Thursday, January 19, 2017

Happy Birthday Lucy!!

                                                  EVERY CHILD IS AN ARTIST
                                                                    by Lucy Colket, age 9

Once upon a time there was a five year old girl named Elizabeth George who thought she wasn't an artist


One day in art class she sat down and started to draw

She tried to draw a horse but she accidentally drew a big line straight through his body

"Oh no" screamed Elizabeth

The art teacher ran over in a panic

She questioned Elizabeth

"What's wrong my dear?" she said softly

"I have wrecked my drawing I believe" Elizabeth said

"Oh Honey, it will be okay"

"You see, every child is an artist so you have to use your special artist head to fix the problem"

So, Elizabeth picked up her marker and drew more lines on to her horse

Then, she signed her drawing "E.G." and wrote on the top


For she had turned what she thought was a wrecked horse and made it into a wonderful zebra

"See" said the art teacher

"Every child is an artist"

Published for Lucy today on her 11th birthday.  Happy birthday to my special masterpiece. I just love how you get it, each and every time.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hygge Revisited

Ever since I upgraded (not voluntarily mind you) to the new Windows program, I have been totally at a loss for how to perform some of the easiest tasks.  I have absolutely no idea of how to locate and send a photo that I have downloaded, least of all, how to post photos from new selections, on my blog.  Thus, no pictures to prove any points that I may make.  You have to use your imagination.
Well, that certainly gets me off the hook about posting a "before" photo of myself.  I have seen dozens of them on various bariatric sites lately and think those people awfully brave.  I can hardly look into the mirror at my skimpily-clad torso.  I'm not going to subject anyone to the same horror.

I will do my best to create pictures in words.  Not of myself, necessarily, but of all of those things and people who make the road ahead look so much less slippery.  My snow tires, my ice melters. Easy to come up with metaphors at this time of the year when there is snow on the ground, black ice everywhere just waiting for that accident to be about to happen.  Easy when the days are short, the nights long and dark.

I wrote about Hygge, that lovely Danish happening, a lot of posts ago.  Two years ago, during a long and hard Winter, I buried myself in a tomb, surrounded by oh, so much snow and ice.  I made the decision that it wasn't going to get the best of me and I pursued some home-based remedies, following the instruction of a lovely web-based woman who taught a course in how to survive it all.
Week by week, she offered new ideas and instruction in what basically amounted to, how to create a lifestyle that would be called "cozy" or "homey", and she introduced her students to the Danish word for all of this plus so much more, "Hygge".  I was the first on my block to know about this but certainly not the first in the World.  The Danes have been living a life filled with Hygge for centuries. That's one of the reasons we like them so much.  They make us feel cozy and cute with a high degree of seriousness and integrity.  They say it's okay to hunker down in the Winter, to gather together with friends around fires, drinking whatever makes you rosy.  Cocoa is in that category for some.  Mulled wine, for others.  It really doesn't matter, as long as there's a group and a willingness to support each other in finding overall dreaminess to the long day or night.  "Hygge " is one of those words that can't really be defined.  But, last week's Wall Street Journal did a very good job in letting readers know of its existence and the article served as a great reminder to me.

Without being a Dane (although I have several good Danish friends), I realize that I create Hygge (pronounced by the way, hug-ah), in my life every time I include friends.  I have so many friends to hygge with and so many opportunities to light candles and drink warmth.  If anything is going to bring me closer to success in my bariatric pursuit, it will be the practice of Hygge and the warmth of friendship from those who have vowed to be there for me, that will carry me on.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

All the Things.....

I used to have lots of sleep problems. Sleep was something that I dreaded instead of looked upon as the fun sport of the retirement years.  My pattern of sleep consisted of many random periods of total wakefulness.  A night of rest was broken down into cat naps and I was up and at 'em before 6AM. That has changed.  Since we moved into our condo, my sleep pattern has improved and I swear it has to do with the drapes that hang in our bedroom.  It was the first night here that we discovered a fatal flaw in the design plan of our new home.  It didn't take very long to realize that our neighbors were as loud as they had promised they would be when we introduced ourselves.  Our bedroom window is located very close to their patio fence. Additionally, we have a slider that opens up onto our patio. Double-whammy!  After trying various noise abatement tricks, I found a brand of drapes that are recommended by the American Sleep Association. Hung them up after paying a small fortune for them, and Bingo! peace, quiet and temperature control, all in one. We dream a whole bunch now and of course, after all that, the neighbors sold and we now have THE loveliest, quietest people in the world living next door.

But, like any other old broad, I still wake up early and force myself back to sleep.  I have a few techniques that work for me and the latest, well, it's highly practical to say the least.  Instead of counting sheep, I count other more useful things.

I count the ways in which my life might change a few months out from my surgery.  I'm not going to look for unrealistic things, just simple ones that I have a hunch I will enjoy.  No, my time with my grandchildren has not been impacted by my weight issues.  We've done playgrounds, hikes, Italy and so much more and now that they're older, we do creative things, make art.  So, I'm not one who will say that I'm choosing Bariatric surgery so that I can play with the kids. My life has been great and hopefully, it will always be but.......there is a list that I use to help me return to la-la-land.......

How Will I Love ME?  Let me count the ways.  That's the way it begins.

I will be able to take baths.  I displace too much water nowadays so it isn't fun.  It gets cold.
I'm going to buy myself wonderful bath products from Sativia.  I might even get one of those racks that goes across the tub.  Throw in a bath pillow.  If you need me, you know where I'll be and if you call, I will be able to wrap a bath towel totally around my body as I answer.

I'm going to enjoy afternoon tea, more that I ever have before. Caffeine is a no-no for a while, at least through this Winter.  I'm already stocking up on my supply of herbals and I'm worth a trip to Teavana. In fact, there probably is a sale on right now.  Yipee!

I can clean out a few closets and drawers.  I already make mental lists of the things that I know  (er, hope) won't fit and can be sold at my favorite consignment shop, Whimsy's in Harwichport. Good way to get some "new" things in a smaller size with the profits.  Smaller sizes.  What a dream.

Leggings.  You are on the list, girlfriends. With less bulk up top, I might be able to have clothes hang lower, tops that cover my ugly knees which I am sure, won't get any prettier. ArtCloth tops will be my first indulgence.

Tennis anyone?  Well, maybe Pickle Ball.  I will love myself on a tennis court again.  It's been thirty years since I swung a racket and I'm determined to do it again. My friend Carole has promised to teach me that new game and maybe one of our courts here can be converted and we can start a whole team at Cranberry Knoll this Summer.

Bike riding.  Have you seen the new bike path?  It's amazing!  All I need now is a Schwinn.  Maybe turquoise?  With a big, cushion, maybe gelled?  I can't wait to get on the road. There's a new bike shop in South Yarmouth, just waiting for me.

And last, but not least, I envision food.  Yes, food!  A good, healthy relationship with it.  Before we ended our workshop sessions, Suzanne made us promise that we would buy GOOD food. We're going to be eating so much less, so get the best we can.  I love this idea.  We're already good food purveyors. Now, I have a perfect justification for shopping at Whole Foods.  I'll be honoring a promise.  Thank you Suzanne!!

So, it's a short list.  Nothing outrageous.  Good stuff that I should have been doing a long time ago anyway.  Basically, my analysis of these things tells me that the plan is simply to take better care of ME, to love mySELF and to honor the gifts.  How hard can that be?  Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

What Day is it Already?

With both Christmas Day and New Years Day being on a Sunday, making two Monday holidays plus the eves of both partial holidays for people who work and for retail, I'm totally confused most of the time lately.

Do you remember how you could not wait for Christmas when you were a kid?  Never wanted it to come and go and come and go it did, all too quickly.  If you were like me, you were saddened when it was time to pack up every vestige of Christmas and return to the classroom.  If you were like me, you never imagined that you would, one day, be happy to see the big holidays come and go...quickly.

I used to love everything about Christmas.  Without a second thought, my future husband and I planned our wedding around the holiday, knowing that our church would be beautifully decorated and that red velvet and holly would lend themselves to our plans.  Of course, we did not give one thought to the fact that we were slamming our family and friends with just one more thing to do, one more gift to buy, one more......wait for it.....snowstorm to plow through.  Yes, of .course, it snowed.

Now, as a fully-grown adult, one who attends birthday parties for friends turning 70, I  have traded my holiday joy in for LET'S GET IT OVER WITH! and my glee for moments of total disorientation.  Let's be honest, so much of my glee disappears right after Thanksgiving when Mariah Carey starts being heard, over and over and over again in every store I enter.  The Christmas music that I used to long for is now the very same that I need sedation for.  The lack of respect for what the holiday is all about,with secular advertising and stores that are actually open for business on Christmas Day and New Years Day has driven the joy out of being joyful.

And,while I am confused and disorientated, the days ahead are nothing in comparison with the days behind us.  Maybe that's why, this year, more than others, I have felt a sense of rushing and a need to put things back in place, restore life to the days before the attack of the Musak vocalists.  I need some rest, some focus, some re-orientation because soon, life is going to change in this house and, folks, in every house and none of us is sure how and most of us are asking "why?".

Hang in there.  You may have seen your last Happy New Year. Or, I might be wrong.  We'll see.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

And Then, Another Gift

I never thought of myself as being "morbidly obese".  My BMI just puts me there, in that category and I know that I am bigger than most of the people I know.  So, I must be "obese".  I just hate the word "morbid" applied to anything, not the least of all, myself.  But, that BMI plus a brief history of hypertension and the fact that I do suffer from Sleep Apnea, are what hopefully will allow my insurers to give the final word on my surgical procedure.  Without that word, it simply will not happen. So, every day, needless to say, I worry about being turned down.  I should  not.  I am, after all, morbidly obese.  Fact. More of a fact when I look in the mirror at my protruding butt and my "Is There a Baby in There" abdomen. (Too bad I'm not an armadillo, I'd be all set).

I reflect often on the days ahead, the days right before, during and after I become a "Sleever".  The word "gift" goes through my thoughts like a ribbon.  I am so glad that Suzanne chose that word when she addressed our workshop, giving us food for thought to weave into the landscape of our food for other things.  While  my new stomach will be an honored gift, there will be other gifts and I need to be open, ready for their arrival and welcoming as I would a gift from a loved one in a big box tied up with ribbon.

The grandchildren have been here for the past two days.  Aged almost 9 and almost 11, they are active, messy, and always ready to eat, especially if there is sugar in the ingredients.  They have, as do most kids, eyes that are larger than their stomachs and, as a consequence, there are always bits and scraps left over from the latest feed.  The greatest part of this is the wake-up call.  The voice inside my head that says....."you are not the garbage".  It's that voice that also says, "Hey, if you're wondering how you got to be "morbidly obese", the answer is a leftover slice of pizza away.  You see, I put on lots of poundage during my years as a mother to two kids and then, as a grandmother to two.  No waster of food was I.  Kids won't finish, I will.  Those calories could not count, they're not in a plate!  So then why, when I was doing one of my zillion diets, did I elect to spray leftovers with Windex as I cleared the dishes.

So thanks Kids.  I love the gift.  The affirmations and the awareness.  I am NOT a garbage can, nor have I ever been.  I'm a person who can and must look at food as sustenance only. That bin in the kitchen, that's where left over food belongs.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Happy Anniversary

Forty seven years ago

Two births

Two grandchildren

Deaths, graduations, weddings, eight new addresses, ten trips across to Italy, gazillions of new experiences, tears, smiles, lots and lots and lots of laughter, very few arguments, challenges, new careers, close calls, risks, joys, sadness, aging parents, too many sunsets to count, winetimes, fires in fireplaces, music, dance, walks on beaches, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, enough coffee to build a new ocean, fears, smiles

We're not the proverbial two peas in a pod but it is that very pod that gives us each room to breathe and to live out our own visions in perfect harmony.

I can not imagine going down the road I am on without love and support from the one person, other than myself, who will have the greatest life change.  If you know anything about weight loss surgery, you know that it is a total lifestyle, that reverting back to old ways of eating can be dangerous if not unpleasant for the offender.  That sugar and alcohol are not on the horizon just as big meals will be a thing of the past.

At first, my soul mate was reluctant.  He was fearful at the prospect of surgery.  Why can't we try other things for you?  He promised to help in any way he could but after many attempts at helping me, my efforts failed and I was left hungry, depressed and defeated.  As a natural-born slender person, he tries but fails to understand the intricacies of weight loss efforts and their failures.  He can't possibly know that I live, and have been for most of my life, in someone else's body.  There's a whole other person in there who wants to come out and play, if only for a few more years.  When I explained that to him, when I impressed him with my need to fulfill one last desire before I get too old to change, he understood and shifted his voice to total support and a willingness to take on the new lifestyle.  He asked questions, still does, and makes every possible attempt to know the facts and ways in which to help.  His support was the final piece of the puzzle, the final word that allowed me to forge ahead and make my plans.

Joe has an entire different way of thinking.  He's analytical.  He makes plans, reads directions, researches and waits patiently for things to happen.  I'm not analytical, I'm more ready to jump at the gun, to figure things out as I go along.  I throw the directions into the trash  before reading them, along with all the other messy parts of whatever it is I'm doing.  I'm visual.  He's guided by another set of rules.  I'm impatient for things to happen.  Spontaneous.  A real, live right-brainer.  A lucky lady who can do whatever makes her happy, safe in the knowledge that her husband will be all the happier because of it.  He may not always understand it but he's always thrilled and oh, so complimentary.

So, we're in this together just as we started out all those years ago.  I'm sure that I can count on him being there for me when I feel discouraged, just as he always has been.

For better, for worse, in sickness and in health, til death do us part.

Happy anniversary to the left side of my brain.

Monday, December 26, 2016

My Special Gift This Christmas

A very important part of preparing for Bariatric surgery comes in the form of a three-part group workshop that is dedicated to the emotional or "head hunger" aspects of learning how to cope.

So, three weeks ago, I reluctantly got into my car for the 45 minute drive to the surgical center for what, I imagined would be a snoozer.  I generally do not do well in two hour meetings, hating the fact that I am enclosed in a room filled with strangers at a time of day that beckons me to an entire life shut down.  Four to six in the afternoon, three times?  I'll never make it without nodding off....or so I thought.  Instead, I grew to actually look forward to these sessions and each one paid off and was well-worth the drive and the extra effort.

Because......Suzanne, the skilled and experienced social worker who led the group, started the first session with words I will not forget any time soon.

You are receiving a gift and it is up to you to honor it.

How fitting.  A gift. Christmas.  New Year.

This gift?

A stomach the size of a small banana and I kid you not when I say that I accept this gift with gratitude and I do intend to honor it.

I never dozed off, not even for one second.

Thank you.