6/1/07-Fri.-Over the years, I have held certain resentments toward first Dad and then Frances for a variety of infractions that I saw as more or less inexcusable. However, it occurs to me that I might just as well be angry toward the weather for being too hot or providing too much or too little wind, rain, etc. The fact is, just as in the book, Please Understand Me, in which it is apparent there is much needless conflict because folks don't see where each other are "coming from," so too neither Dad nor Fran (with each of whom I have shared precious little in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator profiles) could grasp my way of thinking and feeling, or vice versa, to allow for much better insight or empathy about one another on any particular issue than, say, between us and intelligent dolphins. We are in that way each simply like facts of nature to the other(s). So, if resentment were ever in order, it might be directed toward myself, for holding onto ill-feeling about the manner in which these aspects of nature have manifested. Of course, this is much easier to see intellectually than to "get" emotionally. Similarly, from meditation it is apparent that "I" do not exist, but am an artificial, illusory construct. So who and whom is there to resent? But this too is easier said (or written) and mentally grasped than acted on with a new set of heartfelt emotional responses toward either my deceased dad or very vital spouse.
6/2/07-Sat.-Spent an all too brief time at home yesterday, getting a few needed things done, eating lunch, and then napping with Frances for a little over an hour.
On the evening walk last night, Homer pulled hard on his leash and took us off the path into the weeds where we found a dead snake that his excellent nose must have sniffed out.
Later. Homer must have thought I'd robbed him of a deserved prize when I had pulled him away from yesterday's decaying snake. Tonight he found another one(!) and this time gave me no chance to separate him from the yummy treat, crunching away at it in seconds and scarfing down two thirds of it before I even realized what he had found! Hope it does not do him any harm. Mmm! Rotting remains of dead snake. What a find! The bones alone would have given me pause.
6/4/07-Mon.-I left Janet's (and pet-sitting for Homer) yesterday. Moved my stuff back home.
That afternoon, I attended a dream group meeting. It went really well.
Last night, we had a surprise thunderstorm, a really intense and noisy cloudburst. The wind broke some of our tree branches, one about 10-12 feet long. There was a little hail, but mostly lightning and heavy rain. We quickly received around two inches of precipitation.
Frances and I gave up on our intended computer activities for the evening and instead together watched the rich in special effects Steven Spielberg DVD movie, "War of the Worlds," the sounds of which harmonized well with what was going on outside. As usual with our tempests, the pooch was terrified throughout, despite our attempts to comfort or distract her with holding, play, or a big chew thing.
This morning, I had another physical therapy appointment. Things seem to be progressing slowly in the PT treatment. There is probably some tendonitis improvement, but certainly nothing dramatic if so. Exercises to do at home are being increased. Unfortunately, it seems both giving massages and, to a lesser degree, computer use have likely been culprits in the tendonitis vulnerability. The therapist asked for a detailed description of how I would give massages and advised I'm doing at least two things completely wrong. She said that, if continued, they would virtually guarantee ongoing problems with the right hand and wrist and susceptibility to left upper extremity difficulties as well. She also suggested using one or even two splints when on the computer. Perhaps not by coincidence, I have lately been getting similar symptoms in my left hand and wrist to those already well developed in my right. I guess I had better do the PT exercises with both upper extremities! All in all, the situation is worrisome. Instead of significantly improving, my condition is at best staying about the same on the right and worsening on the left.
6/7/07-Thurs.-Not a pleasant day. On paper we lost about $10,000 in the stock market just today, around $20,000 so far this week, and some of these assets will not come back soon, if ever. They are ones that were a little too risky to hold up in a volatile equity patch. In retrospect, of course, I should never have bought them or ought to have sold out at the end of April, when seasonality factors grow particularly unfavorable.
Then too, there seems to have been little progress in my right wrist condition, but in the PT appointment this morning I was given a host of new, painful, time consuming exercises to do. I cannot help wondering if all this will do any good, but try to remember to think positively.
And Frances and I indulged in another bickering session this early afternoon. In my perception, she was unreasonably aggressive and negative, to which I responded all too readily.
Once all the rest had been taken into account, I could not find enough time in the day to get my meditation or regular (other than therapeutic) exercise done.
It has added up to a particularly bleak time, and my most button-pushed, undermining emotions were back with a vengeance: anger, anxiety, and depression more intense than I have felt for some time. Realizing this, in turn, resulted in my questioning the dream work progress. Maybe I have simply been fooling myself that I or things were getting better.
On the other hand, I understand that growth comes in cycles, which, like a dance, can often include a step or two backwards for those advanced. Maybe I ought to give myself and the process a break.
6/11/07-Mon.-Have stopped at the original Kerbey Lane Cafe for brunch after my latest PT appointment.
The session today was relaxing, friendly, and informative. The therapist put me through my paces, but we also talked about our pets, past and present. Both her Siamese cat and Puff seem to be endowed with plenty of attitude.
The subject came up of the forward shift of my head and neck. I asked her if it were too far, and she agreed its "natural" inclination is to be about an inch to an inch and a half more forward than would be best. If unchecked, this could lead to severely rounded shoulders, rotator cuff problems, or even paralysis (from cervical spinal cord stenosis). At my request, she gave me a set of exercises to correct the situation.
Am determined to regularly apply all the PT remedies learned for first my back and now the wrist, neck, and shoulder conditions, plus doing some moderate weight work, and other procedures to keep good conditioning, besides getting in plenty of aerobic walking or swimming.
6/21/07-Thurs.-Had another PT session today, followed by a light lunch at Trudy's. Progress is definitely noticed now in restoring wrist function, but is as yet slow.
I had thought my difficulty accepting that Fran and I were not after all going to move to the Pacific Northwest, as earlier planned for once we had retired, was kind of a unique or at least rare circumstance. But today a new PT patient came in while I was there who caused me to reassess this. Maybe there are quite a number of folks whose relationships are somewhat stressed by this type issue.
He said that he was there for physical therapy to restore good movement in his shoulder. His now former girlfriend had told him, in a recent big blow-up, that she was leaving for Portland, OR, and she demanded to know if he was coming with her or not! He told her he hoped she'd have a good life, but that he was staying here. At this point, she had grabbed one of the fireplace tools and struck him hard with it before storming out. End of romance; beginning of disability.
Frances and I had an enjoyable just past weekend hosting a visit by my sister-in-law, Mary. Among other things, we all went to the Gilbert and Sullivan Society's production of "Ruddigore," a great show. Mary and I also went to see the movie, "Waitress," a quirky, cute comedy that is at times, however, painful to watch due to the treatment the heroine must endure from an obnoxious, abusive husband. It includes a neat performance by a still kicking Andy Griffith. There is as well the most amusing, creative incorporation of pies into the story I've ever seen in a film.
While at Trudy's today, there was a typical central TX cloudburst. I did not have my umbrella with me. To step outside was to be instantly drenched. I decided to linger over my coffee and write up this entry.
We got another issue of our online family newsletter ready this week. Fran uploaded it today.
Borders Books is no longer as accommodating toward members of its book groups as it had been for the previous several years. My fellow literary groupers are fairly pissed about it and intent on our finding a better venue for our monthly discussions. I'm disappointed, since the current location seems more convenient to me than most of the possible alternatives mentioned, and as yet Borders is at least providing chairs and a place to meet where we can easily check out other choices of reading material for future months. Am not sure I'll care to stay in the group for long if it adopts a new location.
We did have a fun dinner and book exchange before last Tuesday's book meeting. At my suggestion, six of us got together for the occasion. The vittles were abundant, delicious, and reasonably priced at our choice of eatery, Hyde Park Bar and Grill.
6/24/07-Sun.-Have stopped at HEB for some "emergency" grocery supplies and a snack brunch.
Friday was Fran's and my 22nd anniversary. We had a fun, low-key celebration and gift exchange. She surprised me with hundreds of spectacular space images to look at in digital albums or enjoy on our computer's screensaver. Awesome pictures! She also got me a sophisticated calculator for financial operations. Unfortunately, it did not work properly, which caused some frustration that evening. On the way here, I stopped at Best Buy and returned it for a full refund.
Have been gradually getting caught up after falling behind on a few things in the run-up to Mary's visit and to putting our newsletter out while also doing all the daily wrist PT exercises.
Yesterday, we got still more rain. Much of the new grass we put down a few months ago is rotting from too much moisture. Oh well. I guess Frances will be expanding her garden areas.
Still sticking to my resolution not to plan (leaving things open for more spontaneous, intuitive decision making) for a possible upcoming vacation trip, a remaining problem with its practicality is an inability to raise and lower my car hood (to check or add oil, water, etc.) without painfully exacerbating the wrist injury. Meanwhile, only about eight days remain before my earliest potential departure date.
Have volunteered to help the mystery group find a better location. One promising retail venue has been found, even closer to me than where we had been meeting. After several tries, though, I have had no success arranging an interview with the particular person designated for such matters. Other staff folks there are all encouraging, but there is a bureaucratic bottleneck, that I must first get with this one individual who, it turns out, does not return phone calls. "Catch-22."
6/25/07-Mon.-In PT this morning, Marilyn, my therapist, went out to my car with me and checked on my raising and lowering the hood. (Pretty darned cool how dedicated and helpful she is, I think!) I am now able to do it pretty well if I am careful, though this was from a raised curb area, which might have helped my leverage. She suggested I practice a little at home and then at my next appointment, Thursday, let her know how it goes. That might be my last time before the trip to see her.
We talked about other possible exertional or mobility challenges of a long trip, including loading and unloading the car and just using the steering wheel for hours at a time. Marilyn recommended that I pack in such a way that I can just go to and from the car with more loads, carried in the left hand, rather than trying to carry anything significant with the right or even with both hands at once. She also said I could drive with my hands more in the 9-and-3, or the 8-and-4 position, rather than a more normal 10-and-2 position on the steering wheel, as the latter would tend to be more stressful on the wrist. And I can take the timer with me and continue to do AM and PM physical therapy exercises in motel rooms, instead of the three times a day I'm doing now at home.
So, rather to my surprise, for I thought it a lot more "iffy" from a physical standpoint than appears now to be the case, I can likely begin a long vacation trip as early as next week, if opening-closing the hood, with the auto and my stance on the same level (or with a box to stand on), can be done at home as well as it was at the clinic.
For the first time in awhile, then, I'm beginning to take seriously the imminent prospect of a new solo driving adventure.
Now there are a variety of big and little things that need to be taken care of before departure.
The PT today included an assessment of the wrist condition, and Marilyn said she can tell I have already had a lot of improvement since the sessions and exercises began. She suggested I maintain the current level of function by being careful, doing indicated exercises, wearing a splint when sleeping and otherwise except if doing very benign activities, having daily hot soaks for my wrist, continuing with Ibuprofen, and, if I injure the joint again, treating it with cold packs twice a day.
I conferred this afternoon with the representative of the retail establishment we were considering as a new meeting place for our book group. All the details seem quite encouraging. I sent an e-mail about them to the other group members and will await their decision about this or another new venue.