Sunday, June 06, 2010
I was not on this earth when D-Day happened, but, as with most families, I am touched by it, thanks to the remarkable "Greatest Generation". Both of my grandmothers were nurses during the war and that was my goal when I was in grade school. My paternal grandfather emigrated from Norway with a degree in engineering. He worked in shipyards. Not being technical, the only thing I understand is that he calculated the optimum circumference of smoke stacks to maximize fuel use. Or something. (I'm not friendly with numbers!) My maternal grandfather may have been a reporter during the war. My dad's stepfather was an anthropologist who answered the call and went into the Army. He was a medic and he was at Utah Beach. That was all I ever knew about his service because he would not talk about it. The way he said what he said, the tone was one that did not brook further conversation on this point.
It was only years after his death that I grew up enough to understand the possibility of the kinds of memories he had and did not want to reawaken to solve a youngster's curiosity. I never got to apologize to him for that question! Now I shudder to think what nightmares I may have reawakened for him!
I have always wanted to serve my country and tried every branch of the service 5 times. I could never pass the physical. My younger brother, now in the Naval Reserves, tells me that I would not have liked being in the service when I could have been in because it was not a welcoming place for women then. I know he tries to comfort me by saying that, but it does not take away my lifelong regret.
I am grateful for those who do serve in whatever capacity. I benefit from their service, their sacrifice of time away from their lives, their loss of innocence, the sacrifice of their families. I know firsthand the nights trying to be calm when I am afraid for my loved one in harm's way. And, there is no way to even the scale when those who serve pay the ultimate price.
What makes the "Greatest Generation" so remarkable is how those who served were not just in uniform of the armed services, it was nurses, it was factory workers, it was ordinary people saving anything that could be used for "the boys" at war -- all their service and sacrifice.
One of those who stayed at home because the Army sent him home when he volunteered was the founder of my company (founded long after his other careers were over!). The enlisting officer asked him what he did and, when he heard the answer, the officer said, "You can do more to help us in civilian life." Dr. Chauncey Starr ended up at Oak Ridge National Labs working on nuclear fusion. During that time, he invented a method of cooling nuclear fuel that is still in use in plants around the world.
I was in grade school when President Eisenhower died. My teacher turned on the tv so we could watch the funeral. He had to step out of the room to take a phone call. A while later, he came back in the room to find spitwads flying, chalk and erasers flying and I was sitting in my desk in the front row crying my eyes out watching the funeral. "I Like Ike" for his leadership and service.
Prayers were said this morning for those alive who have horrible memories of the D-Day invasion and the days following, for those who still mourn the full measure that was paid that day and the following days.
Anything I could say about my SparkPeople journey would be a trivial exercise of free speech that has been paid for with far too high a price.
Saturday, June 05, 2010
The summer cold has been in full force today. I HOPE it's going to be just about gone by Monday morning. I'm afraid Kaiser won't let me go through the procedure. I'm still mouth breathing and running the room cooler and using a blanket (hot and cold!).
Bland food and, after breakfast tomorrow, that's it until after the procedure on Monday. No exercise today, either. Still very stiff and sore and still can't breathe! UGH
The pharmacist warned me that I won't want to leave the house once I start the colon cleanse tomorrow...NOT looking forward to this, but, as a measure of the change in me via SP, I am valuing me enough that I am not letting the prospect of this discomfort deter me from this test. I know they will use this test to screen for preventable problems. I was angry when I learned that Dad knew he had a problem for TWO YEARS before he ever went to the doctor. Had he gone sooner, they might have been able to cure his prostate cancer before it became bone cancer and killed him. I can't put my family through that kind of pain if it is in my power to prevent it.
Today (or tomorrow, depending on who I believe), my maternal gramma would be 104. I was starting my junior year of college, thousands of miles from home, when I learned she had cancer. To this day, I don't know what kind. gramma (and that's how she wrote it: lowercase) was one of my sanctuaries as a young child.
gramma was a woman of and ahead of her times. She divorced my grandfather and raised my mother and my aunt all by herself. She was pro womens' rights long before the 60s came around. I can totally picture her marching for the right to vote, though I don't know if she ever did that. gramma was a nurse during WWII. She looked like one of those sweet little old ladies, so she was always picked for jury duty. What the attorneys did not know what that she was a strong minded, very liberal thinking woman. By the time I started paying attention to politics and social issues, she was ill and then gone, so I never talked to her about things. I imageine we would have had different opinions on some things. But the older I get, the more I find I agree with things she cared about.
gramma was agnostic, which bothered my family a lot, especially at the end of her life. She did not let any of the grandchildren see her once the chemo started. (As if I cared about her hair! She had wigs!) I remember saying to the air: "I don't care about your hair, gramma! It's you I love!" She died five long years later, suffering horribly. There was no service, not that I would have been permitted to attend if there had been one. That lack of closure made me realize how important services are. They are not so much for the deceased as they are for the survivors.
I have tons of wonderful memories of gramma. She was a rescue skier, she knit hats and scarves for homeless people,baby blankets for newborns in womens' shelters and afghans for children with cancer. She had what she called a "working garden." Fruit trees, not many flowers, groundcover. She canned fruit and had a root cellar. She saved everything. What I know of being frugal is from her!
Now that I am older, I can see that I have the same prominent veins in my hands as she did. One of my sisters has the small front tooth gap that she had. I can still remember how she smelled and what her hands felt like as she caressed my hair. She was a heavy smoker and I can still see the massive wrinkles in her face.
gramma: imperfect person, perfect gramma, still loved and missed!
I stayed within range in food, but definitely not in balance. Not allowed veggies or fruit. With this cold and tendonitis, I really miss walking! I am so afraid this hiatus will turn me back into that couch potato that I was before SP. However, as wonderful as my Sparkfriends have been about my "just walking" and other comments, I bet they won't let me slide completely back to the old me. I don't want to go back! I like my walks! Making that statement and meaning it is an incredible paradigm shift for me! Thanks, SparkPeople!
Friday, June 04, 2010
Charlie Wedemeyer died yesterday. He was one of my heroes, though we never actually met. He was a local high school football coach before and after he was diagnosed with ALS. When I came to the Bay Area, through happy circumstance, I became a huge fan of the San Francisco Giants and, in particular, of their first baseman at the time, Will Clark. One year, I was blessed to have weekend season tickets - best seats I've ever had! That was also the year that Will was the team representative for major league baseball's ALS charity. (ALS is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease). One game during that season, they had ALS night
and I HAD to be there. (I never saw Gehrig play, but I admire him tremendously). Charlie was there to "throw" out the first pitch. He was already extremely limited by ALS and his wife actually threw the pitch. But he received huge ovations. During that time, he was on a cart riding around the edge of the field. I was standing, cheering and clapping as hard as I could (I can't whistle or I would have been doing that, too.). Charlie paused his waving and looked straight at me for a long few seconds and very slightly winked at me, as if he understood that I was more than a baseball fan at that moment. He was diagnosed with ALS in 1978 and told he had 3 years to live. The fact that he lived this long with that horrible disease is a tribute to his spirit and that of his family. I am heartbroken and crying, even though this is not a surprise. I pray for his family and for the researchers - this disease needs to be vanquished!
The other day, there was a story in the paper about a young man with cerebal palsy (I have a very mild case) who is a golfer. His attitude and determination are both inspirational and humbling. It brought me back to the summer I spent at Carrie Tingley Hospital in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico as a teen. I had surgery on my left Achilles tendon that summer so that, later, I would be able to walk with my feet flat on the ground. Up to that point, I walked on my toes. While I was at Carrie Tingley (she was the wife of a governor who served New Mexico years before), I saw other people my age and younger who would never be able to walk, no matter how many surgeries. I saw youngsters who would be restricted to a wheelchair or a bed all their life. I knew then that I NEVER have a reason to complain! I hate myself when I do slip into complaining because I have seen first hand how blessed I am! As I read about the golfer the other day, I was humbled. I don't like what I see in the mirror!
I have not overcome my own negative attitudes about exercise. Sure, I walk often, but I don't do much else. I don't enjoy strength training and I have yet to have success doing anything other than walking. It's so easy to say "just do it" and it is so hard to actually do it, especially if you have never ever done it before. It's not as if I was athletic before I got fat or that I am an athlete who has been on the DL due to injury. I don't even have exercise as a frame of reference in my life except for physical therapy. As a child, I had PT almost every day for years. I would scream in pain and, eventually, my stepfather allowed me to stop doing PT because he could not handle the screaming (I think I was about 10).
That being said, I have to figure out how to get over this hurdle. Inspirational examples such as Charlie, FDR and a million others shame me and make me look in the mirror, but they are not enough to get me going.
Yesterday, I said I had a sinus infection. I ran a really high fever almost all night and woke up this morning to realize it's a rather powerful summer cold. And I cannot take anything other than Tylenol until after Monday's procedure!
BF went to help a friend move furniture yesterday afternoon. I did not hear from him for hours until he called me at 1:30 in the morning to ask me to pick him up at the hospital 4 cities away. (That's a bit misleading. On the SF Peninsula, everything runs together as if it's all one city!). As near as I can gather, he blacked out. He does not know or remember what they told him, but I suspect it was his diabetes. He knows he needs to eat a certain way but has been rather casual about it. He is home now, resting and sounding much more like himself. I am at work wishing I were at home. My office is apart from others, though still a cube. I am really trying to stay away from people so I don't share germs.
The bland food diet has begun and I miss my broccoli! I miss my high fiber cereal! I miss all my great tasting healthy food!
My Achilles tendon is very, very, very sore. It has been for a few days and I am not sure why because I have not done anything extraordinary. That soreness may have contributed to yesterday's fall. I feel very still and immobile. It will pass, but, in the meantime, I am not moving much...
Charlotte's memorial service is June 12. I think I will go, though I seldom attend ceremonies of any type unless it's family.
I pray for her husband and children. My "God box" is getting very full, too full!
It is warmer today and is supposed to be increasingly warm over the next few days. I do not like heat, but the sun has sure felt good!
Despite the tone of this blog, I KNOW I have a zillion reasons to be thankful, and I am thankful. I have another zillion reasons to be happy and I would be more cognizant of that were it not for this cold! LOL
One of the things about which I am the most thankful is my Sparkfriends community. You may not realize how wonderfully uplifting your comments are on my page and on my blogs. I have gotten out of the habit of responding (time), but gratitude is there for certain!
I will never forget that moment when Charlie and I locked eyes. I knew I was in the presence of a strong man. He will always be one of my heroes!
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Those who saw yesterday's blog learned that today was going to be an off schedule day. Little did I know how off. I woke up with a massive sinus infection. I called in sick and skipped most of what I was going to do today (the court, the voting....)
I did go to Kaiser to pick up my prep stuff. Everyone in the pharmacy knew exactly what I was getting and they all told BF I was not going to like this...The phone appointment was supposed to be May 17 at 4:00. They did not call until the 21st in the middle of a workday morning. That should have been a clue. They told me the stuff would be waiting at the pharmacy. At least they told me the right pharmacy on the large Kaiser campus! They told me I would have to wait while they made the stuff. Not much I could do about it, but BF was not happy because he had just remembered he was late for a job at a friend's house (moving furniture or something). On the way back to the car, I fell hard on the asphalt sloping driveway. Both knees and my left wrist. I think I sprained the wrist. It is swollen and I can't wear my watch...And my elbow hurts. It will pass.
I learned how to fall years ago and usually fall to the left (I am right handed). The one time I didn't, I shattered my right elbow. It had to be rebuilt, 5 surgeries and an improperly healed wrist (they never x-rayed that far down until much later. It set itself in the cast, but not right). The arm is my personal weather barometer, as if I needed a back up! LOL
I told the boss I would definitely be at work tomorrow and I will be, but I won't do any OT and may not have a great day. I can only have Tylenol (regular) until the procedure is over Monday, so there's no way to unclog my sinuses. UGH
I have no appetite. In fact, not only did I not exercise (I can breathe only through my mouth), but I did not eat enough to have enough to run my food tracker! That's never happened before.
June is not starting off well! Except, today, my baby sister is 38! She's moving, so we emailed earlier in the week. My stepmother's birthday is Monday, so I have to remember to call her on Saturday because I won't be in talking form Sunday or Monday! Bland unhealthy food here I come....!
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Thank you, SparkFriends, for your support yesterday! You REALLY touched me!
Today was an amazing day! Just walking throughout the day, I got in something over 8K steps, 2.8 miles, so Eureka is closer! About 58 miles to go. My Achilles tendon started really hurting towards the end of the day, so I did not meet my 10K goal, but, by taking it easy this evening, I should be able to walk tomorrow.
(I have to, but that's later).
I am a member of Toastmasters at work and we had our open house today to invite new people to join. Our guest speaker was our VP of Legal. Sal used to be my direct boss and he is the one who got me started in my paralegal schooling. So, of course, I had to hear him speak!
They had pizza. I am someone who could eat an entire pizza, but I did not. Not even close. I knew they were having pizza earlier in the morning, so I looked up some info and made an informed choice. I had one slice. One slice! I got to take home a whole pizza and BF ate about 3 pieces before I even had my shoes off! I love the fact that I was not tempted to go back for seconds!
I am almost finished with a project at work that has taken over a week, so it feels great to see the light at the end of the tedious tunnel. It's amatter of comparing hard copy records to electronic records to an excel spreadsheet. YAWN!
This evening, I went to school and met with my mentor before class. I got there early and got some dinner at the cafe. I usually have beans and rice with salsa, but I knew I was low on everything, so I had what they call a naked burrito: rice, beans, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, chicken, lettuce....It was yummy! Because I have been eating so lightly lately, it felt as if it was a ton of food. But, when I entered it in my tracker, I was still within range! WOOHOO!
Class was cancelled, which we didn't know until moments before start time. I would have been unhappy to have driven there and spent that time, but it gave me a chance to visit with my mentor, eat something other than pizza and spend some time with a close friend who needs some TLC. She had some devastating news last week and needed my hugs tonight!
Tomorrow will be an offschedule day. I'm taking the morning off from work to go to civil court and watch (school assignment). Then I go to the Kaiser pharmacy to pick up the stuff I need for the weekend prep for my colonoscopy. I have to remember to get gas (I usually gas up for the week over the weekend, but did not last weekend). Stop and check the mail, remember to stop at the county office and turn in my absentee ballot (I didn't mail it in time). All except the post office is within walking distance in downtown.
Then hightail it back to work for the afternoon and, hopefully, some OT in the evening. (depends on my energy level).
I'm still not getting in the strength training nor enough walking and my walking is not really very cardio (I am a turtle!), but being as active as I am, such as it is, is far and away more than I have ever done. I blew past my intial yearly fitness goal on SP last week, When I started, I was not exercising at all, so I guess that's why my yearly total was supposed to be something over 4K minutes.
Thanks, again, for your support, your comments, your encouragement...
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