Friday, October 30, 2009

The Gypsy Costume and other Halloween Costumes at Work

After considerable deliberation, I ended up going to work dressed as a gypsy. I want to state for the record that I made a sacrifice in wearing sandals today, so my multiple toe rings were visible. It was a 38 degree windchill when I left the house. We have to suffer for fashion - or whatever this would be.

I had lunch with Teresa, who was dressed in the cutest costume I've seen in ages, and when I went outside after lunch it was much colder than when I went in.

I decided to don the jeans and closed toe shoes I had brought with me as soon as I got back to work. I also took off all the jewelry except the earrings. I swear, I could barely hold my head up from all those beads.

Unfortunately, I forgot to remove the massive amounts of blue eye shadow when I got home. Tonight in the ladies room at Carolyn's Essenhaus in Arlington I noticed I still looked like I had applied makeup thinking people 40 rows back in the theatre needed to be able to see my eyes. But, it was too late to worry about it at that point.

Someone asked me about something I was wearing today and I had to laugh and admit that I wasn't wearing anything that I didn't already own. In fairness, I did buy the shirt a year or two ago with the idea that it would be perfect for Halloween. And I did buy the earrings for 99 cents a month or two ago thinking they'd be perfect. Everything else was already in my possession.

The beads... well, I went to college in the 80s... what else needs be said? The fringed scarf was my wrap for my senior prom. The pink scarf I bought in Paris. The others I've had since... hmmm... maybe high school. The purse I bought at a 90% off sale one year at Target. That has been probably a decade ago and, as of yet, it has only been used for dress up occasions, and never for its intended "formal" purpose. I just don't have a lot of call for formal wear, what can I say?

The winner of a day off at work today was our front desk manager, Kyla, who had a very inventive costume. And she made it herself. Really.

Is that not just amazing? She made it from a piece of plastic and traced a copy of the lettering with sharpies. I was amazed at how precise it was. As she so eloquently put it, "It took four hours and a case of beer." I was impressed!

Coming in second place, with a half day off, was Phyllis. Last year she dressed as an elderly woman. This year she came as an elderly man and had the coolest "act." She tapped her cane and repeated, "I'm looking for my wife. She was last seen here this time last year. She's a fine looking woman... fine looking woman... and I miss her." She was great.

Coming in third was the marketing department's own Michele, who came as the misunderstood witch from Wicked.

That's green eye shadow, in case you're wondering. And she had to put it on with the eye shadow applicator. It took her about 45 minutes, she said.

I had to get up an hour early today to get ready for work. There's something very wrong with that. Very wrong.

There were nine people total dressed up, but I didn't get pictures of everyone. I did get Karilynn in her farmer's outfit.

It was a fun way to start the day, but I was ready to not be dressed up after a couple of hours. Not sure if I'll wear the same thing tomorrow or do something different. We'll see.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Costume Dilemma

You'd think given the number of Halloweens I've dressed up for this would be a simple process. Yet, here I am, less than twelve hours before I need to leave home in a costume still debating. And, yes, I know, people have far more important things to think about - including me - but nonetheless this is what I'm thinking about.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Today was a dental appointment I've been dreading, but all went well. There was a cavity that was threatening one of my laminates but my dentist was able to fix it and I'm so thrilled. I'm still a little numb, and it has been more than six hours since I had it done. But, far better to be numb than not, so I'm not complaining.
There was another tricky procedure today to remove a cap and replace it with a different one. I'll sum that up by recounting the following conversation:
Dental Assistant to another one outside the room: "Could you bring me the crown pullers?"
Dentist to Dental Assistant: "There's no need. I will have to grind it off."
This is not something a person wants to hear, regardless of how numb you are. Although, frankly, needing "crown pullers" doesn't sound much better than grinding. However, I have to say, I had NO pain at all in either procedure. None.
After the dentist I went back to the office for a little bit and then off to a meeting. Once again, I did nothing in my house tonight. Mark, and maybe Carl and Kris, are coming for Halloween and there are just pathways in my house. They'll just have to understand because I am not bending much these days. The house is bad. But I guess it will just be that way for awhile.
Well, I'm going to make another attempt at getting to bed early. Maybe I'll not be numb when I wake up.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gongs and Quiet

Greg took this photo of me before the gong bath on Saturday. I wasn't familiar with gong baths but they're popular in other parts of the world as a way to meditate and relax.
After things were setup I was able to lay down and listen, too. I was thinking how unusual it is for me to be doing nothing for over an hour. To just be listening to something that doesn't require my focused attention, to only be doing one thing, to be relatively still. It is rare.
I have some meditations on my zune and listen to them on a regular basis but something I know about myself is that I need the guided ones. Otherwise my brain starts to wander into dozens of different alleys.
On Saturday there was nothing for me to do except lay there and listen. I tried to relax but it is a struggle for me, even when I want to. My brain was racing most of the time, although there were a couple of times when I was able to quiet it very briefly.
I think it's probably good practice for me to try and relax more, to be quiet more, to be still more. I had lunch with Kristine today and we were talking about this in the context of my upcoming recuperation. She suggested I view this time as a gift of time to contemplate and I think that's a good way to approach it.

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Monday, October 26, 2009


Greg asked me the other day if I was going to buy a computer that would have sufficient speed for what I need. I responded honestly that I do not believe such a thing exists. I've been using personal computers nearly daily for about 15 years. I've had the latest and greatest at various times. As of yet I've never used or owned one that did everything I wanted it to do at the speed I desired.
I am beginning to understand it simply does not exist and apparently never will. I'm not sure why, but apparently it is beyond the reach of computer architects everywhere.
I spend a tremendous amount of my work day waiting on the computer. Then I come home and spend a lot of time waiting on my home computer. Unfortunately, a considerable amount of work I need to do involves the computer, and computers seem to require waiting. Way too much waiting. Lots of waiting.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009


"Ritual maintains the world's holiness."
            ---Thomas Moore in "Care of the Soul"
A few months ago I reread "Care of the Soul," and have had it sitting on the shelf near the computer since then. I marked dozens of passages in it. Tonight I was flipping through, looking at some of the flagged and highlighted notes, and this one struck me.
I need ritual. I know this about myself. And I have created dozens, maybe hundreds, of rituals over the years.
In the last few years I've had to let go of a number of them and it has often been difficult, sometimes heartbreaking. This year has required letting go of any number of things, including rituals, and the remaining weeks of the year will demand more of the same.
I'm not sure where that leaves "holiness" in my little corner of the world, but hurting it would seem. Obviously something I need to spend more time thinking about that.

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Working Saturday

I worked all afternoon and into the evening today at the Gong Bath, but it was a good event. I'll put some photos up soon, but I haven't had a chance to download Greg's pix yet and I didn't take any. These are large gongs and you can hear and feel them when they're played. I guess gong baths are very popular in Europe, but this was the first time we've had one in this community. People use them for meditation and just to have the experience. It was interesting.
Needless to say, that's about all I did today. But, hopefully tomorrow I will accomplish many things. We can only hope! There are a lot of things I need to get done in the house before Halloween and before I go in for surgery. So, I hope I wake up motivated tomorrow.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Telling Our Stories

"We are our stories. We compress years of experience, thought, and emotion into a few compact narratives that we convey to others and tell to ourselves. That has always been true. But personal narrative has become more prevalent, and perhaps more urgent, in a time of abundance, when many of us are freer to seek a deeper understanding of ourselves and our purpose."

                                                ----- Daniel Pink in "A Whole New Mind"

When I started writing about my daily life here more than five years ago I didn't anticipate that anyone would read it beyond a few members of my family and a couple of friends. I can't tell you how flattered I am that you read along and share life with me.

This has been a catalyst for meeting a number of the people I now consider friends, and has made other casual relationships deeper. It was even a factor in me getting the job I now have at the Cosmosphere. (Odd, but true, my blog helped me GET a job, instead of the opposite, which seems far more common.)

I've been writing every day since I was a child. Since my friend, Martha, shared the article from Scott Ginsburg about how writing every day influences your world view, it has been on my mind. There is some wisdom in what he says about how writing helps you define what you believe.

I sometimes think of this blog as the ultimate in narcissism. But it is one way I tell my stories. Perhaps the self-centered part of it is that I tell one almost every day. And, lets face it, I don't have a fascinating story to tell every day. Some entries are more of the "chronicle of life" variety, while others are a synthesis of ideas that have been cooking in my brain for awhile. But all of them give a bit of a snapshot into who I am and what I think about.

I believe blogs have grown in popularity because we have a need to connect with other people and this is one way we can do it without risk. We can read someone's blog at any time, on our schedules, and visit their world without any commitment about how long we'll stay or what we'll do while there. Maybe it's one of the modern ways we capture our stories.


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All text and photos on this website are copyright Patsy Terrell, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. None are to be used without permission. Thank you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween Costume

I am spending my free time thinking about a Halloween Costume. Is this the most urgent thing I have to think about? Heck no. But is it pleasant? Yes.
The problem is that I have to keep reminding myself that I do not need to get into a situation that involves the sewing machine. I like to watch Project Runway - I don't need to get involved in some horrible knock-off version of it starring me and my Singer Sewing Machine. It wouldn't be pretty. I just don't want to go there.
I just bought some earrings a few weeks ago that would be a nice addition to a gypsy costume, but I've done that before. Of course, I also have the perfect blouse for it now, too.
We'll see what I come up with. Hopefully it will be something fun. Frankly, I'd like to have something involving sparkles and a magic wand, but I fear that might involve setting up the sewing machine and that's just not a good idea.
Really. It's not. I mean it. There's too much going on in my life for me to be thinking about sewing. Really. Honest. That wouldn't be wise.
(Lets see if an upcoming post involves a photo of the sewing machine set up. Trust me, it's a mystery to me, too. But it's not a good idea. Really.)

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cookbooks and Other Books

This has been a full day and I'm overdue for some sleep. But, I don't have all the projects done that I need to accomplish. Seems that's my story every day. It's not that I'm lazy - I'm working diligently all the time - there just don't seem to be enough hours.

I did go visit with friends tonight for about 2 1/2 hours. But one has to have some fun in the days as well as work.

I've been working on the cover for the cookbook I am putting together from the past 15 years of my columns in Kansas Country Living magazine. They generously gave me permission to make a book from them and I've been working on that. The difficulty now is that I've got to find someone to print it for a price that makes it reasonable enough that anyone will want to buy it.

It's going to be a straightforward book - basically photocopies of the columns - with a cover, binding, etc. The binding is the cost that's out of control. I haven't found any place locally that will do it for anything I consider a reasonable price. I may have to shop around in Wichita a bit. Or, at some point it may make more sense to use an online service to print it. We'll see. I want to have this done in time for Christmas this year so I have to figure it all out soon.

So many things I'd like to do and just not enough time to get them all done. I stopped at the library tonight and left with a stack of books, as I always do when I set foot in there. I'm still totally enthralled with the concept of public libraries.

At the moment I'm reading, "Lamb," a book Andrea gave me earlier this year that I hadn't gotten to. It is a hilarious read. If you have any suggestions for books I should read during my upcoming recuperation, please share. I'm always on the lookout for good books. I need another "Geography of Bliss" in my life.

Speaking of books, if you're in Hutchinson or environs, remember that Daniel Pink is speaking at the Dillon Lecture Friday morning. I'm going to refresh my memory on his book. Frankly, I highlighted so many things in it that I probably need to read it 2-3 more times. Anyway, people are always asking how I know about things happening - well, here you go - it's happening Friday morning at 10:30 - so be there!

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All text and photos on this website are copyright Patsy Terrell, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. None are to be used without permission. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Doodles Help Memory Retention

For many years I have been one of those folks who doodles in meetings. I'm quite fond of stars, in particular, as you can see in this photo from a meeting I attended in October last year.

Fortunately for me, and others of my kind, this is now more acceptable. And for good reason. A story in "Applied Cognitive Psychology" earlier this year reported that people who doodled while listening to a boring tape remembered almost 30 percent more a minute later than those who took notes.

So, there you go.

Please don't assume that because I'm drawing or scribbling that I'm not listening. I'm just listening differently.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Last

This may be the last bouquet of the season. My flowers are nearing the end of their life cycle. Of course, it has been chilly here off and on for a few weeks, so it's not surprising that the flowers are about done, but nonetheless it's one of the obvious signs of the seasonal changes.

I stopped taking flowers into the office a few weeks ago when they became ragged looking. Some of them have hung on during these cold nights, but most are about finished.

I grew all of these things from seed when I was so infatuated with growing flowers this spring. I think after surgery I just needed to see new life and that was one way to do it. Now I'm facing more surgery as the last blooms are coming through.

Sharon and her crew came over a few days ago and cleaned up my yard, pulling out the plants that were done and tidying everything up. I was so relieved to pull into the drive and see it done. It has been on my mind how I would get it done so I'm so thankful to her for doing it. She owns Releaf Landscapes and is very generous with her talents.

This has been a very difficult day, mentally preparing for surgery. I had psyched myself up for surgery but they threw me a curve ball today when I visited with the surgeon. Then I got back to work and found yet another curve ball. So, it has been a difficult day. But, I'll manage. I have no other choice.

I got to see Steve briefly tonight. He drove Greg back to Hutchinson from Joplin and we visited for just a little bit. He was turning right around and going back to Joplin. I always enjoy visiting with Steve. He's a great writer, and like all good writers, thinks about things in a different way, which I enjoy.

I'm feeling rather disconnected these days. I have that feeling of "circling the wagons" and preparing things like I did earlier this year. The difference this time is that I'm doing it alone, but that's okay. This isn't the same sort of situation. Part of me wants to postpone this, but a bigger part of me wants to start 2010 fresh, with none of this hanging over me.

Well, it's time for me to head upstairs. I couldn't get to sleep last night for a long time, and then woke up really early this morning, so I'm tired. Maybe tonight I'll be so tired I'll sleep despite what's on my mind.

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All text and photos on this website are copyright Patsy Terrell, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. None are to be used without permission. Thank you.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Road, Friends and Creating a Book

Last Wednesday I spent the night in this house - the Madison House Bed and Breakfast in Girard, Kansas. My room was huge and very comfy.

I stayed in Girard because I was doing another session for rural tourism folks on how to use social networking Thursday morning. It would have been nice if I'd had more time to enjoy the room, but I got there late and left early the next morning.

The bonus was that Greg went with me. Girard is only about 45 minutes from Joplin, where his mom lives. Steve is visiting and he came over to pick Greg up in Girard so I got to see him very briefly.

It was funny hat night, I guess.

This weekend I have taken it very easy. I had a long lunch with Annie Saturday, which was really fun. Then Saturday night Trish invited me over for chili with her, Teresa and Patti, who I had not met before. It's really comforting to have someone cook for you. I forget how lovely that is.

Today I've been trying to get some things done around the house, but I confess I haven't accomplished much. But, I have gotten some things off my to-do list this weekend that I really needed to take care of - a graphic design job and the materials prepared for the book I'm working on of my columns from Kansas Country Living.

Some time ago they gave me permission to create a book from the columns I've written for the magazine over the years. Earlier this summer I started gathering them up and got copies through inter-library loan of some I didn't have on hand. This weekend I got them all organized. Now I have to decide if I want to write anything additional or just combine them into a book.

I sometimes think I need to stop looking for projects, but they seem to find me.

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All text and photos on this website are copyright Patsy Terrell, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. None are to be used without permission. Thank you.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


This week I got to have lunch with Sharon (left) and Andrea. We all worked at the same radio station years ago. It seems like it was a long, long, long time ago - 20 years maybe. Sharon is still in radio, but Andrea and I have both moved on to other things now.

Sharon lives in Michigan, where she manages a radio station. She was visiting here and asked if we could get together. It was great to see her. The three of us had lunch and caught up a bit.

I am always impressed when people make an effort to connect when they're traveling. It's no easy feat to make the arrangements and make that happen. I'll confess I'm not very good at it, myself. I always have the best of intentions but it rarely goes beyond that.

With facebook these days it's amazing how connected we all are, regardless of where we live. But, nothing is the same as sitting down across the table from someone and visiting.

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All text and photos on this website are copyright Patsy Terrell, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. None are to be used without permission. Thank you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Back Home

I am back home after being on the road to teach social networking to a group of people involved in rural tourism. Today was our last scheduled class. I'm going to miss doing these, but have some other consulting jobs lined up that I'll start focusing on. I like to learn something about the particular industry or group so I can tailor information for them.
There's a serious need for this sort of training now. While I don't pretend that these particular social networking sites will be in vogue long term, something will be being used. And having a presence on these sites is an essential for any business or organization that wants to grow.
I've always had such a strong interest in tourism, that this has been a real pleasure. And, of course, I am a devoted explorer, so this was a cool deal.
Well, I'm weary. Never seems to be enough time for me to sleep, but I should get what I can before it's time to go to work again.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Social Media Classes

Today I'm teaching Social Media classes in Greenbush. It's so cool to see people get excited about the possibilities offered by these tools.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

True Leadership

Today we are witness to something that is rare - True Leadership.
Maine Senator Olympia Snowe became the sole GOP supporter as the Senate Finance Committee voted health care reform out of committee today.
It will now move to debate by both houses, and each of our elected representatives will have to take a stand by vote - one we can judge them by. There will be no hemming and hawing, no details to stand behind - they will have to vote one way or the other. And they will have to be responsible for how they vote. Do they vote for reform that, overwhelmingly in polls from both sides, the public says they want? Or do they vote for the interests of lobbyists and individuals others than their general constituents?
Much credit must go to Max Baucus, a democrat from Montana, who crafted this measure to garner some support from both sides. In the last few weeks he has been criticized by his own party, but in the way a true leader does, he moved forward with what he knew was right.
And Senator Snowe did the same. Her comment at the time of the vote sums it up, "...when history calls, history calls."
Is everyone happy with this bill? No. In fact, I'm not sure anyone is happy with it. But we have to start somewhere. And today we start with real leaders who have chosen to make a stand for what they believe is right, to insist that we move forward in some fashion, to take a stand for the future instead of being mired in the past.

Legislation is often about the future - people who aren't yet born, and systems that don't yet exist. We have to be willing to move ahead or we are, by definition, moving backwards.

Thank heavens that today True Leaders have stepped forward to lead the way.

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Letting It Settle In

I'm letting it settle in that I won't be able to have my usual kind of Christmas this year. And I'm realizing that instead I will be open to a different kind of holiday season.

I'm also thinking that I just have to find a way to get more rest. I don't know how other people have time to relax and watch TV and do nothing. I worked and then went straight to a board meeting for an organization. Then Greg and I had dinner and I came home, took a quick shower, and started working on some freelance writing that needed to be in an inbox by eight am. Now it's midnight and I'm just laying down. I did one load of laundry and ran the dishwasher but pretty much I worked on things that needed to be done. Am I just slower or less efficient than others? People often tell me I work too hard but I can't seem to get everything done at this rate. What secrets do others know that have escaped me? How do others get it all done?

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Life and Changing

A week or two ago I was looking at the vision collage on my wall and thinking, "hmmm... gosh.... maybe it's time to do a new one of those."

It was this collage I did with friends at a retreat in Ramona in April of last year.

The thought didn't go any further than that, but it did cross my mind to do a new one. Well, when I came home from the hospital the other day, the collage had lost the pushpins holding it to the wall on the top and was bent over so it's no longer visible.

I guess if one were looking for a sign, that might be it. The whole point of vision collages is that you need to be able to see them everyday. This one, conveniently, has just made itself invisible. It's time for a new one.

However, today was not the day for it. Today I cleaned off my desk at home. And it took all day. Embarrassing, huh? But now there's a vast expanse of wood showing.

I'm going to make an effort to keep it this way. I'm so sick of not being able to use my desk effectively because it's covered with stuff. And it's not stuff I particularly need handy, apparently, because it just piles up. I'm not actually using it, I'm just storing it on top of the desk. That is not a good way to live.

It was a good thing for me to do with my time, because I decided to take it easy this weekend. I'm a little sore just from the moving around taking things from one room to another, but feeling better all the time. I think in another day or two I'll be feeling pretty normal.

I am so dreading having more surgery. I can't even really express how much I'm dreading it in so many ways. One of the things I've learned in the last few months is that people in your world get very weary of hearing about your concerns about such things. So, I've learned to keep them to myself by and large. But, when you're the one on this side of the equation you can't help but think about the "what-ifs."

Yes, this is a "minor" surgery. When you're the one being cut open nothing seems minor. And I don't even feel fully recovered from the last time I was cut open. But, no matter how many tears I cry over it or how scared I am, it's still going to have to be done. So, I'm working on changing my attitude about it. My current one is not going to be a good way to go under. So, I'm going to have to get a new one. Quickly.

I'm allowing myself to wallow until midnight tonight and then that's it. So, I've got another 26 minutes to fret and freak out and then I have to make a mental shift.

It takes considerable mental energy to make that sort of a shift and I'm running a little low on that these days, so I'm conserving my energy on all fronts to devote to this. This has been a year much loss for me - everything from body parts to a dear friend to some really painful emotional losses - but life goes on and I'm going to have to go with it.

One of the things I repeated to myself for many months after my mother's death was, "The sun is gonna rise in the morning." No matter what is going on in my life, the sun will come up, the world will spin, and life will go on.

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All text and photos on this website are copyright Patsy Terrell, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. None are to be used without permission. Thank you.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cold, Lazy Saturday

It's cold here today and mid-afternoon I'm still in my jammies. I haven't poked my nose out other than to pick up a cookbook that was delivered to the door. From my home office window I can look out onto the back garden and see the remaining flowers whipping in the wind. It does not make a person want to go outside. At least not a person like me who is always cold.
Today is the day I always point to that is the first time I get cold in the fall/winter. I will now just be cold until spring. The one time I get warm is at night under the electric blanket, which I set up last night. But the second I stick my toe out from under it in the morning I'm cold again. It just doesn't seem possible for me to wear enough layers of clothes to get warm and stay that way. And yet I love snow. Go figure.
This is the sort of weather that makes me want to stay inside and bake. Unfortuantely, I'm not sure if I should be doing that much when I just got out of the hospital yesterday. Even though I don't consider baking to be hard work it does require some effort. So, instead, I'm thinking about what I'll bake for a Cosmosphere event in early November and just doing some planning. I had intended to just stay home one day the week of that event and do the baking, but considering I'll be having surgery I now plan to do that on my own time so that's another day that can be devoted to surgery/recuperating instead.
I hate it that all this is happening when I haven't been at this job long enough that people know me well enough to know what sort of person I am, and that I'm "good for it" when it comes to time off. But we don't get to choose these things. In my ideal world I would have been doing what was on my schedule this week instead of being in the hospital and I would not be planning for surgery when normally I'd be deep in the throes of Christmas decorating.
I've been thinking about what kind of tree I can put up for the season, but it certainly won't be my usual kind. I'll have to do something very low key and understated this year. I hope I have something that fits that general description. My paper this year is a mix of champagne gold and cream so maybe something along those lines. We'll see.
Well, I'm going to try and motivate myself to go to the grocery store, I can't eat only cheese and saltines for the next few weeks. I need to lay in some supplies for things that will be easy on the tummy. I guess that will require putting on something resembling real clothes.

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Friday, October 09, 2009


The Short Version
I got to come home from the hospital late this morning, not too much worse for the wear, other than I'm sore from it hurting so much. But, I got through this without having to have emergency surgery and I'm thankful for that.
I see my doctor on Tuesday and will make arrangements then to have surgery done. Not sure if I'll do it here or go to Wichita. We'll see.
I felt well enough to go to work this afternoon, so other than being sore I'm okay.
The Long Version
I'm not sure I ever really explained. I had a hernia repaired when I had surgery in January. But, by the time I was through the recuperation from surgery I had yet another hernia in my belly button. This one, unfortuantely, continued to grow and has become pronounced. It has been slightly painful but nothing major. I've learned to hold my tummy when I sneeze or cough to protect it and had hoped to just live with it because I could not wrap my mind around having more surgery. Frankly, I still can't.
Monday night I thought I had food poisioning, but even after I had gotten everything out of my system I was still having severe pain across my abdomen where the hernia is. At one point I was laying on the floor of the upstairs bathroom with my head on a package of toilet paper using it as a pillow and I thought, "wow, this is not how I want to be living my life." I decided to get up and go to bed and see if when I stretched out the pain stopped.
When it didn't subside I decided I should do a little net research and grabbed the phone. In only moments I discovered I had the symptoms of a strangulated hernia, which can be very serious. Gang-green can set up in less than six hours and I'd already been hurting for nearly five hours then. I called Greg and told him I had to go the ER. He came got me and Sharon followed us out there.
The ER doctor said it probably was not a strangulated hernia, so that was good news. They did a cat scan and basically a small part of it had narrowed and something was "stuck."
There was a plan of putting a tube down my nose and into my belly to suction out anything left or giving it time to work through my system. The doctor said the first option might give me some relief from the pain, but wouldn't be pleasant happening. Of course, morphine was giving me much pain relief, for which I was thankful. I asked what the chance was I was going to end up having to have that done anyway and he said probably about 90%. I didn't see any point in waiting. That sounded like an extra day in the hospital to me. So, I opted for the tube. And, it was unpleasant. Very unpleasant. I am not even ready to discuss how unpleasant yet.
It was also a classic situation of why you need people to advocate for you. In the ER they had planned to give me some numbing spray in my throat and numbing gel on the tube. Upstairs they were just ready to jam it into my nose and down my throat. Greg and Sharon got them to use the products mentioned in the ER but the nurse was annoyed by having to get them, none too gentle about putting the tube in, and none too happy about any of it as best I could tell - not to mention she repeatedly told me it was going to be awful to have it done.
While I'd like to say she just wanted to make that true, I'm afraid she was just accurate about that. Fortunately, she and one other nurse seemed to be the abberations. It's just that those experiences are the ones that stick out. Overall, nursing care was good. In fact, the next day, my nurse, Jeanne, was amazing.
I'm sorry to say I've been in two hospitals this year so have some comparisons that can be made. And, lets face it, the nurses are really the ones in charge of your care on a moment to moment basis. But, that comes after the surgeon. Last time I went where the surgeon was, and that's probably what I'll do this time too.
They cannot tell me what caused this to happen, but the only thing out of the ordinary is that I ate some figs that day. Needless to say, I won't be doing that again anytime soon. Until I have the surgery I'm going to be extra careful about what I eat. But it may not have been the figs. It may have been that I moved funny that day and caused it. Nonetheless, figs are out of my diet for the moment. 
It would be much easier if they could tell me - "Don't eat any peanut butter!" That I could work with. The not knowing what the culprit is is much harder. They didn't recommend any dietary changes but I'm going to take it easy on things that seem like they might be a problem - popcorn, nuts, figs, and other things I'm sure will be added to the list.
So, the next step is Tuesday morning I have an appointment with my regular doctor who will refer me to a surgeon and then we'll see where we go from there.
I don't feel like I'm fully recovered from the last surgery, but I can't be wondering when this is going to happen again. So, I'll just have to have this surgery. I've decided 2009 must be my year for body maintenence and fortunately the calendar is about to turn and I'll be good as new by then.
It means I won't be able to have the kind of Christmas decorations I love, or host holiday gatherings this year, but I'll just have to have a different kind of Christmas season and I'll love that too.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009


I am feeling much better and expect to go home tomorrow. I am going to have to have surgery - and sooner rather than later - but this episode is about over with. I have decided that 2009 must be my year for body maintenence. Unfortunately, I will not get to have my usual Patsy-extravaganza of a Christmas season but I'll just have a different Christmas season and 2010 will be a blowout year.
I'm reminded again just how important nursing care is in a hospital. If your doctor is competent it all depends on the nursing staff after that. They're the ones actually in charge of your care. Unfortunately, this year I've now been in two different hospitals and can compare. It becomes a crap shoot of sorts of how many exceptional nurses a place has on staff, how many average ones and how many so-so ones. Because it's generally 12 hours at a time you're really stuck if you have a nurse who falls into the latter category.
Well, I hope to have more interesting things to discuss soon.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009


I'm in the hospital in Hutchinson. I came in late Monday with a little blockage in a hernia but I'm feeling better. I will probably not have to have emergency surgery, but obviously will have to do the surgery sooner rather than later.

And btw, the NG tube is the season's hottest accessory. I hope to not be in style very soon. (I can only blame the morphine for posting such a thing.)

Mary Ann is doing well in KY. Thanks for your good thoughts.

sent from mobile device

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Monday, October 05, 2009


I'm still waiting to hear the evening report on Mary Ann. Surgery went well. They think they got all the cancer. Your continued good thoughts are appreciated.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Weekend Ramblings

I've spent the weekend working around the house and have made some progress. That is not to say that things are tidy and orderly, but they're a bit better. I'm not sure exactly what my difficulty is with getting organized and staying that way. I suspect it may be that I have more things than I have room for. When you don't have enough "away," it's hard to put things away.

It was a gorgeous weekend here, and unfortunately I didn't really get to enjoy it, although today Greg and I did go out to the flea market. (Reference the last sentence of the previous paragraph.)

I bought a few old, hand crocheted potholders and doilies, but those were not my "big" purchases. I bought a box of old Christmas ornaments for $2, and a Winart Pottery Teapot for another $2. It's pink with brown on it and a very large teapot. I will try to get a photo soon and post it. From my reading online tonight I understand Winart Pottery operated in Miami, Oklahoma from 1951 to 1972. This is in great shape but I guess I need to find out if it's something people are trying to collect before I start putting boiling water into it. I bought it just to use as a teapot but I'd hate to ruin something that someone would just love to have for a collection. So, I'll check into that a bit.

You may have noticed photos on the blog are harder to come by these days. The reason is not that I've lost interest in doing that, it's because my computer has gotten slow in its old age. Twice now I have been at Best Buy and said, "Okay, I'll take this one..." and they don't have it in stock. At this point I think I should wait until the day after Thanksgiving and see if there are any spectacular bargains. Although that seems a long time for now it's only about seven weeks. Anyway, if you've noticed I haven't been working with the blog as much that's why. It is a real struggle to log into the necessary programs sometimes. Rest assured that as soon as the computer is replaced I will be bombarding the blog with at least one post a day, and sometimes more. This thing has served me well, but it is ready to be retired soon.

I took this photo in Iowa last weekend, outside an Amish bakery. It was a real Amish bakery, with no electric lights. I guess all the baking is done with gas. I live near an Amish community and I respect the ideals, but I have to say I'm always a bit puzzled by these sorts of things. The idea is to remain separate from "the English," as they call the non-Amish. It's hard for me to see how having a retail business guaranteed to draw the very people you supposedly want to keep your distance from fits into that picture. I'm always curious about such things that seem to be complete contradictions to me. I'm sure there's more to it than I understand.

This has been a nice weekend - the first one I've had completely free in a few months. I can't say I've done anything that most folks would find enviable, but I needed to be in my house and quiet and somewhat still. I haven't had much stillness lately, and I need some of that every week. Just like I need some alone time.

The last couple of weeks have been beautiful here, but they're saying later this week it is going to get cold and we might even have some snow. I'm not ready for that yet. I haven't even fully enjoyed the garden yet, and they're talking about snow. The seasons are moving too quickly for me. In fact, the whole world is moving too quickly for me at the moment. I need things to slow down just a little bit so I can fully enjoy and appreciate them.

I talked to Mary Ann yesterday. She goes for her surgery Monday to remove the lung cancer. It will probably be about noon when they start. We're very optimistic - it's a small place and they anticipate they'll be able to remove all of it, but it's always frightening when your loved ones are having any kind of surgery. Your good thoughts are most appreciated.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

The Days Turn Into Weeks

Life has seemed in fast forward lately. I've been working the regular job, plus doing social networking training on the side, and trying to juggle a number of things happening on the home front, too. This is my first weekend in awhile to be home.
I'm hoping this is a very productive weekend because much needs to be done in my house. We have frost warnings tonight so my gardening season may be over. I've been so busy I haven't even been in the backyard in a couple of weeks so I have no idea what's happening out there.
This summer has zipped by - not only learning the new job, but having this extra work, which I've been very thankful for. I need to generate as much additional income as possible to pay medical bills. I guess I'm trying to find the balance of how much I can work to pay medical bills without wearing myself out so much I get sick and have more medical bills. Seems like a vicious circle, huh? I'm just thankful I have the option of making extra money doing something I enjoy.
I can't believe that fall is here, and Christmas right around the corner. I haven't done a thing to start on holiday preparation. There has been so much to think about lately.
On my mind constantly the last few weeks has been my sister-in-law, Mary Ann. She is scheduled for surgery on Monday. I hope you'll keep her in your thoughts and prayers. I haven't had a chance to actually talk to her since they set the surgery date, but hopefully this weekend I'll get the details.
Well, off to bed for me. I've had two full weeks of not getting any where near enough sleep - even by my standards - and I'm feeling a serious need for rest.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Cathedral of the Plains in Victoria Kansas

St. Fidelis Church at Victoria, Kansas, is one of the most sacred places I've ever been. I'm not Catholic, but you can feel power within these walls.

I stopped late Wednesday afternoon on my way home from teaching social networking for the rural tourism folks. Rarely do I go by Victoria without a visit to the Cathedral of the Plains. Rarely do I leave there with dry eyes.

For reasons I don't understand, being inside that church makes me very emotional. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude when I go there.

I always light a candle and say prayers. It seems right.

On this afternoon, the sunlight was streaming in like I'd never seen it before. It was a memorable visit.

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All text and photos on this website are copyright Patsy Terrell, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. None are to be used without permission. Thank you.