Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Clock Is Ticking

A few minutes ago, Harold asked me if I had set my timer to remind me of something I needed to do. “The clock is ticking,” I said. This kind of conversation takes place several times a day at our house. 
   Our cell phone is the perfect place for timers, calendar events, reminders, and my favorite of all is our five-minute warnings. When we have to leave the house for an appointment, we set a five-minute warning. When the alarm sounds, it means we have to have our PCs locked away, ice water or mug of coffee ready to go, and be prepared to head out the door.

Around our house, the clock is always ticking for one thing or another. I sneaked in a nap yesterday, but I set my timer so that I wouldn’t sleep too long.

I used to have this grand idea that I would schedule my day so that I could get everything done in a timely manner. It wasn’t long before that was overtaken by the chaos of sharing a house with two other beings—a husband and a dog.

The best-laid plans are easily interrupted when one or the other decides I have to drop everything because they need attention. I started today with plans to work on several different projects. Before I’d finished my first cup of coffee, the dog wanted to go outside. I bundled up like I was going on a polar expedition and still felt the chill as I urged the dog to hurry, resorting to bribery.

As I was working on learning a new song, Harold decided he really needed me to help him with a spreadsheet. This is almost humorous since he can build a complicated spreadsheet in the time it takes me to power up my PC. We got into an argument over a heading. “Let’s not get bogged down with the heading,” I strongly suggested. “It looks fine the way it is.”

“Well, that’s not the way I want it,” he said, which meant we had to figure out how to fix the heading to suit him. Obviously, he figured it out or we would still be working on it. Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking and my projects are unfinished.

I used to be fine with double, or triple booking my days, but between the two of us, we had three doctor’s appointments in two days. There is nothing more tedious than sitting in a doctor’s office twice in one day.

We have different doctors in the same clinic, but couldn’t schedule our appointments at the same time. I had discovered a lump near my collarbone a week earlier and they wanted me to watch it and see if it went away. So, I had an entire week to consult Dr. Google. Although, there were a lot of scary things it could be, I decided not to worry about it. The clock kept ticking as the time grew closer.

As the nurse was checking me in, she looked across the room and said, “I can see it.” The doctor came into the room, felt the lump, and said, “It’s arthritis between your breast bone and your collarbone.” Say what? Of all the things, I considered, that was not one of them. They took an x-ray to be sure, but the lump is mild arthritic change of the sternoclavicular joint. As my son pointed out, “It could have been worse. You already knew you had arthritis.” I’m learning more about the human skeleton than I ever wanted to know.

We only have one month left in this year and it’s one of the busiest months of all. I flipped the page of the wall calendar to get a good look at December. Oh, yes, along with all the electronic bells and whistles, I like to see the entire month with my appointments, scribbles, and notes on it.

There’s something comforting about having a physical calendar as a backup. Just to think that a calendar was all I had to keep track of Jim’s appointments. Of course, my memory was much better then.

Looking back on the past eleven months, I feel a sense of loss for the loved ones who are no longer with us. I feel joy for the new additions to the family and the little one soon to join us. Time doesn’t slow down for us to catch up. We have to keep moving forward because that darned clock just keeps on ticking.  


Donations to the 2022 Sedalia Walk accepted through December

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Copyright © November 2022 by L.S. Fisher


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Not Your Usual List

 November is a time for self-examination and giving thought to our many blessings and giving thanks where thanks are due. Many of my Facebook friends have been posting one thing they are thankful for each day this month.

I’ve never participated in this delightful idea, but felt compelled to complete my monthly list in one fell swoop. I made the list and entered it into One Note on a sleepless night. After reviewing the list, I realized that I don’t remember seeing any of these items on their lists. I always suspected my thought processes might not be the same as the average person, but until now, I’ve kept some of the weirdness under wraps.

I am thankful for...

1.      Mice. It’s easy to think of mice as pesky rodents with no purpose in life other than leaving droppings behind furniture and chewing up important papers. But mice are extremely important when it comes to medical research in general and Alzheimer’s research in particular.
2.      Sleepless nights. On sleepless nights, my brain goes into creative overdrive. My best ideas come to me in the middle of the night.
3.      Wishes that didn’t come true. Throughout my lifetime, I’ve made a lot of goofy wishes, and I’m so thankful that they didn’t come true. I don’t think the life of a fairy princess, a rock star, superhero or being married to Paul McCartney is what God had in mind for me.
4.      People who hurt my feelings when I was young. Yep, all those cruel kids made me into a rhino-hide adult. It is almost impossible to hurt my feelings, because frankly I don’t give a poop about what insensitive, rude people say to me.
5.     Failure. I’ve learned more from my failures than I ever learned from my successes. Let’s face it, when I make a really bad mistake, I try hard to not do it again.
6.      Not being beautiful. Being beautiful is a burden I wouldn’t want to carry. Besides, I had to work a lot harder on my personality.
7.      Hard times. There have been times in my life when it was a challenge to figure out how to pay the bills, feed the kids, and not have too much month left at the end of the money. Because of  hard times, I’ve never had that fear of being poor that some people have. Been there, survived, and know that happiness isn’t based on the size of my bank account.
8.      Hard work. Without years of hard work, I wouldn’t have done as well in my job as I did and wouldn’t be enjoying my retirement.
9.      Having my heart broken. If a few boys hadn’t broken my heart when I was younger, my life would have turned out differently. I’m happy with the way it turned out, so thank you for breaking my heart and forcing me to move on.
10.  Rainy, gloomy days. When the rain falls and the sun is elusive, it is a perfect time to sleep in and laze around reading a book.
11.  Boredom. My life is so hectic that if I find time to be bored, I can relax...or think of something totally fun to do.
12.  Hunger. When I’m hungry, I know I haven’t overeaten.
13.  Paying bills. When I pay bills, it means I have another month of electricity, internet, phone service, and a zero balance on my credit cards.
14.  Not winning the lottery. I’ve always known that winning the lottery would screw up my life, and I like it the way it is.
15.  Flies and spiders. When I’m in a murderous rage, I can squash a spider or swat a fly and not suffer an ounce of guilt.
16.  Clear packing tape and plastic wrap. The way these two stick to themselves and trying to figure out how to get a roll started teaches me patience.
17.  Old age. Without old age, I’d have to pay to get into ballgames and wouldn’t get senior discounts.
18.  People who don’t like me. They teach me to stand up for myself.
19.  People who take advantage of me. They keep me on my toes and help me say “no.”
20.  Running late. It’s amazing how much time I’d waste waiting if I got to everything early. Besides, I’ve avoided traffic tickets and dangerous driving when I decided it was better late than never.
21.  Anger. If an injustice makes me angry, it means I am passionate enough to care.
22.  Fear. I might not be alive today if I didn’t have sense enough to be afraid from time to time.
23.  Ignorance. Since I clearly don’t know everything, ignorance means I always have something to learn.
24.  Grumpy old men. Without them, grumpy old women wouldn’t have anyone to argue with.
25.  Lousy TV shows. When a lousy show is on TV, it is much easier for me to turn it off and do something productive.
26.  Bratty kids. I’m so thankful that none of those bratty kids belong to me.
27.  Runny nose. Without a runny nose, I’m sure my head would explode from the inside out when I have a head cold and infected sinuses.
28.  Thunderstorms and lightning. We need the rain to replenish the earth and the lightning keeps me honest since I don’t want to be struck down for telling a lie.
29.  Bad lab results. Without bad lab results, I wouldn’t have incentive to work toward being healthier. I would have continued the same bad dietary habits with the same results.
30.  Uncertainty. I don’t know everything that is going to happen in my future! Uncertainty keeps me optimistic that the best is going to happen and not the worst.

One of the great things about making a list like this is that it made me realize the thing I am most grateful for is living the life I want and wanting the life I live. I am happy to be me and I don’t envy anybody else’s life or want to be somebody I’m not.

Copyright © November 2013, 2018

Copyright © November 2022 by L.S. Fisher


That Which Sparks Joy


At our house, there’s a serious need to declutter. I have way too much “stuff” cluttering up my house and my time. It seems that when I try to declutter, I hit snag after snag. All I can say with certainty is that my husband and I don’t often agree on what to throw away and what to keep.

The KonMari Method of decluttering takes you methodically through items in your home: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and then to the hardest of all—sentimental pieces. The idea is to keep only the things that speak to your heart and discard the ones that no longer spark joy.

In theory, that might work, but would it work for me? The thought of piling all my clothes in the floor and touching each item would require weeks. I’m sure after the first hour, nothing would spark joy, and the mess would spark anxiety.

I detest the idea of having a garage sale. When people go through decluttering classes, the normal places to donate are overwhelmed and won’t take more donations. The last time I separated good clothes to donate, I wound up throwing them in the dumpster. That goes against my grain, but no one was taking donations and I wasn’t about to put them back in the closet.

The other problem I have is “wrong time of year.” As I go to put away my summer clothes, I see things that I didn’t wear, but when snow flies, no one wants summer clothes. I put seasonal clothes into a tub and take downstairs. It’s hard to think a season ahead, especially when out of sight, out of mind.

I really need to look at all the projects I’m working on and throw them into the middle of a virtual floor and decide which ones still spark joy. It’s not that I really want to dump all my obligations because I do like a variety of pastimes to keep me from being bored, but my mind constantly nags at me to finish the unfinished.

In the past five years, I’ve found that playing my ukulele and singing with the family band sparks more joy than any other volunteering that I do. It’s a win-win-win that I spend more time with my family, provide entertainment to residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and have a way to relax and forget my troubles.

Now, I understand better the reason Jim found so much solace playing his guitar and singing with his family. Jim suffered from physical pain and mental anguish from his PTSD. Music became his lifeline. His favorite singers were Buck Owens, Elvis, and Michael Martin Murphy. He could learn a song faster than anyone I ever knew. He had a great memory for lyrics and could play the tune after hearing a song once. It was sad when all he could remember was the song “I Ain’t Had a Good Day.” Maybe on a certain level, he knew what was coming and that song stuck in his mind. 

On days when I wake up and know that I’m going to have an activity to spark joy, my entire being responds. The aches and pains are pushed to the back of my mind, I have a feeling of joyful anticipation, and I don’t have to drink a half pot of coffee to be functional. On the other hand, when I wake up knowing that I have to work on an unpleasant task, have a doctor’s or dentist appointment, or have an obligation that is going to take hours to complete, I’m mentally and physically drained before I get out of bed.

The down side to getting older is an accumulation of health problems. I’ve found the key to making the most of life is to focus on the good times. During this month of Thanksgiving, I’m more inspired to think about my blessings rather than my troubles.

Family, music, a hot cup of coffee, reading a good book, my dog, stargazing, and dozens of other “little things” spark joy in my life. When we kindle sparks of joy, we live a life ablaze with possibilities.



Donations to the 2022 Sedalia Walk accepted through December

Click  search for Jim’s Team

Copyright © November 2022 by L.S. Fisher


Tuesday, November 15, 2022



From Halloween forward, the stores are full of holiday cheer: Christmas trees, wrapping paper, ugly Christmas sweaters, and nutcrackers. With my big collection of nutcrackers,  I refuse to make eye contact with any in the store. The forgotten holiday, Thanksgiving, is celebrated through discounts on turkey and sweet potatoes.

In Missouri, people often flock to Branson to witness the lighting of the giant tree at Silver Dollar City. The shops are crammed with toys for all good girls and boys, electronics for pre-teens and teens, scented gifts for women, tools and flannel shirts for men.

The trip my mom, my sisters Roberta and Terri, and I took last week had nothing to do with shopping, Christmas, or Thanksgiving. Our “holiday” aka “girl’s trip” was to experience the Daniel O’Donnell show. My mom had given us a head’s up (hint), several months ago that Daniel O’Donnell was going to be in Branson, and she would sure like to go.

We knew we would have to go on one of three Wednesdays in November, so we chose the third one. Mom had to have a pesky mole removed and wasn’t sure if she would be able to go on the second Wednesday. On Monday, she came out of the dermatologist office with a Band-Aid on her face and said, “Let’s go Wednesday.” After looking at the forecast, we couldn’t have been in more agreement.

As Jim used to say, “On normal mornings you crawl out of bed at the last minute, but if you are going with your mom and sisters, you jump out of bed in a single bound.” I guess he was right, because that’s what happened on Wednesday. Because of obligations at home, our mini holiday had to be a one-day event.

Getting seats turned out to be a frustrating and tedious job. They had such a high volume of calls that Harold and I both called continually for several hours. I left one call back message, but we kept trying to get through. After six minutes, we were disconnected. Just as we sat down to eat lunch and I had a mouthful of food, my call was answered by a real live person! There were no seats left in the front half of the theatre, and seats were available on the side sections. Harold called my mom to ask her if she still wanted tickets if we couldn’t get good seats.

I happened to mention that my mom had a lot of trouble walking and that we were planning to take a wheelchair for her. After determining that she would sit in the wheelchair, her place was in a center section and we had companion seats.

Daniel O’Donnell is more than an outstanding singer, he is the whole package as an entertainer. He danced across the stage with more energy than most men could that are half his age. He told jokes and spent time interacting with the audience. Since he is from Ireland, he mentioned that he was sure that many in the audience were on holiday.

I knew that in the UK “holiday” was used instead of vacation. It made me realize that our little trip was indeed a holiday celebrating the special bond between a mom and her daughters.

The show was fantastic and we all agreed that it was an awesome day. By the time I made it home, I was tired, but it was a good tired.

I love spending time with my mom and sisters, and our one-day holiday softened the impact of my physical aches and pains, and my mental exhaustion.

It’s amazing how a day away from the daily grind can be so mentally rejuvenating.


Donations to the 2022 Sedalia Walk accepted through December

Click  search for Jim’s Team

Copyright © November 2022 by L.S. Fisher