Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Tonight I had a talk with the owner of the business where I work and told her it's time for me to move on. My plan is to register with a temp agency. They send you on jobs that can be for one day or several weeks. Most companies now hire from temp agencies. This will be a good chance to see what's out there and land me the job I now need. I am keeping an open mind about it. Besides I can work two days for the temp agency and make what I am making working four days where I have been working. It's really hard to try to exist on 1/4 of what you made previously. The bills are what they always were. In fact, with my medical insurance, copays that have consistently risen and prescriptions, my monthly costs are about $300 more than they were pre surgery. Each month my bills have exceeded my income. I have had a small amount that I have used but that's almost gone now and this is the time I need to take the big leap back into the job world. I'm a bit nervous but I keep reminding myself that change is exciting and that a great job is out there waiting for me. I just need to find it. Wish me luck.+
Monday, January 30, 2006
After setting up the crock pot I took Duffy in the yard and played with him. It was Spring like and beautiful. I left a bit early and found some wonderful bargains in TJ Maxx. At 3:15 I had my cardiology appointment. I really like the doctor but it's a bit anxiety ridden. Knowing that I have received some pretty heavy news from him. Today I got a good report. My echo I had about a month ago showed the new valve is functioning well. As a result, my heart is functioning well also. My blood pressure remains good and no longer requies medication. (I was on THREE prior to the surgery.) My cholesterol was way down as a result of the new medicine, Crestor. Unfortunately, what is excellent for a normal person, is not low enough for me. He wants mine UNDER 100. Shocking eh? He upped my dosage but I will see.......if I have any aches or pains I will remain on the lower dosage. While there the hospital called with great results for the INR. My blood is just the correct thinness to keep my valve working well. It just kept getting better.
One small snag was my weight. I had lost thirty pounds last year. Over the holidays I ate Christmas cookies and had some egg nog, among other things. I have put five pounds back on. While it doesn't sound like much, my clothes are a bit snug. I need to take that off, and should take some more off. Not that I plan to hit the beach in a bikini but I do have a family wedding coming up in July that I want to look really nice for. I also plan to dance the night away and my weight hinders my stamina.
It was nearly two years ago that I underwent the surgery. Honestly, for the first year I wondered how I would ever recover. Now I am better than I was before. I can breathe, I have stamina and I am enjoying life again. I feel lucky to have had such wonderful medical care and support from my husband and son. When I think of ONE word to describe myself, the same word comes to mind: survivor.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
My personal chef Rob is making me squash soup and talapia for dinner. Yummm.
We ran out trying to find a few things this afternoon and while out he picked up the ingredients for the meal. I went to Target and I lucked out. I needed a broom and they had the old fashioned corn brooms on clearance. I paid less than $3 for them. They only had two left and I bought both. For some reason my kitchen broom vanished into thin air. I do remember it being outside and perhaps someone else in the neighborhood took it and forgot to return it. It was green and I miss it. It had a wooden handle. It's not easy to find that anymore. Sorry, but I don't like the feel of metal in my hand. Besides they get bent. I like to think of the corn brooms being hand made. It makes me feel like I am using something that meant something to the maker. Not a factory product made of plastic with a metal handle. I like natural ingredients.
Wonderful aromas are making their way upstairs. I should go down and help set the table. It seems like a nice night for candles and some music.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
This book reminded me of one of my favorite books of all time, The Scarlet Letter. I have reread that book so many times that when I see a new copy with a different or artisticly wonderful jacket, I pick up another copy. I grew up in a family where my parents thought their minister was above reproach. As a teen he made me very uncomfortable with his demeanor towards myself and another girl. Later he was exposed for making inappropriate advances to a young mother. At that time, what came out was that he had previously had a long affair with the piano player and mother of four in the church. I found this amusing because this is the man who my parents made their decision of whether or not to allow their 17 year old daughter to marry upon. Clearly, this man was incapable of making good decisions. His saintly wife stayed with him and after her death he married several more times. At this point, even they can see that he kicked his pedestal out from under himself.
I am a practicing Catholic now. I detest the actions of some priests and I support the strongest laws to punish them. I believe their victims should receive monetary compensation that allows them to get help that they need. I feel this way about any person in authority, be it family member, church leaders, Boy Scout leaders etc. What gets me though is that even when faced with overwhelming evidence some parents will never believe the victim and want to excuse the offender. Such small minded people really anger me.
I'm going to go downstairs and enjoy the company of my husband and furbabes. My human son was here earlier today and wreaked havoc on my washing machine. Fortunately, I think it will live to see another day. It was only three years old and I thought we might have to replace it at first. I wish someone could explain to me how a college graduate (tests have verified his intelligence) could possibly think that a heavy down pillow, a pair of heavy jeans, four pairs of khaki slacks, a winter coat, two heavy winter scarves and two sweatshirts could possibly FIT into ONE load? The pillow tore apart in several places leaving a trail of feathers.......
I told him the pillow was something to wash by itself, when it was wet, it weighed twenty pounds I bet. Well, he and his laundry have departed and all is quiet.......for now. Enjoy your weekend.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Today and tonight I have run the gamut of emotions. This morning I saw a picture of our late friend Marc and his smile still blows me away. This time last year he was excited about the Upcoming SuperBowl and we had no clue that his now evident weight loss then was due to cancer. He lost his battle with testicular cancer within six months. Rob and I still have a hard time accepting that he's gone. I don't know how it's possible to see someone in their casket and still not accept that they're gone but that's how I feel. I miss his voice and emails and phone calls. I miss his girlfriend's emails who seems to be moving on with her life, as she should be. I hope Marc is at peace. I know that his suffering is over and yet I feel no resolution. I know that he never understood what was happening and that he never knew that death was so close. The end came so fast. A part of me is grateful for that.
Another thing on my mind is that one of my closest friends has done something odd, and a bit hurtful. She was supposed to come here a week ago. We spoke on the phone and she told me she was going to call me back. She was showered and ready to come. She never called, never emailed and then blocked everyone from seeing her online. I called and left a few messages. NO response. Frankly, how much can you call someone, email someone who shuts the world off? It's not as though I have a carefree life. I work whether or not I feel up to it. I take friendships seriously and I dont' think shutting out friends or letting them worry about you for days while you just "check out" is fair.
I am very worried about our fellow blogging friend Pam. VERY worried that we have heard nothing. I have sent her two snail mails and I am hoping someone in her family will let us know somehow, how she is. She has made posts from the hospital before. Each day I pray for her and her family and hope that I will see a new post.
Finally I am elated. Our dear friend Judi is in touch with her gorgeous daughter. Since I first read her blog, I felt that someday her darling daughter would understand. Apparently she does. After all that Judi has been through, I am so very happy for her. It is my fervent hope and dream that she will have a new life, that will be perfect in all areas. Okay no one's life is perfect, but as close as it can get. I feel that I have shared some of her pain, through her sharing, and now I share in her joy.
Monday, January 23, 2006
I was looking in a journal earlier today and the couple have already exchanged their Valentines Day gifts. Nice gifts I might add. Valentines Day has a special significance for me. When I met Rob it was the evening of February 12, about 8 p.m. to be precise. We went out to a nice restaurant for dinner and for the first time in several years, I relaxed.
Prior to meeting Rob I was one anxious person. In fact, anxiety was the final straw that ended my weak marriage. I was having attacks more and more frequently and I had no support from my ex. He acted like it was nothing and considering his degrees were in psychology, you really had to wonder. I remember the day where I KNEW I had no choice but to get out. I was having several attacks a day and had begun to see a psychiatrist. He told me that it was because of a marriage I knew I wanted out of. The morning of the last straw (which quite honestly may well have been the worst day of my life) I awoke early with all the symptoms of a full blown panic attack. I was feeling utterly desperate and begged the ex to take a day off and stay home with me. He had acrued HUNDREDS of days that he never took off because frankly, he didn't want to be home. The thought of being alone terrified me and I begged him and begged him not to leave. Finally, in sheer desperation, I told him that if he left I might not be alive when he got home. He laughed and told me not to leave a mess. He rushed out past me without any sign of concern. That's when I KNEW. I was alone....totally alone. I was married to someone who would have had more compassion for a stranger. I sat on the sofa all day that day. I never got dressed. All I did was think of all my options. In the end, I vowed to reach down and find the strength that was alluding me. I had to find it, and I had to make it on my own. It was the first step towards regaining my life. Thank God I took it. My anxiety improved steadily as I took those steps to regain control that had been taken away from me. I understand now that I allowed that to happen. It's a mistake I will never duplicate.
Sometime later I met Rob and I could see he was a laid back kind of a guy. He didn't want anyone controlling him, nor did he want to control anyone. We just WERE. Two people who shared similar backgrounds. I am a strong believer that the core of any great relationship is friendship. We had that. We were both regulars in a chat room and had spoken for hours to each other and others. On Valentines morning we had breakfast together and I left to come home. At the time Rob had been out of work. When I arrived home he had put a ring he had worn that I liked into my cosmetic bag when he used the bathroom. It was something small but it spoke volumes about how caring he was. Slowly, I began to trust a bit at a time. Little would I have guessed that weekend, that some years later I would marry this man. At that point I was terrified of another relationship. I just wanted a good friend or perhaps boyfriend. In August of 2002 just minutes before our ceremony took place I was standing in a hallway with my childhood best friend. I started to cry. "Are you sure this is what you want?" she asked. "Absolutely. There's NO DOUBT in my mind and that makes me happier than you can imagine."
This is why I love life so much. Just when you think there's no way out......you find a way. There is always hope and there is always a chance that if you try just one more time, you may be a winner.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Yesterday we had a nice evening. Dinner out then went back to my mother's house and had some delicious birthday cake. I took some pictures and will put one here. This is my mother and her sister, Judy (wearing the blue). The other pic is of my grandmother with her two daughters. My mother is very rigid about certain things. You can never open a gift before the real event. Her actual 74th birthday is Friday and she wouldn't open anything before then. She's the same way with Christmas. Nothing the evening before. You have to wait until the actual morning. This always bothered me when I was younger but now that I am older I understand that as you age the gifts get less and often that is the focal point for someone on that day. I, on the other hand, consider the birthday cake the focal point. My mother's cake was beautiful. Not sure if I can upload a second pic in one entry but I will try. The cake had hot pink roses and piping and strawberry filling. Did I mention the frosting was buttercream? YUMMM.
We had my aunt, mom and grandmother for lunch today. Rob made his fabulous onion au gratin soup and we had a piece of a sub with it. Outstanding. They wanted to know if we wanted to come over later for a second piece of cake. Have I ever turned down birthday cake? My son just arrived with a snow blower he picked up for Rob. We've had little snow so far this winter but here in the Northeast you just never know. Wishing you buttercream roses and a great Sunday evening........
Friday, January 20, 2006
My aunt never lost her sense of humor and always found time to stay in touch with me. Often when I call her she tells me she loves me before we hang up. It's not sappy but more of an upbeat "love ya!". When I felt my mother was too old to understand things I could call her and she was always a good listener. She was diplomatic and never uttered the words "Have you lost your mind?" even though at times I think she had her doubts. I really look forward to seeing her.
I will be working tomorrow until 3. The weekends aren't much fun when you have to work but I will have something good to look forward to when I get off work. Besides Rob took Monday off for a dentist appointment and we are taking Duffy for his physical and shots. SHHH he doesn't know yet. We will get our two days off together.
The weather here was gorgeous today. I was glad to enjoy the sunshine with the pets. They give so much to us. There is just nothing that compares to unconditional love and nothing teaches it better than an animal.
Have a wonderful weekend. Peace be with you.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
I find Judith HeartSong's journal to be a catalyst to many of my thoughts of my past life. I can identify with many of her thoughts and experiences. Many people do not understand that even when a divorce is what you want and need, it is still emotionally traumatic. It's not something you can just walk away from, never looking back. This was really hit home to me a few weeks ago when I went to my son's apartment he shares with his Dad. When I walked in, the kitchen was a mess. My son was sitting there talking to me as I was bringing over Christmas cookies and brownies for him. I began to clean the kitchen. I do this for my son because I don't want him to be in an unsanitary environment. His father walked in and began to bark at me as he always does. I told him that the kitchen was a disaster and that I was cleaning it so that my son didn't have to live with it. He was watching television in the living room but he had to come in half a dozen times to complain that I was there. When I was nearly done (two hours later) he came in and complained that me being there was "messing up his schedule". He wanted to have lunch and somehow me being on his kitchen floor and scrubbing food off the molding was hindering him. I told him I was nearly done and reminded him that when my son had bought him to my house I had provided him with lunch. He looked at me as though I had three heads. I was proud of myself that I no longer allowed him to push the buttons. Buttons which he had installed. Instead I gathered my coat and hugged my son goodbye. He thanked me and I was on my way. On the drive home,I cried. I was so relieved to be away from the ex and to be in a position where he has no control over my life. My son chooses to live with him. He feels sorry for him even though he has admitted numerous times to me that his father is emotionally bankrupt. My son tells me he is so happy that I have someone who takes such good care of me now. He tells my family that when neither Rob nor I are around. He worries about my health, but takes comfort in the fact that Rob is always watching over me.
Truth be told, I pity my ex. I truly do. He has nothing in life except a son who he has no time for. His life consists of work (and they are forcing him to retire next Fall) and watching t.v. He could have had so much. He is highly educated, had a wonderful job and there was a time when he had a devoted family. Now he has his money and his television. He does have the woman whom he lived with for nine years before I met him. She is now in an assisted living facility with overwhelming problems. I never knew of his true relationship with her until we had been married about fifteen years. He could never break off contact with her and no matter where he worked she was always able to contact him by phone and by a p.o. box in that city. These are things I learned after my divorce. Although I strongly suspected and confronted him, he denied them until he knew they could not be used against him.
Above all else, I value honesty. Had this man come clean about all this, I would have had some respect for him. Since he hid his relationship with this woman, who to this day he calls a "FRIEND", and the majority of money saved during OUR marriage, I have no trust in him. From time to time, he does feel guilty and on a rare occassion he will send me money, nothing major. I do know this: my life got better and his got worse. The saddest part of all is that I don't even think he knows that. The best part of all is that I no longer care. My Dad once told me that the opposite of love is not hate. It's apathy. I think that's the wisest thing Dad ever said to me. Finally, with my ex I have reached that and it's given me freedom. Not only freedom to leave the past there, but freedom to make a new life.
Monday, January 16, 2006
I simply have to say that with the changes Jennifer has made here I am in blog heaven. That's right I said blog heaven. I was able to do so many things on AOL and when I came here I was a bit intimidated by all the html codes. Sooner or later, if I keep at it, I'm sure I'll figure some of it out....in the meantime it's great to have a friend who's such a quick study.
It finally feels like winter here. There is someone who lives in my house who hates snow. He calls it the "S" word. I love snow. It's the ice I'm not so crazy about. On Saturday and Sunday when we might have slept in several neighbors were out there making a lot of noise with snow shovels. I couldn't grasp why these type A people could not sleep in and enjoy the weather. This morning at 8 a.m. when I moved my car for Rob to get his out of our driveway I noticed some ice on the sidewalk. I began hitting it with the snow shovel and breaking it up. When I arrived at work someone mentioned that all federal government, state and county employees had off work today to honor Dr. Martin Luther King. I realized that many of my neighbors must have been sleeping, enjoying not having to get up and get out of bed today. Gee, I wonder if I woke any of them up. I would never deliberately do anything like that. Still, I wonder if maybe they will stop and think about their early morning clean ups. Especially our one neighbor who we really like. The guy is up however at 5:30 EVERY morning. At times he has actually begun to mow his grass around 6. Last summer, another neighbor, Terry, who is usually very calm came flying over to his yard screaming "TURN THAT OFF!" Since then he hasn't fired it up much before 8 a.m. Bless his heart. Sometimes as much as I enjoy my home here and the neighborhood kids, I have to wonder if ole Nelle might fit in better in a senior citizen complex. NAH!
Sunday, January 15, 2006
|Your Stripper Song Is|
I'm a Slave 4 U by Britney Spears
"I'm a slave for you. I cannot hold it; I cannot control it.
I'm a slave for you. I won't deny it; I'm not trying to hide it."
You may seem shy, but you can let your wild side out when you want to!
Patrick posted about five guilty pleasures and that got me thinking..........
thought I'd give it a good shot:
1. Either a banana split or a brownie barge from Jersey Freeze. Homemade soft ice cream that defies description.
2. A phone call to someone I have not spoken with in awhile. One that lasts for hours and when you hang up it's as though you were with them yesterday. Often it's just to reminisce of days gone by.
3. A long hot bath. The bathroom must be filled with scented candles and the tub must be filled with something that smells fabulous. Bath and Body will usually fit the bill. If I'm really lucky, my favorite man comes in and scrubs my back.
4. A gourmet cup of Starbucks. I'm on a budget of sorts and that is not something I can do very often. I usually do it around the holidays when they have the gourmet flavors that get you into the spirit. I usually go with the tall latte.
5. Godiva chocolate. Another thing I don't do very often. Once in awhile, at the mall, I stroll in and treat myself to my favorite, open oysters. They are filled with a Hazelnut filling that is scrumptious. I never get more than 1/4 of a pound because they are never going to make it into the house.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Today we had my 93 yr. old grandmother and my parents for dinner. This week was such a rough one for her with her confusion about her meds. Rob made his fabulous pot roast with red wine and veggies. We had fresh bread with it and a coconut custard pie for dessert. My grandmother was disappointed that her team, the Redskins lost their football game but she enjoyed an evening out and her dinner. It's a treat to have her so close the past few weeks. She loves to eat (that's where I got it from) and cooking for her is a real pleasure.
This afternoon it was 58 and raining. Tonight it's about 20 and we are getting a pretty heavy snowfall. I love to watch it from inside, knowing that we don't have to commute to work tomorrow, and that Duffy will be playing in it like a wild man tomorrow. He was leaping into the air earlier to catch snowflakes on his tongue. The cat wants to go out in it but once the snow wets his coat he wants to come back in.
I am really excited that on Tuesday American Idol will be back. Look for the link on the right if you haven't already visited Jennifer's blog about it. I was really into it last season. It amazes me that these people have the courage to do this. I love to sing but I cannot imagine doing it publicly. Even if you think that you have a great voice, there are usually so many people better than you are. When I was in fourth grade I took piano lessons. My cousin took them at the same time and we got together and practiced together. It was so much fun but when it came time for the recital I was terrified. My cousin was not even nervous. I did okay with it but unfortunately I began to feel anxiety each time I played publicly. As an adult I took piano courses in college. Only about a dozen of us to play in front of and I would feel faint when it came my turn. The teacher kept praising me but it didn't matter. I never could perform at her recital and thankfully, it was optional. She later came to my home to have me play for her privately. She realized that I was not going to overcome the performance anxiety and finally accepted that. I really was not that good anyway. When I moved here the space was tight and I sold my piano. Perhaps sometime later in life I will overcome that and play again but I doubt it. As much as I am an extrovert I guess there are limitations. I can talk to any one about any thing.
Well, the animals are settling down and it's time for me to crawl into my nice warm bed with the fluffy down comforter. Few things in life are as cozy as being in a nice warm bed on a snowy evening. Add in the fact that I am in the greatest company in the world and who could ask for more? Nighty night.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
When I arrived home from the doctor with the prescriptions I got a call from my mother. My grandmother was thoroughly confused about her medications. It seems the one she was supposed to be taking twice a day, was being taken at the same time. When my mother tried to correct her, she went to pieces. It is so very difficult to see someone you went to for strength, guidance and support fall apart. She is 93. I expect her to have problems but it's worrisome to me that she is on several medicines to help her heart and she is confused about what and when to take them. I made a calendar for her using codes. I know that she should not be living alone. Her daughter that lives in the area with her works and has her own health issues to deal with. My mother doesn't work and I think that's where she should be living. My mother has offered but frankly, she can barely cope with my father and his medical issues. Still, I think it would be better for my grandmother. You cannot force people to do what's best for them though. You can only make suggestions and then leave it to others. It's just sad to know that she is compromising some things in order to remain independently in her own home that she has lived in for about seventy years. I understand the comfort of it for her. When I was in the hospital I was so eager to get home. I had only lived here two years. Home is where the heart is. The heart wants to be home.
Time to give the animals one final treat and fresh water and then off to work. Tomorrow is Friday and that means the weekend. This is one of the weekends that I won't be working on Saturday so I am really looking forward to it. Have a great one!
Saturday, January 07, 2006
"If you could travel to your own future and see what has changed, what would you hope to see yourself doing ten years from now?" That really got me thinking.....
Not about my future but about my past....which became the present and later the future.
One day I was watching an early morning talk show. Probably Jane Pauley interviewing a woman who was over 100 years old. They asked her if she could go back what would she have changed about her life. Her answer was what I consider the best advice I have ever heard. She said that if she could change ONE thing it would be that she would not have worried so much. She went on to say that the things she did worry about never came to pass. All the tragedies in her life were suprises with no time to worry about them. She said that worrying was such a waste of time and she had done so much of it that she wished she had put that time to better use.
When I was diagnosed with cancer at age 23 I worried a lot. I had a son who had just turned three. I worried about something happening to me and who would raise him. I worried about the cancer returning. I worried a lot. When I heard this woman's advice I was in my late thirties. I cannot say that I stopped worrying altogether, but I can honestly say that I began to focus on other things and spent much less time worrying. In February will be the two year anniversary of my heart surgery (where I received a mechanical heart valve). When I first came home I was scared. I was a bit nervous about the surgery before it happened but I just went with the best heart surgeon I could find and left the worrying to him and his staff. Besides my poor husband worried enough for both of us. Coming home and realising that I was going to HEAR the heart valve forever made me anxious. I had a lot of pre op pain and I wondered from time to time if the heart might be in trouble. I did have one episode where I took some prescribed medicine and ended up in the ER with a serious problem. It all worked out though. Since then I have amazed myself how little worryign I actually do. Instead I have managed to go to computer school and get back into the work force. I have made a decision that I must be living in the now and I am following that decision. The past cannot be changed. The future is uncertain but I have today. I have to smell the flowers, enjoy the beauty of the sunrise and savor the time spent with people who really matter. In some ways I feel that knowing that is a gift.
If I have any advice to give (and trust me, I rarely do) it is this: stop worrying. If you can't stop, minimize it. Today is the day you worried about yesterday. Enjoy it.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Jan. 2 was Duffy's 1st birthday. I am going to post a pic but be warned. His eyes which are actually a blue/black look red. Kind of like the pig in the movie "The Amityville Horror." He made his trip to PetSmart and got his nails trimmed and a bag of treats. He seemed pleased. He also went to his Grandma's and came home with an assortment of chewy treats. Doesn't seem possible that he could be a year old already. At this time a year ago I had not set eyes on him. It was only after we lost Sandie on Jan. 5th that it even dawned on me that we could get another dog. To be honest, it was another four to six weeks before I looked at breeders online and saw his pic. My heart twittered and I knew that if I could have him I would not be so lonely. One thing that I feel strongly about. A pet, like a person, is a family member. They are not replaceable. I knew when I got him he would never fill the void left by Sandie. He is his own little person. WE love him for himself. Like people, animals are never perfect but we learn to work around the imperfections.
The New Year has arrived. One of my friends, Molly, has begun emailing five things that make her happy each day. I am enjoying reading those. It makes me think of hers and some of my own. One thing that makes me happy is spending time with my 93 yr. old grandmother. We went out to dinner with her last night. She has lost her sense of taste and it frustrates her. She wants to pour salt on her food to compensate and it's causing her to have problems with her legs swelling. She does not want us to tell her about this. It's attempted with tact. She always loved to eat so much and I hate to see her enjoyment diminished. I feel so fortunate to have had my grandmother for so long. She is the one person in my life, as a child, who made me feel pretty, special and loved. Not just me but her daughters and her other eight grandchildren. She does the same thing for all her great grandchildren now. What a legacy.
I worked today. I came home and cleaned up a bit, played with my furbabes, made dinner and just read the journals of my online friends. Life is good. Now I will make myself a cup of tea and open a book. A few minutes for me to kickback and relax before the show "Bones" comes on. It's a great show and I highly recommend it. It's about an anthropologist who lives in the DC area and solves murders.
2006 is here and I hope to begin making some changes that will give me more time to relax and enjoy peace. We all need a few minutes in each day to experience calm and peace. Wishing you all your peaceful moments.