New Year’s Eve Is Not Always Happy

Two Candles

Two Candles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For all the people dreading tomorrow night, I’m here. I’m dreading it too. There are hundreds of reasons to dread it and I’m not even going to bother mentioning them, because you know why? They don’t matter. You feel what you feel and no one can deny your feelings. You have every right to acknowledge how you feel, just please try not to cover them up and drink irresponsibly.

I admit, I wish I did drink, one cocktail or one glass of wine. I hate the taste of alcohol, always did, even in college when friends were trying to get me to drink watery, warm beer and I just couldn’t do it. The taste was awful. I didn’t “practice” drinking so I got used to it and I didn’t let my friends change my mind. They would go up to the bar and order two pitchers of beer and one glass of Coke.

To this day I will have a sip of someone’s drink to see if I like it but I haven’t been successful. The closest I have come is Amaretto mixed with milk or orange juice or a sour mix, sometimes I can drink a half of one of those drinks. Generally, if I take a sip or two of my husband’s wine I say “I feel it already” and I do. My adult children make fun of me but again, drinking to them is like chips and dips to our generation. Believe me, I’m not condoning it. Trust me.

Whether you go to bed at ten tomorrow night, ( I’ve done that plenty of times, ) or you and your best friend, your dog, your spouse, your life partner, relative, facebook buddy stay up till after midnight, I wish you all a Happy 2014. I don’t plan a thing on New Year’s Eve except a good dinner at a very early seating in a nice restaurant, with my husband and two grown-up children, this year with my mom because she had no plans.

I’ll be honest, at 10:20pm I will know exactly when to look at the clock, and I will remember all too clearly that twelve years ago my beloved father passed away in a hospital, with no one there by his side.  I talked to the surgeon, I asked him if I could come and I remember his gentle voice saying “No sweetie, don’t come it will be too late.” I was able to talk to the ICU nurse who promised to give my dad a message and I gave my Dad permission to leave us, telling him we would take care of each other.
I mentioned a special word that he and I used together. He passed away within minutes.

So, whatever your sorrow is, whatever your personal story is, I understand. I truly do. You can write them down here or to me privately if you feel like talking about it. Just remember you are not alone, there are people who love you and staying up until midnight is not such a big deal. Tomorrow will come, as it always does.

Happy 2014 to all my readers, to my friends. I wish you peace, health, happiness. I wish you joy.

Life, Celebrate It

Beauty

Beauty (Photo credit: TONY – M)

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness (Photo credit: mbgrigby)

I’ve been a little down lately and cranky and I feel just a bit lost. I’m trying to get my footing in a very fast-changing world and I don’t know where I will end up. I know a lot of people, my age, who have felt the same way, even worse. The world is a very scary place, sometimes a very sad place and I know that many people are feeling its effects. I feel them too. How could we not? We’re getting older, if we still have parents, they are getting older and our children are just about adults. The sandwich generation is taking its toll, we are looking back over our shoulders wondering where the last 40 years have gone?

Today I talked to a very close friend who shut me up in about 30 seconds when she told me her aunt was having much more significant problems with her child, they had discovered two masses in his body and were in the process of finding out what they were. Hopefully, they were nothing serious but the stress they were going through was paralyzing. It left me embarrassed with my petty annoyances. Sometimes you just have to look at life that way. Yes, whatever you go through is real for you, no one is going to get down on you for what you feel, but in this life we all need to keep thins in perspective. Keep YOUR problems in perspective.

In the meantime, stop focusing on yourself. Today, as I had planned, I filled out the form to be a volunteer at a Hospice, something I’ve always wanted to do. A few days ago I joined a gym for the summer to finally get myself in shape. (I’ve already lost 30 pounds now I just want to be fit) I won’t have to look away from my internist or down at the floor when she asks me the “how much do you exercise question?” I am trying to help myself, to keep my mind and body busy.

If I do more, I will get more in return. I remember my father teaching me that, long, long ago when I was looking for a summer job in college and hadn’t gotten very many call backs from companies after sending out some resumes: “The more you send out, the more you call, the more responses you will receive” he told me. That was then, when people were courteous and he was certainly right, now, nobody seems to care. I spent over 20 years in Human Resources, calling every person, acknowledging every inquiry, what they do now is horrific. They don’t do anything, even after an interview. Nobody seems to care. They don’t treat people like people. What have we become? In a country that needs good manners the most for the discouraged or unemployed, people treat others horribly. My husband went through this years ago for 2 and a half years…we know.

If you need any helpful hints or have any questions before an interview, feel free to write me.

If there is nothing sparkling new in your life now or nothing to look forward to be thankful and appreciate what you have and don’t think about what you lack. Do some good in the world, some random act of kindness. Volunteer, offer someone who is elderly your arm to cross the street or carry their groceries. Hold the door for people, it costs no money and means so much. Celebrate what you do have and don’t cry over what you don’t. It’s really as simple as that.

Celebrate your life with wonder, grace and gratitude and even if you don’t feel like it, smile. Yes, smile. Sometimes if you “pretend”smile, it can help you as well as others. A very special teacher I had, long ago, called it “The Confidence Game.” It’s worth trying. You have nothing to lose.

I wish you peace, I wish you luck, I wish you hope.

Kellie Elmore: Free Write Friday 6-29-13

who am i?

who am i? (Photo credit: Beni Ishaque Luthor)

(things can’t let you down, unless you let them)

“It’s easier said than done, I know that. You know that, right, Son? All this psychobabble about “life’s has its ups and downs, just go with the flow?” Sure, I know that in my head, but when something creepy, or scary or even startling happens, man, that goes straight, directly to my heart and it’s a sure fire hit. There are no stops, no waiting, or hesitating, it’s a missile like an emotional heart attack. It always has a trigger, like now, people are screaming behind me are making me tense, uptight, upset. You have to understand I’m not like you and your generation, it’s hard for me to “just get over it.” I get so depressed and I just want to put my head in my hands and my body starts shaking. My stomach clenches and it’s trying to ruin my day and I feel myself getting hooked on sadness like a slippery snake, going in and out of my brain to my insides. I  try to stop it but I can’t.

I’m lost, that’s how I can describe it, I’m lost. I’m really nobody now. Sure, I’m someone’s husband, brother, father, but who am I? I’m really not sure anymore.  I used to know but now everything is cloudy. What I thought I knew for sure is shaky, what I thought I knew about you is different.I was YOU, a long time ago. Listen to me. It’s easy to push things into those dark recesses of your mind, I’ve been doing that for a long, long time. There’s safety in comfort, I know that. But, how much comfort is worth it? When does comfort become settling or even just plain old vanilla laziness? I’m the wrong one to ask. I stay safe, too safe, and I stay still. I’m not happy, not ever. Probably never have been happy.

Some people like my old friend Jon are adaptable, whatever happens he adjusts. He doesn’t worry, he doesn’t panic, he goes with whatever comes his way with his cool, jolly attitude and his big goofy smile and things always seem to fall into place. I wish I had been like him. I have NEVER been like him and probably never will be. There’s only so much you can do to change yourself, sometimes you born and labeled damaged goods. I can thank my own parents for that.

At least I tried I to face my fears and do things anyway which in itself is a big step. It’s okay to be fearful, everyone is probably afraid of something but making the attempt to overcome it, that’s like a pile of birthday presents you give to yourself, all wrapped up in silver and gold. It’s a birthday cake with your favorite filling, I choose vanilla cake, with chocolate frosting and chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, I’m not messing around here. I’ll even throw in some oatmeal raisin cookies and chocolate mint ice cream.

Life is a crap shoot. I admit, I am sometimes scared of the future, especially now that I am older. I was young once, just like you. I was young with hopeful thoughts and ideas and daydreams but I have lived a long time and Life has changed me. I hope it doesn’t change you too. Keep being positive and loving, honest and trusting. Even if you get hurt, it is worth the journey to experience that love, that excitement again. Take chances, as many as possible and don’t hesitate to try new things. If it doesn’t work out, move right on to something else. Don’t be like me, please, I beg of you, don’t be like me.

I’ll keep trying, in my own little corner of my world, but I don’t expect too much and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of reality thrown in to the mix anyway. I am who I am, some good, some bad, just like we all are. No, I’m not giving up anytime soon, I’m still teaching you, my boy, my darling boy.”

Deep sadness - old man [3]

Deep sadness – old man [3] (Photo credit: Zuhair Ahmad)

Haiku Heights – Ordinary

Sunshine

Sunshine (Photo credit: therealannogus)

She slips unnoticed

white gauze framing her pale face

against the window

*****

Sunshine, clouds and rain

bees buzzing, children laughing

celebrate today.

*****

Tell me your story

you are lovely and unique

as everyone is.

Blessed With An Ordinary (?) Day!

Hallelujah!!!  The thrill of an absolutely “normal,” uncomplicated day.  Abnormal,  for those of us who suffer from any chronic  illness.  The sun was shining and my aches and pain were minimal; I felt great and full of energy. It is a wonder to be me today. I happily went grocery shopping, bought exotic pluots (plums/apricots) ran into an old friend, so nice to see a familiar face,  chatted and hugged!  Drove to the Thrift Shop to see if  I could find cheap toys for my dog’s upcoming 9th birthday and also bought a soft-as-a-bunny mens 3x Tee-shirt to wear to bed.  Took my daughter, to the new friendly TD bank where we deposited all our coins into their new coin machine with great glee, and met the new Manager who smiled at us both and cheered us on. Scored a free  lime lollipop and a bright green pen. We left giddy with cash, smiling and laughing,  just the two of us.

When we came home from the bank we ate dinner.  Two tasteless macaroni and cheese (in my opinion ONLY) Weight Watcher meals and a huge salad, to which I added, red grapes, soft, silky avocado, bits of hard Jarlsberg cheese and baby carrots. My daughter had ranch dressing, I had bright orange Asian Sesame Ginger which came pouring out of the bottle at an alarming rate creating a huge orange puddle. Listened to Kansas on my computer “Carry On My Wayward Son”and emailed with a friend. Stroked my dog Callie’s soft fur, found out someone in our neighborhood was caught in a prostitution ring! So much happening in just one day, all my senses heightened, the sun, glowing brightly in the sky; or maybe it was just me?

A great day with a minimum of aches and pains, mostly my stiff shoulders and the small of my back but I can deal with that. Tested positive to the Thyroiditis Hashimoto’s antibody which I knew I had but somehow I felt reaffirmed. My mother e-mailed me the name of a chiropractor/homeopath person, forgetting that all these things require money we do not have. We have money issues to begin with but she meant well. You are your parent’s child forever.   The guru Dr. I see in the city is madly expensive but I have to see him every 3 months, there is no choice, we have to find the money for that!

After dinner, Jillian baked a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for her friend, Katie’s, birthday. I helped her with it and while I do not know that much about baking cakes I am good with functional and basic things, like getting the cake out of the pan. Showed Jillian my way of frosting the cake, with swirls, and it actually made her  seem in awe of me: “Wow, Mom you could be a professional baker.”   I felt like the Betty Crocker of the 21 st. century while my daughter looked on with great admiration. She’s 15 and a half, that was a rare and wonderful moment!

Do not overlook your “ordinary” days. Those of us who have few of them are delighted when it happens because it happens so rarely.  Enjoy shopping, going to the Post Office, driving to the library, all because you can and don’t complain. When these days occur to those of us with chronic illnesses, we do not complain; we celebrate. Here’s to Ordinary Days!