so, so tired i’m not looking at the keyss

this is one of those random, no punctuation, stream of consciousness blog posts that i sometimes do with my eyes closed. thanks to my junior high school teacher who taught me how to type and bribed me with multi colored jelly beans.

A bunch of Jelly Belly jelly beans resting com...

mu head is back lying on the pillow and i just finished a lot for dessert, chocolate covered cherry and small lorna dunes.. i am so tired that mh ehes are thickenening with sleep and conjuring up stories’\\that make no sense. christopher robbin and winnie the pooh, a sinister man in a closet and in the background thart i can’t see but i can hear is the ocean, roaaring with an forceful tide.

i know i love the ocean so it doesn’t scare me at all//. tomorrow my baby girl of 20 comes home i can’t wait, her brother coming home on saturday i think. i have to rememver  the  3 day adjustment period we went through over thanksgiving that i totally forgot about. this time, prepared, maybe it won’t happen. i long to see them sometimes, my heart aches and yet  dan and i are happy to be alone together which is nice.

another year ending, i won’t be wsorry to see it end, it was a rather tough year but i i guess we didn’t notice that when you re young but, likr s rainbow after a thunderous cloud and rain storm, we get through the storms, one afrer another yet the rainbows are hard to find now.  rainbows are very rare, but if one day you see one it will stayu with you forever.

i’m tired so i need to go to sleep on my newly washed old flannel sheets that i haven’t used in yers.they have a dog and cat pattern on them and they are cheerful. they have been sitting in my closett scrunched in a ball,aching to be used. i thought theyw ould be too warm for mme…what on erth was i thinking? maybe that was pre fibromyalgia or pree aging but to me now they are a gift of softneww. i rub my feet against their  velvety surface.

now i must go, my eyes will remain shut. i will open them just to shut down the computer to turn off my pjone and my bedside light. i’m looking forward to putting m y head on my dancing dogs and cats pillow aand tht first cup of my morning strong cup of coffee with cocoa powder mised in. anothers night brings nother day. there’s hope.

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One Ex-Hippie Trying To Say Good-Bye

Dear Fellow Aging Hippies,

It’s only my opinion and mostly it’s a lesson I need to learn myself but I think our time has come and gone, forever. It’s a tough thing to admit, believe me, I know. Maybe, it’s time for us aging Baby Boomers to finally accept it and let the new generation take over the world instead of us reminiscing about “The Beatles and Peace, Love, and Rock n’ Roll.” As special as it was for those of us in that generation it is time  all of us to move on, to look forward and not behind.

Painted Hippie Bus

Painted Hippie Bus (Photo credit: terbeck)

You’re talking to someone who has fought this for a very long time. I confess. I was born in 1956 and while I missed the really good stuff like Woodstock I still claimed fame to being a Baby Boomer and all the power the name itself implied. Sure, my kids grew up on The Beatles, CSN and Y, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens and the Rolling Stones but I am still playing that very same music today. Somehow it seems wrong. We are way too old for that now.Will I change my music listening preferences? Hell, no.

That’s the hard part. Figuring out what to do now. Most of us can’t retire yet, a lot of us have been laid off but still need money coming into the house, to pay many bills. How are we going to do that? We have no idea and it’s not for lack of trying either. There are no jobs around, at least for us and we will move anywhere.

My children are in their twenties, it’s their time. I don’t care if they have a special name or a title ( Gen X, Y, Z? ) but their generation is having its time now. We need to start thinking not about where to retire but how to have enough money to get through the next ten years to be able to retire if we are lucky enough to do so.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t want to move twice. These cold, harsh winters are killing me, I have a list of maladies as long as the East Coast, so I’d prefer to live someplace warm but it’s not exactly easier to find work there. We’re trapped, right where we are, unemployed, and passed over, like yesterday’s mail tossed and disregarded in a pile of junk.

English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arr...

English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arrive in New York City in 1964 Français : Photographie de The Beatles, lors de leur arrivée à New York City en 1964 Italiano: Fotografia dei Beatles al loro arrivo a New York City nel 1964 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time for our sons and daughters to take over the world, we are the leaders no longer. They haven’t yet set us to pasture, we have a little wiggle room, but we are closer to the end then we are to the beginning. Does that feel good? No, it certainly doesn’t. The days turned into years turned into decades, flashing before our eyes as if we stood still and the world moved at a rapid pace around us.

We didn’t realize it was happening until it was over.  When you are young and married you are so involved with your young children and family and play dates and school plays you don’t have time to really hold on to those special moments for too long. Because all the moments are special. Now they are memories, enjoy them.

It’s a rite of passage we all go through. It’s how you look at life that will give you a positive or negative outlook, the choice is totally up to us. I’m not saying it’s easy. Believe me, it isn’t, but realistically we have no choice, no choice at all. Acceptance is a good way to start.

Love

Love (Photo credit: aftab.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy

Physical and Emotional EnergyScreen Shot 2014-01-20 at 10.59.05 AM

Energy, or lack thereof, is one of the main complaints of all the varied yet connected physical illnesses I have. I honestly don’t remember what energy feels like anymore, except for the brief time when I was on Prednisone. I felt half my age and filled with methamphetamines. The world looked bright, I appreciated every second of being in that world, I felt grandiose, I was so happy to have this reprieve to what I perceived as “back to normal.”

When I had to taper down slowly I understood that this was not a drug to take for a long time. But, I distinctly remember when the drug disappeared from my body. Similar to the colorful, glorious leaves in Autumn slipping slowing to the ground until none were left… .. I looked up and saw only dry, miserable lonely branches. I remember specifically the day that the medicine left my body completely, I put my head in my arms and sobbed. There was an old movie called “Cocoon,” where elderly people were given the gift of youth for a short time, their bodies replenished, their illnesses healed, their faces back to their youthful selves. They seemed so happy until the potion wore off.

Of course the potion wore off, doesn’t it always? Aging is inevitable, loss of hearing, sight, lack of energy. I have been without that energy, that youthful quality for over seven years now but not just from aging gracefully, I could handle that. I am lying in bed with my back twisted, the heating pad behind me, feeling quite sorry for myself for actually being disappointed that I had to cancel a dentist appointment because of back pain. If that’s not pathetic, what is? It was a place to go, to get out of bed, leave the house and drive, to talk to new people, nice people, unknown people.Who understands this except other people with these disorders?

I blame my Thyroid (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) and Fibromyalgia for my lack of energy yet I blame the nasty, hateful people around me for draining me, for stripping me of happy energy for my soul. They are not to blame, however, I blame myself for allowing them to do that. I control me. This is my responsibility, not their responsibility. Let them rip each other apart if they want to, I don’t have to be involved with it anymore. That is my choice.

I will control whatever energy I have left. Physically and Spiritually.

LAF Photography

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Sad Saturday

*In The Early Morning RainIMG_0430

It’s 12:33 in the morning and I’m eating Froot Loops, with some mini Shredded Wheat and a bunch of blueberries tossed in that lack flavor. The rest of the family is doing a volunteer ambulance run and while they are helping people I know the roads are slick, black ice lurks sneakily in the dark.

I have felt totally listless all day and night. I lack energy and for the past seven years of having Fibromyalgia, this chronic pain-in-the-ass illness, I feel my whole body and mind stuck in a ditch, in neutral, spinning my wheels, going nowhere. I stay in my light, colorful, flowered patterned pajamas all day, I don’t even have the energy to change much less go out. My nose is stuffy, I ache all over, I am a floppy “Raggedy Ann” doll without her cheerful smile.  I feel older than the old person I am. There is no energy within me. None. The word “lethargic” sums it up well.

Who am I and who am I not?  Or, are the physical limitations and limited time having energy really getting to me? Of course, this horrid, freezing cold winter never helps me, it makes everything worse. Every year I start the same sob story about wanting to move to Florida or California, maybe even Arizona. I say it every year but we are still here in a very COLD town on the East Coast. I don’t fit in but at 57, that is the very least of my problems. The divider here is youth and money, lots of money. I lack both.

I need to go to sleep soon, my eyes are just about closing, my tummy is full with children’s cereal and sugary milk to slurp from the light green ceramic bowl.  I love these bowls, I have them in all different colors, they make me happy each time I use one. I take a few delicately pale pistachio nuts from a bag that is already open. Food is very important to our family, especially to me. It is imperative that we like our dinners especially on Sundays.

While my husband is unemployed, we deny our pleasure of going out to eat except for special occasions. Generally we eat scrambled eggs with cheese, and toast, my home-made pea and lentil soups, with a loaf of French bread, my husband’s eggplant parmigiano, chicken in the slow-cooker, lots of pasta, salads. We will go out only once to say good-bye to our son, heading back to college. I am not good at good-byes. It’s easier for me to leave than to be left. It’s one thing I can’t change, I’ve tried. Now, I accept it and my family accepts it too.

I’m humming the tune that is in my mind, the one that is the title of this essay. It is soothing to me, I’ll try to attach it here for you. Good night everybody. Thanks for sticking with me on this cold, dreary night, while the rain pelts down on the windows.

Photo credit: LAF 2014

 

Haiku Heights: Grey

A Macedonian girl in a traditional folk costume

A Macedonian girl in a traditional folk costume (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grey clouds, sniff contempt

from tan, crisp, chicken-fry, skin

We belong here too.

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Silver specks of light

pop, electrify, brown hair

Proud of who I am.

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Love, innocence, light

warm eyes see goodness, not grey

lips smiling, sweet one.

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Carry on Tuesday: The long and winding road…..

English: Opuntia macrocentra, Jardín de Cactus...

English: Opuntia macrocentra, Jardín de Cactus, Guatiza, Lanzarote, Spain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can’t be perfect all the time. I thought I had to try to be in the past as a child. Now I don’t. No one is perfect. Like recently pressing the Publish key first instead of the Save key. It’s okay. Really, nobody cares and if I care (that first audible intake of breath) it’s a waste of my time. My life. I’m not going there. Not ever again. It won’t come automatically, that’s okay.

I will be nicer to myself and easier on myself and everyone else too. Hey,  I don’t know how much longer I have on this earth or how much longer anyone else has. I just won’t care as much, not as intensely, maybe you learn that with age or being hurt or just choosing not to care anymore. I wish I had known that thirty years ago but you learn when you truly need to learn, when it is crucial.  I want to surround myself with those that love me and simplify my life, positive people. I want to subtract, without drama, the negative people.  It’s initially hard to accept when you’re in the middle of some dreaded tsunami and you are swept up but when things finally settle down, you learn. I’ve learned to inhale on one, hold, exhale on two. Repeat as needed. There’s always a way to work things out, always. I’ve found that out with family, it’s not what it used to be but it works. Will everybody be 100 percent happy? Probably not but if we are all 75 percent happy it’s a good deal.

While traveling I’ve always taken the direct route to get from here to there.  The direct route is simple and less risky. But, I am learning to take some risks even if it feels uncomfortable at first. It should feel uncomfortable, you should wriggle around with a few pangs of anxiety and then….then you grow and learn. I have decided that from now on I am taking the long and winding road, to make detours, to appreciate beauty in its simplicity. That’s what adventure and growing are all about. Taking a chance and growing up. Taking the direct route, as I have done, is the easy way but it feeds on your insides and makes you feel used and destroyed, and hurt. All I needed to do was say “no” and step back. Firmly. It’s been a long journey and it isn’t over yet, I’m sure.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, we keep learning. Sometimes it’s painful, most times it’s uncomfortable to do something completely different from what you have done for your whole life. I tried it on for size, I moved my body around, adjusting my skin as if it was attached directly with a sharp, silver needle to every cell, like the pricks of a cactus. It poked, it prodded and I learned to work with it, not against it. In the end, not only was it comfortable but it made me shine, from the inside out.

Carry On Tuesday – The Best Is Yet To Be (A True Story)

Death

Death (Photo credit: tanakawho)

I’m a woman in my mid-fifties now. When I was younger I lived in Boston by myself in a studio apartment; my best friend lived in the same building. We both worked, we ate out every night, we laughed a lot.We were both financially independent, we paid our own bills and ate a lot of Bailey’s vanilla hot fudge sundaes with whipped cream and extra cherries. We shopped often so we could get the Clinique cosmetic bonus at one of the large retail stores.We waited on the Boston streets, Saturdays, late at night, for The Boston Globe and The New York Times to be delivered. My best friend turned out to be a very sick woman with many psychological issues that I put up with until she started lying to me and that I wouldn’t accept, I couldn’t. We barely spoke after that. It took many years for me to see her as fragile and flawed and emotionally damaged instead of holding on to my anger and her betrayal.

I got married when I was 31 to a man I had known my whole life. We fit together like a pair of tan silk gloves, holding hands. We came from the same background, our parents were friends; our wedding was small, outside in Boston, at the Boston’s Women’s City Club, both sets of parents and siblings were there to take part in the ceremony. It was October and the weather was very warm and sunny and it felt like late June.

We struggled to have children for two and a half years of grueling infertility treatments. I was depressed, running my life on automatic pilot: to the clinic at 6:30 am for shots, blood work, ultra-sounds; I then drove to work, sometimes I had to go back to the clinic at night. My goal in life was always to be a mother and I was heartbroken. Finally, one glorious day, I found out that I was pregnant, I felt it before any blood test could confirm it. That was one of the happiest moments of my life, it was 20 years ago.

I gave birth to our son and a year later I felt the same calmness in the shower when my husband told me of recent break-ins in the neighborhood, I smiled.  I felt peaceful and unfazed; I got dressed quickly, grabbed my baby boy and headed to the pharmacy for pregnancy tests. I was thrilled, no fertility treatments needed; my body had fixed itself. In the hottest days at the end of July, I gave birth to a baby girl. Life was complete.

We moved to a tiny house in New York to be closer to family, as soon as we moved, my father became ill, seriously ill. Life plays tricks on us all the time; we had moved so we could have a support system and help yet by the time we got there we were the ones that were helping my parents. It was a lesson to be learned and for others to learn. Don’t move FOR other people, people will always change their minds or their plans or they will move on themselves. Life will make changes for you whether you plan for it or not.

My father was ill for a long time, physically and mentally; he was very, very depressed. The things that had made him so happy in the past left him untouched. His joy of life, for the little things, for food and music and Viennese waltzes were now annoyances. My father died many months before his actual physical death. He died the night we went to dinner together because my mother asked me for help so she could go out with her friends, she needed a break. I went to dinner with my dad, now a stranger to me, we shared a creamy risotto, one of his favorite dishes, and a small, crispy iceberg salad, we drank tap water. There was no light in his pale blue eyes, he was no longer there although he could carry on a conversation very adeptly. I drove him home to his apartment, I convinced him to play “Der Fledermaus” on his turntable, his favorite music that used to blast from the stereo all the way down the hall when I was young. He played it, for me, but he didn’t want to. I even asked him to dance which he did begrudgingly for about ten seconds. He stopped abruptly and said to me: “When you leave here, be happy.” My father died, for me, at that moment. I left after that, he urged me to go, and I leaned against the wall outside, doubled over with pain and grief, my body wracked with sobs. He died six months later, on New Year’s Eve, a day before my parents’ wedding anniversary.

I grieved for years, I still grieve. I was especially close to the father that I grew up with, similar in nature and temperament. I was left with a sister and a mother who were very close and who had no understanding of who I was and how I felt. I was left out, I still feel that way sometimes but it just doesn’t matter anymore. My children were still little when my dad died but they saw their mommy who stayed in bed and cried all the time. My son, years later, said he thought ‘I would always be that way’; his sweet, honest observation made me feel worse. My children are now 17 and 19, my husband and I proudly watched our son graduate from high school last year and we will watch our daughter graduate from high school this year.

When my children were little, in third grade and second, I surprised them with a puppy. A sweet ball of fur from the shelter, only six-weeks old. The most well-behaved dog you can imagine, demure and cuddly who wanted nothing more than to sit in my lap and sigh with contentment. Earlier this month I gave her a big tenth birthday party as I have every year, with my daughter and our friends Margaret and Christina; I even bought hats and paper plates. I took photographs of us.

It’s been only two weeks but now she is dead. I brought her in to the veterinarian because she yelped softly twice but otherwise seemed fine. I felt silly bringing her in to the veterinarian but I did anyway. He examined this perfectly looking dog and said “I feel something.” He kept her there all day for an X-ray and blood tests and I called later that afternoon for the results.

He scheduled her for surgery, the following day, she had a mass on her spleen and he would have to take her spleen out but, as he said, “dogs can live a good life without a spleen….if it wasn’t cancer.” Cancer?  We brought her in to surgery and I kissed her a lot and put my arms around her and whispered secrets to her. Later that afternoon, the veterinarian called, the cancer had spread to 75 percent of her perfect tan, black and white body. He advised and we agreed that we did not want our dog to suffer. Our dog died that day. I had to tell my children and our friends, between sobs and my grief. This was my dog. I picked her out from the shelter, she was my girl. I still cry, I still think I hear her in the house, I wait for her when I unlock the door….

As you get older in life you will have experienced great joy: college and dating, relationships, marriage, children, jobs, pets. They say “the best is yet to be” but I can’t believe that. I wish I thought that there were better things ahead for me in this world but I can’t possibly imagine what they would be. I’m sure there will be moments of joy here and there, but so too, there will be more sickness and death and grief and getting older. I had the best of times, now, I just have the memories.

The Map To Nowhere Fast

Chronic pain

Image via Wikipedia

I have a weird feeling of unrest and stress, slimy blue- green and flourescent orange winding its way around my brain is how I picture it, how I feel it. No soothing colors of white and yellow and beige. Fake colors, unnatural.  I frown more than I smile and as hard as I am trying to focus on the positive it’s not easy. There is so much going on in my life that it’s hard to focus. I don’t think it’s just me though, I think it’s a lot of people.  It’s a feeling, not a good one, somewhere between the roads of anxious and depressed, stopping at weary.

There are natural disasters all over the world and I am sure we all feel, not only heartbroken for other people, but scared. There is too much sinewy stuff whirling around and no happy place to settle. What happened to my “happy place” images? Why am I only seeing the rain battering the purple flowers instead of the blooming of the flowers alone.

There is tension inside my house, we are in “the sandwich generation” that I used to read about. It isn’t fun, it’s scary. The “baby boomers” who have restless teenagers and aging parents who are alone or ill or depressed. I am that “baby boomer” now except I have the added affliction of my own “chronic pain.” Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis do not do me any favors, I walk along slowly, painfully, I stumble through different medications and expectations. Very low expectations.

I also have narrow-angled glaucoma which is a dangerous disease or as one unfriendly opthalmologist put it “you could go blind in an instant.” Quite a bedside manner, don’t you think? Needless to say, I stopped going to him. It’s funny that I barely write about this condition, maybe it’s pure, frigid fear. Maybe there is only so much pain I can handle. My brain and eyes get hammered, with laser shocks, every few months by a doctor that I once believed was very good. I don’t think so anymore. “In twenty years of practicing, I’ve never had a patient whose eyes kept closing up like yours do.”  Every time I go to the city he lasers my eyes again, because the hole he drilled into me has closed. He does this procedure either in his office or in the hospital with no pain relief; imagine barbed wire going through your eyes and brain, quickly, twenty or thirty times in a row. The eye drop he casually puts in gives me incredibly painful headaches (migraines?) I do know that the pain I feel is barbaric, no pain medications, no anesthesia, no break. Over and over again; fast and furious.

The gray, dreary day does not help me since I feel overwrought and unfocused. I am dealing with both chronic pain, (Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) and new back pain that feels like my back bent and broke itself during sleep like a twisted pretzel you find in any mall. I am trying to accept my life for what it is, both bad and good, often simultaneously. Change is in the air like a dog-sniffing a new scent, it’s just hard to predict when and where things will happen.

I read an article in the NY Times today about a young couple with a young daughter. Each parent has cancer. That, is a problem I say to myself, not the dreary workings of an often too-emotional, anxious and pain- filled mind. I am so sorry Nathan and Elisa. You and your baby have my prayers because perspective is the greatest gift of all. I will speak no more.

A Love Letter To My Dog

 

Bernese Mountain Dog, puppy, 7 weeks old

Image via Wikipedia

 

Dear Callie,

I adopted you from the Briarcliff ASPCA  animal shelter 8 years ago. When I arrived,” just to look”, the manager of the shelter was cuddling two tiny puppies, one on each side of her cheeks. She told me that they never got puppies but you and your sister had just been returned by a man who adopted you at 5 weeks old. He returned after a week to drop you and your sister off because “you were too much trouble.” What did he expect from two 5 week old puppies? You and your sisters and brothers were rejected by your mother who was very tired after having given birth a few years in a row and she would not nurse you. I’m sure in my own psychological, baby heart I related to you, having been born 6 weeks prematurely and in the Neonatal department of the hospital for 5 weeks, away from my own mother. I wanted to save you, to save myself.

You and your sister,  tiny,  black with white and tan spots were handed to me as I sat myself down on the cold, gray concrete floor. You fit into the palm of one hand. One of you ran around, eating electrical wires and trying to escape; the other one walked more tentatively and curled up in  the center of my lap. It was love at first sight. I admit, the other dog was more confident and feisty and she probably would have had fun riding in the car, unlike you.  But, we all know that I’m a softie and when the tiny fluff ball that was you crawled in my lap and sighed with contentment, I did too. We were made for each other, Cal.

When the kids came home from school, in 3rd and 4th grade, you were so tiny that they first thought you were a hamster. For the first week or two I slept downstairs with you on the sofa bed and I treated you as if you were a newborn baby. When you cried I held you, when you whimpered I soothed you and I put a stuffed animal in your crate and the sound of a ticking clock to simulate a heartbeat. You were never a dog that needed to be walked continously you preferred to be at home, safe in our tiny house that was always filled with warmth and lots of love.

You are a natural-born charmer.When we eat dinner you stay near me and you rest your soft, silky neck right on my knee. Oh, you’re a spoiled dog, but you don’t whine or beg, you just look at me tenderly, licking your lips, knowing I will surrender eventually. Who can resist your warm brown dog eyes, the way your fur is outlined  so it looks like you are wearing permanent eye liner. I covet your really long eye lashes that dip and curl.  You eat everything, and you especially love Lorna Doone‘s, spaghetti sauce and blueberries. You’re not a fan of broccoli or pretty much any vegetable that’s not covered in cheese sauce. But, I admit, you eat more things than my two teenage children combined.

I love you, Callie. You are so important to our family; you always have been. The kids used to lie on their stomachs with one arm around you and talk. My son would confide in you when he was furious, my daughter still whispers her secrets in your silky ears. I never knew the meaning of unconditional love before you joined our family. Your fur has white and gray in it now, and you jump more tentatively but that’s alright. We will love you as long as you are with us and long afterwards too.