Friday, December 31, 2010

A "Looking Backward, Moving Forward" Friday Five

This week's RevGalBlogPals Friday Five asks us to name some blessings we've received in the past year while also expressing some hopes for the year to come. I can do that. So here they are.

Blessing #1: Miss Ruby. While technically she's a blessing from 2009 -- this has been the year to watch her grow from a tiny babe in arms, all potential, to a very smart, active little girl with a unique -- and dare I say big -- personality. One of her little cousins recently confided to Son #2, "I just don't know what we'd do without our Ruby."

Blessing #2: Chica.  It still hurts to think about Gertie and the day she died -- I honestly feel a brief resurgence of sweaty-palm panic whenever I pass the spot on the highway where the accident happened. We truly did not think we'd ever have another dog. But Chica, our little Heinz 57 mutt from the pound, has turned out to be a wonderful companion, with a personality all her own -- alternately sweet and spicy, as befitting her name. Mollie the cat, a veteran of many dogs over the years, still isn't quite sure what to make of this one. But we love her lots.

Blessing #3: The Stutzman Family. This year we got to know a local Amish woman, Mary, a widow with six children still at home, who sells baskets and soap in her backyard shop and in local Amish stores. Over the past year we've gone from casual visitors to her store to "Sit down and have some coffee" friends; which to me is a gift. And we've also grown to love Mary's kids, who are just a joy to be around -- who are polite and respectful to adults, and kind and helpful to one another, while maintaining free spirits and an impish sense of fun. I wish that some of our neighbors who think of the Amish in stereotypes -- usually negative -- could have the experiences we do with this family.

Blessing #4: A New Doctor.  It took me several months of Internet research -- but I finally found a primary care physician within reasonable driving distance who has an interest in integrative medicine and who treats me like a human being rather than a set of billable procedures to be squeezed in between pharmaceutical reps. Not that I am bitter or anything.

Blessing #5: Fellow Traveler. Yes, I am being sappy and cornball and obvious here...but especially this year, after observing and experiencing some major interpersonal pathology in other people's relationships, I am more than ever grateful to be traveling on the same life path with my Fellow Traveler.

Bonus Blessing:  Our Wii Fit. Yes, I'm serious. Even though I haven't been on it for a month due to travel and Christmas preparation and the fact that our heavily laden Christmas tree is too close to the television for me to be bouncing around on the board. This is one of the only exercise regimens I've ever been able to stay on for an extended period of time. When the tree goes down...the Wii comes back on.

On to wishes for the new year:

Wish #1:  Fellow Traveler's rheumatoid-arthritis-related TMJ became so bad this past year that something had to be now, after a long and often frustrating diagnostic process through the VA system, she's been cleared for outsourced surgery. We identified some oral surgeons in our general area of the state who seem to have expertise in jaw issues and are getting a consult from them. My wish is that this surgery -- which may wind up being anything from trying to create an artificial cushion in the RA-ravaged joint space to a titanium joint replacement, any option involving some delicate surgical work -- be a success so that FT can be free of the intense daily pain she suffers.

Wish #2:  Now that I have a doctor who suits me, it's time to deal with my health insurance. I have been arguing with Blue Cross for months now about whether or not I'm an actual subscriber (this despite my producing bank records of my ongoing automatic premium payments, and their regular delivery of the company magazine); the company changed my card number without my knowledge, and now refuses to send me a new card. I've been paying my medical costs out of pocket, then forwarding the bills to my insurance agent -- so far with no response from Blue Cross. In the last month I've had not one but two suggestions (one generated by a random discussion between two retirees we overheard in a restaurant when we were in California) that another Large Health Insurance Company is much easier to work with. So -- even though I grew up in a family atmosphere where Blue Cross was only a few pegs lower than God on a scale of life necessity and trustworthiness -- it may be time to make a change.

Wish #3:  This is a perpetual wish on my part, but...I'd like to improve the organization of our household, my personal items and, perhaps most importantly of all, my time. We've actually made strides in this area in the past year; but sometimes I am still overwhelmed by "stuff" and by a kind of randomness (often enabled by yours truly)  that feels like chaos. I really want to find that golden mean between Stepford Wife and Hoarders.

Wish #4: Having begun a successful transition from straggly shrubbery to perennials around our gazebo, I wish to keep that horticultural success going with a new and improved herb garden (thwarted last year by issues with our plumbing that necessitated digging up what used to be my herb bed) and a new flower garden along our front garage. This last project was actually suggested by the non-gardening FT, out of the blue: "Why don't we dig a strip along the side of the garage and plant flowers there?" Who am I to argue with this? (FT's sudden interest in flowers may be a function of her desire to keep bees, which I affirmed on Christmas by giving her an entire bee hive -- sans bees -- and newbie beekeeper equipment.)

Wish #5: Another standing item on my New Year wish list: I want to learn something new this year. I'm not too choosy about what that is. Practical skills (like piecrust making, perhaps?) are always good; or I could really live in the leap and take on some intellectual task that's so far stymied me (calculus? euchre?).

Bonus Wish: This has been a wish of mine for some time -- also, frankly, something of a source of guilt and stress: I want to begin blogging regularly again. One of the reasons I stopped was because I felt that my blogging was beginning to direct my life, instead of my life informing my blogging; sort of like those reality TV shows where the reality has given way to scripts and mugging for the camera. I think I'm at a good place to begin again.


angela said...

You are so complete with your answers! I struggle with blogging the whole picture too--some of what I struggle with myself I'd feel embarrassed, ashamed and selfish if I wrote where the moms would read it.

But I'm glad you're going to blog regularly again--looking forward to your insights.

LoieJ said...

I think that the feelings for BCBS came from its origins, and I think that I had those as well, from my parents, etc. It was supposedly non-profit, started by doctors, etc. I even worked for it in the mid 70's. But these days, it is probably just another insurance company. Plus, the BCBS in one state may not be the same as in another state.

United Health Care, which we've had for 6 years, has been fine. The CEO was convicted, I think, for some sort of excessive profit thing (don't remember the details.) I've read that they've made record profits in recent years. All that gives me the ick factor, but we have it because of His work, so no choice. The website works well, etc. They haven't fussed about paying for our daughter's bills, even before Obama care. The ads on TV state that you can call them for advice on finding a doctor and special services.

Recently, I made an appointment with a new doctor to check on a lump :-( and the clerk asked me for the insurance info, but she also needed the addresses on the back of the card because she said that there are "many Uniteds." I suppose that means processing offices.

See if your agent carries other companies and what it means to pay for an individual policy.

Chilly Fingers said...

We share many hopes for 2011. I forgot about the yard...probably because it has brown snow in it today.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

What a list! It occurred to me as I was clicking on the link to this post just how long it has been since I used to read your beautiful reflections over at I Village--one of the reasons I stopped in as often as I did on that old forum we frequented was the beauty of your writing. Rejoicing in the blessings, friend, and praying and hoping with you on the wish list. May you and FT be richly blessed this coming year.

Deb said...

I hope you are able to achieve your wishes, especially your bonus wish! I'm a regular reader of your blog so I miss your commentary. I certainly understand the need to let it go though when it takes over your life.

Anonymous said...

I love this post and find it inspiring. Thank you!

We have used United Healthcare for years and really like it. No problems at all.

RE the Wii Fit, DH just bought one with an Amazon gift certificate from his fifth-grade class. I'm intimidated by it but as a homebody and lifelong sedentary type, also intrigued. Which activities do you recommend?



LutheranChik said...

Sally, I do a variety of exercises on the Wii...generally 15 minutes of strength exercises, 15 minutes of yoga and then either the running program (I am not a runner by any means, but jogging is fine) or some of the games. (The hula hoop game gives me a real workout, as does the slalom skiing.) It's very weird doing Wii yoga if you're used to a more traditional format (the rankings after every posture drive me crazy), but you get used to it. A good quieting exercise at the very end of things is the "Zen meditation" game; much harder than it appears, but is quite focusing and calming once you learn to sit still.;-) (Warning: The death of virtual moths may be involved in this'll just have to do it and find out.)

PrJoolie said...

great list.
One of my wishes for 2011 is that we meet FTF. Maybe lunch in Alma? when spring comes, of course.
Peace, happy new year.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, LutheranChik. I think I'll set up a series of activities as that will likely create more of a commitment for me. I have been trying out various activities without any real pattern, and while that's been fun, I can't see that working as a day-to-day approach. I'll let you know how it goes!