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Christiana thinks it’s funny that almost everyone says it that way. I’m trying to see the humor in it—after all, I have lost a lot of weight, but I’m OK with losing the weight. Really.

You know how people talk about the inner fat person that a lot of people retain even after they have lost weight? Some people have a self-image that’s so deeply ingrained in them that they can’t see the truth of their body. I was the same way only I had the inner skinny person in me.

You see, I knew I had been skinny most of my life, so I wasn’t stuck with the image of the last ten years or so. But a lot of people have only known me during these years. They have no idea that that’s not who I was.

Isn’t denial a funny thing?

Before I got my tonsils out, my grandmother used to grab my bird claw hands and worry that if I didn’t gain weight I would die. (No wonder I couldn’t sleep at night!) I grew into a strong, but skinny runner who my grandfather used to say needed to fatten up.

Once my kids started school, that’s not what the mirror or the scale said—and especially what pictures said—but I just kept living my life as if I were slender. I never stopped exercising, even though the years at the computer desk were taking their toll.

What really sort of shocked me about the whole thing was how much I began to look like my father. My father was a round person, especially after he quit smoking cold turkey in his forties. I didn’t think I looked like anyone in my family—until my daughter was born. But as I gained weight, I could finally see my father’s features in me. I don’t mind the dark eyebrows (thank you Brooke Shields for your example!), the blue eyes, or the smile—I just don’t want to be round.

I’ve never been a very thoughtful eater, but, with the naiveté of youth, I thought if I avoided sauces and extra portions, I’d be OK with other not-so-good foods since I worked out. Developing hypothyroidism and having increased trouble with asthma, along with the complications of exercising with young children in the home, led to a creeping weight gain.

I think it was the extra weight that caused my plantar fasciitis—and then made it harder for me to work out. It started to be a major conundrum—I needed to lose weight to be able to run, but only running seemed to help me maintain my weight. Walking was great for my heart, but not enough for taking off the pounds.

Truthfully, I began to mourn the outer skinny person, thinking she was gone forever. What made me think that I was so different from my parents who had been heavy since middle age?

Well, for one, I did exercise regularly.

However, it seems that a specific exercise class led to the reversal and finally brought about the major weight loss. Although I continued to gain weight the first year I did Dr. Dennie’s yoga class, my body began to change in subtle ways. The slow realignment, from both yoga and Pilates, led to my ability to go back to running.

I’m pretty sure Dennie brought about something more subtle though: a metabolism change. Somehow she was able to convince me, a person who fears hunger pangs, to do two seasonal cleanses, for one week in the spring and one week in the fall, one year. Despite the lack of calories I consumed during those weeks, I only managed to lose about a pound each time. Yet, from that point forward I seemed to lose about a pound or more each month.

Yes, my habits were changing, too, but it seemed as if some set point had also changed. And as I lost weight, I could take baby steps back into running.

Then last year, throw in several stressful months when I had to work to find time to eat and when I gave up even more calorie-laden junk food in deference to Christiana’s celiac diagnosis, and the weight melted off. And, as the weight melted, I could work out harder.

I no longer find it hard to find time to eat, but I’ve learned to eat less because of those difficult months. These days I don’t need as much food to feel satisfied—it’s like I’ve changed my relationship with food.

Finally, the person in the mirror looks like me again—yet I can still see my father in me, even without the extra weight. I am a product of both genetics and habits after all.

Still, I’m grateful for the women in the running club. When they see me, they say, “You’ve lost a lot of weight. You look great.” They know that with the right habits, it’s more than OK to lose the weight. The weight loss comes from returning to who I was and who I never wanted to stop being.

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I am timidly going where my mind has not gone before. I’ve entered into the realm of the unknown: learning to use my new computer. If confusion helps regenerate new brain cells, then I should be well on my way to protecting myself from memory loss after this week!

I have just left the comfort of Windows XP and Office 2000 to explore Vista and Office 2007. I am finally coming into the 21st century—and I had to be dragged kicking and screaming. OK, it was not hard to walk away from my slow, out-of-date machine and software, but can’t I just know how to do everything without having to relearn so much??!! Can’t the new computer be just like my old one—only much, much better?

I seem to have traded time wasted by my computer spinning for time wasted by my brain spinning. I am working to convince myself that while my old computer wasn’t ever going to stop spinning, in time, my brain will!

As Winnie the Pooh would say, I am going on an Expotition. Even typing that purposely misspelled word told me that I had not customized the default settings because the computer didn’t protest one bit!

Although, other than the help I receive from Sherman, I am mostly going alone, I do like Pooh’s words to Piglet, “(W)e’re going on an Expotition, all of us, with things to eat. To discover something.”

I don’t know what something I’m going to discover. Right now, it’s hard not to feel like I have a Pooh-sized brain while needing to confront Star-Treklike technological challenges. Ouch.

When the Expotition is finished, like Pooh, I will be “feeling very proud of what . . . (I) have done, (and) have a little something to revive myself.”

But for now, it’s time to “think, think, think.”

Greetings on a snowy Monday in Colorado! The predicted rain did not come for Prom Night, even if we did have lots of clouds and moist, cool air here. We even had sunshine yesterday before the rain started falling in the late afternoon. Sometime in the night, rain became snow and now white blankets covered the grass and roofs. The kids dodged a bullet weather-wise!

Special times like Prom Night don’t often live up to the hype. As a parent, you worry that too many expectations get put into an event that is, after all, just one night. If your kids have had a challenging year all along, you just hold your breath and hope the night will be enough. No big dramas or traumas—just enough.

This year has been too full of disappointments and loss to hold many more, even though as a family we have been actively working through how to handle those times when things don’t go as hoped. That’s why we really discussed beforehand how to avoid some of what didn’t work for the last special event. Anything involving large groups of people can be challenging because people have different expectations. These kinds of events provide opportunity for a lot of life lessons, but how much better when some of the lessons learned include that good times can happen, especially if you can learn to go with the flow.

I’m sure I haven’t been the best model for Christiana in this way. I plan things in ways that seem so contradictory—I either do things spontaneously or last minute—or I plan every last detail with all the precision of my German forbears. Turns out this is not so uncommon for a person with ADD. If we find something that works, we stick to it rigidly, afraid that any deviation from The Plan will make it impossible for us to complete the task. (Have I ever mentioned that my family calls me the Dishwasher Nazi for how exacting I am about loading a dishwasher? Never mind that household chaos dominates throughout the home—load the dishwasher “right”—or else!) If we’re not careful, we can make following The Plan more important than enjoying an experience.

But no matter how uptight I get in certain areas of my life, I have learned there are times when you just have to let go of the precision—or lose the joy of the whole event. When Sherman and I arrived at our wedding reception, my dad rushed to us to tell us he had bad news. His emotion was so strong I instantly wondered if my absent grandmother had died. Turns out our cake had fallen. The cake I could deal with! I had a party to celebrate with friends and family—we hadn’t invested so much in our special day to let the cake’s mishap ruin it. Besides, the facility manager had caught it! Who knew besides the wedding party that it was supposed to look even better? And it still tasted just fine, thanks to our sister-in-law Anne’s hard work.

With the Prom Night, for one of the first times, Christiana let go of much of the planning and delegated. She put her boyfriend on reservation and transportation details and her brother on video game details. Every time a challenge to the plans came up, I reminded her to breathe—and to remember the most important thing was to have a good time with her friends. There are no grades for perfect plans—and if the cake doesn’t fall, it’s always going to be something else.

Yes, a last minute glitch almost sent her in a spiral—but things could be worked out. No worries. I was glad she could see that not all changes become crises. And, oh yes, people forgot school IDs, rental shoes, corsages, boutonnieres, you name it, but they eventually got all the people and pieces in one place. As Jackson pointed out, he, of all people was the only one who didn’t forget anything—and he is notorious for forgetting!

Picking up forgotten items, highway driving, finding places downtown, getting parking spaces, moving from one place to the next, and arriving home on time—missions accomplished. In the end, their long evening was more than enough.

And to add a little “corn” to your day, I leave you with a sitcom song from my growing up years:

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.

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Spring Fever is hitting me hard today. After last week’s big snowstorm, I want to experience Spring—now! So I did. This morning I took myself for a run along the Highline Canal. I didn’t want to worry about cars, plus I did want to experience the quiet of the countryside. The view was pretty incredible, with the blue sky serving as a backdrop for the bluer mountains that were still holding onto some of that snow. Oh the mountains would have looked the same in my neighborhood, but I preferred to see them behind the wild grasses that were starting to green up versus behind houses and warehouses.

So that got me thinking about how I rather dislike running in my neighborhood, but it doesn’t keep me from running there. It’s just that I’ve finally given myself permission to go running in other places when I can, even though it’s more practical to run from my own door.

While running, I had plenty of time to ponder the word dislike and why I’m still cranky about that particular word being chosen for our family at DBT. Dork that I am, I started to visualize a little +/∆ chart in my head. Then I realized that +/∆ is more about things that are not working and that you plan to tweak than about things that just are. So then, in my mind, I flipped the chart, with the first column being about certain running places or situations I dislike and then the second column being about how I improve the situation when I have the option. I am so lucky I didn’t run into anything with that all that visualization! See why I don’t like running on the streets alongside cars!

In a way, what I do is look at my running from a dialectical way. If I gave in to my dislike, I would only run when the conditions were just the way I wanted them to be. The opposite sides of the coin would be run or not run (or “do or do not” as Yoda said.) Yet what I do is find a middle ground where I can do—and as often as I can, also avoid the dislike.

Sometimes dislike is about where you come from. You can try to stop feeling that way, but something about how you learned to do things gives you a preference one way or another. One year I worked with a guy who grew up in Phoenix. He thought I was a bit of a whiner because I didn’t like running as much once it got over eighty degrees. I also disliked getting up really early and wasn’t about to get up earlier than my 5:45 wake up time, so I just had to run in the evening when it was hotter. Then Fall came about and, as I got happier about running, he began to complain more. If it was less than forty degrees out, he was not happy about it. Me, I didn’t really approach dislike for running in colder temperatures until it dropped below fifteen degrees. But in the end, Joe and I both kept running, even when we disliked the temperatures—I’m sure our co-workers wished we’d kept our dislikes to ourselves, though!

What else do I dislike? Running on pavement with lots of side traffic. What is it that gets me to do versus do not more often? Finding opportunities to run in parks or on trails as much as I can. And that’s what I did today.

I know lots of people who say, “I hate running. How can you do that?” Although it might seem otherwise in an active state like Colorado, more people in the general public seem to dislike running than those who like running. Once at my son’s school, he heard a comedic monologue performed by another student who was ranting about running. One of the big punch lines was about how if we found out how to cure cancer and heart disease, then no one would choose to run. Jackson didn’t get that joke and neither did I. It’s as if the comedian believed we disliked running as much as he did and would love to have an excuse not to do it.

Like I said before, sometimes dislike is about where you come from. Just because the larger society considers one dislike odd and another dislike appropriate doesn’t mean it’s wrong that some people see it otherwise. I assume a lot of people like lilacs because they have a pretty scent—turns out I don’t like them because they make it hard for me to breathe. Neither viewpoint is wrong or right in general, but makes sense based on how lilacs make a person feel. This world is full of all kinds of people with a variety of likes and dislikes.

And that’s OK.

Life is so ironic sometimes—or is it?

I don’t like to play Charades. I don’t seem to be able to think of different ways to show something when I’m on the spot, although later they might come to me. Sherman and Christiana feel the same way. We are all pretty creative, but in an aside way—and sometimes we have problems working with a prompt. Jackson, who often hates prompts in his classes, loves to play Charades. He comes up with many logical, yet out-of-the-box, ideas and is so animated.

Of course, as life goes, Jackson wasn’t with us when we got to play Charades. We were on our own, not feeling too excited about the Charades assignment at DBT. Each family group was supposed to present a feeling or mood together. It didn’t even occur to us to collaborate to come up with a group action—we all did our own actions, figuring people might get the word because of our differing actions.

Caught us, didn’t they? We didn’t work as a group. I think we all had our own pictures in our brains of how it would look. We didn’t really want to discuss it—we just wanted to do it. I get that we are too often in our own heads, but that’s really not so unusual for introverts. We just have to remember to work together when it counts.

Turns out the DBT leaders chose the words for each family not so randomly. No matter how hard I try to feel otherwise, I’m more than a little bit miffed because our chosen word feels a little judgmental—and possibly ignores that there may be biological reasons for the way people respond to the world.

We are sensitive people who sometimes get overwhelmed by stimuli. By sensory experiences. By being around too many people.

Yes, our word was dislike.

I already said that I dislike playing Charades. I dislike eating certain foods, either due to their textures, smells, and/or tastes. Being in a loud chaotic environment can unrattle me. I prefer to have a small group of close friends. Yet, believe it or not, most people who know me don’t think that I am a grumpy person who doesn’t like anything I come in contact with.

I’m not the person complaining as I wait in line. I don’t send back food to cooks unless it’s not what I ordered. I will strike up conversations with random strangers in public places or respond to people who maybe I would rather not. More often than not, I just try to live in a world that doesn’t jar my senses all the time.

I’m an Introvert and I have ADD. It’s not uncommon for either Introverts or people with ADD to be overwhelmed by environments. I do what I can to soothe myself in situations that I dislike. If I need to wait somewhere, I bring along my journal and write, even if there are loud taekwondo ki-yaps or pre-election newscasts in the background. I try to plan my day so I get proper nutrition and exercise, knowing that those things help me deal with challenging stressors. Out in public, I seat myself in the least stressful area for me that I can find.

I do try new things, even if I tense up beforehand. I am a good sport—heck, I’ve been one the whole time in DBT. I spent three months living in a home in Spain, only refusing one food item after I tried it—eggplant—even though I really preferred a much more limited diet. I do activities with my kids that aren’t comfortable, even if I would not choose them for myself. I often keep my sensitive nature to myself in situations where it would make things less pleasant for others.

And I love a lot of things in this life. Do I really have to act like I just got called to “Come on down!” on the Price is Right to show that? I write in a Gratitude Journal daily so I will remember with joy those things I enjoy. I participate in this life—I run, I laugh, I volunteer, I attend performances and athletic events, I read, I sing, I hike, I ski, I love my husband and children, spend time socializing with the people in my family, I reach out to others who I don’t know, I talk with close friends, I pet my dogs, and I pray to God.

Does it make me a bad person if I’d rather not be in crowds or eat strong foods or listen to Pop music or play games? Is that close-minded or is it just being aware of my biology and taking care of my own needs?

I know there is a thin line between taking care of your own needs and giving in to a general dislike for things outside your comfort zones, but I submit that I do not live in that general dislike, even if I take occasional day trips across that line. I believe I am selective or discerning in my experiences, not just rejective.

I guess what really offends me is that there are many positive or neutral words besides dislike that convey our family’s approach to life. I don’t see two sides to the coin of the word. Dislike feels like a judging word, versus a word that conveys both the positive and negative value of choosing what works and what doesn’t (which is one of the DBT “how” skills).

Our subconscious minds and bodies work hard at self-preservation, sometimes saying “no” out of a misguided urge to protect us. But at other times, our minds and bodies recognize when we are faced with something that is dangerous or stressful to our health, even when others might find the same situation positive or neutral. For example, a dislike for a food can sometimes turn out to be the body’s warning that we have an undiagnosed allergy. Different people have different needs and sometimes experience dislike for valid reasons.

And, that’s why I disliked our assigned word.

Oh, there I go again—judging.

It’s too easy for me to describe the good and then diminish it by following with a “but.” Often those “buts” are so true; however, by adding them, I am decreasing the power of those things that are working.

I’ve admitted before that I am an operations person—you decide from where! The funny part is that sometimes I forget that what can be applied to organizations can often be applied to personal life. I, of all people, should remember that.

When I was taking the “Quality and Productivity” course in CU-Denver’s MBA program, my whole life was a productivity—and hopefully quality—experience. My twins were 15 months old, so taking care of them required a lot of plain old manual labor. My major project, “Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap,” focused on diaper changing efficiency. The stunning revelation from the data was that diaper changes took less time when I had all the supplies ready! Yes, I was a little sleep-deprived and overwhelmed in those days. Still, my project results demonstrate how using quality tools can sometimes clarify issues in times of too little time and/or too much stress.

My life today doesn’t involve nearly so much manual labor, but planning for a household inhabited by one husband, two teenagers, two dogs, and two guinea pigs, and—don’t forget—me, as well as administering many details surrounding one aging mother, requires a lot of time management and decision-making. I may need to use quality tools more now than back in those early mothering days. Although we are knee-deep in therapy tools and techniques, often I find it easier to think about change and improvement from an operations viewpoint.

In my “Quality and Productivity” class I also learned about the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and Baldrige tools. Years later, the superintendent in our local school district attempted to implement the Baldrige program into the organization. When the leader who introduced the program left, most Baldrige tools disappeared. But one tool that remained was the use of the +/∆, or Plus/Delta, process. Instead of discussing strengths and weaknesses of various programs or situations, we filled out columns of plusses (what was working) versus deltas (what could/should be improved.)

For me, using the term delta seems like a more objective way of talking about things I would like to change or see changed, than using terms like weakness or what is not working. I need to do more +/∆ analysis in my own life. Yesterday I had a hard time seeing the deltas as anything but failures—as if they couldn’t change or be changed.

So today it was good to see a delta that is becoming closer to being a plus. During Christiana’s tenth physical therapy session on Monday, she had several places in her spine and both hips manipulated. The hip pops were particularly loud. Today, session eleven, everything remained in alignment and the pain was gone. She walks much differently. Oh, I’m tempted to say, but she’s missed the whole track season, yet I’m going to try to focus on the possibility of the future. This should be a lifetime change—yes, that delta that becomes a plus.

Today I am contemplating moving this particular delta toward the plus column, which has recently included, among other things, refinancing our mortgage and being able to make repairs and improvements, emptying out and selling my mom’s condo, Mom’s receiving of the check from the sale, buying plane tickets for vacation, having a story published in an anthology, losing weight, being able to buy new computer equipment, and remaining close as a family.

Although I can’t get rid of the “buts,” I can call them deltas—and know that more than a few of them will move to the plus column one day.

Of my nose, that is.

Last night the Colorado Columbines had its second track workout of the season. Coach Glenn had us do timed 1600 meters—two for the low mileage crowd and three for the high mileage crowd. I only had to do two and they went pretty well. I hit my assigned time on both. A hard workout, but not too hard. No breathing problems or anything.

Afterwards we had a nutritionist speak to us about post-workout eating. I stretched while listening. My nose started to run, as it often does after a workout when the air is starting to cool down. No big deal, right?

Almost fourteen hours later it is still running and has been nonstop, unless I take a shower or lie down, neither of which is very productive in the daytime. I have exercise-induced asthma and if I’m going to have respiratory problems, it should affect my running. But this didn’t. I don’t think I have allergies, at least none that give me hay fever.

It’s like something got into the left side of my nose. Two showers later it’s still there. Half the time my left eye is running, too, so I scrunch up my face like Popeye. Attractive!

Sherman is an expert on hay fever. He’s been through shot therapy and is much better, but he still has times when he’s pretty miserable. I’m starting to understand how very little empathy I give him for his tough times. Listen to me whine after a mere fourteen hours!

So he tells me running can actually stop the running nose. Seems counterintuitive to me, but then he’s an expert on at least his own nose in a way I’ve never had to be. This whiny person can barely contemplate getting out of her robe, let alone going running. Then again, what have I to lose? I can sit at my desk and run—or run and run—or maybe even run and stop.

Hmm. Beats taking allergy medicine.

redrockssunriseDuring the contemplative days of Holy Week, I come to my church, Bethany Lutheran, for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, ready to hear the quiet of the cello and sing those familiar hymns of dissonance and our words of collective guilt. I want to sit with Him in his hours of need, but often as not, I find myself lulled to near sleep by the calming music—little different from his own disciples back in Gethsemane.

But when it comes time to visit the tomb rolled back, I no longer want to be inside. I don’t want to stand still while trumpets blare the joy. I want to participate in a way that is not-so Lutheran.

I have an aversion to being in a packed church. I know that is wrong—I should want everyone to come to the church to hear the Good News. It’s just that my inner Scandinavian/German wants physical space in the pews. So I have a compromise at Easter. I leave the pew space where I might sit open so someone else can experience the marvelous Easter services at Bethany. Then I read or listen to Pastor Ron’s Easter message after the fact.

For several years now our family has attended the Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado. Anyone who has experienced a rock concert in that amphitheatre hewn years ago by CCC workers knows how incredible this location is for hearing music. Yet, there is something holy about these works of man surrounded by the even more impressive works of God—no matter how unholy or secular some of the events that happen there may be. This is a place where you can hear God’s voice.

I am no morning person. And, as a child of the flatlands, I do not have the mountain-goat-like-desire to scramble quickly up those man-made ramps and stairs that take me to my seat. No, by the time I arrive at my breathtaking—literally—seat, I collapse, my asthma-affected lungs reminding me that the journey to my destination is long and hard.

Still, it is impossible to remain weary for long in that setting. The ministers, worship leaders, and musicians project an energy that soon reminds me He is risen indeed. Doves are released and continue circling throughout the amphitheatre and the areas beyond for several minutes, before disappearing into the heavens.

To my kids’ discomfort, I always end up dancing in a most un-Lutheranlike way, whether it’s to West African music, a jazzed up version of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” or the strains of the “Hallelujah Chorus”—whatever the form of music that the Colorado Council of Churches has chosen for the year’s service.

Out in the fresh, cold air with plenty of room to spare, I know He is risen indeed—whether I can see the sun metaphorically rise over the faraway plains and the valley where Denver sits—or when it remains obscured by fog and clouds, as it did yesterday morning.

The Reverend Dr. Janet Forbes, senior pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch, asked us to think about all the times in the past year, that we, like Mary Magdalene, saw angels in an otherwise empty tomb and did not recognize them or their purpose. It would be so easy to say the sun did not rise yesterday because we could not see it. But just like the angels, it was there, even in years when we have experienced more drizzle than sunshine.

He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

As I have mentioned before, I have been very distracted this Lenten season. And now, we are in Holy Week, remembering Jesus’ walk to Golgotha.

Yesterday started out to be a very good day. Christiana went to physical therapy in pain, walking like an old woman. It seemed her knees were getting worse, but it turns out that her muscles are just grumpy about being realigned properly. John, the P.T., assessed the situation, then put her to work. Several painful minutes later, she was walking better, even if her muscles were still not happy with changing—not yet anyway.

After I dropped her off at school, I went home. A few minutes later I received the overnight package with the closing papers for the sale of Mom’s condo! They finally came after three delays! While signing papers in sexticate (is that a word?) is not fun, you cannot believe the burden that fell off my shoulders after I handed the finished overnight package to the woman at the UPS Store.

In yoga class, Dr. Dennie worked the very same muscles as Christiana’s P.T. did—I didn’t really get out of experiencing at least of some of the pain she did earlier. Instead of gritting my teeth, I smiled at the irony. I swear I could still feel the condo’s weight dropping off whenever we turned our focus to our shoulders.

So many things checked off my “To Do” list in the past few days: signing the paperwork on the sale, buying the airplane tickets for vacation, turning in our taxes, picking up my mother’s completed taxes, buying Jackson’s suit and tie for prom, finding “reasonable” but pretty shoes for Christiana for prom, setting up needed appointments, ordering my computer, paying off credit card debt, locating Barbershop Quartet music for Jackson, getting a new “in” for a math tutor, etc. Life felt good.

Then last night Sherman and I went to Maundy Thursday service. At our church, Bethany Lutheran, the third graders receive their first communion during that service. But first, they get their feet washed. It is both a very meaningful service—and oftentimes a too long service. However, last night I could rest into it and be renewed by watching those kids who were joyful and, at the same time, a little weirded out by the whole experience.

We always think about washing our hearts, but sometimes it really is our feet that need to be washed. We don’t live the same way as people did in ancient Jerusalem. We tend to wash our feet every day and don’t spend a lot of time walking in sandals on dusty trails. But, along with our hands, it’s our feet that move us through all the things we have to do. It’s no coincidence that Nike, which began as a shoe company, tells us to “Just Do It.”

Though I didn’t get my feet washed, I came back home feeling like I had shaken the sand from my sandals. I was ready for rest when I saw I had phone messages.

Out of the fire into the frying pan, it seems.

My brother Scott had left a message to say that he wanted to make sure we knew he and his family had been evacuated but were OK, in case we had seen the news. Of course, we hadn’t, so we didn’t know to worry. His neighborhood was in direct line of wildfires in Midwest City, Oklahoma and the fire had consumed buildings around Choctaw High School where Lori works and where nephews Chris and Cody had gone to school.

Another message said they had evacuated from his mother-in-law’s Choctaw neighborhood to his brother-in-law’s Edmond home. They would have no news on their homes until this morning.

As we rushed to call him, I brought up the news online. Wow. I guess we get used to seeing news about tornado devastation in his neighborhood, but this was like those prairie fires of old. Even modern day equipment and techniques were no match for the wind, especially after a long dry winter.

Scott, Lori, and Chris had left with their dogs, fire box, and cars. Thank God for that.

Suddenly I didn’t feel so ready for sleep. It was hard to pray and wait. After listening to all the local news videos that gave out location information, I had to check out things on Google satellite. I could find both his street and the place where the video had shown two homes burning. Close, but not next to one another. But with 60 mph winds . . .

Finally around 8:15 this morning, they called. Both their home and Lori’s mom’s home were spared. The flames had stopped about 300 yards from their home. But all around, there is devastation. Charred buildings, smoke-filled air, and smoldering hot spots—Oklahoma is definitely not OK.

So on this Good Friday, people in Oklahoma face the ashes. Good Fridays are like that. How do you believe when hope has been crucified on the cross? Sometimes all you can do is wait for the empty tomb.

Life is full of Good Fridays. I guess when they come, you just have to get your feet dirty again. Skip the sandals and jump into asbestos boots—and keep walking through whatever fires you face to reach Easter.

Life is full of Easters, too.

A couple months ago when I went to import all my old blog posts on WordPress, I discovered just how slow my current machine really is. I would have never have gotten the job done if Sherman hadn’t loaned me his laptop. I had 40-some posts to put in, but my computer took over 15 minutes to upload a single post. And if I needed to edit something after posting, who knows how much longer . . . According to Task Manager, the site hung up regularly during the process.

That’s when I realized I had to get a new computer soon or I would go crazy! No wonder I’ve felt like I can’t get anything done at the computer. Still, just because I needed a new computer didn’t mean I could just run out and get one. I had to plan for the purchase—and when did I have time to do that?

Well, I’m not sure I still have time to do that, but Sherman and I made time on Sunday. The order went in that evening—and now I am going crazy with my computer because I know somewhere out there someone is assembling a new computer with my name on it. OK, not with my name on it—but it does have fingerprint ID capability. How about that? One day it will have my fingerprints all over it—and I’ll have to use my fingerprint to get in to it.

Imagine my distress when I found out I have to wait about a month to get it. Oh, I’ve been so patient while this computer got progressively slower. Plus, I’ve waited a long time to replace it, but I am so over waiting! I want my new computer—last year!

And then, while I was in Pilates two days later, Dell both called and e-mailed me with a problem. I tried to listen to the message as I hurried to my car before I picked up my daughter for an appointment. Unfortunately there are dead zones in the rec center so I didn’t understand anything other than I had 24 hours before my order would be canceled. Aargh! However, semi-patient person that I am, I continued on to the scheduled appointment because there was no wiggle time.

By the time I stopped driving, I instead checked my e-mail. Same message only this time I could understand the whole message. I was not about to let them cancel my long overdue computer! So I called—guess what? The guy only worked until 5:00 Central Time—and it was 4:30 Mountain Time. Then I called the call center, which has hours until 10:00. No go—I could only talk to my rep—the next day.

Just so I didn’t feel totally impotent, I sent an e-mail back to him asking him to call or e-mail when he got in so we could resolve this before I had to start the ordering process again. Of course, later that night I got an e-mail saying something (not the computer) had been shipped. Huh? My credit card number was right?

Well, I wasn’t going to rely on that, but when I called my rep in the morning, I could only leave a message. Aargh again! I placed the cell phone and home phone, as well as my order confirmation and credit cards, in the bathroom while I showered.

No call—but I did receive an e-mail while I was away from my desk cleaning up. The order’s a go—it’s in production. And there was much rejoicing . . . until I tried to search for something on the Internet. As Don Henley sang in “A Month of Sundays”, “. . . saw a sign on easy street, said be prepared to stop.”

Do I really need to wait almost a month to satisfy my need for speed? Oh, it must be time to practice all those deep breathing exercises I’ve learned in yoga and therapy.

In the grand scheme of all my problems, this is so minor. Why then do I feel like it ’s going to be a month of Sundays now that I finally hit send on this big purchase?

I am so “of this world” after all. Aargh again and again.

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