Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Open Windows

You know that saying that goes something like this, "for every door that closes, a window opens"?

Well, this entry isn't about THAT kind of open windows. Nothing so profound.

It's about finally finally finally getting some warm, sunny weather here and wearing short-sleeved shirts and working with windows open. It's delicious!

We Canucks on the west coast usually get incredibly smug around February each year as our weather starts warming up while the weather 'back east' (which technically means anything east of the Rockies but REALLY means Ontario) remains brutally cold and blizzardy. It's the one time of year we can say 'hey, you may have the numbers and power but WE'VE got the beauty with crocuses starting to show themselves and don't you wish you could live here in Lotus Land?' and collectively thumb our hay-fevered noses at the Ontarians. We send pictures via our media too. Ahhhhh. Good times.

Not this year. This year we missed our precious crowing time. It's been colder than usual for longer than usual. Skiiers and snowboarders have been ecstatic. The rest of us have been waiting rather impatiently to soak up some rays. Okay, it's been PRETTY, but not that warm. Until now. We'll be back to rain by the end of the week but it sure has been a nice promise of days to come. (And don't worry, come August, I'm sure I'll be complaining about the heat.)

Otherwise, aside from pain and not sleeping, I've been doing okay. New hair cut and highlights. New glasses/contacs. (I can now see distances AND close up with the progressive lenses. No longer do I have to peer over or under my glasses to read the small print and hear my sons say "MOM! Stop doing that! It makes you look old!" Okay, I have to admit I did that more than needed if they were around just to drive 'em crazy.) Exercise is now up to 12 minutes twice a day so I'm getting there.

Now if I could only find a way to use the sunshine to warm the aching souls of a couple of friends who are struggling right now.

Until next time.....

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ow! Ow! Ow!

I've managed to lose a bit of weight the last few months through conscious, healthy eating choices. And I've been active just in my daily life. But I haven't been doing any real exercising for a while.

No one would know to look at me, but I like exercising. I get almost immediate benefits from it in terms of mood and ease of stress and, if I'm wise in how I exercise, it helps the FM pain in the long run. (And that's definitely needed.... it's gotten to the point again when my soft, light comforter's weight is resulting in too much pain at night.) I like being more physically flexible and just generally feeling better about myself. That doesn't even take into account any eventual weight loss or health benefits.

But I stopped many months ago, even before Michael died, largely because of pain. (I remember discussing it with him as I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep up with our usual pace for the next planned vacation together.) I enjoy walking but after a while it can start hurting more and more, not less and less. I like aerobics but can experience the same thing. I can't do the water work other FM folks do due to skin problems and an allergy to chlorine (okay, and shyness about being in public in my bathing suit). I gave up bike riding and other pursuits years ago. I have to continuously change what I do to keep ahead of the pain and I guess I just lost the energy to do that for a while.

But I restarted again today, starting with some stretching and the beginnings of light aerobics. It feels reeeeeeeally good to feel motivated again and I will continue. I managed over seven minutes today (that's how you have to start; it's always a fine balance, doing enough and pushing yourself a bit but not overdoing so you're in so much pain you can't repeat it the next day) and will keep increasing it over the weeks and months to come, while remaining otherwise active as I move around the house, run errands, do chores, etc. I know from years of experience that I will eventually get to 40 minutes of hard aerobics and then hard strengthening exercises plus some walking hopefully and I'm patient.

But ow! those seven minutes hurt!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Life goes on

Nothing extraordinary happening, just busy with living. Still sad sometimes but not giving in to it.

My younger son's (he boards here, living downstairs with another tenant, a friend of his) girlfriend is finally moving out from her home into her own apartment. I'm very happy for her (she does not have the ideal home situation, she lived a while here and then she and my younger son shared a home for a while before finances sent them back to their respective homes). This will mean my younger son may actually be away from home some weekends. Nice for him, nice for me. We are VERY good at living our own lives, giving each other space and privacy and he's a great tenant, but it'll be good to have that little bit more privacy for each of us.

My tenant will be moving out this August. I let him know it's time for him to move on too. Right now I feel like I'm enabling him not really growing up. He's my younger son's best friend and has been, for the most part, a good tenant and part of the family.

Last week my car broke down, got it towed and fixed. Nice to be in a financial situation where that kind of unexpected mishap doesn't panic me anymore. There were quite a few years there when even an extra $5.00 was out of the question.

My best friend spent Thursday evening here, watching Survivor and talking and debating and having fun. It's never NOT fun with her, even when we both have bigger and sadder issues going on in our lives.

My older son is just finishing fixing his own house up as new tenants move in upstairs (he'll be living in the basement suite). His life has been a rather chaotic but exciting whirlwind for years now, the chaos leading to some financial setbacks but he's landing on his feet again (nothing defeats him). He hasn't had a chance to ask his girlfriend to marry him yet but soon..... she's got some university exams happening for the next week or two so perhaps after that. He wants to get married this year still and I think he's being a bit optimistic considering she wants a beach wedding here in B.C. which means it would have to be done before it gets too cold and wet, but if anyone can manage it, he can. He also wants to return to university while keeping his business running (exterior painting business that my younger son manages) AND, somewhere in there, thinks he'll find the money and the time to go on a mini-vacation with me (his idea, not mine).

It's pretty gratifying to know both my grown sons have full lives with friends and girlfriends and work and play but still actually enjoy spending time with me.

Speaking of which, we had a really good Easter. I invited, then uninvited (my mother wouldn't stop criticizing), then invited my parents again (only after the negativity stopped and I'd made it clear it wasn't acceptable). They came and behaved and enjoyed and I'm glad for that. My sons and their girlfriends helped me with the dinner (it was pretty labor-intensive and the FM pain continues to be a big issue for me) and we just really enjoyed each other's company. I'm very very pleased that the girlfriends are comfortable here. They all loved the chocolates and jelly beans I gave them. (First year I DIDN'T do an Easter Egg hunt. They may be grown but they kept insisting on me continuing the hunts and I finally said enough. They know all the dang hiding places in my house anyway. *laugh*)

And I got to dance a little bit again on Friday. I went out for lunch with a friend and as we were walking out a song came on that brought up happy/sad memories so he just started dancing with me, changing my memory of the song to a happy one that will always make me laugh now.

Concerns about some friends remain. The FM pain keeps me awake at night. Work is going okay as I start thinking of finally taking a week off.

C'est la vie. Really.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Lost.... and Found

Thank goodness for friends. Real friends. Friends who tell you what you need to hear even if it's not always what you want or are ready to hear. Certainly my best friend falls into this category and I am blessed with a few others as well.

Last night after a few emails back and forth with a friend who also knew my Michael, I was reminded of so many things. It was like a splash of (much-needed) cold water though I don't think it was intended as such. The splash came with a lot of caring and concern and I needed to hear it all.

The result was some epiphanies....

  • Lately, I've been so focused on all I've lost that I forgot all I had. I said the words of gratitude but wasn't really feeling it. I feel it again, through and through. If this was it for me, it's enough.
  • I lost my way for a while there. Without him there to affirm me, and with a few extra hits from life from other directions, allllllll my past issues reared their ugly heads. But that's just it..... he just affirmed me, he did not define my worth. His loving me is not what made me worthwhile. I was worthy in the first place and that's why he loved me.
  • Michael was someone who made every person he interacted with - not just me - feel special. He always focused on their strengths and brought out the best in people. People left him feeling better about themselves. This was true in his work, in his daily interactions, and in his friendships. When I would get down on myself he would call me on that and get all logical on me (much to my annoyance at times) and remind me of all the things I have overcome and accomplished in my life. It always picked me up and I'd end up laughing at myself. He's not here to do that anymore so I have to do that for myself. I won't list those here, they're for me only, but just thinking about them has reminded me of why he so admired and loved me.
  • He believed I had great courage. And though I retained it for a few months after he died, I lost it for a while there. It's back again. I'm feeling calm and clear and ready to live again. Alone or otherwise, it doesn't matter. I know I'm going to falter now and then and that's okay. I won't lose my footing for so long again.
  • I learned so much from him (as he learned from me) and I won't let all that go to waste. What I learned from him has carried me through a lot of things even after he died. His life still informs mine.

Losing Michael has been unbearably painful. I also lost myself and that lead to darkness and despair.

But I'm found now.

Thank you, Michael. Thank you, my friends.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Coming up for air


It's been a while, hasn't it? Just been too busy lately to write anything here. Busy with work (but that should settle down a bit now), busy fighting inner demons, busy being sick, busy not sleeping.


Hence the 'sorta' above. The cold keeps threatening my lungs so I'm fighting asthma a bit these days.

On the good side of things..... my sons are having fun with me having laryngitis. They are merciless. One friend/coworker is doing better, I think. Physically, the worst of the FM pain has eased a bit. Emotionally, I'm doing better too. Calmer is probably a better word. I'm grateful for my sons, their girlfriends, and my friends for being there. It can take a whole village to keep SwampHag together sometimes. I've been doing a lot of reflecting and it's not all positive but that's when we learn, right? I also have been adding more decorating touches to my home and I'm still enjoying that aspect. And, after three weekends, I finally finished gathering all pics, music and mementos together and put them into a special decorated chest, within reach but still put away. It feels like I'm honoring him and moving on at the same time. And going through all the items again, even as superficially as I did this time (closer examination was too painful), has reminded me that he really did love me and how blessed I was for so many years.

Emily and Richard were back on Gilmore Girls this past week. Emily reminds me so much of my own mother that I always get a kick out of the character on GG. And I watch a few others shows. But most of all I've been (re)watching Buffy on DVD. If only all shows could be written so well, with such humor and depth. And I just love tv series on dvds in general. No commercials, watch what you want when you have time. Listen to the commentaries. Next season I may avoid some shows altogether when they're on the network and just wait for the dvds. Much more fun that way.

Oh, and I've borrowed my son's digital camera to play with for a while so I may be able to share more pics here in the future.

That's about it.