Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I am so thankful for all the gifts and talents I've been given. Despite the physical problems I've been dealing with lately, I still feel so incredibly lucky for my life and the people with whom I share it. There are many times when I get anxious and depressed, but it doesn't have a whole lot to do with my emotional state but rather I get frustrated with my physical inabilities and that's what gets me down. It's times like these, when I come home from a house call, I feel so validated. I really find joy in nurturing whether it's my children, my friends and family, my friends' children or my clients; I just feel my best when I'm making a difference for someone else. As a Technologist working part time in the field of consulting and support, I feel my super power is nurturing users with the advances of technology to address specific needs. Accessibility for the young and old is near and dear to my heart.
I am so incredibly grateful to do the kind of "job" that doesn't require a lot of physical effort. I feel "able" when I am performing technical duties that require more brain than pain. I feel like it's a natural skill I'm honing and able to use it to do something that helps support my family and my personal needs. I wish I could say I didn't need the money, but now more than ever, I'll be needing it to support my medical issues in the near future. It's kind of sad that in this great country, the "land of the free," we are such slaves to bureaucracy. If health insurance and medical bills weren't threatening us with bankruptcy, I wouldn't **need** to work as much. Still, if I won the lottery, I think I'd still do the same kind of work for free just because I get paid with so much more than money. Not many people can say that about what they do to make a living so I'm very fortunate.
I am so grateful for my clients and feel so blessed to have them and "work" for them. It's hard work, but it's also hard to call it "work." They are so good to me and I thank God for them on every trip home from a house call. My car is my "church" and I'm grateful for the solitude of the road where I can follow a path not unlike faith. When it comes to religion, my belief is that while your mileage may vary, the destination is the same.
Tonight I set up a brand new iMac for a lady who has macular degeneration. She is such a joy to work with. She is so patient and understanding. She just had surgery on one eye and is about to have the other fixed soon. She was limping along with an older iMac G5 and decided it was time to upgrade so she called me to come out and get it set up for her. One of the areas for which I specialize is customizing the Mac OS for seniors and addressing their accessibility needs. Sure, Macs are really easy to use, but not many people really tweak them and the way they come by default can really cause some repetitive stress injuries if you're not careful. The first thing I do is make everything bigger...much, much bigger! I LOVE the shrieks of joy when they watch me use the Finder Preferences to enlarge the text and icons and then the Accessibility System Preference Pane to enlarge the mouse pointer. Another favorite is customizing scrolling features on trackpads or mice with wheels or touch surfaces. The look of sheer delight is just priceless to me.
Another of my favorite clients is a dear woman who is mostly a recluse who has anxiety issues. She is the definition of a life-long learner and loves to learn, research and try new things on her Mac. It's been amazing to watch her blossom over the past few months and I feel incredibly proud. We have a lot in common and I just adore spending time with her. She has arthritis so mousing and tracking can be quite the challenge. I'm trying to train her to use the keyboard shortcuts and it's really helping her. She adores using 1Password to keep track of all the information she's terrified of forgetting as she ages — yet another thing we have in common.
There are lots of times I work with people and they spend a lot of time showing me things about their lives and open up about personal issues. Sometimes we spend more time talking and reminiscing than actually working on the computer. I used to get frustrated thinking to myself, come on lady, you're not paying me to listen to your stories — I felt so guilty I wasn't doing "tech stuff" every second while on the clock. I discovered though that they ALL do the same thing. They really NEED to just take a break and chit-chat about life because it's important to them. I've learned that it's a way for them to process information and allow their brains to cycle and keep momentum. We address their needs and goals and assess their progress along the way. They tell me and show me how they've improved over time and I feel really proud of them. So many times I walk away feeling more like a therapist than a technician!
Many of them introduce me (to their friends or family when present) as their "Computer Tutor." When they say it that way, it doesn't seem much different from a physical therapist that provides in-home care for the elderly who have had, say, a hip replacement. It's finally dawned on me that another of my dreams have come true — doing what I enjoy for a living. When I decided to attend college, one major I was incredibly interested in was called Art Therapy. My two passions were always art and psychology. Sadly, the college where I got accepted no longer offered the course so I decided to study advertising design instead. Long story short, I ended up taking a different path and fell in love with the technical side of things. Lately, I've realized though that I ended up doing what I originally set out to do which was to work with people using a medium not normally associated with "therapy" such as art. In this case, it's technology. Teaching people how to use a computer interface has become a great source of therapy for my clients. They feel they are learning and staving off age-related issues like Alzheimer's or dementia by continually exercising their brains and learning how to create on the computer. They tire very easily, as to be expected, but each time, they feel like they've gotten a mental workout. It's amazing how this niche of "computer tutoring slash/brain therapy" seems to be growing among seniors. I'm just extremely grateful that it's a priority and that they choose to pay me to help them with it. Sometimes it's hard to take money for doing this type of work, but I suspect they can tell by the way I go out of my way for them at times. I truly believe that you reap what you sow. This is just one of the many rewards of being a Mac consultant.
Talents and skills are something we overlook a lot of times, but my clients always remind me of what I have and how I use it and that makes me feel good inside. I believe we all have something, we just need to dig deep and discover our own super powers.
How do you use your super powers to make a difference?
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
It's been a while since I've blogged something really personal. It's been a while since I've had the time, energy, motivation or courage. It's no secret I've been feeling physically craptastic these past few years. All this time I've been chalking it up to getting older and having kids so late in life. I've pretty much always believed I just deserved to be in pain all the time or that it's, as my mom says, "just the bad coming out of you." Maybe all those years prior to starting a new life here in the west - the smoking, the partying, making bad decisions, hanging with the wrong people - just caught up with me and I was paying my dues? Under the guise of Postpartum Depression, I sought the help of a family therapist and a prescription for Zoloft and I've been doing that for over a year now. It's like trying to polish chrome that's got years and years of tarnish and crud covering it. Sometimes you have to break out the heavy duty cleaner, maybe some sandpaper and an electric buffer. Somewhere underneath there is something shiny and it just needs to be brought out and reconditioned. Anyhow, screw the waxing philosophic bullshit for for a bit. I got my fat ass to a doctor today. I'm sick of being in pain all the damn time. I just turned 36 but I feel like I'm 76. (and I only know that because I work with lots of old people all the time and they tell me all about getting old. It sucks and it ain't for wusses.) I'm sick of feeling this way and I DON'T effing DESERVE to feel this way either, damn it. It's going to take some time before I don't feel quite so shitty, but at least I've taken the first step in being honest with myself, so bring it bitches. (Can you tell I've now watched that Suburban Housewife YouTube clip too many times?) There was a time I was really opposed to taking a little yellow pill to make my brain attempt to function closer to normal. I whined, "but I don't wanna have to rely on chemicals and pills to be normal!" Then I had a second child and the sleep deprivation and self pity got the best of me. Literally - THE BEST OF ME and what I could offer my family. It's not fair to them if I don't care for myself. I know too many people who play the martyr and I don't want to be one of those. They allow themselves to go without, depriving themselves of happiness and essential care and for what? So others feel sorry for them. These are examples that have been set for me but I've made the choice to stop emulating them. So I finally picked a PCP and met with her today and I really like her! Today's visit was just a meet and greet and to establish a new patient profile. It's going to take some time but over the next two months my goals will be to lose 5 pounds, see some specialists for my allergies and joint pain then get a crapload of bloodwork done in April. (I can't wait till Dexter Season 5 is on Netflix!) Since I've had some pretty severe allergy attacks over the past year, twice when my breathing was severely compromised, she now wants me to carry an epi pen. Yikes! I seriously do not want an Uma Therman Pulp Fiction Moment! She's referring me to an ENT specialist to determine if I have a deviated septum that maybe I can get surgically corrected to alleviate my allergies and chronic rhinitis. Great - a nose job - just what I've always wanted!! Ok, not really, but a nose job sounds better. The chronic joint and muscle pain with weakness is probably what worries me the most. She wants to rule out Rheumatoid Arthritis and next Fibromyalgia and take a look at my Thyroid. All of these are autoimmune deficiency diseases which could explain my inability to recover from all the illnesses my little Petrie dishes, err, I mean, beautiful children sling at me. The other strike against me is heredity since most all the women on my mom's side have these issues. Thanks Mom. I'll be sure to pick out a nice retirement home for ya. I'll paint your toenails but I refuse to change your diapers!! I also need to be screened for Type 2 Diabetes since I'm at an elevated risk after having Gestational Diabetes twice. I may need to go to M&M Rehab for that one. Please tell me there is such a place? I was supposed to have had this done last year but I lost my medical benefits for a while and waited till we could afford health insurance for me again. Ugh. Health Insurance is such an ugly word to me. I don't even want to go there. I already feel pukey. I've developed a hump at the base of my neck and it's really bothering me. My tiny grandmother is all hunched over from severe osteoporosis but I always thought I could escape that one because, unlike her and her Vegan lifestyle, I drink lots of milk. I always thought my calcium intake would prevent me from it but my mom said it doesn't matter. She's developed the beginning stages of osteoporosis and hers also began with the hump behind the neck. I am sooooo bringin sexy back with this post. Seriously. I can't wait to see the google ads the spiders inject into my blog once this is published or the target market twitter accounts that spam me later. Speaking of hot and steamy procreation, like the kind on the Discovery Channel - since, let's face it, Alphie, that's what it's all about - I'm not convinced we're done having kids so it's another reason why I want to get control over my health. I would really like one more but I really suck at being pregnant. They make it look so damn easy in health class! Boy do I have news for them. Since I've now had 2 C-sections, chances of a VBAC are, well, I don't think there are any chances now and that's sad. I loathe the idea of being carved open on the table once again. And, why can't they romanticize a C-Section a little more like they do for normal deliveries on TV? What's up with that? I guess there's just no way to make having your organs taken out and put back in look very appealing. A photo of the OB holding up your intestine while smiling I suppose just isn't appropriate. I totally disagree with the whole "cosmetic surgery" approach to C-sections these days and it really pisses me off. I think all OBs should be required to have had a C-section themselves. You don't even need to have a uterus. Just have someone cut you open, take out your guts, put them back in and then endure the recovery process. Oh, and throw in a catheter so you can pee through a straw for a couple of days. Learn how to really appreciate a good bowel movement. I'm not asking for much, really. At least they were playing some Bob Marley when they wheeled me into the OR this last time. Too bad it was a shitty radio station and the rest of the alien abduction, oops, I mean - birth process - was performed to the sound of commercials. Maybe that's why I hate radio commercials now. At least I still like Reggae. I guess that's a good thing. Yeah. Still bitter about the C-Sections in case ya couldn't tell. I'm in therapy for it. Still processing. It's gonna be a while though and it's one of those effing progress bars that can't make up its mind first telling you 3 hours and then 1 hour 25 minutes and then 2 hours 18 minutes later it's done. Seriously though, I love being a mommy and I love my babies but they better get me some serious bling for this bod when they're all old enough to get a job. They can pay me back in diamonds and pearls since chocolate isn't exactly part of the diet now. Is Valentines Day gonna suck now or what?! Oh, wait. There's always lobster, right? I really like my new doctor. She's only 3 years older than me and has a 9 month old so I feel a tad better about the whole "advanced maternal age" thing. Despite my health issues, she and my OB think I'm still healthy enough to have another. Man, you know you're gettin old when you're close in age to your own doctors! That's a new one for me. Not exactly lookin forward to a time when I'll be older than the doc. Unless he's super hot and I'm going through menopause - then maybe I'll reconsider. Soooo. I guess today was the first day of another chapter in my life. Now I lay here in bed, nauseated and feverish from the flu shot in one arm and the Tetanus shot in the other trying to resist googling Rheumatoid Arthritis. Hubby graciously took the boys out grocery shopping so I wouldn't puke on them or him. Laying here blogging on my iPhone is somewhat cathartic while I have a lot of information to digest and it's helping to keep my mind off my nausea at the moment. I'm nervous about the future and how we'll pay for it all in case something is seriously wrong with me. Thankfully I've been working a lot more with clients lately and have been able to afford health insurance this year for myself along with some other minor luxuries. We saved up this year for a King-sized bed and memory foam mattress. What a difference the right bed makes. Depending on how well business keeps up, the next thing we're eyeing up is a Wii Fit and games for the kids. I'm hoping it might help this family to exercise more. After all, geek is what gets me to do most things in life! So, if that's what it takes to motivate me then that's what I'll do. I won't be getting bloodwork done until April but I'm hoping to see some specialists before then. Weight loss is going to be the major goal so I might return to blogging about it. I do have several iPhone apps just taunting me in the damn "Healthcare" folder I made. Sigh. Let the games begin. I've now pressed the play button. I just hope I make the most of my life levels! Wish me good scores, please and thank you :)
Lady Gaga's got her Little Monsters.
I do too.
Mine are volume partitions on bare external drives I have connected to an old PowerBook G4 that has a busted screen. I mount them via FireWire 800 using a "toaster" a.k.a. Newer Technology Voyager Dock. This one's name is Backup_Grover. You know... "Near!" "Far!" "Near!" "Far!"
All because Hubby didn't like my previous nomenclature using the date, time or drive size formats. He said, "Can't we just call them Bert and Ernie?"
"Fine." I made it so.
I named the first drive partitions Bert and Ernie but then I decided I wanted to go with a theme for the rest of them so I named them all for Sesame Street Monsters. I have several drives, both partitioned and single with various monster names such as Elmo, Telly, Zoe, Oscar, and Murray. I even made my own disk icons for each one.
Depending on what mood I'm in, I can mount them so I have little monsters pop up in my Dock, Sidebar or on my Desktop. I really like to see them in the Time Machine Preference Pane window.
It just kinda makes you WANT to be sure you're doing your backups, right?
So, what have you named YOUR hard drives?