April Inspired

It’s time for me to come out of the gray doldrums.  After a week back on Weight Watchers, I’m already feeling better about my eating habits.  Yes, I’ve been here before and on Weight Watchers, but so be it.  Even if it takes 5, 10, 20 or more times, then that’s what it will take. Besides, I think there’s some positivity to yo-yo dieting. For all those times I stopped and pushed the reset button, I never let myself get over a certain weight.  I ate healthier for long periods when during that same time frame I could have been binging crazily.  Right now I might have been halfway to being on the show “My 600lb Life” (TLC network) if I hadn’t stopped overeating. So yes, here I go again, but at least I’m going to do something.

My motivation is not only to feel better, but the carrot stick this time is to be slimmer for Disneyland.  If I lose weight, and get in better shape, I may be able to give up a wheelchair while there (I cannot stand on forty-minute-plus lines and walk all over and stand some more). 

It was indeed spinal stenosis that had me in the chair the last two times.  When we went to Disneyland in September of 2015, my joints hurt so badly that the only thing that helped was to take a steaming, hot bath at midnight.  There were a few times walking when it felt as if someone was kicking my legs out from under me. That was the stenosis that I didn’t know was starting to invade the spinal cord.

I promised myself that if I don’t lose weight, there’s no way I’m letting my daughter, Jana, push me at a heavier weight when she has back issues herself. So I’m going to start walking.  Not easy for me only because my nose runs like a faucet, and I get super hot and sweaty. That’s a miserable feeling.  But, I have to do it or try hard.  If it’s too much, then I’ll return to swimming at the club in our old town.  Time will tell.  

My motivational pictures: 

My girl, Jana, in front of Paradise Pier Hotel’s lobby Christmas tree. And above, the pier at Disney’s California Adventure

We have another Disney trip in the planning stages for this December.  I have eight months to get my shit together.  It won’t be easy, but anything worth time and effort in succeeding is never a breeze.  At the very least, I’m wanting to start out at Disneyland using a walker with a seat on it.  Rolling up my sleeves and going to get to it now!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Finding Quiet

There is peace here in this town library which I have finally ventured out to explore.  Ducks swim amicably in the creek outside the window, while a fireplace cozies up the inner sanctum, almost church like in the quiet.  I came here to escape and will probably continue to come here when things at home get too loud.

Our old neighborhood had workaholic neighbors on both sides of us.  One would spend hours mowing, leaving the riding mower idling for five or ten minutes at a time for several times during the mows.  It idled loudly right outside our dining window.  He also enjoyed sawing and drilling, though those hobbies weren’t as strong as they were when he was younger.  And the other neighbor?  A man with a temper who worked on cars, ran a business from his shop, pressure washed often, and ran a leaf blower whenever he ran out of things to do.  He’d yell, cuss, throw tools just to name a few things.  He and his wife would get into ridiculously loud and embarrassing arguments, so much so that I’d be forced to leave the yard because I felt like an eavesdropper.

Now we live in a mobile home park.  It’s much quieter than our old place.  I have a nice quiet reading room, though haven’t discovered an outdoor nook yet due to the fact that it’s wintertime.  There are the manager’s dogs that frequently bark at anything and everything, especially when she’s not home, but honestly, they don’t bother me that much.

The neighbor behind us is a different story. He’s sixty four years old and lives alone and is quiet for the most part unless the neighbor’s dogs bark too much.  Then he hollars out at them or the owner.  I don’t blame him.  But Henry* also likes to blast his stereo once or twice a week.  The drumming loud bass does me in.  It creates a migraine like nothing else.  He did it earlier this week and he did it again today, so I finally decided to introduce myself to the library, and am glad I did.  

It’s not a match made in heaven:  a chronic migraine sufferer and radio blaster living next door.  However, I understand that Henry needs that booming stereo as much as I need my quiet.  It’s his outlet for anxiety and I will not be the person who tries to take that from him.  Instead, I shall take cover in town somewhere, and this cozy library isn’t very far from home.  

There’s a goose honking up a storm out by the creek, disturbing the ducks. Always someone in the crowd making noise, I suppose.  Such is life.  Peace out

*Henry is not his real name

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Day, New Week, New Month, New Year — More Cheer?

Sticking a hesitant toe in this new water of 2017, I have no resolutions, just a big stack of hope.  This last year was as rough as an angry churning ocean.  It was mostly filled with painful losses.

Jim’s brother Bob had a much more aggressive form of cancer than we knew. We shared several group dinners with him, and the brothers played cribbage together yet figured there’d be many more.  It was not to be.  Bobby passed away on September 14th, surrounded by family.  If you ever wondered who Bobby was as a person, you’d needn’t look any further than his children and grandchildren.  They have grown up and are growing up with great character. (Exactly one month before Bob died, our friends, Roy and Cindy, lost their daughter Kristi to cancer as well.  She was 42.  I didn’t know her too well, but the times I saw her, she always had a beautiful smile).  I hope the families of these two loved ones find the power and strength to forge ahead and live heartedly.  Their dearly beloved would want them to go on and enjoy life.

And then there were losses for each of my kids in terms of their partners and more.  First it was Tim.  His girlfriend and he split ways.  I felt a kinship with her, but it wasn’t meant to be.  I hope Tim finds someone who lifts him up as he does her.  He deserves some good things in life.

My daughter.  How stressful life must have been living with someone who tore down, rather than tried to build up.  I love her husband but when I started hearing things over the last two years (not necessarily just from Jana, but from others) that love has been tainted.  Who is he?  I don’t know, but I do know that my heart breaks for my daughter.  No one deserves to live with someone who’s unpredictable.  Yes, he could be loving, sweet and sometimes apologetic.  Why couldn’t he be that way all the time?  I hope my daughter takes as much time for herself that she needs to heal, find her voice again and grow strong again.  I do hope that her soon to be ex husband realizes what changes his personality.  I hope Jana can recover from missing the stepchildren she left behind.  I know she tried hard to hang in and be there for them, but you can only take things for so long.  I hope someone takes a good honest look at this guy who has so much to offer and is so much better than his behavior, and leads him back on the right path.  And I hope the kids will okay. I wish I’d gotten to know them better, but it was as if they were meant to be separate from us.  I never felt like a grandmother.  Never seemed to be given much of a ticket into their lives.  

I’m at the beach right now.  Rang in the New Year in a dark guest bedroom with a sleeping husband next to me.  The ball dropped on a muted TV, and I raised a small glass of Grand Marnier.  Not the best way to greet a new year.  The others went to bed.  I’ve heard for a long time the “whoopees” and “big deal to staying up” to welcome the change.  While I no.longer seek stellar New Year’s celebrations, I’d at least rather be out on a couch, watching the ball drop WITH SOUND!  So I hope next year I can find a way to honor that somehow.

2017, I have high hopes for you.  Please be kind and in this case, do not rewind.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An Awe Filled Surprise

Through weeks of worrying about whether we would ever get to close on our old house, and more concern that we would find a manufactured home to suit our needs, finally we are renewing the neglected mobile home.

This home looked good in the few pictures that were shown.  When we went to scout it out, we were happy that it was tucked away inside a small mobile home park in the middle of the country. How tranquil this would be for dealing with migraines, I thought.  Jim and I both wanted this house on outside view alone.  To be sure, we had looked at the few other options out there, but nothing thus far compared to this one.  So we pestered the listing realtor for an appointment, but it took three weeks before we landed one.

Things are not always what they appear on the surface.  You know the old adage of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Yeah, that one.  On the day of the appointment, we waited on the wooden steps with the realtor as dogs barked inside, and it sounded like yapping chaos.  The scattered woman behind the door tried gathering the dogs while her mother, who’s a stroke victim was outside tending to a garage sale on the small patch of front yard.  When almost twenty minutes passed by, the realtor announced that we were coming in.  

I nearly fainted upon entry.  The house had a terrible stench to it.  Four dogs had run amok in this house, destroying the carpet and flooring.  It was hard to see everything as it was in such disarray. And yet, we knew we wanted it.  We made an offer on the spot.  

When we took possession less than two weeks ago, we took stock of what we were up against.  It was a sorely neglected house, but we knew with some tender loving care and repair, it could be transformed into the home it deserved to be.

This is what the carpet looked like: filthy and horrible smelling

One of the bedrooms.  The spots on the wall were where a greasy head pressed! 

The smell.  Oh the smell!  It stayed in my nostrils all day.  No one could stay in the house for very long.  We had the junk team come in and remove leftover furniture, dirty dishes in the sink, and clothes left wet in the washer just to name a few things.  There was even dog poop left on the carpet!  

Once the carpet was removed, however, the smell disappeared.  Yay!!!  And then came friends and relatives to help us out. They have been our life savers, each and every one of these kind, hard working people.  For the last eight days, the house has been undergoing major freshening up.  New paint is still being applied, flooring is going in.  Carpeting will be installed on Friday.  We can finally move in on Sunday.  All because of everyone helping.  Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.  

Today was sunny for the first time we’ve been at the house.  I was painting door trim, when I took a break and sat back in one of the camp chairs.  All of a sudden, I saw it!  I couldn’t believe my eyes! Beautiful Mt. Hood was visible from one of our family room windows.  How I’ve always wanted a view of this mountain again!  I had one for the year I lived in an apartment when I could see it if I stood at my bedroom window.  And now, the mountain is right here framed in our window. Unbelievable.  I couldn’t be happier.  This mountain.  No words.

Through the screened window, majestic Mt. Hood 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Too Soon Autumn

Barely September, I wrap myself in a warm zebra print blanket and turn the heat up.  This is me I’m talking about: constantly overheated and embracing coolness.  But the first smell of furnace permeates the house like smoke. Autumn is here, too early.

Usually it comes in small whispers.  The first hint of cool in an August breeze prepares me for autumnal grace.  This time the whisper was a loud rush of wind, rain, gray and cold.  I’m not ready to say goodbye to a summer I’ve hardly held on to.  

Yet it must be time.  Not only for goodbyes to summer, but goodbye to this house.  If all goes according to plan, in two weeks from now, I’ll be cleaning out the remnants of nearly twenty-five years as we leave for good.  

This house has never been loved by me, yet the memories contained here have filled it with a better kind of love. My children have grown up here.  Rode the big yellow school bus until they got licenses.  Jana had giggly sleepovers, while Tim’s friends had more rambunctious nights.  They went to proms.  Each launched from this house to venture out into their own worlds, to create new memories.

A view from where I sit outside in front of our home

I say goodbye slowly to this house that has been more than four sides.  In the yard, we had barbecues, volleyball games, fireworks and golf putting contests.  The kids slid down the snowy slope in sleds and a silver scoop until the teenage years when they navigated with their snow boards.  We all sat on the swing that’s tied to one of the big cedar trees.  Now, the new people’s little girl has already found her joy on that same swing.  It’s time to pass the torch.

I’m ready for the move.  The new place will be bigger to allow for gatherings during holidays or card games.  I’ll have a pantry and — wait for it — a dishwasher!!! Our kitchen was too set to allow for a dishwasher, and I’ve missed out all these years on something most people take for granted.  Maybe I should have put my foot down long ago, but I didn’t push.

As my husband Jim mowed the lawn a few times ago, I stood at the kitchen window and waved.  He won’t have to mow again.  I will miss the cute smile as he rides by.  I will miss the patterns on the bathroom tiles in our shower. There’s a horse, a buffalo, a terrier, and rabbit to name a few.  I will miss all the good times, but these I can wrap up and take with me wherever I go.  Perhaps I’ll visit this house in my dreams as I do my old childhood home in Little Neck, NY or our first home together in Gresham, OR by the high school.  

I hope the new family has as many wonderful memories as we had here.  I wish them well.  It’s time for us to make new memories in a new home.  And I am so ready to load up the dishwasher! 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

River Balm

The mighty Rogue River languishes before me on my balcony perch in Grants Pass, Oregon.  People drift past in kayaks, tubes and inflatable rafts.  Here the river is lazy, stretching out before it channels through rocky narrows and turns tumultuous.  And so I watch and soak in the beauty, the quiet, the soulfulness of this busy, but uncrowded area.

The river is like a balm, soothing the anxiousness and worry away that I have been carrying for what seems like all this year.   Most of the anxiety stems from selling our home of twenty-five years.  It sold without being listed, our inspection went well, and once the appraisal comes through, we’re pretty much good to go.

Only where do we go?  We have an offer hanging out there like a dangling carrot, but until our appraisal comes through we can’t promise some $60k in cash to buy this manufactured home we set our hearts on. So if the people get an offer better than ours, we have 72 hours to counter.  I try to forget about the fact that the phone could light up any minute with such news, yet I remain hopeful.  

The house was in an outer area of a smaller town.  It smelled like the stinky canine foursome owned by this woman and her daughter. In fact, the smell lingered there all day in my nostrils!  The carpets, flooring and paint all need to be replaced or redone. So I’m hopeful no one else will want a non turn-key, smelly home, especially this weekend. By this coming week, the appraisal on our house should be done, and then we can confidently go ahead with our offer (without the contingency that our home must sell).  

So much to process right now.  I’m still recovering from the spine surgery.  Am doing quite well, but I still feel most comfortable with a heating pad practically attached.  I worry about a family member who has cancer, but I know he’s going to beat it.  It hurt so much to see him suffering and not have his usual strength.  Now that his chemo blasts are done, he’s recovering his strength and mobility.  Am so glad.

It’s been a tough year.  Losing my son’s girlfriend was like losing a family member.  I wish what happened hadn’t. I can’t get the closure I would have liked, but I didn’t make the choices she did. My son and she were having troubles before the shit went down, but I just wish the shit never came down the way it did. I know it takes two to make a mess of things, but yeah, what can you do?  I’ve always stepped back and been able to say “this is not my script”.  And it isn’t.

So the river is there washing some of my angst away.  It doesn’t pay anymore to get into the who said what and did what or didn’t do what.  It is what it is. 

A river balm.  Amen.

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Trying to Gain Foothold

This year so far has been a challenge much like rock climbing.  What rock looks sturdy enough to hold on to in order for me to advance?  One false move and I could lose my place, swinging out on the safety ropes, which luckily keep me from plummeting all together. 

As I regroup after spine surgery, I realize that my back will never be the same.  For sure it’s so much better than the last few months of terrible pain.  The fact that I could barely put my own clothing on and would get stuck in my own body — a tight pinching throughout the lower back and down both legs — was really scary.  I’m free of that now and ecstatic about it, but there still persists a deep aching pain and a slight pull when I stand.  I hope it’s just a matter of needing to fully recover from surgery, yet I’m a bit afraid this could become a new way of life for me.  My back was in worse shape than I expected.  Honestly, I don’t know what I was expecting.  I knew something was worse than a muscle pull, but I didn’t know I had weak vertebrae in addition to the “stalagmites” or bone spurs growing on the back bone.  So be it, or it is what it is or might be and I’ll find out more when I get staples pulled out on Monday. 

There are already a few things I’ll miss out on, such as a jet boat ride down the Rogue River, but I’ve realized over the years with chronic migraines that I need to create my own joy.  It’s better to focus on the things I can do rather than cannot do.  So I will relax on the hotel deck in the morning, watching the river pass by, and in the afternoon stroll the streets of Grant’s Pass or perhaps hitch a ride with another “left behind” person and go to the casino up north from GP.  It’ll all be good.  No matter what. 

We all have to find our “new normals”.  It happens frequently in life, whether happy or sad.  A new job, new home, new partner, new baby, winning a jackpot — these are all usually good things but they’re life changing.  It’s the same with having to deal with a new disability, losing a loved one, being laid off from a job.  All of those are hardships, but we try to persevere so as to survive in a world that’s constantly moving forward with or without us.

I’m still looking for the next foothold.  It’s as if I’ve been climbing on automatic pilot and now I realize I’d better get with the program and start being productive.  We’ll be moving soon.  I have to get going and start packing.  So I’ve resolved to get squared with what to expect going forward with this old back.  I hope on Monday, I’ll be given a new lease on life, but if not, I’ll have to obtain the lease on different terms.  Maybe the result won’t be palacial, but even a tiny cubby hole works for some 🐁🐁🐁.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment