Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rambling Thoughts from Insomnia

Sleep has become pretty elusive lately- again.  To the point that I went to bed last Saturday, slept two hours, was up three hours, slept two hours, was up three hours- etc until Sunday afternoon.  Sunday night I slept 3 whole hours, tonight 2.  Every time I think "Okay, I can sleep now" I go up to bed and am right awake again.  I just can't click my brain off.  My rheumy offered to up my Neurontin again to see if I can get some rest, but I just don't want to take even one more pill.   The mere thought (and the exhaustion) makes me want to cry.  When will we find the med that not only stops the progression of the disease (I am not even asking for a cure) and let me stop having to take a bunch of pills at night to let me try to sleep.

On top of the lack of sleep, I have to drive to Indianapolis in a few hours.  From leaving my house to finding the hotel, being directionally challenged even with my GPS it's about 2 -2.5 hours up the road. My hip has been a major factor in my lack of sleep so unless I can get it to "pop" before I climb in the car- I will need to take and use my cane.  I hate dragging that thing around especially when I know that once my hip cooperates, I won't need it any longer.

 Once I get there, today will be prepping for a presentation and then some social stuff, tomorrow or Wednesday I will have to present- which is a big fear of mine.  This will be presentation #3 for me to my region of about 25- 30 people total and I have to facilitate a conversation.  Fortunately my partner on my presentation is someone I trust and admire so that will help (A LOT) with getting through this without the nerves showing too badly.  I volunteered for this-yes, volunteered- because I really feel that I need to get past the whole "speaking in public" thing.  My dad wants me to do about a 15 minute talk at church (he even offered to double team it with me if I would do it) about my book and the concept of Chronic Living.  The problem is that despite being comfortable with most of these folks, I just quake and speak REALLY FAST.  Last time I acted as a liturgist my Mom spent half the time I was speaking  motioning me to slow down- which makes me giggle.  NOT good when I am standing up in the pulpit.  The last time I had to address a committee at work, I had to constantly remind myself to breathe before I spoke.  I spoke with a professor the other day to tell him that, early in the spring, I saw his class outside enjoying the weather and he was so dynamic while he was speaking that I wanted to go join the class and it's not even a subject with which I am overly familiar.    Even thinking about speaking to these people that I know right now I am getting butterflies in my stomach; I just have to admire anyone who can speak in front of an audience with such a commanding presence that people really enjoy and even look forward to listening to them.

While I am thinking about the talk my Dad wants me to give, beside the fact that the more re-read it (which I have resolved to stop doing) the more I find that I might change.  On the flip side, in the second book I am working on for this series; I am stuck.  I bring up my word file and just stare at it.  I have changed the format, I have changed the direction, and I am still not satisfied with the way it has come together so far.  I think it's time to scrap the whole thing and start over in long-hand.  What has worked before is to carry around a notebook and jot things down as they pop through my head and then write out what I am trying to share.  I don't understand why, when I am SUCH a tech geek, that it takes this totally non-technical approach when I get stuck on a particular project.  Perhaps it's an age thing.  I don't know but it's not something that particularly bothers me so I don't feel a need to change it, it just perplexes me.  Oh well- that just means I need to pack a notebook in my bag and a little one in my purse.

So today  I am off to a meeting that goes through Thursday evening, Friday I will be able to relax and get ready to hop back in the car and head west to Mom and Dad's with the puppy dogs for the long weekend.  I am dashing over to the Apple store before I head over so I can pick up the Ipad (see- geek!) and then pick up my "kids" and get to see the parentals.  It's my favorite way to spend a long weekend.

I hope you all have a lovely week and a glorious Fourth of July.  I may pop back in from my iphone if I can figure it out but no guarantees so have a good time and be safe!  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finding Peace

“Women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves.”
—  Anne Morrow Lindbergh

     It's very difficult for me to stop and truly relax.  Relaxation is one of the components (for me) of finding peace. I have tried meditation to no avail.  When I stop and try to just close my eyes and quiet my mind, it opens the floodgates and I end up thinking about work, about things I need to get done, about bills that need to be paid or laundry that needs to be done.  It's a struggle for me to shut everything out.

    I read an article today about meditation for children in this online magazine.  I found myself really envying these little girls in that they, at such a young age, really get it.  They have their little "Peace Tent" set up in the living room and when the want quiet time, when they want to meditate, when they want to just get away from the chaos of family life, they have a safe place to go to do so.   What a terrific gift their parents have given them!  These girls know the importance of solitude and are making it a way of life and it will be natural for them as they become adults.

     I also have seen that those that are MOST successful at using meditation (or prayer) to shut out all of the stress of daily life and quiet their soul have a specific place that they use to go to when they want to devote the time to really getting inside themselves.  A prayer room, out in nature, even just a specific chair that is particularly comfortable and away from all of the noise.  They may have different accoutrements that they use to get themselves into that place- candles, a journal, a bible, a blanket- or they may not need anything at all but either way they go to the place and are able to devote the time that they need to shut out the world around them.  Perhaps that's the key?

    I have a chair in my bedroom.  It's a comfy chair that is sort of a rocker but not.  I have hundreds of candles and several books (like Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance) that I enjoy to get me in the mood for quieting my soul.  I think this weekend- when I am not in the midst of the work week and after I have slept off come of this exhaustion, I will give that chair a try.  My husband generally works Saturday morning so I can wait until he is at work and the house is quiet and just go sit in my chair.  Maybe I will read for a while, maybe just sit, maybe put on some relaxing music, but I will carve out some time to give it a try.
It won't hurt- but it will definitely help if it works.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lessons from Cleaning out My Purse

This morning I was sitting at my computer, staring at it rather blankly (coffee had not kicked in yet) and wondering what I would write about today.  My girl dog was under the desk and kept "boofing" at me.  Not a full blown bark but definitely to get my attention.  I fed her, she didn't want it.  I tried to put her outside, she didn't want it.  I put her on my lap and petted her, she tolerated it then went right back.  It was making me a little crazy so I got up and started looking for a fairly mindless task to do  when I spied my purse sitting on the table. 

My purse is practically a Mary Poppins bag.  I carry pretty much anything and everything imaginable in there which tends to make it very heavy- to the point that my Mom is always on my case to get rid of half the "crap" in there because I might hurt my shoulder carrying the darned thing.  When I saw it, I decided it would be a good time to purge what was in there. 

As I began pulling out all of the contents I was surprised at some of the things in the bottom of that endless bag.  Oh, I have the usual; wallet, calendar, lipstick, things to put my hair up and out of my face, all of the essentials.  Then I started pulling out old receipts, nail polish I have been looking for for weeks, half a dozen post-it notes pads- all sorts of extras that really didn't serve a purpose but I have been carrying around because I *might* need them. 

I looked at everything in there as it was spread out over my table and the thought came that my purse is very much like an archeological example of my life.  First- as an admitted clutter-bug, I tend to hold on to things because I may *need* them or because if I get rid of them it might be a waste.  I have boxes in my guest room closet that we haven't opened in years.  I have baskets that I may never use but they are pretty so I hang on to them because I might actually decide to switch out my decor one day.  I have books on my bookshelf that I didn't particularly enjoy but I paid for them and I might want to re-read them.  Might, might, might. 

Second, I started thinking about some of my relationships.  I don't mean my family or my true friends, but my acquaintances.  If you look at my Facebook list- there are 354 people on there.  Everyone is there for a reason.  I am not one of those "add me for xyz game" people.  If you look at my list I can tell you who each and every one of those people are and how that I know them.  When I was emptying my purse, it occurred to me that much like the MAC lipstick that I have been carrying around, I might interacts with the majority of those people twice a year (their birthday and mine) and the rest of the time they are just there.  For example, I would be willing to estimate that a hundred or so of them are former colleagues.  While I genuinely LIKE them as people and wish them well, it is more than likely that I will never see them again and the only thing we really have in common is that we once worked together.  I thought about the fact that I have an author that I admire (if you are a fan of paranormal murder mysteries- message me and I will share his name so you can check out his books) that I interact with probably weekly at a minimum when some of these folks I haven't talked to in a few years.  I have a dozen or so on that list that I have never "met" personally but we used to be in MSN groups together, yet now I couldn't tell you their msn screen name to save my life.  I could tell you  that it's either "a" or "b" but not with any certainty. 

So why do I hold on to people and things the way that I do? Perhaps it has something to do with not wanting to "miss out" on anything.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that I don't want to feel like I wasted the money (or- in the case of the people-time) that I invested in what(who)ever it is.  I just am not sure what drives the need to hang on. 

I took a big step in cleaning out a lot of the extras floating around in there this morning and now I am thinking about doing the same to my "friends" list.  It's funny, as I was typing that last sentence I got a little stab in my heart just thinking about it so maybe I am not quite ready to close the door on those parts of my life just yet.  I think I will carry around my new, lighter load in my purse for a few days and see if it makes a difference.  My mind is telling me that I should just go ahead and remove them because we don't interact but my heart is telling me that it doesn't hurt for them to be there, to keep up with their lives through their statuses, and things like that so I am torn.  Though I am torn- it is something to consider, something to work on in me.  I am okay with that because I can only hope to continue to find ways to improve myself and my life through lessons both big and small. 

>>>>Small edit.  After writing this I went back to my dashboard and made the decision to delete my other two blogs.  They are very neglected, they don't add anything to my life and they make me feel guilty every time I see them on the dashboard when I come here to write.  Another good paring down step. <<<<

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Wonderful Week with a Rough End.

Last week was a vacation week for me.  I get a couple of those a year but the week of Thanksgiving is the only one to be set in stone.  Thanksgiving week has been "mine" for about 7 years now; first because even though I went to work for my current company I was still working at my previous job almost full time and that was the beginning of our busiest season so I would take off and actually work about 80 hours just at one job and then when we moved out here, I took it to spend it with my folks.  Another week of days I would take scattered across a day here, a day there.  The final week, for the last four years, has been when my dear friend from Massachusetts came out to visit me whenever she can.  That was this past week.

This week we only had a few real planned days.  We drove to Bardstown, KY (the Bourbon Capital of the World) on Monday to check out a few little locations that are supposedly haunted.  The Jailer's Inn was really- really neat.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we just relaxed and hung out together.  That's the very best part of having "old friends"- you don't have to DO anything, you can just be together and enjoy one another's company. 

Friday was our biggest plans for the week.  We had reservations to spend half the night at Waverly Hills Sanitorium, reportedly one of the most haunted locations on earth.  The paranormal is an interest we have shared for years so this was super exciting for us.  I also made the reservation to include my Dad as his Father's Day gift and we dragged my other half along as well.  We had a terrific time and it definitely was worth the money, but that was the beginning of the end of my already tenuous sleep cycle. I woke up first thing in the morning and realized I had forgotten to take out the meat for the spaghetti sauce for dinner so I had to go to the grocery as soon as Hubby woke up as he needed to go there as well to cash his paycheck.  I also needed a new phone, so rather than a quick trip to the store it took over 3 hours.  Dashed home from there, got the sauce started, baked a cake and then I had a doctor's appointment so I sent Hubby and my Friend to the Zoo without me.  I got home about the same time my folks got into town so I met them at the house and then Mom, my Friend and I ran to Whole Foods because we are nuts about that store and the closest one to Mom and Dad's is here.  Got BACK home, finished preparing dinner and the 5 of us sat down to a nice meal.  Mom and Dad headed off to their hotel and we had *planned* to nap but alas, that was not to be.  We picked Dad up at about 11 and headed to Waverly for our 11:45pm reservation.  That ended at 4am, we drove Dad back to his hotel (about 20 miles west of us- Waverly is east) and got home around 5am.  I had been up for 26 hours and literally fell into bed for 3 hours and then got up to get ready for Churchill Downs on Saturday. 

I woke up on Saturday to a big old thunderstorm and I was instantly on alert.  My friend has never been to the horse races before, and it's something that I will always associate with going to with my Granny and what better place to introduce her to it than historic Churchill Downs?  Hubby enjoys it (even though he had never come out ahead when betting on the horses before) so we were all  looking forward to going.  The storm cleared out and we only missed the first race.  The final race was at just before 6:30pm and then traffic took quite a while to dissapate so we got home just in time to take the puppies out for their evening walk before dashing out to let Hubby (the day's BIG winner- he picked a Superfecta!) take us to dinner.  We went to our favorite little Teppenyaki joint (Kanzai in Clarksville if you are local) for a lovely dinner and though my friend and I were practically falling asleep in our plates; we caught a second wind by the time we got home so we stayed up and watched the movie "The Killers"- which kept us up till after midnight. 

Yesterday we had to put my friend on her plane back home.  I woke up (I didn't sleep in all week- I just can't seem to do it) to yet another BIG thunderstorm and tornado watches/warnings - two tornados ended up hitting a few counties over.  So I was again on alert; checking flight status and watching the weather both physically and on the news reports to make sure she wouldn't be sitting at the airport with some huge delay and that we wouldn't be in any danger leaving as early as we needed to get her there since we needed to leave by 8:30 am and the warnings were not set to expire until 11am.  I was already physically exhausted from the last few days and this added a layer of mental and emotional exhaustion on top.  We got home from the airport and just as I lay down to rest; Hubby asked me to go shopping for a particular pair of sunglasses he has been wanting with him.  I thought it would be a quick errand but we ended up not getting back until after 4pm.  By that time it was too late to nap because I *intended* to get to bed at a decent hour.  That didn't happen.  I ended up not getting upstairs till 10, hubby came up at 11 and we watched the weather.  I tossed and turned until 11:20, got back out of bed so as to not keep him up and didn't get back until 1am.  2am the dogs were going literally insane because of yet another hellacious thunder and lightening storm so I got them both upstairs and tried to get them settled.  I finally dropped off at about 3 after resetting my alarm for 5 and here we are. 

Today it's back to work for a very LONG 3 week stretch because my assistant is out on medical leave this week and next and then on vacation the first week of July so I will be covering for her in addition to my own schedule.  I try very hard not to wish my life away but this is another one of those weeks that makes the whole "I need a vacation from my vacation" saying feel very true.  I am almost wishing it were almost next Friday but then again, midweek next week I will be out of town for 3 days in the midst of everything so I am not quite sure I am ready for that either.  The only way to successfully approach this is to take it day by day and remember to be very dilligent with my meds and getting to bed on time and not add any more stress than needed. 

Though I am more than a little wiped out, I had a wonderful vacation week.  I hope YOU had a lovely week as well. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

45 Lessons

I am on vacation this week but I got this in my email and wanted to share it:  

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio
"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more"

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and
parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree .

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey
is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up
to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't
save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will
this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or
didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd
grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time.. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come....

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Another Staycation

I have a small bit of work today- I am administering tests this morning starting at 7am amd then I am on vacation for a week.  My dearest friend flies in just after noon and hubby will pick her up at the airport.  By the time that they get her luggage and leave the airport, I will be done with my exams and will join them for lunch at a restaurant half way between the house and the airport.  I cannot wait to see her.  When we are together there is just an "Ahhhhhhhhhh" feeling.  We talk about everything.  We bitch about our jobs, we catch up on our lives and we laugh ourselves silly.  While we are both happy to just hang out at the house we do  have a few things on tap for the week.

First and foremost Friday we are doing a half night at Waverly Hills Sanitorium.  She and I went last year to the 2 hour guided tour and could not wait to go back.  This year, they will leave us essentially on our own ( no guides but in groups on each floor) only coming in to tell us when it is time to switch floors.  It's a big, creepy, sad but beautiful "old lady" and we are taking my hubbs and dad with us. 

 Second  - also on the "paranormal" front, we are going while hubby is work to the Jailer's Inn in Bardstown, KY.  There is also a second location in Bardstown that I have to do a little more research on before we commit.  On the Indiana side of the river- the Culbertson Mansion is minutes away. 

Third- Also while the husband is at work- we will go to the Y and do some swimming and the therapy pool and just relax. 

Fourth- With hubby (poor guy doesn't have much vacation time and we are saving it in case anything happens with his dad) we are going back to the Slugger Museum.  We love the Slugger and they currently have an exhibit of Rockwell's America. 

Fifth- Again without hubbs- we are going to Churchill Downs.  My friend has never seen horse racing and I just love watching it.  What better place to see it for the first time than Churchill Downs? 

Other than that- we don't have much on tap.  I am sure we will come up with other things to see and places to go but the most important thing is to just spend some quality time together.  I am counting down the hours till her plane lands and we can let the visiting commence! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Talking to your children about RA

There was a question on one of the websites as to how to talk to your kids about RA.  I knew my answer would be long so I am throwing it out here.  My disclaimer is that when I was diagnosed at 38, my son was 18 and so he was not quite a "child".

What interested me was the sheer number of people who don't tell their children anything because they don't want to scare them or make them feel bad.  RA is an illness that can span from a "great" day when you are up and moving to being left flat on the bed unable to get out of it.  We pop pills every single day of our lives just to keep going and be able to get on with our life but even so, it doesn't always work.  I am of the generation that grew up in the 1980's the decade of excess.  Visualize with me for a moment.  Imagine having a Mom (in my case) who is constantly popping pills, "can't" do this, "can't" attend that, sometimes is barely able to get off the couch and sleeps a lot of the time.  If we as fellow RA'ers didn't know better and understand the cycle- we would look like addicts.  Can you remember someone whose parent was like that when you were a kid?  I can.  I can remember a parent who was an alcoholic and was mostly non-functional.  You had to feel bad for that kid and I know he was embarrassed.  I feel that if I were to withold information from my child, I would be setting him up for that same embarrassment. 

Children are SO very resilient, and out of the mouths of babes comes all sorts of wisdom.   We have an illness with no cause and no cure. There is nothing for us to be ashamed about. We didn't "do" anything to contract it.  It's no one's fault that we have this monstrous disease so why would we hide this from people who love us?  

When I was diagnosed, I was very straightforward and honest with my son.  While he was sad for me, he also took it upon himself to research online as much info as he could about RA and my medications and what not.  We talked about it and he asked questions that I would never have thought of in the middle of dealing with the diagnosis that I then took to my Rheumatologist.  Yes, he was older, but even younger children will ask questions and perhaps spark a new discussion with your Rheumy. 

Another reason I feel it's necessary to be honest and forthright with our children is the resentment issue.  When they go to their friend's house and see a "normal" mom, doing "normal" mom things and then return home to their Mom who is too tired or in too much pain to get down on the floor and play with them or take them here or there, children will most likely resent it if they don't know why Mom is the way she is. If they are aware, however, that Mom has an illness that never goes away and sometimes she can do all the things they want and sometimes you just can't, it's much easier to understand. 

The final reason I believe in being open with them about the illness is acceptance.  The child who knows that their mom (or dad) is "forever sick" will be much more likely to be more compassionate with others who are disabled.  If they understand that Mom has to use a cane, a walker,a wheel chair or any other assistive device will be far more understanding that little Tommy in their class who is in a wheel chair or Suzy who has Downs Syndrome may need assistance but they are just "people" just like Mom.  They will be more accepting of people who are disabled and more able to see past the challenges to see the person inside. Ironically enough, children are far more able to see that our RA or Fibro, Lupus, whatever we have is not who we are but just that it is just another part of your life like your hair color or eye color.  It's very hard to spiral down into being consumed by our diagnosis when we have someone that loves us unconditionally expecting more from us.  If the children are very young or not even born yet when we are diagnosed they grow up thinking it's "normal".  If they are in the 5-12 age group, they tend to take the information and process it quickly and then get on with their lives.  My nieces and nephews were that age when I was diagnosed.  They were just like "okay" and it didn't change our relationship at all.  I was still "Auntie" I just happened to have an illness.  We can learn a lot from that age group about dealing with our diagnosis.  If the children are teens- then they can be your best support- period.  They can help more with the things we are limited from and they can help us find the information that we need to become an informed patient. 

So there you have it- that's how I feel about talking to your children about RA.   Many will not agree but it worked for me.   

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Doing something that is just for you

Today I am really stepping out of my comfort zone and going to a Belly Dancing class.  I say that so matter of factly but inside I am quaking.  I have a love/hate...no, that's not right maybe an acceptance/hate relationship with my belly and this is for me swing the pendulum back to the acceptance side.

I have almost talked myself out of it multiple times;  "There's too much to do before my friend flies in on Saturday."  "I am going to look so stupid"  "I am going to miss a week (the class is 5 weeks) when I go out of town for a meeting so what's the point?"  I do the same thing about going to my weigh in each week which is why I pre-paid for this class a few weeks ago.

The ironic thing is that when we were in the Phillippines from '78-80, I took a Hawaiian/Tahitian dance class and absolutely LOVED it.  If I think about that class I can still hear one of each of the tunes (Hawaiian and Tahitian) and I can still remember some of the moves.  I have searched long and hard for a class like that and it seems that Belly Dancing is the next closest thing.  However...at that time I didn't have body issues and didn't mind wearing the somewhat skimpy costume when we performed.  I highly doubt that this new class will lead to performing like that dance class of old but just the thought of putting on the traditional costume strikes fear in my heart.

The classes I have started and will start are just for me.  My pretty darned supportive husband just tells me "go ahead, I don't care if you do this if you will enjoy it."  Now- the morning classes really don't affect him too much and if I were doing this at night and upsetting our routine it might be a different story, but as long as I am happy, he is good with it.  When I go, I get an hour of time to concentrate on something that has nothing to do with work, with bills, with my illnesses or any of the other stresses in my life.  I get to do nothing more than learn something I am interested in, become more in tune with my body and have fun in the process.

Everyone needs a break now and then.  We need time to step out of our daily life and into something that has nothing to do with being a wife, a mom, an employee, a person who has a chronic illness or any other "who I am" label and just be yourself.  Time to do something that you enjoy without interruption.  If we can schedule a little "me" time; be it at the spa, at the park, at the gym or a bookstore; whatever catches our fancy, it will be good for our soul and your peace of mind.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Hodge-Podge of Stuff

I am all over the place this morning- that's pretty typical for me in the morning.  **Just a warning**I have a whole bunch of things on my mind and haven't really gotten my head straight yet so this may be a mish-mash of different topics.   

So it's technically not summer but it sure feels like it!  We have been in the 90's for a couple of weeks now.  It's also vacation time at work.  My assistant was off last week, I am off next week (YAY!) and my other full timers are taking off a day a week to blow through some of their vacation time.  Of course that means that we are a little short handed some days but it keeps things interesting when we have to hop around.  Summer means that many of my "shows" that I watch have ended (sniff-sniff) and new ones are on to be interested in.  A couple of things that have me thinking about television:

First there is the show Secret Life of the American Teenager.  I know- ABC Family when mine is grown?  I started watching this because Molly Ringwald is one of the stars- and I have really liked her since she defined my teenage life in the John Hughes movies.  If you are my age, I am willing to bet you have seen the "holy trinity" of Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink at least once.  The thing I don't like about this show is that while the "try" to show the reality of having a child while in high school, and they do PSA's during the show about teenage sex and pregnancy- they show it as far too easy for the main character in my opinion.  That said- this season, the "school slut" ended up pregnant as well.  All the silly drama aside, it was SUPER unrealistic (the step-mother of the boy involved gives him a $55,000 ring to propose to the girl-really?  The parents give these 17 year olds a condo?  Really?) as to how wonderful it is to get "knocked up" by a rich kid.    Last night though- they blew me away.  Last night- the "Bad Girl" and "Rich kid" lost the baby at term.  It was stillborn.  As this "couple" went through this, rather than the usual showing them "playing grown-up" they really became the scared and devastated kids that they should be.  As they cried, I cried right with them.  As their parents held them and cried- I cried with the parents.  As the friends came to the hospital thinking they were going to celebrate and the father of the boy told them what happened, the fear, confusion and tears were very, very well done by these kids.  Francia Raisa who plays the "bad girl" was magnificent in the grieving.  Most of the time she plays this character over the top but in this episode she really did shine.  I often wonder- as I watch this show WHY it facinates me when I am not really a fan of teenagers as a species but it's guilty pleasure- what can I say? 

The second show that has caught my attention is the new Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition.  Trainer Chris Powell works with people who are morbidly obese to really change their lives.  What I love about this show is that it's not a "quick fix" like The Biggest Loser or the original Extreme Makeover.  Rather, this process is a full year long.  The first three months, Chris works with the person every day to teach them how to exercise and eat properly and to create the habits they need to do this.  Then he goes away and lets them continue with the program that he sets for them checking in fairly often.  In the end, when they do the "big reveal"  these people have not only lost the weight but really changed their entire lives and while a lot of the credit goes to Chris and his approach- more goes to the person because they really acheived this themselves.  It's not always rosy, when they struggle, you can see it.  But in the end when they finish- you know that they have really changed their lives forever both inside and out.    I think the thing I love the most is Chris Powell's approach.  He, like Jesse Pavelka (DieTribe on Lifetime) are encouraging, supportive and truly care about the wellbeing of their clients.  While you will see them push people through the limits they have placed on themselves- you will NEVER see them screaming at their clients or berating them.  That's the appeal for me and I wish I had a trainer like them.  

Speaking of training- it's Yoga Tuesday!  That makes me happy.  In fact, since 5 I have been compulsively checking the clock to see if it's time to go.  I haven't made it to the aquatics class yet- but it's still on my radar.  Belly dancing starts tomorrow- I am looking forward to that and dreading it all at once.  Going to Yoga has given me the courage to start this other class- and that's a good thing too.  The only reason that I haven't gone to the other class is that I haven't been able to get into the pool.  :-/  One thing I think I want to do is to try and remember to bring my yoga mat into the house and see if I have the room to do a video on ONDemand.  I have tried before but couldn't make it through.  Now that I have been going to the class for a few weeks- I think I can do it.  I really need to work on my balance.  Pre-RA I could do the tree pose until my Rottie got aggravated and would bump me and knock me over (it was REALLY FUNNY if you visualize it).  Post-RA, one of the things I have lost the most and that there is no assistive device that can really help is my balance.  Rather than positioning my foot above my knee going into this pose, now it is up on my tiptoes but still on the ground.    Other balancing poses I struggle as well but I can touch the wall to right myself but with tree I just can't seem to do it. 

After Yoga this morning- I have to be the "mean puppy mommy" and take Miss Harley for her annual shots and then this afternoon both puppies are heading to the groomers.  Auggie is really good about both but Harley HATES it.  I think the smell of all of the other dogs and cats is too reminicent of being in the shelter for her because though she is really, really good about being there, when she gets out she just shakes until she is back in the car and on her way home.  After that it's off to work until close and then home to get the laundry folded and re-make the bed in the guest room because in just a few days my dearest friend will be here for a week.  I cannot wait to have her here.  Both hubby and I adore her and that she has been here every single year since we left New England means the world to me.  Though getting ready to have her here has been a bit of a frenzy (yes, I am a procrastinator) - once she is here I will be able to just enjoy her company.

On that note- I leave you with a quote this morning:  

"We are so often caught up in our destination that we forget to appreciate the journey, especially the goodness of the people we meet on the way. Appreciation is a wonderful feeling, don't overlook it."

Author Unknown

Have a great day today and if you stop for a moment and just breathe in the scents of summer- think of me because I will be thinking of you! 


Thursday, June 2, 2011


The topic of "home" has been on my mind for a few weeks now.  I am trying to figure out  the concept of home.  When I was a child and we were moving around every couple years or so, "home" was my beloved Granny's house in Southern Indiana.  It was the place we always went back to and the place I felt most grounded. 

As I got a little older, got married, had my son, I still went back there but it wasn't quite the same.  We had made our own home in Massachusetts and no matter how tough it was, it was still "home".   Eventually we all aged (and grew up!) and my mom began to have health issues. 

When Dad retired in 2001 back to their "home" (same city in Southern Indiana) hubby and I realized that one of us girls should be nearer to my folks in case they needed us.  Hubby has 3 sibs, two of whom live at home and could help his parents when their health started to fail but we girls were literally spread out across the US.  As we  had an adult "child" and my sisters both had younger children, we were the best candidates to move nearer my folks.  An interesting thing happened when we moved out here.  When we got settled, it was as if something clicked.  It was a feeling of "ahhhhhh, here I am- this is where I belong." 

We have been back to MA a few times since and it no longer felt like it was home.  In fact, while we were there, especially when we returned for my Mother-in-Law's funeral, neither of us could wait to get back "home".  It just wasn't our place any longer. 

Recently, my Father-In-Law has been having a really tough time medically.  He is fighting inoperable lung cancer and though we know that the sibs are doing a great job, hubby wanted- no, needed- to go back and see him.  I completely understand and encouraged that but it really threw me when hubby said that he "needed to go home."  I am not sure why it threw me.  Maybe because I love the life that we have made here and I assumed that he does too.  Maybe because when we went back the last two times, he's the one who brought up being ready to come back. 

Over Memorial Day weekend, we sent him back to spend time with his dad and our son.  He had a lovely visit with them both which is so important to both of us.  I, on the other hand, spent the weekend with parents.  The puppies and I love going to visit them.  The puppies get to run around in the yard chasing squirrels and bunnies which they much prefer to being on their leads outside.  It's the one place that I can truly relax and not think about work, or any of the other stresses of being a grown up.  I too had a lovely visit but the whole weekend I thought about what "home" really means. 

The only conclusion that I came to was that it's not about where you live, it's not about where you work or where you rest your head.  Home is about the people that you love and who love you.  I think- at least until I get this really figured out- that whenever you are going to the people that you love, it can feel like home.  No matter where my son, my husband, my family and my friends that are family are- there is just a feeling of "rightness" when I am with them.  That is something that until now I took for granted.  I can't quite reconcile that with the peace that I found when we moved here so I will keep working through this until I get it right.  Can there be two different ways to be "home"?  What am I missing as I think through this?  Does anyone know for sure?