Thursday’s Thoughts

Rain

Rain (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn (back soon, sorry for not commenting))

The rain is dripping from the sky but the sound it makes, splashing across the window, is comforting. Talking (no texting) with my son makes me smile. My husband is doing day labor work for a friend, today he is a Plumber’s Assistant and he is proud. I am proud as well.

Yesterday I talked to my mother; when my mother feels scared she gets very nasty, especially to me. Why I am her whipping post I’m not sure, but I have to deal with it better than I do. It takes me 12 hours for me to get it right and she never remembers what she says. I should know that by now but while it happens I seem to forget it and regress.

My son is about to meet with the President of his University to go over the recommendation letter that the President is eager to write for him for Graduate School. My son is a rare combination of brains and sweetness.

My daughter is beautiful and brilliant, I had not viewed her as an adult until we visited her last week. She will always be my baby in my heart but seeing her in her suite with her friends made me look at her like an accomplished savvy adult. “My baby” is all grown up. I was always known as “the little one.”I would give up anything if only I could hear my father say it one more time, with just one more hug. I miss him.

Father & Daughter

Father & Daughter (Photo credit: Enigma Photos)

When I picked up my dog, Lexi, she ignored me. She would not look at me and hesitantly jumped in the car, not with the same excitement as usual. She did not give me kisses. Once inside the house, she sauntered over to her water bowl and drank it all up, not giving me so much as a glance. After a while, I went upstairs to lie on my bed where she always keeps me company; she hid under the bed. I just gave her space. I understand getting used to changes, I’m the same way.

In a couple of hours she warmed up and forgave me for leaving her at her favorite sitter’s house while we were away. She jumped on the bed, circled around until she found just the right spot, her body touching mine and fell soundly asleep. It was a very deep sleep, she sighed with relief, I felt her body relax, she was home, we were safe, then she gave me kisses.

 

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Happy Second Birthday, Lexi

2/16/14

Dear Lexi,  Happy 2nd Birthday.  I love you, sweetie-pie. What a good, good dog you are,  so cute and affectionate.Lexi1

You were a nasty, wild, hurtful puppy, weren’t you? Don’t look so sad, you didn’t know better. I know you are sorry. You were just an oral devil dog, digging those demon sharp puppy teeth into our arms and legs and clamping down. We probably tasted better than all the chew toys we bought you. Our welts gave you texture, right? Grandma kept telling us to “give you back” every single day but I couldn’t do that. Many trainers tried but they all said “You’ve got a really willful puppy there but if/when she grows out of it you’ll have a really great dog.”And, sweet girl that is who you have become.(Thank God)

At about eighteen months, from one day to the next while we were busy doing other things you became a dog, an amazing dog. One that cuddles and protects us, hugs us and plays with us. You are the dog we always wanted, we just needed to give you and ourselves a little more time.

It taught us all about being more patient, didn’t it?

Right now you are sleeping with your head on my knee, nuzzling, a part of you always has to be directly on me.  You know each member of the family so well. With Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain I do spend a lot of time in bed and that’s where you come, leaping on the bed, to be with me, happily. When “Dad” is around you get the leash, go to the front door, and start whimpering. You get instantly wild when your brother comes to visit, but we know he provokes you. He allows you to be wild, we don’t. Yes, I know, YOU are WAY cool when you rough house together.

Oh, but when your sister comes home from college you hear her parking her car and you run to the front door and start crying until she comes in.  Yes, our daughter, your sister, will kneel down to your level and you hug each other while you cover her with kisses. That picture of the two of you on the ground stays in my heart forever.

Have a Happy 2nd Birthday, thank you for choosing us at the shelter to be your family.Lexi2

Love, Mom

Diagnosis: Anxiety

Anxiety Always

Anxiety Always (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know that feeling in your stomach that makes your muscles clench but you don’t have a real stomach ache from eating too much and you don’t have a virus? That’s where anxiety starts for me. I’m literally writing this blog while having an anxiety attack and honestly, it’s not that easy to remain focused. Part of me thinks about throwing up but I’m trying to be calm, trying to breathe until I can’t do this any longer. I know you guys understand. That’s why I love blogging, for the people who read my blog. If you can’t relate to anxiety, I’m sure you can relate to other things I write about, humor, Pop Cop, my love of Food, Chocolate, Pizza (fine, with jam but only if the pizza is too dry) some of the ailments: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and having the energy of a dying tick. Actually, an ailing tick may have more energy than I do. I forgot a few other ailments like Imbalalnce and such but it’s pathetic enough as it is, I won’t bore you with more details. I bore myself as it is.

My husband and I are (and I hate these words) “empty nesters.” We’re also in the “sandwich generation” another over popular phrase that is used ad nauseum. Basically we are a married couple, we just celebrated twenty-five years of marriage and both our adult children are in college. I have my mom who is still alive and my husband has both parents alive and they still play tennis. Amazing.

Like many people my husband just got laid off from his job a few days ago. That’s stress provoking, people. He works doing computer stuff which is what I basically call it but it’s something like Software Product Development Management. I know nothing about it but if you do or know someone who might be able to help can you please have them get in touch with me?  I’ll send it to him and it would really be an act of incredible kindness, no matter where you live. In any case, I can’t change things, I try not to worry about them and in the end, things will turn out the way they are supposed to turn out.

About a week ago I had the mother of all anxiety attacks when my son turned 21, my husband lost his job and my mother, who was a little sad because all her friends were moving, decided that maybe she should consider moving too. It was a long day and a tough weekend.  We all know I’m not very good at change especially three changes in one day but after 24 hours I was much better. Breathe in, breathe out. Maybe that meditation class was worth the money after all.

I’m trying to do the best that I can, even writing this all down has helped me become last anxious. Having my dog Lexi, literally lying on my legs so I can’t move, her face close to me, makes me happy. From a crazy, wild puppy she has become an affectionate, loving girl dog. She knows that I need to lie down a lot and when I am home, she jumps up on the bed and cuddles with me.

The anxiety has lessened. I know there will be moments of panic but from now on, we have to take it step by step. I give thanks for what we still have. I will try to keep reminding myself of that, whatever happens will happen. Worrying about it won’t do me or anyone else any good. There’s a reason for everything and now we wait.

My Stubborn Mule

Bucket-headed dog

Bucket-headed dog (Photo credit: Paul Kidd)

The sun shines through the slated blinds on my red dog’s face. As much of a pain in the bleep she is, I can’t stop loving her. She’s my girl, Lexi, the one I rescued from the shelter and even though I can’t walk her (she is ridiculously strong) in public, she’s still mine. She PULLS me everywhere, I have to stay in my neighborhood. You wouldn’t believe how many times members of my extended “family” have told me to give her “back” or “give her away.” But there is no way I will do that, I can’t. I love her.

Admittedly she is one of the toughest dogs, strongest dogs I’ve ever known and on the advice of three, yes, three, dog trainers, they have all agreed she is a “wild one with a stubborn streak.” Frustrating? Yes. Do I love her less? No. I rescued her from the shelter when she was tiny, curled up in a little red ball, sound asleep and my heart fell in love immediately. This was MY dog. I played with her, she let me cuddle her, nothing could stop me from adopting this sweetheart.

Sometimes love is blind, we know that. And, admittedly, maybe I missed my dog Callie so much (she had cancer) that i didn’t give myself enough time to recover from that grief. I probably should have waited longer to adopt my puppy but I didn’t. That’s my fault, not hers. I needed to hear the sounds of a dog in the house, I missed them so much and I need to have a dog in my life. I have become a dog person, through and through.

I should have known, when she was the worst, evil puppy in the world, that she was Trouble. She would go after our hands, feet, like I would go after a chocolate layer cake, sink her sharp puppy teeth in and not let go. Screaming in pain, little” Honeybadger didn’t give care.” Her grip would tighten. She was a really difficult puppy but still I didn’t love her any less.

She will be two in February, February 16th, 2014. I’ve had people tell me that she will NOT slow down, not this dog. She is muscular (all muscle) and strong (like an ox) and she still pulls me around that I’m scared to go out with her. It doesn’t help that I am very weak and have no balance. We have about nine different collars, leashes and equipment and Ms. Stubborn defies the odds. But that’s okay.

I love her and I won’t give her up, I could never do that. She is my dog and when I have to take her to the vet I will ask someone to come out and get her since she loves going there and pulls me dangerously across the street. I will make compromises, she will not. She is sleeping on my bed now looking like an absolute dog angel. She doesn’t show affection very often but this is her way. She keeps me company, gives me kisses. She’s going nowhere except in my arms for a big hug. She is not an easy dog, for sure, but I love her, I picked her and she makes me laugh. Sometimes.

PS: Remember the book and movie “Marley and Me?” Marley is a sweet kitten compared to Lexi, I kid you not.

photo credit paul kidd

words copyrighted lf

I’m Cranky, No, I’m Sad, Whatever…..

Cottage in the Woods with Bluebonnets

Cottage in the Woods with Bluebonnets (Photo credit: Bill Gracey)

I want to slap people, well, not really.  I’m disappointed in people: in general and specifically and now there is nobody I want to be around except my auburn colored dog, Lexi.  It’s not as if anyone has done something horrendous but it seems a lot of people (okay, women my age) are going through a lot of “something-something” (as my friend Barbara would say) at the same time. Kind of a later mid-life crisis for women, different from when we turned 30 or even 40. This is worse, this is mid-life crisis on steroids or acid, maybe both.

Yup, I said it. First I just felt cranky and after a bit, I felt lonely. All along I thought those words were antonyms when in fact, they feel like synonyms today, they are definitely connected. I could blame these moods on a lot of things, certainly the beastly weather. This unbearable heat and humidity for the last week has everybody miserable but I think I would be doing myself a disservice. I’m not sure that answer would be entirely honest. It definitely has an impact on how I feel physically, Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups, IBS, not sleeping well, feeling out of sorts, all are true, but there’s definitely an emotional component as well.

I want to crawl and hide someplace where no one can find me. I want to be on a path, in the woods where I can find my peace, in Nature where nobody will hurt me, I trust animals, I don’t trust people; not anyone. Everyone’s history has its secrets, its shame, hurt, heartbreak. In nature there is innocence, love, and peacefulness. I want to move to a little red cottage in the woods somewhere where nobody can hurt me. Again.

Today is July 4th and here is one time where I want to be social and go to a barbecue. The one family who intimated they wanted us to come over apparently forgot, changed their minds or life got in their way. We’re not invited to anyone’s barbecue basically because every year my husband and I host the barbecue ( Thanksgiving,  parties etc). I’m tired of being taken advantage of and being the one that hosts the numerous meals for friends and my family. I’m right here, I’m not invisible, look at me. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it could be a pizza on paper plates, it’s the effort and the manners and the feeling of being wanted. I’m both cranky and and lonely, it’s a tough combination.

I told everyone at the last big gathering that “I’m now on strike.” So while I am fantasizing about a Hebrew National hot dog, sizzling on the grill, plumped to perfection and lying in a soft bun covered with mustard, I will be here trying to forget other people’s broken promises and talking myself down from being way too sensitive. Everything is alright, I have to make it alright, I have no choice.

There is only one thing that is a guaranteed fix. Works every time. (No, NOT drugs or alcohol ) The one movie I love more than life itself: The Sound Of Music. It fixes me, I can’t resist singing every song (knowing every word to every song) and relaxing while watching it. So, today while you are eating S’mores and drinking beer, sweating in the horrendous heat and humidity, I’ll be here, on my bed, in air-conditioned splendor singing along with Maria and the Von Trapp Family Singers with my dog Lexi, on my lap.

“She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Lexi”* Part 2

scaled

scaled (Photo credit: wader)

After you read the title, you may be humming a tune…I was. Because I sang that song all day, I wanted YOU to enjoy/suffer too. You are welcome.

After writing and posting “Weight Watchers https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/weight-watchers-for-dogs/ For Dogs”* Part 1, yesterday, my husband and I sat down to a humble dinner. Lexi had her (small) portion of dog food and hubby and I had scrambled eggs with cheese, ham and toast. With kids in college, dinner is SO much easier. I had a few bites left over and of course Lexi looked at me lovingly. Those big brown eyes pooling into liquid love, I stroked her red-auburn face. Sometimes, Lexi, with her coloring can look like a fox or a deer.

Then, I remembered that tomorrow was, the “weigh-in” and Lexi’s dreams of leftovers were over, “Sorry, Lex, not tonight, we have to go to Stephanie’s tomorrow”(emphasis on Stephanie) but I did save it for her and said if all went well, I would give it to her after the weigh in. They had made such a fuss that I had taken it seriously. I mean, honestly, it’s like umm, some people, yeah, people hiding that Almond Joy or Kit Kat in the back of their bedside drawer for when they really want it, hypothetically of course. I mean, I really wouldn’t know, why would I? Right?

We drive to the vet and for some unexplained reason Lexi adores going there. I have no idea why. Callie, my first dog, used to hate it. Lexi, drags me there (literally) and to my embarrassment pulls me so hard that we pass the vet’s office door and they all see me through the glass door being dragged by Lexi who I could NOT control. I was mortified. When I finally enter, the Doctor, who I refer to as Slick, and the office staff are laughing and making remarks, and I just keep my head low. The Vet says “Having fun out there?” and they all giggle while I decide to inspect the zipper on my winter jacket very carefully.

Lexi is incredibly strong and strong-willed and all the things I taught her in the past, seem to have been forgotten. Enough said. They take Lexi back and she is walking like an angel (NOT pulling the vet technician), I buy the heart worm medicine and the receptionist calls back to have them weigh Lexi for the correct pill (done by the dog’s weight.)HA! The moment I’ve been waiting for.

Lydia says she weighs 35 lbs and she’s GAINED 10 lbs in a month.. WHAT? Not a chance. I know my dog. She is sleek, not an ounce of fat, in fact she may be so skinny she couldn’t be a super model anymore (okay, that ‘s a little extreme.) Most of you know, I’m not demure in situations where I think my dog or family member, friend or I have been wronged. (I’m a Libra) I raise my voice and say “That can’t be, You MUST be wrong.” Stephanie comes out, THE STEPHANIE, Weight Watcher Leader For Dogs and I said, “Stephanie, she was 45 lbs. last time.” ‘Oh, Steph said, casually, “I guess it wasn’t recorded but she looks really good.”

The excitement and pride I felt were gone. Lexi didn’t even get a sticker or a lollipop (oh right that used to be my kids when they were little) I didn’t get one either. They didn’t even care enough to write down the last weight?! I told Lexi we both had done a great job, took two, okay three, low-fat biscuits from the jar, (for future training) and headed home, AND she didn’t even pull me (hard.) I warmed up the leftover eggs from the night before and the toast and gave it to Lexi. I don’t care what the vet’s office thought, I know she deserved a treat.

*WW for dogs, a Parody*She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Lexi*Parody

If I Were an Animal

cute dog on table

cute dog on table (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Pedigrees Need Not Apply

Without a doubt I’d be a dog, but not just anyone’s dog, but my dog. A dog in my family is loved beyond reason, is treated with kisses and hugs and table treats and secret snacks. She is adored, deeply, fully; we go on walks, we play games in the back yard; I warm my feet underneath her body when she lies on the bed with me. We have a pretty albeit small home, we feel safe here together. My dog, Callie, gives back every ounce of love she gets and more. Every time one of us walks in the front door she is so happy to see us that she gives kisses and hugs and licks; there’s always a celebration at our house. A celebration of love and yes, she gets a small birthday party every single year that my daughter and I throw along with our neighbors. My husband and son are no longer even INVITED.

Besides, the dog and I have a secret promise together, something only we know. I promised never to leave her, ever, but also, not to let her suffer terribly in pain down the road. We will make decisions together, she and I, and that I will be with her, looking into her beautiful velvet eyes, as the last person she sees, the person who loved her the most.

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What Makes Me Cry

old dog

Imagining myself in the future with my old dog, in the veterinarian’s office. My dog is older than she is now and very sick. She can’t be cured and paying thousands and thousands of dollars for treatments that will just prolong her pain and make her suffer is not what I want for her. It’s been hard enough to look at her these last few months and hear her whimper in pain, I cannot see my beloved dog suffer. I made a promise to her. They are ready to put her down, that’s the easiest, kindest way of saying it, I know. The vet and his assistant said I could wait outside, that it would be easier for me but I know in my heart I can’t do that. I adopted this puppy when she was six weeks old and she looked into my eyes then, wide eyes with expectation and she crawled on my lap, snuggled and never left. I promised her I would never leave her; how can I leave her now when she needs me the most? I’m sobbing but I go inside the office and I go around to her head and look into her eyes and tell her how much I love her and how much joy she has brought into my life. “My girl, my sweet girl” I whisper between my tears, ” I love you so much.” The vet looks at me and asks me if it’s okay to inject the needle into the IV. Part of me wants to scream “no!” but I have no choice, it’s time. I don’t want my dog to suffer anymore; we have been suffering together for a while now. I nod my head and it only takes moments before she inhales deeply and then is silent, her body still, frozen. I break down and sob hysterically and they let me have a moment alone with her. I’ve never loved an animal like I have loved this dog. She was my girl, my baby and I feel lost without her. I made a promise that I would not let her suffer and while I know logically that I did the right thing, my heart has been shattered and I feel overwhelming sadness and pain. I’ve truly lost my best friend, and it’s killing me.

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Birthday Sunshine

 

Red rose

Image via Wikipedia

 

Today is my 54th birthday and while I have never been ashamed of my age it’s still new to my lips and tongue. It also means I have to change the Hibernationnow home page because there it says I’m 53.  I had no expectations for today, even though I dearly love birthdays. This year, however,  with so much on my mind, with so many questions left unanswered, so much uncertainty: unemployment, health issues, etc. I woke up not with excitement but with a small, soft smile.  I slept until 9:20 am, went downstairs for a giant birthday bear hug from my husband and an extra-strong cup of coffee.

I got morning birthday calls from my mother and my sister which is a family tradition but I still thought of the annual red rose that my father used to give me every year on my birthday when he was alive.  For once, I did not need a “sign” or a “message” from him because even though he died 8 years ago, I knew that I was still in his heart and he in mine. Maybe being a year older brought me some much needed wisdom.

I went out to lunch with my friend Sarah at our favorite diner and we laughed and shared stories and commiserated about colleges for our seniors. Before we left she handed me my gift, a gift that I would have picked out for myself (and almost did). A beautiful silver star fish on a chain that made me gasp with happiness and surprise. It was a piece of the beach and the ocean that I dearly love, now wrapped around my neck.

I took my dog, Callie, for a birthday walk, just my sweet canine girl and me. We walked under the gorgeous sunshine,  the red and yellow leaves blazing on the trees. The air was warm and smelled like pumpkins and I relished the 75 degree weather birthday treat. When my kids and husband came home there were hugs and kisses, gifts and happy voices, mine being the happiest of all. I opened presents from my son, my daughter and my husband and cards and well wishes from so many friends. I felt truly blessed; I am truly blessed.

The day ended with a surprise delivery of flowers from an old, lost friend, and dinner consisting of  filet mignon, a chopped salad and pumpkin spice cake with ginger mousse for dessert. Even though I am 54 I  was happy and excited that the waitress brought it over singing “Happy Birthday” with a candle  to blow out and a wish to keep in my heart.

Those 3AM Monsters

I am trying to picture a small, clear glass bowl filled to the top with plump blueberries sprinkled lightly with sugar.  The color, taste and texture of a red-green mango ripened to perfection. I am trying to remember the rare moments in time that life feels perfect. The moon making my bedroom alight as if someone forgot to turn off the downstairs lamp. The first smell of spring after an especially long winter.

When I cannot sleep, like last night between 3am and 6am,  I tried to remember things that make me happy. It doesn’t help me fall asleep but once in a while it fights off the anxiety that lurks in my stomach and slows down the racing of confused mind; I wish I could tell you it worked last night but it didn’t. Nothing did.

Everything seems worse at 3am, doesn’t it? The bed is lumpy and the pillows are too hot, I turn them over and around but nothing works, they are either too plump or not plump enough. Sometimes I take my hand and try to finger the softness of my pink and beige fuzzy blanket, thinking that may calm me down, but no luck.  I reach across the bed to where my husband sleeps and I take my hand and try to wrap it around his arm or lay it on his back; but even that reassurance does not help me chase the terrors away

In the past when I could not sleep I would take my flashlight and sneak down the uneven, noisy, stairs and my dog would follow me. Every time she sees me get up from bed with a flashlight she knows it’s snack time and she joins me; she is my snack buddy. It’s our own little secret and everything I taste, I give her half. A slice of hard salami, a digestive cookie, a slice of sharp orange cheddar cheese, toast with butter. I like our time together, my dog and I. We are both getting older and yet it affects me more to see her almost- white chin, than any wrinkles I may have gathered on my cheeks. I watch my best friend try and jump on my bed and I know it is not as easy as it was when she was much younger. She is turning nine on March 1st and I worry about that too.

Without the sleep I so desperately need everything is dark black and I still feel scared. Breathing exercises don’t work, counting backwards from 5,3066 does not work. I feel frightened and  confused and at 3 in the morning every thought or fear that I have are magnified one hundred percent.  I am anxious, I worry about little things that I need to do, not that they are difficult, just that I have not done them. Everything balloons up with intensity and my body flips from side to side to see if I can find comfort in a different part of the bed, deeper in or throwing off the blankets or taking my night-shirt off.

Children know all about the monsters in the dark. As parents we sweep closets and look under the bed with flashlights and leave a light on in the hall or a nightlight in the corner of a room. We will do anything and everything to make our child feel safe, comforted, cherished and loved. Grown-ups don’t have the privilege of people taking care of us. There is no one to sweep under the beds for us or shout random phrases for the monsters to flee.

We cannot be so easily reassured. We suffer through the hours, the minutes, the seconds, it takes for our brains to slow down; until we are so over- tired that we drift off to sleep without the comfort of knowing it.