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.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Hope, Day One

Day One
Christmas Morning, 2016
Entry log about the Spaceship Bariatric

NOT Barbaric as my sometimes handy, others, annoying and trouble-making, text spellchecker spit out when I first told my son of my plan, almost exactly one year ago.  I was trying to tell him that I had begun the tedious (boy, I had no idea) process that would eventually (underline that word!) find me having the surgery that my mother would have given me away for.

I took a much-needed break from the whole thing in April.

I returned in November, just after Thanksgiving

I am hoping for a surgical date at the end of January or very early February.  I'm much more ready now for that Bariatric surgery.  I'm so ready and so excited.

This is the first of what I hope, no I know, will be journal entries along the way but now, it's Christmas morning, the day that reminds us all that there is hope.

And so, let the day begin.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Right and Kind

Being right or being kind.

My brother was here all week and before the end of Day One, we had a theme for his visit.  Finding the intersection of Right and Kind on the Avenue of Life.

After a long absence, my older and only sibling has made two visits to my father's home.  The first, one day after the event that has given us the newest challenge since our mother's death, and this, the latest, a longer stay, intended to give me a break from my "duties" and to spend more time with Dad.

The event, well, let's just say that Dad was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it all turned out without bodily harm to anyone.  Long story short, he was headed to a doctor visit, a location he hasn't been to in a while, and he as he puts it "made one mistake".  Apparently, he was fully engaged in hurrying down a fairly busy street in his car, in the wrong direction.  Just one tiny"mistake" that, he argues, could have happened to any one of us.  One tiny mistake in judgement that resulted in his being found in a state of disorientation and confusion.  I found him not quite as disoriented but nonetheless, confused, in a bed in the Emergency Department of our local hospital. He had absolutely no idea why he was there and just wanted to "get the hell" out of there so he could go home.  My husband, the dearest man in the whole world, took over the job of calling the police officer who had made sure Dad got to the hospital and made sure his drivers license did not.  Joe got the car out of impoundment and before you could say "this is going to be a huge problem", we were back at his house.  And, yes, this is a HUGE problem and yes, Dad has turned into Daddy Dearest minus the wire hangers, and yes, there is no end in sight.

The very next morning, a gentleman from the D.O.T. rang the bell at the confused resident's house and handed him the official notice, telling him that his license, apparently his most prized possession (likes it better than he does his kids), has been revoked due to his medical condition at the time he was stopped from almost killing people.  That, and the discussion my husband had with the officer and I with the hospital social worker, was to put a stop to any further thoughts of ever driving again and hopefully, to accepting hired help for whatever driving would be required by an almost 95 year old who never wants to go anywhere when you invite him in the first place.  But, here's the clinker....the statement from the D.O.T. advises the distraught holder that there is an appeal process, one that would be a ringer for a young person with a whole life of driving needs at stake.  It says that one must first go to the D.M.V., get on a very long line for those who are seeking a "hearing" and other assorted problems, and then wait another very long time to be called.  This sure would take no fewer than three hours on a good day.  The document also goes on to state that after this hearing, the guilty party would then be entitled to a fuller hearing that would be scheduled approximately three months after the request, and would be held at a location that, on a good day, would take one to two hours to reach.  Finally, the word "attorney" appears.  Now, my father may get confused, he may suffer from some degree of dementia, he may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he is a retired law enforcement officer, one of New York's Finest, and he can still read.  The part of his brain that functions went of hyper-vigilance and he started demanding his rights, telling me that I had to do something to help him.  We thought we were "helping" when we took his keys when he wasn't looking.  No way, it was give those keys back or else.....else what?  He wasn't going to be nice to me?Didn't really matter anyway, his tire was flat.  He has the keys. I have a hard time with people disliking me.

So, our discussions centered largely on Dad.  We know what's right and we know what's wrong. We were properly raised and educated by the very same person who is our current nemesis.  We understand. We also know that it is wrong to "lie" but geesh, we spend an awful lot of our time dreaming up what I now so glibly spew forth as "fibs".  Tables turn.  They "fibbed" to us when It we were kids.  Remember the Easter Bunny? Santa? Tooth Fairy? "The radio is broken!" "That is an UNforgivable sin." The list is a lot longer than the list of our little lapses from the path of total truth. They did it to be "kind" and now, it's our turn.

So, we're still adrift.  Not sure on which shore we will eventually land.  We teeter-totter on that decision and we keep running it all by each other.  Shall we tell him that NO, there will not be a reversal of the revocation of his license.  That would be oh, so right.  He won't accept it.  I tell him that the problem is his, that he lost it on his own.  That we had nothing to do with it.  That we allowed him to hold one of the last vestiges of his independence, and he blew it.  That also is so right. We make the right assumption, along with everyone else who observed his behavior and lack of judgement on the day of the "event" and we base our affirmations on his disorientation and mental confusion at the time.  We count our blessings that there weren't any injuries, especially to innocent people who trusted him and us to help keep them safe. All of this, both my brother and I have reviewed, over and over with him, in the kindest of ways.  We found that intersection, we crossed the paths of right and kind.  We exhausted ourselves and the entire topic, times over.  He still doesn't seem to understand. Right?  Kind?  It does not matter.  He wants his license back.

My final discussion with him, the one which he began with "Do you know any lawyers?", got Hell-bent on being right, kindness, be damned.  The only words I could find came from somewhere deep within, something I had not even prepared no less given much thought about, ever.  I dug down and came up with the kindest summation of the problem.  I'm not sure that it was kind to lay this on him but I do know that it is right, as correct as it could be.

You see, Dad.....the problem is wanted to live a long life.  You are so proud of your longevity and you actually think that you will be the first of God's creations to beat death.  You are confident that you will live to at least 100.  But, Dad, there are concessions.  Between becoming old and very, very old, things have got to change.  If you want to stay in the game, you must change with them.  You cannot expect everything to be the same in your nineties as it was in your sixties.  So if you truly enjoy living this long, you have to accept the fact that one of the things that will not be in your "new" life is a license to drive.  You, and all of the others who are clawing their way toward that prized 100 year old status.  So, I'm being kind here when I remind you that you made the choice. I know I'm being right in saying "you can't have everything".  Sorry Dad.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


 My usual blogging experiences have found me up early in the morning, using the wonder-fueled technique of opinion-writing as a vehicle for venting all of my woes.  It is true, that through writing, we discover things about ourselves and yes, I have discovered many things both good and bad about my true self.  Along the way, I invested in an online writing course that held the words "true and self" in the description and I must admit, it was an exciting adventure.  

But things are changing.  At least, I want and need them to change.  I want to discover somethings about myself that might have been left buried.  I need to explore and unearth and find peace, carma and true self-adoration.  Life has changed in ways that only those who are of a certain age can understand or perhaps, not understand.  There are hosts of those, of the certain age who are totally home free.  No parents, no kids, no mortgage, no jobs, just lives of uninterrupted bliss.  They earned it and now, they are cashing in.  Alas, I am not in that elite group and I am surrounded by others who also disqualify for the Perfect Final Years Club.  However, staying on track here, grousing and complaining and shouting out have not helped.  I can't say that I have actually turned to higher ups and found my solace the art of "praying".  I suppose that comes as a result of a case of A.D.D. that started as a child in the days before there was an awareness so it was left un-attended.  I've referred to my "Monkey Brain" several times and it is still alive and well.  So, prayer like the nuns do, escapes me.  But, hang in there Monkeys and friends.  There may be hope.

The postman arrived on Sunday.  Drove a little package right up to the front door.  For me!  From one of my dearest friends, one who knows.  One who comes from the No-Judgement Zone. It is a book, a gift of a book.  Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver.  Letting the Divine Take the Lead.

Darling Barbara, the daughter of another of those stubborn 94 year old fathers who do bad things with their cars, said on the gift card "Lynn, it seems like a good time for you to have a copy of this wonderful little book.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and receive a little encouragement and comfort from her sometimes kooky approach".  Wise friend as usual.  

So, I plunged into kooky Tosha's book, trying all the while to understand why a Jew loves all the things the Christians are taught to love, like it or not.  I am still working on trying to figure out who the "Divine" is (I always thought it was God) and I'm still reading and wondering when it is going to hit me over the head like a frying pan.  It's the A.D.D. that prevents me from being a  good and steady reader, but I am trying to overcome that problem (new meds help).

I woke up this morning with a new determination.  I'm going to TRY to apply some of the principals I'm reading about.  I'm going to TRY to open my heart and my entire life and allow whoever this Divine person is, to direct me.  I got a gift from a friend who obviously was directed to send it to me so there's a hint that there may be something to this. And, okay, maybe I want to read something more into this....but.....the gift arrived during an agonizing dinner with my father at our home. It was his second visit in almost a year.  We dragged him over here, trying to give him some respite from his worries and, in return, he tortured us with his dementia.  The door bell rang, and hope was on its way.

So, for today, a thought from the lovely book....

"My perfect new path is already selected and will arrive at the right time.  I'll be shown the steps to receive it"

Is that perfectly great or what?

Friday, April 1, 2016


Edvard Munch, The Scream

I should have one of those carefree hair styles, one that the more you shake your head, the better it becomes.  I would be the prettiest girl in town. Instead, I have a carefree hair style that does not move no matter how hard I shake my head.  It does respond well to having my fingers run through it and the palms of my hands pressed up against it when I am in shock or utter horror.  I could have modeled for Edvard Munch, really, I could have.

The day that I reluctantly brought my latest piece of art to the Cultural Center, it was teaming with rain.  I've been so busy with a multitude of other projects lately and honestly had not prepared anything for entrance into the show so I grabbed an older acrylic off the bathroom wall, freshened it up a bit, threw a plastic bag over it and took off to fulfill my duty as a volunteer, registering beautiful works of art done by other, more talented members of the Yarmouth Art Guild.  I left mine in the car. I felt embarrassed to bring it in.  It didn't even meet the gallery hanging requirements!  One by one, pieces arrived and in passing, I mentioned how I was happy to have not put my fellow Guild members through the agony of having to reject mine.  And then came the encouragement.  "Go out and get it from your car!! And I did.  And they were complimentary.  What could they say? So, later in the day, when I got a call from the Guild president, I was certain she was going to tell me to come and pick up my rejected work but instead, she delighted in telling me that I had won and Honorable Mention and that the judge loved my painting. Hands up to head, utter shock and disbelief.

This is not a story about a hair style, nor is it about an art show or an artist.  This is about the Universe, once again speaking clearly to me.  I named my painting. I called it "I Can See the Light Now".  I did not know then, two weeks ago, how this would become a cornerstone, how that clarity would become so meaningful.

Tonight, we are leaving for Italy.  While we've made this trip many times before, this truly is anticipated to become one of the most special.  We're meeting our son and his wife in Rome.  Neither has been to Italy so we are looking forward to la prima volta and hoping that they will be as thrilled to be with us as we will with them.  Our plans for this trip, one during which we will celebrate my husband's 70th birthday, have changed several times.  The Universe spoke again, and we all decided that what we really want is to relax and enjoy art, the country-side, and days of new adventures so we're taking them to Tuscany to live a few days of the Italian Spring.  In anticipation of our journey, I wanted to refresh my memory.  It's been three years since our last Italian voyage.  So, I pulled a book down from the shelf.  Joel Meyerowitz. Tuscany, Inside the Light. Starting to see the theme here?

A piece of news, via a cruel text message, just two weeks after my I honorable mention.  A dishonor flung in our faces.  We can see the light now.

So, we're off and running, ready for light and all the beauty that we know is awaiting us.  I'll blog, I promise and we'll keep the lights lit.  A presto!