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(c) 2010 Trina Lambert

Haven’t had a lot to say this past of month—you would think that being forced to sit still might lead to a few deep thoughts. I regret to inform you that has not been the case.

And, I’m afraid that it’s because what I thought might be true, appears to be true: I have to move in order to slow down my brain enough to think.

So I am in a waiting period to see how well my hips/back are going to heal.

What’s really frustrating about these types of injuries is that it’s hard to figure who really can help you heal. There are so many types of specialists out there: orthopedic doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and a whole slew of alternative health practitioners. It often seems that each type of specialist disdains the work of the others. Even within the same field, practitioners often don’t agree.

Case in point, Christiana went to see a physical therapist who didn’t believe that a person should be fitted for custom orthotics (for shoes) until various physical therapies had failed to remedy the problem. Several therapy sessions, an MRI and X-rays, as well as pain, reduced activity levels, and lost sports seasons later, another physical therapist referred her immediately to get fitted for orthotics saying that physical therapy couldn’t do enough for her structural problem. Within a week of wearing the devices, much of the pain had receded.

One professional felt the other had been wrong, but I’ve been around long enough to know we were just stuck in the middle of differing philosophies. Meanwhile my daughter was mired in pain and lost many opportunities that would not return.

And because there is no clear-cut path to healing for these types of injuries, often our friends are just as adamant about the right or wrong way to face our injuries.

In the end, we have to make the decisions for ourselves.

I prefer active healing techniques, whenever possible. I can’t begin to explain how much I have improved on my own simply through practicing yoga (over six years) and Pilates (just under six years) with what some would call religious attention. Believe me, I do sweat and raise my heart levels in those classes. I work hard at both the poses and understanding what I can control about my physiology.

However with my energy levels, I’m not just interested in such focused inside mat activities.

Thanks to yoga and Pilates, I could return to running and jumping and bouncing. I pray to God those activities are not yet over for me. I swear I have miles to go before I sleep, as well as dance moves to practice—and I don’t just mean in my head.

Supposedly I have L-4 radiculitis—which is pronounced a lot like ridiculitis. I can promise you this whole situation seems ridiculous to me. Before I left to get the puppy, my usual week included three yoga classes, one Pilates class, one to two ZUMBA classes as well as practice, and running a few miles twice a week and one supervised track practice. All I wanted to do after my protracted road trip week was get back to moving again.

Suffice it to say I had to change my plans. Now I walk slowly with the dogs and do whatever moves I can in yoga and Pilates and ZUMBA—and skip the rest.

But after a few chiropractic treatments I am feeling somewhat better—just not sure how to get my hips to stabilize enough so I can do whatever activities I choose. Just another Baby Boomer not yet ready to sit in the rocking chair . . .

For now I am taking B-Complex supplements and adding a lovely fashion accessory—otherwise known as the trochanter belt—to my wardrobe. I don’t know if these activities will heal me, but after several weeks, I have at least weaned myself from heating pads, Epsom salt baths, and ibuprofen.

It’s a start. Tune in to see how I figure out to jump start my brain, regardless of whether I’m facing a temporary detour or a permanent shift in my road plan. Not only am I not ready for the rocking chair, I’m also not ready for driving on auto-pilot.


Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. Kahlil Gibran

(C) 1994 Elda Mae Lange

This is the season of graduation ceremonies—which are really events designed to tell us to let our children go—or at least to let them go on to making more of their own decisions. The thing is, parents today are really not too good at letting go—are we?

So many opinions about what matters most for our children: happiness, fulfillment, money-making careers, service, sharing our values, etc. It’s a thin line between wanting what’s best for them and wanting what’s best for us.

Too often we assume there is only one road to happiness or that our kids want what we want—or should, even if they don’t. It’s hard enough to be young and in transition without our own self-serving expectations adding to the stress.

And then when you’re the one walking across the stage in that cap and gown, sometimes it seems that everyone else on that stage has the future all figured out—and that’s another form of expectation—that you should know where you’re going at 22 and just stay on a straight path.

The truth is, instead, for many of us that path is really more smurvy-curvy (sorry—that’s Sherman’s expression for all those roads with those 20 mph or even 10 mph signs we encounter in the mountains.)

This past weekend Sherman and I traveled to see our nephew Chris graduate from college. Some of his friends have marriages and/or jobs all lined up—their futures are so bright they have to wear shades. I wish them well.

However, if Chris’ father, my brother, had stayed on his expected path from his graduation, there would have been no Chris. If you’d told Scott at his graduation he was going to end up working in human resources in Oklahoma, he would have thought you were nuts.

Scott has built a good life filled with work, service, family, and friends while doing things in a place he never imagined he’d call home. I can tell you my parents would have rather he stayed closer to them, but to them it was more important that he pursue his dreams for himself than live out their dreams.

When he was little, Chris said he wanted to be a doctor. My mom—the woman who let both Scott and me go where we wanted because she wished most for our happiness—got stuck on that concept, especially as dementia claimed more of her thoughts. I worried that Chris felt tied to her dream that was no longer his dream. I can promise you she would have been proud of him no matter what path he pursued, as long as he worked hard and treated others well, but that wasn’t the message he received.

Nonetheless, the Mom I knew would have approved of both him and the speeches at his commencement ceremony—don’t know if he was listening to them, but I was. The main speaker admonished the graduates not to live out others’ dreams at the same time she discussed how her path was anything but straight—yet today she is considered to be at the top of her field.

As she said, she didn’t think she would have been very good at what she did if she had studied the marine biology her father wanted her (himself?) to study.

For everyone out there trying to decide what their kids should “be” in their grown-up years, I suggest they consider helping their kids “be” themselves.

And for all those kids out there who still don’t know what it’s going to mean to be themselves and have a career/life, I suggest they avoid comparing themselves to people who have other dreams/paths. Life is a process, not an end product.

To Chris I want to say—that with his work ethic, values, and concern for how he treats others—that he’s going to figure it out, even if the first few steps on the path aren’t as direct as originally envisioned.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite . . . . (Gibran) He sees that His arrows go swift and far—and makes seemingly circuitous paths straight.

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

You might think I’ve been absent from blogging due to having to chase dogs. Yes, that is part of the formula right now as we transition from a home with one elderly dog to one with a pack of three dogs—two with great amounts of energy. You can bet we are off walking them often, plus I have to spend a lot of my daytime hours redirecting attention—and I don’t just mean mine!

My attention, however, has been more self-focused than I’d like, especially at this time when I need to ramp up the acuity of those eyes in the back of my head. My back problems from the crazy week of sitting in a car have not left me. Somewhere, somehow I have finally encountered the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I don’t know what has been worse, the pain or the lack of mobility, especially at a time when I need to move quickly and bend down for all sorts of puppy-related activities.

My daily routines have come to include applying Sombra warm therapy gel, taking Epsom salt baths, sitting on heating pads, and doing things very slowly. All that stuff that didn’t get done when I was on the road? It’s mostly still not done—it’s as if I’ve lost a couple weeks.

And I can’t even begin to think about what I’ve lost from not exercising. I tried so hard to make it back for ZUMBA class the day we came home from Durango, but did not succeed. So when I woke up on that Tuesday morning, I could not wait to exercise after a week without it.

Oh well, I can tell you I’ve been in enough pain that I haven’t miss it that badly after all. It’s not as if I haven’t exercised, it’s just I am busy modifying almost everything I do in yoga, Pilates, and ZUMBA. Running is out of the question. I just have to take one day at a time.

Some days the puppy, Furgus, seems to be on a one-dog mission to keep me from what I can do for myself! Either he’s busy trying to eat my hair as I lie down on the floor with legs elevated or he’s causing so much trouble in the bathroom that I have to leave my Epsom salt bath a couple times before I can relax or he’s trying to bite my heating pad cord and electrocute us both. Yikes.

I tried to wait this out, but couldn’t. For the first time in my life I’ve gone to see a chiropractor. No, that activity was not on my bucket list, but I did seem to be one of the few I knew who hadn’t gone to one.

I’ve always been unbalanced—go ahead and laugh—but I’ve mostly just dealt with it. However, turns out I’m really unbalanced now—blame the car, blame my structure, blame my age, whatever. My lifetime quarter inch difference at my hips has grown to one inch. Apparently, you’re supposed to be in pain by that point—good to know I’m right on track. My right arch has fallen, my neck shows permanent damage from whiplash and posture, and even my cheekbones have shifted. I have become a crooked little woman who only wants to get back to running my crooked little miles (or dancing or sitting without discomfort or whatever!)

Instead this crooked little woman will be walking her crooked little miles with her crooked little dogs for the time being—and having them wear harnesses that reduce their opportunities to pull.

One adjustment appointment down—who knows how many more to go? But, here’s the deal—I no longer have to modify so many of my day-to-day activities. I can shave my legs, dry off after showers, and sleep in most of my usual positions. And, boy, have I come to respect how much work my back does doing simple things such as unloading a dishwasher, putting clothes in a dryer, or picking something up from the floor before the puppy can attack it.

(c) 2011 Trina Lambert

Lots of deep breathing going on here while I wait to get back to my future. Better just focus on a little pet therapy—and be glad I have Sherman and Jackson to help me when a certain young pup gets to be a bit much to handle.

Thank goodness puppies sleep a lot—there’s nothing like watching Furgus sleep to warm up my energy for him again—and it’s not even harmful for my back.

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

Here I am at just over a week since the end of the Puppy Fever Tour—Furgus is slowly (quickly?) integrating into our lives. But that’s not all—we’ve also added Sam—or 1st Samuel as he’s known here—since we came home.

Yes, we’re just that crazy for young life around here. While Christiana and I were out springing Furgus from Arizona, Sherman was at home walking and falling in love with Sam, a two-year-old liver and white English Springer Spaniel. He had recently arrived from Cheyenne, WY and was available from English Springer Spaniel Rescue of the Rockies, the group that brought us our much missed Fordham over a decade earlier.

Now, most people would have waited until they were not going to travel anymore before they welcomed another dog into their home. Sherman, however, is so tired of loss that he preferred to have in-your-face proof of life, even if it meant being squished in the 4Runner with two dogs, one puppy, one wife, one daughter, and a few other items on a 6 ½ hour (or more) road trip to take Christiana back to Durango for her summer work job.

(c) 2011 Trina Lambert

Perhaps the need was made even clearer because we rushed home from yet another memorial service—this time of a longtime friend’s mostly healthy and active mother—to receive Sam into our home.

One moment we were saying goodbye, and the next, hello.

First, however, the rescue group wanted to have a behaviorist arrive along with Sam to assess how well the dogs were all going to mesh together. Happily, they all passed the compatibility test and before she left, we were “trained” a bit on both positive and potentially troubling body language signs.

Sam has been a wonderful addition to our family. Furgus can mostly turn his admiration and sharp puppy teeth toward Sam and leave Abel, the elderly dachshund, be. Abel is ecstatic about Sam’s arrival since Furgus was fascinated by his tail (new experience!) and didn’t seem to get that just because he was small didn’t mean he was young.

From the first hours, Furgus was happy to follow behind Sam as he secured our perimeter by marking every fence post, tree, and blade of grass.

Although not ideal, we did make it though our two day back-to-back car trips with few problems, other than discovering Abel has a tendency toward carsickness on long road trips. (Well, we still need to replace Christiana’s not inexpensive headphones that Furgus snagged when all but 1” of cord was tucked securely in her backpack—as responsible puppy owners, it is our duty since she was not being careless.) On the mountain passes, Furgus discovered that not only does he like snow, but he loves it! All in all, the dogs did well despite being bored.

(c) 2011 Trina Lambert

Turns out everyone fared a bit better than I did. After all, I’m the only one who was in the car for a full 2,600 miles last week. Tuesday morning, for no obvious reason other than my week of inactivity, my lower back went out in a way it never has before. The irony of the timing is not lost on me. Surely my hubris and some poor timing plans led me to this place.

Nonetheless, I’m doing what I can to stay home and work on creating our new life together, even if Sam is going to have to wait for those runs I promised him. It has helped that Jackson arrived home for the summer on Monday and brought friends. It was love at first sight for both guys and dogs and helped me greatly since my back is limiting me—the dogs are going to be so disappointed to discover the friends were only temporary guests.

As tough and challenging as it is to integrate a puppy and young dog into our home, I can feel the healing already—even if my back can’t yet.

I am so much happier now, yet watching the dogs wrestle together surprised me with feelings of raw loss. One minute I was holding Abel, soaking in their complete joy and utter physical capabilities and the next I was thinking about how he was watching with pure longing—he was an old man (dog) wishing for younger days.

(c) 2011 Trina Lambert

That’s when I saw them all—Duncan, Chelsea, and Fordham—all my dogs who had crossed over that Rainbow Bridge. That’s when I remembered my first baby’s brokenness near his end when I was steeped in my days with two preschoolers and references from our lives together. As Duncan’s hips refused to work together and sat down without his consent, I used to think of Buzz Lightyear, armless and falling, singing, “Clearly I shall go sailing no more . . .”

As I broke into deep sobs, steeped with my previous losses and Abel’s impending goodbye, Sam stopped his play and bounded to me. With another leap up, he was in my arms, straining to wash the tears from my face.

Goodbye/hello all rolled up together.

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