Saturday, February 11, 2017

Forward, March.....

After a long absence, Winter is back.  We had our first major snowfall and I have spent lots of time indoors, getting projects that have been on a back burner,  done.  I'm nesting.  Feels like I'm awaiting the first pangs of labor, heralding the bigger wave and eventual arrival of a baby that I nurtured within myself for nine months.  When I actually did birth babies, I always knew that soon they would be arriving because of my sudden spurts of uber-activity.  We didn't even know the word "uber" back then, but let me tell you, scrubbing grout in a bathroom with a toothbrush surely would define the word now.  This time, it is not a baby.....but it probably weighs as much as a whole nursery filled with them.  This time, I am readying for my next big life-changing event and I have a date!  Finally.

The phone call was basically anti-climatic.

"I'm calling to schedule your surgery"

The date, mutually consented.....Tuesday, February 28th.  The time to be determined later, as in the day before.

Instructions have arrived in the mail.

This coming Tuesday, Valentine's Day, is the last "class".  It's called "NURSE EDUCATOR" class and Joe will accompany me.  It's the down-and-dirty session where all questions will be answered, making it very real and hopefully, not scary.  My surgeon has already met with me and soothed me with his candor and confidence.  According to him, the show will all be over in thirty minutes.  I'm assuming that he means thirty minutes of his time.  I know I will be pre-occupied in the O.R. for longer than that.  Thirty minutes and hopefully, a lifetime of distorted self-image will disappear forever.

Next week, I will "diet" in earnest.  No, I will not have the Last Supper every day from now until the 28th.  That's not a particularly good idea.  The smaller my liver is, the happier my surgical team will be.  March will be a time of peculiar ups and downs.  Lose weight now.  Gain 10 to 20 pounds in thirty minutes due to surgery. Lose weight again.  One year later, see a weight gain, it's expected. Okay, one step at a time.

I will update after the Nurse class.  Seems funny tho.  I'm a nurse and I've been an educator.  Hmmmm.  Maybe there's a career opportunity ahead.  If I'm starting a new life, I'll still be young enough.  Right?  Hmmmm.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Nothing Much to do?????

One of my all -time favorite questions is this one

"What do you do all Winter on Cape Cod?"

We, who make our home here, get asked this question at least once a year, at some point in the Summer, by people who come to visit and spend their days lolling on the beaches, strolling through our little picturesque towns, soaking up art and enjoying, for a brief time, relaxation at its finest.

I suppose it's easy to think that we do nothing after Labor Day, that everything shuts down and we crawl into our houses to wait for the arrival of Memorial Day when it all "happens" again.  As if our lives depended upon the company of tourists.

So, it's on afternoons such as yesterday, that I mentally add to the list of responses.  Hello, when was the last time you went to the Bolshoi Ballet?  We go every few weeks, in between our front row seats to the National Theater in London and occasionally, the Metropolitan Opera from New York.  And, the best part is, we get into our car and arrive at these magnificent performances within five, that's right, five!! minutes.  Following that, we count our blessings and remind ourselves of our good fortune in that the local art house theater is one of those that regularly has access to these live broadcasts.

Yesterday's ballet was "Sleeping Beauty", straight from Moscow, the home of the Bolshoi.  The stage is opulent, the set for this performance was akin to the interior of St Peter's Basilica and I kid you not.
The music of Tchaikovsky and the choreography of Yuri Grigorovich provided every single sense with pleasure.  Princess Aurora was danced by Olga Smirnova and her Prince Desire, Semyon Chudin.  The audience in Moscow ate them up alive and the applause was non-stop for minutes on end.  And why not?  Every single second was breathtaking.

Tickets to the ballet were under $20 each with our Senior status.  So, for little money and barely any travel time, we enjoyed the very same (actually better) view as our fellow audience members at the actual theater.  If you think about it, we are so much more fortunate.  We have all of that plus miles and miles of the most magnificent seacoast that we can enjoy any time of the year.  Oh, when you come visit us as a tourist in the Summer, don't even think of taking our spaces at the Cinema.  Our live performance schedule goes on hiatus.  Sorry.

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.