Ten Things My Granddaughter Teaches Me About Jesus

When I married Dale, my heart grew to hold him. When our children were born, more space was added and as they married it grew even bigger, Now there is a new place, room for this new child, a part of us all.  When we are apart, no matter how far or how long, there remains a grandchild shaped place in my heart, waiting and loving and praying until we are together again.

Jesus loves all of us. There is room at the cross.

When I hold out my arms and she smiles and runs to me my heart is so full it wants to burst. Chubby little legs moving, elbows out, full speed ahead. She is not graceful as she learns to use her growing limbs, she may trip and sometimes get distracted by something else along the way. It may not look like anything special to someone watching..but it is everything to me. She is my granddaughter and I am her gamma and I will lift her when she reaches me a t last.

Jesus is always waiting for us to run to Him, arms out, ready to lift us out of our aloneness, no matter where we are in our journey to Him.

When I sing to her it does not matter that my voice is not perfect or that I miss some notes. She loves it and sings with me. It may not be opera, or even pleasant as far as an artistic music endeavor and even though there might be a lesson in the words, the important part is that she is looking at me face and smiling and the singing is an act of love.

When we sing our praises to Jesus, it doesn’t matter what the words are or that our voice cracks. It’s not the song that counts. It’s the heart.

When she laughs, I can’t help but laugh with her. When she is sad or hurt, I want to cry with her. I am fascinated by her personality, by how intent she is one things and love to watch her discover the world. I rejoice in her ‘becoming” as she grows and learns and changes.

Jesus is “over the moon” in love with us. He rejoices in our triumphs and weeps with us at our failures. He knows every little quirk. We are the favorite part of creation.

When we walk together and she reaches to hold my hand, I love to take that hand and walk with her, trying to make sure she is safe and loving spending time with her. She might stumble and I have to walk slow and bend so that she can reach me, but it doesn’t matter as long as she wants to walk with me.

Jesus is walking with us, His hand reached down waiting for us to grasp when the sun is shining and the path is smooth and lined with flowers. He is there when the way is dark and rocky and we are stumbling and weary.

When she falls down and gets hurt or is sick, I want nothing more than to comfort her and heal her. I can’t protect her from everything hurtful and it is painful to me to know that she will know pain in her life and I would spare her that, but I can’t and so I will pray that there is a hand for her to hold when it comes and that she will grow stronger. If the painful situation is one where I can help or at least let her now I am there, I pray it will make our relationship grow stronger and deeper. I would love for the answer to always be yes, but sometimes no matter how much you love someone, the answer will have to be no.

Jesus knows suffering. Jesus knows how the world can hurt you even when you have the best intentions. He has seen the weakest and meanest of humanity and died for all of us anyway. Jesus asked the Father, if there was any other way for Him to do God’s will, to take the suffering away, but He had to walk that path and die on a cross so we would have a resurrected savior.

When she spends the night at my house she sometimes wakes in the night. If I hear her I love to get up and pat her and sing to her and reassure her that she is not alone in this strange world and that someone is watching of her so she can sleep.

Jesus watches over us even when we sleep. We can give him all of the problems of the day and lean on Him for peace that comes from knowing He is always there.

I am so excited when she learns a new word or any kind of way to express herself. I am filled with joy when she can talk to me and I want to always be someone that she will want to tell anything to, secrets, hurts, questions, joy and even anger because I love her, completely, without reservation. I don’t just love this part and not love that part – I love all of her.

Jesus is big enough and has enough love that He can take all of it – all our parts, even the dark and dusty ones that we hide from each other and sometimes even from ourselves. His eyes see us, not like we see each other or ourselves, but through the lens of eternity.

The time we spend together will let a little bit of me live on through her and though my parents were gone, she learns a title bit about them, through me. I hope to be around long enough to tell her stories of our family, so she can tell her children and they can tell theirs. But the stories won’t matter as much as the time. Whenever I have the gift of hanging out with her, I pray that she sees my mama through knowing me.

The time we spend hanging out with Jesus, in prayer, in praise, and in His word, we get to know Him and through Him we get to know more of God.

There is nothing she could do for the rest of her life, that would make me stop loving her. I don’t mean that I will approve of every decision she makes and there will be seasons of pride and seasons of disappointment as there are for all of us, but the love will never stop. I pray that even after I am gone from this earth, that she will know her gamma loved her.

We are so loved. No matter how old we are, how many times we stumble or how far and hard we fall, Jesus love is always there waiting to lift us up, clean us off, and let us know that we kingdom kids and He loves us. Always and forever. Amen.

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Spring Break

One hundred and three work orders. In two months. That is what I have done. I have been mad and sad and frustrated and tired and dealing with scary crappy health stuff but I did it. Spring break begins.

 

The Weight of Anger

the weight of anger
is immense
tense and tiresome
dragging the heart down to the
level of nothing good
no laughter, no singing
it steals your voice and takes
all your choices for itself
it changes all the colors like
some bad adjustment, all tinged with
mad, sad, hurt, can’t even separate the parts
the heart beats faster and I hear
that tone in my voice you know
the one that sounds like
a banshee, like fingernails
on chalkboards
like a lonely cat
back up, fur bristled
like thistles. prickle
changed no longer
who I am but taken
by the weight
of anger

Lessons From a Statue

Photographer Tommy Stone

Photo credit: Tommy Stone

wings raised in
perpetual readiness
shuttered lids
warmed by a winter sun
nestled in the green
there are lessons here
and prayers
be still
be prepared
stay warm
find a safe place
calm whispers
in a world of chaos

 

As always, thank you Tommy for inspiration.

Let Go!

The last few weeks at work have been odd and unsettling. I have run through a pile of emotions and probably let my blood pressure get out of hand for nothing so I am taking a step back. I think I need to write more and stop overthinking. Some of my reactions to change are my own insecurity and I KNOW this. I just forget. Not everything that happens is because I am older, because I got injured, or because I am female. I have to remember that sometimes people are just twisted up in their own garbage and and I need to decide not to be collateral damage.

Two things have helped me get to this point. I just had to shut up and wait for them.

2 Chronicles 20:17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'”

A Coat by William Butler Yeats

I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world’s eyes
As though they’d wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there’s more enterprise
In walking naked.

I have read the scripture reference before but never felt the meaning so strongly as now. I am going to make the last few lines my meditation for the week and take comfort from knowing that every tomorrow, God will be with me.

The poem was one I discovered clicking to read a different poem. It was in the sidebar. What a wonderful find. Everyone makes their “song” a coat. I cover up with words until I believe them myself but the world always ends up ripping the coat away. A lesson I seem destined to learn again and again. The world might take the top layer but it cannot touch your song or soul. There is risk in walking “naked” but there is freedom too.

all the letters coalesce
become something they were not
and in the birth a death comes too but not
the inner center
gooey soft and chewy
still remains though rain may fall
on just and unjust
washing nothing but the dust
you must
hang on, hang in, hang out
like driftwood bleached bone beauty
hard as nails the water changed
and in becoming
whiter with each passing tear
hardened edges give way to
softened lines as words become pictures
and scars become memories
the shadows only mean the sun still shines

Thank you Mr. Yeats. You still resonate. Also thank you Jae for sharing a poem that led to the poem challenge that led to Yeats. Happy trails. Thank you to my grandbaby for taking my mind off problems and changing my perspective. Thank you blog sidebar for this quote of the day:

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
Havelock Ellis

we are all having so much fun…

I have had so much time to write in the last few months. Time does not not seem to mean creativity as the empty blog shows. My body has not been my friend. On May the 30th I broke a bone in my foot. I had surgery two weeks later and they put metal in my foot. I was no weight bearing for six weeks. When I finally started putting weight on it again it swelled and ached and it turns out it was infected. Another surgery to remove the metal. Along with the surgery they put what is called a picc line in my arm so I could get six weeks of IV antibiotics at home. Home health came once a week and changed the dressing on the picc line and drew labs. During this time I kept telling people my arm hurt. It became worse, to the point where it would keep me awake at night. After hooking up and infusing the antibiotics, I could barely lift the it off the arm of the chair. A few weeks ago I went to have the picc line removed and said once again that my arm hurt and I was hopeful that it would improve once the picc line was removed. The doctor decided I should get an ultrasound of the arm and apparently, the picc line had caused a blood clot. Now I am on two different blood thinners to make sure that the blood vessel heals without sending the clot somewhere it should not be. I was given a prescription for blood thinners in injection form and told to follow up with my local doctor. I made an appointment and when I showed up for the appointment the doctor would not do anything because they had no information from the hospital. I waited several days and called them and was told they still had no information. I told them that I only had two syringes left and if labs take three days to get results I was going to be in trouble before we got answers. This made them decide I should come on in and at least get labs drawn. I actually saw a doctor this time and he said I should have been on the shots AND oral meds and then when the therapeutic level is attained I could get off the shots and just continue with the pills. Soooo I got another prescription of ten more syringes plus the pills. The shots are not horrible but the medicine stings and it leaves ugly big bruises on my stomach. I would have appreciated doing this correctly the first time.

I had thought about trying nanowrimo again this year but I just do not feel it.

I feel like the poster-child for Murphy’s law. What can go wrong…will. I am back at work and that is helping keep my mind off it. I am trying to concentrate on my health, find a balance between rest and exercise and a balance between what I cannot eat while I am on this blood thinner and eating healthy.

Inspiration is hiding right now. Maybe when I am better I will write a medical/murder mystery/urban fantasy…kill off a few bureaucrats or at least turn them into gargoyles, forever imprisoned in stone, unable to communicate.

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Write if I Want To…

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Beautiful photo by Tommy Stone

sandwiched in between all the black
you know the clouds that move in unexpectedly and stay longer than you wish
no invitation, just plop down at your door with suitcase overflowing
taking over the guest room and hogging the remote
eating up the last piece of cake and tracking all over your clean bright floors

but I digress, sandwiched in-between, that’s where I was…
there is this light that dances just on the edge of your vision
creeps in with a little finesse unlike that pesky black shadow that
just wants to take over
it lingers as long as it can
hanging on by fingertips and branch endings, tossing a little pastel silk
over all that dark velvet
reminding you that darkness like uninvited company
does not stay forever
even as it sinks to the ground the last veil drifts by
pats your cheek and tucks you in
making shadow puppets on your heart
soft as a mother’s sigh

Mist

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Image by Tommy Stone

skeletal remains
last stabbing grasp
reaching for what was
or what will be
who can tell?
fog hides truth

Inbetween

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Image by Tommy Stone

I love the moments in-between
sunset, sunrise
either one will do
The earth in deepest indigo
sky ceiling blending in to the color
of robins eggs, babies eyes,
soft and unsure
but in the middle no artist brush
could blend to make that shade of peach
or palest coral, blush
there really is no name
but the color is easy on eyes
that are just waking
or near to closing

Oil or Rust?

hello hello a person finally
ask a question
get an answer that is no answer
leads to questions why the language
so confusing obfuscation is the nation
pastime making simple things so difficult
and mama always said you catch more flies
with honey but the money is what talks today
and even that is not enough
to make a person care to share
the knowledge that they hoard as though
their very life depends on keeping little piles
of facts so deeply buried harried then the conversation
takes a turn on contemplation seems to me
that spelling out the answer would save time
the goal the whole thing reeks
I do not seek to make you less to make you
miss the most important part to hide
if service is what you provide then
I propose machine is broken just a token
of the way things should be done
it grinds to dust instead of oil
you turn to rust

We all sell customer service, no matter what our job title. Whether we know it or not. From the customer side of things, if you make my life easier, you get my business. If I call you, frustrated and confused, and you give me a simple answer, I sigh with relief and sing your praises to everyone I know. If I approach you with a problem, fearful that it will be difficult or expensive to solve and you respond with a calm answer and do not make me feel ignorant or needy for asking, my entire mood changes and I respond in kind.

If I take my car to the mechanic, I am afraid it will be something difficult and expensive to fix. When he smiles and tells me it is just that little thingamabob that needs adjusting or a simple twenty dollar part, I am happy, relieved, and more likely to take the car back to him when the big stuff goes wrong. I will also pass his name out to friends.

I find this in my own job all the time. I fix computer problems. If someone has a question or a problem with their computer and I show them how to easily rectify the issue so that they can avoid the problem in the future, in a nice way that allows for them being intelligent human beings, just not possessing the particular piece of information they need in the situation, they remember not just that I fixed their problem, but that I was nice. I have a rep. I LIKE having that rep. I like being known for being nice. I like sharing information with others. I like oiling the machinery of every day life.

It seems to me that some folks take pleasure in being rust. The old saying “the buck stops here” meant being accountable, being responsible, being the solution. The present meaning for that saying is more like end of the road honey. No answers here.

Unless you get mean or shout or threaten or make yourself such a nuisance that the person finally, slowly, painfully, drags out the one little piece of information that is needed to remedy the situation and make the customer go away.

I have had to deal with Workers Comp for the last three months. I should not complain because this injury has rasped up some expensive bills that I fortunately have not had to be responsible for and I am truly grateful. really I am.

However…it has been such an ordeal to get information. Nearly every single time. I end up with the frustration coming through in my voice. I end the call angry and often more confused that when I began.

The only time I have gotten clear and fast results was when I got ugly.

For example…After the second surgery on my foot to remove the metal that was placed there to begin with and deal with the infection that had set in, I was, for the weekend at least, the only patient at the surgery center. The surgery took place on a Friday with the understanding that I would probably stay over night. I stayed the weekend with the understanding that I would be going home on Monday. I sent the husband home. No need for him to sit around while I napped and read and watched HGTV. He drove the ninety miles back on Monday and sat there all day ready to drive me home. There was a problem. I finally told him to go home and I would call him when they were actually sure I was being discharged. Tuesday rolled around. I sat. I waited. I think the nurse finally hated to come to my room because even if I didn’t ask out loud my face showed my frustration.

Finally, I got on my knee scooter and went down the hall searching for a decent signal on my cell phone. I found one on a bench in front of the cafeteria. I called my Workers Comp case worker. He was not in. I explained in detail what my problem was.

I am sitting on a bench in front of the cafeteria so I can have a phone signal. My post op foot is hanging out for any opportunistic bacteria that might wander by to jump on board. My hair and clothes are dirty because I thought I would be home by now. The hospital wants to send me home. I want to go home. The problem seems to be you. This is a very nice hospital. Very expensive. If you wish to continue to foot the bill for me to stay in what is the equivalent of a four star hotel where they will bring me Rosa’s Migas and French Vanilla coffee in the morning, then so be it.

A moment later I was speaking to a supervisor. Evidently the person at the hospital had submitted paperwork for pre-authorization. This supervisor had initialed it and sent it back saying she did not think it required pre-authorization. Her tone suggested that these people did not know what they were doing. I could have asked why she did not note along with her initials that rather than contact the pre-authorization company that she needed to contact Risk Management. I could have asked why there seem to be separate entities for each step of this process and that why none of them seem to be aware of what the other is doing. I could have. I didn’t. I simply asked her if I could have her name and told her I would go back to the desk and ask that the appropriate person contact her so we could resolve this. She seemed reluctant but gave me her name and twenty minutes later I was calling my husband to tell him to come get me.

Two days of me sitting there and Workers Comp paying and all it took was me calling and fussing.

Why was that necessary?

I have had a knee scooter nearly the whole time. It has been a life saver. I seriously think that if I had to manage crutches in the middle of the night, half asleep and in the dark, just to get to the bathroom, I would have been in a lot more serious trouble.

I asked the doc for a prescription for the knee scooter because that was what my case worker told me I needed. The doc’s office person ace me a pamphlet for a place in Dallas.  I went to a place here near home and rented one for a week myself, just to see if I could manage it. When I found that I really did need the thing, I called the place I rented it and said I need to keep this, and it is workers comp. The person I talked to said they had never billed this as a workers comp item. (Keep in mind that they do crutches and other durable medical items so it would be the same process).

I spoke to someone in town who understands workers comp and verified that it would be the same. Now I am getting bills from them. I called my caseworker. After ten minutes of my asking for clarification it turns out that my only recourse at this point is to pay for the thing outright, obtain the needed prescription from the doc and a receipt from the medical supply provider, and hope  workers comp will reimburse me.

At the very start I needed information that I received too late for it to be of any help. I needed things to happen in a certain order. I needed steps.

I SHOULD have had that information two and a half months ago. I did not because I was being nice and trying not to be a bother which is what I have felt like every time I have had to call.

I also was told that I could call the Workers Comp commission and ask questions at any time. I am thinking that is another piece of information I should have had several months ago.

I am not sure I would have known what questions to ask. That is a problem I often see in my own job. I get an email where someone is having a problem. Experience has taught me that often what they are asking is not what they need to ask. My process is to either read between the lines and answer what I believe they actually mean, or ask more questions if I am unsure.

At no time in this process have I had anyone tell me I was asking the wrong questions, nor has anyone asked me questions to determine what I really needed to know.

The general feeling has always seemed like the person at the other end of the line was trying to give the shortest answers or least amount of information needed to get me off the line. Period. Somewhere there may be a training manual that teaches how to handle as many calls as possible in as short a time as possible. It does not seem to focus on solving problems, quality rather than quantity.

We are sacrificing quality for quantity and we are all paying the price, from the client who either does not get what they need unless they are angry and determined enough to fight for it, to the provider who will never go home at the end of the day with a feeling of satisfaction from a job well done, knowing they have solved problems and made people’s lives easier.

We have become a society that no longer oils the machinery to keep things running. We are getting rusty.

Gold Before Dusk

even sky holds on to light
climax of the final act
crescendo golden notes to play
sing the evening welcome home
gilding leaf and branch and pond
softened green and cooling air
sigh as though to say
remember this when darkness falls
a memory of day

The Wisdom of Stones

be still
cling to the mountainside
or bottom of the rushing stream
change comes but if you wait
long enough
the pain will pass
rough edges smoothed
story revealed
of storms weathered
flood endured
sunbaked and wind burned
lines deepened
memories etched
soul remains

Decisions and Connections

I am spending a lot of time in a chair while my foot heals and I find myself reading and thinking and making connections. Those connections will find their way here to the blog so I don’t lose them. At least I can point back to these things and feel as though I were a little productive. Enforced relaxation is not as much fun as choosing to relax. Especially when it is wrapped up in pain and stomach issues but I am getting a little better each day.

First of all, if you have never wandered around TedTalks and watched a video or two, you are missing out. Some of the brightest minds, the best presenters, the least boring people ever can be found there. This morning I watched Daniel Gilbert talk about decisions.

“Human Beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting, as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our lives is change”

Daniel Gilbert Harvard psychologist

Later in the morning there was a blog article in my FaceBook feed talking about making decisions. According to the article:

Suzy Welch says to use the 10-10-10 rule. What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes, in 10 months, and in 10 years. To read more of what she has to say about the process you can purchase her book 10.10.10 Life Transforming Idea. I have included a link below.

I was reminded of a sermon on how to make a decision based on Christian principals. The lesson advocated three different sources of Godly counsel. The Bible, prayer, and seeking advice from a Godly friend. All three are suggested because as we all know, scripture taken out of context can often be made to say what we want it to say. Sometimes we assume prayer is  answered according to what we want as well. To just seek Godly counsel from a friend is to leave your decision in the hands of one fallible human who may or may not be as Godly as you think. By combining all three of these tools you have a better chance of a true picture of what direction you should take.

Google decision making and you will find thousands of articles on how and what to do. Some even go as far as saying spreadsheet it out. One interesting piece suggested reversing your assumptions. List all the assumptions, Reverse them – what is their opposite? Then ask yourself how to accomplish each reversal. This may give you a different perspective.

Most decisions we make are based on feelings and I don’t think you can ever take that completely out of the equation, and probably would not want to. But maybe these are some tools that would help when we are trying to make the really big, grown-up decisions that are going to have lasting consequences.

Sources:

http://lifehacker.com/four-tricks-to-help-you-make-any-difficult-decision-987762341
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_you_are_always_changing
http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/06/use-the-10-10-10-rule-to-make-better-decisions/

to purchase Suzy Welch’s book go here:
http://www.amazon.com/10-10-10-Life-Transforming-Idea-Suzy-Welch-ebook/dp/B00245A46E/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403626360&sr=1-1&keywords=10.10.10

A Convergence of Reading and Thought

“Science is expanding our ignorance
One of the things that science does is a really curious thing.  Every time we use science to try to answer a question, to give us some insight, invariably that insight or answer provokes two or three other new questions. Anybody who works in science knows that they’re constantly finding out new things that they don’t know. It increases their ignorance, and so in a certain sense, while science is certainly increasing knowledge, it’s actually increasing our ignorance even faster. So you could say that the chief effect of science is the expansion of ignorance.
In a curious way, Google is all about answers. So you could say that Google is increasing answers over time, but what’s interesting is that answers are becoming cheap; they’re almost free, and I think what becomes scarce in this kind of place that we’re headed to is questions, a really good question, because a really good question can unleash new questions.
In a certain sense what becomes really valuable in a world running under Google’s reign, are great questions, and that means that for a long time humans will be better at than machines.
Machines are for answers; humans are for questions.
The world that Google is constructing—a world of cheap and free answers—having answers is not going to be very significant or important. Having a really great question will be where all the value is.”

Kevin Kelly

For entertainment I am reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. The premise of the book is that after a terrorist attack in San Francisco, the powers that be abuse technology to track everyone. The rallying cry of the book is “Don’t trust anyone under 25″ So I am reading the book from the perspective of the age group that proposes the loss of some freedom is worth the price of safety.

I am also reading it from the perspective of an aging hippy who saw the sixties and seventies fade into the complacency of the eighties. I enjoy the convenience of technology. Debit cards and loyalty cards, cell phones, opening up Facebook every morning to see what my friends and family are up to.

I am of the generation that enjoys the convenience of toll passes and search engines and online banking and shopping. I give little passing notice to the changing ads on my Facebook and Google pages that reflect things I have recently shopped for. I use my debit card to buy gasoline that tells someone, somewhere, that I have been at this gas station on this day. My internet provider tracks where I go on the internet and amazon contains my wishlist of products I would like and books I wish to read. My google calendar and Facebook birthdays sync and seem to have conversations that I am not even a part of.

I am pretty transparent. Is that a bad thing?

I remember a day when the only time you got a long distance phone call was when someone died. I remember my mother writing actual letters to her mother and news would take a week to arrive. I remember my mother using the saying “You never know what goes on behind closed doors.” I remember when there was only one phone in the house and it hung on the kitchen wall. There was no privacy and you better not have phone calls from friends at meal time because that was when everyone gathered at the table and the tv stayed off until you had finished your vegetables and helped clear the dishes. There was only one tv and it was in the living room. The entire family watched it together and on Sunday nights we kids would get to have snacks in the living room and watch Walt Disney. There was no concern over shows (or commercials) being too adult.

When my kids were growing up, we had one computer and it sat in the living room. There was no privacy. Their first phones were tracphones that I bought minutes for. They were strictly for using to call me to come pick them up after band and debate trips. They had no internet or cameras. We owned a set of encyclopedias. We made trips to the public library. I recorded RugRats and Winnie the Pooh cartoons on our vcr so they could watch them over and over.

Now it seems that most of us really do live in glass houses. I have a blog, I am on Facebook, Linkdin, Pinterest, and so many other sites that it takes a spreadsheet to keep track of my passwords. Even when the family is together, we all have our phones, laptops, tablets, and any discussion or argument is rapidly solved with Google. If I want to learn how to do something, I watch a video on Youtube or TedTalks. I used to keep a list of books that I wanted to read and would almost always wait for them to come out in paperback unless I borrowed them from the library.

I remember a time when there was no such thing as a camera in the hall at school. Now it is commonplace. As a student I made sure that I never got in trouble at school (or at least did not get caught) because a call home would have been disaster. I would have been in double trouble. Once for whatever I did and again for the fact that I embarrassed the family in public. Now it seems that the only person not held responsible for behavior is the individual acting.

I tend to think of the past as static. Things were this way or that way and for a period of time and then they changed. I am no longer certain of this perception. It seems as though things have been in a state of change for years and now I question whether it has always been like that and I just did not notice the changes happening, or if things really are changing faster and faster. There seems to be no chance to just stop and catch our breath and wonder about where we are going and if the changes are positive.

Cory Doctorow’s book Little Brother, shows the dark side of what can happen when government abuses the lack of privacy that we have voluntarily embraced. I am not at the point where I would close my Facebook account and withdraw from the internet, but I am starting to wonder if we are asking the right questions. How much sharing is too much sharing? Will there be a cost and what will it be? The days of hiding one’s youthful indiscretions are gone. There is now a record of everything and often we have created ourselves with our selflies and checkins and lists of what we ate for supper. I lead a mundane life and cannot see the government being interested in what recipe I shared or the fact that I searched for the best way to construct a plot. But, if someone wanted to, they could follow my footprints. The could see that I drove to this city on this day, stopped and got gas and a snack, shopped here, ate lunch there. There are probably photos of some of it since security cameras have become commonplace.

We as a culture, never seem to slow down on the path and question what might be lurking over the next hill. Science creates ways to grow more vegetables and we end up with hormones in our food. Research figures out a way to cure a disease and the possible side effects seem worse than the original illness. Like guinea hens we run en masse after whatever newest, latest, discovery.

I witness it repeatedly on Facebook. One person will post something and before the end of the day I will see that same post spread, often without thought of accuracy. We wear our politics and religion like badges and leave our cyber trash behind us. We repeat what we read, share and “like” and comment. How many posts on Facebook every day are disrespectful of the President of the United States? What if tomorrow there was an attempt on the President’s life and the government decided to question anyone who had made negative statements? What if a non-Christian country invaded and decided to round up anyone who professed to be Christian.

I am not saying that it is wrong to speak your mind or that we should live in fear that what we say will be used against us. I am saying that we take so much for granted. The possibility does exist  and maybe we should be making less statements and asking more questions.

If you are interested in reading Little Brother you can download it from Mr. Doctorow’s site. He sells his books but also makes them available for free in various formats.

It can be found here: http://craphound.com/littlebrother/

“Cory Efram Doctorow is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. Wikipedia
“Kevin Kelly is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog. He has also been a writer, photographer, conservationist, and student of Asian and digital culture. Wikipedia
Addendum:if you want to know more – http://www.wired.com/2014/04/tails/
“Effectively, this is the ParanoidLinux I fictionalized in my novel Little Brother. “

“Tails is a live system that aims to preserve your privacy and anonymity. It helps you to use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship almost anywhere you go and on any computer but leaving no trace unless you ask it to explicitly.

It is a complete operating system designed to be used from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card independently of the computer’s original operating system. It is Free Software and based on Debian GNU/Linux.

Tails comes with several built-in applications pre-configured with security in mind: web browser, instant messaging client, email client, office suite, image and sound editor, etc.”

To read about, download and/or use Tails – https://tails.boum.org/index.en.html

Update on the Update

I have been cleared for surgery. Wednesday at 2 P.M. they will operate and add metal plates and screws to my foot. I have had very little pain considering I have a broken bone. I suspect that will all change Wednesday. I have to admit, I am a major chicken. And baby. As in whiny, pitiful baby. The very idea of metal plates and screws makes me cringe.

Nothing to eat or drink all day either. Blech.

Hopefully I will be in a bit better frame of mind the next day. The worst will be behind me and I will be enthroned on the couch where I shall remain with foot elevated for three days. I am hoping for very good pain meds. And ice cream. I am already stocked up. There are two gallons of Breyers Waffle Cone ice cream in the freezer. My kindle is stocked up too. I plan to sleep, eat, and read. Aside from the whole plate and screws part, sounds like a vacation :)

 

Broken Update

I had a very long day Friday. Rented a knee scooter which will be helpful later. I wanted to try it out and found it to be helpful but there are frequent situation where I have to use my broken foot a little. The surgeon tells me I am to put absolutely no weight on it immediately after so this would not be a good solution. As soon as I can put a little weight on it I am going to get one. Awesome alternative to crutches.

I did all my pre-op stuff Friday – surgery is approved by workers comp. Labs should be back Tuesday and hopefully  I will be cleared for surgery so then as soon as they can get it scheduled I will get this over with. This happened on May 30 and it is now June 15th so I am more than ready to move ahead. By the end of the day Friday I felt like I had hobbled ten miles! Crutches are exhausting.

I am grateful to my husband who has had to tote and fetch since movement is possible but not carrying things like plates of food or cups of coffee. He is not a coffee drinker but he has learned to make it for me.

I am eternally grateful to Cindy, the patient care coordinator at Dr. Jones office. She is knowledgeable and caring and KIND, the first person who not only was willing to get things moving, but volunteered information about things I didn’t even know to ask. People who are willing to go the extra step in their job are invaluable in this world and I appreciate her more than she will ever know.

Book Review of Bullet by Jonathan Lister

I received an ARC copy of Bullet for free in exchange for providing a review. I read a lot of urban fantasy but I enjoy a bit more romance in the story than this book provided. This is the first time I have ever done a book review and it makes me uncomfortable to say anything negative but I want to be honest and hopefully the author will appreciate that.

Bullet is the second book in a series. It took me a while to warm up to the story but I finally did. To be fair, I did not read the first book and I think I would have understood things a bit better if I had not walked in in the middle, so to speak.

What I liked: I enjoyed the almost noir feel. I came to like Leon, though there is room for development there. Leon is flawed . He is stubborn and independent to a fault. He is also totally loyal and fiercely protective of his daughter. He is honorable and if he makes a commitment, he will honor it even if it means great personal sacrifice. Leon has several major objectives he cares about. He cares first for Shauna, his daughter. He cares for his friend David and the job he has taken on to protect him. He cares for doing the right thing  as defined by his own set of principles.

I liked the blending of human and werewolf politics and the action scenes were believable. The author gave a real and gritty feel for the world his characters inhabit. I would love to see more development of Shauna as a character. She spends a lot of time either mad, frightened, or a combination. I don’t mind a little sulky teenage angst but a little happy thrown in would help me warm up to her.

I love the character of Shauna’s grandmother – the matron. It was a relief to have a good and strong female presence to give the girl some guidance and soften the masculine edges that frame her life.

What I did not like:
The author never clearly explains why a werewolf pack wants his daughter so badly, nor why Leon is so opposed to being a part of a pack.

I had difficulty at times with the descriptive language. I kept feeling as though things could have been said more simply and I was often thrown out of the story in order to reread a phrase to see what it meant in context. A  times I wanted to yell “just say what you mean!” This causes a disconnect for me.

The ending left me wondering if there will be a third installment. Lots of unanswered questions and no real a resolution.

Summary:

Would I read more? I will probably go back and read the first book to see if my questions are answered. I read a lot of series books but I rarely read them out of order. Some authors feel it necessary to give too much information about a previous book in a series which is nearly as irritating as not getting enough, but I am a lazy reader. I want to be entertained though I don’t mind if there are some life lessons thrown in. I just don’t want to work hard to feel connected to the characters.

The masculine take on werewolves was a switch for me. I tend to read books with strong female protagonists and while there is a teaser of a possible future love interest for Leon, this is more of a tough guy, beat them silly and move on kind of tale and it may be that I was just not the correct audience. There is a lot of potential here. I look forward to seeing more from this author in the future.

Temporarily Broken

A week ago, I broke my foot. I stepped off the bottom of a stair and missed the last step. I came down hard and broke the fifth metatarsal. That is the long bone that goes to the pinkie.

I went to have it x-rayed and the nurse taking down notes said she was just say I hurt my foot because otherwise I might have problems getting insurance to pay because they would say workers comp would have to pay.

Work decided that it WAS a workers comp thing. Paperwork was changed. I made phone calls and found a doc at the Carrell clinic in Dallas that takes workers comp. I made an appointment. The doc there said it needs surgery.

Apparently workers comp has not completed investigating so here I sit. A week later. If I had used private insurance, I probably would have already had my surgery and be on my way to returning to work which is what I WANT! I would have some pretty big bills I am sure but I pay some pretty big insurance premiums too. Whether I use it or not.

Instead I am waiting for people who do not know me to make decisions about my life (without even talking to me) and in the meantime, I am stuck with this boot and crutches. For four years I ran up and down stairs at the new high school. I never tripped, fell, or otherwise injured myself. I have never broken a bone before. I detest sitting around and detest being helpless even more. I am frustrated, tired, worried, and sore. I want to get this fixed and go back to work.

To add insult to injury, we had a trip to New Orleans planned. It would have been the first time we ever took a vacation that did not involve visiting family or kids or driving a thousand miles. We were going to fly, take a shuttle to the hotel in the French Quarter, WALK most places, and fly home. That will most likely not happen and it is non-refundable, non-changeable, nada, nothing.

I KNOW there are people worse off than me and that I should be counting my blessings. I KNOW God has a plan and that He will work this out. I KNOW I am being whiny and complaining and not fun. I should use this time to write. I should turn it into a positive, I should be grateful that I have a husband who waits on me and that I am not trying to do everything alone.

I should. And I will do better. For now, waaaaaaah.  There. I’m done. Pity party over.