Tuesday, August 31, 2010

random pic from my memory card

I must have taken this pic last spring. I remember wanting to take it, walking by the subject matter every day and thinking it was beautiful, but I don't remember taking the actual photo. Lucky for me I did, and lucky for me I downloaded the memory card it was on just last week. If I ever make a calendar, this one is for sure going to be there:

I love the colors, the simplicity, and the elegance of the flowers and foilage. Nature is a beautiful thing!

May you have a happy surprise come your way too,

Monday, August 30, 2010

Just ducking in to say "Hi"

Just ducking in to say "Hi".

I've missed visiting here regularly. My life is kind of scrambled and crazy; I need to organize my chaos.

Years ago, when I was a returning student in college, I took a class called "Becoming a Master Student"; the book is for sale at amazon.com. It was in this class that I learned how to make a schedule to manage my chaos.

I was not just a returning student. I was a returning student who had recently gone through a divorce and was the custodial parent of three young children:a four year old, a 2 year old, and a nine month old. And, I was taking a full load while working part time.

I don't think my life has ever been fuller. Thank heavens for Elaine, my teacher, for the book, and for that recommended class.

The first step of organizing my schedule was to keep track, in 15 minute increments, of what I did for a few days: showering, grooming, studying, working, house keeping, shopping, visiting with friends, picking up the kids from daycare. Whatever I did, it had to be written down.

The next step was to look over the record and write down the things that I did that were the same every day. Next I had to fit in things that had happened more sporatically, giving every minute of the day a label; even free time was labeled.

The end result was a tidy, organized day: a place for everything, and everything in its place. Organizing time is really the same as organizing tangable objects. It was an amazing eye opener. My time, which was precious, had been wasted here and there throughout the day.

I found that time, like money, needs to be budgeted or it will be wasted. Unlike money, however, time cannot be saved. Each minute must be used well or it will be frittered away, never to be seen again.

Since that time I have used that same method of organizing time. When new time demands happen, like school starting or ending, a new baby born, a move to a new home, or starting a new job, a new schedule needs to be made.

I live my life for a couple of weeks without intentionally putting time restraints down, sans time allotted to get ready and arrive at set times. After that, I see what routines have naturally been made and followed. I write down those things that have worked and then look at time misused or unused. If the routine hasn't worked well, I figure out why and then make necessary adjustments. It is amazing how much can be tightly fit into a schedule and gotten done.

After living for many years with a schedule, I have come to see it as a friend. At the beginning, I have to admit, I looked at my schedule as my task master and sometimes rebelled. Sometimes I would think, "Don't tell *me* what to do!" After seeing the peace that a schedule brings, I now enjoy the schedule as a friend recommending what will bring me less worry and more peace.

A good day planner organizer is a must for those working, schooling, or just spending most of their time away from home. If you are mostly at home, a wall calendar works pretty well, but can be supplemented by a day planner organizer to be taken away from home. If you do use a wall calender and a day planner organizer together, be sure to make notes in both to reflect the day's plans, otherwise you will miss important events when you fail to look at one of them.

I highly recommend the book, "Becoming a Master Student". It has more information than just planning and organizing your day. It will give you a fresh outlook on the mundane and will help you to make the most of your time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A (SouleMama)Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gone Fishin'

We went fishing last night as a family. I'll share some pics, since they are worth a thousand words and I'm not feeling quite so verbose. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 18th - Wanna Hear a Joke?

Here are a couple from GCFL.net:

In The Park
Date: Sent Friday, August 6, 2010
Received from Thomas Ellsworth.

A little girl asked her mother for a dollar to give to an old lady in the park. Her mother was touched by the child's kindness, and gave her the dollar.

"There you are, my dear," said the mother. "But, tell me, isn't the lady able to work any more?"

"Oh yes," came the reply. "She sells candy."

Girlfriends' Lunch Out
Date: Sent Thursday, August 5, 2010
Received from Bob Seegmiller.

A group of 40-year-old girlfriends discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally, it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the waiters there were very good looking.

Ten years later at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the food there was very good, the wine selection was good also, and the waiters were cute.

Ten years later at 60 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet, the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean, and the waiters were sweet boys.

Ten years later, at 70 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible, they even had an elevator, and the waiters were kindly.

Ten years later, at 80 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cutest Cupcakes in the World

(pic from Sugarbloom Cupcakes & Macarons)

Oh. my. goodness! Aren't these sooo cute?!

I found them via Be Different... Act Normal, who seems to scour the bloggy world to find fun, creative stuff.

For the tutorial, be sure to go to Sugarbloom Cupcakes & Macarons. Let me know if you try it!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Maybe for Christmas??

Hahahahaha! I just saw this electric wheelchair on Blah, Blah, Blah, Blog and decided that I need to get my mother one of those suckers! They just *demand* respect, don't they??? :D

For those who are interested, I did a bit of research and found that these chairs are custom made for each user. Here is a link: http://www.tankchair.com/about.htm

A Meme

I was just over visiting No Excuses and saw that she'd done a "Wednesday Wickedness" meme. Apparently, Wednesday Wickedness is a blog that focuses on meme questions; every Wednesday there are new quotes with questions after each quote. It looked interesting, so even though it is Sunday and not Wednesday, I think I'll play along. :)

This weeks quotes come from Oprah:

1. “I don't think you ever stop giving. I really don't. I think it's an on-going process. And it's not just about being able to write a check. It's being able to touch somebody's life.” What was the last thing that you did to help somebody’s life?

By now I think I've told you all about my mom getting her wheelchair taken away for a week because she ran into the refrigerator at her nursing home. I guess the last big thing I've done is to contact an Ombudsman to check out the legality of the nursing home's policy and hopefully get things changed there.

The last little thing I've done is get Michael some lunch. :) Both are important, don't you agree?

2. “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” How long have you ever held your breath?

I'm terrible at holding my breath, and I can't say I've ever timed myself. Give me a few seconds and I'll see....30 seconds. Okay, I stink. Oh well.

3. “As you become more clear about who you really are, you'll be better able to decide what is best for you - the first time around.” At what point do you think that you really decided who your were?

After my divorce in 1994 I realized that I'd put all of my value on being a wife and mother. I had to rebuild myself through the following year, and I've continued the process ever since.

There is nothing wrong with loving to be someone's wife or your children's mother, but it is my honest opinion that you have to be *you* first and foremost.

4. “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” At what time of the year do you think you celebrate your life the most?

Hmmmmmm. I don't think I do. Maybe I need to start!

5. “So go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground.” Are there times when you thought you had fallen down and learned something about yourself?

Absolutely. A divorce. A baby's death. Nearly dying, myself (twice actually). Learning that Michael had hydrocephalus, an oral aversion, cerebral palsy, being delayed physically and mentally. Failing at a business and having to pay the accrued debt anyway. I've had lots and lots of learning opportunities.

I've learned that I'm strong. I'm a survivor. That every milestone your child progresses to is a miracle and that nothing should ever be taken for granted.

6. “Devote today to something so daring even you can’t believe you’re doing it.” What was the last thing you did where you thought that you could not believe in what that you were doing it? (the question seemed wrong, so I changed it)

Every day I get up and continue parenting even when the night before I was ready to quit. Being a diligent parent is a very courageous thing to be.

7. “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” Do you think that you must struggle to become strong?

Absolutely. You can't expect to gain physical muscle without working out and neither can you become strong at anything without working on it.

8. “Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” Do you feel that life’s experiences always prepare you for what there is to come?

I do. I think that life is very much a line-upon-line learning process.

9. “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” Can only a rich person feel this way? What do you think Oprah means by this?

I think that everyone has dreams for themselves, whether they be some big goal or lots of little ones. By having a dream, or a goal, we are working our way through life rather than letting the winds of many storms determine our destination.

10. “I do not believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.” Do you believe in failure?

I have a hard time with failure. I am a perfectionist and absolutely hate the thought of failure. I have been known to avoid things that I feel that I might fail at. I need to change this, because in theory I truly believe that we can't learn to run if we are afraid to take the first step.

That was fun! I hope that some of you will stop by Wicked Wednesday and try one for yourself. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Some Pics and Some News

Yesterday Steve & I took a ride to a closeby lake. Of course, I had to take some pics... and then later play with them a bit. :)

Earlier in the day I took Amber for a "photo shoot". I can't call myself a serious photographer, so I feel like I just play at photography. :) Anyway, she decided that for her senior pics she wanted her bff's mom and me to take her pics. She said that she likes bridges, railroad tracks, and a nearby graffiti train... so you'll be seeing pics from all of these locations. Yesterday was "bridge day":

I also wrote the letter telling the nursing home that I wouldn't be attending their meeting to patch things up between them and me. The first letter I wrote was too straight forward and had an angry undertone. I've worked on writing this letter for four days, and I finally mailed the finished copy today. I'll show you what I wrote:

Dear Jason,

Thank you for informing me of the meeting that is scheduled for August 17th to discuss my mother’s situation, however, I will be unable to attend that meeting.

Regarding the concerns you voiced in your letter:

I appreciate your concern that my mother’s and my relationship remains strong during this time; it is my goal to ensure that my mother’s and my relationship is not strained and that it does, in fact, remain just as strong as it has always been in the past.

I also appreciate your concern that I feel comfortable visiting with my mother in your facility, and I am sure that you and your staff would do your best to make that happen. For the time being, however, I am more comfortable visiting with my mother outside of your facility. Thank you just the same.

I am aware that you are working with an Ombudsman regarding your facility’s electric wheelchair policy and that she has encouraged you to work with the State regarding any changes to be made to that policy. I am glad to see this happening, and I wish the best for you and your facility as it undergoes some changes that will make it a more secure and better place for your residents to be. I will be very interested in knowing what changes to your policy take place and how those changes will affect electric wheelchair users like my mother. Perhaps at that time we can meet to discuss those changes and my mother can be instructed on what the policy requires of her and also what her rights are regarding her electric wheelchair use.

Good luck to you, your staff, and your residents.

Do I get extra points for being nice?? Let's hope that I'm done with that situation for awhile. I need some serenity for now.

I hope that all is going well with all of you. Thanks for responding to my post yesterday. I'm so glad that all of you are here! :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hello?? Is anyone out there??

I'm feeling like I'm all alone here on my blog. Hello? Is this thing on??

A couple of days ago when I tried to go to my blog it said that I was hosting a site that had malware, so for security I shouldn't visit myself. I really don't think that the Daily Om has malware, but I took down the link. Still.... nobody has commented on any posts since then so I'm wondering if I'm all alone on here.

If you are here reading this, will you please shoot me an email or comment on the post? Pretty please?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thankful Thursday: in pictures

Today I went into the garden first thing. It has always been a place to think over things and to put things in the proper perspective.

I looked over the pie pumpkins and had to take a picture.

I loved the shawdows of the curly little tendrils and the freckles on the pumpkins.

I was first attracted to the spot because of the blossoms, just like the bees were.

There was so much activity going on in and around the blossoms. All sizes of bees, too. Big ones and little bitty ones. It was wonderful to think of the pollination they were helping along and of the pumpkins the blossoms will bring.

I saw two little bantam chickens, a hen and a rooster, enjoying my garden too. I was impressed with how cute they looked as they scratched and pecked at the soil, that is until they went inside of the garden squares and started pecking at my tomatoes.

Then I realized that they were the real culprits eating my garden. They immediately got shooed back into the coop. I wish they'd just be satisfied eating the grasshoppers!

Then I got the idea to take a picture of myself looking over my garden.

And I realized in small measure how God must have felt as He looked over all of His creations; I too, found my little creation good.

I hope that you had a wonderful day too!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'll Pray For You

Josh had me listen to and watch a video for the song "I'll Pray for You". I know none of us would *ever* feel like this (said tongue in cheek - if really you have never felt like this, you are a much better person than I am), but....

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

I thought it was funny. (I wish it would have been around during my divorce in 1994! hahaha!)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy and Light (after Dark and Twisty :)

I wrote Dark & Twisty earlier today, but I want to move on with something brighter and happier. Let's see what I can come up with, shall we?

How about: lots of zucchini and yellow squash!! I won't dwell on the fact that my little vole (like a mole) friend is eating all of my ripe tomatoes.

Years ago I created a little critter in Gimp (like photoshop, but free) when I was blogging about animals that like to get in gardens and eat up all they can. (do you see him behind the lemon grass??)

Well, I think that a cute little girl critter saw him on my blog and decided to come and hook up with him and make my garden her home; a place where they could settle down and have babies and eat all of the red, ripe tomatoes that they want. :)

Let's see.... I've been going through my pics and trying to find which would best fit "Summertime Adventures".

Lots of long walks in the foothills with my sweetie.

Local celebration: parade, face painting, car show, museum tours, fireworks, playing in the park.

I won't mention the fact that my whole family had the stomach bug thing.

Chicks hatching out all over!!

Signing up child #2 for college classes.

Mentioning to an older child that child #4 will be getting her learner's permit in a year.

Afternoon showers. Cooler temperatures.

School shopping DONE! And only spending $20.90 for 3 pairs of shoes because of great sales!!

School is starting in a week and a half. I haven't decided whether I'm looking forward to it or not. I've enjoyed having the kids home, but boy has my schedule been thrown out the window! I do miss the days when I homeschooled all of them. I enjoy (for the most part :) having them home. I can't believe how quickly they grow!

What blessings have you felt lately?

Dark and Twisty

Crazy life, mine. Have you ever experienced having a parent be abused, whether physical or emotional? It stinks.

Let me tell you what has been going on with my mom for the past couple of weeks.

Right after I got home from Steve's family reunion on July 24th, I checked caller id and the messages on the phone to see what & who we missed while we were gone. There were several calls from my mom's nursing home, with only one vague message from the social worker there saying that she'd like to talk to me about my mom.

Since it was Saturday and no one from admin. is available on Saturdays, I called my mom to see what the social worker might have wanted. My mom's reply was, "It was probably about my wheelchair." Wheelchair?? Why would she call about her wheelchair? My mom explained that she ran into the refrigerator that is out in the common area. She explained that she was getting some ice in a cup, no one was around when she got there, but several people were around when she was trying to leave. She said that as she was manuvering to not hit anyone, she must have ran into the refrigerator, but that she hadn't even realized that she'd done anything.

The next day when she was in her bed sleeping, the administrator and director of nursing came into her room and told her that she'd damaged the fridge. They somehow decided that she'd ran into the fridge because of how worn out dialyis made her, and they said that they thought her electric wheelchair should be taken away for a week. She "agreed" by saying ok. Her wheelchair stayed in her room, but the nurses and nurses aids were told not to use her electric wheelchair for anything but her dialysis sessions. She was given a manual wheelchair to replace hers.

I called the administrator on Monday morning, and he put me on speakerphone with the social worker, director of nursing, and himself. I explained that for the past several months that she lived there several things had happened such as: the wrong medication being given (she took a med for 3 days before they realized the pharmacy had sent the wrong pill), the medicine given at the wrong time (high blood pressure pill given before dialysis when dialysis lowers her blood pressure anyway - my aunt died from her blood pressure going too low and them not being able to raise it), tylenol being given in place of a pain pill but telling my mother it was her pain pill (my sister's friend discovered this had been going on for a while), and yet when we talked to them about these problems they said that "accidents happen". Yet when my mother has an "accident" her mobility is taken away.

I reminded them that my mother is unable to use a regular wheelchair by herself: she cannot push the wheels with her arms, nor pull herself with her legs. I told them that taking away her electric wheelchair was the same as shackling someone who can walk to the bed or a chair.

I was told that it was "for the safety of herself and others". I reminded them that it was a fridge, and that she was trying to *not* hit anyone. "But it *could have been* a person," was what they replied. I asked if they had ever hit a dog, cat, bird, rabbit, fence post, mailbox, parking lot divider with their car, because if they had, perhaps their driver's licenses should be taken away because it *could have been* a person.

How can I be sure it was punishment and not "for the safety of others and herself"? Because:
When I told the director that taking away her mobility was abusive the director said, "So you are saying that we are abusing her?", to which I replied, "It seems abusive to me." Then he said, "Would you like the number for the ombudsman" (for adult protective services), I said, "I absolutely would." THEN he said something to the effect of (meaning I don't remember word for word, but do remember the message that he said) "What if we did give your mother her wheelchair back, should we just have her pay for the damages?" THAT, my friends, was when my accusations were confirmed: the wheelchair had *not* been taken away for "the safety of herself and others" but as punishment for running into the refrigerator. (My response to his offer was that he would need to talk to my mother since I'm not her agent but that she makes her own decisions.)

No matter what I said they didn't budge and didn't give her wheelchair back for a week.

During that week, on Sunday, the aids tried to get my mother up to go get her weekly weight check. Because the manual wheelchair's seat doesn't raise or lower (when the seat is lower than the bed it is easier to "slide" into the wheelchair) and because my mother wasn't strong to begin with, but had also lost more strength by laying in bed for three days (she didn't get out of bed because she couldn't go anywhere anyway), when they tried to stand her up her legs were weak and she was "lowered to the ground". To me that just means that they helped her have a controlled fall. When they tried to help her up, she heard a pop in her shoulder, arm, or back. Thereafter she stayed in bed hopped up on pain killers. In fact, I hadn't been able to have a coherant conversation with her since that accident until this past Saturday.

On Saturday she called and sounded good, except that she needed to get off of the phone so that they could help her change position because she hurt too much to do it herself. She also told me that she can no longer stand *at all*. They now have to use a lift to get her out of bed because she lost so much strength by not getting out of bed for a couple of weeks. She and a nurse have told me that she has bed sores. They have probably gotten so bad because she has just used her depends since her wheelchair was taken away. At firt, she couldn't get herself to the bathroom, and now since she can't get up at all.

All of this because she hit a refrigerator.

I have contacted two state agencies: one agency is for the protection of the elderly, the other is the agency that licenses the facility. I hope that my mother's nursing home is forced to change their policy --currently their policy is that on the first infraction **without any warning** they take away the patient's electric wheelchair for one week, on the second infraction it is taken away permanently. The patients don't even realize that this *is* the facility's policy until it happens. It is not on the admission papers that the patient signs before entering the facility.-- My mother is NOT the only one who has ever had her wheelchair taken away, and until the policy changes, she will not be the last.

It is also my hope that my mother changes nursing homes, but it is her right to stay in an abusive situation if she wants to. *That* is the hardest part to bear.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What's new??

I've been sick with a stomach bug. I wish I could enjoy the time off: sleeping, watching tv, surfing the net. Use the time as a vacation, you know? :)

I watched an episode of LOST with Steve last night. He watched all of season 6 with me, but didn't watch many of season 5; since season 5 was my fav, I'm encouraging him to watch them. And I get to watch them again with him. Score!

I've been watching Grey's Anatomy today. A lot. Until everyone started sleeping with everyone, then we turned it off. I love that they are getting away from so much sex on that show as the series matures. It is my favorite, you know, so I hope good things for it.

Hi, my name is Melody and I'm a tv-olic. lol What else is there to do when you're sick, though?!

Remember this pic that I showed you?:

I turned it into an oil-painting w/ gimp (like photoshop but free) and had it printed out on a canvas. I am in love with this pic. I love the fresh innocence of childhood, the girl in brown wrapping the leaf around her finger so attentively, the calm serenity of the location, the colors. Just everything about it makes it one of my very favorites. I have a print of a young boy wading out into a pond that is very reminiscent of this same feel; it has been a favorite of mine for 10+ years. I love nature and find that it rejuvinates me, & pics of nature have the same effect.

When I get feeling better I'd like to get out and take some pics for the new gardening gone wild photo contest. I never win, but I love the challenge and having to stretch.

That's about all that is new with me. What is new with you??