Wednesday, March 30, 2011

All Creatures Great and Small

A few weeks past was Mardi Gras week. The kids were all mine for the week off of school and we didn't go anywhere, as most of Baton Rouge who went to Disney. And yet, I didn't freak out and I haven't in a while. My old mode of operation was a large doses of fear that I guess I would go crazy with so much unstructured time with my two offspring. I think some of this is left over from postpartum depression. Well, I did not go crazy. The week almost flew by with of course, some pre-planned activities. George took the day off on Friday. We went to the New Orleans Zoo and it was a spectacular spring day. On Satuday, we had massive yard work to attend to. I realized on Sunday evening that George and I had not had one difference of opinion the whole time. Wow! How could that be??!!

We had such a good time at the zoo. We spent four and a half hours walking with no stroller, no anything. We just got up and went, but George, Mr. Prepared, did bring sunscreen. We walked around in amazement at all of the wonderful creatures. Mallory loved the feet marks of the animals in the bathroom almost as much as the flamingoes or looking at animal poop. I love her sense of wonder and know that when I feel that same sense of wonder, I am feeling very blessed, that is what life is all about. Riley took pictures and read the map. Looking at all of the strollers and sippy cups, I realized we have come a long way and in more than one way.

Monday I was thrilled to be by myself in the house again with the girls back in school. But then I felt so discombobulated. And I ate. And then I felt so shamed that I ate past the feeling of full. I skewer myself for not living up to where I think I should be. And I just don't understand. So many positives, so much I have learned and put into place. What is going on? And then I pick up and start reading "A Course in Weight Loss" by Marianne Williamson a few days later. I have just begun the book and love it because it is all about spirituality and she describes making the all important and difficult shift from fear to love. With my ongoing therapy, I GET this. I really get this and I believe it wholeheartedly that is the journey I am on and it's a complicated process. She describes that with any "serous journey of self discovery, there are days when we detour into darkness as we make our way toward light." There is no smooth path. I can't have it yesterday.

What gave me my aha moment of understanding was as Marianne describes, as love is brought up, and we feel we are "moving towards a solution, the problem jumps up and grabs us by the throat." Again...I get that. I want to have lost weight, not just yesterday but years ago. And this is what I am not good at, and am learning is, to be kind to myself. I have stuffed emotions for years and now I am learning how to deal with them as they come out. I don't try to repress them, and this is new territory, new skills are being learned.

I am not giving up, so now I take a deep breath and maybe even a nap like this black bear did at the zoo, try not to beat myself up and love myself. This too shall pass. I will stay intentional.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Julia Sweeney - Sex Ed

And on a lighter note...
Having an eight year old daughter and knowing this is coming down the pike made it extremely relevant for me. I really want to have many conversations with my children about their bodies, and sexuality and have started it at their level. As I have no roadmap, I will be learning along the way. Thank goodness for Dr. Laura Berman. Love her. But this is not her, this is comedienne, Julia Sweeney and she is funny. It is ten minutes long so put it on and listen while you are doing something else...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cancer Sucks

The journey of taking care of someone with cancer goes on. GaGa has her ups and downs. We all had a really hard week last week, and she probably doesn't remember much of it. During the midst of it, I finally called to get more information on Hospice services. GaGa had not been interested AT ALL and I could understand that. I kept getting recommendations that hospice is not necessarily called when you are on your deathbed, there are other services they offer and it was time to find out.

I had several tense moments last week, and some lasted for hours. GaGa had a fall and cut her eye which required stitches on Sunday at the ER. She had an episode on Wednesday when she couldn't speak to me over the phone and was breathing heavy, but she did get out that something was wrong with her. It was frightening to say the least. She has been battling pain on a regular basis for over a year now. Her narcotic pain patch has been increased to try to deal with the pain level. It turns out it was probably too much and they had to remove the patch to see if that was causing the disorientation. She ended up in the hospital that evening. In order to have a conversation about her going to the hospital I had to talk with George via a third party while he was operating. Our only in person conversation that week because he was so busy at work was after he got home at midnight one night and for me that means, I REALLY need to talk. It was a bad week.

On Thursday, I watched her writhe in pain for nearly 2 hours waiting for pain medicines to kick in, and to go through the process of asking for more, and the nurse consulting with the Hospitalist, and the Hospitalist coming to see us, and then the hospitalist putting in the orders, and then the nurse fulfilling the orders. GaGa is known for using the same face with the doctors to say she is at a level 10 with pain as she is a 1. It is hard to decipher but that day, she let it out. It was horrendous.

Last week jerked me back to reality after having a smooth course fo many weeks which included shopping excursions, and eating out on Saturday night with no indication of what was to come. You never know what is coming next and it can turn on a dime. George and I are alone in the overseeing of her day to day care. And that can be overwhelming at times. And I feel guilty for saying that because for some reason, it is in my programming that I am not only supposed to take care of her but do it with a smile on my face with no negative emotions.

After getting GaGa back to St. James over the weekend, and getting hospice in place, she calls me three times on Monday morning, the first one before I even get out of carpool. I was tired, overwhelmed and didn't want to deal with it anymore. I came home addressed the issues and then proceeded to have many emotions, anger, sadness, frustration. I didn't want to feel what I was feeling which is a normal occurence for me and then...I thought about it. I heard my therapist's voice say that taking care of ailing parents is one of the most difficult experiences in life. More thoughts came and I said to myself it is okay for me to have a bad day because...






And it is not going away.

After I gave myself permission to have a bad day, I lightened up ever so slightly and then it was time to pick the girls up from school, and being in a bad mood, they annoyed me. And then I thought it's okay to tell them that I'm not in a good mood and my temper is a little short. I have had a hard time learning athough this is SO critical, that I am teaching my daughters to take care of themselves when I take care of myself. It has taken me a long time to understand that fully. From the very beginning of my journey to heal, I'd heard the important message to be kind to myself but this was the lesson up close and personal and I had done a lot of work to get to the point of putting it into action.

The next day, I ran errands and got my toes done a beautiful shade of pink, bought some "orthopedic" sandals to wear to help ease some foot pain that I had been having and I felt like a new person. I accepted the emotions, had time to renew a little bit and was back on the journey called life.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Growth

George and I and the girls worked on the backyard on Saturday which was a jungle. We had a lot of overgrown weeds, dead bushes. It looked awful as you can see. The grass needed to be cut badly and it had rained for days which prevented that. We had leftover residual from the remodel in the form of landscape bricks, regular bricks, paint cans, and grout mix hanging out in piles. And let me preface this with, I DO NOT enjoy yard work. I have heard the saying you either are a person who enjoys gardening or you are not. I thought I fell in to the category of "not" and then, Saturday occurred.

I knew the work needed to be done and I knew George needed help. And ever since we added on within our old patio space we are looking more closely than ever at our backyard everyday. I got instructions from George in what to do with the bed that I was focused on. Clear the weeds from the dead bush and then cut the bush back. Not an easy task because they were all intertwined.

All I could start thinking was oh my, this feels like something profound and therapeutic going on before my eyes. The weeds are in here (negative self talk that crops in and has to be whacked away), the dead bushes (old negative thought patterns that have to go that are being replaced by new more positive thought patterns) and then hiding underneath, the tiny new growth (the small voice that I am learning to listen and pay attention to instead of the other junk) The voice is small and sometimes I can't always hear it when I let the busyness of life drown it out.


It took us 3 hours to do the prep work for him to be able to cut the grass and weed eat but then it felt like a new backyard. There is still much work to be done, but the space is much cleaner and neater and lovely to enjoy. Who knows, maybe I will develop a small affinity to the dirt work. We will see, time will tell. But either way, it's okay.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I love this movie. Recently, I viewed a "Cosmo's Moon" and I put a line of the song, "That's Amore" on FB. I found a few others who knew what I was referring to and loved the movie as well. And then there was one who thought I was losing my mind.

It came on cable recently, I taped it and watched it in parts, and I loved it all over again. It is so well acted!!! Many of my favorite parts are in this clip.

Favorite moments:
Of course - "Snap out of it"

When Cher takes the grey out of her hair and goes fancy for the opera. And looking at it now - how young they were.

When Olympia Dukakis tells her husband than it's doesn't matter what he does he is still going to die.

When the grandfather says he is confused at the end and then he invites Johnny to be part of the celebration and Johnny is excited to participate in the toast.