Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ideas from elsewhere

"All day I think about it, then at night I say it.

Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?

I have no idea.

My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there."


Bolman, Lee G., & Deal, Terrence E.  (1994).   Leading with soul: an uncommon journey of spirit.   San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

One of the best damn leadership books I ever read.  I wonder if any of those 14k gold Ivy League colleges ever heard of it.  Soul.  It's out there, we've all heard of it, and yet...it seems so strange to everyday people.  Leading...with soul.

There are days when I feel like a deep well in shallow ground. 

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanks givings

"The delights of self-discovery are always available."
        ~Gail Sheehy

This entry's been buzzing around in my mind for the past couple of days, and finally my thoughts are centered enough that I can sit and write without the bother of distraction.

First, I'd like to personally thank each of my J-Land friends who shared thoughts and support about my frustrations with a personal situation.

Robin - you hit that proverbial nail on the head.

Annie - thank you for stopping by and jumping in.  Your points are true and well-taken.

Kbear - the box does hold a bit of an analogy for this situation and you caught on to that (pardon the pun).

Jimmy - setting and keeping boundaries is something I really need to work on, and I am touched by your insight and honesty.

Charley - as long as there is a balance, I won't.

Cheryl - your right, she won't go away.  Just yesterday her husband came by the house for a quick visit, but more on that later.

Sam - your right and I needed it.  I did my best in the name of friendship for so long, but I have stepped back.

Thank you all for your friendship, love and for being there for me.  It really means a lot and each of you helped me immensely.


Thanksgiving was at our daughter's home again this year.  Among the highlights were:
*Upon seeing Sam walk through the front door, Baby D's face lit up.  "Gampa!" she greeted us while she ran into Sam's arms.  But later she called a Santa on the television Gampa, too.
*First complete sentence by Baby D: Read the book. :)  She repeated those words like a mantra, all day long.  Read the book.  Read the book.  It sounded vaguely like the chorus of a song I love.  And yes, several of us did read the book (Thanks Mary, I omitted that important point).
*Sam's Mom sliced her finger open while cutting potatoes with Amy's new Pampered Chef knife.
*Dona cut her finger while slicing green onions with Amy's new Pampered Chef knife.
And of course there was plenty of food and I ate too much!!  I know I did because I was awakened early Friday morning by the sound of my stomach growling.  LOL!


Yesterday B#2's husband stopped by for a visit; he often comes by at least once a month.  He always comes alone, but at some point he'll bring B#2 into the conversation and this time we learned he has to take her all the way to Portland to receive medical care.  I don't know how he does it, balancing the demands of owning a business and taking care of her, but every now and then he has to touch base with us.  I distanced myself from B#2 last summer and I've had no contact with her since.  Sam understands why and supports me.  Every now and then his friend will drop a subtle hint with the hope that I will call her, which is always followed by an awkward silence coz I won't take the bait.  Then someone changes the subject and the moment passes.

While visiting Leavenworth last summer with another couple we began plans to rent a house boat on Lake Roosevelt for a week next summer.  I am so excited about this and can't wait!!!  The house boat we have in mind will sleep ten (six in three different staterooms and four on two living room sofa beds) but we've decided to limit the number of people to six so everyone has a stateroom and therefore, privacy.  The house boat is new, and therefore spendy, but splitting the cost three ways makes it feasible for all of us.  Man oh man, we are talking some serious kickin' back fun and calming relaxation on the water, complete with a Jacuzzi.  ::::smile:::: 

The tree farm kept us busy all weekend with a steady flow of customers arriving to either tag or pickup a tree.  My craft room/office has a wonderful view of the farm so I worked on making Christmas cards and other projects in between customers.  Yesterday I only got ten cards completed, today I upped the number of cards to thirty-four.  Finally. I'm getting the creative juices flowing again.  There are times when I think the pressure of my day job sucks all the creativity out of me.  That, in and of itself, is frustrating, and the accomplishment of getting so many cards finished really helped to counterbalance all that negative work energy.  When I mentioned the audit wasn't going well in a previous entry it was in reference to technical difficulties I was experiencing.  Seems every file I sent electronically to the auditor was rejected by the server of our ISP; in the end a two minute task turned into a day long ordeal.  I could feel the adrenaline rising and arrived at the conclusion that 99.9 percent of my stress is caused by computers, or more accurately, software problems.  In other words, by something over which I have no control.

"Conquering others, requires force.
Conquering oneself, requires strength."

      ~ Lao Tzu

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Blessings to my J-Land friends...

Just call me Yoda

In reference to my last entry.


Don't ask me to point it out.


So, Dona, you say you have ambitions to be a writer someday.


Ever hear of proof-reading?




Nah!  I'll just blame my evil assistant and call it good.


And while we're at it this calls for another potential t-shirt slogan.

I wanna new t-shirt

I have a Board member at work who provides me with an endless supply of jokes via e-mail and there are days when I wonder if he actually works at his day job.  But, more often than not appreciate I his sense of humor and I know the jokes are his way of putting a smile on my face.  And perhaps to remind me to lighten up...we all need a release.  Here's a sampling of a recent message about potential slogans for t-shirts.


All this, from a Board member.   There's some food for thought before Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Who's got your back...

Over 30 days of life has passed since I wrote this entry.  I have seldom hesitated to post any entry, save this one.    

They say a friend in need is a friend indeed.  And sometimes people cross lines and getting back to the other side brings great levels of frustration for those around them.

When it comes to people my first inclination is to be open-minded and accept those I know as is, at face value; a trait which hasn't always been in my best interest.  But it's who I am and so in recent years I've honed the cautious side of my nature as a measure of protection.  I still believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt because we all need a break at times.  Then there are the other times...

I have a friend, a very dear friend, "B #2" who I am seeing with new eyes.  And when I look back over the years in retrospect I wonder how I could have missed so much of what is obvious to me now.

They also say history repeats itself.  And those who do not learn from the past are destined to repeat it.  Two different statements with different and yet similar meanings.

My friend has a bad back and endured every type of spinal surgery practiced in the medical world, with limited success.  I fully understand what a bad back can do to a person; my Mom had one and coping with her problems was part of my teenage rite of passage.  I'm all too familiar with the pain killers, braces, and new fandangled medical gizmos created in the name of pain management...and the lingering effects such cures bring to the surface.  I remember the pain in my mother's eyes and watching the muscles in her face tense as yet another back spasm immobilized her body.  I remember how she changed.  I hated it...the feeling of absolute helplessness, watching her cringe while the memories of the person she once was slowly faded into the recesses of my mind.  That was then with Mom, as it is now with my friend.  I remember when she was vibrant, fun loving, and full of laughter but those qualities no longer shine.  Her life has handed her a few hard blows, but she has been blessed on so many wonderful levels.  I feel she is so focused on her health she has lost sight of life, and the people around her.  I know that feeling well having traveled the same road before, many years ago, with my mother.

Finding myself on this road again has affected me in ways I never imagined, leaving me feeling cold and at times, uncaring.  Me.  Cold.  Uncaring.

At least five times a year my friend is admitted to the hospital, either because she fell or the muscle spasms are unbearable.  To stop the pain, doctors put her into a coma, usually for at least two weeks.  Previous pain management efforts included the insertion of an internal pump under the skin of her abdomen (which made going through airport security an interesting experience), but after three years of her body rejecting the pump (and the medical complications that went with it) the doctor's gave up and removed the equipment.  Before that they tried morphine administered in mass quantities.  But still she complained about the pain.  Nothing seems to work and many times I have listened to her complaints about the pain and the doctors while she disregarded their advise and recommendations.  Wanting to ease her suffering I struggled to find the right words to say, yet in my mind I heard a voice within telling me, "This all sounds strangely familiar." 

De ja vue is a strange thing.

At least a dozen times over the years I've asked myself one question, Why am I going through this again...first with Mom, now with my friend?  I see what's happening, just as I saw it back then.  And when my friend starts talking about her back, I shut down.  I do it every time anyone says something about their back pain.  Never did it before, but I do now.

Many years ago I was drawn to holistic medicine and studied hands on healing; at that time I had another friend, "M" with severe back problems (I'm seeing a definite pattern here).  Her prescribed pain management was like the others, surgery followed by pain meds and during one troubling episode I offered to lay my hands on her...without hesitation she accepted.  The session brought relief, as did repeated sessions and over the course of time she was taking fewer pills and able to spend more time with her two toddler daughters, less time flat on her back.  Seeing the relief on her face held it's own reward for me, but it came with a price; working with that type of energy drains the healer and one has to take steps to keep things in balance.  The other down side was our friendship soon focused on her back and my hands.  I encouraged her to help herself but in the end my words fell on deaf ears; over time I had that sinking feeling that I was being used.  The imbalance reared its ugly head on several different occasions and finally I walked away with the realization that the words we and us no longer came up in our conversations; they had long since been replaced by two other words...I need.  Each time I expressed my concern about where our friendship was heading, she responded with pointed ridicule about my shortcomings...finally I walked away and closed the door.  Another lesson learned.

But I was always struck by the dynamic parallel of my relationship with her and the one I had with my Mom.  I felt hurt, betrayed and confused.

And now, I find myself encompassed by the same thoughts, once again.  When I spend time with my friend "B #2," the focus of our time is spent on her health and she is plagued with many issues; her back, diabetes, congestive heart failure...all have significantly reduced her quality of life.  She can't work...sitting for more than an hour is torture.  She can't drive...her last venture behind the wheel ended in a fatal accident.  All of this has...well, do I really need to spell it out?  I've tried taking her places...shopping...to lunch, but being in public brings on panic attacks.  I've taken time off from work to be with her, but at the last minute she'll call and tell me not to come; giving her the benefit of the doubt I take it all in stride...she's having a bad day. 

During a camping trip last summer with friends, the intensity of the midday heat literally drove us to the river.  We found a nice, accessible beach and parked our pickups on the dirt road.  The guys went fishing and the gals sat in the water, except for "B #2."  She used to come to the water with us, but now she insists on sitting in the pickup, with the engine running and the air conditioner on.  She says she can't handle the heat, and we all quit trying to persuade her otherwise.  When she started doing this I gave up my time on the beach to keep her company, wondering about the sudden change in behavior but understanding that she could easily slip on a rock, fall again, and further damage her spine.  But this time I went to the water and stayed there, hoping that maybe the need to be with her friends would be greater than her need to stay in thepickup; she never made it to the beach.  Two hours later, the rest of us returned to our pickups, then back to our camp.  Within minutes of our return as she and I relaxed in the shade of an old cedar tree, she turned to me and with a deep sigh observed, "Camping just isn't the same anymore.  The girls used to go fishing and do things together."   I turned to her, hardly believing what she just said.  Had she really forgotten that only hours ago she made the decision to sit in a pickup parked on a road while the girls were down playing in the water?  I measured several responses to her statement, but in the end remained silent, knowing full well that previous attempts on my part to redirect her attention to what really happened put a strain on our friendship.  The girls were down in the river, B, where were you?  It was a major turning point in our relationship; that single moment defined so much about her.  Either all those years of medicated pain management has totally fried her brain, or she always had a narcissistic personality.  But she was right, things had changed and the girls who always stood by her side in the dirt road enduring the heat and dust kicked up by passing vehicles while she sat in the comfort of an air conditioned vehicle had decided this time to participate in the group activity.

In order to have a friend you first need to be one.  I feel for her and I've spent countless hours lending my ear as she vocalized frustration with family members and friends who she feels abandoned her.  How could they?  Well, I think I know.  In everything there has to be a balance and over the years I never kept track of the gives and takes with her.  It was after a long awaited honeymoon cruise with Sam, and four other couples, that I began to take stock of our friendship.  And I quickly realized many things...but most of all I realized she was playing a role in order to manipulate sympathy.  And I was one of her biggest sympathizers.  Things she did and said during and after the cruise put a nice big frame around the picture for me.  And I began to wonder if her health issues were actually real or something else.  After all when it comes to caring for the sick many people have a big heart...and who, besides a medical doctor, can question the severity of any health condition?

Suddenly, the cues were obvious to me and when Istepped back down memory lane the colors in the picture began to take clear, definite shapes...and a pattern emerged.  The real eye-opener came during a phone call as she cried in my ear because she felt I ignored her on my honeymoon.  Apparently she forgot I had waited ten years to take that honeymoon with Sam.  Apparently every day when Sam and I saw her husband walking alone on the ship I was supposed to leave Sam, go to her stateroom and spend my time with her.  Apparently all the dialogues we had over dinner--the only time she came out of her stateroom--were my imagination.  Apparently she forgot I was the one who surprised her with birthday decorations for her stateroom, even though the cruise began a week after her birthday.

I felt like I was dealing with my mother...again.  A friendship is not supposed to bring out those kind of feelings...well, at least not a healthy one.  She needs help, professional help, and I've suggested it to her several times.  She doesn't want to hear it, and is so put out by the suggestion that she becomes offended.  After so many years, I quit trying to help her.  But her husband and mine are long-time best friends.

In constrast there is my father, who from the moment he was diagnosed with prostate cancer never once wanted to or ever thought of burdening anyone with his disease.  He held his own through it all, even the chemo.  Until the bitter end he stood in valant determination to fight for his life.  He wanted to live and he had so much to live for.  When it came to dealing with illness, he raised the bar pretty high.

Last month when I started this entry I found myself oddly transported back in time by the wheels of my life today, asking myself why.  Why this, why now, why again.  To everything there is a season, and a time, and a purpose...   

On a side note I must point out that I live with spinal pain as well.  Five years ago I was a patient at the local pain clinic and once a month I received an injection to numb the pain.  My last visit involved a procedure called a discogram (no, not that kind) which enabled the doctor to accurately identify the problem discs.  A necessary step if surgery is recommended down the road.  So far I've been lucky--the pain has been minimal--and I've avoided going under the knife, a goal both my doctor and I set all those years ago.  He fully understands my position on this, andmy friend "B#2" is a former patient of his.  Former patient.  You don't know how many times I've listened to her bad mouth the physician who worked unselffishly to help her.  He's a quack according to her.  She's been a patient of almost every doctor in town--truth is, no one will touch her now.  Within in the medical community she is persona non grata.  And yet through it all my friend reminds me that whatever I may be feeling, it is nothing compared to her pain.

In truth, it all just breaks my heart.  "B#2" sustained her back injury on the job over twenty years ago when she worked as a buyer for a local chain of clothing stores.  She was counting cases of jeans, and while pulling a cumbersome cardboard box of jeans from a high shelf, another box fell.  Instinctly "B#2" twisted her body to stop the second box from hitting the ground.  Now, she wishes she would have let it fall.  There's a lesson to be learned in all this.  If a box of clothing, or anything, falls from a shelf, step aside and let it fall.  Whatever is inside that box can be replaced, but your back can not.  Nothing is worth the cost of ruining your spine, or your life.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Kickin' Butt...

Your Quit Date is:Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 6:00:00 PM
Time Smoke-Free:729 days, 12 hours, 49 minutes and 51 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked:18238
Lifetime Saved:4 months, 19 days, 7 hours

Money Saved:$4,106.25


Two years!   Oh yeah!!!!!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sammy, Sammy, Sammy...

Will he ever learn?

He's been on vacation this week, I've been working (due to the audit).  Monday I ask him if a trip to the cabin this weekend is on the agenda.  This is the last weekend we can go, as the Christmas tree farm will keep our weekends busy through the holidays.  The hubster won't commit and just shrugs his shoulders; it's a game of his...keep Dona guessing until the last minute.   Over the years I've learned so I keep this thought in the back of my mind for future reference.

Last night he asks me if we can go to the cabin this weekend.  Since Monday he's learned the audit isn't going well; he knows I'm swamped and this is just my slammin' time of year...lots of work, little fun.  In the hopes of swaying my mind he tells me our friends, F & B, are going up to their cabin (which we share a common property corner with).  We haven't seen much of our friends as they are in the throes of a major home redo (new flooring, paint, furniture) and we all know how time consuming home improvement jobs are.  Anyway, I say yes, I need a cabin break but I'll have to take my laptop and some work with me so I'll need to run the generator (our only source of power...did I mention the cabin is in a very remote location).  We are set.

So, a few minutes ago my friend B calls me to see if we'd like to go out for dinner tonight.

At the cabin? I ask.

Silence followed by her puzzled voice.  No...are you going to the cabin?

Cut to the chase...she knows nothing about a trip to the cabin this weekend.  F didn't say anything to her.

Re-e-e-e-ally.  How interesting.  Sam told me you two were heading up.

We break communication to respectively call our husbands, and she promises to call me back.

Sam answers the phone with a very chipper voice for someone who's in the process of paying bills and has no idea I have called to collect on another obligation.  He, upon hearing the news that 1) B called me to ask about going out to dinner tonight and 2) going to the cabin this weekend was not in their plans, ends the call speaking in a very sheepish voice tinted with the hushed tones of "I am so busted!"  From chipper to sheepish in less than 20 seconds...and who said I can't speak to the animals?

B calls back.  No plans for the cabin as they will be busy tearing out their old carpet because the carpet installer will be visiting their home bright and early Monday morning.

I'm am so not letting him forget this. 

Monday, November 13, 2006

My morning routine...

Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.

~Faith Whittlesey

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Another countdown :)

Been playing these past few days.  Need a creative release in preparation for the annual audit which begins this Wednesday.  I'm not as ready this year as in past years and that has me really stressed out; self-imposed StRess it is but lacking an assistant I'm on my own.  Suffice it to say my plate is heaping full, spilling over and may just break.  Five more years I keep telling myself; I'll retire in five years.  Kiss those one track minds good-bye.  Five years.  Ah yes.  <grin>  But back to the present.  So as a counter balance I've been playing; too much work and stress makes Dona a not-so-happy camper.

Sitting here watching the Travel Channel, with Florida as the topic...specifically Tampa Bay and the annual Gasperilla Festival.  Looks like a blast.  One guy just said this festival makes the Mardi Gras look like a wake.  Whoa.  I'm seeing lots of floats, families, beads, colors and pirates.  Pirates, everywhere.  Great costumes...hmmm, me thinks next year I'm dressing up as a pirate for Halloween.  LOL!  Oh yeah.  Now there's some fun to be had.

So I've been playin'...and now I'm sharin'.  The tags below are snaggable.  :)



"Life is a great big canvas and you should throw all the paint on it you can."

~ Danny Kaye ~

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

M. O. M. (My Own Mem)

Ten years ago I toyed with the idea writing a book about my mom, and in honor of her quirky sense of humor I thought about using a play on words and calling it M. E. M's (Mom's Eternal Memories).   The idea being that her ideas, thoughts and persona would be brought out through me.  Mom was really into the whole play on words thing.

It was just an idea, I had, that never saw the light of day.

Ten years later the word meme has come up again, in a different way, and has really taken off.  Memes are quite common place, turning up everywhere, everyday.  I find the whole thing rather amusing, really.

Meme as defined by Wikipedia

Thanks to Charley for reminding me.


Sunday, November 5, 2006

And...the curious little cow

Now for a couple of pics of my little Taurus granddaughter dressed up as, what else, a little cow.  While I had no influence on her costume this year, I was smiling inside and out from the moment I saw her.  I just loved this costume, even though Amy said all the other girls at the day care were dressed as princesses and such.  In my mind, this costume is perfect and there will be plenty of time for dressing up as a little princess in the coming years.

Chatting with her grampy Sam. You can just barely make out the little bovine horns and ears on top of her hoodie.  :)

 Sorry, photo removed by blog author.

Ah-ha! I spy a kitty under the table.

Sorry, photo removed by blog author.

No frontal pics of the baby.  I hesitate to post pictures of children to the internet, and do so only after asking for and receiving permission from the parents.  After a few days, I'll delete the pics, for safety's sake.

Sam and I spent this weekend working in the tree farm, mostly.  He was on call and had to go to the office each morning, but when he returned we immediately began working outside.  The air is cool, and I always dress warmly, in layers.  But within a matter of minutes, I'm wishing I hadn't added so many layers as I feel a little overheated.

We cleared the vegetable garden and that was a nasty mess.  There were cherry tomatoes everywhere, but Rum and Allie took on the task eating those on the ground.  They love tomatoes...heck they eat just about everything.  After clearing the garden we drove out to the metal recycling center to turn in our aluminum cans ($24 worth), and then to the city dump to take cardboard boxes and other items to their recycling bins.  Took my camera with me and got a couple of interesting shots on the way.  I've learned a technique using Paint Shop Pro which allows me to make my color photos look like something Ansel Adams might have taken.  Well, just a little bit, maybe.

Looking down river


Today we cut down all the diseased and dead trees much to my relief.  During that time I spotted three trees tagged by our customers.  Yes, the season is under way.


Saturday, November 4, 2006

Fathers and daughters...

Cruising through photos at Flickr.com and came across a photo from a Tears For Fears concert with the following caption...


My favorite. Best concert ever. You don't even understand. Summer of 2005, first time I ever saw my daddy dance. 

See for yourself...<click me>

Now that's awesome. 

Confessions of a film writer...moi?

You Should Be a Film Writer
You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.
You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.
Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.
And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

Came across this while reading Gem's journal.

Seems there are a lot of possible film writer's out there.  :)


Thing is, I learned a long time ago not to should on myself.



I really like this black background.

Friday, November 3, 2006

The pumpkin, the princess and the hippie

Sorry, photo removed by blog author.

What? Did you think this was a fairy tale? It's just three of our treaters Tuesday night.

Take a walk...on air...literally

If you could walk on air, 4000 feet over the Colorado River, would you?

Got plans to visit the Grand Canyon in the near future?  If so you are in for a real treat.  Today I learned a skywalk is under construction at the Grand Canyon and is nearly complete.  The skywalk is glass and steel horseshoe shaped cantilever design.  It's designers claim it passed  engineering requirements by 400 percent and can withstand the weight of 71 fully loaded Boeing 747 airplanes (that's over 71 million pounds).

I'm intrigued.  But I'm sitting here asking myself, if given the chance would I walk out to the opposite edge of the skywalk?  Across all  that glass...

            feeling the wind blowing on my face...


                                                  like a bird...                                


I could take two steps, to start with...but I'm not sure I could take the whole walk.  But it would be cool to feel just like a bird, if for just a short moment or two.  Yeah, maybe I would find it in myself to take that walk.

So, would you do it?

Check it out for yourself...<click here>


Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Petals in the wind...

Great art picks up where nature ends.

~Marc Chagall

Subdued in spring...

It was 20 degrees yesterday morning when I left for work.  B-r-r-r.  Last night all the kids arrived at the door with bright rosy cheeks from the cold night air.  Dilynn was a little cow, LOL!  She was soooo cute.  We had a cheer leader, dalmation, pumpkin, hippie, princess, and two ghouls.

Had a Christmas tree shopper wandering the farm yesterday when I came home from work; last year customers started tagging trees the day after Halloween.  The season is already starting.  

I came across the above photo last night while waiting for trick or treaters.  It was taken with my Ricoh 35mm SLR.  I sure miss that camera.

It's funny how answers to questions are often presented when we least expect it.  Been searching for a solution to an interpersonal work related problem.  How to deal with a super ego who destroys what he can't create. 

The ultimate choice man makes is to either create or destroy...to love or to hate.

   ~Erich Fromm

Break it down.  It's that simple.