George Clooney received Cecil B DeMille Award at the 2015 Golden Globes

Check out his excellent acceptance speech:

http://youtu.be/j7I1i9Ysncc

I think he hit every possible point, from thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press to commiserating with the other attendees, 80% of whom will be “losers” tomorrow. pushing for support of “small” films, highlighting the “Je suis Charlie” campaign supporting free speech and of course telling his new wife how much he loves her.

Was Ronald Reagan this smooth in his Hollywood days? Despite Clooney’s protestations, I think he would do very well in politics.

Found a photographer I like…

baybridgeatnightcpleblow had this picture of the Bay Bridge at night featured as the background of the tumblr login page.  That lead me to his tumblr blog and other photos he’s posted.  I don’t know how good he is but I like a lot of what I’ve seen, especially his shots of the Bay Area skyline.

My New Years resolution didn’t last long

2 days as a matter of fact.  What remains to be seen is whether this is a hiccup or the beginning of the end.  At least this time I didn’t go off the air for weeks.  This happening does point to a couple of reasons that resolutions often (usually?) fail.  First off, resolutions are usually made about things that are especially troublesome for us.  Not only because they’re important but because we’ve had trouble just following through on it without having to make a big deal out of it.  That trouble is why we resorted to making a resolution for it.  But if we’ve had trouble with a goal before making a resolution about it, it’s possible that it’s an impossible goal for us.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that many resolutions fail; we pick goals we have trouble achieving.   If we’re smart, we’ll realize when we’re making the resolution that we’ve already had trouble with it so we should frame the resolution in a way that acknowledges the difficulties either by not being so ambitious or including support mechanisms that haven’t been used before.

It’s also important to not abandon the resolution if we run into difficulty.  Treat each setback as a learning opportunity where we can see what works and what doesn’t work.  Then make adjustments to reduce the likeliness of setbacks in the future.

Creating a successful situation is not just a matter of working hard and hoping for the best.  We need  to frame the goal in an achievable way and we have to include support mechanisms that will increase the chances of success.

This learning opportunity showed that having an easily identifiable schedule helps me to recognize when there’s a problem and to get back to posting.  It also points to  a problem or problems trying to post every weekday.  I either need to slow the posting schedule down or find ways to write articles faster.  We’ll see what works…

Living in the left brain sucks!

One of the better known books about dealing with stroke was written by a brain scientist who survived a stroke.  She described her post stroke reality in almost mystical terms…  She felt one with the universe; could feel time flow around her; she was on vacation from her detail-oriented life.

She experienced a “left brain” stroke that caused her brain to rely more heavily on the unaffected right side of her brain.  My experience was less mystical…

I had a “right brain” stroke causing my brain to use more of my unaffected left side.  In addition to the functions lost as the areas that handled them were fried, I also found that my subconscious way of looking at stuff changed from “big Picture”, “intuitive” to “step by step”, “detailed”.  Instead of seeing everything as a whole that connected everything, I saw everything as a bunch of parts which may be connected, although the connections was not as important as each of the separate parts.

It’s impossible to realize how thoroughly it affects how you look at the world, view yourself and relate to others.  I don’t like this new reality and really wish I could go back to my old reality.  I now have to separate myself from the way my brain works.  Kathy often hears me apologize “Sorry, that’s the way my wiring works now.”  She doesn’t always buy it but it helps me remember my values and how what I am isn’t defined by how my brain works.  I just need to remember to consciously think and act the way that I want to.

I suppose that we could think of this like changing all my habits at the same time…  When you’re changing a habit, you have to consciously think about what you want to do instead of automatically following the habit.  Eventually, the new habit will replace the old habit and you won’t have to consciously think on what you want to do.  I can  only hope that this is applicable, at least somewhat, to my situation.

If you have any comments on this, right brain vs left brain or how this compares to habit changing, I’d love to see your comments…

Happy New Years 2015!

I pray that everyone will have an excellent 2015.  May you have wonderful stuff happen for you and unhappy events pass you by.

Last Sunday, the discussion in Sunday School turned to New Years being the beginning of a new cycle and that it’s natural to anticipate how it will unfold, what will be new or different.  As part of that anticipation, we think about what we will do differently. and this is why New Years resolutions have become a tradition.  If we think more about the doing different for the cycle, the year,and less about how it’s a resolution we just made, it’s more likely that we will follow through on our resolutions and less likely to abandon them.

I shared a resolution with the class that I’ve made for 2015.  It’s similar to other resolutions I’ve made in the past that never took hold so I’m more than a little nervous about this one:  I resolve to post on my blog every weekday in 2015.

There- I’ve published it for everyone to see. We can all watch to see how long I can keep my resolution.  If you have any thoughts on my resolution or New Years resolutions of your own to share, I’d love to hear them in the comments section.

I don’t want hackers, Google or the government watching what I do online

My topic of interest recently has been using https to encrypt my internet connections to improve my security and privacy.  I’m at the point in the process where I’m still accumulating questions faster than finding any answers…

There are several different aspects of https that I’m interested in.  The most important aspect is protecting my emails from mtrad.com & gmail.com.  Getting ssl working for mtrad.com probably has the most unknown & challenging issues involved.  I need to get an ssl certificate, which I’ve never had to do before.  Setting up ssl for mtrad.com also means that I’ve got to figure out ssl for my other domains and websites as well as how a new ssl certificate will affect cpanel and whm on my server. An additional wrinkle is that I need to do this through Servint, my hosting provider so that they will support ssl on my server in the future.  I’m not sure how much I expect ServInt to do vesus taking care of stuff myself.  But I’d like to delegate as much as possible to Servint.  😉

I’m hoping that protecting my gmail  is just a matter of selecting “Always use https” in my settings.  But I need to test it and consider what else I need to do to assure security.

For my website, I need to install a ssl certificate. implement https service and configure WordPress to use https for all admin pages. Then I need to research what’s needed to support https everywhere.  That includes checking out caching plugins  to see if one performance plugin is a better fit than others and learn how I need to configure it to work properly with https everywhere.

Last but not least, I need to figure out how to use https everywhere on my computers, especially my laptop.  I want to encrypt my net connections so when I’m on a public network, like at Starbucks, hackers can’t listen in on me.  I also want to encrypt my sessions on facebook and tumblr to reduce the chances that hackers can get enough info to hack my account.

If you have any resources, ideas, suggestions or questions, please include them in the comments for this post.  I look forward to learning all about https, ssl certificates and https everywhere…

 

My New “Favorite” Quote

It’s not doing what you want, it’s wanting what you do (as in the Sheryl Crow song “Soak up the Sun”:  It’s not having what you want, It’s wanting what you’ve got.)

It’s so easy to get caught up in all the things you can’t do any more.  And the more you think about what you can’t do, the more depressed you get.  I’d rather focus on the new things that I can do as I recover from the stroke and enjoying doing whatever I’m doing now without comparing it to what others are doing or what I did in the past.

I remember my friend Tony Gough’s older brother telling us once after we finished a very challenging bike ride from Mill Valley over the Golden Gate bridge to San Francisco and back that it didn’t matter to him how many others may have accomplished something before him;  it was his accomplishment that mattered to him.  That struck me as a very profound  insight for a young teenager and I’ve always tried to remember his attitude whenever I’m tempted into comparing myself to others.  It’s been very useful since the stroke to keep me focused on what I am doing and not wasting time wishing that my life was different.

The stroke took away my ability to drive (at least for now) and that means that I have to find other means of getting around.  I take bus and BART if they’re going my way.  I take the paratransit if that’s an option or I figure out how to get a ride.  So getting out and about is more difficult than it used to be; but I still can do many enjoyable things.  And I can still have adventures.  It doesn’t matter that they aren’t the same kind I used to have; I am still extending myself and discovering new horizons.

Teach Your Kids To Handle Emergencies

One of the most distressing things for me after returning home from the hospital after my stroke was that my youngest daughter was afraid to be home alone with me as the only adult.   Eventually I got over the emotional shock and was able to see it from her point of view – Not that she was afraid of me or her own safety but she was afraid that if something happened to me, she wouldn’t know what to do.  She didn’t want to get into a situation where I needed urgent help and she couldn’t do what I needed.

What was needed was to give Julia the confidence that she could successfully get through an emergency without further scaring her about my health or just the likelihood of something bad happening to her.  So I approached the conversation as an educational opportunity teaching her how to deal with unexpected emergencies in general and including health events such as my stroke as just another type of unexpected event that she might experience and that she is capable of dealing with it successfully.

Even if you feel that you know enough about emergency preparedness and the emotional strength of your child to be able to wing it, it is a good idea to write an outline beforehand of the points you want to be sure to cover and how you want to express them.  Having such a cheat-sheet in hand lets you focus on the conversation and how your child is reacting instead of the details themselves.

Having this kind of conversation with my daughter was/is an excellent way to help her survive any disaster intact and emotionally healthy.  I’m kicking myself now that I never thought of having such a conversation with Julia (or my other children) before.  My experience with Julia has been a slap upside the head that as a parent that I should have been teaching and preparing my kids to be able to handle emergencies and other unexpected events.  You can learn from my example and give your children the knowledge and confidence to survive and deal with unexpected events such as natural disasters and medical emergencies that could happen to anyone (even you.)

Fridays Are Difficult

When I was younger, I used to scuff at people who waxed on about how psychotherapy and their shrink have turned their life around.  But now that I’m trying to put myself back together after a stroke,  I have come to appreciate how a shrink can help us fix very painful stuff both inside our heads and outside ourselves, with people in our lives and stuff that happens.

I’ve noticed before that I often drag myself home from my sessions with my shrink Ninette, so drained that I don’t have even the energy to rise from my recliner.  But during today’s session I actually noticed when I ran into difficulty and how it made me feel.   (Not good.)  After more than 3 years of rehab, I shouldn’t be surprised at how much energy our brain uses when it has to work hard, whether it’s cognitive rehab or emotional rehab.

Today’s topic was a recurrent theme, communication difficulties with my wife.  While I was focusing on how my wife had misguided me about she had agreed to, Ninette was noticing what Kathy had been trying to accomplish, why she went about it that way and what I could try doing so that Kathy would be more likely to communicate forthrightly.   When I kicked back into the present, Ninette identified reasons why I might have acted emotionally during the conversation with Kathy.  And that pushed me into the minefield that’s my emotional self right now.

So, you can scuff at me now, but I have to say that Ninette has been instrumental in helping put myself back together even better than before.  And while we’ve been working on me, we’ve also worked quite a bit on my relationships, especially with those close to me.  Maybe with Ninette’s help, I’ll be able to heal the damaged relationships with my wife and middle daughter.

9 Things To Get Before Discharge From Rehab

Your last day of rehab is an emotional time when you get to look back on how far you’ve improved and thank everyone for their help and support.  It’s a great milestone in your recovery and you should savor everything about this event.

But it’s important that when you walk out of the clinic, you’ve got the stuff you need to be able to go forward on your own.  After your discharge, you won’t be around the clinic or your therapists, so you won’t have access to all the incidental resources that come with therapy that you may not even realize you can access!  Mostly, it’s information that you need to glean from your therapists, but there is also an array of aids, equipment and other materials that the therapists have at hand for your therapy that is not so easy to locate and acquire in the real world.

  1. Contact info for your therapist(s):  preferably personal, not thru the clinic.  (Therapists move from clinic to clinic & clinics may come & go.
  2. Contact info for the clinic.
  3. Contact info for doctor who supervised your rehab:  It’s useful to know someone who specializes in head trauma & rehab after brain injury should you have any questions or concerns in the future.
  4. Contact info for local stroke support group.
  5. Samples of aids & other equipment & materials:  That’s how I learned about Dycem sheets that will hold stuff to a flat surface.  Really helpful for opening containers of all kinds and being able to hold things in place when you would normally use a second hand.
  6. Catalogs with products for Rehab therapists and clinics:  Maybe I’m visually oriented put sometimes seeing pictures of stuff gives me a better idea of what it does.  And having a catalog, you can just flip through it and find things even if you don’t know what they’re called.
  7. URLs for places that sell stuff that would help.
  8. URLs for websites that the therapist finds useful or worthwhile.
  9. A plan for continuing independent rehab.