Monday, October 29, 2012
I am diligently praying for all of those in the path of Hurricane Sandy. My thoughts and wishes for your safety are abundant in my heart today...
This past weekend was frustrating in many ways but little hiccups in the road only serve to make us stronger. Knowing this seems to make the sting of disappointment a LITTLE easier to take. But, I've realized, as well, you cannot "make" someone eat healthier because you want them to, that the choice for change has to come from within them. I'm not saying I am perfect by no means. It took me a very long to get where I am and some days I struggle mightily. Weight loss has made me more confident and feel healthier but it is also tempting to revert to old habits some days. I find myself thinking, "One piece of fudge will not undo all that I've accomplished..." but I know that it is only the beginning of MANY of those thoughts and I am back to where I started from with blinding speed...
I also have to be wary of losing too much weight. I tend to have a problem with an "all or nothing" attitude and at one point I was down to 109 pounds, looking to lose more. I thought I looked fine, I felt fine, but people were talking, family and friends, expressing concern that I was losing too much weight. So I have to find that balance that will sustain me close to where I am now. I am not happy with the "flabbiness" of my skin. The answer here, I've realized, is time...it tends to bounce back after awhile after weight loss. What does not can usually be treated with firming up in those areas so I am beginning with free weights instead of throwing myself at the BowFlex. I've learned from the past that I have to start slow. And if that doesn't work, if the "flabbiness" persists, then that is just my body. Yet, I'm proud of what I have accomplished to date.
I am still waiting to start work. For all who don't know, who just knew that I started a pharmacy tech position awhile back, I am no longer there due to unfortunate events. I didn't blog about them because I would have came across as a raging ranter and wanted to allow myself to calm down before bringing it up. I left of my own choosing, not because the work was daunting, but working with closed-minded people was painful. I was ridiculed for my lupus rash on several occasions. The environment was highly unprofessional and my mental health was taking a beating. (I found out a few weeks ago, my replacement left in one week in tears.) Now the "establishment" is under investigation. I am hopeful. However, my new job, although the process is taking entirely too long for my liking, pays much more than what I was making and advancement in the company is highly probable. I am excited. It's like those sweet little butterflies in your stomach that tells you something good is about to happen...
This weekend I took a couple of my paintings to that little motorcycle shop I told you about a few weekends ago. The shop owner seemed pleased and allowed me to place them on the wall where I wanted them. :) It's a start. I've learned that Craigslist and online art sites are not for me and are highly questionable, lol. Dealing with real live people is best. I've also gotten a couple of requests from people I used to work with to do their kids. It's picking back up again!
I just have to keep looking forward and find a balancing act of sorts. I'm thinking I am heading to good places now. Allow me to rephrase...I've learned mental encouragement is instrumental in my journey...I KNOW I am heading to good places now. It's amazing when you don't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, when you realize you don't have to do it all because, well, you just CAN'T. You just have to do what you CAN, with the right attitude, and everything else will just fall into place...
By the way, Brian has made a few changes in his eating habits after finding out he is diabetic but there is a lot of room for improvement. He knows the risks. Just continue to pray that he will eventually do it for him because, just short of tying him up and forcing him into a healthy lifestyle, there is nothing more I can do. Prayer. Gentle encouragement. But the desire to change has to come from within. At some point you just have to let go because you are not them and they are not you...
I send you all good thoughts and prayers for a wonderful week ahead. And please be careful out there, all of you on the east coast. I pray God and all of His angels watch over and build a hedge of protection around you and all of your families...
God bless. You are loved.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Today was laid-back. Just wanted to switch it up a little.
1. What song do you love to dance to?
I will pretty much dance to just about anything but if I had to choose, it would be Alejandro by Lady Gaga. It moves my groove.
2. If you could have a drink with someone from history who would it be?
3. If you were assigned a seat on a plane beside your favorite celebrity, what would you do?
Most likely choke on the peanuts and pass out on him.
4. What is the funniest thing you have heard a child say?
A five-year-old at work one day was sitting on the bench where his grandfather had placed him and told him not to move. He waited on his grandfather to get out of sight, looked at me and said, "I got his keys. Let's go to McDonald's."
5. What would you do if you were invisible for a day?
Follow Bre around campus. I refuse to believe that she stays in her room and studies as much as she says she does.
6. What major company would you like to work for?
The people who make Reese's Cups.
7. What is the most beautiful language?
Spanish. Es la lengua más hermosa en el mundo.
8. What was your last "brush" with the law?
1993. Did a "55" in a "40." I actually had to pay the ticket that time. :(
9. What animals make you smile?
Penguins and squirrels.
10. What "redneck" activity do you like to do?
11. When have you embarrassed yourself in public?
When DON'T I embarrass myself????
12. If you could go any place right now where would you go?
13. Do you still watch cartoons and which ones?
No. Used to love Scooby Doo when I was a kid. And Ren and Stimpy. :)
14. What kind of smoothie sounds really good right now?
One I mix...yogurt, banana, strawberries and blueberries, topped with granola.
15. It's 2 a.m. and you get a text message...what's the first thing that comes to your mind?
"Bre's at the Hookah Bar again."
16. What do you do when (you think) no one is looking?
Pluck my nose hairs.
17. What did you get into trouble for most when you were a kid?
Between the ages of 5 and 8 I had a fascination with the grape fields that surrounded our house. I would climb out my window and hide in them, eating the grapes that the winery used to make its white wine. Other than that, I was perfect. Cough, cough...
18. How often do you go the speed limit?
19. Were you considered popular in high school?
With the teachers. Other than that, I was pretty quiet and didn't socialize much, keeping my head in the books.
20. If you have to choose a movie title for your life story, what would that be?
"It Isn't Over Yet...There's Fun To Be Done!"
God bless you all today. You are loved.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
There is a song by the Rolling Stones that says, "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might just find, you get what you need." I'm pretty sure he was meaning it in a different context than what I am about to use here, but the premise is still the same.
I was very excited Thursday about finalizing my plans for Bridge Day in Fayetteville, West Virginia at the New River Gorge. It is a place for BASE jumpers, rappellers, and zipliners to exhibit their abundant love and appreciation for the open air and streak of dare devil that runs through their veins. I have enjoyed the thrill of ziplining yet seriously considered the thought of rappelling this time, maybe even doing a tandem jump. The organization that runs this event was offering ten tandems this year. Knowing my chances of getting one of those would be slim, I still entertained the notion that I might be one of them and spent the night in breathless wishful thinking...
Friday's forecast was not promising. No, they would not cancel the event unless the winds were horrendous but I was more worried about whether Brian would let me go. The temperature was not budging out of the low 50s, the rain was slamming our area and the winds were quick. I knew that riding my Harley down would probably be out of the question. Late Friday evening I received a text from Brian that made my heart drop. "Sorry, honey, I'm not letting you go. Maybe next year." I asked if we could drive. "No. Not this year. I'll make it up to you."
Saturday morning I was stiff-lipped but broken-hearted. Tears stinging my eyes I folded laundry and swept the kitchen. Brian entered the room and told me to get dressed, that he was taking me out for lunch. I gussied up with dress pants, did my hair and put on some make-up. Then he told me I was overdressed. "Slap on your jeans, throw the hair up and put some tennis shoes on. You're not going to meet the Queen."
Thirty miles into Chillicothe we neared Tumbleweeds, one of our favorite spots. He drove past it, a slight smile on his face. We neared Olive Garden where, once again, he whizzed by. Another 20 miles up the road and I noticed that we were entering Lancaster. What? That is where my son, whom I haven't seen in eight months, worked and lived. I looked at him quizzically and he glanced over, smiling broadly. "Don't say anything, Michelle, just go with the flow."
He pulled into the place where my son was employed, told me to stay in the car while he went in to see if he was there. A few minutes later he returned...with my son. I fell out of the seat with tears streaming down my face and into the arms of my boy. He looked so well, so handsome, so happy. This man-child, who has been to hell and back so many times, finally looked content and well-adjusted. A few weeks ago he and I had reconciled, presenting me with a new grandchild whom he named after me. Her middle name was mine. Nicole. We couldn't visit long, ten minutes at best and I asked if I could go see Sabrina and the baby but she was out of town at her mother's. We hurriedly made plans to meet again in a few weeks when we could all be together.
But that was not all. That would have been enough, but the day yielded more surprises. Brian made his way down the winding highway to Hocking Hills. It is well-known for its trails and rustic outdoor activities. That is where I've ziplined before, explored its many caves and beautiful landscapes. We got out of the car and Brian exclaimed, "Race you to the trail..." and took off with blinding speed. I beat the old man to the mouth of the trail and we breathlessly viewed the colorful neon leaves, encountered other hikers and breathed in the crisply scented air. Three hours. Three hours of us, exploration, climbing, fellowship with others. He was severely winded by the time we finished...but in-between gasps he stated, "Now I know why you do this... it's beautiful."
We ran into a little 50's diner, one of those round ones enclosed in aluminum and metal and took our meal there. Then we toured the flea markets, trading posts and craft barns. It was then we saw a little motorcycle shop nestled just off the wooded area and we both ran over top of each other to get there! (He said I kicked him in the shin to put him a few steps behind me but he lies so don't believe him. Seriously. He's bad news.) We were there a half hour when I realized Brian was gone but I found him quickly, cozied up at the counter talking to a woman. They were forehead to forehead, looking at something Brian had in his hand. Eyeing his butt up, I determined where my foot was going to land when I heard him say, "And this is one she did when she came back from Florida." He was showing her pictures of my paintings on his camera. Face turning red I approached them and smiled. The redheaded beauty smiled back broadly.
"Sweetie, I was just telling your husband that I have a proposal for you. Would you be interested in putting your paintings on my wall? I would, of course, take a commission on whatever you sell, but my rates are rock bottom. Just price them a little higher than what you normally sell them for...I want your business."
Yes? Yes, yes, yes!!
Returning to the car and beginning the drive back home Brian asked, "So how was your day?"
"It was wonderful. Thank you. So much."
"Still wish you had went to Bridge Day??"
"What's Bridge Day?"
Smiling he reached over and took my hand.
No, you can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes, you might just find, you get what you need. And sometimes, just sometimes, you'll find it is what your heart wanted in the first place.
Photo of a region nestled in Old Man's Cave, Hocking Hills. For more beautiful amazing pictures of this area, please visit: www.citrusmilo.com/hockinghills/hock
Thursday, October 18, 2012
My husband has always been slim...except for a little muffin around his middle, he has never been overweight. In fact, he's worn the same size jeans since we were married 20+ years ago. He can eat anything he wants, whenever he wants it and how much he wants OF it. I'm not saying that is good for him, as my advice seems to fall on deaf ears anyways, but he's just wired to burn calories as fast as he can put them in. There are times I just want to, well, be childish, pound my pillow with my fist and bellow out a "Whyyyyy??! NOT FAIR!"
Because I, on the other hand, have to steadfastly focus, making sure I don't go over, go under or go crazy. One side of the fridge is his, the other mine. Fruits, fresh veggies, Greek yogurt, stuff that I know is going to keep my mind and body in balance, usually goes into the drawers. Every now and then I will find a pack of bologna in with my grapes but I calmly take it out and put it in his designated area. What I REALLY want to do is stomp on it but I know I will have to clean up the mess afterwards.
When he offers me a bowl of his Moose Tracks I might take a few bites...okay, so what, I might take a bowl EVERY NOW AND THEN, but I've never heard him say, "Mmm. That lettuce is good! Can I have a WHOLE BOWL of it??" Or, "Since beans are so great for me, I will eat them proudly, not caring what my coworkers think!" I'm not beyond sneaking a few things into his diet when I can. I have significantly lightened up my lasagna, even sneaking spinach and other odd things into it, just to get him some nutritional value. Needless to say, other things have flopped. Such as the sugar-free Jello I packed into his lunch. "Why did that smell like tennis shoes when I opened it?"
Bre has even gotten into the act with, "Dad, you need to explore your options, open your mind. Would it help if I molded the tofu into the shape of a steak??" Umm, can't say I really blame him on that one...
Sigh. I've been racking my brain with other stuff to try. New recipes, new presentations, colorful varieties of hearty vegetables, broiled to perfection. I still believe I need to live by example. When he eats ice cream, I sit beside him with yogurt mixed with blueberries, strawberries. When he asks if I want a candy bar in the check-out line, I say, "Nope! I want a banana!" and watch in dismay as he grabs a Snickers. But I have hope. I believe he will see my way some day.
It will just take some time. He had a doctor's visit today to measure his cholesterol levels. His blood pressure was absolutely normal. Everything else, normal. I am thankful but I do wonder how long it will stay that way. He did have a heart attack six years ago, almost dying on the operating table. Twice. For awhile he ate like a pro, even lecturing ME on what I was putting in my mouth. But the old habits have returned, he IS getting older and it is always in the back of my mind. I also know that I cannot force my habits, or my desires for him to eat healthy on him, that it has to be a personal choice. But it just erks me to no end, seriously.
Perseverance is perhaps the key on my end. Armed with healthy cookbooks and a positive attitude, I forge ahead. There's bound to be SOMETHING I can do to help him, even if I have to sneakily do it. (I can be a ninja when it comes to that. Like black ops. S.W.A.T. Cat-like. Meow.) It's gonna happen, I tell ya. Or I'm just gonna sit on him and say, "Say 'Uncle,' Brian, you loooose. Now eat this green pepper! Open. Ooooopen..." It'll be kinda like giving a cat a pill and we all know that ain't pretty.
So much for not forcing him, huh?
If all else fails, I'll try hypnotism. It can't hurt.
Have a great evening, Sparklers. God bless. You are loved.
Monday, October 15, 2012
I stopped talking to my mother-in-law six years ago, for reasons I won't disclose here. It was both sides, a refusal to admit our own parts in the problem that ultimately led to a breakdown in our relationship.
That being said, I learned the other day that she was in the hospital. At 78 years of age, it is almost never a good thing and to say that my heart didn't feel pangs of sorrow would be a lie. Suddenly the reason for not speaking with this woman didn't seem nearly as important as trying to made amends. When I heard that she was home, I hurriedly got myself together, grabbed Bre and made the drive to her house, not really thinking about the reception I would receive. But once there, I was slightly hesitant about going in. What if she told me to leave, that my part in her life was over, HAD been over for quite some time? I would be devastated. But I had to TRY.
Bre ran ahead of me and I followed, watching her enter the living room and go around the corner into the kitchen. I heard laughter as they embraced and said their hellos. I cautiously walked in and saw their loving encounter, tears coming to my eyes. Helen looked fragile, smaller, older. She glanced over Bre's shoulder and confusion touched her face as she saw me. I don't think she knew who I was. Letting loose of my daughter, she came around and stepped towards me as her eyes grew big. I held out my arms...
She fell into them. I grabbed her as tightly as I could and buried my face into her shoulder, gently patting her back as I took in her sweet warm scent. Then I felt her pull away, holding me at arm's length, as she exclaimed, "My goodness, where is the rest of you??!"
I was 80 pounds heavier the last time she saw me.
The next two hours were spent getting reacquainted with this woman, hugging, sharing, apologizing. We almost couldn't get our words out fast enough. We shared recipes, shared photos, held hands as she took me on a tour of her house, showing me her collection of glass birds and figurines that she dearly loved to collect.
Why didn't I do this sooner? Why did I wait so long to try to bury the hatchet? I came to realize that she was hurting just as much as I was at the severance of our relationship and didn't know how to take the first step towards making amends. She was blatantly honest about what it did to her soul because I was always seen as the "the daughter she never had."
I didn't realize how this was affecting me, not speaking with her. Because now I feel lighter. I feel like something is completed within me. I no longer have to stay home during Thanksgiving or Christmas while the rest of my family makes their rounds to her house. In fact, I'm going over and helping to prepare the mega-dinner she is planning for the whole entire family next month during the holidays.
It just feels good, ya know??
I've also just learned that I am a grandmother again. For years my youngest son has made very poor decisions in his life and wished to separate from the family dynamic while he went off to "find himself." I did not agree with the way he was doing that, yet did my best to let him know that I loved him through it all, that I would be here when he decided to come back to us. Then I received this picture on my phone last week...
The note that came with it said, "Mom. This is Klaire Nicole. We named her Nicole after your middle name. I married Sabrina like you said and am working. I am a supervisor now. I'm sorry. For everything. I miss you. Will you forgive me?"
Somehow I don't think that is going to be a problem, do you??
God bless you all today. If you CAN....forgive. It may not be a simple thing to do but it sure has made THIS girl feel alot better.
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