Haiku Horizons, #45 Just

Just, Right, Fair, Peace, Trust

World upside down, bloody mess

No senseless killings.

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Measure, Love and Hope

Just in time, align with God

We give gratitude

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Sun, honey dripping

Vacation, just for me, you

Cleanse our inner souls.

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Dear Daddy,

I’ve meant to write you for a couple of days but now I NEED to write you. You were always there for me when times were tough, especially when times were tough. You were the only person who really knew me because our personalities were so similar.

I know I’m just having a very bad day and they happen from time to time but this one is unusual. I feel like I’m getting beaten up by everybody

and I don’t know why. I don’t have you here to defend me or to want to get back at the people who are making me sad. I do know that if you could, you would although I’m not so sure you would defend mom.

No matter what she did, you defended her but her tone today, I know, you would have been the one to say “take it easy” and she would have listened. Her ordering me around like she is the commander and I’m the soldier was horrible. Something is not right. Does she think that the holiday season is only hard on her?

Losing Lola and Don and Ellen were tragic losses, believe me, I know. I went to the funerals of two of them with her. Anna went to one of them so she was always supported. There’s not much else anyone can really do. Both Emma and I call her every day, she boasts about that to her friends but sometimes  it seems I can do nothing right. At least that’s how it feels to me.

I’m not in their club of two, my sister and mom, they are so similar and our club, you and me, doesn’t exist anymore, talk about grief. Yes, I know it’s a rough time of year, with you dying on New Year’s Eve

and you and mom’s anniversary on New Year’s Day! Not such good timing, Dad. I  remember our last Christmas but the grief comes back in waves of sadness and anger. You should be here, playing Santa and ringing the stupid bell you always rang. If only you could come back for just one minute to ring that bell and to give me a hug that I so desperately need from you now.

Well, the day is almost over, I’m hiding in my bedroom, yeah I know, not the right solution but that’s okay, I just need a little time to myself. Your granddaughter is out having fun and your grandson will be home tomorrow. At the moment he is the one worrying because, like me, he is so intuitive and he heard my voice on the phone. I know I worry too much, oh stop laughing, but I try not to do that. I can’t help it if I read headlines and get scared. As most parents, I worry about my children.

You know I love you, of course you do, thank you for the signs you send me (I could use one soon, please.) Do I wish you a Merry Christmas in Heaven? It’s been so many years  you would think my grief would have mellowed but today it is raw. I don’t understand that at all.

I’m going to play some music now and settle down, I know I’ll be fine in a few minutes. You know I’ll be fine, I always remember what you and Mom said: “That beneath the mushiness, deep down, I am steel” and I know that’s true. I’ve had to be many times in my life. I love and miss you so much but I am glad you are not in pain anymore, that’s for sure. Say hi to Lore for me, quite a prank she pulled on us at her funeral. It seems like Diane and I both thought we were the sole “Augusta.” Only Lore could get away with that. Please tell her I miss her too, I really do.

All my love,

Your little mouse

PS The dog just pushed the door open, jumped up on the bed and kissed my whole face which she generally doesn’t do. She knew I was sad, I feel better already.

At The Movies Or In Real Life

I wanted to have an old-fashioned cry. Long and hard, wailing, sobbing, letting all my feelings out but I couldn’t even do that. I put on the movie “Beaches” my past cry-your-heart-out movie that used to have me in tears, my guaranteed tear- jerker and while I was as Babs would say “verklempt” I had no tears.  Nothing, no sobbing, no release, “bupkes.”

Cover of "Beaches (Special Edition)"

Cover of Beaches (Special Edition)

Now, not only was I disappointed but I was cranky as well. What the heck happened to me?

I was more interested in the different styles of cars and clothing than the actual premise of the movie. I loved Bette Midler then and  actually I love her more now. Barbara Hershey kept me fascinated only because I couldn’t remember if she was dead or alive but I did remember that her lips, at one time, had grown larger or had doubled in size.  Allegedly.

I think one main reason that I didn’t cry was unfortunately, life has toughened me up quite a bit.  I’m a lot older now then when I saw this movie and things like that really seemed to be out of the ordinary, way back when. It was shocking and unreal. Sure, you sobbed at the incredible morbidity but when you first saw it, let’s say twenty, thirty years ago? The world was a different place, yes, a kinder, gentler place. I’m sure of it.

Now, if you want to sob, read a newspaper, watch the news, keep yourself informed about what is happening in the real world today. That is depressing. Before 9/11, and after 9/11. That is how I phrase things in my life like “before my dad died” and “after.”

I find the less I read about what’s going on in the world at night the better I am. Am I in denial? Absolutely. I KNOW what’s going on but I just can’t handle all that atrocity all the time, 24/7 so I stay away from everything except the bare minimum.

Hearing news stories today are the very things that nightmares are made of, flashbacks are happening from lifetime events. So, if I’m cranky by not being able to cry, I can surround myself with the news, and not only will I cry, but they would have to medicate me around the clock and put me in a psychiatric hospital where the lonely padded cell, at this second, would feel appealing. AND, NO, I am not making fun of the psychiatric community, believe me. I am part of that community.

I get anxious and take medication to try to calm me down. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Realistically, it’s a cruel world out there and in our defense we try to get stronger and stronger. Why? Because we have no damn other choice. We sink or we swim.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a war, there are many wars out there. Life is far from fun. Life can be very, very sad. You don’t need to watch a Bette Midler movie to cry, real life is sad enough.

Please watch below:

 

For Just A Night

 

Never before have I gotten so emotionally involved in the world’s problems as I have been these past few months. Sometimes, I read The New York Times, other times I watch the news on television. Now, I panic.

I used to live with my head buried in the sand, not knowing what was going on in the world and that was a delightfully safe place; an artificial place but a comfortable one. On the other hand I have worked myself into such a frenzy now that all I imagine and see are horrible images and bombs and in my mind I’m questioning “but what if….?” That is not healthy for me either.

Thank heavens for The Food Network Channel, my go to place when I need to unwind or if I have watched too much news and can’t settle down. The cheery shows on The

English: Logo for Food Network

English: Logo for Food Network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cooking channel as well bring me entertainment, not that I have learned to cook from either one of them. The only show I refuse to watch is Cutthroat Kitchen with Alton Brown and its element of nastiness and unmasked sarcasm. (See my blog “Cutthroat Kitchen” for that review.)

Today, I am starting off with a smile. I know what is happening in the world, I know there is sadness everywhere but I am trying to focus on my tiny corner of space. My daughter is home, safe from Spain, where she had a wonderful time. My husband is as happy as he can be without being employed but he is healthy and so am I. Tonight, our son is coming home so our family will be together for a few nights.

I really can’t ask for more than that. I appreciate it and I am grateful for it. It happens less and less these days as they are both in their early twenties. It was hard to get used to but even I, mother hen, have grown accustomed to the separation, they know I cry whenever somebody leaves. I have always cried when somebody leaves me. It’s who I am.

Tonight, at dinner, I will watch my family and try to soak up every detail, every single exchange in our own tiny part of the world, for every second it lasts.

For that, I am deeply grateful. I can’t ask for more.


 

Haiku Horizons. Justice

 

Justice, Party, Peace

cures agony, provides hope

Love, a fighting chance.

 

 

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Justify justice

mom’s face etched in deep scars, pain

Guns, death, her one son.

Grief

Grief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The World Is A Scary Place

Holding the Punishment Cane, Waiting for Siste...

Image by theirhistory via Flickr

Yesterday, the sun was shining, the color of the sky was that of a red robin’s egg, a perfect speckled blue. The trees nearby danced, gently swaying, together in the light breeze like two limber young dancers. Just a moment or two later, I heard the sound of engines whirling and scraping and banging at the same time. I heard deep, angry rumbling coming from the back yard and my first thought was that there was gunfire and bombs exploding. I couldn’t move to take a very deep breath; for a second or two I couldn’t even exhale. What was I supposed to think? There is way too much angst and terror and suspicion in the world and there is no one, no one that can tell us it will be all better now or that the problem has been fixed and will never come back.

President Obama, Anyone? We need your strength and assurance now. All of us are asking questions but not getting answers.  I realize no one can promise, no one can soothe our fears and it is terrifying but I am searching for some, small, secret. A medicine for our pain. A healer to soothe our fears because I fear that I am not alone in this suffering. We all need hope and a positive role model, right now we need to feel strong and hopeful and confident. How will we ever get THAT back? I can’t watch television anymore because seeing the visions from Japan and hearing the cries remind me of the horrors in the world and I am back again at 9/11 and the airplanes crashing into buildings, people jumping, screaming, crying. Now there is one tragedy after another.

Earthquakes, terrorism, tsunami’s, mud slides, water, abductions, pedophiles, murderers, two ongoing wars, a new attack on Libya, (when was THAT approved?) hurricanes,  nuclear reactors, radiation etc. and that’s not to mention the everyday fears of health and welfare:  sickness, cancer, death, mystery illnesses, chronic pain,  MS, ALS,  Alzeimers, and so many other horrible sicknesses that we have no cure for. I feel like something has shifted in the universe and no one knows what to do or feel. The only thing I can do is try NOT to feel but that is hard and unrealistic. Right now, I feel scared and alone and helpless.

My head pounds like the sound of jack hammers on cement, throbbing with no break. I am slumped over in bed, with chronic pain and an excruciating, dark, headache. I don’t know what to do to make me feel better.  Usually if I stay in bed and am able to hide and sleep I will feel better slowly. Now? I can’t sleep soundly. The world has been sucker punched, and sleeping is no longer, my designated safe place.

I am terrified and I am probably not alone though most people don’t talk about it. It seems like a land mine that could go off anywhere, anytime and in any place. Nobody is safe anymore. We are helpless onlookers as the world changes incredibly fast. Perhaps fear is what we all know we have in common. I just wish it didn’t have to come to this to find our link to one another.

The Beauty Of My Fibromyalgia

Red berries

Image by freefotouk via Flickr

My husband came home from town and told me that he heard an update about a mutual friend; that she was at the end of her life.  She has ALS, (formerly called Lou Gehrig’s disease) a horrible, disease that affects thousands of people every year. I felt terrible for her and her family and know how hard that disease is for everybody.  I pictured her in her wheelchair with her beautifully spun white hair coiled behind her in an old-fashioned bun, the bun that my grandmother in her nineties used to wear every day; held together with old-fashioned black bobby pins. There was one difference, the woman in this story is not in her nineties, not even close, she is 43.

I have Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and before you write me letters about how pain is all equal and that pain is pain and we have our right to our pain I will tell you this: the stripping of your body, one by one and of all your faculties, is something I would not trade for and neither would you. The last vestige of communication this woman, this YOUNG woman had been struggling was to try to write something with her twisted hand on a computer generated machine. Fibromyalgia pain IS pain. I know I have pain, I understand it and I can communicate it, I can’t solve it. When there is nothing that helps me feel better, at least I can verbalize this, at least I can try to focus on a pretty picture of strong red berries on a simple branch. When I clutch the banister to be able to go up and down stairs, I am mostly doing it myself. If I can’t and need a hand, I will ask for it and accept it and will be able to have the dignity to say “Thank You.” I can ask my daughter about her day or my husband’s first day of work or my son’s admission to colleges. I am able to do that and am thankful for it.

My husband, the most patient man on earth, gets irritated and annoyed with me when he asks me questions about the type of pain I am in. He is direct, like a prosecutor: “is it muscular?” is it in your joints?”  “does it stab, burn, tingle, come in waves?”  “is it sharp, is it dull, does the pain move around?” I’ve always been vague in my answers about how I feel physically because I am the type of person who can’t verbalize my symptoms well. Fibromyalgia is defined as having pain all over and that is what I have. Is it muscular? Yes, Is it your joints? Yes, It is all over and hard to differentiate from one Doctor’s appointment to another, Yes. We also have Fibro Fog, our endearing term for forgetfulness, makes us forget how things were yesterday compared with today.

Fibromyalgia changes every day, sometimes every hour; there were times when I was sure I had a really bad virus but my Doctor just told me they are “flare-ups.” My mother was concerned because I was sick so often, I never knew I had flare-ups, I didn’t know what flare-ups were; no-one ever told me.

I am not saying that your pain or her pain or his pain is any less uncomfortable because it is not life threatening. Listen to me: I am saying that pain is pain, and that it can be unbearable and it does affect your emotions and social skills. But, at least it does not deprive me, me personally, of the ability to still connect with my loved ones and friends and I am able to communicate.

There is no competition. Pain is pain is pain. My friend who is dying from cancer is fighting every day as she has for five years before her breast cancer metastized into brain cancer. This is not a game where whose pain, whose life is worse. This is MY opinion, own it or reject as you please. I do have enough pain to consider myself suffering. I may not have control over my pain but at least I still have control of all my faculties.

We are all at risk for everything, like everyone else in the world. There is so much sadness: health, terrorism, wars, economy,  that sometimes I need to focus on just by breathing, in and out, in and out.  Sometimes I need to slap myself out of my self-pity and give thanks for the things I can do and more importantly send blessings to those who are less fortunate than I am. Now.

Why Can’t We Just Say “Life Sucks?”

When someone asks me how I am doing I usually say” okay.” ” Good” works too in a pinch, “doing well is always a favorite”; a real crowd pleaser. I ‘ve tried the honest, or blank, neutral face and the politely depressed pout too but that just turned people away. Some people just don’t REALLY want to know how you are simply because they don’t care or they have their own stuff to deal with. I  don’t want to confront or ambush innocent people nor do I want pity (ok, I admit sometimes I would like a little pity).

When someone asks me how I really am I refrain from saying  “life sucks,” even though at the moment (or for the last two years) it has. Why?  Is it just not polite enough? Is there some filter we need to uphold appearances even when life is giving us a beating? Do people not want to hear the truth? If someone told me that their life sucked I would be more than willing to listen, to advise, if appropriate, to help them feel better.

There’s: Unemployment. Health and Safety problems. The Economy. The BP Oil Spill. Cancer. AIDS. All illnesses. Death, Dying and Despair. The Environment, the World at large, Fighting, and Abuse. There’s also Terrorism, Uncertainty, Crime, and Fear. In addition there are the “ism’s” : Racism, Sexism, “Religiousism” and” Ageism”. I know we can’t dwell on these things because we would never again want to leave the “relative” safety of our homes but once in a while why can’t we acknowledge that we’ve gotten a raw deal, the short end of the stick, even the much wanted last piece of milk chocolate that someone just popped into their mouths with a  greedy, toothy, lopsided grin.

I know it’s not polite to use the “S— word but it feels so appropriate. Life stinks doesn’t pack a punch. “Life is life” sounds too esoteric. “Life is” sounds like a Philosophy 101 class. Maybe that’s why I have this blog to vent because it isn’t appropriate to tell the truth, or to tell the truth the way I want to. Life can be difficult at times. Let’s leave it at that.

Do You Etch-A-Sketch? (Repost)

Etch-a-Sketch zoo. Anonymous

1/06/10

War*. *Terrorism*. Security*. TSA*  Environment.  Homeless. Cancer. Horrible Diseases. Accidents……. NO!!!!!!  We are NOT  talking about all those scary issues and horrifying thoughts at this moment on this blog. I said NO. We are bombarded ( sorry for the tactless use of this word) with bad news every single, solitary day and night, 24/7.   I stopped watching the news at night because I would get so scared and anxious that I wouldn’t be able to sleep or I would have an anxiety attack for which I would, indeed, need medication.

Today (and for future happy blogs) will only be about:  things that make me happy, things that make me (or you) laugh, anything that brings joy, great yummy stuff (we don’t count carbs or calories here) to eat. So,  here’s to: Joy, Pleasure, Silliness and Laughter. Feel free to write me with those things you love.

Mine starts with Peeps.  I love marshmellow Peeps. Yes, I know I am 53 (ugh) but Peeps make me happy. I have to say though that they were much more fun when you could ONLY get peeps on Easter and my peep chicks (not bunnies) would have to be yellow. They just had to be. There’s a wide variety of colors now too (who ever heard of that?) purple, green, red, and multi-colored. Now you can buy Christmas Peeps, Valentine Peeps, Peeps for any day Peeps,  Peep Day and Be-nice-to-your-dentist-Peeps. That’s a bit controversial; not going to lie. How can you not smile if someone hands you a Peep? Make your day (if you love Peeps like I do) a Peep day. Choose whatever color, shape, design that you want; and think of me, just enjoy and smile.  Note to self: call to make the over-due appointment with the dreaded dentist.

Cadbury Creme Eggs.  I love the creme eggs Cadbury sells (NOT the ones with the caramel) so much.  Love. Them. Crave them.  It has been a tradition since I can remember that my mom used to (okay still does…) buy me one or two Cadbury Creme Eggs when they first came out (how many years ago was that?!)  I think they only come out around  Easter. Imagine Easter peeps and Cadbury creme eggs for a limited period of time. Heaven; and one hell of a sugar high.  They come in tiny mini sizes now so if you eat the whole box of 6, I’m sure it would only add up to one real egg.  How can you not like the fake yolk and white? It’s pure genius and guaranteed to make you so very happy. Just thinking of what these Cadbury Creme eggs look like, even on the outside, (different brightly colored tin foil) makes me happy.  Is it Easter yet?

Who cares if I didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize or write the new Oprah bestseller. It’s the little things in life we have to enjoy, and make sure we do as often as possible. (I seriously hope my internist and dentist aren’t reading these blogs.) And, I really hope someone from the Food Network or Candy Channel reads this blog.

What else, that is not food-related can I add to this list? I know. Etch-a-Sketch. I love that toy, and by the way, I could write script/cursive on it and I felt way talented as all hell.  Not bad, right? Oh, and Slinkys, those toys are sublime on steps. Not the plastic variety, they aren’t worthy of my attention, but the original silver Slinky…nice. I would add the smell of Play-Doh and Silly Putty but I wouldn’t want anyone to think my emotional growth was stunted in any way, shape or form….

Seriously? I need to either grow up or expand my interests a bit. Grownup things that I love and make me happy: my first and only pair of UGG boots that I paid for myself the second or third year they came out. Didn’t want trendy, just wanted warm. I love my original UGG boots, they make my feet feel happy and warm and safe. Still.

Making home-made pea soup. Making home-made chicken soup.  Baking banana bread, the only decision being is whether to add raisins, chocolate chips or both. I love baking banana bread because my kids and my niece and nephew love it and it makes them happy and it makes me feel special.

All in all, it’s a happy, fun list, right? Nothing scary, nothing to panic over. Just one more thing to add: Watching One Tree Hill with my 15 year old daughter, that makes me the happiest of all or deeply regretful depending if she sees this or not.

Happy Silliness to us all.

*President Obama: I voted for you, I support you, I’m with you all the way, but dude, seriously? Focus. Get together with the TSA and make it work. No joke.

p.s. I own no legal copyrights to any of the above mentioned items. Nor do I get free products from them. I wish.

Mother and Daughter Wars

Last night I had another angry dream about my mother. We were  in Israel and supposed to be coming home. I remember my kids were with us as well. I was both daughter to my mother and mother to my children.  My mother decided she wasn’t coming home, she was abandoning us (me) and staying in Israel to be with her boyfriend. I believe she said something like “I never wanted this to begin with.” I begged her to come home with us, I sobbed,  I pleaded. She stood her ground and wouldn’t budge. I remember her crying in the dream as she walked in the opposite direction, but ultimately, she stood her ground and stayed. She had planned trips with her boyfriend. Until the very end of my dream and continuing as I gradually woke up, I was in a state of total disbelief. I’ve had this dream about 3 or 4 times a week for about two months.

My relationship with my mother now is definitely uneven, up and down, intense and cool. My mother and my sister are very similar people but I was always closer to my dad. He understood me, he made things better, he was more diplomatic; he was my warm and loving parent. He died 8 years ago. I feel that whatever I do for my mother is not good enough. Even though I TRY much harder to please her (visits, dinners, lunches, grandchildren…) than my sister,  it never feels like it’s good  enough.  My mother and I  are so different that it gets in the way. It gets in the way that with every thoughtless comment and(self-perceived)  dig she makes. When I am this angry it makes me  want to see her less. She drains me, she hurts me, the one time she came to see me when I was on bed rest with my leg, she arrived demanding a sandwich from my husband.  There was no pot of chicken soup in her hands or even a few bagels, not even a cookie. She came, demanded a sandwich and then, complaining about the stairs, went upstairs and said hello to me, after she was fed. In her defense, she is a diabetic, in my defense, I just wanted to see her first.

Several days ago I returned home from a very important Dr. visit in the city with my Guru Dr, as I refer to him. He was so pleased with my progress that I was beaming. He said the first time he saw me I definitely “grabbed his attention because I was so sick.” Then, the first visit after, I had improved a little bit. This visit he exclaimed “You Look Great.”  I felt better, I looked better, I had lost ten pounds and I was absolutely thrilled.  As a daughter, the first thing you want to do is call your mom and tell her  the good news and so I did. She listened and then said”Now I’m going to ask you a question that you won’t like”  to which I replied “do you have to” and she said “yes I do, I have to.” Sigh. Groan. She asked the following: What did the Dr. say about your weight gain? ‘Huh? What? I just told you he was thrilled with me?!  She then replied “but what did he say about your weight gain?”Telling her, again,, that I had indeed lost  ten pounds did not mollify her. She wanted to know about the total weight gain… I gave up.  I was hurt, I was disgusted. And, of course she pulled the weight button, goes off like an alarm every time.

A common theme in our relationship has always been about my being overweight, chubby, FAT. I was very thin as a child and she used to carry Nestle’s Quik all around the world trying to fatten me up. Boy, has that changed.  Ever since I was about 10 and  she left the NY Times Magazine on the kitchen table open to “Overweight Camps For Girls”it has been a big problem (try and forget THAT!)  Of course, when I starved myself to 121 pounds (that lasted about 5 minutes) she was nagging me to gain weight. Is there anyone who wouldn’t need Psychotherapy after this?  Not that it helped….

I summoned the courage to have the “talk” with her. It was heated, we both feel we can do no good for the other person. But then we listened…I told her how I felt, she told me how she felt. It wasn’t that different after all. She needed attention and she really needed advice. She did not know, honestly did not know, what mothering meant. She had grown up without a real mother, just a twisted, nasty, dishonest stepmother.

I told her what I needed, she told me she understood. She also told me that she doesn’t say personal things to make me feel bad, she just means it as a fact. Yes, I do take things way too personally. We agreed.

Today, she came over with bagels and cream cheese for lunch. She said hello to the dog,and told her outloud “I want to see Laurie”  and walked upstairs. The first thing she did was say hello to me, her brown eyes twinkling. I love this woman who looked so cute and fashionable in her little blue outfit. I will always love her;she is a part of me that will be with me always. I want to make her happy, I want her to know how much I love her and I do.  I just can’t promise to always agree with her. But that’s ok, as long as we keep on talking it through and leaving our hearts all the way open.