Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

Gosh, I cannot believe that it has been so long since I have written.  Lord knows I have probably had plenty to say.  I am a frustrated writer and blogging has been a great outlet for me, but I've been terrible at sticking with it.  I read an article recently about tips for writers and the number one thing was to write every day.  Every day!  I would love to do that, but where do you get the time?  I guess it comes down to what you make the priority, huh?  I don't know about every day, but I am going to try in 2013 to write at least once a week.  Don't worry, dear reader (if there are any), I won't subject you to suffer through a weekly blab, sometimes it will just be for me, but I am going to try and make that a priority. 

So here we are nearing the end of the world according to the Mayans.  Last night I was pondering the idea of what if it really is the end?  Have I said all that I need to say?  Am I satisfied with who I am in these final days?  If this is really the last week, how am I going to spend it? 

Well, obviously I will spend the last week at work.  I don't think my company will let me take the week off "just in case" the world ends on Friday.  I will still be expected to be in the office doing what I do.  Am I okay with that?  Hmmm...I guess I kind of am.  Work certainly does not define who I am, but truth be told the folks I work with are my family of sorts and spending the end times with them is okay by me.  I'm proud of the work I do, therefore if the end comes while I am doing it, I'm good. 

I don't really feel like I have left anything unsaid to those who are important to me.  Sandra knows I am sorry about never buying laundry detergent while we lived together.  My friends know I love them.  I am never shy about telling them.  My husband is aware that I think he hung the moon.  I've confessed my shortcomings and failures to the One who matters most.  I think I am good in the all things have been communicated department.   

There are a few things on my bucket list that I may have a regret or two about, but all in all I've had some amazing experiences and been to some incredible places in my life.  I've experienced so much more than I have ever imagined I would and I am so grateful.  Maybe I didn't get to NYC during the holidays to see it decked out in all the finery, but I did get to spend an amazing few days there with friends and created memories that are brighter than any Christmas lights.  I've owned my own motorcycle, snowmobiled through Yellowstone, held the fins of a dolphin and looked into eyes that I believe reflected an intellience equal to my own.  I've been moved to tears by a beautiful landscape, a photo taken by a friend, a piece of music, a painting and words written on a page.  I've seen a baby born, held the hand of a dying loved one and felt love strong enough that it lifted me off the ground.  I've laughed.  A lot. 

Do I really think that it is all going away on the 21st?  No, I don't, but I am going to try and walk through this coming week as if it is.  I am seriously going to make an effort to look at each day as one of the last we may share on this speck of dust and find wonder in each one.  I am going to do my best to be kind, patient and loving because after all, isn't that how we should be every day?  If the world doesn't end on Friday, maybe trying to live like it might will carry over to Saturday and Sunday and on and on and on....wouldn't that be great?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

First Loves - Mush Alert!

I spent some time with a 12 year old girl yesterday while getting my nails done.  She was deep in the throes of her first experience with love. Listening to her talk about her crush was adorable, her smile was ear to ear and her eyes were bright with loves light. Those of us in the salon were enjoying her youthful exuberance. A lady who was there getting her hair done (with some delightful bright red streaks) made the comment we have all heard before"you always remember your first love".  That statement began a lovely conversation between a bunch of middle aged women all anxious to tell each other about their own first love. 

I listened with a smile on my face. For once I chose to just soak in the stories and did not feel like I had to share my own. It was a lunch hour well spent and I came out of the salon with beautiful nails and a smile in my heart along with a head full of memories. It is true, you know, you really don't forget your first love, or your second, or even your fifth if you have been so lucky to have had that much love in your life.  Love is an emotion that fills us with wonder and lifts us so high our toes barely drag the ground. Love is wonderful. 

My first love (names have been changed, y'all might know him!) was a boy in our neighborhood.  Now, I had experienced crushes before, but this was different, this was the serious stuff.  I was lucky to grow up in a new subdivision in a small Kentucky town.  Everyone in the neighborhood pretty much knew everyone else and us kids owned the streets in droves.  Fabio (LOL) would walk the streets for hours and I used to sit on my porch waiting for him to pass.  He was about the coolest guy I had ever seen. Long hair, beautiful smile, tall and cute, cute, cute.  I would run out and walk with him for awhile or sometimes he would just stop and we would sit in the yard for hours and talk.  Our first and maybe our only real date was to a high school football game and his dad drove us.  I was thrilled! I would lie in my room at night and dream of our wedding, my dress would be tie dye, he would be barefoot...hey it was the early 70's after all.  Of course, our wedding day never came, situations changed and I met my first bad boy (who swept me off my feet and whom I also will never forget) in a string of bad boy relationships.  Fabio went his way and I went mine.

We have now known each other for for nearly 40 years.  We have remained in touch off and on for all those years and I am grateful for that friendship more than he probably knows.  I had dinner with him (my husband approved) several months ago and it was delightful.  I'm sure to those in the restaurant, we looked like the normal middle aged couple, a little gray, a bit fat, wrinkles around our eyes, our chins not quite as firm but obviously enjoying each others company.  In my minds eye though, the man across the table was still that boy of my youth, longish hair, beautiful smile, still standing tall and cute, cute, cute!  I think he may have still made my knees a bit weak.  Yes, you don't forget your first loves and I hope you are as lucky as I have been to actually still have them in your lives. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Memories of a Friend

Back in the carefree days of my youth, I bought a little bright blue Pinto station wagon.  I loved that car.  It had shiny spoke wheels and was just cute as a bug.  It was a great party car, too, because of the extra space in the back for coolers and whatever you may need.  Shortly after I bought it, my best friend Tracie, Ron, Tyra and I decided to load some beer in a cooler and take a drive through the country.  Yeah, we shouldn't have been drinking and driving, but this was small town Kentucky on a Saturday afternoon and it was just what we did.  We were tooling around somewhere out towards Morgantown and the need to pee was getting urgent.  We found a little country church with his and hers outhouses and I pulled in the drive.  Now rather than park in the lot and walk to the modest facilities, I thought I would be cool and drive down in the little ravine where they sat.  After we took care of business, we quickly discovered that the ground was soft there and we were stuck. Really stuck.  Pushing did nothing.  We were screwed.  This was long before cell phones and we were in the sticks on a little road with virtually no traffic.

After about an hour of waiting for someone to come by that we could flag down, Ron decided that he was going to walk back to town to get help.  Our hero! We watched him trek down the country road until he was out of sight hoping he would be back sooner than later with help to get us out. I always had a blanket in the back, so Tracie, Tyra and I spread it on the ground, popped some beers and made a meal of some Cheez Whiz.  We chatted away, not overly concerned about being rescued, because Ron was on the job.  After a bit some young guys on a tractor came up the road.  They saw us from the road and quickly assessed our situation.  They had a chain and in no time had the blue Pinto party wagon back on solid ground. After paying them with a couple of beers, we loaded back in the car and went down the road hoping to catch up to Ron.

We made it back to town without coming across him which did concern us a bit, but not so much that we skipped turning into Burger King for some real food before we continued our search for him.  Cheez Whiz wasn't tiding us over.  We ordered at the drive through window then drove around the back of the building towards the pick up window.  Standing in front of the window in the drive through lane was our hero, Ron!  Seems he needed some sustenance before having us rescued, too!  I will never forget the look on his face when he realized we were behind him while he was walking through the drive through.  It is one of my fondest memories of carefree youth when nothing much mattered beyond having a good time. 

Tyra died a few years back.  It made me sad to know that she wasn't in the world anymore, although we had not really been in touch for awhile.  I kept up with her through another friend who did talk with her often.  I was bothered that one of my "group" had passed.  Seemed like we were too young for that.  This morning I found out that Ron died a few days ago from a heart attack.  I am heartbroken.  Ron and I had reconnected a couple of years ago and just last night I was texting him to come out and have a drink with me because I was in BG visiting with Sonja.  I had no idea that he was gone.  The fact that two of the four of us that shared the fun of that Saturday afternoon are dead has really rocked me today.  I realize I am getting to that age where things happen to people, but it is so hard to accept.  I'm also so very heartbroken for Tracie who has lost probably the three most important people in her life in the last couple of years.  How much weight does she have to bear?  I feel so helpless.

We will go on, those of us who knew and loved Ron Fuller.  That is what we do after all.  Go on.  Today I am replaying many memories of Ron and weeping and laughing as I remember.  Thanks Ron, for telling me to put lipstick on my whole mouth because I apparently was missing the edges of my lips.  Thanks Ron for not laughing at me because I attempted to fry a pot pie because the munchies did not allow for the baking time.  Thanks Ron for the chats over the last couple of years and for helping me past some self esteem issues that I was having.  Rest in peace, and know you will always live in my heart. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hey, I Did That!

Here I go again, breaking another promise to myself. I swore I would never blog about weight or my personal struggles with it.  Really, this is more about a triumph than a struggle, so maybe I can cut myself a little slack on this post.

Long story short, like a lot of us I have struggled with maintaining a healthy weight as an adult.  I always carried a few extra pounds, but once I grew up and got a desk job, it really became an issue.  I'm not going to talk about years of failed attempts to lose the pounds, just know that I've been up and down lots of times and I am currently on what I hope will be the last downward trend. 

I am an emotional eater and last year when my dad got sick, I knew that I would put on weight.  I tried to be aware of my choices, but I also allowed myself the self medication that food gave me during one of my life's most difficult times.  The food didn't hurt me as much as the choice to stop moving did.  Even at my heaviest times I have pretty much always tried to exercise.  I walked, went to the Y, Curves, jogged, took up biking, went to aerobic classes, I always did something.  When daddy got sick, I just gave it up.  I barely had the energry to get through my days as it was and the thought of working out just made me sick.  So I didn't and I didn't for nearly a whole year. 

Last October a friend and I took an impromptu trip out to Wyoming to hook up with Rita & Debbie who were already there. Our flight out of Nashville was delayed and when we reached Denver, where we had a connection, they were paging us for our next flight as we deplaned the first.  Naturally our arriving flight and departing flight were at the opposite ends of the concourse and so we had to make a mad dash for it.  After just a few yards I was struggling to breathe and my legs were fatigued.  Stacy was so far ahead of me that I could barely see her.  When I finally made it to the gate, the attendant gave me the stink eye and I just knew she was judging my fat out of shape self.  I got to my middle seat and tried my best to not pant like a dog for the first 20 minutes of the flight.  I was embarassed and my self esteem was in the gutter.

While in Jackson, which is a bit above 6,000 feet in elevation, I struggled to keep up with my freinds on the shortest of a hike just a few yards into the Gros Ventre slide.  They wanted to hike to Inspiration Point the next day and I knew I would not be able to do it, so I stayed behind by myself.  I had a nice afternoon hanging out with a wildlife photographer taking pictures of a majestic bull moose and driving out behind the Elk Reserve to look for big horn sheep, but I missed being with my freinds.  I made a pact with myself right then that I would start exercising again just as soon as I got home. Well, I didn't.  It was late February of this year before I really got motivated. Kim and I took a week off and headed to Grayton Beach with the pups.  We took our bikes, which I had not been on in over a year.  Between walking the dogs several times a day and riding the bikes every day, by the end of the week I was feeling so good about doing something physical that I have worked out four or five times a week since.

I started Weight Watchers at the first of March with a goal of losing 20 pounds before my vacation back out to Wyoming in mid June.  I made the goal and when we got to Jackson, I was excited about doing some easy hiking.  I was still afraid of Inspiration Point, which is a climb up a mountain that I just didn't think I could do.  Rita kept at me about trying it, encouraging me with positive reinforcement that she thought I could do it.  Finally I gave in.  The morning we went over to Jenny Lake to catch the boat to the trail, I was scared.  I knew I was going to hold my friends back or have to sit on a rock and wait for them for a couple of hours.  The hike starts with an uphill climb and really doesn't let up until you reach the point.  I really struggled the first 200 yards or so, but once I relaxed into the pace a bit it was more comfortable.  Everyone struggles to breathe in that elevation and folks much more fit than me had to take breathing breaks.   Several times I left my group so that I could go at my own pace up the trail, knowing they would catch up with me soon.  I took a pretty good fall on a rocky part of the trail, broke 4 nails (those who know me well know that was quite a tragedy!) and hurt my right wrist, but I kept going.  I made it!  I made it about a mile beyond there, too until we decided to turn back. No one has any idea what a huge personal triumph tackling that hike was for me.  It was thrilling and has renewed my motivation to get healthier.  I can't thank Rita enough for pushing me!  I am deriving great personal satisfaction knowing that when folks talk about Inspiration Point I can say "Hey, I did that!"

Saturday, May 19, 2012

In the Blink of an Eye

“All your life you're yellow. Then one day you brush up against something blue, the barest touch, and voila, the rest of your life you're green.”
Tess Callahan
Much like in the quote above, we have all experienced moments that have changed us forever.  Not the little moments like discovering that you love squash after years of thinking you hated it, but rather the big moments that truly dent our world, therefore changing it and us forever.  My first experience with that type of change was probably when my parents divorced.  The disintegration of a family is a sad thing and to the 13 year old me, it was devastating.  While my folks fought a good deal and it was obvious that there wasn't much respect for each other between them any longer, they were my solid ground.  Finding my footing in the aftermath was tough for me.  It was my first lesson in what would be a lifetime of lessons about adapting to change. 
Not too many years after my parents split, my sister and mother were in a horrible car accident that claimed the life of my 13 year old sister.  My mom was also critically injured and spent weeks in the hospital.  I had turned 18 just two months earlier and my cocky "I'm now an adult and can handle anything" attitude quickly was torn away.  My mom was my rock and going through those first few days after Karen's death without her supporting me were terrible.  She laid in the hospital near death herself while my family buried my baby sister and figured out how we were supposed to go on with our lives from this point on.  The changes in my folks and myself after this event were palpable.  My dad became angry at God and carried that anger until his dying day.  My mom, while still one of the most vibrant, amazing women I've ever known lost a big part of her shine.  For me, I learned that even if you love someone so much it fills you up, they can and probably will leave you one way or another.  This lesson, coupled with the similar lesson I learned when my parents divorced, sent me into a destructive, self loathing search for love and consistency in my life that I am frankly surprised I survived. 
Just a few years later on a beautiful summer afternoon, my roommates and I were enjoying a rare time at home together.  Linda was napping in her room and Tracie and I were playing a marathon backgammon tournament in the floor of our living room.  It was the late 70's in a small Kentucky town where nothing exciting really ever happened.  Suddenly a man walked through our unlocked front door into the house.  In a nutshell, that man had been watching us for awhile and knew that the three of us were only in the house together rarely.  He asked for someone who didn't live there and Tracie sensing something out of whack, went to wake Linda while I was trying politely to guide this gentlemen back out the door.  He pulled a gun and suggested that I go to the bedroom where the other girls were.  He had three pieces of rope with him, got us all on the bed and began insisting that we undress. We were hysterical and uncooperative and in his nervous state, he shot my roommate Linda in the face.  I was sitting next to her on the bed.  He freaked and ran from the house while I watched the smoking hole in Linda's chin blossom into a fountain of blood that no horror movie could possibly match.  They don't cover gunshot wounds to the face in high school health class and the helplessness I felt at how to help Linda at that moment was incredible.  Tracie called 911 and within minutes every policeman in Bowling Green was at our door.  Linda was whisked to the hospital while Tracie and I were taken to the police station to give a statement before being taken to the hospital to check on Linda.  She was fine.  She had to have a good deal of reconstruction on her jaw and she was very lucky that the bullet had lodged in her jaw rather than going through her throat to her spine.  They caught him about a year later and he died in prison.  That knowledge brings comfort, but from the moment he stepped into that house to this day my life has been completely changed by our encounter.  Just ask my friends about my obsession with locked doors and suspicion of every stranger. 
Quickly I want to mention that I had a similar experience just a few years later when I decided I needed to explore living on my own, alone.  I had rented and fixed up a little duplex and had lived there exactly one week when late at night while I was waiting for my boyfriend to come over, a man busted in the back door and chased me out the front door with a knife that looked four times bigger than the one Michael Meyers used in Halloween. They caught this guy, too.  He had raped the girl that had lived in the house prior to me and had also raped three students on the campus at Western.  After this incident, I told my dad that he needed to build me a room out of concrete blocks and feed me through a slit in the door because I was pretty sure I was going to lock myself up for the rest of my life.  Truth is, we can't do that, can we?  I moved into an apartment with a friend and convinced myself that statistically I was bound to be way ahead of the curve of anything like that happening to me again. 
Deciding to move away from my small hometown to the big city of Nashville was certainly a huge change in my life.  I knew a few people in Nashville already and it wasn't far from home, but it was a big change.  I met and married my first husband, another big change in my life.  I spent most of those years trying to live with and love an alcoholic who could not get sober and after a little more than 7 years, gave up.  Divorce was not something I ever wanted to experience, but from that change,  I learned that you can't know your future.  
Losing my cousins and aunt and uncles and grandparents to death changed me a bit each time.  Losing my parents has made deep changes, some I have not even been able to recognize yet.  Job changes, a new love and marriage, health issues, both my own and those of loved ones, all these events have infinitely changed my life in some way.  You think you are good, feet solidly planted and I guarantee you, life is going to find some way to unsteady you.  It may be through death of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of health, decline of your neighborhood, winning the lottery, finding a great new job, discovering family you've been out of touch with for years.  Your great friend moving all the way to California.  Something will change.  Change is inevitable.  We are resilient, bendable beings and you have to choose to adapt or live with regret.  I don't like change.  I don't like it one bit, but I do understand that it is truly, truly the only thing you can count on in life.  Things will always change.  
I'm doing my best to ride out the changes in my life and I hope that you are, too.   

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Life in Progress

What a simple statement!  My mom basically gave me this advice over and over while I was growing up.  Believe me, I have failed miserably at achieving such a simple thing.  I've made plenty of boneheaded decisions that may have hurt others.  Over the course of my 52 years I have gossiped, manipulated, lied, stolen things that were not mine.  I've cheated, skipped school, called in sick when maybe I really didn't feel that bad.  I have talked bad about others. I stole my friends boyfriend.   I have been intentionally mean to people.   I have been disrespectful to others.  Every night when I lay my head on the pillow, my prayer is that I will try harder to be that person in the quote tomorrow...and I do try.  Every day I try. 

I know that perfection is out of my reach. I know that every day I will be tested and more likely than not, I will stumble.  I think it is the trying part that is so important.  If I stop trying to be the person in the quote, I am terrified of what I will become.  I don't want to be the mean, bitter old lady who never comes out of her house.  Seriously.  As I get older, tolerance is so much harder for me.  Isn't that the opposite of how it is supposed to be?  I thought that patience came with age.  Honestly, I am more patient than I was in my younger years, but I am certainly not more tolerant. 

One thing that age has given me is the wisdom to know that it is okay not to like everyone I meet.  That certainly doesn't give me permission to be unkind to anyone, but does free me from the guilt of feeling like a bad person because I don't care for someone.  We are going to come across plenty of people in our lives that we don't warm up to and that is okay.

I guess the point of this babble is to say that I am still trying to be the best person I can be.  I know everyday is an opportunity to do better.  I can be a better friend, a better neighbor a better citizen.  I hope I never stop trying to be the person in the quote.  I'm certainly not there, but I'm trying.  This is after all, my life in progress.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Memories of Moma

My mom used to tease me because I always wrote "Moma", which I guess isn't quite right, but I never changed it. Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of her death and I miss her as much today as I did all those years ago.  I was blessed to have an amazing relationship with my mom. Oh, certainly there were horrible fights, especially during the teen years, but truly she was my dearest friend.  She was a"cool" mom in the neighborhood and it was not unusual for there to be a herd of kids hanging at my house.  I swear half the time they were there to see her rather than Karen or I.  She loved everyone and people were just comfortable with her. I know many of my friends sought her counsel when they had a problem rather than their own parents.  I was proud of her.  I wonder if I ever told her that. 

She was beautiful, too.  We spent hours together playing with make up and fixing our hair.  She taught me to wash my face and moisturize every morning and night and I am so grateful for that simple advice today!  She taught me to be proud of my appearance and that when you took time to look your best, you were more confident.  I appreciate that. She was stubborn as a mule (as was my dad so I come by it naturally) and if she felt strongly about something, she would never give up fighting for it. 

Moma liked to have fun, too.  She loved to dance and we would often move the furniture around in our den to make room for our own personal dance parties.  She loved people and taught me that no matter where folks came from or what their background may be, everyone was worthy of love.  She practiced what she preached, too, by becoming a foster parent.  She was a tough parent, but I guarantee you she loved every single child that came through her home in the foster program.  Several stayed in touch with her until her death.  That meant so much to her and also to me. 

She had strong faith in God.  Even after the darkest tragedy a parent can suffer, the loss of a child, her faith stayed strong.  I guess it was the thing that allowed her to go on living and to actually find joy beyond my sisters death.  She had a capacity to forgive that I've rarely seen in others, certainly not in myself. 

Mom moved to Michigan shortly after my sisters death.  I realized that she needed a change in her life to help her cope and while I was sad to see her move, I supported it.  I am blessed, however that she chose to move to Nashville and lived near me for the rest of her life.  We talked every day.  She was my closest confidant, my greatest cheerleader and I loved her so very, very much.  She died much too young at the age of 64.  Rarely a day goes by since her passing that I don't think of her.  Today, on the anniversary of her death, I am trying my best to take comfort in my many great memories of her and times we had together.  Yes, I've shed a few tears today and will probably shed a few more before days end, but many are tears of joy that I was blessed with a wonderful mother who I know loved me with every ounce of her being. 

Miss you Loleta, today and every day.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Falling In Love

I'm on a quest to love myself more, treat myself better and discover my self worth again.  It isn't just about building better self esteem, it is truly about learning to love myself.  I want to look myself in the eyes in the mirror and say "I love you" and really mean it.  I know this is a struggle for many of us, maybe even most of us.  Now, let me clarify a bit.  I do not suffer from self loathing.  I have a fair amount of self confidence.  This is really about treating myself as well as I treat the people in my life that I love.  I feed myself a lot of negativity.  I'm constantly telling myself that I am not smart enough, especially in my work environment. Often I stoop so low that I bully myself.  Seriously bully myself with comments like "you're a fat cow", "you are so fucking ugly", "you're an idiot".  I would never in a million years have these kind of thoughts or say these hurtful words to a friend.  Actually, quite the opposite.  I love and value every single friend I am blessed to have in my life.  I am often cheering a friend along with postive and sincere messages of their value.  I chide them if they are saying negative things about themselves.  I try to affirm their value, their beauty, their worth every opportunity that I can.  I have a rule to compliment at least one person every day of my life.  Sincerely compliment someone. Sometimes that small thing can make someones day. I honestly can't remember the last time I gave myself a compliment. 

My struggle goes deeper than just about physical appearance, although that certainly is a part of it.  Women have been bombarded for decades with media that tells us how we should be.  Advertising and images have told us we can't have a wrinkle, carry a few extra pounds, show a grey hair or two.  Our teeth have to be blazing white, our lips full and pouty, our demeanor sexy and energized.  It is exhausting trying to live up to the standard that our commercial society has created for us.  I've certainly bought into it.  I have a bathroom full of creams and potions and paints to help me look as young and pretty as I possibly can at 52 years old.  Being a middle aged woman is tough.  You become invisible.  It is hard to accept that you are probably not going to walk into a room and turn heads any longer.  Loving yourself through this transition is difficult but so important.  I'm trying harder.

I recently was killing time on a good friends facebook page checking out her fabulous pictures and stuff.  I noticed on her profile that under the heading "About You" she had simply written "nothing exciting".  That broke my heart a bit.  This woman is smart, beautiful, kind and loving.  She is fun, adventerous and a great friend to those she loves.  The fact that she doesn't see any of these things about herself is exactly what I am talking about. 

Anyway, for today I am going to do my best to look at myself in a gentler light.  I am going to try and focus on enjoying my own company as I would enjoying the company of a best friend.  I am going to tell myself "I love you" and maybe even touch my face lovingly as I do it.  Corny, maybe, but would I do that same gesture to a loved one?  Of course I would.  Do it for yourself today, too.  Just concentrate on today.  Tomorrow, try again. 

Hey Katona.....I love you, girl!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I saw this little message on Pinterest (my latest addiction) and it really spoke to me.  I have always thought of myself as a positive person, even during the toughest challenges.  It sort of came easy for me, I think, mainly because I was heavily influenced by my mother and grandmother, who were amazing women.  No one could see the silver lining like those two.  Lately, however, I seem to struggle more and more with trying to find the good in things.  I realize some of the change in attitude is that I am still grieving the loss of my father.  Being at this stage of life where my body is changing is also a factor.  The emotional roller coaster of peri-menopause is real, have no doubts. 

Every day there seems to be more bad news.  Another friend has discovered they have cancer, a coworker's husband had a major heart attack, a dear friend is moving across the country.  Remember the tv show "Wonder Woman", with the beautiful Linda Carter?  She had those wickedly cool cuffs on her arms that she could deflect bullets with?  That is how I feel, like I am constantly throwing up my arms to bounce another happiness sucking bullet away.  The bullets are not just events such as those I mentioned, but also new worries that have come along at this stage of life.  Will I be able to afford to retire?  Am I going to end up with lung cancer, too?  Will my job last as long as I need it to?  How will we afford medical coverage it it doesn't? 

Yesterday, I was enjoying a long walk with my dogs and mulling over all the clutter in my head.  This little nagging thought kept trying to pop through, but never would quite make it to the front of the pile.  Last night while tossing and turning during another restless night, that thought was still tickling the back of my brain, again never making it through the other brain clutter.  Stumbling across that saying above this morning apparently opened a gap wide enough in my thought jumble for the little nagging one to spring through.  I am in control of my feelings!  Me and only me has power over my attitude.  No one or no thing can make me feel anything that I don't choose to feel.  So simple!  So hard!  So true! 

I am going to do my best to make those statements my mantra.  I know there are going to be moments, hours and days that it is impossible to be happy, but I am going to really try to look beyond the imperfections as best I can.  I am going to try to put my focus back onto the things that bring me joy.  Experience them, savor them, be thankful for them.  I am going to work hard to find my bliss.  My wish for you is that you can, too. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Trying to Fly

Like most women (and some men) I know, I think too much. Oh, I am much better than I used to be.  I used to over-analyze every single conversation, action, and sideways glance.  Age has given me the wisdom to accept that things are what they are, in most cases.  Once in awhile though, I hit a patch where I revert to over thinking.  These times weigh my down like I've tied cement blocks to my ankles and am walking through mud. 

I seem to be in one of those periods in my life right now.  I am spending too much time thinking.  I am thinking about my appearance, I am too fat, wrinkly and I found a grey eyebrow hair.  I'm thinking about my health, is diabetes around the corner, can I lose weight and get my cholesterol down?  I think about my marriage.  Am I the best wife I can be?  I think about my friends and do I measure up to their expectations. Am I being a good friend, doing all I can for those I love.   I'm thinking about my job, will it last as long as I need it to?  If it doesn't what will we do?    Am I doing a good enough job? Am I letting anyone down?  I think about how I treat people.  Am I fair?  Am I too honest sometimes?  I think about the politics, our country, the state of the world.  I think about child labor in third world countries, starving people in Africa, women being mistreated in the Middle East.  I think about animal abuse, all the dogs and cats that need rescuing.  I think about the homeless, the sick, the poor. I think about being middle aged.  I think about death.  I get on the carousel and I can't get off. The weight of it all pushes me down and makes me feel helpless. 

My first husband was an alcoholic and I spent a lot of time in counseling at rehab centers.  AA has lots of slogans that those of us who aren't 12 steppers make fun of sometimes, but the truth is, they are wise.  Let Go and Let God, One Day at a Time, Stop the Stinkin' Thinkin'.  The Serenity Prayer is so simple, yet so powerfully true  "Give me the strength to change the things I can, accept the things I cannot and the wisdom to know the difference".  Why is it so hard to let go of things.  Is it a lack of faith?  Is it just a controlling nature (Lord knows I like to be in control)? 

So, my goal for today is to try and live in the moment.  Really be aware what I am doing and where my head is.  I am going to try to push away the negative and overwhelming thoughts that creep in and try to concentrate on the positives of the moment.  Like now for instance.  There is a blazing fire in the fireplace warming my feet, a delicious cup of coffee to enjoy, bright sunlight streaming though the window and a bird chirping in the distance.  It is a good moment and I am thankful for it. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The New Blog

The first time I saw this picture I laughed out loud.  I love the somewhat crazed look in her eyes.  Yes, screaming and cursing certainly is cathartic and I have used those methods many times in the past.  I discovered last year, however that for me, writing is amazing therapy.  Of course, that is no big secret.  Therapists encourage us to keep journals of all types, sleep logs, diet logs, dream journals, personal diaries.  We have been encouraged to write down our feelings for as long as we have had the knowledge of writing.  Last year when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, blogging about my experience was key in helping me through it.  That blog also made me realize that writing is important to me.  It always has been.  Even as far back as high school composition class, I've been encouraged to write.  Mrs. Durbin was always pushing me to write more stories, explore a talent I might have. 

As an adult, I've harbored the dream of writing a book, like so many of us have.  I doubt I ever will, but the technology of the Internet has created blogging and I think it is great.  I follow a lot of blogs, many from well known personalities and more from friends or friends of friends. Blogging gives us a public forum to express ourselves, something I believe a good many of us need. Is it a bit egotistical to think anyone cares what I may have to say?  Yes, I think it is and I don't normally think I let ego chart my course.  I am going to plow ahead with this thing, regardless.  I have no theme in mind, no true direction, just my middle aged, peri-menopausal ramblings on life.  So here we go and I have to admit, I'm excited about having a place to just babble on.