Month: September 2012

Visiting

As everyone knows tomorrow will be a week since my surgery and today was the first day back behind the wheel.  My eye sight is still not 100% but I made it through.  It feels so good to be able to get out of my apartment again without assistance.  I still have a lot of soreness and my vision as the day went on got more murky.  It kind of feels like I have false eyelashes on that are itchy and pinching on my eye lids.    I will see the doctor tomorrow to find out if this is normal.

This has been a challenging recuperation because with both eyes out of commission I was so limited in my activities.  I couldn’t read, write, or even really watch TV or a movie.  Luckily I had my audiobooks and I can touch type so I was able to use the internet.  My Mother and Sister came down to help me which was wonderful.

But I have to admit I got really bored.  I can only listen to audiobooks so long and sleep so long.  Especially by Friday I felt good as far as my brain but my eyes just hurt and didn’t work right.  I was itching for company.  For people to talk to and visit with.  Fortunately my friends Melissa and Emily came out for visits which I am super grateful for (Melissa brought me smores pie and Emily dole whips!!!).  But I must confess to being a bit disappointed that my nearly constant facebook begging didn’t result in any other visits from friends.

I really don’t take it personal as I know people are very busy, but I also  know we don’t live in a society that pays visits any more.  I don’t make visits.  I schedule meetings with friends but almost never go over to just talk with someone. It is always involving some kind of meal or activity. Never just a visit.

In Victorian days making house calls or visits was a primary activity of ladies.  Especially whenever big events happened like births or deaths visits were expected to be attempted.  If the lady of the house refused the visitor or was not at home a calling card like our modern business cards would be left.  This social exchange of visiting and leaving cards was incredibly complicated. Here are some of the rules:

When making a call a lady does not remover her bonnet or wraps

The formal calls should be made in the morning and never during meal times.

No topic of a political or religious nature shall be admitted into conversation

sewing or needlework need not necessarily be laid aside during the visit

A call should not be prolonged over an hour.

When it is impossible to attend a dinner or social gathering a call should be made soon afterwards to express regret

You get the idea…

I’m not saying I would enjoy stuffy, starched visits full of social protocol but the idea of receiving visitors into my home is very appealing.  I think it is something we have lost in our scheduled modern lives.  Rarely do I get  a spontaneous call or text from someone looking to hang out or visit that isn’t scheduled weeks in advance.

Everything in my life is scheduled and planned.  This is mostly my own fault because I’m extremely busy and if I don’t make time for the people I love it doesn’t happen.  Still, the notion of an unexpected visit from a friend is very appealing.

In my church we have a program called visiting teaching.  It is a system of visiting where we are assigned a girl to visit at least monthly ideally with a companion who is also assigned.  Some look at this cynically as forced friends but I’ve always really enjoyed it.  It can be a challenge but I like visiting with people in their homes.  I loved that on my mission.

Visiting teaching is also nice because it forces me to get to know people I might not otherwise get to know.  It can be tough to work out everyone’s schedules and get a visit in but I’ve always been a pretty good visiting teacher.  I like it.

I’d like to say I will do better about paying visits but I don’t see that happening . Its just not a part of modern culture.  People just don’t make visits. Sigh…

Victorian calling cards. So fun
Victorians made house calls on a regular basis.

Feminism and the Workforce

I am writing this using my touch typing because honestly I can’t see much.  My eyes are puffy and sore.  I’m not sure if this is normal.  I will call the doctor in the morning to find out.  I know a week to 10 days of recovery is not uncommon.

I just finished reading The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella for the 6th or 7th time.  It is not an award winning book plot-wise but I think it is funny and when I’m sick or feeling down I reach for Kinsella’s writing every time.  I listened to it on audibook and lately I’ve had a lot of time with my audio books 🙂

So, the main story behind this book is a woman named Samantha is just about to be made partner in a prestigious corporate law firm in London.  To get to this point she regularly logs 60+ hours and never has time for social gatherings or even time to think for herself. She doesn’t know how to toast a bagel, iron a shirt or replace the bag in her vacuum. The only time she gives to herself is an occasional viewing of the Waltons for comfort.

Then through a massive mistake Samantha panics, flees to the country and ends up working as a housekeeper in a big lofty house. It is admittedly ridiculous but if you can get behind all of that fluffy plot and think about the questions Kinsella is asking, it is a thought provoking book.

It touches on one of my favorite topics- work.  Why we work, how we work, what motivates us to work, how does money, power, control figure into work?  What do we lose in work? What sacrifices are worth making for work and which one’s aren’t? How do we find that elusive balance between work and life?  These are all questions that fascinate me.

Kinsella’s book made me think about work and feminism in a new way and has left me pondering…

My entire life I was taught in school that pre-feminist women were disenfranchised (which they were) and unhappy mainly because of their unequal share and positions in the workforce.  Men had the power and money at work; therefore, they had the eventual satisfaction and happiness. By confining themselves to the home in unpaid labor, the traditional woman, could not contribute all she could to the world; thereby leaving her unhappy and unfulfilled.

I remember reading Betty Friedan:

“Each suburban wife struggles with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night- she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question– ‘Is this all?”

I wonder if Mrs.  Friedan would have the honesty to ask this same question of a lopsided career woman like Samantha in the novel who works, works, works?   Couldn’t you make a similar list full of the daily deadening tasks of the career woman and ask the same questions at the end? I wonder what she’d think of such a problem?

In some ways the modern career woman asks the Is this all? question even more frequently than her predecessors because they attempt to do all in the work-world and at home. One commenter on this very blog said of her life:

“I feel…I don’t know…a societal pressure of sorts to make mothering a priority. As a working mom, I feel as though I have two full time jobs (and neither gets done to its full need). No one is pressuring my husband, or men in general to find a better balance between work and home”

This highly stretched living ends up leaving a lot of women feeling that they do many things but don’t do them particularly well.  I think every woman has moments where she feels mediocre because she’s pushed too far, too fast, with limited time.

When I was young (high school or college aged) I readily assumed my greatest accomplishment in life would be from my work. Nobody ever said ‘you will get your greatest satisfaction from your hobbies or from serving in the community’.  Think about it- what do we ask children about their future lives?  It’s what do they want to be someday, what do they want to do for their job.

People at church said I’d get the most fulfillment from my family but this was largely ignored as passe sentiment by the young me.  Also family is not a controllable outcome; therefore, depending on it for your contribution to the world can be a risky enterprise.  Work is at least more in our control.

In the book, Samantha finds, to her surprise,  that not working actually gives her the most joy and fulfillment- taking weekends off and having a life are what make her truly happy whether her work be in the domestic or corporate sphere.  This seems to defy everything I was taught as a young girl?  Fulfillment from the weekends? Those are just for play?

For both men and women, the world is telling us to focus on work, work, work but our hearts are almost always telling us  life, life, life.  Easier said than done.  Whether your a teacher, nurse or accountant, work has become such an overwhelming part of most modern woman’s lives.  For someone like me this is especially true as I work from home.  I think this leaves most women feeling unsatisfied with a huge part of their lives. Just the opposite of what the feminists told me.

I think feminism added another layer to the work myth by saying that great female accomplishments in the workforce would make our entire society better.  So now its not working for your own happiness but your entire sex and even all mankind. If we have a normal but necessary job it can feel like such a let down- like you haven’t done that one thing you were called on to do in this life, when you may have, just not at your paid employment.

I work hard but it is way down the list of my greatest accomplishments.  I get satisfaction from everything else in my life and that motivates me to work, not the other way around.

Maybe some women have these great empowering jobs but nobody I know.  Most work to provide sustenance and to allow them to pursue their true passions in the rest of their lives.  Maybe men already knew this for hundreds of years but they’ve had more time to evolve mechanisms to cope with the demands of work?

I’m just throwing this out there, but maybe feminism missed the mark when they focused so much on work as an equalizing force? Maybe our problem wasn’t working in the home verses working in the office but just a general lack of self-worth and recognition?  I guess we have more options now which is certainly a good thing but it also can leave women floating in a sea of undecided and unmet aspirations.

Why is it any less ennobling to dedicate one’s life to something we might not get paid for?  Does getting paid somehow eliminate the ‘Is this all’? For instance, why does having my life work be this blog seem somehow lower than what the feminist theology espoused? It has all the elements of an empowering voice, freedom of expression, and ability to influence others that the housewife role supposedly denied women.  Why does the fact it is unpaid make it any less important for a life?

I don’t think it does and I think the scores of workaholic, frazzled, stressed out women out there would agree with me.  Could it not be the saddest moment of all when you get to the top of the career world and still find yourself wondering what it was all for? I speak only in hypothetical here as I am clearly not at the top of any field or career.

It makes me glad I was taught a bigger answer to that question ‘Is it all?’, an eternal answer. My faith gives my life meaning when the world would see little value. What a great comfort that is.

That said, I still deal with deflated feelings about the workforce and my participation in it.  Anyone else struggle with this? Finding our own way to contribute can be very difficult? Do you struggle in finding value in what you do contribute, or are you left asking Is this all?

Ok. Now I will try to get to sleep and rest my poor eyes.  Got to get back to work in the morning…

Famous Ex- Mormons

Lately I feel like I have read an inordinate number of stories about ‘famous ex-Mormons’.  These usually feature the same cast of characters from Julianne Hough to Katherine Hiegel to Amy Adams.  I feel like this is always done in an aura of condemnation-  ‘Look these beautiful people once believed and now they don’t how can it be true?’.

Rarely is it mentioned in these articles that Hollywood is not exactly a bastion of religiosity in general.   I am highly confident that a much longer list of former catholics, muslims and protestants could be collected amongst celebrities.  Perhaps these faiths are different because they can be considered active with very minimal observance and attendance but even so I’m confident the list would be just as long and dramatic.

Sometimes I feel these lists of ex-Mormon’s are meant to discredit Mitt Romney’s belief.  ‘How can he believe when all these beautiful, accomplished people don’t?’.  Couldn’t the same question be asked of all of them?  ‘How can they not believe when Mitt Romney and many other distinguished and accomplished people do believe?’.

Religion is an individual choice and the acceptance of the society at large, especially Hollywood, should have no barrings on an individuals faith and acceptance.  In fact, how sad would it be if someone believed purely because other smart and attractive people believed?  Mormonism is not a trendy lifestyle choice like say yoga or veganism to be lived for show.   Maybe you can do that for a short period of time but eventually you have to find out for yourself if it is true, and then live it, if you do.

I give most of these celebrities credit for leaving the church and then leaving it alone.  Many actually have very nice things to say about their experience with Mormonism.  Most have chosen to leave not out of extreme doctrinal differences but mostly lifestyle choices and political issues.  One website says ‘just for fun here are some famous ex-Mormons’.  I don’t see what is fun about someone choosing a religion?

There certainly wasn’t this sense of concern, amusement or scandal when President Obama chose to distance himself from his longtime pastor Reverend Wright.  This was seen by most as one man’s religious choice without any further speculations except for on the hard right.  People change religions all the time, especially in their youth, and in Hollywood where morals are challenged on a daily basis.  I just don’t get the fun or appeal of these articles?

And if we are looking at a broader history of Christianity when did defectors prove  or disprove the truthfulness of the church itself?  The celebrities or rulers during Christs’ days are the very one’s who cried for His crucifixion over the robber Barabas.  Comparatively few listened to Jesus’ messages and teachings and yet this does not have any baring on most modern Christians view of its truthfulness.  The people who did listen for the most part were simple humble fishermen and common citizens.

In fact, many would say it confirms the truths because they were challenging to live, required real change to accept?   Living the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been easy.  Why would this not be true in the modern church?  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is difficult to live because it has always been so.  It requires the whole heart because if we only give half than we only get half our potential.

The bible says “because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” .  Clearly, the Lord would rather have us stray than to feign half-hearted fellowship.  This is why it is perhaps no shock that most people when confronted with truth must choose one way to follow or another.

It makes me sad when I read about these people because I know what they are missing out on.  It truly is like selling your birthright for a mess of pottage.  I’m not going to presume to judge these stars and say they picked movie roles over God.  I do not know them so that may be far from truth but whatever the choice over truth, it will not matter in the end, what they have chosen. I have eternal covenants with my My Heavenly Father.  I know why I am here and that my life matters.  That is worth any worldly prize.

Anyway, I just thought I would let you all know that I couldn’t care less if a famous person is or isn’t Mormon.  My only care is the same I feel for any person who does not accept what I believe is true.  I yearn for all the world to know of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel.  If someone believes and happens to be famous well good for them.  I would not have served a mission if I didn’t want to share my faith with others and earnestly want all men and women to believe it.

I respect all choices and have friends of many faiths. These friends have actually added to my own faith through their testimonies on our shared beliefs and their example of devotion to what they believe.  However,  their choices, and certainly the choices of some celebrities I don’t know, have no negative impact on my own religious life. So these lists of Ex-Mormons baffle me. Who cares? What are the people who publish them trying to achieve?

I guess as trivia it is harmless but it should have no affect on anyone’s view of the Mormon church or its teachings if some Hollywood starlet does not believe.  Millions of hard working men and women around the world have gained a witness of its truthfulness and that means much more to me than the dissenters who try and tear us down.   That said, if I was all alone I would still know the Book of Mormon is true and that God has confirmed this to me.  No one can take that from me.

There I said it! 🙂 (I repeat my earlier injunction that I will not post any negative comments about my church on this posting or any others, so don’t even bother.  If you have something constructive to say about what I have written I’d love to hear it).

Day 3 Recovery Strabismus

Quick update on my condition.  I am doing pretty well.  Eyes feel more irritated now than anything else.  Sore, puffy and putting off a lot of fluid.  I honestly wish I could take the rest of next week off but I’m also getting stir crazy so work will be good also.

My Mom left this morning and I will miss her. What a treat to have a mother in my home, taking care of me.  My Mother is so good at mothering.  She is warm, kind, interesting and wonderful.  We had a pleasant visit despite the surgery.

My best friend Emily came and visited today which was wonderful.  I have been itching for company because I can’t really read or focus on TV for long so chatting with friends is so great.  I wish we lived in a world where people paid visits on a regular basis.  That was a nice tradition of the past.  Now I think everyone has to have a reason or event to get together.  Just visiting for the sake of visiting is a rarity.

Still, I’ve been grateful for my friends and especially their prayers on my behalf.

I haven’t driven yet but I’m hopeful that I can drive to church tomorrow.  We will see how I feel.  I can see fine but it hurts when I focus for about 30 seconds.  My eyes get sore and I tear up.  It would be kind of like driving when crying.  (It was funny yesterday I went to pick out colors with my Mom for my townhouse and a lady came in and looked at me like ‘why is she crying when picking out colors?’.  I explained it was my eyes not my emotions!

Anyway, in conclusion, the recovery is going well.  Still feel tired and eyes feel puffy, itchy and are very red.  The itching really is the worst.  It is so hard to not touch your eyes when they are itchy.  I keep my eyes patched sometimes just to keep me from itching and touching it.  I may call the doctor on Monday and see what he can do about the itching and puffiness.

Starting tonight I have to put my own eye drops in.  It is challenging.  That is a benefit of living with someone.  Someone to put drops in!

Each day shows improvement and I’m grateful for that.  Please continue to send those prayers my way.  Not seeing double any more so I’m grateful for that!

Eyes today.

 

Stamp Hoarder

So I have a confession- I am a stamp hoarder.  I have 2 huge boxes full of stamps and everything you need to stamp to my hearts content.  Now here’s the sad part- I haven’t stamped in probably 2 years.  None of my friends are really into stamping and I have been so busy that I rarely have the time to get all the stuff out.

Today I was thinking of what I could do that wouldn’t be a strain on my eyes but would be fun. Without reading or watching TV and limited company I was going a bit stir crazy!  The thought occurred to me- get out that stamping stuff and use it!

Even I was surprised at how much stuff I have.  Now in my defense I got most of it from 2 different friends who gave me their collection and one whom I paid her for it as a favor but still its a lot!

Lots of Stamps!

The funny thing is I really enjoy stamping so why don’t I do it more?  I know I have the time but somehow when it is stored away it gets forgotten.

Do any of you do this- have hobbies you enjoy and have all the stuff for but you never actually do them?  Kind of sad that it takes a blinding surgery for me to get out my stamps.  Anyone out there relate?

Stamping away

How do we make enough time to do the things we love?  And why do we buy things that we know we won’t use much if ever?  Wishful thinking?  At least I’m not as bad as some who have closets full of unfinished projects.  (I have a few but not closets full!)

If anyone wants to stamp with me I’d love it!  Or if you want to borrow stamps just come on over!   I especially have stamps for cards as that is my thing.  Not really much of a scrapbooker (especially because I never print out photos any more).

Here is the project I worked on today.  I hope to reestablish the hobby and get busy stamping!

My latest creation. Thank you cards for those who helped with my eye surgery. Isn’t that owl stamp cute?

 

 

 

Strabismus Round 2

After surgery in the recovery room

I can’t write much because I can only focus for about 30 seconds at a time but I wanted to update my readers on my surgery.   Last year I had a strabismus surgery where they create an incision in your eye and move it with a suture to try and align the eye.   This helps you to not see double or have a lazy eye like I do.

Unfortunately my eye did not accept the new alignment and reverted back to most of its original position (was a 20 right left last year, down to 8 after surgery, back up to 14 this year, 25 up and down).

So I went in yesterday and my wonderful doctor, Dr. Peterson at Rocky Mountain Eye Care, performed the surgery.  This time on both eyes with the sutures on my left eye instead of right like last year.

I was very impressed with everyone at the IHC Surgical Center in Murray.  All of the nurses were very reassuring and kind.  The anesthesiologist put in my IV because my veins wiggle so much and are so hard to find.  I was grateful that the nurses didn’t poke and prod me like last year. The operating nurse was wonderful and very reassuring.  We talked about Hawaii and how much I love it as I went under (not a bad way to enter the zzzz)

I also went with a different pain medication, perkiset, instead of lortab, and I responded much more favorably to it.

Wish I could say the same about the anesthesia.  It makes me very nauseated.  Even with the zofram I vomited when I woke up.  Luckily I had a pretty good nurse who was a tough cookie.  Instead of consoling or feeling bad she just said ‘get it out and you’ll feel better’.  Its true.   Anyway, it wasn’t pleasant waking up from surgery but my time in the recovery room wasn’t quite as long as last year.

I don’t know how anyone can go through a surgery for purely cosmetic reasons like plastic surgery.  It is so miserable for me.

A 2 eyed pirate

After about an hour they wheeled me into the recovery room and my Mom was there.  She kindly came out to take care of me, which is such a treat.  I told her I may have to undergo surgery every year to get 4 days of her all to myself.  Thanks to my Dad for holding down the fort in Cali so my Mom could come.

Luckily I didn’t throw up in the car this time going to the doctors for the final suture adjustment.  They have to do that after I’m awake to make it the most accurate.  This was painful but my doctor is so reassuring and kind it helps.  My only complaint was having to wait a long time when I was so uncomfortable but oh well.

So I got home and my sister Anna came up to help which was very nice and I had tons of well wishers and even a visitor (Thanks Melissa).  I listened to audiobooks (reading wonderful memoir by Marcus Samuelson called Yes Chef) and guazed both eyes in spurts.  The perkiset helps a lot with the pain.  Its a strange pain kind of like a prickly burning feeling more than a stabbing pain.  The sutures itch which is obviously uncomfortable and I found it difficult to sleep with my eyes burning but have been trying to rest as much as possible.

I’ve also been enjoying a few breaks from the diet.  (I mean if there was ever a moment for comfort food this is it 🙂  ).    Today I am going to have one of my favorite things in the world- Harmons fried chicken.  A very rare but delicious treat.   I also love frog eye salad and anything smooth.  (My throat is still a little sore from the tube they insert during surgery.)

I love frog eye salad when I’m sick. It doesn’t have a strong flavor and is so yummy. Never eat it in regular life.

Today I feel some improvement and I am not as sick from the anesthesia as I was last year.   Its hard because my world is still very fuzzy and my eyes are irritated and sore but I think I’m improving from last year.

Anyway, thanks so much for all of the love and support I have received.  I have felt the prayers of people from all over the country building me up.  I am so blessed.  Please come on out and visit as I’m sure tomorrow and Saturday I will be quite bored but still needing to rest. 🙂

Please also continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  I need them!

I’m thankful to all my friends, family, good doctor and nurses and my eyes.  Here’s to hoping the surgery takes this year and I won’t need a repeat again. 🙂

My eyes today. I should go to a twilight screening with my red eyes 🙂

Sorry if this isn’t quite up to my usual posts.  I am touch typing it and my brain is still a little cloudy.  Love you all.

Why I Blog

Quick post.  I believe these 5 quotes describe why I blog especially the last one:

The authentic self is the best part of a human being. It’s the part of you that already cares, that is already passionate about evolution. When your authentic self miraculously awakens and becomes stronger than your ego, then you will truly begin to make a difference in this world. You will literally enter into a partnership with the creative principle.” Andrew Cohen

“No one man can, for any considerable time, wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which is the true one.” Nathaneil Hawthorne

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” e.e. cummings

“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”  Homer

“To contact the deeper truth of who we are, we must engage in some activity or practice that questions what we assume to be true about ourselves.”
A. H. Almaas

I blog and use other social networking because I fundamentally believe it helps me live the best life I can live. It is a totally honest way of living.  My friend Emily said ‘Rachel you are an open book’.  I can’t think of a higher compliment she could have paid me.  I am not pretending or being anything other than me. I am an open book. Sigh of relief…

Can it be painful, humbling and even embarrassing at times?  Of course,  but the greatest sacrifices bring the greatest blessings.  It has always in the end been a blessing in my life to share who I am, and figure out who I am in the process. (And hopefully give each of you a chance to bounce your life off of mine).

When I die there will be a lot of people that can genuinely say they knew who I was and hopefully liked what they saw.  Not every single girl can say that.

I’m grateful to my friends and my readers, who glance at my rambling thoughts, and I look forward to many more years of Open Book Living.  Ah, the freedom it gives!

I just wanted you to know that tonight. Dear world.

Also, if any of you have topics or areas you would like me to cover more of or maybe something new you’d like to hear my thoughts on please send me your thoughts.  I would love it!