Friday, September 20, 2013
Monday, September 10, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
This, of course, is what makes automatic garage doors convenient: no more stopping the car, getting out, trudging to the garage door, bending over and hoisting it up. Nope. You simply push a button.
And, after the car is in the garage, no more reversing the laborious process to close the door. You just push a button, unless...
Unless it's our door and the door's optics are out of alignment. Then you push the button and the door moves down...until you let go of the button. Then the door goes back up. So you have to stand there holding the button until the door reaches the ground. Every time.
My husband has a way of dealing with this. He leaves the door open.
That doesn't work for me. I want it closed to keep in the heat during winter. I want it closed to keep the raccoons out. I want it closed because aesthetically it looks better from curbside. I don't go around with my mouth gaping, and I'm not one to leave my garage gaping either.
Still, it has been a two-year-long pain to have to stand there, each time, holding the button until the garage door closed. At least two years. Once upon a time, it did work. Not now. And I don't want to spend the money to hire someone to fix it.
But yesterday all that changed. No, I was not the recipient of a monetary windfall with which to hire a repair person. No, I did not say "What the hey!" and decide to leave it open. No, here is what happened.
Over New Year's weekend I participated in a retreat during which it was suggested I feel energy flowing through my chakras--from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. For me, this meant seeing myself as a tree, with my leafy arms connected to Father Sky and my feet rooted firmly in Mother Earth. So that is my new mental image, and I imagine the energy flowing up and down and up and down. It feels good to periodically do this for a minute or two.
And then, yesterday, when I was standing in the garage, holding my finger on the button for a minute or two, the two activities merged. I put my finger on the button and, as the door lowered, I began feeling energy flowing into my crown and out my feet as the door lowered. When the door hit the concrete, I hesitated a minute before letting go. I wasn't sure I was ready for the moment to end.
And, that quickly, my attitude about having to manually close the garage door several times a day changed from pain to pleasure. I wish that all of life was this simple. I suspect that it is.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
She sat. I sat. I sat watching her for about 20 minutes. She sat longer. I knew that sometimes she left the nest, probably to stretch and grab a bite, because yesterday I'd been outside when I saw her fly back to her nest. That's how I knew there was a nest.
Today, though, she wasn't stirring. Not yet, at least.
And although I stood up and walked out of my bedroom, I wasn't stirring much. Nor have I for the last week that I've been here at my second home in Costa Rica. I've used the time to recover from bronchitis, continue healing from a arterial bypass operation in January and muse about why this place has such a hold on me.
The other day I thought the answer to that was that when I come here, I have no expectations about what should be done or how it should be done or when it should be done. For the most part, that is, because I did think my husband should have drawn money from the bank on one of his first trips to the Grecia square! But, compared to the shoulds of my everyday life in the states, the ones here are virtually nil.
And that's part of the answer to why I love coming here and sitting quietly while watching the leaves sway and the hummingbirds hover near the salvia. But it's not the whole answer.
The whole answer involves my childhood free time, when I also had no expectations. We always had a yard and some undeveloped land near our home, and I spent a good deal of my non-school time outside in these places: lying in a hammock looking at the clouds and sky through the lacy branches of towering tulip poplars...running through grassy fields...watching ants crawl through the grass...climbing trees and scampering back down again...picking iridescent beetles out of zinnia blossoms.
On the surface, none of this was productive activity, except maybe the beetlecide, because the neighbor paid me to pick them off and drop them in a cup of gasoline. She was an elderly gardener whose flowers were prized by all.
But, even that didn't raise any expectations in me: whatever I picked, I picked. Whatever I earned, I earned.
So now it's a half century later, and I'm in that back yard again, with open fields nearby. My husband kills the bugs now; if it were my call, I'd let them live. But he and the caretaker paint the trees and use poison to kill the leaf-cutter ants that have deforested the top of our orange tree. And if the tree makes it, I will get the benefit of the sweet, round fleshy fruit.
I left my expectations at home, with my winter clothes. Both weigh me down, and here I am as lightweight as the singular blue morpho butterfly I spied at the side of our yard yesterday. I watched it fly past me, then over the tall cane that establishes our border. We've been coming here for years and this was the first blue morpho I've seen.
Lsst year I spied my first huge iguana, sitting atop our concrete retaining wall. I was the only one to see it. It was the only time I've seen it.
I realize that sitting outside quietly, just watching, is not unproductive at all: The intangible memories I create are pearls to cherish all my life.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
You probably know some of the myths that some Christians spread about other religions, particularly the Mormon and Catholic churches. Catholics can’t be saved unless they are baptized by immersion. Mormons will be eternally pregnant in heaven. Yada yada.
Well, liberal religions sometimes do that with Church of Christ -- at least some of their congregants do.
I knew a little about Church of Christ. Very little. I knew that they didn’t perform music in the worship service. At least I thought they didn’t. And I suspected they were pretty much anti-abortion, anti-gay and anti-other religions.
So when my daughter – born to a mother who was accepted into a convent at 16 (but didn’t go, obviously) and who embraced both a Jewish husband and a liberal Christian religion called Unity – told me she was being baptized into the Church of Christ, I was thrilled. I’m not being sarcastic. I was thrilled. But I was also a little worried.
She is one of the most loving, tolerant, insightful persons I know, and it seemed like a warm and cold front were about to collide and we were in for some stormy weather.
Except, I was also able to know – in my” thrilledness” – that she had made an intimate connection with God. And I believe that is what we humans came here to do: to find again our connection with the Divine.
Some people say the Divine lives within us as well as all around us. That would be me. Some people say one must accept Jesus Christ as their savior. That would be her. I don’t know exactly what people of the latter persuasion think will happen to me and my Jewish husband when we die. My daughter says it’s not her call, and I agree. But I also remember that as a Catholic girl, I felt bad for Jewish people who didn’t embrace Jesus because I was pretty sure they, at best, were going to be stuck in Limbo for eternity. Or at least until 2007 when the Catholic Church abolished Limbo.
So I had a suspicion that my daughter and her new church family might feel sad for me. That was not my problem, I knew, but it bothered me just a tad that someone would be praying for me to see their light, to walk their path.
Nevertheless, when she asked me to accompany her to church last week, I said yes. It was the first time I’d been in her town on a Sunday morning. So I put on my new blouse and black denim jeans and one of her spiffy jackets and we drove to her church. Inside, she introduced me to wonderful people who treat her like she is special, including an avuncular man whose counsel on a troubling matter gave her comfort. (I so appreciated him for that.)
We entered the prayer room, where people sit reading Bible verses and praying for the worshippers in the next room during the church service. Why, we have that practice at Unity! We sit in prayer during meetings and the like, holding the High Watch, as we call it, for those around us. I was tickled at this similarity.
Then I met her closest church friends and loved them at first sight! A member of the choir came over and she joked with him. I could see she had found a church home. Mmm mmm. It felt good to know she was loved here.
We sat in a pew in front of a table full of communion plates, and in each plate were several pieces of communion bread. The communion bread was matzoh, the unyeasted Passover cracker! I couldn’t wait to tell my Jewish husband.
The service began with the choir members running up on stage, microphones in hand, and leading the congregation in two songs, followed by a welcome, and two more songs, the last of which could have been sung by a Jewish congregation: “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people.”
I sang along on this one while gazing out the high sanctuary windows, watching the trees wave against the sky. “Surround us, oh Lord. Surround us, oh Lord. We need to be in your presence.”
And, in the middle of the hymn, I realized I was as uplifted as I’ve ever been at a Unity or Jewish or Catholic service. It was a benchmark moment in my life, because I understood that the vibration – the literal movement of the energy in that church in that moment – was the only “real” thing going on.
Not the words. Not the music. Not the similarities. Not the differences.
I know that all of us are one in God or whatever name we have for the divine energy that permeates all. And I know that all of creation is nothing but vibration. Vibrating quanta. Science has documented that. We use our human senses to translate vibration so that we can see the color of a tree or hear the sound of music. But, inside that vibration is where all of us – with all our individualities and differences – are joined.
Yes, the words we use matter. The actions we take speak more loudly than our words. But, as I finally understand with every quanta in my body, vibration trumps it all.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
“We are all friends here. There are no strangers once you walk inside that door.” That’s a lyric from a song we sing at church, but it can be true outside of church as well, if I let it.
I’m in Costa Rica, walking up the driveway to the street to deliver my bag of garbage. It’s 5:30 a.m. and the bag must be out before 6. It can’t be deposited the night before because, like anywhere, dogs will tear into it and scatter trash all over. The sun has already sent its scout rays over the mountains to the southeast, so I can see where I walk.
Some bags already line the street, and I drop mine there, too. That’s when I hear music coming from above. Workers at Hogar de Los Ancianos -- the old folks’ home that is the landmark to tell taxi drivers where we live – are listening, and so am I now. Instead of returning to my house, I head toward the lilting sound.
I keep walking. It’s Sabado (Saturday, or the Sabbath, because the Spanish language recognizes both days as times for resting in God; Sunday is Domingo) but people are beginning to emerge. I walk only half a mile, and I pass a half dozen people, some on their way to work, some just out. The panaderia, a new bakery that’s opened near our house since we were down here last, is brightly lit with owners in the kitchen, preparing to fill the neighborhood with a sweet and yeasty aroma.
When I do turn around and head back, I see our next-door neighbor, the one with whom we jammed last night, headed uphill with his garbage. We kiss each other on the cheek and he thanks me for last night’s dinner. I thank him for the music. “More to come,” he says, both of glorying in the fact that we will be here for a couple of more weeks.
“We are all friends here. There are no strangers once you walk inside that door.”
That door, mi amigo, is the world.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
A man who had been my boyfriend in high school sent it to me, along with a dozen New York bagels, after my mother died. We don't have real bagels here in Northwest Arkansas -- it's the water or the baker's attitude or both -- so they were a real treat and a comfort.
He's probably still asleep in New York where he lives, and I don't really know him anymore, except for the core person I met when we were seniors, trying to figure out our feelings and futures. The point of this story, though, is the point of our possessions.
Every few months, I go through various closets or cabinets, weeding out the stuff that almost accumulates on its own, but I won't be giving this mug to The Salvation Army, because every time I use it, I feel that warm rush of affection for the young man I dated, who befriended me again when my mom died. It connects me with him, on a virtual or spiritual or emotional or vibrational level ... you get to call it whatever you want, but it is an energy thing and energy, though invisible, is real. If you're a doubting Thomas, go stick your finger in a socket.
So, to the unclutter experts, I would say, "Don't just toss something you haven't used in a year IF it gives you joy to look at it, to hold it in your hands."
Leave it for your kids to toss!
I don't consider myself to be very materialistic. You come to my house and you will find old furniture, bought at The Salvation Army and recovered. And most of my clothes have been with me for years. The washer and dryer celebrate my husband's and my wedding anniversary with us each year.
But, I have my possessions. The little diamond pendant that my mom wore around her neck for years now graces mine. A tiny wooden bookcase that my Grampa built for my dad holds my canned beverages. The favorite books I read to my children remain in my bookcase to be read to their children. There's more, of course, but these illustrate my story.
Like The Velveteen Rabbit, some special possessions become transformed by time and memories and love. And those we want to hang onto because they have the magic to brighten the moments of our lives.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
T'was a mixed blessing: The quiet after all the activity was welcome, but I missed having family eating and laughing and sleeping under one roof.
I like it when family sleeps in the same house.
The family that sleeps together keeps together. That's always been my motto.
But now, Jeremy and I are empty-nesters ... for nearly two months' running. And we miss having little -- and big -- feet pattering about 24/7.
So it felt good to have our oldest son, who lives in Colorado, stay with us during Hanukkah.
And it felt good for me to sleep in the same bed with our youngest daughter when I went to visit her in Austin, because she couldn't make it home for the holidays.
When Jeremy joined me in Austin, we spent the next two nights' with our other Austin daughter and her husband.
We had five nights in a row sleeping with the family.
When I was a child, I couldn't imagine sleeping in a house alone. And as an adult, I pretty much avoided it by getting married three times.
There's a warm fuzzy feeling to hearing a family member gently snoring in the next room. Kind of like a white-noise machine. And it negates the need for a sleeping pill.
Family members -- regardless of religion, politics, or birth order -- are indelibly linked to us, and, I think, an extension of ourselves, even if it's not politically correct to admit.
They may drive us bonkers when they're awake, but ... when they're sleeping, oh, don't they look like angels!
Friday, December 5, 2008
I heard this song years ago and never forgot it. I had to google to find out again who first sang it -- Joe Jones -- and got to listen to it again on youtube. You can too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_FvVkcwqIs .
Talking, both aloud and internally, is a major component of my life. I can't seem to get my head to shut up even when my mouth agrees to.
This is not a unique problem. Meditators consider it a human hallmark: the monkey mind, it's called and if you watch Curious George on PBS, you'll understand how a monkey mind is all over the place and into everything under the sun.
I watch Curious George on PBS -- with my 20-month-old granddaughter, Kaitlyn. Now George himself can't talk, but he sure can "hee hee, hoo hoo, ha ha" for most of the 30 minutes that the program is on.
Sometimes Kaitlyn gets going with her own gibberish, which soon will be replaced by several sentences strung together. And then several paragraphs. And in the not too distant future, alas, she will have the same difficult time we all do getting her mind to quiet.
But I, the wise gma (my shortened, hip version of grandmother), am wondering if I can wire in a direct link to silence for my little one, now, before the mind forgets how to be still.
"Learn to be still." Don Henley sang that one when I was all grown up. (You can listen to the song at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_f614PDz38 ) but here is the first verse:
It's just another day in paradise
As you stumble to your bed.
You'd give anything to silence
Those voices ringing in your head.
You thought you could find happiness
Just over that green hill.
You thought you would be satisfied
But you never will;
Learn to be still ...
Can I help Kaitlyn find the still small space inside her?
When we were in the car last week I realized that, at the very least, I didn't have to be part of the culture that encourages all this chatter.
She sits in the back of the car in her infant safety seat, alone. When she was a baby, I pretty much let her lie there quietly, but now that she's jabbering, I have been thinking that she needed company, stuck back there all alone. So anytime we we were driving, I would talk to her and sing to her and reach back at stop lights and touch her. In short, I was the antithesis of stillness with this precious spirit.
One day, when we had a lot of errands to run and my mouth was running even faster, I realized it was tiring me to keep up the chatter patter. So I shut up. And in the moments that followed, I realized that shutting up was the biggest gift I could offer Kaitlyn.
So now when we go someplace, I belt her into the seat and tell her she can enjoy this quiet time in the car, and I get in the front seat and I enjoy some quiet time in the car. No radio. No CD. No talking.
No touching, too, I discovered. When we get quiet and are centered in our own spirit, we don't want distractions. Neither does Kaitlyn. Yesterday I was driving her to the store, both of us quietly enjoying the sunshine streaming into the warm car, and I reached back to pat her leg.
She looked so blissful, thumb in mouth, eyes slightly closed. I wanted to touch her.
So I patted her thigh and she shook my hand off. Immediately I understood. The baby was completely immersed in her own space.
For her, stillness still comes naturally. I thought I would be the teacher, but she ended up perfectly modeling the lesson for me.
Shhhhh. Be still and know. Like babies do.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Actually, I was thrilled for them, even more so after I saw the beautifully maintained two-bedroom house with a deck and fenced yard. Only four miles from our place, it’s close enough for me to continue babysitting my granddaughter while our son and daughter-in-law finish school.
It’s not that I was railing against what was about to happen. I could see the benefits. I could see the disadvantages, too, but it was time, my son explained gently, after expressing his deep appreciation that we had harbored them for the past 28 months.
So I was happy for them, and yet I couldn’t stop sobbing. Yes, the grandbaby, now 19 months, won’t be wandering into our bedroom each morning to wake us up. There could be some sadness around that. And her parents might holler at her when they are feeling frustrated, something her grandparents don’t do because we have the patience that comes with having watched thousands of suns rise and set.
But, to be honest, we hollered at our kids, and in the end our children’s deep love for their daughter will prevail.
Then why the heavy heart, I wondered. I suspected it had a little to do with being at a crossroads in my life, one where mothering moves from the front burner to the back. What is it I want to do with this new chapter in my life? I’m not sure, and that’s a little intimidating, because I don’t want to waste these precious days. I’m old enough to know how precious each one is.
A spiritual guru recently counseled that it’s time to focus on me. I’ve been mothering others all my life, she said, and now it’s time to mother me. What does that mean? How does that work? I don’t know yet, and maybe this explains a cup or two of the tears.
I was driving to the store this morning, musing on all of this, when the tears resumed. I thought about how my nest is emptying out again, and, bingo, I finally understood what was going on. A current situation – my kids’ leaving – was triggering past grief.
My mother, Angela, came to live with us five years ago. I was so excited to be near her after living half a continent away for three decades, and I looked forward to sharing our home with her. But it was a short visit. She came in early September and died a few days before Thanksgiving.
My husband and I went on a cruise for two weeks during the October she was living with me. She was supposed to go on the cruise, too, but had a wound in her foot that was healing and decided to stay behind. Coincidentally, Jeremy and I just returned from a two-week cruise.
The cruise, the kids’ leaving – these events triggered the pain of losing my mom. Once I realized what was going on, I was flooded with relief – and another quart of tears. But the tears were okay now because I understood them and because they brought a familiar feeling: a mother’s love. Not me loving my offspring this time, but, rather, me feeling that my mother still loves me. And on the anniversary of her passing, it warms me up to know she’s still here. It even makes me cry.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
"I went up on deck to see the moon," he quipped. He was pretending he was already on the ship: We've both been giddy about this trip to Europe. One thing we love about cruising is being on deck with sky and ocean in every direction.
His joke reminded me that the moon had been waxing in recent days, and now I was wondering how much. I was thinking how lovely it would be to see the full moon rise over the Mediterranean Sea. I've wanted to see that ever since watching the movie, "Joe and the Volcano," where a humongous moon rises over Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
But, alas, not this cruise. Stepping out into the driveway, I look west and see the moon low on the horizon -- looking like a gold brocade brooch pinned to the black sky. It is big and round and full
"Shoot!" is my first reaction. And then I catch myself. I'm going to be traveling with the sun and moon and sea as my companions for 12 days. Hey, over an ocean, any old moon will do!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I had dropped off my car to be washed and detailed, and I figured I could start walking back to get some exercise. My son would pick me up in about 20 minutes and drive me the rest of the way home.
As I walked I thought about the drivers passing me, and I wondered what kind of figure I cut: a solitary middle-aged, hooded woman in blue jeans. Would they wonder why I had no car? Would they suspect I was homeless? Would they think I had no family? Why would I be out walking before dawn?
I thought about all the times I drive College Avenue and make up stories about the people I see out walking. If they have a backpack and are heavily clothed, I guess they are homeless, carrying all of their possessions. If they are lugging grocery bags, I assume they have no car. If there’s a fast-food cup in their hands, I figure they are on break from work nearby. No one walks this route for exercise, so that’s never part of the stories I make up about the people I see.
Stories. It’s what we human beings love to create: tales about life – our own and others. It’s why we are attracted to soap operas and movies. It’s why we buy the tabloids at the supermarket checkouts. It’s why we listen to talk shows on the radio and watch reality shows on television.
There’s this place inside us that relishes stories, and while I don’t have a problem with story telling, too often the stories end up as fodder for our egos, which use them as proof that we are better or worse than the other guy. Even worse, though, is when we start believing these stories are the truth, especially if what we’ve written is a sad story. As soon as I write a sad story and start identifying with it, I begin to spiral downward emotionally, and guess what? My story becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because as I get more depressed, I find more reasons to be sad and I attract others who are sad as well. Misery loves company.
But so does happiness and joy. And that’s the truth of our universe: the law of attraction, or like begets like. So if I’m going to make up stories, why not make up happy ones?
My daughter and her boyfriend broke up recently, and she’s written a sad story for herself about this. We all do this sometimes. At my place in life (i.e. older!), it’s easier to see this is a sad story of her own creation. Yes, she hurts. I honor that. But she’s trying to write a story that makes this one act a theme of her life: No one will ever love her the way she wants to be loved. Now that’s a sad story. But it’s not the truth.
More importantly, we can always choose to rewrite our stories. For example, my daughter and her boyfriend broke up and now she knows that her heart will fit more perfectly with someone else on down the line. And isn’t it good that she has this time to reflect on how beautiful the spring is, how much she loves her job, how fun it is to decorate her new apartment – all without the distraction of a long-distance relationship? And doesn’t this give her the space to figure out why she feels sad so much of the time, and to seek instead little pockets of happiness? Little pockets like the light scent of a butter-yellow jonquil blooming in the grass, the warm sun on her back as she rides her bike, the sweet taste of a frothy Frappuccino, the toothy grin on her niece’s face in the picture taped to her computer.
My daughter is not unlike most of us who have explored deep caves of pain. But even in these places, we can mine little gems of joy. And when we do – when we hold these sparkling pieces of now – we find ourselves at a starting point again. We can choose to write new stories. And if we do, let’s end them with “happily ever after.”
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Because he was standing there and acting normal, I didn’t ask the predictable question:“Are you all right?” Instead I went for what I thought was the witty question: “Are you going to see a chiropractor?”
Actually, I was half serious because when I take a spill – or get rear-ended in my car (I was at his office being treated for whiplash from a recent car accident) – I know that spinal care is in order. But he said, “No, it was just a little fall and I’m all right.”
The scooter took the brunt of the fall and was scratched in several places. The scooter has been his means of transportation to and from work for the past 1,455 miles. “That’s 1,455 miles I didn’t use my car,” he said proudly. And when he fills his scooter’s empty fuel tank, he gets change from a $5 bill.
“What happened?” I asked. He said he was preparing to turn left on a busy street and as he entered the center turn lane, the scooter skidded. He didn’t know why, because the pavement was dry.
“The scooter slid and I went down. I was on the ground beside it, with traffic coming at me,” he said, “so I had to jump up and move! Fortunately, the traffic was at a distance.” He said he allows lots of space when turning left on a highway, and it paid off this morning.
After leaving me in the room with the electrical impulses alternately shocking and relaxing me, the chiropractor went to call his wife. “I fell on the scooter, but I’m OK,” he told her. I could hear him through the closed door, and although I could not hear his wife, I knew exactly what she was feeling. A few years back my husband went down on his motorcycle – and had no idea afterward of what had led up to the spill. After an emergency room visit, he was deemed OK, but that turned out to be his last ride, not so much because he was fearful, but because I was!
When the doctor returned to unplug me, I asked if anyone on the street had checked to see if he was all right. He said a driver stuck his head outside the window and asked.
“I told him I was fine,” he said.
“Well,” I said, “It’s great you were able to jump up and grab your scooter. It’s like once you realized you were going down, you stopped fighting it and fell as lightly as possible. And that probably allowed you to quickly pick yourself up and move out of traffic.”
As I left his office, I thought about how there are many moments in our lives when we slip or jump the track on which we had so carefully aligned ourselves. Sometimes the metaphorical pebble that knocks us off is a biggie: a divorce or loss of job. Sometimes it is small: a rejection slip. Sometimes it is in the middle: a scratched-up scooter and injured pride.
The point is not to freeze ourselves in one place so we avoid the occasional spill, but to relax when we start to tumble, trusting that we will get up again. The point is to fall into grace.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
It was a tad more elegant than Taco Bell: The waiter brought us a basket of bread wrapped in a cloth napkin, and although it was white French bread, we both dove in. After my first piece, though, I peeled off the crust of the second, and ate just that -- the crust.
Jeremy looked askance. "Do you know who you remind me of?"
I did. "Your mother," I said, knowing that she preferred the crust to the inside. "But, you like the crust better, too," I pointed out, because he always insists on eating the end pieces of artisan breads and challahs.
"Yeah," he said, "but I eat the inside, too. There's a universal law that says you have to eat the whole thing."
"Wow! I didn't know that," I said, masking my sarcasm as wide-eyed wonder. "Maybe we should post that law on our blog to publicize it better."
So we did.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I've gained a lot of weight in the last nine years, the last nine years being spent sitting at a desk for eight or more hours a day.
Now I've "rewired."
(Rewired because retired sounds like something you do to a car.)
With my rewirement, I thought the pounds would start dropping off, because I am on the move often during the day. I even have a newborn in my life and carrying her about the house burns calories, doesn't it? The pounds should be dropping like flies.
But, the flies seem to like me.
Four weeks later, I'm still the same weight, even though I'm eating less. At the newspaper where I worked, my colleagues brought cookies and candy and potato chips every night, and I rewarded myself frequently with a mini-Snickers or mesquite-flavored chips or biscotti.
Now my worst temptation is the leftover apple crisp and ice cream I made for guests last Friday night.
It's almost gone.
But, back to the aha ...
First, you have to know, or rather I need to remember, that the extra 30 pounds were added gradually over nine years. That's only 3.3 pounds a year. So if they come off as gradually as they were put on, it will take me nine years to let go of them.
That feels like forever!
So at the beginning of this year, knowing I was rewiring, I started Weight Watchers and took off and kept off eight pounds. But no more. I sabotaged myself, and even knowing this, didn't change my behavior.
Rewiring changed my behavior, though.
There are no colleagues who bring treats into my home.
And caring for my granddaughter changed my behavior.
Still, the pounds have not started to melt.
I realized two weeks ago one reason why: I had reached a point where I didn't believe I would ever be slender again.
My head could not envision me like I was a decade ago.
No wonder nothing was changing.
About this time, the digital scale broke, and I took it as a sign. Stay off the scale until I can see myself light.
I am not losing weight, I am becoming lighter. It is no longer an unbearable thought.
I took a photograph of myself, front and side views, and used a marker pen to black out the excess stomach and back and thigh flesh. Now I have the picture of what I will look like -- I have to squint my eyes, though -- taped to my bathroom mirror.
Finally, I can see myself as the light being that I am.
P.S. About 10 days ago, my husband Jeremy couldn't bear not weighing himself daily. So he plopped a whopping $5.97 down on the old-fashioned kind of scale that has numbers in the window. When I got on it I couldn't see the small lines, but I could tell that I was halfway between two of the large numbers. I was sick, because it meant I had gained three of the pounds back that I'd lost since January. This morning, I wondered if I was any lighter, having had this aha. But this time I went and found my driving eyeglasses before stepping on. It turns out that the large numbers are 20 pounds apart, not 10, and actually, I've lost two pounds in the past month. I am so light now, I am floating.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Seven and a half years ago, we invested what was -- for us --- a whopping sum of $4,000 to have his eyes corrected so he could see without glasses or contacts. He'd been wearing heavy-duty glasses since he was a little kid and school chums teased him with the nickname "Four eyes."
So when he passed the half-century mark, we decided enough! His eye doctor had been talking to him about laser surgery for years, and we took the plunge and made the investment, despite other more pressing bills -- or what at the time we thought were other more pressing bills. The surgery came with a lifetime warranty, too, and when he walked out of the Tulsa clinic -- the exact same one where Tiger Woods had his surgery -- he could see far away with one eye and up close and personal with the other. Monovision, it's called, and he'd been practicing in the previous years with contact lenses that did the same thing.
Within 24 hours, we knew that this was the best thing we'd ever spent a lump of money on. It was like a newfound freedom, Jeremy said. I, too, was tickled by how pleased I was that he didn't have to mess with contacts and eyedrops and goggles when he swam. Now I could splash him in the face with reckless abandon. And I did.
That, perhaps, was the only downside, from his perspective.
Fast forward to last week. Jeremy's eye doctor had been telling him that, perhaps, it was time for a tuneup on those eyes -- a procedure called an enhancement. Jeremy's eyes never got very bad, but, well there was this lifetime warranty, so he went in today -- we went in, actually, he and I and our baby granddaughter whom we were babysitting.
Within 50 minutes of arriving, he was walking out with dark glasses wrapped around his head and a sleeping pill dissolving in his stomach, so that he would go home and rest with his eyes closed.
Tomorrow he will open his eyes and perform at an area children's library -- he and I under our act's name of 'Just The Way We Are.' And he will be able to see as well as the 4-month-old who with me watched his eye surgery on a television camera.
It's no big deal, and it's the biggest deal in the world: to be able to see clearly now, the fog is gone ...
My younger brother is about the same age as Jeremy was when he had his first surgery. I hope my brother puts the money down and invests in himself. He still has almost half a lifetime to reap the rewards. It's a no-brainer, as far as I'm concerned.
Monday, August 6, 2007
"It's my fourth," she said. "Lauren and I decided we would both get one. It would be a bonding experience."
"Couldn't you both just get drunk together?" I counter. Or run off and join the circus.
But wait. They could become the newest tattoo ladies under the big tent.
And then she dropped the bombshell.
"Well, I'm tattooing your initials on me," she said.
I urged her to go with a design, not letters. I could just see Popeye with "Mom" popping up on his biceps.
"How about a heart? To represent our love," I asked her.
She called a few days later.
"It's done," she said. "It hurt like hell."
She got the initials, but she had them worked so the letters looked like a heart with a small tail. On her ankle.
She cried out so much, the tattoo artist thought she was ... well ... somewhat turned on, shall we say?
When he asked her, she laughed uproariously.
"That took some of the sting away," she told me.
"Now I have more tattoos than my brother."
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Then the rains come. April showers bring May flowers.
Just in time for Emily who came in April, stayed through May but, in June changed her tune.
We are products of the media.
Yes and no.
The media puts it out there - the axioms, the pronouncements, the right ways to do this and that - but they are full of contradictions. Don't drink, drink wine. Reduce your protein intake. Reduce your carbs. Make peace by going to war.
It's all out there, and we say we are products of the media, but we get to pick which pronouncements we will believe or follow or pass on.
The media is a buffet, nothing more.
We choose the product by what resonates within: fear or love.
You can't make peace by going to war.
You can't make love while you're afraid.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
It's not like you go take a class in streaming or iPod or any of this hip stuff. If your kids don't teach you, you're out of luck. And kids past the age of 8 ain't interested in teaching their parents. Right, Jeremy?