Saturday, April 1, 2017

Back again

I miss my blogging friends. I have become addicted to Facebook and Twitter and it steals all of my time. The only blogs I usually read now are by bloggers who have turned their blogs into public platforms and have become their job. I miss the day to day lives of ordinary people. Although none of my blogger friends are just "ordinary"!

I have been in kind of a funk of late, not sure which direction to go, or able to make commitments to my well being stick. It makes me grumpy and restless. 

I can talk a good talk, but walking the walk? Not so good lately! 

I see a naturopath, go for Reiki, swim, and other things to stay on track. 

The writing and healing group I ran at the hospital has not been getting people interested so I have not done that for about 6 months. I miss it so and need to try to take it to another venue. 

I am 6 years out from the breast cancer and 5 from the colon cancer. It is amazing to me to think that so much time has passed. I have developed a post- cancer anxiety, a sort of post traumatic stress behavior that makes my life so complicated. I have become a germaphobe and my worry is that other people will catch a disease from me. And of course that is on top of the more normal anxiety of a cancer occurrence. There, I wrote it out. It is driving me crazy and  sometimes gets out of control. The  anxiety definitely comes out more around my grandchildren and it makes my adult children annoyed. I can't help myself.  I am working on it with my doctor and hope that in time things will calm down. But for now, my nervous system is on high alert all of the time and  it is extremely difficult to calm it down once it escalates. 

My hope is to get back to things that I enjoy doing that I have let fade away, and blogging will be one of them.  The things going on in this country right now under the current administration are getting to me as well. My addiction to the news on TV or Facebook isn't healthy or helping me feel at peace so I am working on curtailing time focused on all the negative. I realize it is important to be informed and take action and I will do so, but lessen my exposure to the  news and limit the conversations which at times gets my nervous system revved up! 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

To writing

I am working on some of my posts and making them into some longer and more thoughtful articles and sending them off to see if by chance I could possibly get something published. I sent one in that was due the beginning of November and have not heard a word. They didn't even send an email to say they received the submission, so the other day I wrote and asked if they had received it and no response. I know they probably get a great deal of articles to read, but it would be nice to know that it ended up where it was supposed to go. All I can do is wait, and see if I ever hear back for now. 

I enjoyed writing the article immensely. I would keep my computer set up and every time I had some spare minutes I would sit down and write some. I needed to make the post 2500 words or more so it took time to think about how I wanted to expand the post. I just kept at it, not sure if I could ever reach the word count, but I actually went over it!  It was a good mental exercise  for me and I felt so productive and also grounded. I felt lost when I was done, but then the holidays happened and there was less free time and I lost my focus. I am starting to get back into my writing frame of mind and hopefully I plan to begin to edit the story I wrote at the writing retreat this spring and find a place to send that one off to. 

The past two days were spent taking my mother to the doctors because she has had a bad infection and needed to go in for anti-biotic shots on top of the oral antibiotics. After taking her to the doctor it is going to the pharmacy to get her prescription and then since it is in the grocery store, I need to get her groceries. It has been so cold here and running errands in this weather made me feel chilled to the bone even as over dressed as I was! 

We do so much with our elders. We are lucky to have them still, and they are lucky to have us to depend on. I have siblings so we take turns, but we all have such busy schedules, sometimes one of us ends up "on duty" two days in a row. 

Tomorrow we have our grandson here, so that will be another busy day, but most of my writing happens when he goes down for a nap!  

We are the sandwich generation. We tend to our elders and our little. And I would not have it any other way! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015

I have neglected this blog for so long, and I have missed writing here and also visiting my favorite blogs. I hope to get back to it because it is something I do enjoy and I miss hearing about everyone!

We spent the end of Sept. until Thanksgiving in a state of crisis mode. My 93 year old mother-in-law was hospitalized with an infection that was completely treatable, but then morphed into a series of life-threatening situations. It was so awful as far as the worry about her health and her spirits, endless trips to the hospital, constant phone calls from the hospital with often serious on the spot life or death decisions to make. And on top of all that, trying to get the day to day living tasks done. 

It is all a very long story and mostly unbelievable. After so many brushes with death and all of us prepared to let her go, she survived and is now living in an independent assisted living facility. It all feels like a bit of a dream that it ever happened, but now life is settling down some and it feels so much better all around.

To this I say, age is a factor in when serious health issues arise, but really, it is the human spirit that prevails. 

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve. I had my children and their wives here along with our first grandchild. My 89 year old mom, my 86 year old aunt, and my sisters and their families were also here to celebrate with us. My grandson in 11 months old now and crawling all over the place. He lights up a room with his charming smile and laid back personality. He was in the center of everything and we all felt so connected to him and to one another. 

Usually my sister does Christmas Eve, so it was a new tradition for us to host it here. I am hopeful that we will keep this arrangement for years to come as it worked out so well. 

Christmas day was much quieter, with my husband and I, brother-in-law, and niece, having dinner at the assisted living place with my mother-in-law. We had a delicious pork roast dinner and we were even allowed to bring a bottle of wine to the table. I was enjoyable not to be the one doing the cooking and no clean up was so nice! My mother-in-law was very pleased. After dinner we went back to her room to shower her with Christmas gifts.

New Year's Eve was spent in the movie theater watching, WILD with Reese Witherspoon. I had read the book and loved it. Cheryl Strayed is an absolutely fantastic writer. She melts my heart over and over again. I was reluctant to see the film because I didn't see how they could do it justice! But I was wrong. They did a descent job! I am glad I read the book first though, because I am not sure I would have been able to follow all of the flashbacks! 

So I wish you all a very Happy New Year filled with love and light! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Strike a Pose

When I was a kid I always closed my eyes when ever someone took a picture of me. I guess the flash bothered me and I just didn't understand how to keep my eyes open when the flash went off. My mother was always complaining that there were no good  pictures of me either my eyes were closed or I was squinting. It was embarrassing to be the one who always ruined the pictures. No matter how hard I tried, I took a terrible picture, and so many times with my eyes wide shut. So I learned to try to stay out of the picture so I would not ruin it for everyone. 

It is sad to me when I look back at photos of me. There are not very many that came out nice even from my wedding day. My graduation picture stinks, too. I just did not know how to strike a pose, even if my eyes by chance stayed open. 

I did marketing in my last job and one task I had was to write the newsletter for the business. This involved taking pictures of staff to go with the articles. No one wanted to have their photos taken. No.One. When they saw me coming with the camera they wanted to run for the hills. Since I hated having my picture taken I was very sensitive to others who feared the camera so I did my best to work with people and make it as much of a  pleasant experience for them as I could. That meant that I took multiple shots and always, always, allowed them to make the final decision. It was worth the time to keep people happy and have them realize they could trust me. 

So as I photographed people I noticed that they all seemed to have a pose and a smile reserved just for the camera. I never had that. They were all so worried about how their picture would look, but mostly they were very photogenic and took great pictures. I never came across anyone like myself who still late in life did not know how to pose and smile for a picture. 

Last week, I needed to send a photo to the hospital for an article about the support group. The good news was that I did not have to go in and have them do it. My husband (a professional photographer of seas- capes and landscapes)  said he would do it for me and we could just e-mail it in. 

So I did my hair and make-up and went outside with my husband and we did a photo shoot. I love digital. Just shoot and shoot and delete and delete all the crappy ones. And delete we did. I finally found a couple of pictures that I could live with and I had my eyes open on both of them. No fake smile. I think I finally learned how to smile for a picture, I learned what side is better for me, and I learned I enjoyed the shoot. 

I sent one picture in to the hospital and I got a note back that it was "a lovely" picture. I changed my profile picture on FB and got about 60 likes on it. The most likes I have ever received for ANY picture I have posted.

I am not posting this to brag and I hope people do not think I am being full of myself.  This was such a major shift for me because I felt so small and ashamed that I did not know how to pose for a picture all of these years.  I am starting to get it. I am starting to have confidence and maybe that is all I needed to keep my eyes open, stand tall, and strike a pose! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Where's the Rainbow?

When I was younger my mother and my older sister loved Barbara Streisand's music and I heard it at home all of the time. It wasn't long until it became my favorite music as well. I would go into my older sister's bedroom in the afternoon and we would put on album after album and listen. We would shut off the lights and she would lie on her bed all curled up and I would be on the floor right next to the stereo to be close at hand to change the records.

Barbra's music brought me far away into a world where I was the one singing my heart out on the stage and in the limelight, because in real life, I never really had a place to shine. I loved those songs, the old ones mind you, like the very first album,  the second and then the third album and the ever popular People album. Those are the songs that take me back to my childhood and make me feel safe and even a little powerful for some reason. 

When I was diagnosed with my colon cancer (right in the middle of dealing with the breast cancer), there was one song that kept popping into my head from that era and I could not get it out of my head! 

Here are the lyrics:

                                               "Where's That Rainbow"

Troubles really are bubbles they say
And I'm bubbling over today
Spring brings roses to people you see
But it brings hay fever to me
My luck will vary surely
That's purely a curse
My luck has changed,
Yes, it's gotten from rotten to worse

Where's that rainbow they hear about?
Where's that lining they cheer about?
Where's that love nest,
Where love is king ever after?

Where's that blue room they sing about?
Where's that sunshine they fling about?
I know morning will come,
But pardon my laugher!

In each scenario
You can depend on the end
Where the lovers agree.
Where's that Lothario?
Where does he roam, with his dome
Vaselined as can be?

Oh, it is easy to see all right
Ev'rything's gonna be all right
Be just dandy for ev'rybody but me.

In each scenario
You can depend on the end
Where the lovers agree.
Where's that Lothario?
Where does he roam, with his dome
Vaselined as can be?

Oh, it is easy to see all right
Ev'rything's gonna be all right
Be just dandy for ev'rybody but me.

Oh, yeah, I see that rainbow
For everybody but me.

It was that last verse that was playing around and around in my head constantly. 

Oh, it is easy to see all right
Ev'rything's gonna be all right
Be just dandy for ev'rybody but me.
Oh, yeah, I see that rainbow
For everybody but me.

I KNEW the negativity of the song was not good for me, not a healing thought, yet I could not get the song out of my head and it was making me so stressed out as it was such a downer. Yet, it was in my head since I was a kid and not easy to erase! 

Sooooo...... I decided I had to make the song work for me since it seemed to be sticking with me. I realized all I had to do was change ONE word. Yes, ONE word changed from that last verse made all the difference in the world. 

So now that one little verse became my anthem! It uplifted me as I sang it every morning in the shower even on the most grueling days. It went like this:

Oh, it is easy to see all right
Ev'rything's gonna be all right
Be just dandy for ev'rybody AND  me.

Oh, yeah, I see that rainbow
For everybody AND me.

Turning a negative into a positive can change your whole perspective! Now I was no longer afraid of the lyrics.  

The song inspired me to keep going.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Green Light

I got the green light from the hospital and the support group is a GO! They are sending the info to the marketing department to make up the fliers. Then they plan to interview me in the patient corner of the hospital newsletter to get the word out that we are starting up the group. I am really excited about doing this and can not wait to get people together and start! 

Once I get it going and get into the flow of things, I will be taking the proposal to other places and try to build up my hours. Really, there are no jobs out there for me, so I needed to create one and I did it!!  This has been such a good experience for me in trusting my instincts and my inner voice. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Summer. It has finally arrived. I am still home working on finding employment and reinventing myself. It is a daunting job, but I am finding it an adventure on many levels. 

I approached our local hospital about running a support group on writing and healing for cancer survivors now that I have the curriculum. I received a positive and encouraging response and was asked to write up a proposal and send a resume. So I took care of that last week and here I sit waiting to hear if it will be accepted. Now that I have a proposal  written I am thinking about other places I can send it. I have connections at the local hospital so that was a good place to start, but I want to expand and take this curriculum to other circles including but not limited to cancer survivors. 

A year ago I never would have thought I would be have something solid to present to potential employers. It is more than a job to me though. I wanted to find  something to do that would give me a greater purpose in my life and I am beyond grateful that I was led to it. It is possible to follow your inner guide and find your purpose.  I was trying to do so before I became ill but I think I was so caught up with my job and my day to day business that I was not taking the time to really listen and follow my instincts. Had I been working I never would have been available to go to the Woman's Forum. It was at the forum that my whole world shifted. 

A friend of mine is big into the Law of Attraction. She says that when you stay in positive energy and you find that life begins to flow more easily you are in the vortex. Life's little annoyances suddenly disappear and you find that the little things like finding a parking space, no lines at the registers, perfect weather for an event when it was pouring a couple of hours  beforehand. Life seems to feel magical when you are in the vortex in small but meaningful ways. Lately we have been experiencing life in the vortex. So that I would not forget all those little things, I made a list of them that I am going to share right now.

My husband had a big photo shoot in Maine. It rained all the way up there and we thought he would miss the opportunity for the shoot. Friday was the only day that worked for him and for the organization. The weather cleared up perfectly as we arrived and he was able to spend 2 hours taking gorgeous pictures for them. The sun came out and the light was nothing more than perfect at the exact time he needed it to be. 

Sending the email to the cancer coordinator at the hospital about the writing and healing group I wanted to start and knowing in my heart that I would get a yes and hear that day. An hour later I heard back and got the green light. I offered to volunteer, she offered to give me a stipend. 

We were in a craft store in New Hampshire looking for a gift for a friend. My husband found a tile he thought would be good for her. It was beautiful and unique, but it wasn't quite right. He didn't think we should pass it up because he knew she would like it.   But I had in my mind how I would have crafted it and next to my vision I did not like it enough to purchase it. On the way back from Maine he said we should stop back at the store and buy it since we hadn't found anything else to get her. I still didn't want to buy it, but we decided to  stop anyway and maybe, just maybe, they got more in since we were there (4 days prior). So we went and to my surprise they had gotten another shipment in and there was one that was  was EXACTLY what I had envisioned and I LOVED it! I bought it and my friend LOVED it as well. 

Thinking about materials I wanted to use at art therapy and knowing we would not be using them that night. I was thinking of asking my therapist if I could take them home as I had something in my mind I wanted to do in my art journal. I got to class early and the materials I wanted were on the table. My therapist said, "I don't know why I put those out we aren't using them tonight." I said, "oh, just what I wanted to use." So I used them right then and there and completed my project before we even started class. 

I know. These are SMALL things. But really isn't the day made up of a series of small experiences? When they flow it makes the day feel so good. When we hit the wall even with something small, it impacts our mood and the schedule for the day and our stress levels! 

I have been working so hard on my thinking. Changing my thinking has been changing my life is small ways as well as bigger ways. Living in the vortex isn't as hard as I thought it was a few years ago, but it takes work every day even when things are not going along as we planned. 

Reinvent your thinking and reinvent your life. That is my motto these days.