The Cove at Rock Creek

I’m not going to lie. I’m kind of digging this slower life-style that I’ve had to become accustomed to while I get my leg fixed. No more crazy deadlines, being out half the night at the club, driving people places, rushing to the store or lessons. Just being me.

Last Fall I got the chance to watch the season come and go as winter arrived and this time, I get to watch Spring arrive in all of her glory and might. I miss working in the dirt. I haven’t figured out how to do that and not put weight on my leg and that’s okay. If I don’t have my garden this year, there is always the Farmer’s Market.

For now, I get to read, play my banjo, write to my heart’s content, spend time with friends, talk on the phone, love my family, and when opportunity strikes – take pictures.

All in all. It’s really not a bad life.

This slowing down thing.

You can click on the photos if you want to see them better. If you choose to share them that is fine, so long as you link back here. Thanks for reading.

rainbow at rock creek

woodpecker 2014 cove

to have faith

Be Careful what you ask for

“Deana you are so blessed to have this down time. I’d give anything to spend time alone with God.”

Really?

I’ll be honest, I’m feeling that vibe a lot less now than I was back in October. The first three weeks were great, then I got bored.

In October, I knew I was only going to be down for a few months. Three, maybe four tops!  In that down time, I would spend a month or two in physical therapy, but surely I’d be walking and driving by April.

Not a chance.

That simple little surgery I had last October where they broke my tibia in half, straightened it out, added a metal plate, screws and a bone graft isn’t healing.

Actually, my body got hungry and ate the graft, leaving a nice hole in the middle behind the metal plate. My leg is still broken and even though I can walk with a boot and crutches, it hurts.

I am going back in tomorrow, April 2 for another bone graft. This time they’ll take the bone from my hip.  I’ll be back sitting in a chair staring at water for a few weeks while this heals. No April Fools joke, this is for real. 90 days no walking and another 90 days-ish using crutches. After that we get to decide whether or not to replace my ankle. I’m going to be down for a really long time.

This is more me time than I wanted.

I’ve learned some things though.

1. I had no idea people post such drivel on Facebook or think meme’s are factually accurate.

2. Just because my leg is broken does not mean I can’t help tear apart a kitchen.

3. Dust will not kill me.

4. The dogs who have no regard for my boot and crutches however, may.

5. Laundry can wait until someone brings it downstairs. (Flinging it down the stairs while standing on crutches is not wise – don’t ask)

6. Candy Crush is rigged against you.

7. You can go broke playing Facebook games. You can also get very bored with them after level 130.

8. Online shopping rocks.

9. Number of tie-blankets you can make before losing your mind is three.

10. Banjo really does sound better when you practice.

Have a great day you guys.

 

Two Wheel Tuesday: Got my Trainer on and no it’s not a bra.

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Why is my road bike in my living room?

Because I can only watch so many episodes of Ally McBeal on Netflix before wondering if the writers had access to my psych files. Granted, I feel saner after watching that show.

Because my fingers can only practice banjo and guitar so many times before freezing up.

Because no amount of internal body heat caused by menopause or kitschy cycling gear can combat the polar vortex when it arrives.

Because my attitude over the things I still cannot do has gotten so bad, my family is thinking of putting me out of their misery.

AND

Because I deserve to do the best I can to take care of me.

I have choices. I can either lament the fact that I’m not allowed to ride in the street yet, or I can set up my trainer (with permission) and get moving.

My leg is still broken (or is sticky as doc calls it) and even though I’m now allowed to walk if I use my boot and walker, I still cannot go outside or drive or do a whole lot really and when I’m being honest, I get frustrated.

It’s really starting to feel like every time I turn around I bump into something else I still can’t do yet.

This might not seem like a lot to other folks, but it’s making the world of difference to me.

I haven’t been able to walk for three months. My legs are toast. Group rides are presently out of the question as is riding on the street or trails for now. Most of my riding friends set up trainers only as a last resort. Tulsa winters are usually mild enough to ride. I’d ride too but, I’m not allowed to join them until my leg is 100% healed. That is going to take a few more months.

The issue for me isn’t so much physical as it is mental. I knew going in this road of recovery would be a while. I knew there would be physical demands and I was fully prepared to face them. What I didn’t expect to face is the mental aspect of it all. This recovery has been a huge challenge for me emotionally. I’m not used to having to rely on other people to do things for me, I’m used to doing them myself.

I needed to find something I CAN do.

Setting up my trainer is the perfect way for me to get over feeling a bit defeated and frustrated by how long it’s taking my leg to heal. It keeps my mind busy and it will strengthen my legs at the same time.

Not a bad deal if you ask me.

 

Standing Witness

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Sometimes, when I’m being honest with myself, I have this secret fear that I am not enough. Did you know that? No matter how hard I strive to control or contain reality, I get afraid.

Doc had to break my leg in order to make it whole again. That didn’t seem right to me and yet, because of my pain, I allowed it. I’m tired of limping. Tired of hiding my injury. Tired of staring at the ground when I walk so that I don’t accidentally trip and fall. Again.

Funny how that happens. Pain drives us sometimes. Sooner or later though, hopefully, we get tired of the pain and become willing to do whatever it takes to make it go away. This was really no different. I knew it meant being down for almost six months and frankly I was so tired, I really didn’t care.

Jeff came with me for the first two weeks, making sure that I followed the doctor’s orders by staying off my feet. Major surgery takes a lot out of you. Having your tibia broken in half, shifted, and new bone grafted in hurts. A lot really. I couldn’t be alone. At least not at first. And he, being my husband wouldn’t dream of leaving me to care for myself until he knows I am capable.

Fall has just come to the cove when I begin my recovery. The trees still have leaves on them and they are just beginning to turn. The weather is still pleasantly warm. There was a gentle breeze off the water and I spend the first six weeks of my recovery resting on the front porch with my leg up as the doctor ordered.

I watch the pelicans and ducks play across the cove chasing shad and each other back and forth every morning before settling in together. The cows from across the way come down for their morning drink and some mornings, if I am really still, deer come down as well.

In six weeks, I read four books, write five chapters of my own book, play banjo till my fingers bleed, and watch the leaves turn from green to bright yellow and then fall away, leaving my trees barren against the sky. Geese come and go their migratory way. So do the monarch.

A full season comes and goes. I witness all of it. Unhurried. No deadlines. No boundaries. No striving. No fear. Just being present as summer takes its last breath and fall prepares a covering for winter’s slumber.

Caught now in winter with Christmas behind me and full recovery only weeks away, I miss my front porch. The tightness in my chest is returning. I find myself planning my next bike ride, my next horseback ride, my next comedy show, my next banjo lesson. Everything that I think defines me is just out of my reach.

My thoughts, fears and worries that I left behind sometimes sneak out from under my bed while I’m asleep and scare me awake.

“You’ll never ride with the Diva’s. You’re a full season behind. They started training last year. You can’t keep up.”

“What if you fall off the horse? You’ll break your leg again, worse than it was before. What then?”

“Your banjo teacher will never take you back you know. His schedule is probably full. Besides, even if it isn’t, do you honestly think all of that time you spent practicing will be enough?”

“Do you really think people will remember you after taking six months off? There are plenty of comics in Tulsa who’ve been gaining a ton of stage time while you are gone. No one will remember you. You’re rusty now.”

“And what about that book you are writing? I mean seriously who are you kidding?”

If I’m being honest, sometimes I give in to the fears. I get up and go downstairs, pour myself a drink and light a cigarette in my garage and let them have their way with me.

Other times, I close my eyes and remember that summer ended, fall bloomed and passed, birds played, cattle lowed, coyotes yipped, wolves howled at the moon, (yes there are wolves in my cove) pelicans fished, and the monarchs continued on their way all while I sat as nothing more than a witness on my porch. And it was enough.

How often can we say that?

Come what ever may be as the result of my hiatus, life will continue with or without my help.

Perhaps I should follow winter’s example. The world is asleep. Spring is three months away. I’m only half way through my hiatus. I have time.

Now is not the time to let fear whisper to me like a thief in the night.

I have another season to bear witness to, Winter has lessons to teach but only if I’m willing to learn. It too will come and pass without my striving.

Another season without riding, without horses, without music lessons, without running the show – only me as a witness, nothing more, nothing less – a chance to rest and learn that even without my trappings, I am enough. May it be so.

“You get the idea – one thing at a time, one day at a time and all of a sudden, bam, you’re awesome.” — I’m all for awesome. I really like reading this guy. I’m not sure whether or not I’ve ever shared him with you guys before, so I am today — no matter what your struggle is, stay in today — you can do anything today. Deana

Fit Recovery

Are you fat? Pleasantly plump? Cheerfully chubby?  I would classify myself, twelve years ago “almost overweight”.  I decided to get fit just before s#!+ got ugly.  Have you ever been bitten by the bug to lose the weight, to eat right and to finally get healthy, only to fail after a week and fall back into your old ways because it’s just too tough?  Hell, I couldn’t do all of that at once.

Worse yet, have you started to exercise a bit, start with a daily half hour walk, only to find two months later that you’ve lost all of a pound and a half, lose heart and quit?

I am the toughest sissy you’re going to meet. I’ll ride 200 km (125 miles) on my own just to see if I can do it. I’ll ride just as hard as I can in a pace line just to see…

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Where Were You When You First Met Anne?

anne-lamott-credit-sam-lamott-final-small_custom-508ad61ad7cd1860a90521caedf65c1aeb330750-s6-c10It’s not like I’ve never heard of her. I have. “If you want to learn how to write, read Bird by Bird.” my friends say. I own Bird by Bird and while I’m not entirely certain as to whether or not I’ve read it, I know it’s here in my home somewhere.  I put it away for safe keeping — along with all of my other safe keeping dreams.

Time and busyness of life have relegated the book to one of my piles of things that stack up when unattended. Sometimes my piles of things include tangible things like books and papers, other times they are more reminiscent of Pandora’s box — this dream, that lust, this need, that resentment. Which box or which pile or room I’ve relegated that book to, has yet to be determined. In many ways, I’m still sifting through yesterday’s hopes, and clearing out some wreckage in order to make room for the good stuff. Only recently am I starting to remove the bandages on my wings and testing their muscle. I do notice that while they tire easily, they grow stronger every day.

I could simply go buy it again. It’s not like I can’t afford to. And maybe I will, maybe I won’t. It doesn’t matter at the moment because in all honesty I didn’t meet Anne in Bird by Bird. Maybe I sensed something when I held that book in my hands that I was just wasn’t ready to face. I think I was afraid. Afraid of change. Afraid of truth. And maybe even a little afraid of meeting myself.

Because the truth is, you cannot  meet Anne and not be changed. I wasn’t ready to meet me yet. Sweet little,dishonest to a fault,  people pleasing, just give me the rules and I’ll follow them so you’ll like me, me — standing on my branch and rather than flying choosing to climb back down for a while. The clamor of life: laundry, dishes, dirty floors, homework, sex, obligations, gardens that keep dying cover the voices screaming in my head that there has got to be more.

More to this recovery thing.

More to this God stuff and service.

More to writing and family.

More to life.

More to me.

Anne’s is a name that is sometimes spoken in hushed whispers in my somewhat conservative circles. Even in AlAnon, she is considered contraband  “Non Conference Approved Literature” and all. It’s not as if she’s Voldemort or anything. I mean she’s just a woman like me – except for the dreadlocks. Oh how I love the freedom in those.

I didn’t meet Anne in Bird by Bird. I met Anne in Sunday School while teaching a safe and Board of Education approved class on Spiritual Disciplines. Not a bad study really. We talked about the importance of prayer, and meditation, forgiveness, and walking in the Spirit. Strong, spiritual Godly stuff. Stuff fit for women taught to serve and not ask questions. Problem is, I had a lot of questions. I still do.

Two visitors wandered in one day and joined my class. After a month or so one of the ladies torn over the ultra conservative nature of our church and her own personal beliefs, offered me a book on loan. “Read this and give it back to my friend when you are finished. I’m not coming back.” –

The book is Traveling Mercies.

This is where I met Anne.

This is where I learned that it is okay to have a crazy family, a messed up testimony,and a messy faith that is wholly mine and no one else’s. It’s okay not to have all the answers, have teeny tiny control issues, and I learned that thinking things that would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of a cat dish is a starting place for forgiveness sometimes. It’s okay to tell the truth. To stand up for women. To be ourselves, without apology. It’s okay not to believe everything people believe and to think for yourself.

It’s okay to find your own music and purpose in life.

We listen to the same radio station, (K-FKD) only I was too embarrassed to admit it. Not Anne – she called it was it is and dropped the F-Bomb right there in black and white. I giggled out loud and looked around the room to see if anyone had heard what I just read. Feeling safe in my overstuffed green chair, certain that no one had overheard,  I sank in deeper and read the book through the night. By the end of the book, I wanted dreadlocks as well.

I don’t have them. Frankly they would look foolish on me.

Being the only daughter of an alcoholic mother myself, I run the gamut of loving and hating Anne. Sometimes I feel jealous and fall into traps of self-pity and wonder what my life would be like had my mother stayed in the program. Other times, I feel alive and torn between conviction and reassurance that I am indeed on the right path.

Anne is to me what women like Gloria Steinem were to my mother — an awakening. A voice to be heard and digested. A reminder that I am a child of God first, as well as a woman and a sister to others. All of my roles, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend MATTER.  I too have a responsibility to wake up and keep the fight that the women before me fought. Freedom does not come from passively enjoying the benefits bestowed upon my generation by my Grand Mother’s and Mother’s generation or by assuming they will always remain. Simple things like credit, workplace equity,educational equality,  peace in this world, caring for the poor, all of those things matter and can go away with the very next generation if we don’t speak up.

This world needs voices.

This world needs women.

This world needs you and it needs me.

I’ve been asking Anne (via Facebook, I know weird right?) if she’d please include Tulsa in her book tours. That hasn’t happened yet. She is however on tour again discussing Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son and is coming to Kansas City MO in April. The church she’ll be speaking at is only four hours from my house — I’m going. Bought my ticket already and everything.

I just want to meet her and say thank you.

Hopefully I won’t gush. That would be embarrassing really —

She’s influences me as a woman and that influences me as a writer.

She is just a mirror really — because the truth is – you spot it, you got it.

That which is we dislike in others are things we usually dislike in ourselves

AND JUST AS TRUE

Those things we hold up and admire in others are also those same things that exist in ourselves.

So, where were you when you met Anne? Have you? If not — let me introduce you — I think you’ll like her. I do.  — ANNE LAMOTT FACEBOOK PAGE

Robert Downey Jr is a Class Act All the Way Around and I’m a Puddle of Tears

I’ll be honest, when my friend shared this video (via his blog – Save a Cactus Hugger) with me last week, I sat down and cried.

I didn’t cry because I’m such a fan of these two men. I am (and you my readers know that, probably ad nauseum I’m sure.) but that’s not the point. I think this video shows courage, and great humility. Robert Downey Jr has proven himself to be a class act all the way around.

I’m not sure why it made me cry really. My reaction was so strong emotionally that I’m forced to look at it and find out. Yeah me, another Fantastic Growth Opportunity. (AFGO as my friend calls it) – I know that I’ve had many periods in my life where I’ve been overcome with a severe case of dumb-butt and have needed to face that in myself. And while I’ve been blacklisted for serious infractions like admitting I’m a more of a Ben and Jerry’s Fan than a Dairy Queen Gal, I have fortunately been spared the limelight of these two men’s lives.

Not that I haven’t necessarily done worse.

I just never got caught. Or if I did, it never made the nightly news or cover of People Magazine.

Maybe I cried because I’m one of those women who loves alcoholics to death — literally sometimes. (To point, if our eyes meet across a crowded room and my heart starts doing 280, chances are pretty good they either have a flask in their pocket or a criminal record. Which is in all honesty how I landed up in a 12 step room to begin with. I was raised to believe that I am personally responsible for other people’s bologna and it took a few years to let go of that responsibility, one clutched controlling finger at a time.)

Maybe I cried out of self pity? I have several alcoholics in my life who have yet to accomplish (on a personal level) what I witnessed here.

Maybe I cried because I know so many who left the room before reaching this place of hope and real forgiveness.

Or maybe I cried because I’ve been around 12 step rooms for so long and I honesty wish church were more like this and it isn’t always.

No matter, I love the video and believe that Robert’s actions show great class, love, and humility – not to mention courage and so do Mel’s. These men are a great example of true friendship — we should all be so blessed.