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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

November 2013

(P)elvis Chronicles -- Lessons Learned #5

Sometimes You Have to Say No.


I suffer from a disease common to many academics — the inability to say no.  We start learning it in grade school.  Read more library books than anyone else in your class?  Easy! Get the highest score on the test? Of course. Volunteer to clean erasers? Me! Do more math problems than the teacher requires? Sure. That’s fun. Be the first one finished with the test? Every time!

And it continues throughout the public school years. Make the Honor Roll every grading period.?Yep! Qualify early for National Honor Society? Get the highest score on the SAT/ACT exams? Apply for every scholarship? It goes without saying.

College and grad school are a little different because the competition is more intense, but it’s still there. Those of use destined to become academics say yes to every request, even the most ridiculous, because if we don’t do it, someone else will.  Even after I was solidly installed in a great liberal arts college with tenure, I won a prize (a coffee cup) for being the first one to get my book order in.

It’s a disease, and I can’t help it. But sometimes saying yes can be downright dangerous.  I reached that point the other day in my physical therapy session.  The therapist had me standing on my injured leg, while I did leg lifts and knee bends with the other.  When she called out to do “twenty more!”  I was in tears with the pain.  But did I stop?  No, of course not. And I paid for it the next day when I could not move that bad leg.

Finally, I said NO! And when I told her I wasn’t ready for that step yet, I expected the sky to fall in.  Instead, she grinned and commented that it was about time I admitted to reaching my limit.  Now the sessions are much easier, and I can once again see steady progress.  I’m now walking with almost a normal gait, albeit with the support of a walker.


And you know what? It’s really liberating! Too bad I waited so late in life to discover that.

(P)elvis Chronicles -- Lessons Learned #4

All Pain is Relative!

So I’ve been home for a week, learning to hobble and hop around the house with my trusty steed named “Walker.” Three mornings a week I go to outpatient physical therapy, where a tiny and delicate-looking young woman puts me through an hour’s worth of grueling exercises — stretches, leg lifts, kicks, squeezes, and oner forms of elastic bondage.  In case anyone asks, it hurts like hell, but she is oblivious to whining or the words “I can’t.”  So? We do it anyway.  We take Walker out onto a sidewalk paved with broken bricks and walk  up and down in front of the world. She tells me to “rest,” and then thirty seconds later starts up again — “Just 15 more” or maybe “Let’s start over and do it all again.”

Does it help? Of course it does.  If I get out of therapy around 10:30, I can count on the soreness fading by mid-afternoon, leaving me fairly frisky through dinner. And then, of course, I fall asleep just as something I want to watch comes on TV.  I'm working harder than I realize.

Today I had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon who has been directing much of this process from behind a wall.  He took a new x-ray, which clearly show a double break, but he insists it is already starting to heal itself.  I loved his explanation of the two breaks —“ The pelvis is like a pretzel.  You can’t break it in just one spot!”  

But the good news is that he says I am about ready to turn a corner.  It’s been three weeks since the fall.  After another week, he says there will be significantly less pain, and suggested that I would be ready to go shopping in about four more weeks. There is an end in sight!

He also seemed impressed that I have been getting along with no pain medicine stronger than a tylenol.  (No Rush Limbach syndrome for me, thank you!). So I hurt.  But that means all my nerve endings are working.  Could be worse, and it’s getting better every day.  All in all, I feel lucky!

What a Nice Surprise!

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Katzenhaus Books Receives 2013 Best of Cordova Award
Cordova Award Program Honors the Achievement

CORDOVA November 12, 2013 -- Katzenhaus Books has been selected for the 2013 Best of Cordova Award in the Publishers category by the Cordova Award Program.

Each year, the Cordova Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Cordova area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 Cordova Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Cordova Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Cordova Award Program
The Cordova Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Cordova area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Cordova Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Cordova Award Program

CONTACT:
Cordova Award Program
Email: PublicRelations@awardprogram.org
URL: http://www.awardprogram.org

###

Dismal Civil War News

In recognition of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, “Civil War-Era Memories” features excerpts from The Memphis Daily Appeal of 150 years ago. The Appeal is publishing from Atlanta. Perspective from our staff is in italics.

Nov. 11. 1863

From the Army of Tennessee (near Chattanooga) -- The army at present is in a mountain region — the rainy season prevailing, with seven clear days in the past thirty — the limestone mud deep and sticky — mules and horses starving ... We visited the 16th regiment ... and we have only to say that there are one hundred and fifty men in it destitute of blankets; two-thirds of the regiment are without tents. There are many barefooted men.

Nov. 12, 1863

The Field After the Fight — It is five weeks after the battle ... The entire battlefield is yet encumbered with heaps of dead and unburied Yankees ... In most cases the flesh had fallen from the bones, and the mere skeleton remains ... Years hence, children, now unborn, in their sports upon this field will find a skull, or a bone, of these poor victims, and wonder and ask what it is. And then some grandfather will tell them of the great battle of Chickamauga ... Our own dead are buried upon the very spot where they fell. In most cases their names, company and regiment are written in pencil upon a headboard.

Nov. 16, 1863

Col. Forrest Not Dead — We are greatly gratified to learn that Col. Jeff Forrest, (a younger brother of Nathan Bedford), whose death we announced last week, is not dead, but still lives. The Register says he was shot through the hips, and is at the house of Capt. Steele, a mile and a half from Tuscumbia, and is doing well. On the first day of his series of fights he had with him five men, and Forrest, pursued by a large number, took refuge in an inaccessible cave. He and his comrades killed twenty-eight of the enemy, among them a colonel, a major and two captains.

(P)elvis Chronicles -- Lessons Learned #3

Lesson #3: People are Kinder than We Have Any Right to Expect

And Facebook has something to do with that.  Every now and then some curmudgeonly soul takes it upon himself to make fun of “Facebook Friends.” There’s even a TV commercial that does so. Doomsday predictors say we are forgetting how to deal with real people.  The usual portrayal is of isolated people sitting in darkened rooms with only a computer screen, pathetically asking, “Will someone be my friend? Please friend me.”

Well, I’m here to argue the opposite side.  As a 74-year-old woman, I am probably not what you think of when you think of Facebook and Twitter users. But here I am, with over 500 friends and over 1000 Twitter links, and I’m amazed at the way the internet allows us to connect with other lives.  Recently, as most of you know, I did a pratfall and managed to fracture my pelvis.  The very next day, I posted a brief Twitter announcement that I was going to be out of commission for a while.  Automatically it transferred to Facebook as well, and the results were astounding.

Reactions and well-wishes poured in, from a wide variety of people.  I heard from a classmate I first met as a second-grade Brownie.  There were former students and former teaching colleagues. Lions checked in from all over the world, a couple from as far away as Singapore, as well as a Lions Club made up entirely of medical students studying to become optometrists. Neighbors, cousins, members of the Military Writers Society of America, business colleagues, fellow bloggers, people who have read my books, connections that stretched back to the days when I was teaching medieval history, and others I know only through their internet postings — all took the time to offer condolences or ask what I needed. Just this afternoon, a local friend arrived at the door bearing seven days worth of cooked meals — chili and casseroles.

And the concern did not end there.  Many followed up with cards, flowers, cupcakes, magazines, fruit, a balloon,  laugh-track DVD, phone calls, drop-in visits, and hugs.  Through the medium of a computer screen (or in this case, an iPhone) my hospital room expanded far beyond its institutional beige walls to bring the wider world of friends to me. I had expected to feel isolated and lonely, Instead, I felt loved.  And I’m still trying to get caught up with thank-yous to all who took time to brighten my days. 

I also have to note that the caring goes both ways.  Since so many people reached out to me, I have paid more attention to those who are fighting their own battles — a friend who just had to have a kidney removed, a young mother struggling to carry a pregnancy to term, a mother facing her son’s addiction, a single woman with uncontrollable blood pressure problems, another with crippling back pain, and those who are dealing with RA flares.

The internet has the power to teach us all that we are a part of a larger world.  That’s a good thing, and I am grateful to have had my awareness tweaked.