  They also happened before I finally met my husband, when we were both 34 years old, and the majority didn’t involve my parents very much, either.

There you have it.  After reaching this conclusion, I knew that my M post would not be about Malad but will instead be about Mexico.  Meanwhile, as I said, life is happening and actually kind of piling on right about now and for the next few weeks.  I have decided, then, to reprioritize my efforts from my writing to my real life, at least for that time period.  I do solemnly promise and swear and affirm, though, to get back to conveying the effects of the Places of My Life ASAP after that.  You do believe me, don’t you?

Avalon

Avalon is the only incorporated city on Santa Catalina Island of the California Channel Islands. Close to one million people travel to Catalina Island every year, many of them from Los Angeles which is, in the lyrics of the song, “26 miles across the sea.” The sons of Phineas Banning bought the island in 1891 and established the Santa Catalina Island Company to develop it as a resort, making Avalon a resort community. They built a dance pavilion in the center of town, an aquarium, and created the Pilgrim Club (a gambling club for men only). Just as the Bannings were anticipating the construction of a new hotel, their efforts were set back on November 29, 1915, when a fire burned half of Avalon’s buildings, including six hotels and several clubs.

In February 1919, chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr. bought a controlling interest in Santa Catalina Island and its associated properties from the Banning Brothers. Wrigley devoted himself to preserving and promoting it, investing millions in needed infrastructure and attractions, including the construction of the new Catalina Casino, completed May 29, 1929. In its heyday in the 1930s, due to its proximity to Hollywood, Catalina Island was a favored getaway destination for Hollywood stars such as Clark Gable. The island also served as a filming location for dozens of movies. In order to encourage growth, Wrigley purchased additional steamships to service Avalon and brought attention to the town by having his Chicago Cubs use the island for the team’s spring training from 1921 to 1951, absent the war years of 1942–45.

Avalon town and harbor 2012

Avalon town and harbor 2012

Glass bottom boats tour the reefs and shipwrecks of the area, and scuba diving and snorkeling are popular in the clear water. Lover’s Cove, to the east of town, and Descanso Beach, to the west of the Casino (far right in photo), are popular places to dive. The area is famous for the schools of flying fish and the bright orange Garibaldi which teem in local waters.  In 1958, the song “26 Miles” by the Four Preps hit number 2 on the Billboard charts. The main theme of the song is summed up in the last line in the refrain, stating that Santa Catalina is “the island of romance”, with the word “romance” repeated four times.

Two Harbors is the second, and much smaller, resort village on the island, located at the isthmus of the island, north of Avalon. There is also a place called Camp Emerald Bay on the north end of the island that was a Boy Scout camp until 1991.  The Girl Scouts were also forced to move from their camp at White’s Landing, when its lease with the Catalina Island Conservancy expired that same year. “The Catalina Experience™” now takes you to White’s Landing — gateway to Catalina’s interior and positioned on the island’s most expansive beach.

camp white's landingOn http://www.vintagegirlscout.com/campCA.html, I found this ancient photo of this magical place, described as follows in the camp song that I still remember.

“Camp’s White’s Landing-

We canoe and we row

Lots of places to go.

There are boars and S’mores and a beautiful view!”

I don’t remember how big the place was, how primitive it was, or what its proximity to the Boy Scout camp was when I was a Girl Scout camper there for a summer or two in the late 1960s.  The main thing that sticks out in my mind from my time there was meeting a fellow GS camper who told me she wanted to convert to Judaism after reading Leon Uris’ Exodus.  I guess we were all impressionable young teens then and, even though I myself was heavily into the romance of the Jewish state portrayed in that novel, I thought this girl was crazy for wanting to be Jewish if she wasn’t born into it!

In retrospect, I guess the Girl Scouts had a bigger impact on the formation of my adult ideals than I was aware of at the time.  I was a member of the organization from first grade almost until high school graduation.  The GSUSA timeline on their website describes the 1960’s in the excerpt below and includes a photo of Girl Scout Cadettes on Earth Day, 1970, which was also a cause in the forefront of my still-forming political awareness at the time.

 “During this tumultuous and vibrant decade, Girl Scouts held “Speak Out” conferences around the country to lend their voices to the fight for racial equality, launched the “ACTION 70” project to help overcome prejudice and build better relationships between people, and viewed the Apollo 12 moon landing at Cape Kennedy, Florida, as guests of NASA.”

Five Things This Old Fart Doesn’t Worry About Anymore

http://www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/Galleries/5-Things-I-Cant-Worry-about-Anymore.

Restating, and commenting where necessary, on Beliefnet.com’s “5 Things I Can’t Worry about Anymore.”  Go to link above for entire presentation.

I’m putting the final slide first, because to me it’s the most important and powerful statement anyone, but especially a young baby boomer and recent retiree like me, can make, and is the first step to happiness at any point in a MATURE life.

“LET IT GO!!… (M)ake sure not to allow certain things in or give credence to toxic behaviors. Letting go of worry should start now not when you’re so hurt and bitter. Let life be enjoyed now.”

Slide 1 says “I was told when you become older that…. (s)ituations like heartbreak, obnoxious people, haters, jealousies, and insecurities will lose (their) grip… (B)y the time we’ve grown up (parts of us may be” emotionally calloused’ (their words, I just think – or at least hope, in our old age – we’ve gotten past all that wasted and unproductive emotion, each in our own ways and to our own extents), so it makes sense that we don’t need to offer an audience to thoughts, or typical assaults (though occasionally we might still have to fight them off, or at least I do.)”

“LIBERATION IS BECKONING!! Mak(e) the decision to shake it off, along with  (beginning the) practice of what will (AND WILL NOT) be tolerated.”

I skipped Slide 2 – “Don’t Let People Control You” because I haven’t allowed that for a long time.

Slide 3 is titled “Insecurities” and starts off by saying “I don’t have time for insecurities, or rejection.” Well, whoever wrote this may not have time for them but, in my own head and in the world in general, they are just a fact of life, so I allow only small increments of time for them. It goes on to say “If there is something that will slow one down fast, and keep you in mediocrity–these two enemies will.” Mediocrity, or at least good enough, is OK with me.

The last and most important point of this slide is one that I heartily endorse. “ If there needs to be healing, take the control and get your house in order, like the mind, heart, and emotions, (acceptance of physical limitations and exercising control over relationships).”

Slide 4 is entitled “Making People Happy” but in my book should be entitled “Make Yourself Happy First. It will make those who love you, care about you, or just happen to be hanging around you happy, too. And If it doesn’t, why should you care?”
I know my substitute title is a long one but it more clearly describes how I feel about my loved ones and the other people who might be around me when I feel like leaving my house. “I don’t have to worry about making people happy all the time. This can be is about relationships, work, or just people in general. I learned (at the same time I decided to embrace my calling as a happy old fart) I don’t need to justify a given situation, life is too short. ‘A lot of people are crazy, cruel and negative. They got a little too much time on their hands to discuss everybody else. I have a limited amount of energy to blow in a day. I’d rather read something that I like or watch a program I enjoy or ride my damn motorcycle or throw back a couple of shots of tequila with my friends,’ Queen Latifah (a mature woman) said.”

Slide 6 is titled “Take on Fear” and includes the same type of clap-trap advice and pablum that appears in just about anything that is written in the self-help vein. Fortunately, at least in my view, I have never, or at least not knowingly except for maybe during the time I was in therapy, seen anything in the way of a fear, named or otherwise, that kept me from doing anything. Of course, I am clearly not someone who can evaluate myself, which is why I’ve always had to hire professionals to do it, or sometimes taken the word of a friend who has not been around me in a long time so is in a similarly objective position to render judgment about all the stuff I may have dumped on him/her all at once.

The best part of this slide says “Don’t squander energy on fear, and procrastination. Use this to an advantage by replacing these with productive thoughts, affirmations, and action.” I may have unconsciously employed these messages to get past my unidentified, unanalyzed and unnamed fears but have still not succeeded in getting past my procrastination. Even though, as an old fart, I logically know that my time is limited, now that my time is really my own, I know that whatever I don’t get done today will still usually still be there to do tomorrow. If it’s not, it wasn’t that important to me in the first place, and my priorities are the only ones that count.

Slide 7 is titled “Put it Behind You” and goes on to say “(i)t’s alright that you’re not perfect, no one is. Embrace the flaws, and start some self-loving. Mistakes happen, shake it off and move on to forgive yourself, and others. This will help you enjoy tremendous freedoms.” That, my friend, is true wisdom. I didn’t know or accept this until my kids were in their teens and I was in my 50’s, but taking this advice has allowed me to be happier with my life and with myself as I am than I’d ever thought possible.

A Job She Love that Loves Her Back – A Rare Situation for Many of Us Old Farts!

Watch Me.

I used to have one of those, but it was a very long time ago (nearly 8 years but it started 10 years before that) in a galaxy far far away (in So Cal for a subcontractor to one of the few commercial airplane manufacturers still in existence).  You can follow the link above to my happily employed fellow blogger’s post that describes some of the reasons she still loves her job.  IDK, maybe us old farts should all work in frigid Minnesota.  Maybe that environment better preserves nice people?

My comment is based on my more recent experience where most of my older co-workers hated their jobs probably because, like me, they knew they could have done their jobs better and had much more fun if only more of the managers respected their experience and supported the ideas they generated from it.  Instead, unfortunately,  they seemed to often fear ideas that came from old farts like me. If any of our ideas were even actually considered, we seldom heard about it.

FYI my lovely old job was with a Japanese company that also still built a seaplane using a design developed in WWII.  I contend that the main reason they kept me on so long was due to my skill in translating their ESL to semi-technical business English in letters to their domestic suppliers and customers.  These wonderful people always bought whatever my kids were selling for school, soccer, Girl Scout, etc. fundraisers.  They let me use their office supplies when I wanted to be participate as a parent in my daughters’ schools, interests and extracurricular activities.  I received no flak or  hassle when, after 5 years there, I requested a part-time flexible schedule that allowed me to work around school schedules after my nanny started working part-time for a crazy neighbor who didn’t appreciate that I was already paying the nanny to work for me full-time.

I didn’t receive a watch when I left ShinMaywa after 10 years. They just let me pick the venue for my farewell lunch. and I still have the pictures my old boss took of all my Japanese friends enjoying the strange delicacies served at the best Jewish deli in Orange County.

To bring this story back to the watch pictured in the linked post, I have started wearing one again.  I’d had to remove it  on arrival at my last job since it stood between my wrist and the desktop when typing on the computers I used there and, more often than not, I’d forget to take it with me when I left the office each day.  As an Old Fart, I don’t like using a cell phone, which I don’t always have on me anyway, to find the time.  I just have to remember to put my watch on before I leave the house!

 

Old Fart Friday – Oops! I’m so old I published this on Thursday!! Mea culpa

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This comes from Beliefnet, one of my favorite websites and especially good fodder for this weekly feature.
 One of these days I’ll take the time and effort to figure out how to copy and revise so my plagiarism won’t be so apparent.

At  least I have given credit where credit is due.  Full disclosure – I have not yet read the Martin Luther (King) comparison but expect it will be thought provoking for my fearless readers.  The latter term was lifted from or at least suggested by Trader Joe’s flyers.

Who Said It: Martin Luther or Martin Luther King?
Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. were both celebrated leaders of major movements that forever changed our world. Both gave voice to the voiceless, unafraid to speak up about crucial issues of…Click To View!
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“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”