February 23, 2010
Moo Tube (part 1), ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 8
It’s been a while since the DOT posted a name, but there was another one this week:
Army Sergeant Dillon Foxx, Traverse City.
Between post-holiday regrouping and pre-tax season prepping, I have to admit I’ve been complacently ignoring some realities. I originally had the topic of contentedness on my agenda for this week. And, I’m going to see that through, with a little side trip.
The other day a friend told me of a television show she had watched about happy automated cows, and some interesting technological advances in the world of milking farms. Supposedly, cows on an automated farm are less stressed because they decide when they need milking, and wander into the milk house at their leisure. They are then auto-udder-washed and auto-udder-connected to milking cups. No people involved.
So, I went to research that, and instantly found a promising lead: Contented Cows Give Better Milk, by Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden. Sadly, I did not find what I wanted. Aimed at business management leadership, the book was officially subtitled, The Plain Truth About Employee Relations and Your Bottom Line. The title simply employed an unflattering metaphor.
Although catchy and somewhat amusing, I am still only slightly less insulted than when the management team of one company I’ve worked for sent out a questionnaire asking employees if they preferred to be recognized for outstanding work by: A. a paper certificate, B. a pin, or C. food
Yep, those were the only choices. Things like promotions, raises, cash awards were not included as options. You can probably imagine the angry herd-mentality unrest that little survey raised. Sort of the same buck-kick reaction we had when an upper manager once told me and some other coworkers – to our faces – that they believed “any monkey off the street” could do our jobs.
Perhaps Michigan's secondary motto should be “The Stoic State.” We stoically continue on about our lives despite ever-present dangers lurking. The potential loss of more jobs, more lives to be lost in war, more worries about family, education and financial security of any type.
Complacency could do a good job of helping us to ignore stress, especially here in Michigan. The problem is we are aware of the pitfalls around us, which technically makes us willingly contented.
In other words, most of us are stressed enough to convince ourselves that we are happy enough with what we have or are; wanting to hold on to it all at least a little while longer. But, really, what good does it do us to claim contentment but still be grasping? In that sense I am progressing toward content. No longer grasping, paring down, thinning out my belongings; I may in-fact be over-releasing. Yet, the more I release, the happier I am.
I’ll let you contemplate the implications of that for a few days.
And then we’ll pick up right here again next week.
In this issue: Complacency vs. Contentedness, Milk, Contented Cows, John Kenneth Gilbraith
Now posted: New Orleans, October 2009, Papering & Mom's Notes from Mayo: Going Home.
February 16, 2010
Unusual, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 7
Well, Valentine’s Day stealthily passed me by.
Didn’t get my taxes done. Don’t have any new piercings.
Although, even after a year, my elbow still has the ice-capades bump.
I was concerned I’d lost the fire for non-conformity, until someone set me straight the other night.
“I always thought you were unusual,” he said. “But, now I think you’re just strange!”
The friendly revelation followed a discussion with his wife and a few others regarding some of the unexpected ways I’ve chosen to mark milestones, and a cross-examination of my motivation behind chosing a deeply irridescent shade of midnight-navy nail polish.
I don’t like to think I’m the only one who likes to stir things up, set things straight, and forge on.
I’m know there are others out there who go their own way naturally, and do their own thing creatively.
I just don’t think they are brave enough to tell anyone else about it.
Well, maybe that's too harsh. Maybe brave isn’t the right word.
Maybe, it would be more appropriate to say foolish enough.
Nah, it's not really foolish. It's way more purposeful.
I like to throw it out there. I like to bring on questions.
I really like responses.
In this issue: Tom Jones, Usual, Throwing It Out There, Impacting More People, Key Presentation Skills.
Now posted: New Orleans, October 2009, Meeting Up
February 09, 2010
Shunting, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 6
While the Mayo Clinic is still searching for Mom’s diagnosis, one new theory is that she has a shunt somewhere in her body.
The term shunt is used to describe a situation where there is ventilation without oxygenation. It is a serious physiological problem, resulting in more carbon dioxide than oxygen in the system. However, it is interesting to note that not all organs are designed to transport oxygen into the human system. The nasopharynx and trachea are examples of areas known as "dead space" and are an anatomical necessity.
Uncomfortably, I started thinking about psychological dead space; you know - the place we retreat to when we’ve had enough. It doesn’t really matter what it is we’ve had enough of. Retreat is the way we respond, repair, and regenerate the necessary authenticity of our lives. The scary part is wanting to stay there.
In a way, personal shunting occurs a lot more frequently than we might imagine. We cultivate our “dead space.” We simply do not allow the flow of a good, gracious, helping and healing GOD to reach our hearts. We allow ourselves significant dead space, in order not to feel pain or injustice or loneliness, or anything we don’t want to.
I’m not a fan of personal pain, but I’m also not content to live without love, or the accompanying losses that inevitably occur. I realize I can’t have it both ways. If I choose to employ a shunt, to expand my “dead space,” the consequence is clear: neither the bad nor the good will get through.
Am I saying that we have enough control to commit our shunt to letting GOD in or keep all Godly things out?
Of course we can: a theological shunt can be theologically directed.
And as I have philosophized before: The only real control we have is how much control we allow GOD to have.
But, it is important to clarify - GOD is not the shunt. It’s what we need from HIM that must flow through; uninterrupted, uncorrupted, unconditionally. Just as the good and welcome rain may sometimes temper a tornado, we may expect some bad will flow through with the good.
And, it is important to clarify - we will also never have any hope of being healed unless HE is allowed, and moving, within us. Unless we end our shunting.
In this issue: Shunts, Mayo Clinic, Tornados, Making or Enduring History?
New Orleans, 2009, Action Plan: Detailing
A Seussian Ode to Neurology, Poetry, 2010
February 08, 2010
A Seussian Ode to Neurology
I saw a Neurologist this morning.
The doctor said my symptoms weren’t warnings.
I do not have MS, or any tumors.
I do not have neuropathy, despite the rumors.
I do not have Lyme disease or any traces of Lupus.
At this point, I was starting to feel like dufus.
He took a deep breath and went back to his list.
I do not have polyps, and no compressed discs.
My nerve endings are fine - when stimulated
By now I was feeling a wee bit frustrated.
I’ve had fibromyalgia for a very long time
Only noticing when I began to feeling fine
After a long dark era, and some pretty low ceilings
I’m in touch with myself and my body and feelings
The cure it seems will be even more exercise
Every night now, not just weekly a few times
And some medications – for sure not my favorite.
So, thanks for your love, and guidance, and patience.
(and thanks to my special friend: jmc
for her input into this seussian theme.)
February 02, 2010
Encapsulated, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 5
I lost myself once at home. When my mom found me, she took pictures. My sleeping little body was jammed between the backside of the American-eagle patterned sofa and the radiant heat baseboards along the wall. I was sound asleep amongst my mother’s pot and pans; happy, encapsulated, warm.
I closed my eyes to the already dim lights, absorbed the warmth flowing through me, and listened for patterns in the deep changing vibrations. Easily immobile, I found myself internally grooving to the infectious pulsating resonance of Lady Gaga's "Money Honey."
45 minutes of MRI absolute stillness is a bane for some. For me, it’s a vacation.
A chance to blank my mind of worries, say a few long overdue prayers of thanks,
and offer sincere intentions of supplication. That lasts about 8 minutes.
Then, it’s off to the mind races where I am evaluating what furniture I could stand to part with rather than move to where ever my new, as-of-yet non-existent, job takes me. Mission accomplished – without the use of a pen and paper. They don’t allow that stuff in the tube.
Then, it’s off to my happy place: a beach, anywhere provided there is sunshine, blue water, an umbrella, a good book or two, and some sort of beverage. Oh, and some pretzels and fresh fruit, too. Absolutely no pineapple, though. That would ruin everything.
Have I distracted you enough, or are you still wondering, why an MRI?
Well, I first noticed it in Louisiana last October. On October 6th, to be exact.
I did a double deep-knee bend to sign Ms. Cheryl’s Katrina-survived fence. The long string of volunteers who have worked on her home have left their names, thoughts and well-wishes on the boards she plans to apply protective coating to and hang in her workspace.
I lowered into a squat, and signed, but I simply could not stand back up.
At least not the way I was used to – pushing off on my right leg. At the time, I figured it was due to the 3rd day on the job site in sunny, one-hundred degree, ninety-percent humidity conditions.
Back in Michigan, the leg weakness did not go away; it spread to my side and right arm.
Since then, I’ve had some new interesting symptoms appear. Like the constant microphone-feedback ringing in my ears going on for over four weeks now.
I’ve had x-rays, blood work, a CT scan, more blood work, an EMG, yet more blood work, and just this morning, an MRI. I’ve already learned to mostly ignore the ringing. I’d rather not live with it, but I could.
It will take a few days for the MRI results to get back around to my totally engaged MD. I love that she's in good spirits about it. She cheerily announced at our last meeting that she “gets to play House!”
I love “House” and Hugh, so I just as cheerily answered, “Fine, but beware - I can be just as snarly!”
As I mentioned, the good news is I did a mental inventory of excess furniture and estimated sale prices.
Plus, I took a mini vacation on my own perfect little island.
In this issue: MRI, Encapsulation, Lady Gaga.
Now Posted: New Orleans, Oct 2009: Super Conductors