Sunday, December 21, 2008


It seems that whether by design, or accident, an important part of being socialized has to do with denying the Truth of oneself.

The socialization process starts from birth, if not before, and the pliable clay that is infancy is molded into the image the adult sees fit. In exceptional cases, the person may be able to consider and question what is being taught; for most of us, it is the water we swim in. It isn't until we are older, and perhaps our lives aren't working well for us, that we reconsider some basic assumptions.

Very early, before we knew we were agreeing to something, we were agreeing to an abstract model of "the people we should be" and "the people we shouldn't". People we should be were selfless, generous, helpful, and generally didn't trigger negative emotions in important adults (namely parents and teachers). People we should not be were selfish, unwilling, stingy, unkind and generally anything else that triggered irritation or anger in important adults.

Manifestations of feelings that went counter to the first group, and were umbrella'd under the category of the second, were BAD, and by extension the feelings themselves were deemed BAD.

I suppose this makes sense in a belief system where human beings are born BAD, and that we will always be at war with our BAD nature until we die.

The covert message, intended or not, is that not only certain actions are wrong: our very feelings need governing too. If we want to be "good", then we can't even allow feelings that are associated with the second group to rise to our level of consciousness. Self censorship is born. And therefore the truth of our Selves, the Selves that are experiencing these feelings, are submerged.

We may feel called to by this submerged Self, all our lives. A feeling of a lack, which the Christians say Jesus is supposed to fill. Buddhists attribute it to the suffering that is caused by "attachment" to things, people, outcomes. Some people drink, others do drugs, others take risks.

For those who wish to journey back to this place of authenticity of Self, there are successive guardians at the gate. I met one Guardian last week, in the tacit agreement that choosing something for your self, without a "good reason" is selfish, mean, grasping. That was the scarecrow flapping in the breeze, this sense of agreement with what my feelings "meant" (something awful about me). If I acknowledge that the feeling inside from which springs the reluctance is a core "No", then I realize that an agreement I made before I knew I was making an agreement--is irrelevant.

I think I found a new Guardian yesterday when Gary took the boys on an all-day errand trip. Funny what I can think up when I have some uninterrupted time.

This Guardian is more potent. It's called Shame.

I think I will leave it at that, for now.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My brain, she is turning to mush

I've mentioned my strategy when the boys are home? It's kind of like rest-stepping in hiking, or conserving oxygen the way an amphibian does underwater. If they find something that occupies them I do no chores. I drop everything so I can look at the book or article I was trying to read, or do a little journaling in the bit of time that I'll be undisturbed. I reserve the stuff I 'must' do for when I'm 'disturbed'.

They've been home a lot:

Thanksgiving; kids off for a week from school.

Gary in Asia first 2 full weeks in December.

Snowfall starts on Gary's first day home; suspense each day as I wait to see what the school district will do. The boys cheer on the snow and I pray it doesn't shut down the schools.

Monday, schools closed.

Tues, west-side schools closed, Scott's open.

Wed, all district schools closed.

Thurs, west-side schools closed, Scott's open. Hard freeze forecast.

This morning:

Woke today to news all public schools were closed.

8:00 Boys rise, overjoyed. (any school morning they would want to sleep far longer).

8:30 Phone call from MIL to say she wasn't feeling well and could we postpone dinner at her house on Saturday? If only the message had been so succinct. It took a ten minute story about a week of diarrhea and featured every single protracted discussion with the advice nurse. (I'm imagining the call center when her number comes up on caller ID: "It's Her again..." "oh no, it's your turn now.") She filled me in on all the details including descriptions of 'consistencies'. I kept my tone respectfully sympathetic as I reassured her that we can postpone our get-together until our return from Calif. I tell her I hope she feels better.

9:00 Demon drumming from below

9:01 Scott wants to know when we're leaving to get his Lego (reward for staying focused and behaved at school). I explain to him that we may not be able to go today because Gary took the AWD Subaru and left us with the front-wheel-drive van. Immediate heartbreak. Demands that I "jack up the tires". Patient monologues about icy roads and cars in ditches do not penetrate his disappointment. Call Gary to see what roads were like on his way down to work this morning. Says driving down the hill is do-able, even without 4wd: "Just keep it in second gear and slow down through the s-curves by the creek". No one is on the road, he says.

Unsure whether I will work up the motivation to try, I decline to make promises, infuriating Scott further. Finally I send him downstairs to be with Connor because I can't endure his whining any longer. Fortunately he goes.

The ensuing quiet is now available to be exploited, but for an indeterminate amount of time. I find my deep thoughts have gone into hiding the way a cat will dive under a bed when it hears children at the door. So I sweep a living room floor which is littered with Christmas tree needles instead. Mull options:

Which is worse? A dicey drive on questionable roads (at least the chains for the van have instructions!), or the unrelieved company of two restless and fractious boys? I decide to chance it with the car. There are two birthday parties tomorrow that need gifts anyway, and the cat's low on food.

There's also no gas in the van. Thanks Gary. There's no gas on this hill either, for about 10 miles.

As we drive down the hill the road goes from slushy to wet. We're heading to a perfect 90 degree T intersection where we will turn south to go to shopping center city where all the big chain stores live. Narrow country road, and I'm just about to turn left onto 185th when I hear sirens and see the big engine coming straight up the hill toward us. As I was already in the intersection and there are ditches on each side of the road--no shoulder to pull onto--I decide to jettison the turn and move across the intersection instead and squeeze over as far as I can on the right without sliding into that culvert. Once the firetruck passes I'm left with some awkward maneuvers on a road that suddenly has traffic in order to resume our route.

Once we're down in big-box city we wait for 3 light changes to get in to the complex of stores. I park and then go on hyper-alert to prevent Scott's accidental suicide. He has no concept of self-preservation, even at 7, and so I have to be vigilant for us both. He is given to stopping in unfortunate places to contemplate something on his shirt and I am continually moving him along: "Keep walking, Scott; we need to walk, Scott; let's head for the store, Scott..."

So I'm exhausted when we reach the automatic doors of the store and Connor asks if it's "always like this every Friday". I explain it is "like this" because this is the last Friday before Christmas. ( I'd hoped the snow would keep everyone home.) "Like this" means further vigilance on my part because Scott is oblivious to the trajectories of others and has an uncanny knack for getting in people's way and then stopping. "Like this" is sidestepping shopping carts and looking around people who are standing in front of the display that holds the items we're considering. "Like this" is saying "excuse me" over and over and dodging people. As we walk to the cashiers I tell Connor that of all places to be at this moment in time, this is the place I least want to be. He asks me where I'd rather be and I say, "Just about anywhere." He said, "Like where?" and I respond, "Walking barefoot across a bed of hot coals." He smiles and says, "That's funny. ...Do you know the meditation they do to walk across?" I say no, and he says, "Then you'd rather have 4 degree burns on your feet? You're exaggerating!" I explain hyperbole as the device for conveying strong feelings.

Connor will have some money left over after he buys his cd and he says he wants to get himself and Scott a soda and some candy. I think he means at the little restaurant in the store after we've checked out; just then I see the express line is open. I dive for it. We pay for our things and we're through the line when Connor says, "Now we have to go back and get the candy and soda!" I realize he hadn't meant going to the cafeteria. "Oh, no. We're not going back in there." Lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place and it's just not going to happen that we go through another check stand unimpeded. For two sodas and candies I'm totally unwilling to risk it. Grumbling as we walk out to the car; calmed when I tell him he can get the junk food when we buy gas.

Once home I go out to get the mail. While removing my boots and getting into slippers Scott apologizes to me for having thrown my Christmas stocking behind the Christmas tree in a fit of pique when he'd thought I wasn't going to take him to the store. He tells me he went back and got it and rehung it. I tell him I accept his apology (I hadn't noticed it was missing).

A few moments later I notice a lot of dirt and tree needles on the floor where I'd swept earlier. Realize he probably drug all that out when he went retrieved the stocking.

So right now he's happily assembling his Lego and downstairs the demon drums have begun to sound. Connor bought himself an AC/DC cd so he could learn the drum parts. He's already been up here as I write wanting me to come and see. So it looks like a good time to get up and do laundry, and sweep up the dirt from under the tree.

Damn, he's actually playing those drums pretty well!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Demon drums pounding below

And it's only 11:00. Next, the younger will be wailing, "Shut u-u-u-u-u-up!!!!!!!!!! It hurts my earrrrrrrrrs!"

This is probably as close to alone as I'm going to get, other than stealing a little time at the beginning of the day by getting up early.

Wondering if therapy is cancelled tonight too. Really, it doesn't look that bad out there. I've been watching cars drive by just fine!

I'd lay odds on them being home tomorrow too. Friday it doesn't matter since Scott's got a half-day anyway.

Drat. I'd counted on this week as time alone to store up, much as the squirrels store their nuts and seeds for privation times ahead. Tuesday we leave for California, with 2 kids who hate long drives. To spend 5 days with my parents. Then drive back. So this mother bear is entering the cold season without a lot of underlying fat for self sustenance.

And I ran out of tequila for margaritas last week. Now that's something I should have stocked up on.

Not home alone

On the strength of a forecast, not even on-the-ground weather conditions, they've closed the schools.

Nuff said.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Half a Loaf

I bought about 3 and a half hours of silence by taking Scott to school (and saying "no" to a request to be a driver for morning 'intensives') and taking Connor to his friend's for sledding. The two together was about 3 hours total driving. I'll leave at 2:30 to pick up Scott. Connor will catch a ride home with his buddy's dad.

So, time to go make The Most of this since I've heard rumor that more snow is supposed to begin falling tomorrow.

Ho ho ho.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Smartened up my attitude a bit

Joined the boys outside in the afternoon. Sledded with them down the little hill that drops to our neighbor's yard. Ours slopes down and then drops fairly steeply to the headwaters of a little creek so I'm more comfortable with the guys on a property with a level run-out. In a fit of enthusiasm I strapped on some skis and turned a few times down our driveway. Then we took a little tour of our wooded acre. Very pretty covered with several inches of white in the afternoon sunlight. Some animal tracks, though surprisingly no deer. We even get a herd of elk that wanders through sometimes, but no sign of them.

Got a visit from a hummingbird this afternoon. I hadn't thought ahead so the poor thing was greeted with a frozen feeder. I'll do better tomorrow. The woodpeckers have been hard at the suet feeders and I spread some seed. Tomorrow I'll get some lard to spread on the pine cone hangings and press some seed into them too.

So, let's see if tomorrow is a Better Day.

Westside (west of the Willamette River) schools are closed tomorrow. Connor is rejoicing. I've forbidden him to tell Scott, who goes to an eastside school. If I play my cards right tomorrow I can still get a little time alone tomorrow. Connor wants to go over to a buddy's house. They live on 20 acres with a good sledding hill.

Now, if only they don't close the eastside schools tomorrow.

Not being a good sport about this

And a big headache to boot.

Yeah. They're home.

Watching cars go by on our road. Cold stiff wind out there.

Already they're occupied with insults and counter-insults.

Worst-case scenario? A tree coming down or some idiot plowing into a utility pole and bringing down the whole power grid.

Sorry 'bout the sucky attitude.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pacific Northwest S "no" w weenies

The boys have been bouncing off the walls just on the forecast of snow. Now that it's actually doing it they're fevered.

My ever-strategic mind started grinding when the forecasts started last week. Snow starting Friday? Clear and cold by Monday? Maybe the bulk of it will fall Fri-night, Sat morning, and they'll have the roads clear enough that they don't miss any school.

In the meantime the local television stations have been nearly hysterical talking about how all the snow-plows and sanding crews are "standing by"; giving tips on "staying warm" which includes, "Dress warmly."

It didn't start seriously until early this morning.

The boys are so joyful they can barely contain themselves, jumping around, grabbing me from behind for hugs, plowing into me, hanging on my shoulders. "Aren't you glad it's snowing!!!"
Fortunately they're so happy they don't notice my tepid response. Weak smile and nod. Trying to prepare myself for the worst--school closure. Which they're fervently hoping for.

So we're at cross purposes, my boys and I. And every moment they're broadcasting: "Look at that snow!" "Mom! Look! Snow!" (there's half an inch accumulation but it's coming down)
"There's enough to sled on!" "Let's scrape it up and pour maple syrup on it (like no leaves or mud are stuck to the bottom). "Mom! Mom! Mom!" Each "Mom" jolts me like electricity. And it's over and over and over. "Look at the grass! It doesn't look like much but it's an optical illusion because the hill slopes. There's really lots. Let's have a family snow fight!"

It's the hypocrisy wearing me out. The weak smiles. The trying to not look too dismayed when they say, "Maybe they'll close school!" The trying to hide the computer screen as I write this and he leans over me. "Come on, Mom! Go outside!"

Gary's back now from Asia. Came in yesterday morning. He's cheering on the snow: "We have three quarters of an inch already!" With him gone I've not had to indulge Christmas hypocrisy. He left on the first so we didn't get a tree or put up lights. So here at home I've been able to almost-forget about it, other than the countdown calendar that Scott religiously changes each morning. Gary didn't even take a nap when he got home; put up Christmas lights on our back porch which kept us awake long into the night. The timer was set to go off at 11 and I finally went and unplugged it at 11:10. Today we go and get the Christmas tree.

I just overheard on the radio that chains are required on all highways going through Portland. Hwy 26 is closed while emergency vehicles go to tow out the vehicles obstructing traffic for not being able to make it up the hill.

That's it. I'm sure school's closed tomorrow. Last year they closed it after I'd already seen the middle school bus go by. All day we were bathed in sunlight and watched the cars whiz by on the dry road.

I can't write a coherent thought because every couple minutes the boys have been interrupting me. Now they're outside and Gary's talking to me about airports, going through customs. This is why the notion of school closure tomorrow fills me with such horror. They're going to be off for 2 weeks the week after this next one, for crying out loud. Isn't that enough of a solitude drought?

Oh no, here they come! Sporting wounds from saucering into the blackberry vines. I guess they really could sled on that half-inch of snow, though if I'd been a good mother and monitored what they were up to, I wouldn't have allowed it.

CLOSE THE DOOR! (dammit)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This is my first blogoversary. Actually, I missed it; my first post ever was on November 26, 2007.

This blog is one manifestation of a need for introspection that actually started long before there was even blogging. But about a year before I started it and continuing to this day there has been a need that has been so intense I've found it nearly painful to be doing anything else.

Mrs. Spit talked about the 'binary nature' of suffering. This reminds me of something I heard on the radio as I was driving somewhere. The speaker said that basically humans are binary creatures; at the very core of our being and interactions with others is a 'yes', or 'no' decision.

For several years I've had few whole-hearted 'YES"s. Among the few is writing in my journal, writing here, reading the reflections of other bloggers, solitude. Most of my 'yes's have been in the "if I have to" category. Dutifully cheerfully if cheer is part of the "have to". Yes, I'll drive some kids on a field trip. Yes, I'll read with a child at school on a regular basis. Yes, I'll volunteer in Scott's classrooms on Wednesdays. Yes, I'll meet a friend for coffee.

And YES I'll feed this place inside that needs silence, and solitude, and reflection.

But I just realized that there's a deeper application of yes/no.

I guess it started a couple summers ago when my mother in law hurt her back and wasn't going to be able to go to Alaska to see her granddaughter get married. She'd given Gary the money to buy her ticket and asked me if I'd take it. The seats were not transferable, and the price was non-refundable. When I called to inform her of this she was crushed to learn that go or not, she was forfeiting the $600 or so that was the price of the ticket.

I was crushed too, because Gary was planning to take the boys, and I was going to be home alone for 5 days. This was to be my island of sanity in the shipwreck of summer vacation. Gary had booked flights on 2 planes, one for her and Scott, one for himself and Connor. If she didn't go, neither would Scott. And of the two, he needed the most from me; and I most needed the break from being needed. She realized this, and asked if it was my "depression" that made me want to have time away from the kids. "Wouldn't most mothers, if plans changed and they had to be with their children, be glad to be with their children and not be disappointed?" She actually did say that, and beneath the words was the undercurrent that told me she was spoiling for a fight. What enabled me to sidestep the bait was a realization: a Feeling is a Feeling. It's not subject to 'shoulds'. Someone could just as easily be telling her that her back "shouldn't" be hurting. So I was able to tell her the Truth, without rancor: "Well, no one can tell another person how they 'should' feel in their body. And if someone is looking forward to something, it's normal to feel disappointed if plans change."

It laid the groundwork for me, to realize that the bald message behind the question is: "You should feel something different from what you are feeling. A normal mother would not feel disappointed. You should be a different mother."

It's sort of an obvious lesson, that a feeling is a feeling and not subject to the same rules as those for behavior. But I think that's the first time I understood this on a visceral level.

So fast forward a few years later when I've got Scott enrolled in a school that involves a commute. I try to set up a carpool, and some families express interest. As we start going through the process of mulling over schedules and looking for the shape of things, one family has a need to step up the pace of the decision-making process. In essence, they're asking that their urgency become our urgency, that the timing to get it set up be adjusted upward to fit their need for speed. They need a ride two days a week to an afterschool care for their 3 kids.

In the meantime, I'm intensely involved in Scott's special education process, and when I start to prepare him for the idea of riding with someone else some days, he adamantly balks. As we've been having some quality time in the car together riding to school, I decide to just go with that and withdraw from carpool participation. I offered to take this one family's 3 kids, though, one day a week, to the after care. It seemed like a nice thing to do, and not difficult, since they're not terribly far out of the way of my route home. I did reflect a bit on a sort of imbalance in the system, since I wouldn't be participating in the benefits of carpooling, and set my mind to do it anyway.

I don't know what they worked out for the other days of the week with the other families. I just get the kids to daycare on Wednesdays, as I've been doing throughout the month of November.

Yesterday I found an email from this family. It was to the general carpool group but essentially asking me if I'd take the kids on Mondays too.

This is an opportunity to reflect on a Bigger Picture of when people want something different. At the very basis of this is the question of whose will shall prevail? On a macro scale it looks like, "Who gets the bigger piece of cake?" Do I deny myself, or you? What it comes down to is whether my priorities and self-interest is going to be subordinate to yours, or yours to mine. A choice.

If we don't have a 'good reason' to deny the Other their will, there seems to be a strong pressure to acquiesce. If my reason would not hold up in a court of law, then I am obliged to comply.

When I examine this further, I see the components of this dynamic are thus: "Because I don't want to" is not a good reason. "Because I don't want to and-nothing-else" implies selfishness. An unadorned (with 'good reasons') "because-I-don't-want-to" is flying in the face of what 'should' be. I should be an open-hearted person. I should be a person who is generous. I should be a person who gives and expects nothing in return. And I should not feel reluctant. If I am reluctant that's being a person I should not be. I will override my reluctance, since it is preventing me from attaining the state of being this generous person.

OK, so there is this 'person' I'm 'supposed to be' and a person I am not (supposed to be). If I see the situation from the perspective of the other party involved, I see me as someone who is driving in a certain direction anyway, who has plenty of room in her rig. I see that I have a need, and there seems to be no reason to deny it.

Back to my own perspective where I realize what a reflexive thing it's been to see the world through other perspectives besides my own. I see in some ways it's a gift, yet it's two-edged. Because while I've been willing to see a situation from another's perspective, no one has been willing to see situations from mine. Or, I've been surrounded by people who simply didn't have the ability to take anOther's perspective. So this hasn't really been a level playing field.

Yes, and No.

When I look further beneath the Guardian at the Gate of thinking of myself as 'Selfish", when I see that there's a sort of general human consensus of this person we should not be, I find a calm place. There is a place deeper than this person I should not be. Instantly it's calmer. All the turbulence is caused by the anxiety of trying to avoid this specter. I see a place where there is Yes, or No.

Another component of the turbulence is the need to 'defend' myself from the specter, prevent it from being attached to me. This defense can take the form of denying it, overriding it, making excuses, or making the other person wrong for asking for something. Or defending myself in advance from their disappointment and possible anger. In the Deeper Place all that falls away. There is Yes, or No. And, No, all by itself is enough. It's its own reason. If pressed to answer, "Why not?" I can say, because at the heart of my being, that's What Is.

So the reply I sent to Holli and the message group was that for now I'm going to stick with the schedule I've got, and maybe increase participation later when Scott is more able to participate.




My cuz planted her foot in my nether parts in my comments several months ago. Just wanted to give credit to the inspiration and thought that's gone into this post. I've been thinking about it for months, Lori!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just to make it complete, or shoveling sh*+

This is not how I wanted to spend my last full day with kids in school.

So, in my remaining time I thought I'd at least go over to Pam's blog and see if I could remember how to collect her award.

Pam said such nice things that warmed my heart. They've been a steadying influence today as I negotiate my technological travails.

But as if to prove that life can be a Trickster Coyote, I can't 'pick up' my award to display here! It's been a while since I've done it, so it's like I always have to learn how to do it all over again. This must be the case today.

So, it appears the only digging I've been doing lately is just trying to get out from under some pretty mundane details. Anyone who's interested in anything of any depth will just have to "dig deeper".

Thank you, Pam!

Update, or Obstacle Day, or Computer Follies

Well, I'm partially relieved. I googled the "symptoms" and found a tech-assist site (thank you to those of you who post information for free. I kiss you.). In it I learned that I could use a file opener that's intrinsic to Word. So even though nothing happens when I try to open a document through my finder (not any document. Any document I've ever filed does not open in Find. Any document I file currently will not open in Find.) However, Word's opener will open my documents. Testing this by randomly selecting documents and opening in Word will open them.


Now, my next headache is the back-up. All I wanted was a thumb drive. But Gary had to buy a Western Designs behemoth with enough capacity for several hard drives. And, it has been a struggle to use it from day one. Which is why to this day I'm not certain if I really have my data backed up on it or not.

I'm still wondering if I restart my Mac if Word might restore itself to its original settings. Now that I know that I can open documents in Word, if not in Finder, has given me some ease. But the part of me that wants to be very very sure wants to see if the external drive really does have my data, and if that is restorable.

There's the rub. I can get as far as the page that shows my files I've backed up. I can select a file, but when I click on Open I get a text message that says:

Restoring Backups

By restoring a backup, you can recover files that may have been damaged or deleted.

Search for the file types in the "Back up To:" folder or browse and select individual files that you want restored in the "Back up To:" folder.

Then copy the search results or individual files to their original location or another location. We suggest you not copy the folder directly--doing so could result in the loss of other files in the original folder.

I see no commands or buttons that will enable me to copy my files to their original location. I see no instructions on how to create such a location, or if I need to. When I go to support I get a website that only tells me to follow the instructions on the text message I get when I open the file I want restored.

Mrs. Spit, can I use 'oy vey'?

Get this:

When Gary went online to access our bank accounts, he was told that he needed to reset his online name code: the bank is no longer using social security #'s as the online code. So he reset that, and the passcode. Left me with those codes and went to Asia. Called from the airport asking me to move some money over from one of the savings account into his checking. He was afraid there might be 'sniffers' at the airport who would access that sensitive information so didn't want to do it there.

So I tried, using his online name and passcodes.

It won't let me in. I can't get in to the savings account to move money around. I can't help him, and I can't help me either: he paid a bunch of bills from the account I normally use and those checks were due to be drawn on. He's no longer available by phone, already in flight.

I figured he could take care of it online from Asia. Emailed him.

Bounce! Boing! Boing! The online alerts for insufficient funds start coming. I thought maybe something was wrong with the codes Gary had given me and asked him to email them. I tried to get in. Couldn't. Called Customer service. Some time ago Gary added some accounts to the basic checking he'd opened up in Missouri (this is the one I primarily use.). The new accounts originate in Oregon. He didn't change the first account to an Oregon one. It wasn't necessary; they were all integrated and we could transfer funds online easily. Now they're no longer integrated and when I demand to know why the voice on the other end of the line (after wading through a number of automated voices) has no clue either: "I have no way of accessing these accounts to get the information unless your husband is there to verify." I said that the bank should waive any overdraft charges because we'd been making good faith efforts to shift funds and could not because of a change the bank had made without notifying us. He said he couldn't help me because he couldn't get in to Gary's accounts to get information about overdraft.

Upshot: I can't do anything about this, either online, over the phone, at the ATM, or in person. I am among the entities that access to his account is protected from. (I asked in an email if he was trying to tell me something.)

I've sent a number of increasingly urgent emails to Gary, then surmise that for some reason he must not be getting them and called. Guess what, for some reason in the hotel he's in he's unable to get online. My messages have been going into a spam box and he's unable to open them.

I'm not as upset as I might be because we get an automatic payday deposit at midnight tonight, and it goes directly into the account I use.

I do hope we can get the overdraft charges waived though. I'm going to think seriously about finding another bank, hopefully one that's solvent, to move our funds to if they don't.

How's Canada's banking system doing?

Trying to not panic

Last night while I was trying to save a document (Word, on a Mac laptop OSX) word "unexpectedly quit". I opened it back up, and now it's not opening any of my word documents in the finder!

I thought I had a post in me but right now I just feel this buzzing inside at the prospect of having lost ALL my documents; thousands of pages and hundreds of hours of writing.

I do have them backed up on an external hard drive, which I'm running right now in hopes that maybe it can somehow access my most recent writings since I last backed data up. And, I've never used it in field conditions, so I'm not feeling consoled. What if I did something wrong in backing them up and they're not available from there after all?

There's a part of me that wants to quit the word application and then see if it resets itself and I can get my stuff back...but I'm scared I'll lose it alllllllllllll if I do.

Trying to not panic...bring...breathing....under....control.....