Four Glitches & A Tumor October 21, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Life Balance.
Tags: Health, Humor, Life Balance, Tumor, Wellness
“You have a parotid gland tumor.”
The doctor’s words hung in the air as we reviewed options:
(1) Have surgery to remove the tumor, or
(2) Do nothing and allow the tumor to grow, possibly impacting facial nerves.
As a medical malpractice attorney, I knew all the things that could go wrong during surgery. But as a litigator, I relied on my facial nerves to convey subtle nuances to the jury.
Caught between a rock and a hard place, we opted for Door #1.
Glitch #1: The surgeon we hand-picked wasn’t available for at least 2 months because he was moving from one teaching hospital to another.
My husband and I decided our preferred surgeon would be worth the wait . . . as long as the tumor wasn’t malignant.
Glitch #2: Due to the tumor’s proximity to facial nerves, the surgeon couldn’t perform a needle biopsy.
Great. We agreed to wait it out “in the dark.” Odds were in favor of it being benign, but . . .
Once home, the initial numbness began to wear off, replaced with worry and anxiety. I tried to calm myself by making plans.
“I’m going to have to call everyone I know before going under the knife.”
“To say good-bye . . . just in case.”
So much for calmness. Blind hysteria set in and I started to cry. My husband allowed the scene to register and then he . . . grinned. He grinned! There I was, on the verge of imminent disaster, and he was laughing at me.
This was NOT the kind, caring, and compassionate man I had married.
I made a mental note to rewrite my will and change the beneficiary of my life insurance policy from him to someone else.
Well, anyone other than my surgeon; I didn’t want to create a conflict of interest for him if he had medical malpractice insurance premiums coming due.
I glared at my husband and ex-best friend. “What are you smiling about?”
He didn’t even blink. His grin never wavered. Proof that my tumor had already destroyed facial nerves essential to glaring, staring, and/or giving someone the “stink eye.”
Ignoring my ire, he spoke. “I just took what you said to its logical extreme.”
“You should probably call everyone you know every morning.”
“To say good-bye . . . just in case.”
“What are you talking about?”
His grin grew two sizes as he said, “Well . . . you never know when you’re going to be hit by that proverbial bus.”
I looked at his Cheshire grin with simmering resentment, annoyed that he had full use of his smile muscles.
Then his words sunk in and I burst out laughing.
“You’re right! I could die tomorrow on the way to work. Or next week by running into a brick wall. Or the week after that while caught between a rock and a hard place.”
“Exactly! Why get worked up now over surgery that’s not even scheduled?”
As we relaxed into the moment, I knew I would be all right . . . no matter what happened. Instead of dwelling on the “black cloud of uncertainty,” I had the time of my life that summer.
Aah . . . that’s better!
To be continued tomorrow . . . Four Glitches & A Tumor ~ Part 2.
Wry Observations on Dry Politics October 19, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Life Balance, People.
Tags: Fun & Games, Humor, People, Politics
After my grandfather retired, he ran for the State Legislature in Vermont and served a few terms as Town Representative for Hartland. While serving, he peppered letters to my dad with wry observations on otherwise dry politics.
8/5 ~ Hartland: “The date is closed for filing for Town Rep. No one else filed as far as I know. I ought to be able to win I guess. To lose, I would have to fall on my face or die.”
9/13 ~ Results of primary on 9/11. “The total vote was 155. Senator Aiken received 145. Representative Prouty received 144. Walter Hatch received 140. I had expected to win but had expected there might be more who would not vote for me.”
11/7 ~ Results of election. “Hartland had a big turn-out to vote. Some 75% of the clerk’s list. The total vote cast was 595. I got 452 out of a possible 500. That needs explaining. Max Rogers only had 500 Representative ballots printed. The last 95 could not vote on Town Representative. So politics is over for a bit.”
1/1 ~ New Year’s Greetings with exuberant good wishes and details of his new suit for Montpelier. “I have bought a new suit in reddish brown gray. It is said to look well with gray hair, a little thin, you know, on top.”
1/12 ~ Montpelier: “I am now officially a member of the Honorable General Assembly.” Details of 1st week. “As ever, your “Honorable Dad.”
6/13 ~ Montpelier: “We are nearly through with our work in the House except for such bills as come from the Senate. They are behind us with their work again this year.”
9/2 ~ “Politics are getting hotter. I still have no contest, but the Senate race and Lt. Governor are interesting.”
9/10 ~ Hartland: “Dear Richard & Barb, etc. The “etc.” is also important. I have been watching the TV for two or three evenings. Last night was the VT and NH Primaries. Of course, I had to sit up for that. The vote was light I would say. Too bad people don’t take more interest. I think they would sit up and think some if they lost the right. It was quiet here in Hartland. No contests. Out of a total of 214 ballots, I got 203. Of course, these are Primaries. As you know, the real election is in November.”
11/6 ~ Hartland: “I will write to give you the results of the election. With a total vote cast of 384, I had 352. Stafford (Rep.) for governor got 260 while the Democrat candidate polled 111. Since no one was running against me, I got quite a few votes from Democrat voters. State wide, we have a democrat for the lone Representative to Congress for the first time since before the Civil War.”
1/16 ~ Hartland: “We are off to a flying start in Legislation activity. Robert Stafford is our Governor. I worked for his election so was satisfied. On Thursday, the retiring Governor gave his farewell address before a formal Joint Assembly with the Supreme Court in attendance in robes, etc. After lunch, we met again in like manner to hear Gov. Stafford’s address. Committee assignments were read Thursday. I am on the State and Courts Expense Committee. I do not know all the types of bills we have to process. The Chairman is a man named Lawrence. I liked his reports in the last session but did not get to know him then. Today I read over a part of the Attorney General’s Report. It is a 200 page book giving opinions of the past 2 years and cases he tried, etc. I figured I better know something of his thoughts because we will have to work with him in our committee quite a lot.”
5/24 ~ “Legislature is in its last days but may last a week or possibly two. It is a split session and I expect to work some in October or November getting some bills ready for Jan. 12 1960 when the final part of this session will meet and eventually close.”
9/6 ~ Hartland: “I have to be in Montpelier the 21st for as long as committee meetings last thereafter. I am quite interested in the outcome of the coming visits between Russia and the U.S. I expect both lies and bluster mixed in with honey ~ for peace.”
12/13 ~ “It is 10 minutes walk to the dome. Ray Heyser, the House Speaker, was in town and ate dinner with 6 or 7 of us. After dinner, Ray cornered me and grinned and said, “How are you getting on, Walter? How do you like the committee I put you on?” I told him I hoped I was doing all right. He went off with a wicked gleam in his eye. And so we go. “
1/31 ~ Hartland: “The third week of the session is over and we are getting on quite well. The first big bill #386 passed the house and senate and is back in the house with minor amendments. The second #392 which dealt with consolidation of departments is through 2nd reading. There was an attempt made to amend it to death. We upset the amendment and I did some of the talking against it. I orated in my best form that:
“No one should as a public servant be appointed for life. We want no Kingdom of Education! Let me point out: an indefinite appointment may perpetuate a poor policy equally as a good. I hope you see fit to defeat the amendment.”
Very dramatic. And with those short and simple words, I sat. Well I have rambled on and I hope you can get at least some of the picture of what happens as you make a law. We have got a good committee if I do say it and we were all happy Friday night but trying hard not to appear smug.”
8/26 ~ Hartland: “Louis Springer is filed to run for Representative also, so we are in a contest. It is friendly so far. I encouraged him to file and let the voters decide it Sept. 11.”
9/13 ~ Hartland: “We vote today. News later.” “8 PM ~ I just returned from the hall. I seem to have won in the Town Representative count: 133 to 118 for Springer. Unless someone files by petition, I will have to work in Montpelier again this Winter.”
11/14 ~ Hartland: “I was disappointed when Nixon lost and by so little. However, we have to live and not wring our hands. Here in town, Stafford won over Meyers and Keyser is governor. Hartland had a big vote out ~ 644 (72%). My vote was 558 as I had no one running against me. We went to Montpelier and got a place to stay engaged.”
1/4 ~ Montpelier: “Here we are again “under the Dome.” Tomorrow is Governor’s Ball. We may go and watch awhile. And so it goes.”
1/11 ~ Montpelier: “Roy Lawrence read Committee appointments this morning. Evo is chairman of State and Court and I am Vice Chairman. You can see I will soon be Governor or something. Probably something.”
3/19 ~ “Our committee has requests in various bills for pay raises of $2,100,000 per year. Revenue is off just now so I fear we will have to use a knife and pare them down some. Not so pleasant to do.”
7/10 ~ Hartland: The 200 Year Celebration. “Margaret is mailing a parcel for Nancy. And tomorrow back to the snake pit.”
7/25 ~ Montpelier: “I thought we would close the session this week but the senate is stalling (11 to 2 for lunch today). I visited the Senate afternoon session. It ran exactly 20 minutes. It was a stall session. Most people in both houses are disgusted but it is not easy to force the Senate leaders.”
7/31 ~ Montpelier: “We are really on our final week. I shall be glad to be out of it. A few people are cleaning out their desks as far as possible ready to leave tomorrow.”
7/27 ~ Pavilion Hotel, Montpelier: “I am called to a Special Session to consider 4 matters. It was nice to see everyone and I have had some good visits. I talked with the Governor a few minutes. I presume I will be up here into next week. It depends on the Senate. It is a lot of in fighting done with a smiling face. I have kept a lot of notes on what I have learned in various ways. It is as interesting as “Advise and Consent.” ”
8/7 ~ Montpelier: “We are still tied in a reapportionment deadlock with the Senate. It is a power play. The cost is about $25,000 per week while it lasts. I expect you are back home. We had a nice visit at the lake.”
8/15 ~ Hartland: “The Special Session of the Vermont Legislature has passed into history. It was an interesting session and I expect my last.”
1/12 ~ Hartland: “I have been watching the start of the 1963 Session in the papers. I don’t feel too much of an itch to be there. I believe I am getting lazy.”
Aah . . . that’s better!
Acupuncture ~ A Jab Well Done October 17, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Nature.
Tags: Acupuncture, Health, Medicine, Pain, Wellness
Ever since I practiced law, I’ve stored stress in my neck. And the weight of the world on my shoulders.
In 2013, I tried chiropractic therapy and had regular deep tissue massages to relieve the pain. Both provided temporary relief, at best. I would feel better for a few days before the pain returned at its previous level of intensity.
This past Spring, we went to a lecture at the library on Acupuncture. The DOM (Doctor of Oriental Medicine) asked for volunteers for a quick demo.
I agreed to be a guinea pig, open minded, not expecting any real relief.
She stuck 8-10 needles in me ~ from my feet to my neck. Twenty minutes later, she pulled them out.
And my neck felt . . . Better. Looser. Lighter.
The relief continued unabated for the next 3 weeks. My neck felt better than it had in decades.
Now I’m a believer!
Acupuncture dissolved a 25-year-old energy block and allowed the Chi to flow.
We found an acupuncturist on the island and BFF had similar success with his long-standing lower back pain.
After 2 months of once a week visits, we now see Tricia (also a D.O.M.) once every 3-4 weeks. And our insurance covers it.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Have you ever considered trying acupuncture?
Related post: Listen To Your Body, It’s Listening To You (Find Your Middle Ground)
Pragmatic Thoughts on Life & Death October 12, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, People, Special Events.
Tags: Children, Death, Family, Humor, Life
Much of my grandfather’s letters dealt with the day-to-day dramas of life in the Vermont legislature, keeping weeds out of his garden, chasing deer around during hunting season, and keeping up with Mother Nature’s efforts to paint a winter wonderland of white.
But he paid passing homage to the arrival and rearing of his grandkids and to the passing of friends and family:
8/20 ~ “We are remembering October [Jamie's arrival] is not so far off and it won’t be long now. Tell Barbara it is OK to rush about with a wash cloth or something during the moving process but not to lift the piano. Let me know if we can do anything else.”
2/4 ~ “Dear Richard, Barb and “the Problem” ~ I was much interested in your account of feeding Jamie. In learning calves to drink it was generally necessary to get them just a bit hungry. I used to discourse on this to your mother and Aunt Lucy and get them quite indignant. You and Marjorie were NOT calves! I think Lucy thought me a bit brutal. It wasn’t, it was just simple common sense. The same basic strategy applies to all young creatures I think.”
6/29 ~ “As it is nearing July we will be looking for NEWS soon.” [My arrival]
7/20 ~ “We were pleased to get your call and the good news that everyone was OK. We expected it to be but it was nice to know it came and is over.” ["It came" = ME]
2/26 ~ “Tell the children I think of them. Possibly that will not mean much to Nancy.”
10/6 ~ “Margaret was quite worried over poor Nancy. It must have been quite bad while it was sore. [After spilling out of a run-a-way baby carriage, I required stitches in my tongue.] It is wonderful how children get over such things. I remember how worried we were when you upset your arm. I was worried it might be stiff in the joint. Lots of love and we will be happy to see you any time you can make it.”
3/31 ~ “We just got a special delivery letter from Marjorie saying Louis Stevens died Sunday night. She also said Douglas Bruce was born and that you called Aunt Pete. [My younger brother's arrival.] We were pleased to hear of it. We could not feel too badly about Louis as he wasn’t enjoying life much at the last. He told me he doubted if he would be there when I came home from Florida but he had had so many ups and downs it was a question. I feel sorry but it is a relief for Rae, I believe, to know it is over.”
5/21 ~ “We had quite a shock tonight. Mr. Hubbard, the minister, dropped dead with a heart attack. It was wholly unexpected. Margaret was very upset. He was erecting a flag pole at his place when it happened. So this is most of the news and tragedy. Like life is ~ some good ~ some bad. Come up any time if you feel like it.”
11/14 ~ “We still chuckle thinking how cute the children were at times. I guess we would help spoil them if we were around all the time.”
12/23 ~ “Dear everyone, Probably I should write a line and throw in a few bright and salty remarks. Douglas is too young for me to sum up yet but as far as Jamie and, especially Nancy, is concerned I have to say you are doing all right. I have to grin internally every time I take a good look at her.”
2/19 ~ “We enjoyed your letter and account of the kids. I could picture what you meant ~ that is, the cross currents of your under-6 society.”
6/30 ~ “The sick people are as usual. We are looking for news!” [Arrival of #4.]
7/16 ~ “I expect Barb is home and the problems in your home are different than those up here. Have courage, Barb, the first 100 years are the hardest. Hope baby will be good enough to sleep nights.” [My younger sister's arrival.]
10/15 ~ “It was 28 degrees this morning and sunny. Hope everything goes well and that you can come up. I realize it is quite a trip with children to consider but we would love to have you. Margaret wants to see the children ~ not you! ~ the children!”
Aah . . . that’s better!
Getting It All Done October 6, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Life Lessons.
Tags: Desire, Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Time
I used to worry about not “getting it all done.”
I wondered how I would ever reach the bottom of my bucket list. Every time I crossed an item off, two more things took its place.
Such is the nature of desire. As soon as one itch is scratched, a new itch arises.
These days, I realize that if I’m satisfied with the life I’m living (as a whole), there is little reason to get caught up in regret about people I didn’t meet, books I didn’t read (or write), conversations I didn’t have, foods I didn’t taste, pounds I didn’t lose, movies I didn’t watch, or places I didn’t see.
Now I’m free to enjoy the journey as each moment unfolds into the next without worrying about how much time I have left.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Parting The Clouds September 28, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: Grief, Happiness, Life Lessons, Mindfulness
At first, grief is a blanket . . . a solid bank of clouds blocking the sun.
In time, the clouds part to reveal slivers of happiness interspersed with rain.
As blue skies expand, our grief becomes the occasional passing cloud.
With practice, we are able to choose whether to focus on the clouds or the sky.
Aah . . . that’s better!
It is only possible to live happily ever after on a moment by moment basis.
Let It Out . . . Let it Go September 21, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: Emotion, Happiness, Health, Life Lessons, Puppy, Sadness
The sun is always shining, but sometimes it is obscured by clouds.
Just as a rainy day can be a nice change of pace, so too can a gloomy mood.
Life is enhanced by the ebb and flow of emotions.
We appreciate our sunny dispositions more after a cloudy day . . . as long as we don’t get attached to the idea of being sad.
I read a story one day about puppies that had been mistreated. Images of the poor wee pups flooded into my brain.
The happiness felt moments earlier evaporated, replaced with overwhelming sadness. Tears poured down my face. I sobbed until the pain dissipated.
In other words, a sad thought entered my brain. The thought made my emotions switch from happy to sad. I allowed myself to feel that sadness.
Once I acknowledged the sadness, it left. It moved on.
And, this is the important part, I let it go.
I did not chase after it and bring it back. I let it go. I did not get attached to the idea of being sad. I let it go.
If I hadn’t read the story that morning, I wouldn’t have known about the poor puppies at all. Nothing in my life changed from the moment before I read about them until the moment after.
I was not being called upon to save them ~ they had already been rescued.
And the sun shone once more.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Quote: Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead. ~ Scottish Proverb
Taking Things Out Of Context September 19, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
Tags: Blogging, Blogs, Context, Interpretation, Writers, Writing
If we read something when we are angry, we perceive the writer’s words in a different way than we would when feeling calm and peaceful.
We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are. ~ Anais Nin
Experiences that come to mind while reading also flavor our perception.
For example, if I talk about a “pothole in the path” while picturing a broken thermos or some other insignificant obstacle, my words may make sense.
If a reader stumbles upon my words after experiencing a catastrophic event (e.g., having their home washed away in a flood or mowed down by a tornado), that reader’s experiential overlay will impact their interpretation of my words, and may cause them to conclude, “That’s Just Crazy Talk!”
“We see the world behind our eyes.”
The ability to take things out of context is facilitated when reading blog posts and e-mails because we cannot hear the writer’s inflection.
Our history with the person in question may magnify this phenomenon.
When we like and admire someone, we view their words without suspicion. If something sounds “off,” we’re apt to give them the benefit of the doubt.
In contrast, if we’re not a fan of a writer, our distrust may season their words, causing them to become bitter, unpalatable, and hard to swallow.
When we leave our hostility and animosity at the door, the world becomes a friendlier place.
A quiet mind, like the surface of a still pond, provides a more accurate reflection.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Social media can be bad for people without foresight, impulse control, self-awareness, and the ability to anticipate consequences. ~ Eric J. Baker
What’s “Wrong” With This Quote? September 8, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: Goals, Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, Motivation
An excerpt from a book, The Strangest Secret, landed in my in-box today. In the middle of the excerpt, I happened upon this quote:
Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn’t know where he’s going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety and worry—his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing… he becomes nothing.
As I read the quote, I found it “wrong” for any number of reasons:
“When we master our thoughts, we master our life.”
“How we relate to the issue IS the issue.”
2. Some people will flounder in the face of uncertainty. Others will flourish.
“In uncertainty lies all possibility.”
“Embrace all with joy. Anything can be a gift of gold in disguise.”
If we convince ourselves that reaching a set destination is a pre-requisite to happiness, we are apt to be disappointed since the rewards we envision, if they materialize at all, often feel less like rewards and more like dead ends.
Happiness is not waiting for us at the end of the road ~ it’s found here and now, by enjoying each step along the way!
4. We don’t need to know where we’re going as the path unfolds before us. In tune with Spirit, we remain awake and aware, seeing opportunities as they arise. We notice the winks, whispers, and nudges intended for our eyes, ears, and hearts.
“The way teaches us the way.”
5. If we’re enjoying the journey, we win . . . no matter what happens.
“A good traveler has no set plans and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu
6. When we are too intent on reaching a set destination, we may become frustrated, impatient, and discouraged if our goal, like the proverbial grapes, remains “out of reach.”
Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.
7. We can NEVER be nothing.
No matter what.
Accessing the authentic self is simple. Just be. Follow the breath to your innermost core. Let all else fade away.
In the silent spaces between thoughts, we find ourselves waiting.
Ego despair and confusion dissipate. Peace, Joy, and Happiness surface.
We become one with the source.
“I am that I am.”
Aah . . . that’s better!
Nothing Knowledge September 5, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People, Time
We think we’re “in the know” if we keep tabs on the lives of the rich and famous on our Smart Phones . . . while monitoring the strokes of the U.S. Open on our iPads . . . while catching breaking news on TV:
Some jury somewhere reached a verdict about someone or something.
Even if none of these things impact our lives in a direct way, we refuse to remain in the dark.
When a celebrity dies, has a wardrobe malfunction, or twerks in someone’s face, tabloids toss out sordid details to boost readership.
Instead of barking out, TMI!!!, we emulate Pavlov’s dogs (or seals training at Sea World) and eat up this “nothing knowledge.”
It’s free! So why not?
Because there is no such thing as a free lunch.
The vortex created by this nothing knowledge, the black hole of social media manipulation, distracts us from our stated priorities ~ our friends, our families, our health and well-being, our dreams.
What we put into our mouths is with us only a short while before making an exit through the back door. What we put into our minds may haunt those hallowed halls forever.
Maybe one day, in the not-so-foreseeable future, we’ll evolve past the point of ingesting anything and everything tossed our way.
Until that day arrives, do your best to steer clear of whine fests, pity parties, and other non-productive time sucks that put your tizzy in a tail spin.
Aah . . . that’s better!
* Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma ~ which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. ~ Steve Jobs
* It’s amazing the things we find to do . . . to avoid doing amazing things.
* Time is our most valuable and irreplaceable commodity ~ a bank account which mandates daily withdrawals, prohibits deposits, and pays dividends when we spend it wisely.