Friday, June 17, 2011

A Sunny Day in California

It has been over 2 years since I blogged anything on this site, alot of life has been lived from that point to this. I have been challenged with a big move, a major health problem and a new relationship. This has all been constantly peppered by the home sickness for my family back east. Even though I miss everyone back east so much I knew and know I am nothing to them without making the most of myself. I cannot live as only an appendage to their lives. I want to be a healthy addition.

I am 51 years old. I started as a mom and wife at 18 years of age, a senior in high school. At age 27 I was divorced with sole custody of my kids. I raised my kids as a single mother working constantly and going to school to better myself to provide for my kids. I knew who I, nurse, student, and provider. When my children grew up and left home starting their families, I lost who I was.

After much thought and out of love for DJ, I made the difficult decision to move to California for a year with the plan to move back east with him. Life circumstances, health issues and a change of focus has changed my initial goals for the move to CA. I was hoping to begin work here within 2 months of the move, buy a car and be an active career woman. I was not planning on collapsing very ill with Diabetic Ketoacidosis and requiring numerous hospitalizations however all things happen for a reason I believe. God (yes, I believe in God) has made the work environment difficult here in Chico (very few job opportunities) thus my full time job has been learning how to care for myself by focusing on weight loss, healthy eating, exercise and emotional health. I have had lots of time to focus on my recovery in all aspects....what a gift! Some days are harder than others as introspectively looking at yourself is very difficult for me. I have had to accept the fact I am very over weight, out of shape, and in need of emotional recovery. Without acknowledging the true facts one cannot have a jumping off point for change. It was so so hard for me.

As for my love life and I do love DJ more than I can say, I cannot be a terrific partner to him until I learn to love myself first, something I am working on day by day.

All of the above does not change the fact I miss my family so much. I cried for 10 minutes the other day when my son Tom told me on the phone that he gave my grandkiddos a United States electronic game. The kids apparently were not interested in learning about any state except California because that is where their GaGa was. OMG, I was a mess.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Three Little Grand Monkeys

Today is a snowy winter Monday morning. The roads are very icey and it continues to snow. This past weekend was so much fun. I took care of my 3 wonderful grandchildren: Alex, Collin & Kenzie. We played Candyland. We put together puzzles and we played with Uncle Tom's trains. I was a little nervous bathing the boys Saturday night as Alex was hurt in the tub the last time he was with me but all was well. Alex kept reassurging me every time he banged his head by saying, "I OK GaGa, no boo boo, no hopital". Here are some portraits I took of Alley, Colley & Kenzie this past weekend. They are truly my pride and joy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Memory Pic of the Week!!!

Alexander the Funny

I was reviewing past picture files on my computer this evening and I ran across this wonderful picture of my first grandson, Alexander, Alley for short. He was born emergently via crash induction at 28 weeks gestation as my daughter had developed severe eclampsia which lead to heart failure. We were terrified as they ran my daughter back to the OR for her C-Section. Being a nurse, I knew the mortality of congestive heart failure, especially in a 20 year old woman. It did not help that the anesthesiologist had a look of fear on his face. I kept pushing away the tears and the fear that I might loose my beloved daughter and/or my first grand baby. I would never ever be able to find the words to describe that type of devastating pain. Finally, the doctor came out of surgery and said that Alex weighed 2 pounds, 13 ounces and was doing well. The doctor nicknamed him feisty as he came out screaming. Katie was taken to ICU and also did well. By the grace of God, they both recovered. Looking at these older pictures takes me back to those earlier days. I am able to super impose such happiness & joy over the frightening childbirth events. Looking back makes me feel so blessed but also sentimental. Alley is growing up into an incredible little boy. Where did those years go?

Next month Alley turns 4 years old. It is so hard to believe. It seems like just yesterday that I took this pic. This picture is my memory pic of the week. It was taken when Alley was about a year old at my home. He was so tiny yet so animated and funny. I wonder what he was thinking when I took this picture. Was it surprise? Was it anger? He has never stopped amazing me by his intelligence and his funny faces. I love him dearly.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Valentine's Day Date! My New Man!

This is Bart. He is the new man in my life. We met on Valentine's Day. He is the perfect man. He never argues, always wears a tie, and comes bearing gifts. Until someone can come along and top Bart, Bart will be my steady. Bart's name sake is a little boy I knew in Kindergarten. Bart, the original one always wore a tie to school and always had yellow snot dripping from his nose. My man's name sake, the Kindergarten Bart had a nickname of "Bart the Fart" because he passed gas frequently trying to be funny. I wonder what kind of person the original Bart turned out to be, probably the CEO of a tie company or a Manager of the factory that makes Beano. I am home from work sick today with a really bad cold and sinusitis. Bart has been keeping me company. He has been snuggling with me. So far, Bart has exceeded behavior wise, any man I have met to date. Either Bart is just amazing or I have very low expectations and standards when it comes to men. Until I figure it all out, Bart will be the only man in my life.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Poetry Inspires Me...One of My Favorites

Comes The Dawn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open,
With the grace of a woman,
Not the grief of a child
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
In stead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth,
and you learn and learn...
With every good bye you learn.

by Veronica Shoffstall, 1971

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bono from U2 and Tom

Years ago my son, Tom and his girlfriend back packed through Ireland. Being the U2 fans that they were and my son still is, they waited outside U2's recording studio in Dublin. They stood outside in the rain for days on the off chance of seeing one of the band members. On their last day waiting an old car drove up to the recording studio gate. The driver saw Tom and his girlfriend standing there, back up his car and drove up to them. Lo and behold it was Bono, the lead singer and world activist himself. Bono allowed Tom and his girlfriend to sit in his car and take pictures. He also gave them signed autographs. This is a picture of my son and Bono on one of Tom's best days ever. As an end note, apparently Bono has had a history of not being a very good driver. My son said inside his car there were sticky notes all over his dashboard with driving instructions written on them. One apparently said "put parking brake on when stopped on a hill". I thought I would put this picture up. It is one of his favorites and mine.

Are All Your Ducks In A Row?

When I was raising my children, at the end of the day, my daughter used to ask me how my ducks were behaving? That question was code for how was your day? At the end of the day, I used to always tell my children how my day was based on what my imaginary ducks were doing. If my ducks were in a row, that meant the day was good and everything happened based on a level of control and predictability. If my ducks were all over the field it meant nothing happened as I expected it to. It usually indicated I was flustered, frustrated and overwhelmed. Most of the time my ducks were close by and easily rounded up which meant my day was not quite as planned but manageable. My daughter used to find this imaginary duck reference funny and in a way it was however, it really was a barometer reading of my stress level based on control. I needed control to feel sane. If my car broke down, if a child got sick at school, if a bill came that I did not expect, my day could suddenly go south very quickly and my emotions would closely follow. I would let outside stimulus affect my happiness and my ability to cope on a daily basis. I thought by somehow controlling my environment and the people in it, I could control my safety and the safety of my loved ones. The need to control was based solely on fear and insecurity. It is for all of us who thrive on control. I was at the mercy of the world at any given moment if I did not hold a tight reign on all those imaginary ducks.

The reality is I never had any control over those ducks and I never will. The only thing I can control is my own actions and behavior. The rest is out of my control. Once I truly realized that and let go of the need to control, I was able to give the control back to God, the only one who had control in the first place. For example, I can tell my loved ones to drive safely when out in their cars but I cannot control the actions of the other people on the road. What I can do is pray that God will keep them safe and put no one dangerous in their path.

In one of my recovery groups there is nice older gentleman. As it is a closed group, we all go around the room at the beginning and state the nature of our disease. This is done to make sure all that are present are there for the correct purpose. The older gentlman routinely states the nature of his disease and then adds, "I am powerless to people, places and things". I thought that was a strange phase to add, so one day I asked him why he says that. He said, "it is just a verbal reminder to myself that God is in the pilot seat, not me". I thought that was terrific. You see, the first step to recovering from drugs & alcohol is the understanding and belief that one is powerless to it. The disease of addiction flourishes when one thinks they have the ability to control the using or taking of a specific substance. Since almost all addicts / alcoholics are controllers, it makes sense that admitting powerlessness to all people, places and things aids in a "control free" way of life which fosters faith in a higher power. If I cannot control, only God can. I love the shortened version of the first three steps of AA, Step 1: I can't, Step 2: He (God) can, Step 3: I think I'll let him.

Therefore, today I am powerless to drugs & alcohol and to people, places and things. I make no reference to ducks unless I am at a lake with my grandchildren. If I find myself reverting back to the old duck barometer system out of habit, I stop and ask myself who and what I am attempting to control. I then take a deep breath and let the ducks swim back to the lake where they belong.