She lives! The electric edition

Well, I’m no better at getting back to this blog now than I have been at any time in the past year. I’m sorry.

It’s been a year of change and upheaval for me. With the job search in August/September, I had heard about a postion in a nearby town from a friend. That didn’t pan out. Then we went to Mass in another nearby town and the priest mentioned a job opening at their parish school. That lead to a 1st & 2nd interview and a “shadow day”. And while that situation progressed, I learned about an opening with my son’s school. That was the lead that finally lead to the actual job. So as of October 1st, I am the assistant cook at my son’s Catholic school. It has been a hectic, wonderful learning experience for me. I love being there and helping our head cook create the delicious, healthy meals for these children. I have learned so much and when we get back from Christmas break, I’ll be learning even more. We are a good team and have great help from a number of volunteers who come in to help serve the food, assist the kids with condiments and wipe down tables. It has been an incredible blessing to be able to do the work I enjoy with people I enjoy spending time alongside.

Ditty went as far a sections with her swim team this year. She was hoping that she wouldn’t need to go as her shoulder has been bothering her. We have been working with our chiropractor and that brought some relief. Now that swim season is over, that has brought even more relief, so I just need to encourage her to keep doing the exercises so that she doesn’t re-injure it next year. She is also preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation. It’s hard to believe that she’s old enough to do this. And trying to get her behind the wheel time finished so that she can get her driver’s license. My little girl is becoming a very poised and practical young woman. We also purchased a new step-up flute for her. She has needed one for a long time (about the last 2 years), but we didn’t just snap one up. We took our time and had her play several different flutes to see which one she liked best. I’m pleased that she decided on an Azumi. Some people might get down on me for that since the Azumis are a Japanese flute, but seriously if you haven’t heard one-don’t judge me. The American school of flutes are very light and bright sounding. The Japanese school of flutes are darker and deeper in tone. Frankly, they just sound so amazingly full and rich. These aren’t words I can use with the American school of flutes, although they are pretty. While we were flute shopping, the flute specialist who was helping us also let Ditty try out a $13,000 model. If you think there is no difference except for the price tag, you would be very wrong. That flute sounded so amazingly rich and, dare I say it, delicious that if money was not an object, I would have entertained serious thoughts about getting that one. Maybe she’ll consider becoming a concert flautist so we can get that one.

BooBoo is still taking guitar. Why, I’m not sure since he hates to practice. Apparently, he just likes playing – but not an electric guitar. He chose a new accoustic guitar, made by Fender and shaped like their Stratocaster model with the cutaway body and the inline head. I seriously wanted to ask ” So, who is this girl that you’re trying to impress?”, but I didn’t. I know you’re probably amazed, so am I. He also wants to try out for track and field this spring. He had a lot of fun at the Track & Field day that the High School boys’ track team held through community ed last spring. Hopefully, he will find his sport. I’m sure there will be something out there for him to enjoy. BooBoo will also be participating in our school musical this year, but not backstage as he usually does. This year, he has chosen to be one of the actors and will be an Apostle in our school production of Godspell Jr. It should be an interesting show. I remember singing some of the music when I was in grade school at my Catholic school. Of course, we also sang some of the music from Jesus Christ Superstar. Very 1970’s indeed! 🙂

So, you may be wondering why this is “the electric edition”. Well, early this past Saturday morning, I experienced chest pains and DH brought me in to our local hospital emergency room. While I didn’t need defibrilation, they did hook up quite a few electrodes to me to monitor my heart. And because the enzyme that gets released if there is a problem with the heart takes 4-6 hours to occur in the bloodstream, they had me admitted to a hospital room for observation. In that room, they attached even more electrodes because their heart monitor uses different ones from the monitor in the E.R. I think I seriously had about a dozen of the little stickers on my chest & abdomen. If they had needed to defribrilate, I possibly would have lit up like a Christmas tree. Electro-Woman. Hmm, glad that didn’t happen. I’m 50, I don’t look good in spandex.

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MPO (missing, presumed overwhelmed)

Wow! Have I really not posted a single update since last August? Well, the blog doesn’t lie. I certainly have been missing from this space for a long time. I’ll try to give you a concise update of the past several months.

Since the job loss last August, I was unemployed for a total of 6 weeks. That’s a very short time based on what some of my friends have experienced in their own lives. I took a job with an international provider of fulfillment services in October 2013. I was taking inbound customer service calls for a major sweepstakes company. I say was, because in mid-January, I became ill and then in February I began having dizzy spells again. I was diagnosed with Menier’s way back when I was about 22 years old, so dizzy spells are nothing new to me. In March, I had a dizzy spell at work on a Friday morning. The following Monday, I woke up at 1 a.m. with a dizzy spell and just thinking about going in to work the night before had triggered an episode that ultimately lasted about 9 hours. I knew that I needed to quit my job. My health wasn’t going to rebound until I did. So at 1:30 that Monday morning, I spoke with DH and broke the news. He took it well, saying “You have to do what you have to do.”. I knew he was disappointed, but that he understood the spells were beyond my control.

Understand that I have held several jobs since being diagnosed and the only common ground this job held with the one other job that I had quit due to dizzy spells was that both companies treated their employees like machines. The first company had unachievable standards for productivity. And I really mean that. We were expected to complete our assignments in 1 hour and then get the next hour’s work from our supervisor. No allowance for the time it took to stand in line with the rest of your shift waiting your turn for work was given. No allowance for the needed time to organize the work or pull the correct files was given either. Everyone (yes, we talked on breaks & lunches) was continually being given verbal or written warnings that they had better bring up their productivity or risk being terminated from employment. Ridiculous!

My recent past employer also maintained an atmosphere that made us feel like we were less than human. The 2 days that I was legitimately ill in January dropped my attendance rating from a 5 (highest given) to a 1 (lowest given without termination). The company HR department and my supervisor had both firmly stated that if we were ill, because we are a large call center, do not come in to work because it would just make more people ill and increase workloads for those not ill. And yet, they dock us for not coming in when we are sick. Yes, that rating of 1 on my attendance meant that although I had achieved the 25 cent/hour bonus pay for the 3 months prior, I was not eligible for that bonus for the month of January-due to my “poor” attendance. I was also informed that even if I had gone to the doctor and received a note stating that I was indeed ill, the note would not have taken effect until the day after I received it. I’m sorry, am I supposed to request that my cold/flu should give me 24 hours notice before taking me out? How absurd! Well the stress this brought on (and other issues there) triggered some lasting episodes of dizzy spells through February, culminating in the March episodes. This forced me to rethink my employment there and I went in the following Tuesday morning and told them I needed to quit and that I was sorry but I wouldn’t be able to give them the customary two weeks notice due to the unpredictable nature of the dizzy spells. I was kind. I blamed my illness, not the company, but I had to get out of there. Since leaving, I have had one full-fledged dizzy spell and many close calls, probably due to residual stress. I am praying that the month of April sees my return to good health.

During this time, last August, I also returned to being a catechist for a group of twelve 9th grade boys. You see, I can handle stress just fine 🙂 ! I’ve always enjoyed teaching and I do enjoy teaching this group of guys as well. I was informed (frequently!) that this group was difficult to work with and would try my patience. Good grief, they’re just boys! And unfortunately, the methodology used to teach them (lessons on video) does not work well with the learning style of boys. Nor does it impress upon them the need for a deep faith relationship with God. I understand why this method is being used. it is used because, unfortunately, we can not count on getting volunteers to step forward and teach who are faithfully Catholic. How sad that there were so many years in the formation of today’s adults where the beauty of our Catholic faith was not taught to us and so very few of us realized that we had an unfulfilled yearning for God and looked for that beauty later on in our lives. The early mistakes made in the implementation of Vatican II cost our churches dearly. I am grateful for the nudges that made me look deeper and deeper into my Catholic faith and it’s customs & rituals. Those nudges helped me to realize the beauty that lies within those sacred ceremonies. Thanks be to God!

Teaching the boys has been very rewarding. They have been open to trying new forms of prayer. They seem to have enjoyed some of our non-scripted discussions. I even brought in dessert as a treat for our last class before spring break and, true to their teenage years, they were quite enthusiastic about that as well. I’m thinking about trying the sung version of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy with them for two reasons: 1: I’ll bet no one has ever taught them the beauty of the chaplet and 2: Not one of them is in band (Ditty is and I never saw any of them at the concerts which are required attendance for band students) so they must have taken choir (9th grade is required to take one year of music class for high school graduation). Since I therefore have singers in my class, I say “Let’s get them singing!”. For their own comfort however, we will go down to the chapel for this part of the lesson so that they don’t have to sing (and risk being heard) by the other 9th grade boys class which meets across the hall from our room. Yes, I do take their feelings into account and I realize that they might not be ready yet to stand strong and proud in front of their peers as followers of Christ.

We had a nice Thanksgiving and a lovely Christmas. The kids enjoyed the break from school and I wished that I would have had more time off with them. (Wish granted, I guess.)

DH & I had a nice time at the ice fishing tournament in late January with our friends. Although that was when I suspected the dizzy spells were coming on. Kavanaugh’s was a nice time away for us.

We went to Florida this year for the kid’s spring break and all 5 of us were able to go making this the first real, total family vacation we have taken in about 6 or so years. It was a nice time even if it was a bit cold down there. And here’s a tip, if you’re looking for a really good seafood dinner: Go to George & Wendy’s Seafood Grille on Sanibel Island. They have the best fresh seafood items I have ever tasted!

Well, that brings you up to date, more or less on where my life is. I hope & pray your life is going well and that you enjoy a long life and happiness as well.

I want off this merry-go-round

I hoped I was done with the merry-go-round of Menier’s.  I know this isn’t possible, but it has been so long since I’ve had a dizzy spell, that I really had hoped.

Menier’s, for the uninitiated, is a chronic condition where a person’s body retains excess fluid in the inner ear.  It is accompanied by diminished hearing, generally affecting only one ear-usually the left.  Eventually the person goes deaf in the affected ear.

I know.  As if going through the usual bloating every month isn’t bad enough, I get to listen to a doctor tell me that I’m retaining fluid in my left ear as well. 🙂

The good news, if you can call it that, is that if you can learn to identify your triggers (the things that specifically make you prone to the dizzy spells), then you can learn to avoid or counteract them.  Oh, and I should mention that the triggers can change over time as our bodies age.

I have been able to identify what I think are most, if not all, of my triggers.  Smoking or second had smoke, Lack of adequate Sleep, High levels of Stress, Excess Salt, Caffeine (this one was new after I had my 3rd child) and there was another one but I’m sleep deprived at the moment and can’t remember it.  Then there are the things that only seem like triggers:  drastic climate changes (we’ve been having those lately but we normally call it spring or fall depending on whether the weather is getting hotter or colder), menstruation (although I’ve read that this really can be a trigger, it hasn’t been in the past for me.  Wouldn’t that be a kicker though to have it become a trigger just as I’m getting to the peri-menopausal stage?), moon in Jupiter (just kidding, I have no idea when the moon hits Jupiter, it’s just that on days like today these dizzy spells make no sense at all).

I have been able, in the past, to counteract the dizzy spells.  Taking an over-the-counter sleep aid when I know I’ll need extra rest, drinking orange juice or eating a banana (both are good sources of potassium which the body uses to regulate fluid retention) has helped in the past.

Today I just don’t know what to do.  I’ve had a banana, even though it isn’t part of the diet cycle I’m on.  I can’t take a sleep aid because I need to take BooBoo to school in about 2 hours.  So far this hasn’t helped and I can feel my stress level rising.  Maybe I’ll just have to escape reality for awhile by reading a good book.  Hopefully that will relax me enough to hold off the dizzy spell until after I get BooBoo to school.  Then I can take the sleep aid and get this mess under control again.

One other thing about Menier’s.  I found out that once you go deaf in the affected ear, they can do a surgical slit in the ear drum to permanently release the excess fluid.  The surgery means that you will be permanently deaf in that ear, so they flatly refuse to do it until you have become deaf in the ear naturally.

Prayer request

Dear readers, I have received a prayer request from a friend and I hope you’ll join me in praying for Harlan who is undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer.  Harlan is one of those people whose calm, quiet ways perfectly balance those of us whose lives are not calm.  Please join me in praying for his return to good health so that my friend and her family can enjoy his special gifts for many years to come.

Thank you

Updates & such

Sorry for the long wait.  I’ve been working on our parish festival.  Glory Days seems to have been a huge success on the feedback portion anyway.  I don’t know yet what the numbers look like or whether we turned a profit from it.  All of the feedback that I’ve received has been very positive.  People enjoyed the bands, liked the games that were offered, even enjoyed the tv set up in the beer garden so they could watch the various sporting events they all seem to follow.  Personally, if it was me, I would have tuned in a good movie.  I don’t understand the whole “must watch professional sports” thing.

Volunteer coordination, my area, went fairly well.  Since the whole sign in before your shift thing was new this year, as were the waiver forms, people on the whole did well with it.  I’m really convinced after this waiver form thingy that we don’t have to worry about Muslims taking over the world (the latest rant from the extremists).  I fully believe that when you can’t even volunteer your time without signing a waiver, that says in general that you won’t sue the church/school if you get injured during the course of your volunteer shift, the lawyers have already taken over the world.  And we know they won’t give it up without a fight.  A vicious, nasty fight.  So we should be safe from the advancing hordes of fanatics.

The Monday after Glory Days, I had set aside as a day to relax.  Vegetate.  Do absolutely nothing.  Then BooBoo missed the school bus.  Okay, I can still keep my pajamas on and drive him to school.  Done and back home, I settled in with a cup of coffee and a good book, Mattimeo by Brian Jacques.  Then the doorbell rings.  Really!  Today!  Didn’t absolutely everyone I know get told that today was my “do absolutely nothing” day? 

It was a Jehovah’s Witness.  Okay, since we’re not on speaking terms, that would explain why she didn’t get the memo.  In fact after asking her what this was all about, I only managed to grunt the word No several times and shut the door on her.  I returned to my book and coffee.  Then the phone rings.  Yes, it’s turning into one of those days.  Should have unplugged the darn thing.  Too late now.  I answered and it was an automated call from a credit card company.  I need to update our listing on the National Do Not Call registry.  Yes, we really have one of those on this side of the pond.  We can thank the annoying telemarketers for that at least.

I did manage to throw together a dinner that night.  Pork roast in the crockpot, leftover mashed potatoes and some green beans.  The kids gobbled it up.  The mister was working again.

Tuesday, I woke up with this cold.  I felt it coming on Monday but I was in denial.  Still proof that no good deed (giving up my life to our parish festival) goes unpunished.  In spite of the cold, I’ve nearly finished the laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, Swiffered the floors and picked up milk.  Forgot to buy more tissues though.  Had to have DH pick more up last night.  Made chicken vegetable barley soup last night, so I’m going to settle in with a cup of that, some herbal tea and my box of tissues and ride this thing out.

Hope you are all well and healthy.  Enjoy your weekend.

The neck bone’s connected to the . . .

Well, BooBoo has been to the chiropractor Monday and Tuesday of this week and will need to be adjusted Wednesday and Friday as well.  And before anyone gripes about chiropractors, let me just say that I believe there are some things (okay most things) that medical doctors do well and there are some things (stiff necks, sore backs) that chiropractors do well.

The initial diagnosis (on Monday) was that BooBoo will need about 18 adjustments to put the natural curve back into his neck.  The chiropractor we saw said that he had never seen a neck as straight as BooBoo’s in a kid so young without some type of birth trauma (on Friday).  I explained that BooBoo was a c-section delivery so no birth trauma.  Then later (why do we always remember what we need to tell a doctor after we leave the doctor’s office?), I remembered our camping trip and subsequent hike just before BooBoo turned 5 years old.  We almost lost the little guy over a cliff on that hike.  He fell over the edge and landed first on a rock some 4-4 1/2 feet below the trail on his stomach and then rolled over and fell about another foot onto a rock ledge that was about 6 inches wider than he was at the time (he was, and still is, a rather skinny kid).  So I mentioned this to the doctor when we went into the office on Monday.  He said that could definitely be the cause of all this.  And these stiff neck episodes of BooBoo’s did start happening that autumn about 2 months after the camping trip.

Well, two of the x-rays needed to be redone.  After the doctor looked at BooBoo’s new x-rays, he said that it might even be possible to get the proper alignment back with fewer adjustments as BooBoo’s neck was starting to readjust a bit by itself.  Since it was not readjusting as quickly as it used to and there is no guarantee that it would get completely back in place on its own, I felt that we still need to get BooBoo some relief from his neck pain.  His neck had now been stiff and painful for a week and realistically, how long can an 8 year old be expected to suffer like this.  So we went ahead with the adjustments. 

BooBoo’s neck is improving and he is sleeping better as well.  And I am wishing that I had thought to do this three years ago when his neck pain first started.  But maybe there just needed to be a chiropractor in town that I could trust.  Why do I trust this one you ask.   For the best reason in the world.  I know his mother.

For Marci

and most importantly for her daughter, Punky.  Marci has a post over on her blog 6Hands2Hold .  She needs help paying for treatments for her daughter’s Asperger Syndrome.  If you can help, please give generously.  Thank you.

I know this is a shorter post than you’re used to, but I am nursing a cold mixed with a bout of laryngitis and staring at a computer screen is making my eyes water.  Hopefully this all passes soon.

Oh, the possibilities

I’m not a morning person by nature.  I’d prefer it if morning began at 10 am, but mornings are always full of promise so I won’t totally trash them here.

This morning however, promise did a swan dive out the window.  Ditty informed me that she hadn’t thrown up since 6:30 this morning.  Sorry cupcake, that still doesn’t get you in the vehicle to do the Girl Scout field trip to the pottery studio. 

I wish she wasn’t sick.  She wishes she wasn’t sick.  Even BooBoo wishes she wasn’t sick.  Well, we’ll have to find another day for her to do the pottery thing.  The main thing was to get her to stop being sick (oh, and to clean up the bathroom she used). 

I thought she was feeling better so I drove the other scouts on the field trip.  After I got home from bringing them all back, Ditty informed me that she had thrown up again while I was returning scouts to their homes.  Oh, man!  The culprit was that she had been thirsty and had gotten a drink of water.  I know that I have told her before not to drink water when she’s been throwing up.  I gently reminded her again that this is not a good idea and brought her some lemon-lime soda with a small amount of ground ginger mixed in.  (Dear reader; if you decide to do this for your kids, stir this mixture over the sink-it fizzes up alot.) She sipped it slowly and seems to be on the mend now. 

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Things are much better now!

We saw Jerry at mass this morning and I talked with his wife afterward. He is now on two blood pressure meds and his blood pressure is under control and being monitored closely (his wife is a nurse).

Thank you for your prayers during this time. It’s hard to see someone younger than me in that situation. I expect people my age and older to be, well, as we put it “falling apart”. You know, stiff back – sore neck- aches and pains in the darndest places. But not the younger ones.

Take care of your health folks.  And if you or your loved ones need any prayers-let me know.  I’ll be happy to oblige.

Keep the prayers coming

for Jerry and his family.  Jerry has had surgery to correct a pseudoaneurysm in his celiac artery.  His blood pressure is still too high and the new pills aren’t working.  His blood pressure this morning was 160/128.  “Normal” bp’s are top number less than 160 140 and bottom number less than 80.

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Perfectly Preserved In Perpetuity

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

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Quotes:

"If you are what you should be you will set the whole world on fire."
St. Catherine of Sienna

I finally understand

"Among those around you, apostolic soul, you are the stone fallen into the lake. With your word and your example, you produce a first circle, and it another, and another, and another, wider each time. Now do you understand the greatness of your mission?" St. Josemarie Escriva: The Way