Level-setting expectations is half the battle.

lionquote
MacGyver often reminds me that not everyone lacks any type of duplicitous bone in their body.  And that my life would be much simpler if I wasn’t so completely lacking in this area (although he appreciates this quality in me).  And that not everyone is completely honest and upfront with their feelings, quite the contrary actually.   And that most suredly everyone’s priorities are quite different for various reasons, even if this is sometimes hard to understand.

That’s why I had to share this quote posted by a friend today.

So very true and such a great reminder…

Any expectations you need to fine-tune today?

Happy Hump day!

Making a Splash of a Different Kind. PS: I take back every blonde joke I ever wanted to make about Daryl Hannah.

Daryl Hannah TransamAs MacGyver tells me when I get riled up about how unrealistic movies can be, “Honey, it’s only a movie,” I should know better. But back in the day, most movies I saw Daryl Hannah in depicted her in a way that did not make me think of her as a potentially intelligent and interesting person. I fell for her movie typecast, and she in turn raked in some paychecks with that role she was so good at playing.

Today I heard her in an interview on XM radio discussing her new movie project, “Greedy Lying Bastards,” which she produced.  I haven’t seen it yet, so I’m not promoting it.  But I liked listening to her and I was pleasantly surprised. (For those of you who want to quit reading now, you can skip to the best part of this post at the end – look for the asterisks.)

But before you quit reading, know that I am not an over the top liberal.  But I am open minded and I do believe that every action has a reaction.  And there is no way that we can keep increasing our pollution and not expect any consequences. (I did recently trade in my beast of an SUV for a smarter version with much better gas mileage  –  but that’s for selfish reasons to boot.)

I know some of you will automatically be offended by the name of this movie alone and therefore never see it, which makes me question the naming because it would seem to defeat the purpose of getting people to open their minds to at least learning other views of what’s going on with our environment. And to consider why it might seem logical that efforts to change how we consume energy might be thwarted by those whose pocket book would be affected negatively by such change.  To me that makes sense, as does having an open mind to this concept – and to opposing concepts, quite frankly.

(The rest of you who have no problem with the name and are instead checking to see when it comes out and where — it opens nationally March 8.)

Lest I get all political, let me just wrap up by saying  that the best part of listening to that interview was to learn that Daryl practices what she preaches, she makes good practical sense and is she is realistic when she discusses the need to be aware of simply taking care of the world we live in a little better.

*******But the best of all….. I learned that Daryl Hannah owns and drives that TransAm she drove in Kill Bill.  She’s had it converted so that it runs on pure ethanol.  I wonder if she keeps her eye patch in the glove box?

Facial Fuzz Friday

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

My friend who I have known since grade school called me in horror yesterday, laughing and shrieking at the same time as I picked up the phone.

She had just been to her regular aesthetician for a quick eye brow shaping when the woman explained to her that it was time for a chin wax.  She was horrified.

After our call, I opened the community paper to a lengthy article by a regular humor columnist about midlife facial hair and her disastrous experiences with facial microplaning after her daughter told her that her face was furry like their puppy.

And then there’s Little Red Riding Hood’s  “fu manchu”  beard, as  I call it.  Mom’s Alzheimer’s is in full-on fast forward motion (so much so that it’s been hard for me to even think about writing about it lately) and I can hardly bear the frightened look she gives me when I come at her with the scissors to trim her little grouping of silver chin hair.  She would be mortified if she realized, but I’m not sure terrified is much better at this point.  Trust me, I question this judgement call for reasons I’ll explain later.

At my request, MacGyver installed a lovely 5000- power lighted magnification (I’m exaggerating a bit) cosmetic mirror in my bathroom.  And I’m telling you, if I catch my reflection too early in the morning at that strength, I’m convinced Sasquatch is in my bathroom.  I’m tempted to rip that puppy back off the wall, but it might hurt MacGyver’s feelings.

This midlife physical change thing baffles me.  And to be coincidentally timed right as we lose our near vision … so that we can’t even notice our facial fuzz and fur?  Now that’s just cruel.

I’ll add this post to my vanity diaries. I know I’m lucky to even have hair and to be alive to notice.

But I’m even luckier to have close friends who have sworn to me in blood that if I end up not realizing that I have fu manchu facial hair at some point one day, they will chase me down with tweezers in hand, no matter what.

Deep thought Friday … Is your compass in tune?

Katharine-Hepburn

“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.”

― Katharine Hepburn

An old friend posted this on Facebook today and I had to share it because it is spot-on.

So many times in the world we find excuses and others to blame, when it is in our power to make a decision to change just about anything in our lives.  We are the ones steering our own ship, deciding how to take the waves – head-on or at an angle, with a course, or without.

We decide how to allow others to treat us. If we let ourselves get taken advantage of or treated like we don’t deserve, it’s because we need to look inside and figure out how to set boundaries. And better understand our self-worth.

We decide whether to allow circumstances to affect us in a negative way, or to use them to help spur our emotional our growth and move us forward.

We decide what excuses will impede our goals.  When we say we’re too busy or “it just won’t work,” we are making a choice.

We decide how that guy in traffic who cut us off will make us feel.  Or how someone who was dishonest, who hurt our feelings, or who was even downright creepy, will make us feel. We have a choice … to carry that around with us or throw it overboard.

Compassion and self-awareness are points on our compass.  And sometimes it takes a painful event or two in life to help us establish these bearings.

One thing is for certain, stepping out of ourselves and looking in objectively is the only way to chart our true course.

Here’s to another inspiring bad-ass of a woman who said it right.

How to Recognize a Close Encounter of the Personal Kind.

space invader

You know who I’m talking about.

Those people who get so close to you that you almost feel their breath on your neck as you stand in line at the grocery store, post office or drug store.  Anywhere there is a line with people who think that you’re too slow and they’re more important,  or who were seriously raised by parents who did not teach them about respecting the personal space of others.

This often takes place as I am paying and I want to offer them a piece of gum out of my purse since they can see inside it so well.

A grown man in the next line over at the store yesterday was so up in this lady’s business and being such a spaz about it that I could feel the energy in the next lane over. (This photo does not do the situation justice and I was trying to be discreet.)  I wanted to ask him if he had to use the restroom or something since he seemed in such a hurry.

Often these space invaders have one hand on their hip, their arms crossed or even their legs crossed like this guy.  And some sighs and heavy breathing might take place. Sometimes body odor.

Naively, I always think that making some dramatic eye contact with a semi-sneer will make it clear to them that they are invading my space and they need to back off.

Or sometimes I think that if I just hold my ground and not move a single inch until I’m good and ready, they’ll get the message.

I’ve even tried slightly backing up to throw them off, to no avail.

I always want to say something like “You seem like you’re in a hurry since you’re up so close and personal with me right now, want to go ahead of me?  Or do you just want to get to know me better?”  Or “You seem like you need a hug … is that why you’re getting so close?”   But I worry that I would start something that I’m physically unable to carry through.

Any attempts I make to help space invaders realize that they are bucking  this social norm are futile.  I’m baffled.  Or maybe I’m delusional to think that I can really change another human being’s behavior? ( Logically I know this to be the answer but I still love to analyze it.)

How do you handle Close Encounters of the Personal Kind?  Any tips?

Act first, think later. Story of my life in 5 examples.

CreativeLeap

Photo from http://design-seeds.com, a really cool site I just discovered.

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Act first. Think later.  Story of my life. Luckily it’s working relatively well for me so far. My dad does it too, and even admits it, so I come by it honestly.

This ‘creative leap’  idea is how I justify it.  Similarly, I enjoy any quote about procrastination being a good thing.

Here are some examples of how this is the story of my life:

1. Hanging pictures –  Not sure if I’ve ever used a ruler or tape measure when hanging things on any walls – and I have a LOT on my walls.  This makes many people CRAZY.  (And I love it.)

2. Painting –  When I have gone to those places where you paint as a group while you have a cocktail, and everyone paints the same stroke with the same color in the same order, I go for the wine and pretend like I’m following directions or like I’m just confused. The conformists in these groups whose paintings look exactly like the teacher’s painting in the end always look at my painting with sheer disdain and disbelief. Once someone told me that my painting of wildflowers might indicate that I need therapy.  (Which tells me that it’s good.)

3. Trimming  – As in my bangs, or anything I’m cutting for that matter.  Again, I don’t measure or think it out too much when cutting ribbon, fabric, dog hair, my hair, etc. This has not ended well on several occasions. (Starting at age five when I gave my doll and I a haircut at the same time using my dullest kindergarten scissors.  Also in college when I used to make my own wrap skirts – my room mates are still laughing.)

4. Giving my opinion – How boring and untrue would I be if I edited my opinion before I spoke of it?  Besides, it would take far too long and I would get distracted by the time I thought it through and then I’d forget my point.  I’ve gotten in trouble with this one.  (Fortunately those who love me can handle it.)

5. A plethora of injuries, bruises and cuts at all times – Whether I’m carrying sixteen things down the stairs to save time, or teetering on the edge of a chair because I don’t want to take the time to find a ladder, or using a knife that is dull.  You get the idea.  (Luckily I still have all my digits.)

Do you ever act first and think later?

Best thing since … sliced onions

onion glasses

A month ago I stood in the kitchen with mascara running down my face and my eyes burning while I chopped an onion. And because my family doesn’t even bat an eye as I loudly blurt out expletives while attempting anything in the kitchen,  it didn’t surprise them when I exclaimed “Surely someone has invented some !@*^$% onion cutting goggles..!?”

I reached into our school supply closet and gave the science lab safety goggles a try.  No luck.  Duh.  But I was determined.

Then, as it happens most of the time when I turn to Amazon looking for whatever I’m hoping that someone has invented, onion cutting glasses do, in fact, exist.  This may be old news to you, but it was news to me.

And what better time to share this find than as part of the WordPress Daily Prompt  to write about something that I think is the best thing since …well, you know… sliced bread.

So there you have it.  Hands down the best new gadget to come into my life … my special onion cutting glasses, in fire engine red.  The foam around the eye of the glasses blocks out all vapors. And, as a bonus,  I’m always ready for an extreme Airsoft challenge if one occurs in the backyard while I’m chopping onions.

What’s your favorite kitchen gadget?

Playing the Ukulele By Virgin Ear

curse often

My youngest son (my Clone) is taking ukulele lessons (yes, ukulele – ‘ concert ukulele’ actually:) ) lessons from a young gal who is a private instructor.  Last night was his first lesson.

After my Clone showed us some chords that he learned, he told us a little about the lesson and the cute, young instructor (my oldest son heard how cute she was and might suddenly be interested in some lessons).

My Clone explained that during the lesson while the instructor was demonstrating a chord and slipped, she said “Oh crap.”  She then looked up at him and apologized profusely for saying such a bad word in front of him.

He had a terrific grin on his face as he explained this to his curses-like-a -truck-driver mother.

I asked him if he explained to her why she shouldn’t worry.

His Clone grin grew large enough to reveal his Clone dimples and he explained that he didn’t want to shock her … right off the bat, anyway.

We’ll save that for next week.

Gaining traction with the law of attraction.

wayne
One of my all time favorites, Wayne Dyer. And this is a good quote if you take the time to understand it.  Maryanne Williamson talks about this concept as well.  Love her too.

I’ve used this concept various times in conversations when people ask me why they repeatedly are drawn to potential mates with the same qualities that don’t always turn out to be great for the kind of relationship they need. Or when they repeatedly get themselves into situations that aren’t ideal. It’s no accident.

Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention, came to me at a time years ago when I really needed a shift in thinking.   The book came across my path several times in different ways for a year or so until I realized that the universe must be trying to tell me something, so I gave in and read it.  The concepts set me on a new path which I am still refining, and will always be.  But I like where it’s going.

A lot of Dyer’s books seem to be the same ideas from this book but repackaged and titled differently.  He is a marketing machine to the point of excess, but if you can get past that, he makes a lot of sense.  This book is a must read and I reread it regularly.  I’ve given it to numerous friends.

I intend to sleep well tonight.  It was a hell of a day.

Peace out.

Did Buddah have a Napoleon Complex?

napbud“The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own and the enemies”― Napoleon Bonaparte

I recently discovered this quote and I love it.  Just as it applied to the battles that Napoleon’s armies fought, it  applies to how we live our lives each day. How we react to chaos, change or loss – anything that rocks our world- and how we choose to process it.  It’s only when we rise above the chaos or challenges that we truly win the battles of life … and grow from it as a result.

Buddhist teachings have long taught the value of quieting the mind and experiencing the present amidst chaos.

Tibetan Buddhism describes three gates we must pass through or commitments we must make to help us embrace our moments of chaos as opportunities for growth:

1. Cause no harm: do our best to not cause harm with actions, words or thoughts (to commit to being good to each other).

2. Help others: do our best to keep our hearts and minds open, and nurture our compassion by giving to those in need.

3. Accept impermanence: do our best to embrace the world just as it is, without bias; try to see everything – good and bad – as a way to awaken further.

I will keep these commitments in mind the next time I have a lot on my plate and become ridiculously frustrated by the person in the bank drive-through who won’t commit to a lane (in case a different one opens up faster). And the next time I’m put on hold on the telephone listening to music and being redirected repeatedly. And the next time I judge anyone who doesn’t share my point of view or appreciate the same things that I do.

P.S. Did you know Napoleon was actually above average height for his time?  Scientists say he was actually about 5’6, rather than just over 5′ as the compensatory complex has been explained.  The average height for an 18th century Frenchman was 5’3″.  He was perceived as short because he was most often seen with the Imperial Guard — his bodyguards who were above average height.

Nameste my peeps.

Unfolding Cocoon

fountain muse

Unfolding Cocoon

Fresh start, new beginnings, rebirth,

Physical, mental, external.

Tuning the body,

Clearing the mind,

Prioritizing the other.

Focusing on peace and clarity,

As the cocoon unfolds, little by little.

Fresh start, new beginnings, rebirth.

 

And that’s my shot at today’s WordPress Daily Challenge on the theme of Starting Over.

What does starting over mean to you?

Twilight zone turned school zone.

irony

As I say often, “You learn something new everyday…” (And as many who know me hear me say even more often, “Every day’s a damn school day.”)

I now better understand the impact that certain infections can have on the elderly and on those with dementia.  They can actually cause delirium.

And I now know that 30% to 40% of elderly patients with serious infection don’t exhibit the usual signs of fever due the inability of the immune system to mount a response to infection due to the effects of aging (or in Little Red Riding Hood’s case – Alzheimer’s).  (I felt like Velma in a Scooby Doo mystery trying to figure out what was causing her further and furious decline.)  If you already have Alzheimer’s, infections can put you into a mental tailspin.  This was our week.

Fortunately, after copious amounts of heavy duty antibiotics and eye rolling, Mom was actually able to come back home this afternoon.  She smiled at me more today and said many more words to me today than she has in the last few weeks.  I even got some bona-fide Mom to daughter smiles which tickled me with delight.

We still will assess where we are with her doctor, but it appears that we have bought a little time for her, avoided the cuckoo’s nest/twilight zone for a bit longer and become better educated in the process.

I also had the privilege of doing a Yoga class today (hallelujah) geared toward technique and theory, which was fabulous.  I also got to wear my awesome new yoga pants. And I got to take a lot of deep breaths, which were welcomed.yoga pants

Oh, and MacGyver discovered a new Chardonnay for me named Irony which seems quite fitting. And it is quite good.  MacGyver makes a damn fine Sommelier.  Which makes me a damn lucky sidekick.

Overall it was a day of education and progress which is ALWAYS a good thing.

Thanks so much for your support on this journey!

What’s the most ironic wine you’ve ever enjoyed?

Flying over the nest.

cuckoo

“I mean—hell, I been surprised how sane you guys all are. As near as I can tell you’re not any crazier than the average asshole on the street…”  

(from Nicholson’s character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

I think the universe intended for me to go to that intense yoga class that resulted in a huge release early in the week to prepare me for what was coming.  I honestly do.

Little Red Riding Hood (my Mom with Alzheimer’s) had to go to the hospital yesterday via ambulance because we couldn’t get her to walk or get up and because she doesn’t really communicate, we couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

She is still in the hospital and depending on how she recovers (apparently certain infections can make dementia worse.  Who knew?), she may or may not be able to go home since she seems to have advanced to the next stage.  Either way, the next shoe is starting to drop and I have been in full gear researching facilities and options. (These are times when I miss my sister the most.)

Hospital visits were beyond bizarre for various reasons, but mainly because 1) hospitals in Denver were full due to the flu and we were diverted to a less full hospital which was still quite full and 2) she is in a room where they put 4 people who need 24/7 “sitters” (for people who don’t understand what is going on and might try to get up and then fall).

It was like I was in a strange movie that was so awful it was almost funny.  I kept waiting to hear Jack Nicholson’s voice.

Here are some highlights:

-One of Mom’s roommates had his own sitter right by his bed at all times which made me uneasy.  He was listening to Jimmy Hendrix music and blurting out aggressive sounding phrases.  I swear to you I thought he was going to pull out a shank from under his mattress.   And he sort of had the Jack Nicholson look going on.

-Another roommate kept asking for a beer and pointing to what he thought was a beer Stein hanging up on the wall (it was actually a piece of medical equipment that did look like a Stein) and wanted us all to see it. He was the cutest and sweetest little man I’ve ever seen.  I wanted to go buy him a six pack and make his day.

-Two of the Certified Nurse Assistants (the sitters) were absolutely darling.  They have hearts of gold and I wanted to adopt them. One named Flora from the Philippines told me all about her family’s plantation in the Philippines where they grow rice.  She said if someone made $750 a month in the Philippines they would be so rich they could have five maids.

-Another of the sitters I’m guessing was from South America and was determined to find something that my Mother would eat.  We finally landed on chocolate cake and Pepsi once I got there today and shared my mother’s strange eating preferences. Worked like a charm.  Some things are never forgotten.  She also told me I have my mother’s nose and she bet my Mom was quite pretty when she was younger.  She was right.  I told her she was a beauty queen in high school.

-The unfriendly nurse (who was clearly put-out with any question I asked) was seriously channeling Nurse Ratched.

-Another one of Little Red Riding Hood’s roommates kept asking for cottage cheese over and over and seemed sad. He had a huge scar across his head.  I wanted to give him a hug but he was on the side of the room by the guy I was worried had a shank under the mattress.  This roommate’s mother came and visited him and my heart ached for her.

-There were four TVs going at the same time, plus the Jimmy Hendrix music, plus the beer and cottage cheese requests and medical chatter.  Enough uncoordinated noise to make an undiagnosed ADD person with sensitive hearing lose it. but I didn’t.

-Little Red Riding Hood has not lost her ability to sarcastically roll her eyes and did so every time a room mate blurted something out. This cracked me up.  Apparently she thought the rest of the group was crazy, not her.  Again, some things never change.

-She petted and squeezed the cute little beanie baby dog nonstop from the second I brought it in from the gift shop.  This made me happy because it made her happy.dog

-I’m damn sure figuring out a way to go to yoga tomorrow.

Thanks as always for reading…  Hug or call whatever family you have this weekend and tell them you love or appreciate them — even if they drive  you nuts.

The Good News. The Bad News. And the Reality Check that’s Needed.

Below is a post that I have re-posted from my new Alzheimer’s blog from yesterday: http://www.laughingatalzheimers.com.

You’ll see some of my past posts from Life On Wry that are related to my Mom and our journey with Alzheimer’s there for a bit as I get this new blog up to speed.  But don’t worry, LifeOnWry isn’t going anywhere!  As always, thanks for being on this journey called life with me!

alzheimer's statistic

Good News.

On several news stations yesterday I heard about the latest government report revealing that cancer death incidents have fallen in the United States by an average of 1.8 percent in men and 1.4 percent in women.  These percentages don’t sound dramatic, until you consider that the numbers didn’t start even falling until after the early 1990s.

Further, scientists report that the incidence of cancer and subsequent deaths could be further reduced if all those with New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise and quit smoking would stick to their plans.

There is still much to be done to research, prevent and combat Cancer, the second most common cause of death in the US, but the fact that these numbers are decreasing – rather than increasing – is good news.

Added to that is the fact that the 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 2001 and 2007 is 67%, up from 49% in 1975-1977. The improvement in survival reflects both progress in diagnosing certain cancers at an earlier stage and improvements in treatment, according to a 2012 Cancer Facts & Figures report.  In other words, research.

Bad News.

Now for the bad news. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is on the rise throughout the world.  And there is still no known cure or way to prevent it, no remissions.  In fact, it is always fatal, causing brain changes that eventually impair an individual’s ability to carry out such basic bodily functions as walking and eventually swallowing.

According to a 2012 Alzheimer’s disease Facts & Figures report, about 5.4 million Americans now have AD. By 2050, more than 15 million Americans could be living with the disease, unless scientists develop new approaches to prevent or cure it.

In fact, every 68 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. By mid-century, someone in America will develop the disease every 33 seconds. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 new cases of AD will be diagnosed this year alone.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, AD is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the fifth leading cause of death in Americans over age 65 years. And although the proportions of deaths due to other major causes of death have decreased in the last several years, the proportion due to AD has risen significantly.

Researchers have long noted that funding for Alzheimer’s research lags significantly compared to funding for other major ailments. According to University of Mississippi Medical Center, the $450 million allocated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Alzheimer’s is equivalent to less than 15% of the research funding for HIV/AIDS, less than 11% of funding for cardiovascular disease research, and less than 8% of funding for cancer research.

And for every $28,000 spent on Alzheimer’s patient care, only $100 is spent on research.  In fact, the government funds more nutrition research than it does Alzheimer’s research.

Reality Check Needed.

Through exciting research initiatives, scientists continue to make headway in understanding this devastating disease. They believe we are getting close and even at a tipping point.  We just need a commitment from the federal government to fund the level of research necessary to tip the scales on a disease with these startling numbers staring us in the face.

And we’re getting there. In January of 2011, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) was signed into law by President Obama. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) will create a coordinated national plan to overcome the Alzheimer’s crisis and will ensure the coordination and evaluation of all national efforts in Alzheimer’s research, clinical care, institutional, and home- and community-based programs and their outcomes.

But that’s just the beginning. Because there are no survivors of this disease, and those affected directly are largely unable to advocate for themselves and for the need for more research (like many AIDS and Cancer survivors are able to do), we must speak out about the need to federally prioritize the impending Alzheimer’s epidemic.

Members of the public — not just medical and association professionals — need to speak up and take action, to contact their representatives in Congress and become advocates through the Alzheimer’s Association.  To defend helpless Alzheimer’s victims, much like we defend the voiceless for other causes in our society.

The time is now to take action.

Visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s  advocacy pages for a simple way speak up for those affectedhttp://www.kintera.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=mmKXLbP8E&b=7516993&auid=8520366

The Alzheimer’s Association — and for Coloradans – it’s the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado — is the best place for families to go to learn about programs and services available to those on the Alzheimer’s journey, as well as about opportunities to participate in local research through TrialMatch.

Believe me, you have no idea how awesome this organization is until you’re faced with this disease and they help you breathe easier.

alz.org/co | 800 272 3900 helpline 24/7