July 3, 2010

Green tea failure? Or payback for pill-popping post?

I am drinking so much green tea you would think I would turn green!

Alas, it seems my holiday tradition continues since I woke up with a throat that feels as if I have swallowed razor blades the last 24 hours. I WILL be fine by Sunday (hear that body, I WILL).

Meanwhile, maybe you will have better luck with this supposedly magical potion.

(Oh no. Do you think I am being punished for my blog post about understanding why someone might want to skip the potions, pills and prescriptions? Could it be karma? Or is it my family physician is lonely since I keep postponing some tests and visits. mmmm. I'll ponder that while farming)

Note: Yes, that illustration is from the FarmVille game. Yes, this post was started over on FarmVille.

Assumptions almost made me, others miss beauty, inspiration

Sometimes even wearing my glasses is not enough help to see the most wonderful stories. Lucky for me I know people who share so that I know more about epsilepsy and indoor kite flying. (Look before you laugh.)

It is a co-worker connection that led to the sharing of this video clip (below) over on Facebook and in Free From Editors.

You don't need that hook because this clip stands on its own. Watch it for the story. Watch it to see a mother's love. Watch it to see how one moment, this moment, matters.

I confess that I noted the co-worker connection and almost moved on without clicking because America's Got Talent is not one of the TV shows I value. Blame that prejudice on reading the fine print too may times, uncovering the scams or "real story" too often.

I clicked because I wanted to see how Tim Doran has fared since he left his job at The Flint Journal (see below the video). The story of why his son, a high school student, has perfected the art of indoor kite flying, yanked tears out of me. The gracefulness of the kite flying surprised me, calmed me, enveloped me in quietness.

And then there's the music that his son chose to play while making the kite dance across the stage in Oregon.  Sarah McLachlan's Angel, first recorded in1997 and covered by many, only emphasizes the story that many will miss because, like me, they don't watch these types of television shows.

How can you not relate to lines like this:
"... There’s always one reason
To feel not good enough"
As always, I find it interesting to see what unfolds with a find like that. It moved through Facebook rapidly, found its way into at least six blog posts, and now the video is on the front page of the Epilepsy Foundation's web site. and discussed in its forums.

Not bad for a piece of fluff.

Tim, who worked at The Flint Journal in Michigan, lists became managing editor of The Bulletin in 2003 on his LinkedIn profile. Bend, Oregon. Staff sheet now lists the 1988 University of Missouri-Columbia graduate as business reporter for the newspaper printed by the Western News Company and I didn't see a managing editor's job listed. Follow his business news tweets on NewsInBender. 

A web search shows that he's stayed active in pushing for the freedom of information, including a stint on the board of Open Oregon and active in the Sunshine Week push.

Watch for another post on the Doran family soon. Meanwhile, another video of Connor's kite flying.

July 2, 2010

So how many of my friends in the US took part in the holiday tradition of filling their tanks on Wednesday BEFORE the traditional raising of gas prices that seems to ALWAYS come just before the start of a three-day weekend?

I forgot but that is OK because I'm not traveling. Nope. I am staying home and having folks over.

I'm almost done with food preparations so I won't have to cook (he-he) and I'm about to lay in a stock of paper products even though my husband already believes I must have lost the brain cells that remind you exactly how to load and unload a dishwasher so he does it 99% of the time (he-he).

Ah, summertime and the living is easy.

Note: This post began its life on FarmVille, when I "found" fuel while plowing and shared with farming friends. Why should they have all the fun of reading my posts, eh?

Living through excuses erases opportunity to "yell"

I remember being shocked that anyone still needed a reminder to finish an entire prescription of antibiotics.

It was beyond believability that a multiple sclerosis patient would ignore the opportunity to postpone relapses to avoid nightly injections.

Don't get me started on the rant about following the instructions on a prescription - you know, the ones that suggest eating certain foods render the drug useless or dangerous.

It always was easier to understand why some chose to eat rather then buy medicine. Even with insurance some drugs require an impossible hefty payment in days of layoffs, leaky roofs and lingering financial obligations to feed your famly.

I remember being baffled at the weariness on my aunt's face as she sat at the kitchen table and worked her way through a shoebox of pill bottles. These were the pills that kept her disease under control, that enabled her to walk with less pain, that might give her more time here with us.

I loved her puffy face. I adored her cane, so useful for pushing items and fun to twirl. I liked her long, floaty dresses that spelled freedom so much better then miniskirts or shifts or polyester pants.

But now, with the wisdom that comes with age and experience, I understand so much better why some days the puffiness, the cane, and the dresses were/are burdens, obstacles and sacrifices.

I understand the weariness of working your way through bottle after bottle of prescribed medications. I understand why the possibility of promises in the pills may not be worth the side effects or even the time that it takes to take them, to order them, to pay for them.

Is it really necessary to self inflict the sharpness of the needle on a night when staying awake is preferable to sharing a mattress moved by another body? Why would one dose make a difference? Show me the research.

Can one grapefruit really hurt? How can it be bad to try to calm the burning sensation with the dryness of Saltines an hour before food is allowed? Why should one more tall glass of water be necessary in a body already retaining enough to require a bigger shoe size most days?

If I stop taking the medications, can I pretend that everything is all right? Just for tonight? Just for awhile? Just forever?

What if I apologize to all those I judged for choosing medicine vacations? Does that earn me the right to hide all the bottles, donate the blue box of Copaxone to someone or stop ordering the endless supply of symptom suppressors?

If I promise to never "yell" or critique the medical habits of others can I slide on some of my own?

Summer heat tends to worsen my multiple sclerosis symptoms so I know that is why I am not recovering as fast as I once did.  I will not listen to the whisper that I've recovered as far as I will and this is the new stage of remitting. I have too many miles to cover, too many things to read, too many quilts ... well, you get the idea that there is much to do on my list of musts.

July 1, 2010

Our household shrinks

drawing of amy dog

Daugther's chalk drawing of the dog 

hangs in our living room.
It is a work day so that means I am home alone. Really alone. As in the dog that has lived in this house almost as long as our family is gone.

The disappearance was not unexpected. I think it hurt my husband that four hours home from a conference I still had not mentioned her absense.

I'm more then OK with Amy's leaving as it was painful to see her stumble, to ache, to get so little pleasure from life, to play tag vigorously and then move slower with no grace.

The lack of a dog means I move around less because I don't need to open and close the door a zillion times for a dog whose bladder and/or memory was bad.

The lack of a dog means I can leave all interior doors open, the toilet seat lid up, and food on any counter or space that I want.

The lack of a dog means no one eagerly eats what I drop, licks my laptop or knocks over my piles.

The lack of a dog means I don't need to leave on a light at night, trip over water or food bowl or sleep lightly so I  heard the scratching request to go out and not make my husband get up.

The lack of a dog eliminates the need to sweep up the hair, may reduce the number of required allergy shots and might save the household a few bucks in vet bills, food, medicines, lodging, etc.

What was good about the dog was the delight it provided my husband and daughter over the years. They loved the dog from the day they picked her up from the Genesee County Humane Society. They played with the dog, provided for the dog and trained the dog.

The dog was a reason for dad and daughter to play outside, to walk outside, to talk.

Amy's exploring gains her collar

of trash can lid
The dog helped ease the transition from city to suburbs for my daughter when we moved in the midst of a middle-school year.

The move was sparked by anger that her school (or the local newspaper) did not see the setting of her hair on fire in a classroom as a big deal.

The move meant we finally had a back yard bigger then a sandbox, removing the excuse for not having a dog. The dog helped as we adjusted to a lifestyle without  museums, the library and friends within walking distance.

The dog helped ease the transition of losing our daughter twice now to a community 624 miles away for my husband.

The first time she left for a household that already had a dog and so left "her dog."

The second time she left it was clear "her dog" was her dad's dog now. Plus, the move would be tough on the rapidly aging dog who already seemed to forget where she was or what she did. Besides, our daughter had another dog of her own.

This dog was the third in my life. I barely remember the first - an Irish settler that lived outdoors. The best thing about the second dog was its litter financed a dishwasher for my family. That was almost enough to forgive her for throwing up in my shoes.


Amy never needed forgiveness.

June 30, 2010

Tip-toeing back into Inside Out: Recognizing what delights

Waking up early and slowly today let me uncover some thoughts, some smiles and some tears before throwing off the covers.

Like most days, I reached first for my iPhone to check on the time, to check for messages, to check what's new via Facebook.

Unlike most days, I skipped over to the Safari application and visited a few blogs. Although each blog delivered delights and insights, I also recognized the pleasure of reading the blogs in their native environments. It is the design, the completeness - blog post with comments - and the focus that delivers the punch of pleasure sometimes hidden when you read through a feed.

Or maybe it is the slowness, the appreciation of the steps taken to get to a specific spot on the Internet and the ability to move from post to post and indulge in a feast on one topic or one writer.

Blog inspiration

There were three that feed an addiction and have inspired my blogging - FarmVille Freaks, FarmVille Fanatic, and FarmVilleFeed. There was one - Free From Editors - that made me cry and delivered a reminder that my blogging is changing. There was one - Louis Gray - that reminded me some people talk about authentic conversations while others have them.

Happy and growing

I still smile when I remember how happy the bloggers were when Zynga, the FarmVille creator, recognized them by distributing giftable items to them.

It has been inspiring to watch them learn to credit the blog that had the information first and to give Zynga the credit for images.

Equally interesting is watching the designs grow. One frequently ends posts with questions that inspire comments or use multiple-choice questions to garner interest in options. The categories change as do how the information is presented.

I knew that!

I can't type in a web address without thinking about Free From Editors, a blog by a former colleague who will never forgive newspapers for giving away content for free on the Internet.

That led to an a-ha moment as I read Jim's post on a Bay City Times reporter who has moved on to a new venture. Reading the post made me recognize the urgency of this blog, my blog, to report on Michigan media changes is fading fast. I had stumbled across Jeff Kart's change via a LinkedIn update, asked a few questions but never posted here about the Mr. Great Lakes site or his new job as online director of Michigan League of Conservation Voters.(since May 2010).

Multiple streaming

Reading Free From Editors also reminded me how I am once again scattering my shares/likes/finds across the Internet and how Facebook is helping me connect with more things. The reminder came in his post on Connor Doran, the son of another former colleague.

I'd shared the video on Facebook on Sunday, meant to write about here and well, you know how that went. I do have a post pending, just waiting for an answer to a question. Stay tuned.

Walking the talk

I'm running into the phrase "authentic conversations" on a regular basis. The disappointment comes with those who limit being authentic to words, not action. I am rarely disappointed with Louis Gray, who models an admirable openness, delivers good information and always pushes items onto my to-do list.

Today's reading added three actionable items and a watch reminder:
As I said, I'm rarely disappointed by the return on investment when I spend time at LouisGray.com His post on The art of being pragmatic in a world of fanboys is just part of a series he offers on where he is coming from and what he is doing online. I admire him for not only thinking about it, but sharing his insights.

Quick sidetrack: Jesse Stay's blog post on Who Are the Mormons? yesterday reminded me of Gray's openess. It also made me think about why Gray and Stay are at the top of my bloggers to read list.

(Note: I corrected the spelling of Mormons)