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October, 2007: 1 2 9 12 13 14 22 26 29

10/1/07-I took Frances to the airport early yesterday morning. We had gotten up about 3:30 to be there on time. She will be visiting her mom in FL for a couple weeks, then returning the evening of 10/14.

Saturday evening, a few minutes before 10 PM (Central Time), when I had taken Puff out for an evening walk, I saw a large meteor or a UFO. It was big, fast, and traveling roughly east, from about the sky's zenith toward the horizon, then disappeared only a fraction of a second later. This flaring object was particularly impressive as it was brightly visible despite a haze of wispy clouds in the area where it shot by.

The latest news on my nephew, William's, situation is not so good. He is denying his schizophrenia or the need for treatment for it. In addition, as he is still a minor, his parents' financial condition was evaluated in determining if he were eligible for help through the state mental health department. And it was found they are not yet desperate enough. So, as things stand, the only psychiatric care available costs a bundle everyday. They may have to sell their house to cover these outrageous expenses.

My bank, Bank of America, without warning, has just instituted a far less convenient check policy, no longer even accepting, for either cash or deposit, two-party checks without both people (such as my wife and myself) being present and showing picture IDs. Nor will they accept checks endorsed by one person (such as my wife) over to another, even when the second person shows proper ID and has an account at the bank. The situation is quite aggravating. Most of my banking involves this kind of transaction. Bother! I would now advise both potential customers and shareholders to stay away from Bank of America.

I went out to eat at Tien Jin today. Spent most of the rest of the day exercising myself or Puff, meditating (especially as I need to cool down after the bank encounter!), and getting more caught up on investment records and analyses.

I plan to go to Waco in a few days, expecting then to visit with relatives there.

Am appreciating the last book group selection, The Magician's Assistant, by Ann Patchett.

10/2/07-Tues.-Had another PT appointment this morning. My physical therapist recommends ongoing conservative treatment, but my orthopedist, whom I'll see tomorrow, favors surgery if the symptoms of my thumb and wrist tendonitis have not resolved within about one more month.

10/9/07-Tues.-Have stopped at Chick-fil-A for breakfast while I wait for my car to be ready, from Lamb's tire place. The auto has a bad vibration, worsening over time, that starts at high speeds. It was noticed as a severe problem while on our CO trip.

Am trying out techniques of The Dog Whisperer with Puff. Got the show's first season DVDs three days ago.

Sunday afternoon, at a dream group meeting, there was more excitement than usual. A large number of yellow jackets were in the house and already disturbed. Evidently the owner of the place was used to having at least one window open without a screen.

With the AC now turned on for our gathering and all the windows shut, dozens of the stinging bugs were flying around or collecting at the windows seeking a way out. We did not realize for a few minutes that they were coming from a small hole in the ceiling sheetrock. Several people had been stung by this time, so if we were not to give up on our meeting that hole had to be plugged, and the rest of the yellow jackets already in the room would have to be either killed or directed outside.

But when someone tried to wedge a small piece of bunched up paper in the wasps' entrance/exit hole, the sheetrock crumbled around it. Suddenly, instead of space for just one wasp at a time to go in or out, a half-dollar sized space had opened up, and lots of angry, agitated yellow jackets were coming out through it.

Eventually, all of them were disposed of or blocked with a combination of "organic" veggie garden spray and a quantity of postal packaging tape. However, in the minutes before this was achieved, at least twenty stings occurred. One person was attacked five or six times. I lucked out with only one sting. It remained surprisingly painful for hours afterward.

Had a good visit, this past Thursday through Saturday, with my mom in Waco. As she has her 85th birthday anniversary coming up, I took her out for the occasion to a Thai restaurant she likes.

While in town, I also visited one evening with my other relatives there, Leila, Horace, Charley, and Keith.

Am having a problem with my left ear. It actually is worse than before since I tried to flush it with warm water a few days ago, thinking then there was excessive wax. Now I cannot get all the liquid out, and I hear very little on that side. Have tried everything I can think of, and may in the process have just made things worse. The next step could be a visit to the doctor.

Good news, at least, regarding my thumb and wrist tendonitis, which remains far less symptomatic since I began receiving cortisone treatment.

Later.-After a wheel balance, tire rotation, and alignment, the vibration problem for my car seems to have been corrected, but now it pulls to the right. Hopefully this can be corrected later this week.

10/12/07-Fri.-Yea! Between yesterday and today, a very happy conclusion to the week is shaping up. I went to the doctor today and got a flu shot plus an irrigation of my left ear. The doctor's nurse, using a large syringe with a hooked nozzle attachment, was able to wash out about a teaspoonful of wax, and suddenly I could hear well again.

After my second auto repair visit this week, yesterday, my car has been working better than before the long summer Pacific Northwest trip, and far better than during Fran's and my CO vacation in September.

Here in Austin last night, the temperature fell below 60°F, making for a quite pleasant walk with Puff this morning.

Meanwhile, our assets have been surging lately, up over $80,000 so far for the year.

Except for the ear problem, now resolved, I've been having a fairly good time despite Fran's absence (on vacation in FL and GA with her mom).

Both dream group friends and the owner of our favorite Chinese restaurant have been recommending I try acupuncture for my ongoing tendonitis difficulties. However, this condition has been much improved. Unless it gets worse again or fails to keep getting better, I think I can avoid seeing yet another healer this time. Last night, for instance, I mowed our entire backyard and also did some leaf mulching with the mower with no significant aftereffects.

Our dog is resisting somewhat my attempts to replicate the miracles of "The Dog Whisperer," but there is a little improvement in her overall behavior.

Altogether, the current situation as of this evening confirms an interpretation of my 9/28 dream, "Undoctored, But Still a Fine Resumé," that "with a little doctoring" I'll be able to resume normal activities. Alright!

The one negative may have been due to some stress over the severity of my ear impairment: when I went in to see the doctor my blood pressure was higher than normal, at 140/72. That should come down with a resumption of more regular activities.

Later: Well, the car is again pulling a little to the right, so all is not perfect after all. And my reaction to this of intense anger shows all is certainly not yet in balance with me either. The auto repair staff said my basic problem is with the back tires and that, though they had adjusted both the steering itself and the alignment, any residual pulling to the right problem cannot be remedied till I replace them. It is irritating, but I can live with the not so great tires and this pulling difficulty another several months. I shall have them replaced next year and then also assure all is right with everything else to have the car driving more "true."

A variety of other things seem to be easily upsetting me lately. I wonder if it has anything to do with my pH being low and the blood pressure being high. In any case, more meditation, strenuous exercise, and care about my diet are definitely indicated.

10/13/07-Sat.-A low-key day after a late start (up last night with a nightmare). Did a shift of volunteer work at the library facility. Researched investments for next week. Took the dog on a "power walk."

During that constitutional, Puff quickly caught and severely injured a field mouse or rat. I also saw another bright shooting star.

This evening, I had phone conversations with my brother, Ernie, my mom, and Frances. I expect to be picking Fran up at the airport tomorrow evening. She is ending her visit with her mother.

10/14/07-Sun.-Up about 5 A.M. with another dream to record.

I was then up next about 7:30. Got myself ready and then took the pooch for another "power walk."

My dream related (again) to having so many requirements and deadlines I am too stressed out, not able to enjoy myself. On reflection, I realize I am indeed driving the joy out of my retirement years with all sorts of expectations and rigid demands on myself. So, I am changing tack. As an experiment, I shall do each day simply five things that I regard as having highest priority. In fact, just which five things to do that day may be changed at any time.

And there shall be no meditation regimen or anything similar. I might just sit, for as long as I wish each day, but only if I really want to do so.

At the end of this more "relaxed fit" six months, I'll see if there has been relatively more or less satisfaction vs. more or less troubles due to not getting really needed things done in a timely fashion. And I'll also review to what extent I have or have not apparently made any progress in a meditation path. Hopefully the new, fewer rules approach will not lead to simply more stress or confusion but instead to additional genuinely fulfilling day-to-day experiences.

10/22/07-Mon.-After a high around 90°F Sunday, like a long sought gift (fitting, my 64th birthday anniversary coming this week), a true cool front has arrived in Austin today, along with a marvelous wind and so much rain I'm sanguine we may not have to do more emergency watering the rest of this autumn.

For the tendonitis that has been bugging me since February, I had my first acupuncture treatment today, seeing a well recommended doctor of Chinese medicine who is also a UT professor, teaching students in the specialty. There is a modest discount for folks with my insurance company. It is too early to know if there will be improvement as a result of the treatments, which included both strategically placed needles and electrical stimulation. The process was not pleasant, but also not very painful. Indeed, I briefly went into a kind of relaxed, meditative state during part of it, then this afternoon while napping had the most integrative dream I have experienced in at least several weeks.

10/26/07-Fri.-There were briefly a bit of relief and feelings of delight in everything being balanced and going well after my "dream job" dream of 10/22, cooler weather here, improvements in my tendonitis from initial acupuncture treatments, the dog seeming to respond appropriately to "The Dog Whisperer" methods, even Fran's and my marriage being pleasant, and the dream group endorsing such positive indications through their interpretations at the last (10/24) meeting, making comments to the effect that all was now right with my entire world and psyche.

However, this morning it was quickly apparent that such good sentiments and assessments were very premature. The thumb and wrist problems persist despite a couple acupuncture sessions. The dog remains obstinate, even aggressive, and far from calm, egged on to such misbehavior by my often hyper, aggressive, and obstinate wife, who sees herself as the dominant one in our little family, and whom Puff sees this way as well. So, I am once again quite discouraged and depressed with the whole situation and wondering if it is worth the effort, the many down times for the moderate number of up ones.

Meanwhile, it is quite confusing and disconcerting that the dream group responds to me and my dreams quite differently from one time to another, as though each presentation of me and my dreams is taken as the whole me, while in fact both I and my dreams represent at least two distinct personas, the one rather functional (confident, balanced, calm, etc.), and the other almost the opposite.

Getting the feedback from the group to these separate identities and their dreams has the effect of my emphasizing more than is realistic a glass half full attitude, and so being being too optimistic or idealistic about the good news, when my persona/dream presentation is the healthy identity, but stressing too negatively the bad news in a glass half empty approach, when the response is to the unhealthy one, so that then I become deeply depressed and disturbed, having fantasies of suicide or at least of divorce, as is the case now.

10/29/07-Mon.-Had my third acupuncture treatment this morning. Afterward, the main needles site is sore. Am using less Ibuprofen than before this therapy, so it seems to be helping some. However, unless there is more improvement I'll probably wind up having surgery and just hoping there are not any serious complications. Of concern already is that, following the cortisone shot plus Iontophoresis (a milder cortisone therapy) for my tendonitis, I noticed a place where there is significant muscle atrophy (or "dimpling") at the lower side of my right wrist. I cannot tell if this is due to disuse or a side-effect of the cortisone, but prefer not to take chances and so expect to have minimal, if any, further cortisone.

It is interesting that Fran's enthusiasms often do not persist. Thus, just as earlier there had been much anticipation on her part for going to the Pacific Northwest, at least for vacationing and perhaps also to live after retirement, but then such keenness declined markedly by the time we might have acted on the previous intentions, similarly, she had expressed eagerness over the years for our vacationing together in Hawaii, Alaska, and Iceland. Now, however, these destinations seem for her to definitely play second fiddle to her activities here in Austin, vacations with her Mom in warmer areas, and/or a possible trip to Panama (the latter two having little or no appeal for me).

Best, then, to take all her enthusiasms with a grain of salt, figuring they are not reliable, going with the flow but not counting on her wanting to follow through. A trip suggested last fall to the Canyon Lands turned out not actually to be of enough interest for her to warrant the hassle of preparations. So it goes. In these and other ways, I need to manage a flexible kind of retirement and marriage, in which little is expected of Frances and I just see how things will be, hopefully without undue disappointment when what I had hoped for does not actually come to pass.

The trick is to really be as adaptive as that last sentence suggests, yet without resentment or any sense of being a martyr. To do this, I shall likely need to fashion as full a life as I imagine I might have had if Fran were more interested in sharing it with me, but probably doing so without her, and yet, "Catch-22," not being so successful at this that I see no reason for Fran and me to still be married and plenty for us not to be.

I'm reminded of the (Buddhist, I believe) fable about the farmer and his cow. Both were unhappy, and there was a lot less milk, when he tried to control her, tethering or pinning up the cow. So, perhaps in frustration at first, at length he just released her to wander as she wished. Now the cow was happy to go wherever she wished, in a broad valley naturally hemmed in by tall mountains, for the freshest, tastiest grass. She was healthier and more contented and so produced more milk, the farmer was pleased with having plenty of milk for his household and with no longer having to fret so much over the cow. Yet every night the cow still returned from her wanderings for his milking and her safe shelter at the farm.

Well, Fran is not bovine, and I am not a dairy farmer, but perhaps there is a lesson there for us.

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