"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.
That myth is more potent than history.
That dreams are more powerful than facts.
That hope always triumphs over experience.
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death."
~ Robert Fulghum

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Did You Think I Was Done? I Had Only Just Begun ...

Grrrr More Power Naps ...
Where do I begin?    We (family) were at a dear friend - no, a family member's funeral and during the eulogy I apparently needed to read something on my eyelids.  I felt a hand pat my shoulder and I jumped (like anyone would if startled).  My nephew (the hand) whispered he was sorry and he did not mean to startle me ... I turned to see if anyone noticed and saw my niece grinning and Darren (her fiance) was doing that quiet laugh (that laugh you do in church because you should not be laughing anyway) and whispered, "That's awesome?"  The entertainment I provide ... free of charge and certainly unscripted.

Enough ... I can do power naps and not tell every one, if they are normal naps; however ... I was eating potato chips and the next thing I remember was being on the floor with my face mashed on the carpet and somebody banging on the front door.  I figured out where I was, got back on my chair and answered the door.  The UPS delivery guy proceeded to tell me he saw me fall out of my chair and he was concerned  and wanted to make sure I did not hurt myself.  I told him I was fine, received my package and thanked him.  I only hope he did not have his phone on video mode ... I feel sure he told his UPS buddies he had the story of the day.  So, if anybody sees me on UTube ... oh yeah, laugh!  If only earlier in the day mom had not come in and found me with my head on the desk (I was waiting on the computer to catch up with me and my thoughts!)

If that was not enough, Wednesday and Thursday the week of Christmas I found myself fighting to stay focused (my speak for not zoning out) and found out that Marcia would be talking to me ... struggle as I may to keep my eyes open, I was not engaged in her conversation.  Since it did not appear it would get any better she said it was time to go to bed ... she changed and came out to the living room ... to find me in racing mode to get where I was supposed to be because I took a nap getting there!

I guess it is scary when I have scissors in my hand to open packages!  Will I open the packages or ... Zzz?  These naps are going to get me in trouble yet! 

It was like Christmas everyday!
Because Marcia and I shopped on-line for Christmas presents this year (on-line ... my specialty!) it has been like Christmas at least twice weekly.  Poor delivery guys ... they have to be quick thinkers!  If our dog, Maddy, is in the house when they drive up (she hears them at the corner) she barks and attacks the window as if she would tear their limbs off.  Delivery guy asks ... do I drop and run?  On the other hand, if it is quiet when they approach the door ... they ask themselves ... do I ring the bell and keep my phone ready in case I can get a funny video of the lady falling out of her chair! 

More Favorite Things ... Years ago Marcia and I vacationed in St. Thomas and learned about tax-free ports and Louis Vitton.  We purchased our first LVs on that trip and that has remained our purse of choice since.  We rationalized then that this was a good buy because we did not, and never had, bought or changed purses to match our shoes or the season.  We did not buy several purses a year ... we could justify spending more on the LV bag of our choice and it would last longer.

That is our story ... and we continue to stick to it!

More Sussies ... While it is quite possible to cast me as an impulse buyer, Marcia and I do not always just see something and buy it!  When the price of gold rose, we went through our jewelry and pulled out the pieces we no longer wore and the pieces that were broken or were missing a match ... not once, but twice.  We took our "lode" to our friendly, favorite jeweler and received an in-store credit (oh, darn) and, well you know the happy ending to that story!

Insights I Am Grateful For
There are times when I am home alone and I think too hard and wonder, why me ... and I cry because nobody can see me ... I need my eyes to leak.  I want so badly to walk in my really hot shoes that rock or wash the dishes or file papers without dropping some of the paper.  I get so frustrated, it wears me out.  Then I remember the things that I have and the things I am grateful for.
  • I cannot stand or walk and require a motorized chair to get around.  My hands have atrophied so I have no use of my fingers ... I cannot blow dry or brush my hair or write without using both hands (for guidance).  I require others to do most everything or get me to a point so I can do some of the task.  While it was humbling at the onset, I still have my dignity.  No one can take that away.  I am grateful that I understand I am not my body or my thoughts ... I am the space, the shell, from which all is created.
  • I sit all day and some of my physical form looks squaty and odd.  I am grateful for my circumstance that counteracts my vanity.  (Well, somewhat.)
  • Because of the kinship I share with the friends that choose to help me, I cultivate a calm compassion for circumstances that I have no control over.  I am grateful for the empathy I experience.
  • I am nearly always present in the moment (I said 'nearly').  I have become a better listener ... this keeps me from dwelling on the past or thinking too much about the future.  To really live life we have to be in the present - without coloring it with thoughts of the past or future ( stay inside the lines).  I am grateful for the happiness I feel in living in the NOW.
  • I am most grateful for my loving family.  I am so very blessed to have both of my parents and all of my siblings, my nephews and my niece and their families here with me ... to be my towers of strength - my rocks - as we walk this path of uncertainty and the unknown.
I have also learned something about myself.  I love to make people laugh ... the sound of laughter and the smiles it evokes.  I am grateful for my sense of humor. 

I am not out there in the public, speaking about my affliction and how I cope, nor do I want to be ... I never did like that arena.  I am not saying these are the cards I was dealt, do you want to see them, let me show you how to play them.  I just hope that maybe even one person might begin to realize that suffering is caused by our thoughts, not the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

My Blog Quote

Have a very happy and safe New Year my friends! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Everything Remains the Same

Okay, since my last writing I have been to my MDA clinic for follow-up with my neurologist for my ALS, I rolled in the annual Walk to Defeat ALS sponsored by the South Texas ALS Association and have been shopping for Chrismas (my favorite kind of shopping trips ... on-line).  Oh, I have changed the background for this blog, as you can see.  I have also been tweeking it to have other points of interest.  I hope you all like what I have done!  You can make comments to let me know what you think. 

All-in-all my clinic appointment at the end of October was uneventful.  By that I mean my ALS (sounds almost endearing) has not progressed.  Please, do not get me wrong, that is very good news.  Better news yet, it appears my upper body strength is better than my prior visit in June.  I will be challenging friends to arm wrestling matches soon (ha!).  So, I continue with my medication, B-12 shots and miscellaneous vitamins ... continue stretching and exercising my hands and legs to fight off worsened contractures ... continue to work at maintaining, if not bettering, my upper body strength ... and my next clinic appointment is in six months.

Cindy (my sister and in charge of my MDA clinic appointments) and I decided to go to Hobby Lobby on the way home from my appointment.  Looked around, did not see anything we  wanted so we left.  For some reason we could not get me transferred into the car (we were in my niece's SUV - one of Chevy's smaller SUVs - and we seamlessly transfer in and out of it regularly) ... on the fourth try I sat on the floor board and told Cindy to leave me there and just drive home.  So, this is mentioned because this is a first for me ... and for some reason we get tickled when we tell this story.  

Oui Walk - Oui Roll Walks to Defeat ALS
On October 23 the South Texas ALS Association hosted their annual Walk to Defeat ALS. The ALS Association is the only non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s disease on every front. Through a nationwide Chapter network, the ALS Association leads the way in global research, coordinates multidisciplinary certified clinical care centers, supports the people and families of those affected by ALS and fosters government partnerships. The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.  The South Texas ALS Association’s 2010 goal is $225,000.  Oui Walk - Oui Roll apparently wrote the book on fundraising for a cause ... my team raised $5,100, which put us in the top 10 teams for fundraising for the cause.  How fortunate am I to have such a wonderful extended family?  

Oui Walk - Oui Roll
Left to right - Back row: Bob Norris, Jeff Marcum, Carla Sanders, Darren Peters
3rd Row:  Veronica Getty, Margaret Neel, Bill Neel, Martha Holmgreen, Marcia Hidalgo.
Lisa Arizpe, Sam Arizpe
4th Row: Gina Garcia, Caroline Clopton, Anna Holmgreen, Cindy Holmgreen, Nadine
Front Row:  Veronica Perez, Levi Perez, Deb Hidalgo, Adreann Holmgreen
What Have I Been Up To?
Me, work?  I signed up with a company to answer questions that are sent into the company, you know ... those people who are too lazy to search for themselves, but can sit there and text into their phones (go figure).  It is a mobile answers text service where people utilize both the text AND mobile answers voice service - asking the company millions and millions of questions every month.  I still have to go through their "Search University" to see if I have enough knowledge to search for other people.  I know I can search sites to shop from!  I will let you know how that goes once I test.

Have I Mentioned My Cookbook?
Last year my sister, Marcia,  and I wrote a cookbook, Oui Deux 2 Cook, inspired by all those little bits of paper that fly out of cookbooks when opened.  I mention this because we are currently collecting favorite recipes from the family for the next cookbook.  This is no easy feat, considering there are family members that still write their recipes.  I asked them to submit a story with their recipe ... right, they should all know by now if they do not tell me a story about their recipe I can make one up!  It is also turning out that we are going to have to prepare the recipes so we can take pictures.  My challenge ... coming up with the graphics for the cover ... the name of the cookbook ... Oui Deux2 Cook II.  I will let everyone know how that process goes.

I have got to get this posted ... I have started a new post and will get it done quicker!