Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vacation Time

Bob and I,  along and our adult daughters, are going on a trip to Hawaii tomorrow morning! I am soooooo excited. We have been planning this for months and I can hardly believe the trip is finally here. The girls are only staying a few days for our tropical family vacation and then Bob and I will be staying for another week on our own little second honeymoon.

 Our daughter found us a good deal and booked us into a couple of different exciting locations!

I must admit that I have had a lot of anxiety about this trip and a lot of trouble getting organized, but now it is too late for me to do anything different. No more lists. No more shopping, no more planning how to pack or planning where to stay. All I can do is get on that plane.

I went back and forth about just how I was going to manage physically on this trip.  I have not been using the walker for months now, but I also have not been doing as much walking or challenging moving as I was a year ago. I am finding that my new knee brace is a really big help but I don't think it will be enough. The knee brace makes my knee feel a lot better, but when I wear it I find that my ankle gives out much faster for some reason.

My family will do all they can to help me but I still can't imagine how I will carry my luggage, stand in lines and still do all that I want to do and only hang on to my cane.  We decided that I am going to take the walker, and the knee brace, and the ankle brace and yes the cane!

I am ready for adventure!

clip art from http://www.rosiepiter.com/

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Adult Trainings

I agreed to do a training this past weekend for Adult Girl Guide Leaders.  That was arranged last summer.  How did the end of October sneak up on me like this?

We had a great weekend at a local camp with indoor facilities. We had a theme for the weekend ---  we were hosting a pretend "cruise" with lots of references to movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and old TV shows like the Love Boat and Gilligan's Island. Around 50 adults took part as we played "Minute to Win It" style games Friday night, trainings on various topics Saturday and Sunday and a Captain's Halloween style dress-up gala dinner on Saturday night. That was followed by a sing along campfire, karaoke and a chance to play Texas Hold'um poker for Girl Guide crests and badges instead of cash. We participated in a great Sunrise Tai chi session, outdoor gourmet cooking and we also had a great service project sewing lap quilts for use by the Alzheimer's society.

My hour and a half long session was called Knot-ical Adventures. At one time I was pretty good at tying knots. It is really not as necessary a camping skill now as it once was with modern tents and equipment, but it is still very useful to know a few knots and rope crafts.  I thought I should try to demonstrate knot skills by using a variety of more adult appropriate crafts and resources and to teach a few fun games that can be used when working with girls. Mainly it had to be entertaining, challenging but not too challenging, and applicable to my participants lives and helpful in their work with girls in their own Guiding Units. Phew!

At first I had hoped to have the assistance of my middle daughter but she wound up volunteering to run a session at the same time as me about issues related to child behavior called Mutiny on the Bounty.
Okay, not to panic, there was another leader who really knows her knots that was willing to help but she had a family emergency a couple days before the event. Oh oh.
My lovely eldest daughter Liz came to the rescue the night before camp and agreed to drive out for my session and give me a hand. I really don't think I could have done it without her help.

I had 16 ladies signed up with varied experience in knot tying so I felt I needed a large variety of crafts and resources to meet their needs.
 I found it incredibly hard to decide how to organize this session. Executive function /cognitive problems reared their ugly head when I was organizing and planning for this thing.   I did over plan and I  had way too many crafts and resources, but it was easier to let some activities go than find myself short of things to fill my time slot. It went well and everyone seemed to have a good time.

I do have some right left confusion, and tying complicated knots was a whole lot harder than ever before so I put in a lot of practice to try to get back up to speed.  I left the majority of the hands on demonstrating to my daughter and to a couple of cool YouTube videos. I acted more like a coach.

This chance to teach a session mattered to me emotionally since I really wanted to be teaching and leading training sessions again; it was part of me trying to reclaim my old life and skills. Liz also helped keep things moving smoothly from activity to activity and she made sure I didn't try to run back and forth too much and loose my balance.

Two years ago I was not able to tie up my shoelaces and everything was Velcro closures. A year ago I could hold on to items with my left hand, but could barely rotate my wrist.  My hand would grab onto something and my hand would spasm closed very tightly. I had to pry my left hand fingers off with my right hand because I could not convince my hand to let go. This year... well ...my hand works. I drop things a lot and I still have trouble with two handed tasks like typing and piano playing, but I get by.

I am pretty sure that most of my workshop participants would be shocked to know what a major challenge this event was for me and how exhausting it was. It has taken me 4 days of resting to get moving again after the excitement of the weekend.

Last week I taught one knot to a few of my Stroke Recovery Association buddies.
I challenge you to give this one a try. It might even prove useful some time.

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