Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Children and lovers ...

They don't mix. No matter what anyone says about blended families and diversity. It doesn't matter if your kids are 3 or 33. They won't ever completely approve.

At least that's how it feels to me.

Can we really help who we fall in love with? Life would be easier if we could be sure to fall for the stable, dependable, sober, and faithful guy (or girl), rather than the one who didn't grow up until sometime after hitting 40. But then, is life supposed to be easy? Okay, that's another whole essay. But, would loving someone be really worth it, would it mean as much and fill you up as much if it were easy? I don't know. I've never taken the easy route.

I'm caught between a rock and a hard place ... well, that's not completely true. There's tension, and I think there always will be tension. It's the acceptance that's hard. I know my kids won't ever completely trust him to not hurt me again. And I can understand their position ... after all, they watched me fall apart over him. They were witness to the way I was treated. They don't completely understand why I'm willing to give him another chance. However, they do accept it.

Two of the three will socialize and talk and treat him like part of the family. (He's been around in one way or another for almost 15 years.) One refuses. He wants to talk with her ... clear the air, so to speak. She won't. And I won't try to force it. You can't force that. You can't. He needs to accept that.

And I'm in the middle, the buffer between these two people I love so much.

But ... in the end, one of them is my child.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Today's experiment ...

What are we cooking today? How about Veggie Fried Rice. It's based on this recipe by Melinda Daniel from allrecipes.com, but I was missing some of the ingredients, so I improvised. Here's what I did.

2 cups uncooked white rice (I used Minute Rice)
5 large eggs
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 bunch of celery, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of snow peas
garlic
ginger powder
onion powder
soy sauce
toasted sesame oil

Cook the rice according to package directions, then place in the fridge to chill. Mix the eggs as if you were making scrambled eggs, minus the milk. Add a teaspoon or two of soy sauce to the egg mixture, along with one clove of minced garlic, onion and ginger powder to taste. Cook the eggs in a large wok or fry pan in heated toasted sesame oil. When they're firm, set them aside and, using the same wok or fry pan, quickly saute the veggies until tender crisp. Then add the eggs and rice and mix the whole thing up. Keep adding the spices and soy sauce until you're satisfied with the taste. That's it.

I tend not to use salt and pepper; consequently my food isn't too spicy. That's how I like it. So, spice yours up if you like. I also didn't have any fresh ginger root or an onion, so I used the powders. I'll put it in containers to take to work for lunch. If I had some firm tofu, I'd have added it, but alas, I'm tofu-less! Poor me.





So, that's today's cooking! Gonna go eat now! Ta!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Food continued ...

It took me longer than expected to acquire some of the ingredients I needed, but I got them today at a little Asian market in Nashua, NH. It's called Lanna Asian Market, and they have just about everything you might need for Asian cooking. I needed miso paste, preferably organic, hon-dashi, and soy sauce. The sales girl was very helpful and even offered me recipes.  I would highly recommend them.

So, here's what I made today. I had almost 2 lbs. of fresh mushrooms to use before they spoiled. Since I'd rather not throw money away, I decided to look for a recipe for mushroom soup that did not use cream. I'm trying to maintain as close to a vegan diet as I can. I do feel much better since eliminating animal products, especially beef and dairy. Now I just have to work on the sugar intake, but that's another entry for another day.

I found a recipe on allrecipes.com for mushroom soup that I modified just a little bit. Here's what I did:
  • 3 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce (I used the low sodium kind)
  • 1/2 package extra firm tofu sliced into cubes
  • about 4 cups fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup carrots sliced
  • 1 cup celery sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 3 cans vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a stock pot, I sauteed the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onion until tender. Then I added the vegetable broth, soy sauce, and spices and let it simmer to allow the tofu to absorb the flavor. After about 15 minutes, I transferred about 2/3 of the vegetables and tofu into the blender and blended until fairly smooth. Then I put it back into the soup. This is what makes it thicker and heartier than a clear broth soup. After everything is back in the pot, add the barley, simmer and season to taste. That's it! Of course, I had to try some, so I had a bowl for supper. Yummmmmmmmmm ...



I also made a pot of Japanese Miso Soup. Again, I got the recipe from allrecipes.com, and it was extremely easy and quick to make. Here is the recipe:
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp. hon-dashi granules
  • 3 tbs. miso paste (I used red miso)
  • 4 oz. extra firm tofu, diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cps. mushrooms, sliced
In a saucepan, bring the water and the hon-dashi granules to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and whisk in the miso paste. I used red miso because it has a heartier flavor than the white. Add the tofu, the mushrooms, and the green onions. Let it simmer for a few minutes before serving so that the tofu can absorb the flavors. That's all there is to it. And it is delicious! I didn't feel the need to add any salt or pepper, but I imagine some people do.





So that pretty much was my day today. Now, since it's after 11:00 p.m. I'm going to think about going to bed. I think the next dish I want to try making is an edamame salad that can be either eaten as is or added to al-dente pasta for a nice pasta salad.

Another culinary quote ...

"…the key dietary messages are stunningly simple:
Eat less, move more, eat more fruits and vegetables,
and don't eat too much junk food.
It's no more complicated than that."


~Marion Nestle~

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thoughts on food ...

Again, it's been a while since I wrote. I've finally gotten a clean bill of health in terms of the pneumonia. My last x-ray was clear. Yay!

Now, I'm playing with my diet to try and improve my overall health, lose weight, and hopefully, decrease the pain I'm in every day. I've gone back to being a vegetarian, but I'm taking it a step further ... going vegan. I've eliminated meat, dairy, and eggs. But, it's not enough. I need to eliminate sugar too. At least most of it. I don't know if I'll ever be able to give up my Coffee Mate.

Part of doing this is going to be learning to cook for myself again, to make and have ready foods and snacks that are healthful. Tomorrow when I go food shopping I'm going to Trader Joe's to look for a few things ... raw nuts, organic fruits and veggies, red miso paste, extra-firm tofu. There's a recipe from VegWeb.com for Easy Miso Soup that I want to try.

There are a couple of websites that I've been frequenting in this culinary quest of mine. One is ChooseVeg.com. One of my favorites is Mushroom Barley Soup. It's easy, quick, and very yummy. There's another reason, though, that I like this website. Not only do they have recipes, they have good information as well. Going vegan is not only good for animals (obviously), it's good for us, and it's good for the earth. It takes much less energy to produce an acre of veggies or grain than it does to grow and slaughter an animal. They have information to help make the switch from carnivore to vegetarian/vegan, and you can even request a free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

I also have an Excalibur Food Dehydrator and I love it! It can be noisy, so I recommend putting it in a room where you can close the door, or if you have a basement, that would work too. I'm completely addicted to making my own raisins. They are so much plumper and juicier than the store-bought ones. I've also done watermelon, canteloupe, kiwi, and bananas. Nature's candy! When mushrooms are on sale, I stock up and dry them for use in soups and stews.

So, tomorrow I'll be back with the results of my cooking experiments.

I leave you with "food" for thought:

Nothing will benefit human health
and increase chances for survival of life on Earth
as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.  
~Albert Einstein~

Monday, October 12, 2009

Life

It's been a while since I wrote here. I've been doing most of my writing on my Reiki Journal, but life sometimes has a way of hitting you upside the head and reminding you of things you'd rather forget.

I believe I've had fibromyalgia for more than 10 years. However I wasn't officially diagnosed until this year. I've also chosen to forgo any medication, thinking I didn't want to become a "pill popper." But, sometimes our preconceived ideas just simply shatter when we get these reminders.

The pain has become pronounced and chronic. Most mornings I awake moving very slowly. Because of this, I set my alarm half an hour earlier to give myself extra time. However, getting up is not one of the things I'm good at. This is when the pain is the worst, when I wake up. And now that the weather is getting colder, the pain is becoming worse.

I absolutely adore my grandchildren, but hate the fact that it hurts when I pick them up ... even Olivia, and she's only 8 weeks old! I hate that when the pain is really bad, I lose patience with them. I feel like a slug because my daughter, who lives with me, does pretty much everything in the kitchen. Vaccuuming has become an olympic event.

Am I feeling sorry for myself? Yes, a little. But not many people read this anyway. It's more for me than for anyone else. It's an outlet. I think I have to break down and admit that I need help with this. And I hate that.

Thoughts go through my head, thoughts like how long will I be able to work full time. So many doctor's visits are beginning to cause problems at work. Although it shouldn't, because there's another staff member who takes way more time than I do. But I tend to be the one at work who is "understanding," and usually gives in.

I'm beginning to feel like a chronic complainer, and I hate that. So, maybe it's time to call my doctor and discuss some medication options. And maybe it's time to get serious about walking, and watching my diet. 

Pity party officially over.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Missing them

Now that I'm home from Texas, I've had time to realize how much I want to be with my son's family. I don't know why, but there's a connection ... something drawing me there. I spent most of my time there with my daughter-in-law, Katie, and my two granddaughters, Alex (29 months) and Emily (18 months). My son was at work a lot of the time I was there.

I think that Katie and I have evolved into really good friends. We're both pretty mellow individuals; we share a lot of the same ideals and values, and we both love my son. We can talk about almost anything, although conversation is not necessary. We respect each other's privacy and we both love to knit! I miss her company and her temperament and the loving and giving atmosphere she infuses into her home.

While I was there, Alex would wake me up in the morning by standing at the bottom of the stairs and, in her high-pitched and shrill 2 year old voice yell "Nana! Time to get up Nana! NANA! NAAAANNNNAAAA!" She's almost completely potty trained (except for sleep time). During the day she would jump up and announce "Nana! Goobie go peepee on the big potty." "Ok Alex. I'm coming!" While sitting on her Dora the Explorer seat, she would remind me that "Goobie not fall in." I remember one day when I asked her for a kiss or a hug or something, and she promptly turned around and pulled her undies down saying "Little butt cheeks Nana!" 

Alex is the intellectual. She's so precocious. She wants to learn and know everything. Whenever there's a noise she can't identify, she'll ask "What's that noise?" When she sees something new, she asks "What's that?" She wants to be involved in everything ... she wants to learn how to do it. She insists on doing it herself! But she will also ask for help if she needs it. Keeping up with her quest for knowledge and information can be daunting and exhausting, but I miss her smile and her energy tremendously. 

I have often said that my grandson has an old soul. You can see in his eyes that he's been here before, many times, and in those lives, he's learned a lot about life's difficulties. Well, I'm convinced that Emily has been here before as well, but what she has experienced is different from her only male cousin. There's a lightness around her, but at the same time, she knows things. At 18 months of age, she is so sensitive and perceptive ... It's like she can see what lives in your heart. 

Emily is the cuddler. When she hugs you, her little hands will pat your shoulders like she's comforting you. That's her way of saying "I love you." She and her Daddy will dance to the song "Here Without You" by 3 Doors Down, and while they're dancing, she'll place her chubby little hands on the sides of his face and lock onto his eyes. Then she'll literally wrap herself around him and lie her head on his shoulder. It is simply one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. 

Emily is also very cautious about who she lets into her heart. People see this as shyness, but I think she's simply taking her time and getting to know you. The day that Emily took it upon herself to crawl up on the couch to have some Nana cuddles ... my heart just overflowed. What a compliment she had given me, trusting me with her love.

And now there is Olivia, the precious new life that I helped to birth. She doesn't know it yet, but she and her mother have already enriched my life beyond belief. Katie generously allowed me to help deliver Olivia. Katie's midwife, Jennifer, guided Olivia's head from the birth canal, and then I took over ... in essence, "catching" Olivia's body as she was delivered from her mother. Because of this, I already feel a special bond with her, and my relationship with my daughter-in-law has been deepened as well. Now I cannot wait to see how Olivia's personality develops.

I'm going back to Texas in December, but that's not soon enough for me. Each time I leave them I seriously toy with the idea of moving to Texas. Would I live with them? What kind of a job would I get? Is it feasible to switch careers at my age? Who knows ... but I have learned that I need to follow my heart and be true to myself. Therefore, further exploration is needed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Waiting ...

I'm in Texas visiting with my son and his family. We're all waiting for their third child, Olivia Paige, to decide it's time to be born. Olivia will be grandchild #6 for me.

I've been here since July 23rd and have been thoroughly enjoying being with Katie, Alexandra (aka Goobie), and Emily. I keep trying to think of a way I could just stay here. I know that Michael and Katie would welcome me with open arms. Katie and I get along so well, I just think of her as a 3rd daughter.

Today we're going to see the midwife. Maybe she'll have a suggestion or two for getting Katie's labor started.

More later ...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Alice Walker's Overcoming Speechlessness

Sitting at the dining room table, enjoying my first cup of coffee, I read Alice Walker's tale of horror and hope. Her essay is called Overcoming Speechlessness.

As I read and thought about my family and the comforts we enjoy, the tears came. It is simply beyond my capacity to understand how people can act in this manner; I have trouble just eating meat because I know it once had a heart that beat blood through its body, and a brain that formulated thoughts.

I remember as a child, hearing my parents say how fortunate we were to have been born in such a wonderful country, fortunate to have the things we had, to have never been touched by war or famine or any of the atrocities we heard about.

Why do I get to live in relative safety, while others are brutalized and murdered in their own homes? How come I can watch my children grow to maturity and have families of their own while the lives of other babies are horribly and brutally ended before their mothers' very eyes? What kind of pain is that? Is there even a word for it? Why have I been so fortunate, to use my father's words? I don't have an answer.

I feel like I need to do something. But I don't know what to do. My words don't come eloquently and philosophically. Should I organize ... I don't know ... something ... a food drive? If I do, will it even get through? Is this what helplessness feels like?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Are you kidding me????

I'm at a 4-day conference for work, staying at the Park Plaza Hotel & Towers in Boston. Although I don't relish the idea of being away from home for 3 nights, I was looking forward to a stay in what I thought would be a really good hotel.

Remember ... I said hotel, not motel.

First, for the price my employer is paying ($189/night) the room is terribly small. Just barely enough room to walk around the two double beds. The furniture looks like it came from a Howard Johnson's. The closet door doesn't close all the way. The heating/cooling unit doesn't really do much. I've got it set at 64 degrees, and I'm still quite warm. The bathroom is about the size of two telephone booths, and the hair dryer is in a bag, hanging on the back of the bathroom door. There's no coffee maker, and the room has a musty smell.

In addition, when I tried to connect to the internet, I found it wasn't working. I called the extension listed for assistance and was transferred by security to an off-site tech assistance site. I was then down on my hands and knees unplugging and plugging things until we finally figured out what the problem was. Then, to add insult to injury, they charge an additional $10.95 a day for basic internet.

I'm not some hotel expert, and I don't consider myself a picky person, and if I were staying in a small, local motel somewhere all of this would certainly be acceptable ... for about $69.00/night. But for $189/night? What is the draw? I've had better amenities staying at a Comfort Suites than seem to be available here.

The reception is starting in a few minutes, so I'll have to continue this later.

Ok ... so I realize that it must be difficult to fit these old Boston buildings with air conditioning and internet, etc. So be it. So maybe this isn't the place to hold a conference.

Yea, I'm just venting.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Priorities

"Ya gotta have priorities!"

How many times have I heard that in my life? For that matter, how many times have I said it!? Well, I have a 4-day conference in Boston beginning tomorrow and as I thought about what to pack, it occurred to me what was really important, in the world of Linda, that is. My knitting!

Which project or projects should I bring? Is there an lys (knitspeak for local yarn shop) that I can visit on my lunch breaks? I should probably bring a project that I don't have to concentrate to hard on for knitting during the conference, and another that I can work on in my hotel room. Make sure I have enough yarn! Don't want to run out half way through the conference. Don't forget the scissors and the measuring tape and the stitch markers and the point protectors and the 3-ring binder with my patterns. If I bring the bag I'm making, I'll need to bring the dpn's so I can work on the i-cord. So much to think about!

Oh! And I have to bring my camera!

And, after all that, will I have room in the suitcase for clothes? Umm ... wait! I have a garment bag I can use! Problem solved.

What does that say about me? Does it indicate that my job is not important? I don't think it does. My job is important. But it's just that ... a job. It's not the most important thing. As I said in my last post, I've neglected my creative side for far too long. So, I guess this is me feeding my creative side.

Balance.

Friday, July 3, 2009


It's been a month since I posted anything, which also means I've been in my new house for a month. I've painted the master bedroom and bathroom ... YAY! No more pepto-bismol pink! Next will be the floors, but that'll have to wait for a while. I need to get myself on a budget first.

I had a couple of realizations in the past few weeks. The first is that I haven't been able to let go of the events of the past few years. I've pretty much just crawled inside myself and put up walls. A good friend of mine wanted to introduce me to a colleague of hers on the basis that we're both single and we both love kayaking and being outdoors. I completely panicked and said no. I know I'm not ready for that, and it's hard to explain why, other than I'm still holding on to the past. I know I need to let it go ... it is what it is, and all that ... but I don't know how to. Maybe it will come in time? I don't know.

I also realized that I've been so wrapped up in protecting myself that I've been neglecting a big part of myself ... the creative part, the part that looks for the beauty in ordinary things. I can't tell you how many times in the past months I've seen something and said "I wish I had my camera." I used to take it everywhere with me! Lately, it's been sitting in a corner, neglected and very sad.

To remedy this, and to try and get back to who I was before all the shit of the past 3 years, I've created a new photography project for myself - to try and find something beautiful every day. Not just beauty in terms of how something looks ... it could be a feeling that a scene evokes ... it could be trying to illustrate a song I find beautiful. I don't know from day to day what it will be. I'm just hoping to begin the journey back to me.

I'm still knitting a lot. I've started Christmas presents. I'm pretty much knitting or crocheting for everyone this year. I still want to start a crafting blog, but, I don't know ... it just doesn't feel like the time. I guess I'll know when.

Oh ... that picture up there? That's my latest "Beauty Photo." It's my grandson's toes as he was sleeping this morning. I took it at around 4:20 a.m., just before I woke him up to take him to the airport. We had to be there by 6 a.m. If you're interested in more of what I find beautiful, click here.

Bye for now.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's time ...

5/28/90 Today's the day. And as chaotic and scattered as my conscious mind has been over the last few days, today I feel surprisingly calm. Whatever's gonna happen, I guess, will happen. I won't say that I'm okay with leaving, because I'm not. This is and always will represent home for me. I guess it's more accurate to say that I'm ready to leave the tension and the sadness behind me now, and move on to the next chapter. I love this house, I love that it protected my family from snow and rain and hurricanes, and that it provided a place for me to grow and learn and love. Thank you.

The movers will be here soon to disassemble my life and put it back together somewhere else. It'll take a while for that place to become home; hopefully not too awfully long. When I went for the final walk-through the other day, I sat in the driveway waiting for the others to show up and I noticed that the only thing I could hear was birds singing. It felt peaceful. So that's a good sign.

My daughter and son-in-law are on their way to supervise the movers while I'm at the closing. This will not be easy for them either. My parents were a big part of both their lives, and this house represents that to them.

Update 6/1/09 The movers came right in the middle of writing this post, and I haven't had internet access since. Just got it back today.

I like the house, and I think in time, I'll love it. I don't know it yet, don't know its personality or its quirks. And I don't know if any spirits are here other than those I brought with me. The man I purchased it from told me his wife died the month before my mom. Her name was Frances. I don't know if she's here or not, keeping watch over her home. Sometimes I think I can feel her, like right now, there's a voice in my head saying "Yes, I'm here." If so, I welcome her to visit anytime. Perhaps she can help me to get to know this house.

There's more to say, but I'm tired and I have to go back to work tomorrow. So, until later my friends ...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Education

I just made a decision that was a difficult one. For the past year (almost), I've been enrolled at a college in Massachusetts, working toward and M.Ed. in Psychological Studies. However, as I began to learn more and more about counseling and human services in general, I began to realize that the programs and courses they offered didn't really address my needs. I looked for coursework directly related to gerontology or death and dying, but I only found one course. Mostly the coursework addressed the Massachusetts state standards for licensure as a clinical counselor.

I've always know I didn't want to be a clinician, but I wasn't really sure where I wanted to focus, or what I wanted to do with the knowledge I'd gain. Through the coursework I did complete, I decided to focus on the aging process and death/dying, perhaps in a hospice setting.

By searching other institutions, I found a program that seems to really fit the bill. It addresses what I'll need in order to do this kind of work. The difficulty lay in leaving the college I was at. In the short time I've been a student there, I've formed relationships and friendships that (I hope) will last. Not only have I received academic support, one of my professors and a few classmates have offered personal support, understanding, and guidance. That's hard to find, and I didn't want to let go of it, especially now with all that's going on.

I hope that we keep in touch ... Beth, Meredith, Bob ... I really do.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Voices and Bridges

I sit here quietly during the night while everything around me sleeps, and I listen to the voices of the past. They all tell me it's going to be okay. Aunt Mickey pops into my head every now and then. I miss her a lot. We're a lot alike. I know she's proud of me, she and my Mom. I miss them so much.

There's another kind of voice I hear at night too ... the voice of my own fears and insecurities. This is when they wake up, just when I'm trying to sleep. During the day, I'm dealing with the chaos of moving and packing and working and studying. It's in the quiet of the night, when my imagination runs rampant with all the things that could go wrong ...

I'm so frightened. This house has always been my shell. It's always been the place I could come to when things fell apart. I have another place, a safe place, but I can usually only get there in my dreams. Even though my parents are gone, having this house, their house, provides me with a sense of safety and security from the world. Now it's being taken from me. I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive that. I don't hate ... that's not where I want to put my energy, but whatever was there before is gone. Too many bridges have burned. Too many.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Outta steam


That's what I am. I'm burnt ... fried ... outta steam. I'm pretty effin sore, and I have this urge to sit in the house and cry. I just want to go to sleep and wake up when it's over.

I know, I'm whining and that serves no purpose. I'm sorry. This is what happens when I become physically and emotionally overwhelmed. The movers I hired are going to finish packing, so I've taken that pressure off myself. I just need to organize some things.

I'm also very strongly considering either transferring to a university that's closer to my new home, or an on-line program to complete my Master's degree. Continuing where I am will cost a lot in time and money, both of which can be utilized in other areas of my life.

The bright spot in the next two weeks is the fact that I'm going to Texas to visit my son and his family for 5 days. Ya, I know ... bad planning, but the trip was scheduled before I knew I'd be moving. I absolutely cannot wait to see them. I really miss my daughter-in-law. We knit, we talk, we play with the girls. I love sitting and watching movies with my son, and I love his cooking. And those girls ... I think because I don't get to see them as often as I do the others, I value my time with them that much more. I so cannot wait to get there. It'll be a much welcomed break in all this madness and chaos.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Two weeks ...

... from today. That's when I'm moving.

I'm making peace with the house. It may sound silly, but I talk to it each night when I come home. I kind of walk around and recognize each room, committing it to memory, letting it's energy fill and rejuvenate me. Last night when I got home from class I laid on my bed and talked quietly with the tree outside my window, and it reassured me once again that it will watch over the house. Tonight I'm going to sit by the little tree in the front yard ... the one we call my mom's tree ... and meditate. I need to know if it wants me to take it, or if it wants to stay there. If I dig it up, I need to know I'm doing it for the right reason, and not just being selfish.

"It is all very beautiful and magickal here - a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breathe it, let the sun bake into you. The skies and the lands are so enormous, and the detail so precise and exquisite that wherever you are, you are isolated into a glowing world between the macro and the micro, where everything is sidewise under you and over you, and the clocks stopped long ago." -Ansel Adams

Monday, May 4, 2009

24 Days ...


... and counting. That's how much time I have left in this wonderful placed called home. I'm not gonna go into what it means to me; I've done that already. What I haven't talked about is how it's gonna affect my kids.

It was almost 3 years ago that my parents died, my Mom first in August, followed by my Dad in December. That loss was very difficult for a lot of people in my family; my parents, in a positive way, touched a lot of lives. Now, I can feel the grief coming again, for my parents. Somehow, by being in this house it feels like we're still with them, closer to them. I know that our memories and feelings will come with us, but, moving away will make it seem less tangible.

Tennessee Williams said "Home is where you hang your childhood." This is that place for me, my children, and many others in my family. This is and always will be home.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Crafting

I was just thinking I should start a crafting blog. I knit, crochet, sew, and collect yarn. I've also made hemp jewelry and done counted cross stitch, and when the mood strikes me, I cook. I have half a quilt done too, the top half to be specific.

But I don't think now is the time, since almost everything I own is packed. Perhaps when I get to my new place.

Still wishing Superman would fly by ...

Stress

Things are moving along ... albeit not fast enough ... but they are moving. The worst part of moving is actually waiting to move. I'm torn. I'm not looking forward to leaving this house, but I'm very anxious for it to be over.

I'm learning, I mean really learning, what stress can do to a body. Holy shit! My neck and shoulders hurt ... really fucking hurt ... to the point of causing headaches almost daily. It hurts just to turn my head! There are times I have trouble breathing. I've been having chest pains. Last night as I lay in bed, the left side of my chest tightened and I wondered if I'd wake up to see today. Part of me just wants to go to sleep and wake up when it's time to move.

I know the summer is going to go by much too fast because of all this and I don't want it to. Even though Monday through Thursday the work days are longer, I love having Fridays off. A day when the rest of the world is working and I can do whatever I need to do.

And then I look at what I've just written ... complaining about moving ... complaining because the summer is too short ... and I think "What the fuck is wrong with you? How dare you complain!" There are people who have real problems. Like where their next meal is coming from, how will they find the money for their prescriptions, where will their kids sleep tonight? Put things in perspective, will you?

There's so much racing through my mind, I can't sort it all out. I feel like there's an avalanche heading my way and there's nothing I can do to stop it. I can pick out a particular stone here and there, work on it and then put it aside. But the whole mess is still there and still coming.

Where the hell is Superman when you need him?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Memories

There's way too much going on. I've had to put my thesis on hold because the house is going on the market. In preparation for this, things are being packed, rooms are being painted and there's just too much commotion for me to concentrate.

Update - I began composing this post on March 18th and never finished it because ... there's just too much going on. Today is March 29th.

My cousin found a buyer for the house. And I'm feeling kind of divided about the whole thing. I'm glad it's almost over because the living situation has become just unbearable. I get home, I go in my house, I lock the door, and I stay there. Part of it is because I know I only have a finite number of days left here, and I'm selfish ... I want them all. And part of it is I just don't want to interact. I really don't. There's nothing left to say.

I walk around this house and I see my life everywhere. There I am in the kitchen with Melinda when she was a baby and sick in the middle of the night. Now I'm in the living room cleaning up the glass from the thimble dome that Donna broke. Here I am watching Michael and John play Nintendo in the living room. And then I'm back in the kitchen matching my Dad shot for shot.

I remember falling asleep in my room with the Christmas window candles and their orange bulbs. That was the only color my Mom ever used in the window ones. I'm about ... I dunno ... 8 maybe, 9? And I'm trying to stay awake so I can hear Santa on the roof. I know it seems silly, but to this day I still do that. I remember the one year I peeked in the bags. My Mom always kept them in the closet next to her room. Christmas morning wasn't the same, and I never did that again.

I remember my dad making me eggnog when I was little, and then me making him eggnog shakes when, because of his cancer, he could no longer eat solid food. I remember Christmas with the Veritys ... especially Alan and his ventriloquist dummy ... for the life of me I can't remember the name he gave it. And the look on my Mother's face when she realized what was on the Woodstock album she got me for Christmas.

I could go on and on, and I'll probably add more as the day to leave this wonderful place draws near. And I know I'll write about the other side of this whole experience too ... I'm just not ready.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Still the beginning ...

I know there are major differences between overcoming alcoholism and overcoming compulsive overeating. But there is at least one advantage that the recovering alcoholic has that the recovering COE does not have. 

An alcoholic can choose to remove all alcohol from her house, can choose not to go into a liquor store, and can choose to stay out of bars. In essence, she can virtually eliminate alcohol from her immediate  surroundings. I know that doesn't remove the desire or the craving, and I am by no means minimizing the struggle. The alcoholic will eventually have to learn to survive in a world where alcohol is present. But stop and think for a minute. The alcoholic has the ability to completely stop drinking alcohol, get it completely out of her system. I, as a compulsive overeater, do not have that choice. If I stop eating, I starve and die.

The struggle I'm having is that first meal, that first bite. Just like the alcoholic's first drink, it can lead to a binge, which leads to me wanting to purge. So, the struggle the COE has is that she must eat, but not overdo; she has to indulge, but only a little. Do you see the dilemma here?

I was chatting last night with another COE at an on-line OA meeting. When I mentioned this to her, she said she thought that an addiction to food was the worst addiction one could have. I would imagine everyone struggling with an addiction, be it alcohol, drugs, or food, thinks theirs is the worst one out there. I guess all we can do is take it day by day ... or, as they say, "one day at a time."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The beginning ...

This is a hard one. First steps usually are.

I've been bulimic for the better part of 20 years. And once I tried to start dealing with it, I always assumed it was the problem, the behavior itself. But it's not. I think it's just a side effect of the real problem ... compulsive overeating.

I don't know when I became a compulsive overeater; there isn't a specific "a-ha" moment in my memory. I do remember being very young and not liking most foods, and my mom making me sit at the table until I ate all my carrots, and hearing stories about how children in China were starving. And then, I have later memories of feeling like I needed to eat as much as I could, but I had to be sneaky about it because I didn't want people to think I was a pig. I don't know why I felt I needed to get more than everyone else. Was I afraid there wasn't going to be enough? I don't know. I think the bulimia became a way to control the consequential weight gain of COE.

Much like alcoholism, compulsive overeating is an addiction. Although the physical withdrawal is not as bad, the headaches and cravings one experiences when withdrawing from sugar can be difficult to deal with. I used to say it's a way of dealing with what life throws at you. But in reality, it's a way of a way of not dealing with things. That's part of what makes this whole thing really scary. In trying to stop the behavior, I'm going to have to start dealing with life, instead of hiding from it.

Part of that is going to be realizing that even though certain events in my life may have started the ball rolling in this direction, ultimately I bear the responsibility for my own actions. I choose to act in a certain way, or not to. It's time to stop blaming things that happened thirty or fourty years ago.

Someone recently told me it's better to act than to react, and then he explained what that means by way of an example. He told me to think of something that annoys or irritates me. For example, because I used to be one, I don't have a lot of patience with bad waiters or waitresses. Then he said to think of how I would react in that situation. Like I said, I had no patience, so I'd become all authoritative, like there would be no pleasing me, no matter what. Consequently, this would only serve to intimidate the waitress or waiter, making them even more nervous. (Was that my goal? Was I that mean spirited?) Now, imagine that instead of reacting the way I did, I could choose to think first. Think about what? Well, I guess that's up to me. I think in this case, it would be to think about how I felt as a new and inexperienced waitress, and think about how I would want to be treated. Puts things in a whole new perspective.

And he told me to try and find my spirituality, my higher power. Whether it's God, Buddha, whatever ... it doesn't matter. Just find it. The purpose is to admit the problem, admit that I'm powerless against it, and turn it over to the higher power. This will be difficult for me. I was raised Catholic; went to Catholic school for eight years. I abandoned that religion a long time ago, and in doing so I tried to deny the existence of God. But he told me that religion is different from spirituality. Academically I know this. Emotionally, inside it's confusing to me. I'm having a difficult time separating the two.

OA (Overeaters Anonymous) recommends reading the AA "Big Book." They recommend following the same twelve step program. I didn't just decide to do this yesterday ... I've been thinking about it for a long time. It used to be about how I looked in terms of my weight, etc. But that's changed. It's more about how I feel. And I don't know how to define that yet. I did get the book and I will start reading. I'm thinking I should probably go to a few OA meetings and try to get a sponsor. That's scary. That's part of admitting to the problem. It's one thing to admit it to myself, or to my friend. It's another to admit it to a room full of strangers. It's like making it real.

Okay ... so the last thing. Why am I doing this so publicly? Well, I have learned a few things in my 53 years here. The first is that no matter how bad your situation is, no matter how much you're suffering, someone else has it worse. For example, I have fibromyalgia. Yes, it's painful; yes I'm forced to make changes that I really don't want to make. But it's not going to kill me. It's life changing, not life threatening. It's all about perspective.

Second, we're never as alone as we think we are. Someone, somewhere is going through the same thing. So if by doing this in a public way I can help someone else, or connect with someone else, then perhaps we can both be helped in the process.

So here I go on my own yellow brick road to recovery. If you'd like to follow along, great. If not, that's great too. Just please, wish me luck.

Friday, February 13, 2009

If you don't wanna know ...

I have a need to vent ...

This habit that we all have of saying hello and then automatically following it with "How are you?" should cease. It's not a greeting. It's a question. Questions usually solicit answers, don't they? (that was a question) "Why yes, they do." (this is an answer)

People know I have fibro. And because I haven't yet seen the rheumatologist, (it takes a month and a half to get a "new patient" appointment) it's pretty easy to tell when I'm having a bad day with it. I move more slowly; I may grimace from time to time; I may close my office door and put my head down for a few minutes at lunch. It's not rocket science. Pretty much all you have to do is look at me to tell. So when you say "How are you?" I'm gonna tell you the truth. Today sucks ... I'm sore ... whatever. I've been told I'm honest to a fault. Should I not be? Should I lie? Say I'm fine when I'm not? Well, I don't. That's not me. And I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way. I've known people with chronic illness or chronic pain conditions who've voiced the same frustrations.

Even deeper than the surface annoyance of this, is the insincerity and downright falsity it illustrates and perpetuates. How many times have we asked someone how they are, and then thought "Oh shit. Now she's gonna tell me." Why do this if we really don't want to know? Do we want someone to think we care, but inside we really don't? That's just wrong.

If you don't wanna know, don't ask.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hiding

As I said in my last post, I was officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia about three weeks ago. I also said that I was trying to look on the bright side and find the silver lining in this situation. Well, it's becoming harder and harder. I understand how people can allow this or any disease to overtake them. Even my studies don't seem to hold much interest for me, which is a completely new twist. My school work has always been the one thing that's kept me going during difficult times. Classes start next week and for the first time ever, I'm really not looking forward to it.

I'm scheduled to see a rheumatologist in early March which should bring some relief to my worried psyche. However, all the research I've done tells me I'm in for a long and unpleasant struggle. I think that fact is beginning to wear on me.

There are a few fears I have. One is that I'll become a different person. I've never been one to say "I can't." I've always tried, and I'm afraid that'll change. I don't want to develop a fear of trying something new.

I can also feel myself withdrawing from people. A lot of the time, I just want to be alone, and I don't know why. Is it pride? Not wanting people to see me in a weakened state of being? Not wanting to admit my new physical limitations? I do know that it has always angered me when people feel sorry for me, pity me. Perhaps by being alone I'm trying to avoid that.

The pain wears on you. I saw that in my Dad for years. He had a horrific accident when he was in his teens (during the 1940's) that left him with completely crushed knees. Medicine being what it was at the time, they used steel pins to basically hold his knees together. By the time he was in his 40's, he was in constant pain from arthritis. Virtually all of the cartilage had worn away in both knees. I asked him once when I was little, "Daddy, do your knees hurt today?" He replied, "Baby, they hurt everyday. It's just a matter of how much." I remember feeling sad about that.

So, I guess this will pass. Worrisome thoughts and feelings of depression usually do. In the meantime ... I don't know. I guess I'll just take it day by day.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's all good ...

I have fibromyalgia. Just confirmed by my doctor last week. So, rather than getting down and depressed about it, I'm trying to think of what's good about having fibro. Here goes ...

  1. I've been trying to lose weight, rather unsuccessfully I might add. Just couldn't seem to find the motivation. Well, I found it! It's called pain. Research suggests that maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in light to moderate exercise can actually lessen the severity of a flare-up. In addition, eating as natural and organic a diet as possible will help to keep toxins out of my body, and that can't hurt.

  2. I've always been the type that when you say I can't do something, it makes me want to do it all the more. Since being diagnosed, people have been telling me to slow down, take it easy, I shouldn't do this or that. Umm ... I think not! This disease is certainly life changing, but by no means is it life-threatening. Yes, I will listen to my body and rest when I need to, but slow down? Miss out on the things I want to do? Absolutely not!

  3. Taking time for myself ... I've never been really good at that. I have a hard time saying no when someone requests that I do something. Well, this is kind of forcing me to do that. Like today ... a guy I used to date is in town for work and asked if I wanted to go to the Museum of Fine Arts. Initially I said yes, but had to reneg because I'm just too sore. I don't think he believed me because when I said "I'm sorry" he said "I guess." Well, I can't control that. I have to listen to my body and today it said "Are you f*ing kidding me?"

  4. Exercise ... I know that it should be a part of my life. And I've always tried to incorporate it. Typically I'd get all motivated, go for broke, hurt something, and quit. Well, having fibro will force me to take it slow. Hopefully I won't hurt myself and it'll become part of my regular routine.

  5. Stress ... We all know it's not good for us; it's especially not good for people with fibro and is thought to actually trigger a flare. I'm not one to utilize cliches, but I think when you have fibro, you have to learn not to sweat the small stuff. Like when I'm sitting in traffic ... I live near a major east coast metropolitan area and the traffic can be intense. I keep some relaxing classical music in the car, a book I can read, and I never go anywhere without a knitting or crochet project to pass the time. I can't control how others will act; I can only control how I'll react.

  6. Knitting and crocheting ... There's a physiotherapist who believes that knitting, crocheting, needlework ... some kind of stitching can actually interrupt the depressive thought cycles people in chronic pain find themselves in. These activities stimulate the imagination and trigger positive thought processes. If you're interested, there's a website for more information.

  7. Finally, if I had to have this disease, I'm glad I have it now and not ten years ago when my best friend was diagnosed. There is so much information available now, so much support for individuals who have the disease, as well as for caretakers and family members.
I'm sure there's more I'm just not thinking of. But it's getting late, and I'm tired.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sixteen Things ...

There's this tag thing going around on Facebook where if you're tagged, you're supposed to write sixteen random facts about yourself. Well, I was tagged, so here are mine.

  1. I know the movie The Wizard of Oz by heart. I've probably seen it at least a thousand times since I was little. It is my all-time favorite movie. And when my kids watch it with me, they watch me instead of the movie.

  2. I know the CD Wicked almost by heart. I saw the musical twice, and would see it again in a heartbeat.

  3. I love "fluffernutter" sandwiches. But there has to be a lot of fluff, like oozing out of the sides of the sandwich. Of course, after I eat one of those, I'm sick to my stomach from all the sugar. Go figure!

  4. I'm very quickly becoming addicted to yarn and knitting and crocheting and swapping and making things. I visited a friend in Juneau, Alaska last summer and found a local yarn shop (lys) that was closing, and she offered me 50% off of whatever yarn I wanted. I bought so much, I had to ship it home to myself. And I love Ravelry, too.

  5. I'd really like to be a stay-at-home wife, except I'm not married.

  6. I want to get a little dog, but I think my cat would eat it.

  7. I love the Vineyard. And I miss my cousin who lives there a lot. We grew up together and spent every school vacation together. She's more like my sister than my cousin and I really miss her.

  8. I wasn't all that impressed with Las Vegas and probably won't go back. On the other hand, I loved southern California and would love to visit again.

  9. I love books. Especially books about knitting and crocheting!

  10. I don't like the cold. I didn't used to mind it, but now I do.

  11. My first blog got lost. I started a blog on MobileMe, the Apple network because I have a Mac computer. But then they decided that one needs to pay for the "privilege" of having access to MobileMe and I don't agree. I think it should be free. So my original blog is out in cyberspace somewhere, which really upsets me.

  12. I love sleeping, but I hate going to bed at night because I know it'll be a struggle to fall and stay asleep.

  13. I miss the mountains and I miss camping in them.

  14. I think public transportation rocks! My Civic is almost a year old and doesn't even have 8,000 miles yet! Woot!

  15. If I was a boy, my parents would have named me Francis Carl. Thank goodness I wasn't a boy.

  16. I really like being me.
So there ya have it. Sixteen things about me you probably didn't want to know. If you're still reading, thank you. You're either related to me or you're a really good friend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Apple


I'm venting here. I had a blog on MobileMe, which is the network associated with Apple computers. On this network you can have a blog, there's a calendar, email, and lots of other stuff. So I decided, okay, why not blog? So I did. 

Well, I guess Apple decided to make, in my opinion, unnecessary "improvements" to their network and now that it's this big shiny new thing, they want to charge people for using it. Something like $99 a year. Again, in my opinion, this is just their way of extracting more money from its customers. I chose not to partake, and now my blog is gone, which really upsets me. Those entries were important to me, and now they're gone. The words and the feelings and emotions they illustrated cannot be reproduced. 

Now don't get me wrong, I love my Mac computers. I have both a desktop and a laptop and I love them both. But I'm really angry at Apple for doing this. Don't they make enough money selling computers and iPods and iPhones? Why do they have to nickel and dime us?

I'm not going to get all political here, but this kind of thing really angers me. Why is it always necessary for big, already-successful corporations to come up with new and different ways to suck money out of people? Don't they have enough? Isn't it enough that I bought two of their computers? Is the money they're going to make on their "MobileMe" network more important than the good will they'll lose because of it? Apparently so. 

It almost makes me sorry I switched.