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The Way It Is

Thursday, May 09, 2013

So, it's check in time. Yes, I've been off Spark for more than a month. No, I haven't written anything in more than a month. I'v updated my status occasionally, and made comments on other people's blogs, but haven't written anything in quite a while.

Funny how life seems to ebb and flow. I had stopped checking out books from the library, had stopped doing a lot of reading, had not written much in my journal. And then cleaning off the desk in my room, I discovered the written word again.

So, I paid off my fine and checked out 3 books. I started writing brief commentaries in my journal and today, after an extended absence, I'm back to writing.

I'm back to collecting positive quotes also, which I post around my cubicle at work. I'm a firm believer in keeping the positive right in front of my face. The world is so full of UGLY survive we have to actively keep the good where we can see it, feel it, hear it, ingest it. It's a constant fight.

And it's a choice. Our words and actions are our choices. Many people think that they don't have choices in life, but they do. We all do. Even the space between the proverbial rock and a hard place is often times a choice. The lesser of two evils, but still a choice.

I think about the 3 women recently freed from captivity in Cleveland. That woman who got the attention of the neighbor had a choice. She could remain where she was, or find a way out. Her choice.

Sometimes it takes us a long time to realize that we do indeed have choices in life. We can accept what is, or perhaps, make a change. And with most choices, it's never really clear cut. There may be good and bad things that come with the choice.

Is it ever really cut and dried?

Once long ago in my marriage I was quite unhappy. As I was walking through the parking garage at work I had a light bulb moment. "I don't have to stay." Now, as a Catholic, I have been taught to believe that marriage is forever. And in my heart I believe that you do "give it your all" and not toss a marriage away without working to save it.

But just that simple thought, "I don't have to stay," was freeing. Because knowing that deep down I had a choice made all the difference. Of course, I would have had to weighed the positives and the negatives, but again--I had a choice.

I'm still married, by the way, to that same man. Still in love.

Many times we think we have no choice, but we do. We just don't like the consequences that go with some choices.

My elderly mother needs me. I choose to be there for her. I could choose to not be there, but what might the consequences be? Numerous. Sadness, guilt, anger from my siblings, the list goes on and on.

Try it. Look at your options. Be honest about why you make the choices you make. Face the other choice with a critical eye. You may like where you stand. Or maybe not.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHANGE4FIT 5/11/2013 10:32AM

    Yes, it is all about the choices we have and the ones we make. Your blog reminds me of some recent "Eagles" wisdom. I was listening to their song "Already Gone" and there's a line that says this:
"..So often times it happens that we live our life in chains and we never even know we have the key.."
Some how this little phrase feels so empowering-all about choices....

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_LINDA 5/10/2013 1:57PM

    So glad staying with your husband turned out to be the winning choice! Oh there are such hard ones in life. I enjoy my job as Club Manager for the Bridge Club, but lately, its been interfering with my desire to do other things that I want to do. I joined a new club, purely social, that does a lot of interesting activities. I have been to some, but most I am unable to attend because of bridge conflicts. I enjoy the extra money the club gives me, but not the lack of freedom so much. My Mom waits patiently for me to have the free time to travel on the trip of a lifetime for us. But any time its seems possible, that I have finally got a lull in my endless health problems and surgeries, well, along comes an event for the club I must plan for. There is no one who can take over my position and work with the computer, do month end, and basically all the things I am required to do, not the least of which is being on first call for the security system, for members having questions about the club, statistics for our table counts, keeping track of member milestones, awards, printing posters, meal tickets, photography of all events, required presence at same and directing games as well. It keeps me busy and out of trouble, but now its become a little too intrusive. I have no free time for most other activities. I have finally booked two trips for Mom and I, but short ones only, a two day canoe trip over the weekend, and a 5 day bus tour. Unfortunately, the bus tour goes right over a special week long event at the club I am responsible for organizing and running. I can set up all the materials with step by step instructions for other people to run, but I am the only one that can access the count to provide special materials needed for these events, and also I need to sign the check that is required to pay for the special event when its done. So, it will be interesting to see the reaction I get from everyone affected. Choices. I am choosing to be selfish because my health is getting worse and my Mom isn't getting any younger and may not be around to travel with me if I don't start soon as she likes to say.
Here is to making the choices that will enrich your life, not drag it down!
So good to hear from you!

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JLEMUS1 5/10/2013 9:13AM

    Awesome, yes life is about choices and consequences of those choices!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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keeping it light

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This is a short one, and not too deep either. Won't that be a change of pace for me!

DH and I went to the Big Apple for 4 days over this past weekend. He was there for a conference and I was there just to have a good time. What fun, what a change of pace and what a change of scenery. Does NYC ever sleep? I mean, really?

So different from Cincinnati, the city that at times seems to have trouble waking up! I say that as someone who has lived here for decades, so Cincy lovers, don't get offended. There's lots to do here, but I don't know anyplace that compares to New York.

While there, we ate good food, saw interesting sites and walked our legs off! I started to feel guilty about the food, but then I thought, "Naw! Lord knows I walked so much, I couldn't have done too much damaged!"

It's great to be home and back in the routine of things...including going upstairs and finishing unpacking my suitcase. Oops. Real life calls...

If you haven't taken a day off recently, or taken a trip anywhere, or even played tourist in your own home town (something we could all do more of, I'm sure), I highly recommend it! It's always good to recharge the batteries, so to speak and get out of your routine.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 3/15/2013 2:17AM

    Fantastic! Its great to have a break! The best way to see a place is to walk all over. You catch the unique eateries, shops and interesting places that way.
I have been crazy busy for so long at the club, but sure have been wanting to take a break. Best I can do is the odd weekend at Mom's, hitting the snowy trails! More snow today. Spring seems a long way off here.
Have a great week!

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BE-THE-CHANGE 3/14/2013 10:43PM

    Great idea!

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Here's What I've Learned

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Life is about the endless, endless lessons. Sometimes they are when you expect it, but many times the lessons are when you least expect it. Sometimes the lesson is accompanied by joy, but many times the lesson comes with sorrow.

You can't escape the lessons.

You can't stop the lessons.

You just keep learning.

The past few years have been a lesson to me in living by watching people I love die. I know, I know, we all THINK that we GET IT. Life is short. Live your best life, however else you want to say it. Blah. Blah. Blah.

But there's a big difference between hearing or seeing and really feeling a thing. My father has been gone not quite two years now. It was painful, yet at the same time, so beautiful. The last conversation we ever had, the two of us on a bench at an outlet mall, on a warm summer afternoon, will stay with me forever. And I don't say this to depress you; rather, to have you understand that it is real. When someone says, "you never know if you'll get another chance to make it right, to tell someone you love them, to forgive, or to laugh with someone," it is the absolute truth.

Lesson learned.

My mother has been through some difficult physical issues, but is doing so much better. Despite what I really wanted to do, which was lay around the house on Sunday, I drove an hour and a half to visit her. She's staying in assistive living for the time being. The length of the time being is yet to be known.

I sat with her in the dining room at her table with two other ladies. And I looked around that room with the real knowledge that for many of us, that's where we'll end up. If we are lucky enough. And what does that mean to me?

Time is finite. Time waits for no one. Time respects no ones plans. Time continues.

Time will be gone before we know it if we don't pay attention.

The important thing is to remember this. Do I want to be the woman at the table looking back at her life and seeing only the regret of things not done? Of plans made but not realized? Of words not spoken? Bitter, angry, or even sad? Or do I want to be the woman at the table who feels a sense of satisfaction for a life well lived?

In recent years, I have decided to embrace and love who I am and what I look like. I am strong. I am tall. I am healthy. I have huge calves and big hips. I have beautiful hair and really, really bad eyesight. When I was 25, I didn't appreciate how absolutely fabulous my body was. I thought that I was fat. And that was nearly 50 pounds ago.

What in the hell was I thinking?

I'm sure any of the people where my mother now resides would gladly, gladly trade places with me. Almost every last one of the people there used a walker or a cane. I just want to stay active and stay strong. But here's the lesson: there's no guarantee that it will last. That I won't end up with a terminal disease or a heart attack or any other thing that can attack the body.

I appreciate where I am at this moment and celebrate it.

Each of us has a vision of what that life well-lived looks like, but how many people really live the life well lived? Think about someone in your own life who you feel did just that. How did they do it? What did it look like?

It doesn't mean that we each have to go out and scale a mountain, or compose a symphony or become elected to Congress. It's so individual, and yet so precious and so special. Our dreams are our own.

It's near the end of the day right now. I have to ask myself if this was a good day, despite anything that happened. I don't get this day again. It's not coming back around for me to re-live and to change "for the better."

Tomorrow is a new day. A new opportunity. A new lesson awaits.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CVRONEK 3/9/2013 5:50PM

    Reading my mind and saying it so well, as usual. emoticon

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/2/2013 6:37AM

    Well said!

Thank you.

( `♥ ) ♥'
.`.. ♥ Spread the SPARK!!! *`*..♥
..) .*).*. ♥. ♥
(. (. . ♥.`.♥..`. ♥

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STORMTMB 2/28/2013 8:31AM

    My Dad had been in and out of a nursing home for the last 2 years and he passed about 3 weeks ago. I hated going to the nursing home and seeing people as you described. I don't want to end up there some day. As Steven Covey says, we must begin with the end in mind.

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_LINDA 2/27/2013 1:15AM

    Ah yes, life's hard and bittersweet lessons. Seeing my grandmother (the only grandparent I have ever known -the grandfathers died before we were born and the other Grandmother was in Germany and died long before the one trip I was able to make there) struck down at age 72 with a massive stroke and laguishing, in pain and total disability in a nursing home for 20 long, torturous years was a wake up call. This was a woman living in a wood stove heated shack in our far north, melting snow for water, using an outdoor toilet, but loving the north country where she was born and raised (She was Cree), creating beautiful beadwork, reduced to a person you could barely understand, unable to see or use her right side (she was right handed), just saying one thing, she wanted to go back home. She never liked the city, and there were no level 4 care facilities in her tiny village of course. We had all wish she had passed on of the pneumonia she had caught when she fell in the frigid winter conditions outside and didn't have to suffer this. So I am trying my hardest to keep my independence and not let the RA win, being as fit as possible, but it is a struggle -its now attacking my back, a new area, and this is the pain the prevents me from sleeping or sitting or laying down for any length of time. Slow release narcotics were not a help so the Dr. is trying something else, all the while commenting I am too young to be dealing with this so soon.. Yes, I sure do want to make the most out of this life before it cripples me up too. Just got to find the time out of my busy, busy time managing the bridge club :P
Here is to searching and finding that holy grail in our lives: peace, happiness and satifaction with who we are and where we are headed :)

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CATHEMARIE 2/26/2013 9:30PM

    Yes, yes, yes!

emoticon emoticon

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ROSEWCI 2/26/2013 9:27PM

    Lots to think about! Life is too short for regrets & missed opportunities. I like the motto of living one day at a time...I'm not going to worry about what has passed or what's up ahead, cause I can't change what already happened & I can't profess to know what's up ahead! So, all I CAN do is enJOY the day!

I hope you enJOY your tomorrow & the opportunity it brings! HOPE springs eternal!

emoticon Rose

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The Class is Back!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Water aerobics class, that is...and I am extremely happy.

One of the instructors called last week to say that the class has been moved to a pool downtown, which is only a little further than where I was going before. Upside, class is back. Downside, I have to pay an additional fee along with the family Y membership I have. But if I go, it will be worth it.

Things have a way of working out, I guess, even when things look a little bleak. I've been kicking around, ok, splashing around at some other classes without much success. Now, the deep water class I took did kick my tail, but I wish I were a better swimmer...I'll give it another try and maybe I'll ask for a belt to help keep me up better. Or maybe not. One has to have a goal to strive for, so why not do something more challenging? I'll keep it under consideration.

Mom is doing better and is over her cold for the most part. I think I neglected to add to my last blog that when I went to the store to get Mom's nasal spray and cough drops I ran into a friend of my younger sister and her mother. They were telling me about a woman who had worked in their home when their relative was ill. So, now I have a lead on a home aide. Coincidence that information I needed just kinda popped up at the grocery store? Maybe...or maybe not.

I believe that for the most part, we get what we need in this life, even if it isn't right when we want it (despite what I said in my last blog). Things have away moving into our paths when least expected sometimes but for a reason.

The trick is to keep the mind and the heart open for things life brings to us. It can be a little frightening when we are confronted with the unexpected or a with a challenge. It can even be a little exciting, to look at possibilities never seen before.

Imagine that.


The Need

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I have a lot of needs right now. This morning, it was the need to write. I express and release a lot of emotion through writing, and being away from Spark has kept me from writing. I still do the old fashioned journal, which I keep next to my bed. I've been writing more in it lately than in quite a while.

Mom is doing better, but is still in the rehab center. Correct that-went back to the center after a brief encounter with pneumonia and four days in the hospital. This hospitalization occurred the day after being discharged from the rehab center and thinking that she would go home and have a caregiver come in 3 times a week. A ludicrous notion. This is a woman who cannot perform many routine activities of daily living (bathing herself, dressing, getting in and out of bed safely) and she was going to go home?

Part of loving someone is being honest even at the risk of making that person angry. So, I honestly told Mom that it was unsafe for her to live at home until she was stronger. I was in no mood to put up with her and whatever-that-was line of thinking she had going on.

Now that she's back in rehab, we'll be re-visiting the notion of her going to assistive living for a while until she is strong enough to go back home with in-home care.

I've been overwhelmed emotionally with trying to deal with her these past 3 months. Thank goodness for my older sister. She and I are the main ones to see her (none of us live in the town Mom is in). My younger sister-well, she's still working on getting divorced from her spouse, so she's not as involved. Do I believe it's an excuse for not dealing with Mom sometimes? Yes, honestly I do. And my brother (the Knight in Shining Armor) just believes we need to be "more patient with Mom." Easy to say when you only come around every few weeks.

I told my sister to tell him for me that since he's more patient, then he'll just have to assume that role. For all of us. And while I'm in honesty mode with loved ones, the next time he says he'll be there to see about Mom at noon and shows up at 3 p.m. (long story and there's no time for it right now), I'm going to ask if that's "the rest of us time" or his "fantasy time." He can't be on time for one blessed thing...

I feel a great need for physical exertion. It takes away a lot of stress. I think sometimes that I could punch a hole in a wall, but then, I can't do that. I feel the need for meditation sometimes too. I wish I could just stop. stop. stop. stop. stop. stop all these thoughts and feelings rolling around in my head.

I feel the need to not be good. I've always been the analytical one, the practical one, the one who is dependable. I'm not feeling it right now. Some days I'd like to get in my car and just drive. Not tell anyone where I'm going, no certain destination in mind, just flee the current scene and everything that goes with it.

I'd pick up some gorgeous man who would never mention the family and job and all the responsibilities (what a dirty word) I'd left behind. He'd treat me like a queen and indulge me with whatever I wanted. Just for a little while, anyway.

So, I'm in pursuit of taking care of my needs. Writing-expect to see more from me. Exercise-they changed the hours at my local Y, taking away my favorite water aerobics class, so I'm still on the hunt for a substitute. Meditation-again, looking into local yoga classes. The gorgeous man? I guess he'll just have to stay a fantasy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 2/1/2013 12:47AM

    Sorry to hear of the lack of progress, uneven sharing duties amongst your relatives in looking after your Mother's needs. It always seems to be the way. I am glad you are considering your own needs now and are going to do something about them. I would guess you would have to read a Romance novel to find your gorgeous man :PP I don't think such a thing exists in real life!!!
Physical exercise has always calmed my raging thoughts and anger at the cards life has dealt me. When I am agressive, I throw in a cardio kickboxing DVD, when I am sad, a Zumba DVD boosts me up. You really can't be down when you are having a party! I sure hope you find something to replace the class you love. You can always try something new in case you might actually like it!
Writing is always great for venting. looking forward to hearing more from you..

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STORMTMB 1/31/2013 9:20AM

    I'm sure you know this, but be sure to take time for yourself. The caregiver needs to be able to re-charge the batteries too. Take some time to do the things that make you happy and relaxed. Best wishes in this difficult time.

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