Friday, December 12, 2014

The Countdown to Christmas

Christmas has done it again. It has a nasty habit of sneaking up on me. I hate that!

Every year I keep an ongoing list of things my family might like or need for gift ideas. I even keep a list for myself should anyone ask. I do this so that when a grandparent or spouse asks the inevitable "What do the Myrtles want for <insert gift-giving occasion>?" I can provide some kind of intelligent answer because otherwise I will draw a complete blank.

Unfortunately, everyone's current list consists of major purchases or candy.

With that said, I try to make most of my Christmas gifts so I start looking for ideas around May. The really GOOD ideas don't arrive in my brain until the first of December and most of those ideas take about a year to make. So I write the idea down with full intent on beginning said project after New Year's only to forget about it.

Since the Myrtles are my primary gift targets, they will often see me working on some project and ask the obvious question, "Whatcha makin', Mom?" to which I am forced to reply, "I don't know." or something along that line. Over the years this has become a twisted code which has us all very confused.

So at the present time, I am have completed one major project (which took from May to September to finish), am less than 1/2 way through the 2nd major project (started in September), completed one minor project and am less than 1/2 way through the 2nd (both started in November). I have not started the other four projects that I had planned, nor do I have a clue what I'm going to do instead.

And Christmas is in 13 days.

So...what does one do in this situation you might ask? Never fear, I have been in this situation many times before!

1. I will finish the 2nd minor project (yea, me!),

2. I might wrap the two major projects in whatever state of completion they may be. I say might be wrapped because I will probably be up all night in a mad attempt to finish the 2nd major project. It will probably end up draped over a stocking or stuffed in a colorful gift bag. (This is a family tradition that I did not start.)

3. Everyone else will get a hug.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

One Proud Mama

It's time to brag a little. I am a proud Mama of two terrific girl children. Between the two, I have learned and experienced more than I ever expected. Most of those experiences were due to my own involvement because I firmly believed that if I did not chaperone, help, clean, or help out in some small way, then my child would not have many of the experiences that they sought. So I was/am a children's choir director, Destination Imagination manager, band mom (of the World's Largest High School Band--google it), FFA mom, archery mom, youth counselor, dessert auction chair, field trip chaperone, or anything else that was needed.

Today I was the archery mom. Myrtle the Younger has participated in the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) for the past 3 years and has gone to the state competition each year. She had a tournament today and scored 262 out of 300. That ties her personal best and it's still early in the year.

(For those who do not know about archery tournaments--there are 3 sets of 5 arrows shot at both 10 meters and 15 meters for a total 300 points. A bullseye is worth 10 points. There are kids who shoot in the 290s. The highest score I have seen was 298. The nice thing is that the (most) kids are only concerned with their personal best. No one has a sense of how others are performing, except maybe the person who they are partnered with for scoring. I think that is why Myrtle the Younger enjoys the competition. (No stress.)

She has another tournament on Thursday on home turf. Both today's and Thursday's tournaments are state qualifiers. She should make a team again this year based on the 262 score, but she is hoping for a higher score on Thursday.

Go Myrtle!!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

"You're Going to Find Me a Job, Right?"

I can't tell you how many times I heard that, or a similar, question in the past 20 odd years. Some people ask it to be funny, but most are serious.

"But grandma just got a new hip! She doesn't need a job!"


"That's like Physical Therapy, right?"

No. Similar. If it helps you understand better....

Sigh. I spend more time explaining Occupational Therapy than I actually get to work as an Occupational Therapist.

If you ask a group of OTs what an OT does, you will get a different answer from each one. It is one of those hard to define professions because there are so many facets. There are OTs in hospitals, rehabs, nursing homes, schools, mental health facilities, prisons, and community outreaches to name a few. OTs work with physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and developmental challenges. We work with everyone from premature babies to elderly. Some OTs work with people who have hands and arm injuries, joint replacements, home modification, artificial limbs, biomechanics, learning disabilities, health coaching, life coaching, arthritis, balance issues, swelling, strokes, Parkinsons, cancer, swallowing, substance abuse and the list goes on.

Do I do all of those things? No. I have experience in many of those areas, but there are many areas I have never worked in. For example, I am not a pediatric therapist. I have treated children with hand or arm injuries, but I am not skilled in evaluating or treating developmental delays in conditions like autism or cerebral palsy. It would be like asking an English teacher to teach a Chemistry class.

So what is T's definition of OT, you ask? OT helps people overcome or adapt to challenges that interfere with living the way they want or need to live.

Clear as mud, right? Does it help to say that how I define OT depends on what setting I'm in? No? I didn't think so.

So what do I do?

So far, this week I have:
-evaluated a breast cancer survivor for arm swelling and made recommendations for a compression garment, exercises and treatment to decrease the swelling,
-helped a woman walk from her power chair to her bedroom to practice rolling and getting out of bed,
-exercised with a man who had a head injury years ago and his arm wants to hang at his side because he forgets to use it,
-made sure a man with severe weakness and tremors could walk to his fridge and get the meal his wife prepared,
-worked to improve balance and strength and decrease stiffness in a patient whose multiple falls this year have broken several bones,
-helped a below-knee amputee get in and out of her shower and build her confidence to take said shower without someone holding on or doing it for her,
-made sure a patient could walk to her apartment dumpster and mailbox without getting too tired,
-worked with neck and shoulder pain so the patient could get out of bed,
-evaluated a patient with balance and weakness issues affecting her ability to stand and brush her teeth or fix a sandwich safely.

Pretty important stuff, don't you think? I think so. Yet patients want more Physical Therapy. ("I want to walk!") Well if you can't do anything once you get where you're probably need me, too.


(Side note--PT is very important. I love PTs. They just get most of the glam and glory.)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I Am Cursed

Wow! Thank you all for the positive strokes for my first post. My baby brother, who has now labeled himself my "blog father" (which is kinda creepy), showed me all sorts of stuff to do to get this site up and running, but I have forgotten 3/4 of the info. So I now have 2 followers and I do not remember what he said about how to find their pages or link to them or anything. I can tell you that Preachers and Horse Thieves and GunDivas have chosen to keep an eye on what I'm up to, for which I am grateful. (In full disclosure, Preachers & Horse Thieves is my baby brother who refers to me in his blog as "My sister...the Devil". I can live with that.)

So on to post numero dos.

It is a well known fact that I am cursed. My curses manifest in different ways, none of which I understand how or why.

Curse #1: I have multiple twins. It is inevitable that I will meet someone new and that person will say "You look just like my....(sister-in-law, 3rd cousin, a friend of a friend of a friend)".  I did have one person try to say I looked like some movie star, but she couldn't remember the name and I would not have known who she was talking about anyway. Needless to say, I do not look like any movie star.

Curse #2: People who can't remember my name call me Jennifer. All the time. Really. There is absolutely no conceivable association with my name and Jennifer. There is nothing wrong with the name Jennifer (I know several very nice Jennifers) but I am not a Jennifer. I had a Spanish instructor call me Jennifer all semester. The entire class would correct her. Poor woman.

Curse #3: I look like I know I'm doing. Last week I was at the grocery store looking at all of the flour options. A woman came up and asked me where the tapioca flour was located. I don't even know what tapioca flour is! My eldest daughter (a side note--I have decided to refer to my offspring as the Myrtles, with Myrtle the Elder and Myrtle the Younger to be specific. They answer to Myrtle Ann and Myrtle Sue respectively, soooo....) Myrtle the Elder and I were taking an early morning drive to Decatur for a livestock show. I was diligently following my GPS which led me (diligently) into the middle of nowhere. I am talking dirt road middle of nowhere here. The drivers of the TWO cars that blindly followed me into the middle of nowhere admitted that they followed me because I looked like I knew where I was going. Yeah. No.

Curse #4: My baby brother, KB, is mother's favorite. Fact.

Again, Thank you all for your support.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Another Birthday, Something Else to Remember

Welcome to my blog. I think the blog name says a lot. I'm from Texas (and proud of it) and insanity is always waiting around the next corner. Take this endeavor for one example. My beloved baby brother insists I should write for several reasons. Between him and a few friends who also think I have something to say, I go.

It is fitting, I think, to begin these ramblings on the eve of my birthday (no, I will not say which one, it is just another birthday). It also happens to be Thanksgiving. So for starters, I will focus on counting my blessings and use that as a basic introduction to my life. It is guaranteed that I will forget something/someone of importance, therefore I reserve the right to add to my list at any time.

1. God. He has led me through this life even when I wasn't asking him to. Now I find that if I ask for guidance, I will usually get some signal of what I direction I should take. I may share some of the better stories at some point.

2. My family. The immediate characters who claim me include my parents and father-in-law, the aforementioned brother, a spouse, two intelligent and talented daughters, a black lab, and three bunnies. I will put names to the above as appropriate. Please know that their names/nicknames may frequently change depending on my mood and what kind of trouble they have gotten into at any given moment.

After the first two blessings, numerical order only indicates the order in which the blessings came to mind, not importance.

3. My Sunday School class. We come with a disclaimer and probably need more meds than we currently take. Oh, well...I am honored to belong to this insane group of highly intelligent people who keep me thinking and growing in all manner of ways, yet still pull off an almost undefeated record of Annual Youth Chili Cook-off wins for best theme (Backsliders Cafe, Hillbilly Chili, and Flaming Big Tex to name a few).

4. New and old friends. I will only name those with permission to protect the guilty (and innocent) but you know who you are.

5. My work. Although I do not always agree with the direction healthcare is going, my 22 year career as an Occupational Therapist has been an interesting one. My hope is to find a way to survive my current situation to follow the path I was led down (see blessing #1). I keep asking myself what I want to be when I grown up, but I know OT will continue to play some part in my life no matter what I do.

6. My health.

I'm sure there are other blessings that I simply can't remember at this time. In about 45 minutes, I will celebrate another birthday. Here's to another year and to this new venture, which is something else to remember.