Monthly Archives: May 2014

I Wanted Hostas

I wanted hostas.  What is it for you?  What is it that calls to your soul in a way that nothing else can?  In a way that you completely don’t understand?

013 012I tried valiantly to grow hostas in Texas. I bought the roots and amended the soil and watered them and really worked at growing them. Hostas really aren’t supposed to be that much work. They reall014y aren’t.

When I was a kid we had lilly of the valley and hostas growing around the front porch. Hostas seem to breed while you aren’t looking and they spread and take over the spaces they are allowed to take over. Lilly of the valley are pretty much the same. They just quietly grow and the next time you look, poof, they they are.

When we looked at the house we are living in now, the only pictures we found were of late in the year. The day we looked at the house for real it was RIGHT before Christmas and there was snow all around and it was cold and the green of the spring and summer had long since passed. I had NO idea what was in the flower bed (or for that matter that there even was a flower bed, all I knew for sure is that there were tallish bushes around the porch).

As spring approached, I was so excited to see what plants were going to inhabit the spaces around the house. I had my mom theive me some daffodils from around the farm where I grew up (mental note, I have to go soon and swipe myself some lilac suckers to grow) and I planted them so I knew I would at least have some spring color next year (this year too). Thre are azalias growing in my flower bed. There are my daffodils and even the annuals that I planted for color. And springing up in clumps all through the flower bed are the hostas.

There are several different kinds of hostas, in little clumps here and there. SOme are low to the ground and verigated, others are HUGE leaves and verigated in different ways. But they were here, waiting for me. Quietly beneath the ground. Waiting to welcome me home.

And here I sit. In the quiet of the morning, listening to my little gnome/dwarves water fountain spill its quiet music into the breeze, listening to the bees and the birds and the awakening neihborhood and the windchimes dancing to the water song, watching my garden grow. The hostas were waiting for me and they keep me company and make me smile.

I didn’t realize how much I missed the gentle easy green of spring or the coming back to life after a winter that was a real winter. I watch the hickory trees regain their leaves and the birch tree rustle in the breeze that isn’t even there. The robins and jays and the wood peckers join the squirrels that make random tree branches dance even when there IS no breeze to shake the leaves and the deer that visit at o’dark thirty on their way through the neighborhood. The round out the family.

The older I get the more connected I get. The more connected I get, the more I miss my roots. For me, the significance is in the hostas. And the hostas are filling the empty spaces.


A Morning Pearl Makes All The Difference

Dead Tree... gotta have at least one

Traveling less traveled (or maybe more traveled) places… 

I’ve been getting to work a little bit later than I’m used to the last couple mornings. I’ve discovered that I can avoid getting irritated at the drivers on the interstate if I (now get this) avoid the interstate. It isn’t something that I will likely do most days for my evening commute (it adds MORE time going home for some reason) but I think I’m going to start doing this for my morning commute.

It adds about 10 minutes to my commute. That’s because I can max out my speed at 40 MPH (5 over the posted 35) and spend half the commute at 30 and there are dozens and dozens of lights. But the commuters sharing this route with me seem to be of the same mind-set that I am. I am not in a hairy ass hurry to get there as long as I get there by starting time and it is better for my attitude if I mozy instead of getting run off the road by anal retentive idiots.

The commute takes me through communities. One, I think, is an Irish neighborhood, based on the bars that I pass. It passes the zoo. Churches, small neighborhood stores and kids on their way to school dot the way. I’m not sure if it is part of the attraction of my commute. I think it probably is.

I never really connected with Austin. I enjoyed things greatly about it. I will miss being able to go to Eeyore’s birthday. I will miss my first half marathon. I will miss the Labyrinth. People already have added to that list. I had friends (Scotty and Andrew… you are my Tin Man and my Scarecrow) that I miss.

My little boy I miss tremendously. I miss driving him into Austin. I miss the conversations that I’m sure that he never thought I listened to or took anything away from. I look at windows I pass… I lose myself in the windows I pass… I hear his voice echoing in my brain. I connected, most, to Austin through my baby boy.

He stayed behind to follow his heart. I understand that. It doesn’t make me miss him less, but it does fill me with pride and I love the young man that he has fallen in love with. Eventually I hope HE will talk to me, too. He has a job that he thinks he likes. He’s not the first garbage collector on the moon, but he is finding himself and he is realizing that he does have his roots and his wings.

I think about him a lot as I drive this route. There is much to see, much imput to absorb.

As much as I never really felt connected to Austin, I find myself connected here. It feels like home. Adam was not entirely right but not far off the mark. I could live in the middle of nowhere in the forest in a cabin with a creek if I had a good wifi connection. But I feel the heartbeat of this city. I lose myself in the doors (my version of Adam’s windows) and the architecture. I long to walk the streets of “down town” looking at the beautiful buildings that might be less well-kept than the shiny steel and glass of Austin but that have incredible character. You can almost hear the voices that have made this city home.

I lose myself in thought. I think about the conversations at Minntac… “you will look back with regret and you will someday ask what if”… Except I don’t regret. I would not be sitting where I am now if I hadn’t followed the path I took and learned what I learned. I wouldn’t be flexing my wings, yet again, and reinventing myself as I go.

My commute to here… to work… through life… is my commute and I am finding peace and quiet and connectedness. It is what it is. Today is what I have and what I have to do I have to do. Tomorrow will be my next today but for now, what I must do is the near..

Be the Best of Whatever You Are
Douglas Malloch

If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley — but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass —
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here,
There’s big work to do, and there’s lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.

If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever you are!

I know that my view may not be the most popular. I know that everyone is supposed to strive to be what society views as a success. But… the older I get and the more I learn… the more I realize that I may not be a bass, but I think I might be the best little scrub I can be… and if I can encourage my babies to be the best bush/bass/bit of the grass that they can be… then I hope that they might be happy in themselves.

Monday Morning Coming Down

20130907-124132.jpg 20130907-124124.jpgIt’s dawn.  I’m listening to “Thrive” by Arianna Huffington (wicked good book and I’m loving our library).  My little Buddha herd and their elephant friend are my morning friends.  I think (even though I know it is going to be a busy day) it is going to be a good day.  Today I rent my new parking place (I’m SO over parking in the “sorry, you can’t park here because there is a game” parking garage), I take on the addition of a third project because we have several people off on vacation.  I’m kind of stressing over that one… but I know that tonight is Yoga and I know I can do that and I’m looking forward to that.

And I got writing done this morning.

I’m kind of aching this morning.  But it was a productive weekend.  Squirrel girl got custody of the desktop computer after I cleaned it of junk and of viruses.  She “borrowed” (I hope she remembers it is borrowed) my second monitor.  She has officially moved into her office.  I think it will do her good.  It’s kind of creepy that she’s disappeared but her office will give her a sanctuary.

I wish I could really get her “into” yoga… maybe meditation.  It worries me that she gets so up tight over everything.  She really needs to find her way to derail her own train, to side track it her brain when it starts to run away with her.  I know she will get there.  I know she will find her own way.  But It really worries me that she is going to melt down and lose herself in trying to get there.

I catch myself dwelling on the past.  I know it is not a place where I should dwell but it’s so hard to not creep back there.  I keep looking at pictures and watching videos.  I am doing good.  I fight to keep myself from creeping to the things that I learned over the years.  I refuse to rely on tears and guilt.  I watch the beauty that grows and smile.  And I rely more and more on that which I have learned will bring me quiet stillness…


Two Days of Training

Okay, so technically it isn’t exactly training.  Training, to me, usually is when you go and spend a week (or at least several days) learning one thing kind of with great depth.  This is a conference where you get slides, meet people, hear neat new ideas and get bored to tears (depending on which session you pick…) and it is the next best thing.

I have two days of “down time” (read… I get to think about different things).  Two days to reflect on the fact that…

I’m not capable of being a productive member of that team
Training of any kind is simply a waste
playing around with things just to play around with them is pointless

I get to reflect on that, realize I’m not dumber than dirt (I almost said a box of rocks… but an awesome young man pointed out that rocks are very often beautiful… and I smiled… and I changed my metaphor) and find some interesting new angles I might be able to take on some issues we might run into.

And I’m networking.  Not to any great degree.  I’m still me.  I’m still a nerd lost in the herd and enjoying sitting back and observing.  But I have talked to people… and I’ve caught myself going …. ooooooo… and Ahhhhhh… because these people ARE people.  They are the people who know things and who write books and who… (oh wait… I’m these people… hmmm).

I listened yesterday and I took notes and I downloaded presentations.  And I talked to people who talked to me.  One might want me to help him revise his book for the newest version of the software. One remarked on how he didn’t recognize me from when he helped me on a book (he was my tech editor on one and he is “THE” man who people go to to ask questions).  HE didn’t recognize ME?  Holy crap!!! Why on earth would he recognize me?

Then I thought about it.  I realized that I’ve been spending entirely too much time thinking about what people have said I can’t do.  I have been thinking about how my RA is sometimes limiting in what it lets me do.  I have been thinking that I let too many things get in my way.

So I’m not going to.

I have to change my thinking.  I have to adapt to what I need to get done and get done some things that I just want to get done in the mean time.  I need to take my own advice and realize that the messages that I’ve been given aren’t MY messages, they are other people’s messages and I really really need to stop listening to the ones that don’t help me.

It’s not my fault, or my problem, that people don’t try to understand.  It’s not my fault that they don’t “get” me.  I can do this and I will show the people that didn’t get it what they are missing.

The Reaction

I know I’m guilty of it too, so let me start out by saying that I think this is just human nature and it doesn’t mean what it feels like it means when you are on the receiving end.

People hear (read, whatever) a comment you make about… seeing a Rheumatologist… or taking Methotrexate… or… whatever… and suddenly they get “that look” and they make “that comment”… oh, I hope you don’t have Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Of all the things I could have, I have to admit, RA wasn’t at the top of my list.  I probably would have picked something that sounded sexier, or that more people understood or could relate to, or that wouldn’t ever change the angles at which my fingers or toes pointed.  But I didn’t actually get a vote.  And frankly I don’t think I suck that bad at carrying on my life.  It could have been better, but it could have been worse.

I understand that people feel empatheticly bad that I have a forever condition that frequently hurts and that sometimes can knock the shit out of me and that might shorten my life and that (outside chance) could wind me up on disability some day.

It does suck that it hurts.  It way sucks that it makes me tired a lot.  Combine those two and it makes some days be way cranky days.

But don’t for one minute forget the fact that I do not let it get in my way.  When I’m not controlled, it has a huge impact on every day.  But I’m back to being controlled.  I’m back to taking Yoga (and starting to train for next year’s big races) and thinking about smaller races later this year.  I’m enjoying yard work (WITH my work gloves on, thank you very much).  I am back to writing for a contract.  I’m back to living my life.  Yeah, I have to be mindful and not stress too much and not work too much and to take time for myself, but I’m back to being me.

And today, I’m working from home (too many hours, I know… and I’m on pager duty so have to be “on line” till 8pm) with the windows wide open.  The birds are singing and the breeze is making my dozen or so wind chimes dance.  For a while, I worked from the front porch.

I was reminded this week that, there but for the grace of god go I by a friend I used to work with.  She is considering, very seriously planning on, applying to go on disability.  She is Sero-negative RA and has been fighting for a diagnosis for two or more years.  I understand why she would be thinking this way.  There are days that I am terrified of getting to that point.  So I fight.  I fight every day to stay ahead of my condition.  And I write, so other people know that they aren’t alone.  And I reach out to educate people, so maybe for some people, “the reaction” is more… Oh… that sucks… I’m sorry… Come on, let’s go have a cup of coffee (tea, ice tea, banana split…whatever).

it could be better.  But it could be worse.  Be gentle with yourself.  Know that there are thousands and thousands of us out here who have heard those words and we are more than willing to help you on your journey

This Week at the Rheumy

Saturday morning… Coffee this morning that is twice as much hot milk as coffee.  I realize (as I sit in the quiet of my special space watching light steal the darkness from the sky) that everywhere I go changes me.  Brings new realizations and experiences… and I work to make them mine.  Ecuadorian coffee… Vietnamese coffee… Espresso… tea brewed lose in my infuser cup…

It is a good morning.  It was a good week.

I had to put my infusion off for several days, so it was starting to be an ouchy week… but not too bad.

Because my finger was being very problematic for almost the entire month off and on, the Dr wanted to see me.  Turns out she isn’t actually in clinic on the day I was there, but she wanted to be paged, and she was, and by the time I was done with my adventure (Nurse, PA, Infusionists) she was there.  She’s reasonably happy with my progress.  She suggested I go back on prednisone for 2 weeks at 5mg a day.  I don’t think I will.   It is progressing and is tolerable.  I think I’m okay.  But it was a good feeling to have her make a special trip into clinic to check it out and make sure I’m okay.  And I found out that she was concerned enough about it to be looking up possible orencia reactions to see if maybe that was the issue.  I had to smile at that.  I was trying to look up the same things.

My infusion went off without a hitch.  I got juice and crackers… always a yummy treat… and was on my way after only 90 minutes (both appointments, end to end)… just long enough to cost $6 parking… yay me.

And I’ve managed to try to reset my appointments to first thing in the morning.  Not as early as Dr Booth, but not bad.  It makes my parking a little more creative, but if it isn’t storming I don’t mind parking on the roof.

So here I am.  Bright and early on a Saturday morning.  My furniture finally came yesterday (the kitchen table and my desk that we have been waiting for 12 weeks to see).  It showed up yesterday morning and the nicest Amish guy and his driver unloaded it and set it up.  You can still smell the faint traces of wood finish on them.  And today I make a concerted effort to try to get the office cleaned back up and organized and tomorrow, maybe, I can get back to trying to finish unpacking in the bedroom.

And Monday, my little girl and I (my daughter, the one who said she would never ever ever do Yoga) start Gentle Yoga at the Rec Center.  I’m looking forward to getting back to Yoga.  MAYBE I will even start doing the 45 and over yoga a second day a week!

Love and Light