It all started with pain in the back of my left knee. At first it was “There’s that pain again.”, but over the last week or so the pain clamored for more attention and I noticed some swelling in the area. I went to get it checked out after my co workers said it was possible I had a blood clot in my leg. The doctor looked at it, poked and prodded and decided it was highly unlikely it was a blood clot and was more likely a hamstring injury. He did order a blood test to rule out a blood clot but I wasn’t worried, nor was he. The next thing I know, an hour later, I’m told the blood test readings were not good and to go get an ultrasound….NOW. Thank God they found no blood clot, but the hour of fear I had before I got the good news made me sick! However, I do have hamstring tendonitis with fluid on the knee joint. Blood is supposed to flow smoothly through veins and arteries, and any blockage, a clot, is very dangerous because it could move to the lungs or heart causing a life threatening emergency. I dodged a bullet.
I think of the life advice frequently offered “Just go with the flow.” A clot can be defined as a coagulated mass; this sounds pretty icky! So what keeps me from going with the flow? What coagulated fears and anxieties block my flow? How can I dissolve these mental and emotional clots without pushing them on to do even further damage in my future? The best scenario for treating blood clots is to dissolve them and at the same time make the blood thinner and therefore less likely to clot. Unfortunately some of my coagulated masses of negative emotions didn’t get dissolved and are moving through now and blocking my life flow. I’m at the “now or never” point and more often it is true if I don’t do it now, I never will. I will do it later only works if there is a “later”.
So what’s the potion that could dissolve my emotional blockages, get my life flowing now and move me along to my best future? I’m wishing the Jedi knights could back me up and the force would be with me, but I stand alone and it is up to me to face my demons and coagulated masses of negative emotions and beliefs. I am going to phone a friend—Honesty. If part of the clot is resistance and denial, then Honesty would be my strongest ally. Being true to myself and defining my values cuts through a lot of emotional blockages. I have been broken by grief and grief is a sharp sword. Honesty is riding in on a white horse and I’m tired of people pleasing and pretending to be someone I am not. Maybe the “force” is with me after all.
Keeping my life energy flowing requires battling resistance, control and denial which can make my life flow sluggish. In other words, my blood shouldn’t be too thick or too thin, it needs to be just right. So how do I keep my energy and emotions just right? My still, quiet voice whispers Acceptance is the force I need, but my noisy, obnoxious voice is yelling “No way, I have to DO something!” Maybe too much “doing” is sapping my energy and creativity and my flow is getting thick with all my toxic rules about what I should be doing and what should be happening. Acceptance and Should are not friendly; if Should is in the room, Acceptance is not welcome and vice versa. The antidote to shoulding myself is a generous dose of Acceptance.
Coagulated masses don’t stand a chance against Honesty and Acceptance. I guess I will just go with the flow.
Nancy Lou-hoo. That’s how her Mom called for her when it was time for Nancy Lou to come home. We always made fun of the “extra” syllable. I grew up on an Iowa farm but I was lucky enough to have a “next door” neighbor; Nancy Lou was my age. We went back and forth between our houses, but we didn’t use the sidewalk —we walked across a pasture or cow yard to get to each other. There was a spot in the fence between our farms that I always crawled through. We played together often. Even now I can follow the path to her house….
We often met in the middle, especially after Nancy Lou’s brothers built a play house for us in the small meadow by the creek. The house was a concrete slab with reclaimed wood sides and a bench with a table . There was no roof but we didn’t care. We busied ourselves with decorating our humble abode. Of course our mothers donated a few cracked dishes, some vases and silverware they were going to throw away. Nancy Lou had a decoy duck that she brought for decoration. I remember when she was mad at me for some childish reason she marched up the hill to her house proclaiming “I’m taking my duck and I don’t want to play anymore!” I tearfully reported to my Mom “She took her duck! She took her duck!” Of course, Nancy Lou and the duck returned the next day and play continued. Nancy Lou and I
had our own rules and we were a team.
As we grew up our playhouse grew up to, it became the big culvert we could stand up in under the gravel road. We were in our “hood “ and the writing was on the walls of the culvert. We had the sex talk there, our expert was Nancy Lou’s first cousin “Toots”. I am not making this up! Toots had told Nancy Lou how sex worked and we had a hard time believing the picture she painted, and mostly I remember Nancy Lou and I saying “Ew, ew, I don’t believe it.” Puberty and high school highlighted the differences between us, Nancy Lou was cute and was a cheerleader and I was not. Boyfriends and the popular crowd separated us but our connection to each other was cemented by our childhood bond. We were never unkind to each other. We went our separate ways after high school. I left the area and she stayed and was married and had a family.
A few days ago my sister who lives back home called to let me know that Nancy Lou had passed away suddenly. A trickle of memories became a deluge and I remembered how we used to play in the basement when it was snowy, how her bedroom looked like a princess lived there, how she cried when her brother died from a brain tumor and I hugged her. It is impossible for me to remember my childhood without the one constant in my life, Nancy Lou.
Rest In Peace and I will meet you in the middle.
Nancy Lou Hruska
Born: December 5, 1951
Died: December 1, 2017
MerryThanksChristmasGiving.HappyThanksHalloweenGiving. Let’s get those holidays squeezed together so tightly the second the witches come down, the snowmen go up and Thanksgiving is just a blip on the holiday radar. Turkeys, no hurt feelings. I understand how important the holiday season is to retailers, I have seen estimates of $ 1 trillion for this years holiday sales total. I don’t even know how many zeroes a trillion needs. So it’s the season for money to move between the consumer and the retailer. Follow the money. Maybe we could invent a generic holiday in July and get tightwads to spend their money on generic products for a generic holiday. Either way consumers and retailers need holidays as reasons to spend money and keep our economy thriving.
The Christmas season rolls over the landscape like a Sherman tank. I have heard people say “I am not doing Christmas this year.”, but it seems Christmas may still be doing them. Who’s in charge of Christmas? The ghost of Christmas past or the ghost of Christmas future, the Grinch or Rudolph? It’s a conspiracy, the Christmas conspiracy! It’s those damn liberals. All I know is I want to decide what Christmas means to me and how I want to celebrate it. Lights, wreaths and action!
My Christmas “tree” is my big fake potted tree/ plant. I know it’s a bit lame, but I use it in front of my patio door to provide some cover from prying eyes, so why not multi purpose as my Christmas tree? My bottom line is Christmas lights and lots of them. I love the feel of a dark room punctuated with Christmas lights, it’s warm, cozy and feels safe to me. Gently lighting my way home when I get lost, I get the doggies, my blankie and cuddle.
Red and green , green and red means it’s Christmas. Make the green a circle and dot some red here and there, wrap up with a pretty bow and it’s a wreath. I think it’s the circle that draws me in. This year I have stretched the red to hot pink, and the green to lime green, but I am still in the red and green family. I liked the bright colors in the bag of tree ornaments at the thrift store, so I went with it. My garland is hot pink beads. It feels very festive to me and the opposite of the long dark days of December. So bring it on, Christmas!
Do I have the Christmas spirit? It comes and goes. Puppies help me feel like Christmas. Yet another sexual harassment report and Santa Claus gets fired! Very un-Christmas. I think it’s better if the spirit of Christmas lives in my heart, it goes everywhere with me and no matter which way the wind blows I can hold onto it.
A cheeseburger. As good as turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie? In paradise or not, I’d pick the cheeseburger. My thanks to Jimmy Buffet. Right now my gravy is a bit grumpy and lumpy. My best laid plans are revolting and I am very busy comparing myself to others and coming up short. Money or cheeseburgers, someone else has more. Good looks or social success, someone has more. I had plans damnit! My clothes are from the thrift store for crying out loud, never mind I love to shop thrift stores!
Thanksgiving, Bah Humbug. Santa is not real and neither is Thanksgiving. Can I “give up” on giving thanks? I don’t think so, because I know better. There is this thing called “gratitude “. I hate it because then I have to pay attention and question my self talk and attitude. I have to get real and humble and I don’t want to do that. So the poverty I saw in some countries while on my cruise was awful but…oh yeah I was on a CRUISE so I could just sail away. My home is not a shack and I have running water. Sure the Whitehouse is a dump compared to Trump Tower, but you gotta make do! It’s this comparison thing that gets me in trouble, “He who has the most toys wins.” If there is only one winner then there has to be a lot of losers. And it is too easy to see myself as a loser.
Fortunately I have several attitude adjusters that can help me get an attitude of gratitude, my little doggies and Rogers’ spirit. Doggies need to be walked, and years of walking with Roger have taught me to pay attention to the weather and the light. If it’s a beautiful day when I walk the dogs I can see it and feel it, and many times I tell Roger what a beautiful day it is and thank him for it. I surprise myself by being able to stop my mental chatter and ruminating and let myself be grateful for the beautiful day. I am grateful for the sun light or the gentle breeze and even the rainy, cold day because I am able to walk. I don’t want to be that person who takes for granted all that is wonderful in my life, and only realizes how much I have to be grateful for after I have lost it. A cold, wet and windy walk with Roger would be so wonderful!I I am going to practice gratitude until it becomes a habit, the habit of an attitude of gratitude.
I’m making my own paradise and I’m having that juicy, extra special cheesy cheeseburger and I’ll take a large order of fries too.
Many, many thanks to the Queen of gratitude, my sister Lisa who writes a blog HABITUAL GRATITUDE. Don’t miss it. She was recently named as one of the top 10 bloggers on gratitude.
Great job baby sister.
How’s your appetite? What are you hungry for? Burger and fries, Italian, success or love? My friend doesn’t have much of an an appetite right now because the chemo to treat her cancer has caused some nausea and other digestive symptoms. When I talked to her a few days ago we talked about her appetite, and then the conversation moved on to what her life after treatment might look like. Would she go back to her job? Could she slip back into her life pre-cancer? After a thoughtful pause , she said “I think I’ve lost my appetite for my job and my “old” life too.” I translated and she agreed: she wasn’t hungry for it, she wouldn’t put it on her plate in the buffet line, it wouldn’t fill her up any more. This struck me as a good metaphor for making decisions and choosing what direction to take in life.
What am I hungry for? Money, recognition, creative space or satisfaction from a job well done?Which would fill me up, satisfy my hunger? Have my tastes changed and out of habit I keep eating what I have always ate? I’m not really sure how or when, but I seem to have lost my appetite for a lot of what’s on my plate. I’m sick of broccoli and want more green beans and cake! I want to have a fulfilling life, but in the land of plenty I am still hungry. I can order pizza for delivery, but no one is going to deliver a sense of purpose to me. I have to find my own reasons for getting up every day. Right now I have lots of questions and am taking some time to look at the menu and sample a few entrees.
Life is so complicated, and navigating relationships can turn into a real food fight. I’ve often been hungry for a 5 course meal, when the man in question was just wanting a light lunch. Sweet nothings. Female friendships have become more nourishing as I have gotten older.
I trust more, share more and make more time for friendships. I have my own relationship with food. I have a sweet tooth and variety is NOT the spice of life for me, I often get stuck in food ruts and eat the same things every day. As the years roll by I am beginning to think that variety could spice up my life if I explored my options. I hate the expression “I was bad, I ate x,y or z.” I have more than enough ways to beat myself up, so I am trying to pay attention to how I talk about food. Food is my friend. I need to eat to live.
And of course we have the toxic diet of Trumpism and the world news. I am nauseous, have no appetite and want to vomit from all the hate and violence. Women and men are reporting sexual assaults in droves, the flood gates are open. Yes “me too”, I am a victim of sexual assaults. The feast of power when famine is all around is no longer acceptable to me. I can’t swallow it any longer. I am fed up.
So what are you hungry for?
My husband Roger died 2 years ago today, he was 64. His death, his last breath is remembered by every cell in my body. There is no nucleus of grief, I experience it in my beating heart, my thoughtful brain, my grasping fingers and my feet as they walk my path. Roger didn’t die from cancer, or in a car accident, he died from Lewy Body Dementia. I think of dementia as a hungry worm eating through his brain, devouring his personality, his ability to control his body and his memories and emotions. His body looked solid, but I knew he was more an apparition. When I felt his cheek he was solid, but when I looked for the essence of Roger sometimes I could put my hand through his body.
Its so hard to say goodbye to some one you love and I had to say goodbye to Roger many times each day. I am still saying goodbye and I will never be finished. I remember and I will always remember my Roger in every cell in my body.
Love is always solid.