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Some thoughts on the impending New Year (warning: long, rambling)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Every year, I make all sorts of RESOLUTIONS and by mid-January have bailed on most of them. I think the deal is that instead of planning small changes that will build up to what I want, I basically say, "Tomorrow I'll get up and BE SOMEONE ELSE ENTIRELY!!! :D :D :D " and it hasn't worked yet. By the end of the month - and frequently the day - I'm the same old me.

Another thought - and if I mentioned this before, please forgive me for repeating - is that after three years of having people I thought would live, die and money I thought I had, vanish and houses I thought would be valuable, sell for 1/3 their prior assessment, I have a sort of learned helplessness. When bad things happen, even if I could do something relatively simple about them such as calling a plumber, I just shrug and think, "Oh well, there goes the hot water." I haven't had more than warm water since about June - I believe we need some sort of filter. The water is too cold for the dishwasher, so I boil water on the stove for rinsing after hand washing. It's just like camping! Only....I just put in a new kitchen four years ago....and it had a dishwasher, instant hot water from a teeny little extra faucet, lots of hot water, a faucet that switched from stream to spray with a toggle switch, and a hand-soap pump on the sink. Now they're all kaput and I just roll with it. This doesn't even make sense to *me*, and I'm pretty flexible.

So instead of a bunch of resolutions I know I'll never carry out, I'm just going to make some suggestions to myself that might make life a little easier:

- water problems? Call a plumber.
- weight problems? Think about what you eat and move about a bit. If I don't want to eat something, I probably shouldn't buy it at the store.
- exercise issues? Just do it. Seriously - just put in a tape and do it. Lock the dog in the other room if she feels she must participate.
- no money? Maybe look for a job. (?!)
- house looks like a tornado hit it?? Put a couple things away or work steadily for half an hour here and there, instead of planning these marathon cleaning sessions that exhaust and overwhelm.
- can't get dressed because nothing fits? Buy some clothing. Ditch the old stuff. Realize that you can't bring back the past simply by dressing the part.
- overtired? Take a nap - the world won't come to an end and I won't die
- need to make some kind of decisions? Make lists. Read a book on the subject. Talk to people. Don't just sit and fret.

That sort of thing. The sort of actions that probably come naturally to lots of people. I think they even used to come naturally to me.

The second problem is that, when I do sit down and make a list of all the things I need to accomplish in a day to meet my goals (work on writing, exercise, maybe see a therapist, meditate, plan meals, clean, buy cat food, work outside, walk outside, tile the sunroom, don't forget to relax!, etcetcetcetc) and try to fit it - as recommended by so many organizational people - in my day planner on the little hour lines, I realize that I can get it all done only if I give up sleeping altogether (and that destroys resolve #37, which was to get a minimum of eight hours sleep [but a maximum of nine]). Oops! Forgot to schedule in "give back to the community." Wait! Forgot to schedule cooking and eating. See what I mean? Yeesh. No wonder I just give up and decide to keep up with the Kardashians from the safety of the sofa instead.

So this year, instead of planning all these drastic changes and/or assuming (on some sub-conscious level, I guess) that I have no control over anything anyway, I'm just going to try to do a little bit better. (Somebody gag Yoda before he says that thing about, "There is no 'try', only 'do' or 'not do'") I won't nag at myself because I almost never drink the eight glasses of water per day - I'll just have a small glass now and again when I'm in the kitchen. I won't insist that I have to do yoga *and* cardio *and* strength train every day or else do nothing - I'll give a shot at just getting one done.

Let's think a little about good ol' King Lear:

No, I will weep no more. In such a night
To shut me out? Pour on; I will endure.
In such a night as this? O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all—
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.

if I read (and recall) Shakespeare correctly, he's just spent an entire Act obsessing over the crimes of his daughters, and he is now out of the house in a howling storm. He's still insisting that he can bear anything, that the gods (he'd spoken to them earlier, asking for this and that, and had never received answers) and his ungrateful daughters can hurl at him what they may - he'll endure. It's a weird form of self-pity, and just as he starts to think about it, he bails on the sentence because he knows darn well he doesn't have a frank heart and never gave all; to think about such a thing, to search the Self in that manner, is the way to madness.

But it's the rational Lear that is really mad - the one that thinks that he has everything, can control everything. As he sinks deeper into madness, we see him lighten up a little and begin to think entirely differently: by the time he is entirely without reason, his new reasoning becomes simpler and a lot more full of freedom.

(Okay, I'm stretching a metaphor here and those of you who know Shakespeare are shouting about how there's a lot more to it than that, and I agree. Just go with it, okay?)

My point is simply that it's time to stop thinking of myself as a victim of circumstance on the one hand, and as someone who can control every detail of every day on the other. Like Lear in his madness, maybe I can use a little creativity and freedom actually to build a decent life instead of dwelling incessantly upon the old one and my misconceptions, misfortunes, and failures - both real and imagined - in it. Face facts, be creative about solutions, be flexible about outcomes, be free.

And isn't that what the whole New Year's deal is, after all? The freedom to create a new future, unburdened by the past.

  
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HIPPICHICK1 12/31/2011 1:58PM

    No one can do it all nor can they do it in any given 16 hour period (leaving 8 for sleeping of course).
It's already 2pm and all I have done today is eat two meals and a snack, gone for an hour walk in the deep snow and logged my food and fitness minutes and shared a half dozens funny things on Facebook.
Next I'm going to vacuum the house and then get ready for the party tonight, but honestly, if I had to fit one more thing into the day, it just wouldn't happen...or it would and we'd be later getting to the party. My point is simply that no one can do it all...ever. So that is the first thing that had to change for me - the way I look at accomplishments. Also the way we think about time is a little odd as well. We often plan, plan, plan for the future but forget to live in the present.
Glad to hear that you are ready to "stop thinking of (yourself) as a victim of circumstance." Sometimes we are and sometimes we create the circumstance we are in.
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FLORIDASUN 12/31/2011 9:06AM

    Yep...I'm SO done with 2011...the fight to save our home has really beat the stuffing out of me! I have done more work on that SINGLE project than 5 books I could have published by now. But we are who we are..and I'm not one to lay down and play dead whilst the greedy bankers walk over my dead..or semi dead body.

Sigh...it's SO true...what doesn't kill us does make us stronger. We too will most likely have to face bankruptcy..and you know what...it doesn't phase me.

What I would have thought of one time as a cardinal sin..now looks like a tool that so many others...Donald Trump comes immediately to mind have used endlessly to advance their own position in the world.

Hey...if it worked for them...it can work for the hubs and I too right?

The important thing is do what you can with what you have and LOVE yourself and your spunk in the process.

If our goal in life is to please everyone then we have no life at all...it is merely a compilation of choices made for us by someone else...anoymous

I LOVE that saying and think of it frequently...especially when our close circle of wealthy friends look down their pointy little noses in judgement that we are living in a house that they don't think we should be in.

Judge not...we know many of their dirty little secrets that brought them to the financial pedestal that they perch upon today...and believe me...we are in no way doing anything different then what they have done to advance their own business interests along their moneyed career ....so THERE!

I get SO very annoyed.. with who the kettle is calling black..SO annoyed... and of course I have to say exactly that...a friend doesn't judge a friend...anything can change for anyone...in a micro~second...they don't appreciate hearing that...but it's darn true!

Hang in there dear friend...write your projects in bite sized pieces and do a little something every day..you'll get through it...yes you will and I'll be cheering you on every step of the way! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TIME4CARRI 12/30/2011 7:02PM

    This is a srtuggle for so many of us, "all or nothing". It is such a trap and I, like you find I as I get older that "nothing" usually wins nowdays. Good for you for knowing that both extremes don't serve you and for making decisions about one thing at a time count. Years ago someone made the suggestion to not pick a resolution for the new year but a single word or phrase to live by like "health" or "be happy with my efforts" etc. I did that once and it helped.

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_UMAMI_ 12/29/2011 11:13PM

    Ohhhhhhhhh.....this resonates with me in particular now, because everything broke this year. Except my spirit. I think. Not sure about my sanity.

I need to come back and re-read this when I'm not so tired, but
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Now I need to get back to washing those dishes in my bathtub....

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SLIMMERJESSE 12/29/2011 7:56PM

    Great blog. These topics are so familiar to me that it made me smile to read some of myself in here. Take it slow. You'll do fine with baby steps. Happy New Year.

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SUZYMOBILE 12/29/2011 7:51PM

    One of your great strengths is insightfulness, I think. You see that you've got way too many desirable goals, then you beat yourself up for not accomplishing all of them. Then you forgive yourself, which is always a very good thing. Well, that's all part of life, isn't it? Going from day to day, up and down, observing what you're doing and trying to understand it, and maybe incrementally growing over time. You are not who you were a year ago, nor are you who you will be a year from now. Isn't that amazing?

I fear that I'm not making sense, but rambling is okay, too, of course.

Happy New Year, my dear friend! Here's to better us in the coming year!

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BETHGILLIGAN 12/29/2011 7:22PM

    I think you have hit the nail on the head!! You seem to expect a lot of yourself--take smaller bites for one thing. And, your suggestions to yourself make so much sense. I would bet you used to do that automatically. You have had some traumatic events and maybe you need to learn to be a grown up again. You are one of the strongest women I have ever "met". You have been throught so much but stay so positive (for the most part!) and continue to come back and keep going. I know you can do this--I admire you for what you have already come through.

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EMRANA 12/29/2011 7:06PM

  I love the way you write ~ your blogs are so pleasurable to read! Even when you talk about serious things, you put in things like "gag Yoda" that are funny!

I especially love this ~ "can't get dressed because nothing fits? Buy some clothing. Ditch the old stuff. Realize that you can't bring back the past simply by dressing the part. "

How many of us do that? I realized early this year that my preferences and styles had changed, so it was no wonder I was bored with my closet.

Happy New Year, wise woman!

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CEKER9 12/29/2011 5:07PM

    You got it... I think you got it! Just keep the attitude up and you will win the day... and the year!!!

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 12/29/2011 1:43PM

    I have felt a bit like you now and then. What I realized is I was always trying to control the things I could not. I also established way too many goals so I was dooming my self to failure. I would first focus on what makes you happy. Then select one goal for the new year. I was also hit with losing husband and big loss in the market. So I can sympathize.

Two years ago I was very depressed. So I focused on doing those things which made me happy. I began to write down all the things I had to be thankful for every day. Slowly I began to feel joy again. After the havoc of 2008=09 I made my financial goal to pay of my house ASAP. It was the last debt I had but would kill me if I stayed paying it off for another 20 years. So I made a plan to withdraw from my IRA a portion of the house debt as to not have to pay too high a tax rate from the withdrawals. This January I make my last withdrawal and pay it off. Good thing since I lost my job in August. But at least I am better prepared than what I would have been. Now this is an example of what I have done. It may not be right for you--but I hope my solution will help you find yours.

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Colonoscopy (aka butt cam) results are in

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

and I'm fine, as I had expected.

See, my Dad died of colorectal cancer, so when the doctor told me I should have a colonoscopy at age 40 (sixteen years ago), I did. The experience was pretty unpleasant but I was totally clear so they told me to go home and come back in ten years.

Ten years came and went. I told myself all sorts of things I knew were lies even as I was saying them: "I'll get it done as soon as X" where X is anything that isn't happening immediately. I managed to put it off for another six years before I finally got the "perfect storm" of health insurance, a ride to and from the hospital, and the mindset to prod myself into doing it. I scheduled it, and once you do that, you have to follow through because the paperwork and scheduling is a big deal for all involved.

Revelation: much has changed in the last sixteen years! One no longer has to chug a gallon of vile stuff while sprinting to and from the bathroom - I cleared out my colon with OTC products and the 68 oz beverage of my choice (for me, Lipton Citrus Iced Tea.) The anaesthetic was a breeze (although the last time I was awake enough to watch on the video as they scoped, which was kinda cool.) One minute I was there and the next I was done, and it wore off very quickly.

They'd removed two polyps, one quite large. The doctor said he doubted very much that either was cancerous, but you never really know until you get the labs back, which I did today. I have to get another colonoscopy (known in younger circles as "butt cam") in a year, but I don't even dread it this time. I know it'll be no problem.

So don't let your fears and/or embarrassment get in the way of getting this test done, even if you don't have a family history. It honest-to-God is not a big deal. As a friend of mine once remarked, "You think you're so special, but to the doctor you're just another a$$hole." Truer words were never spoken.

Now do it!

  
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PUDLECRAZY 12/31/2011 12:34AM

    I'm glad you just got it done and that good results came back after checking the polyps. Mine was done 5 years ago and it was very different from when my husband had it done. More like you describe. At any rate, colonoscopy is the easy part, the prep the least fun part of it. At least it isn't like your first one any more.



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SLIMMERKIWI 12/9/2011 1:12AM

    I love your humour on this subject :-) I have watched this procedure being done a few times on others, including my then 9yr old daughter. I found it very interesting. The same with the other end. I'm glad that you bit the bullet and got it re-done because I BET there was a bit of a niggle at the back of your mind all that time. NOW you can relax a little more :-)

Kris xx

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REDWRITINGHOOD 12/8/2011 11:45AM

    I'm good to go for a few years :) Sounds like you had... fun? Okay, maybe just not a terrible time, lol. So glad to see you blogging again!

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CMBELISLE 12/8/2011 11:43AM

    I had my first one done 3 years ago at the age of 43 because my Dad had been diagnosed with Colon cancer. My dad died in 2010 after a LONG battle with prostate and colon cancer that progressed into his bones. I did not hesitate long to have my follow-up scan done this year as per doctor's orders. They found polyps last time which is why it was so soon, but not this time, so I don't have to go back for 5 more years. Yay! Whereas you took OTC meds, I still had to do the whole drinking of the nasty stuff and supplement my food with Gatorade, Powerade, Jell-o and hard candy.

Congrats on your results!

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EMRANA 12/7/2011 4:54PM

  Good to hear that it's a lot easier now ~ and even better that your test was normal! WOOT!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/7/2011 4:25PM

    LOL. I love ya, GF. It is a lot easier now and I'm glad you got it done.

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 12/7/2011 12:36PM

    Wonderful that your test is good. I have mine done every 5 years per doctor.

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HIPPICHICK1 12/7/2011 11:39AM

    Yay for clear test results!!
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I'm turning 51 soon and will probably be scheduled for one when I have my next physical. Thanks for the update on how they "do it."


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TRULYVISIBLE 12/7/2011 11:08AM

  Thanks for the reminder that I am due again. Glad to hear they improved the preparation which is the worst part of the procedure. Glad it all came out well for you in the END.

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BETHGILLIGAN 12/7/2011 7:28AM

    YAY! for the good results! I just hated the prep but, in retrospect it wasn't THAT awful. I was clear, too!

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REBECCAMA 12/7/2011 7:19AM

  Glad you are okay.

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_UMAMI_ 12/7/2011 7:01AM

    Darn, I thought there'd be photos.

I'm glad you are ok, and thank you for the sage advice. Haven't done it yet (I'm 46), but it's on the horizon for my DH (50).
Nice to know that it needn't be DREADED.

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AWESOMECAROL55 12/7/2011 6:46AM

    OMG..I need your doctor!! I had a colonoscopy a week ago Monday & I had to drink a gallon of crappy tasting nuclear laxative. My stomach was sick for days! The results were good (normal). Glad yours came out good too..prevention is important!

Carol

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SUZYMOBILE 12/7/2011 6:36AM

    Been there, done that. I forget when I'm gonna have to go back. But I'm glad that YOU'RE just fine!

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SLIMLILA 12/7/2011 12:57AM

    Ain't that the truth... you're just another a$$hole to a dr... I guess it's the same when you go for a bra-fitting too!!

I was in hospital with what I diagnosed myself as that condition you get from using tampons, (but it's been so long since I needed them, I can't remember what it was) , but they wouldn't believe me, but they did the colonscopy while I was there, so I didn't have enough time to get stressed about it.
I even went and did the "pooH' test this year too after losing a friend last Jan. to colon cancer... Glad it wasn't as bad as you had anticipated, but better yet, that they did what needed doing and you're fine....

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JUST_BREATHE08 12/7/2011 12:28AM

    emoticonNews. All's well that ENDS well. emoticon

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What's on my mind this morning

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mostly when I wake up, I go through the usual list of things - what day is it, what time is it, what's the weather like, what do I need to accomplish today, etc. Today, though, was different . It began yesterday when I was at the library during children's hour and listened in on their songs. So today I awoke with a couple questions - feel free to postulate answers.

- emoticonin the first scenario, a predetermined number of monkeys are jumping on a bed. Then, they are all seen to be lying down. The smallest of the monkeys insists that the group roll over and apparently this results in a larger monkey being pushed off the surface of the bed onto the floor. This act is repeated until all the monkeys have fallen to the bedroom floor. But wouldn't you think the monkeys would get back up on the bed?

I'm willing to believe that monkeys are jumping on beds. But when, and why, do they all lie down? Wouldn't monkeys sleep in a sort of pile, rather than lined up like forks in a drawer? And why would the junior member of the tribe be able to order the other monkeys to turn over, especially when it causes a presumably older and more powerful member of the group to be expelled from the bed? You'd think, too, after a couple rounds of monkeys falling off the mattress, that they'd stop obeying the wishes of the youngest monkey.

- Next question: Bunny FooFoo. emoticon He is seen hopping through the forest, harassing the local population of teeny rodents by "...scooping up the field mice and bopping on their heads." Why would a rabbit do this? One would think at first that the idea would be to render them unconscious so that they could be consumed, but rabbits are herbivores, so it must be out of sheer maliciousness. And why are the mice in the forest? Shouldn't they be, by definition, in a field? *FooFoo*??

And what about the fairy emoticon that comes to remonstrate with the bunny? In some versions of the song, s/he is concise in criticism, and the song ends, but in others, the fairy gives the rabbit three chances (apparently everything in fairyland comes in threes) to overcome his habitual abuse of the mice or else FooFoo will be turned to a goon. He fails, and is transmogrified, and the song ends with, "Hare today, goon tomorrow." My feeling is that FooFoo was intentionally set up, so the fairy can be clever with the spoken ending.

- One of the few songs geared towards small children that I actually enjoyed was from an episode of Veggie Tales, when one of the vegetables emoticon - can't recall which one right now - is looking for his hairbrush. Why a vegetable needs a hairbrush is never adequately explained, but I'm willing to overlook this. The vegetable goes on to sing: "Oh where is my hairbrush? Oh where is my hairbrush? Oh where, oh where, oh where oh where oh where (there may be more "oh where"s in there) is my hairbrush?" This song was taken up by my family and used ad nauseum, substituting whatever article was misplaced at the time: car keys, wallet, back pack, etc. Any two-syllable object was fair game.

I've done my best with the illustrations, but they don't give you a lot to work with here at SP.

We now return you to our regular programming.

  
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REDWRITINGHOOD 11/17/2011 2:58PM

    Here's the low-down:

The monkey song was an error in translation and it is actually the biggest monkey that rolled the others out of the bed.

Bunny FooFoo is the local officer and it is his duty to make sure that pesky field mice stick to their own turf (as ordered by the Forest Guild). The fairy is godmother to the field mice and therefore against the bopping lesson FooFoo is giving them.

Larry the cucumber is the one looking for his hairbrush (we own almost ALL the Veggie Tale movies/episodes), and he is just silly but we love him anyway. So he is forgiven. What is truly bizarre is his love for Barbara Manatee. That's Jerry Springer worthy.

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HIPPICHICK1 11/17/2011 2:21PM

    I do not know the story about the monkeys or the vegetables, and I'm only a little familiar with the rabbit FooFoo.
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OMG! I've missed my childhood!!

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_UMAMI_ 11/16/2011 7:28PM

    All of them were invented to keep small children in line, were they not? Aren't the Brothers Grimm actually GRIM? I think children do have a bit of a dark side, or flirt with it. My eldest (now 12) LOVES dystopian-type literature and some creepy stuff, but he's always been *such* a good-natured, sunny guy.
Wakes up at the crack of dawn with a smile on his face, since birth. (Child #2 is my Dark Seed. j/k. Maybe.)

That said, we did our fair share of Veggie Tales, and even thought they were kinda Xtian, I enjoyed them.

Oh, gosh, now you've gotten me missing all their wee-ness. emoticon

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FRACTALMYTH 11/16/2011 2:40PM

    Phew I am glad I am not the only person in the world who goes around singing "Oh where is my hairbrush?" !!!!

"Why do you need a hairbrush? You don't have any ha-ir???"

"Take careeeee of my hairbrush...."

ROFL :D

As for the monkeys... I cosleep with my boys... they line up in rows because otherwise their mummy monkey won't tuck them in and kiss them good night... but once the lights are out (and the exhausted bigger one falls immediately asleep), the little one becomes the boss and generally finds reasons to order the biggest (mummy) monkey to roll over out of bed a number of times... :P

"Oh mummy where is my snuggle toy?"
"Oh mummy where is my drink bottle"

"Oh where oh where oh where oh where oh WHERE's my sleepy Munchkin???"

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BETHGILLIGAN 11/16/2011 10:25AM

    Love this blog!! As a special ed preschool teacher, I chose to not sing some of these songs (Bunny FooFoo was totally banned!) I also refused to sing many Thanksgiving turkey songs. How can we love little Tom and then eat him? Fairy tales, I think, were used as cautionary tales back in the time but they were pretend. We now have real dangers very similar to these fantasy tales so making light of them bothers me. I must add, some of the other teachers thought I was a bit loony but the violence and scariness bothered me. I couldn't imagine what it must do to the minds of little ones just learning to process language and their environment. There are certain books and videos we refuse to expose my granddaughter to and when there has been a "slip" she will refuse the book forever or ask that the video be fast forwarded through what is scaring her (not always "scary") and may refuse to watch it again. I agree with Morticia--we have too much of this stuff in real life. I've never seen Titanic for the same reason and totally prefer happy movies and TV shows. Maybe that is shallow but the real world news is depressing and scary enough for me.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/16/2011 10:11AM

    Isn't this kind of a metaphor for fairly tales, sparkpeople, and life in general? It shouldn't be.

I was a sensitive child and grew up in a home where my parents had severe marital problems. I'm not sure if that is why I often had nightmares associated with childrens books and movies but I did. A lot of these stories mirror life but should they? If I were writing childrens books and movies I don't know that I would make them about witches luring in innocent children and dogs to devour them, wolves trying to eat grandmothers and little girls, wolves blowing houses down, little girls breaking into houses and stealing the bears cereal, hunters killing mother deer and leaving their fawns orphans, etc. The problem is children and adults need to feel safe and we aren't. We don't need to fill them with images of being pushed off the bed and bonked on the head like this is fun or funny. I only watch movies now with happy endings. I know how the Titanic turned out so I have no desire to see it. Real life is tough enough without having a depressing fantasty world. We need to accentuate the positive - in real life and in fairy tales.

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 11/16/2011 9:57AM

    That may be why they called Fairy Tales--they do not always make sense.

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SUZYMOBILE 11/16/2011 9:15AM

    Thank God there's someone out there to question the validity of nursery rhymes. Foo Foo always drove me bats.

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WEIGHT, STRENGTH AND DEALING WITH CHANGE

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A couple days ago, I ordered two cord of wood to be delivered to tide me over til I get mine chunked up and split, and the delivery guy dumped it in the middle of the driveway instead of the carefully cleared spot next to the furnace. I was on my way into the house to call them to come back and move it to where it belongs - about 10-15 feet away - when I thought, “Wait a minute! When did *this* happen?”
What happened to this woman:


and when was she replaced by this woman:


and even though it says in my Gallery that this is at my heaviest, I think I put on about another fifteen or twenty after that.

I can list the tragedies, but unless you are living through it, it just reads like Life. Rotten Life, perhaps, but Life nonetheless.

The first photo is maybe 5 years ago, when I was working daily as a landscaper. I would - not happily, but I would - without hesitation shovel stone or wheelbarrow dirt for eight hours a day. I was about 150 and muscled up. And now I’m *telephoning* someone to move a pile of split wood ten feet??!? WTF???

What happened to ME?

I gained the weight almost imperceptibly - maybe a pound a month. The problem is that I did that every month for five years. I justified it by being too busy taking care of others to care for myself. “Being good to myself” took the form of another two fingers of Laphroaig scotch, or another slice of meatloaf with gravy, and resting whenever possible. A lot of the inactivity was unavoidable - sitting in medical/legal offices or spending precious hours with the bedridden loved ones - but there had to be moments I could have used to at least maintain my fitness; I just didn’t take advantage of them.

I realized that I had not only gained weight and lost muscle tone, I’d lost the idea that I had any control over what was happening in my life. People I wanted to live, died. Houses I wanted to keep, I was forced to sell at a loss. Children I wanted around forever went on to live their own lives (which is certainly what they *should* do.) I think I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “Damn, not good” but somehow thought it was beyond my control, just like everything else. So I’d “try”, but I didn’t really get anywhere because I didn’t expect to.

Just this past week, I’ve been taking a hard look at that attitude. I’ve been making myself write, walk the dog, eat three reasonable meals, do One Minute Yoga, pay bills, take animals to the vet, and count steps with my armband. In other words, I’ve been responsible - to others and to myself. I think I’ve finally figured out what “Being kind to oneself” means - not causing your own imminent destruction by overindulging in every poor habit available and using stress as an excuse, but by supporting your body with love.

I may still call to complain, but I threw the wood over to the spot by myself, one piece at a time. I think I’m on my way back - to me.

  
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SUZYMOBILE 11/14/2011 9:16PM

    Damn, that's good!


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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/11/2011 11:02PM

    It sounds like you are on your way to where you want to be.

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JSPEED4 11/10/2011 10:19AM

    Me, too!!!!! Thanks. Even though I don't do hours of work, I have figured out that doing even part of an hour of work, 2-3 times a day, gives me a much-more, decent life. emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 11/10/2011 9:00AM

    That just about the best news I have read all week long!!
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JLPEASE 11/9/2011 8:33PM

    What a great blog and aha moment! It really resonated with me.
Good job movin' that wood!
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PUDLECRAZY 11/9/2011 5:50PM

    Oh, sweet friend, your story sounds so much like mine!

I am glad you are on your way back!

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JUST_ALICIA 11/9/2011 3:52PM

  Yup, you had the WTF moment and it is a real eye-opener. Good for you moving that wood yourself. Taking care of you is hard to do and may seem to take a lot of time at first but eventually it will not take as much time and you will be feeling great!
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BETHGILLIGAN 11/9/2011 3:34PM

    OMG!!! I love this blog! It brought tears to my eyes. I think all of us can relate in some way to what you're saying. Thank you for sharing!!!!

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REDWRITINGHOOD 11/9/2011 2:32PM

    Yay! I'm getting there. I need to get back into writing and few other things. I will do my best to support you on your journey :)

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Response to PUDLCRAZY's challenge about outdoors

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Here's the link to PUDLCRAZY's original post:
http://www.sparkpeople.com/
mypage_public_journal_individua
l.asp?blog_id=4575801

I absolutely agree with your sentiments here. When I was a child, we were put outdoors after breakfast and basically not let back in until supper time - you were fed a PB on white bread sandwich at whoever's house you were near at lunch time. If you were thirsty, well, most houses had hoses. And this was year-round, in suburban Philadelphia. If it were raining, we were told we wouldn't melt. The only time we weren't outdoors was when it was sleeting, and even then we were probably out briefly.

If we were "stuck" indoors, we had to entertain ourselves somehow - board games (which I was at least twelve before I realized weren't "bored" games - things you did when you were bored and that were boring) or standing on your head (one broken arm, here, from that particular game.) People had television sets, but other than Saturday early morning, they weren't considered things for kids to use.

My daughters asked me what we *did* outdoors, and honestly I can't remember. I know we didn't play games per se, like baseball. I remember we did a huge amount of hunting for turtles and frogs and salamanders (then put them back, because none of us had aquaria or anything). Mostly, I think we just were outside, in woods or fields, seeing what we could see. And we were allowed to go as far afield as we wanted, as long as we got home in time for supper.

Now, of course, it's not safe to allow children to live the way we did as kids. If a parent didn't see a child from early morning until supper time, in all likelihood the police would be called, and lunch has to be arranged as a "playdate" hours or days in advance. No one would think of feeding another parent's child without asking.

When my daughters were 8 and 10, my husband and I decided that the area in which we lived didn't have enough play space for kids - as you say, it was always an organized adult-led trip to someplace to explore. The neighborhood was also doing a gradual decline in terms of safety. That was when we picked up and moved out to the country in central NY, where they could take a dog and a friend (or just a sister) and go explore to their hearts' content. We could do this because of the business we owned (a small, independent trucking company - we could live anywhere within reasonable proximity of major highways) and probably isn't feasible for most folks.

One idea that might fit more families is this: we took the children camping every opportunity we had - that was how we spent not only our longer vacations but also any weekend we could manage. As a result, they haven't seen anywhere near as many museums as I wish they had, but they did get to see a lot of outdoors "up close and personal." You can visit museums anytime, but childhood outdoors comes only once. Stay in a tent or trailer instead of a motel.

We also made sure that everyone had a decent bicycle and arranged ways to transport all four bikes to biking places so we all got exercise and outdoor fun. The Rails to Trails program offers excellent opportunities, but here again, it's adult organized and led.

I was a Girl Scout leader, so we did as many camping trips as I could manage to arrange, and any nature-themed activity I could come up with - and there are plenty, if you use your head and your local library for suggestions. There are books full of outdoor or nature-themed activities for kids.

If you're the type that can put up with it (and I was) one way to keep kids tuned in to nature is to have a variety of pets - feathers, fur, scales, fins, shells, you name it, we had it at one time or another (except tarantulas *shudder*.)

I loved TRULYVISIBLE's idea of scavenger hunts outdoors on her property.

One artist I know had a big house in Philadelphia and also had five boys. She turned her center hall, with its eighteen foot ceilings, into a small basketball court. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't quiet, but to my mind she had her priorities straight. Her boys grew up getting exercise and having fun.

On birthdays, don't give a video game - give a badminton set, and be willing to play, too (and likely be humiliated.) Look in the National Geographic catalog for gift ideas that focus on outdoor learning and play. Also - and I hate to say this - we have to be "good examples" and walk outdoors instead of on our treadmills, be willing to play frisbee and fly kites and all that good stuff instead of sitting here Sparking.

Now that we can't just pitch the kids outside the way our parents did, I think we need to be willing to devote a little more of our time and energy into coming up with ways for them to play outdoors. I'm sure it would have been much easier for you, PUDLCRAZY, to show slides (or whatever one does now) of igneous boulders than to take all those kids out to experience them, but you went the extra mile and got them outside. It's not automatic for kids to want to go outdoors anymore - not with the siren call of the computer and tv - so I think parents and teachers have got to take the initiative to take them out and show them how much fun and freedom there is to be had outdoors.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 11/11/2011 11:00PM

    Same in rural southern Illinoisan. We didn't want to ever go inside because if your parents saw you they put you to work.

I can recall some of the things we did outside and it's probably not a good thing to tell about some of them. ahem. We loved to swing, play in the sand box, ride our bikes, play with the hose, in our kiddie pool, with dogs and cats, play tag, hopscotch, jump rope, army men in the dirt and sand, play shadow tag, catch lightening bugs, kick the can, flashlight tag, basketball, baseball, made clover necklaces, picked dandelions, dug in the dirt, played with trucks and cars in the dirt, played with turtles, frogs, and lizards. Cicada lassoing . Ant lion fishing. Hide and seek. Croquet. Badminton. Flew kites. Yo-yos. Skated.

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WORKINGSTIFF 11/10/2011 10:42PM

    I like this blog too. (just came over from pudlcrazy's blog).

I was just talking with some women my age earlier today about running around free until the street lights came on...then it was time to get home.

The world has changed in good ways and bad.

I think the movement is afoot to get kids out into nature more.





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PENNYAN45 11/9/2011 7:41PM

    Like you, I was sent out in the morning, and came back for dinner at night.
We had a woods nearby, and I loved climbing trees, picking wildflowers, and just plain exploring.
We used to play hide and seek and tag. We ran around, and we had lots of fun.
I remember visiting relatives who were farmers, and exploring their barns and climbing haystacks.
We played outside in the warm weather and in the snow.
I loved the board games. I even enjoyed the family project of washing and drying dishes -- and singing songs while we did it.

Years later, I was happy to provide a semi-rural environment for my own sons while they were growing up. They have both chosen to live in cities now. We'll see what happens when their children get a little older.

Thanks for this blog. Those were different days.


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PUDLECRAZY 11/9/2011 2:49PM

    Wonderful! Thank you for posting more ideas for healthy activities and healthy gifting for children (adults can have fun this way, too.)

We all watched Walter Cronkite on the evening news each weeknight, and the kids watched Million Dollar Movie on one weekend day if it was an indoor kind of day. That was it for TV.

I am posting a link to your blog on my blog.

Here is a link to mine emoticon

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4575801

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REDWRITINGHOOD 11/9/2011 1:30PM

    I grew up on an 80 acre farm in MI, and I was outside all the time. I played in the barn, the grainery, the stone house (probably the original house from ages ago), the hay field, the blackberry patch, the creek, and the burnt house (yes, I used to play barefooted inside the shell of a burned out house on our farm). I don't think my parents were negligent in any way and I had loads of fun and discovered all kinds of treasures, but that was one of my "playgrounds" lol. I'd NEVER let my kids play in a burnt house nowadays. My dad told me that his cousins and he used to take turns climbing small trees and the kids at the bottom of the tree would chop it down and the kids at the top of the tree would "ride" it down. I used to climb our apple trees, but I never did that, lol. Our farm had more fields than trees, so that's probably why. We also had an outhouse. Yep, we used it when we were outside playing. It also doubled as a rocket ship and a time machine.

I have to force my kids (well, the teens, anyway) to go outside with me and hunt fossils, ride bikes or whatever.

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TRULYVISIBLE 11/9/2011 1:20PM

  I really like this blog. I like how you describe it as bored games. That's what I thought of them. I was definitely an outside kid. In my old neighborhood, I lived in a condo that were 4 close together in one row and 4 facing you across the way. We got our mail in one area, not delivered to our doors. That would be the only place you would see and chat with neighbors. I lived there 3 years before I found out a neighbor I always talked to had a 9 year old child. He went from the condo to the car in the garage attached to the house to whatever activities he did, if he did any outside the school. I thought how the world has changed.

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