Sunday, January 25, 2015

Club Med. . . . ical Center

I have been steadily removing things from my home as I identify, organize and simplify our home with the goal of making it peaceful and welcoming to positive energy. The process has been easy in some ways and slower in others. The medical equipment is something that is getting me down because there are so many things and they have to be moved around all the time. Some days I feel as though everywhere I look in this house I see something medical: wheelchair, syringes, prescriptions, crutches, knee-walker, standing walker, grab bars, shower chair. . . 

Instead of getting that zen-restorative feeling from a good home reorganization, I feel like I am in a disorganized rundown hospital. 

The funny thing is that I have always enjoyed a good hospital setting. Organized, clean, bright - full of caring and nurturing professionals. I am one of the weird people in life who actually become energized by a hospital stay. I never wanted to be sick - I just liked the atmosphere of country club-type hospitals where I candy striped as a teen, where I had my children and where I had my hysterectomy 10 years ago. I was blessed to never need a massive city-center facility. 

Now I realize what I really liked was the cleanliness and care I witnessed or received. 

Now I am the caregiver and I cannot keep up with the high level of work, stress and attention to detail needed for that restorative environment. In the past there were many hands involved. This is mostly me. It has been eight weeks and I think I need a day to myself to re-charge. 

What does this have to do with keeping the pounds off? I am NOT looking to act out with food or eat over any of this. I want to recharge with a peaceful day of relaxing with nature. I want to swim, read outdoors, hug a tree. These are all good things. 

I can't take a whole day. I have too much to do and too many responsibilities to take a whole day right now. My solution is to give myself two hours a day each day this week until I either feel healed or until I can give myself a full day. 

Do you actively strive to make your home peaceful, inviting in positive energy? What do you do when life has other plans? 


Friday, January 16, 2015

Five Words 2015

I started out 2014 working with the book Life Makeovers by Cheryl Richardson.  Then around week five on 2014 I relapsed and put the book on the shelf so I could concentrate on my recovery and not drive off the road trying to correct everything in my life at once.

Today, a few days shy of eleven months of clean food sobriety. I picked the book back up again and started where I left off. Week five is where you pick five absolute YES concepts for your life and put the words on cards throughout the house (strategically placed) to remind you of them. There is a whole activity that leads you to choosing the five concepts. This blog is not a review of the book so I am not going to detail the activity. 

Here are my 5 absolutes YES concepts for my life today (and the reasons I picked each one)

Mindfulness (which envelopes prayer, contemplation and meditation)
Simplicity (such as keeping it simple, easy does it and one day at a time - does not mean easy)
Self Care (as in putting on my oxygen mask before trying to help someone else)
Relationships (the ones I have, those I want and those to be released)
Organization (creating a clear pathway for positive energy, thoughts and actions)

I am looking forward to seeing how these five absolute YES concepts play in my life this year. 

Anyone have YES concepts for this new year? 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

One Month Post Op -

Today is one month post op. Everything is going well with the exception of getting her foot to neutral. The doctor in NY positioned my daughter's foot in a ballerina toe-point when he set her leg and cast it. - this is something that should be avoided at all costs unless it is medically necessary. It was not.  It remained that way until the hour we saw the doctor in Florida. At that point her leg had 13 days in a poor position and her tendon had to be slowly stretched back toward neutral.

They got it half way from hell to neutral when they cast the leg after surgery, 1 month ago. 

Two weeks ago they changed the cast, did imaging tests to make sure there were no blood clots, removed the staples and had her do a stretching exercise for her foot and tendons for 20 minutes before re casting the leg. This photo shows the stretching exercise. It is her right leg from the left side. See the line of wounds going up the leg - they were there when they removed the NY cast. Lauren does not know where they came from. The lower two are deep. The coloring on the leg is not shadows. That is bruising and was taken 30 days after the initial injury.

The right side of the right leg has the incision with 24 staples. 

She got closer to neutral but still not perfect. 

They had her come back last Monday to stretch it further. While the cast was off this time I was able to shave her lower leg and slough off all the dead skin from the ball of the foot to the ankle before recasting. They got close to neutral but still not 100%. Here is the cast now. She allowed me to choose the color and decorations.

She goes back on the 29th and they will bring her all the way to neutral and give her a walking cast.

In the meantime, today she gets her knee walker. If it works with her body type and she is comfortable,  it will provide her with the ability to be more independent while still remaining non-weight bearing and when she is weight bearing it will be useful in situations where there is extensive ground to cover. She can walk around a store instead of sit and spin her wheels.

How am I? I had a few days where I had cheese, flour and butter all on the same day. Not the best choice for me on any given day but the behavior has abated. No binges. No insanity. Chocolate is not a vegetable.  Still refraining from sugar - thank God. Maybe best of all is a willingness to pause and allow that I do not have all the answers. Respecting the viewpoints of others is a gift that came with my recovery.

I got a FitBit for Christmas and made my marathon badge quickly. (not a real marathon, just a total of 26-point-whatever miles). If I can walk 100 miles in January I will be happy. If my daughter can walk one mile she will be very happy.

It's all a matter of prospective.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Ten Days Post Op Hop Hop Hop

Family care and self-care trump blogging these days. Here is a quick update.

First and foremost: I am gratefully maintaining physical, emotional and spiritual recovery. My food sobriety is whole and healthy. I know I have to keep this first in order to have an optimum connection with the spiritual Being and be of service to anyone in a kind and loving manner.

My daughter's care routine is fairly continuous but less stressful and gratefully we have developed a routine that is working for us today. She is already almost completely off the pain medication and has not suffered any side affects from the drugs at all. She is hoping around on one foot and a walker when she is not working from a wheelchair with one leg high in the air, or in bed with a leg elevated high in the air.

Each day she becomes more adapt at doing something else for herself from a safe position. She has a device that she can hold on one end and the other can hook, grab and even magnetically pull things to her. It is a cool tool for the physically challenged. She has another that is a shoe horn on one end and a hook on the other for getting hangers of clothes down from the rack in the closet. She has a pair of finger-less, leather gloves for wheeling and walker grasping. We have risers under the sofa to keep it at her level for when she wants to transfer to other seating during the day. We have rails in the bathroom that help her manage her own needs now that she can balance easier on one leg.

Our dog was very stressed out by my daughter's pain and the expression of it in tears or moans. He is much happier now.

My therapist has me concentrating on acts of self-care of my own during this time so I do not become burnt out or lose sight of my own needs. I had the chance to do some retail therapy yesterday and it was fun. I got to the stores at opening and was out before the crowds jammed in. I even had the joy of directing someone to follow me to my lovely and well positioned parking spot for their use.

The little things can mean a lot.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Short Medical Update re: Daughter's Leg of Woe

My sincere and lifelong belief in the excellence of medical care New York offers has been officially shattered. She was in the hospital 6 days and left in worse shape than she entered. We are now in Florida and tomorrow she will be having surgery not only to repair the original break but to correct the damage done by the previous medical team.

Details and updates will follow after this weekend.

In case you are wondering: my food sobriety is intact and I am taking care to take care of myself, too.

Thank you for the previous comments. I hope to answer the questions in my posts next week.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Medical Emergency

Thanksgiving was fine. My food sobriety is clean. No sugar, no hidden exceptions. No unplanned eating and no secret food or evasion. THANK GOD for that because there is too much going on to be mired down in food issues.

My daughter in Florida is having a biospy and wants her mommy with her and my daughter in NY fell down the stairs and requires surgery on her leg and wants her mommy with her. 

Here is the diagram of the two bones involved. Ingore where it says 'fracture.' That is nothing like hers.

Here is a photo of her actual x-ray

As you can see in the photo, she completely displaced her tibia and the fibular is splintered. 

The doctors at the hospital look at the rays and say "this is bad." Isn't that cheery?  

Recently Vickie posted how she could not imagine not being with a child who is about to undergo surgery. I agree completely. 

But what do you do when you have two children, 1200 miles apart and both need you at the same time? And you own your own business and the livelihood of others is dependent on you working? It is a horrible nightmare. 

Just after Florida Daughter's procedure is done I will be at the airport getting on the plane to New York daughter. It is going to be a long recovery processed. She is very independent but lives in a three story walk up and takes multiple subways with stairs, ice, snow . . . do you see how that is not going to work with this injury? 

 I do not know when I will post next but will update when I am able. 


Friday, November 28, 2014

The Story of Two Alans (and some photos of the trip)

November 18th -
I just happened to catch 2 minutes of a morning show with Alan Alda and Candace Bergen and found out the two of them were appearing on Broadway in Love Letters. Within 4 hours I had my 72 hour unplanned trip to the Big Apple completely planned, including two night of Broadway shows, a mock Thanksgiving dinner with my NY family and Christmas Shopping downtown.

I priority shipped  clothes to my daughter's before I left so I did not have to check a bag or carry it around the city all day after I landed. I flew up on November 21st. I left home for the airport at 5:30am and arrived at 6:00am. My only bag was a backpack containing my winter coat, hat, gloves, scarves and toiletries and my breakfast. No time for Starbucks at the airport, I boarded the plane at 6:40am and landed at JFK on time, at 10:35. I took the Airtrain to Queens and then the subway into Manhattan, rising from under the streets at 53rd Street and 5th Avenue. Just two blocks from St Patrick's Cathedral (which takes up an entire block). On the block north of St Pat's is Versace. Here is a video of their Christmas decor this year.


On the block south of St Pat's is Saks Fifth Avenue. Their Christmas windows were under wraps until November 24th and this was November 21st so no windows for us.

I planned to spend an hour at St Pat's to visit the the prayer and reflection area for Mother Elizabeth Seton.  St Patrick is in the middle of a $175,000,000.00 restoration. (so many zeros, so many candles to light). The restoration is taking place inside and out.  St Mother Seton's alcove has been removed during this period of renovation. I came to visit with her and I was sad. Gratefully found the Our Lady of Czestochowa area still open and could lighting candles, sit and reflect.

The noise in the cathedral was amazingly low key when you consider that construction workers are in full evidence in many of the nooks and crannies. There is only one exit from the Cathedral at this time and it is not at the entrance area. The tourists and the faithful were all playing the maze game to find it. I left after my hour and crossed the street to Rockefeller Center to see the massive Christmas tree, also still under wraps. Then I walked south and west across town to visit my daughter at work.

On the way I passed at least a dozen Starbucks on the way there and stopped at only one.  It was 28 degrees. I am cold even in my double lined coat, scarves, hat and gloves. I am use to Florida weather. I am such a wuss when it comes to cold weather. Here is a coffee dilemma. I got a venti hot coffee to warm my hands and insides. If I drink it my hands will not get the warmth. If I hold it too long my insides will not get the warmth. What to do? What to do? I love luxury problems.

We went out for lunch and I had a delicious vegan lentil soup. After lunch she returned to work and I walked south to Macy's - the world's largest store. I went just so I could reminisce some past and lovely outings to Macy's with my mother and with my husband when we were dating. I stopped in the toy department and found something I to purchase for Christmas and had it shipped home. I also bought something else small enough to carry home with me.  The first floor has been completely renovated and is very different form the store I grew up in. Doris Walker would be unable to find her own office and Mr Gaily would probably get lost trying to find Santa Claus. *Let me know if you get this reference

The windows at Macy's are beautiful and very busy with children and adults pressed against them to take in the entertainment they offer. I only got photos and video of some of the windows on the Broadway side of the building.

Then I walked from 34th Street and Broadway back to Times Square and then up to Columbus Circle where I was meeting my daughter  before dinner at Whole Foods. We went to Sephora where she treated her mama to new cosmetics.  (she truly pampered me the whole trip!) After dinner we walked to Studio 54 for a performance of Cabaret with Alan Cumming. (thank you Lauren for this gift!).

It was an awesome show. How that man can do the physical moves and a kick line every night at the age of fifty is incredible. No matter what was happening on stage, if Allan Cumming was in view, I could not take my eyes off him. It was such a presence. He played this roll 20 years ago and when it was announced that he would reprise the role in 2014 I was skeptical but now that I have seen it, I cannot imagine that he could have been any better 20 years ago. Loved, loved, loved the show.

After the show Lauren took me for the ride on the alphabet to get to her apartment in Queens. This means that we rode  many trains to get around the weekend service schedule. During the weekend I rode enough letter and number designated trains to create a Fibonacci sequence.

This is a photo of a print Lauren has on the wall of her study. I love this mash-up. We were up talking until almost 3:00 am. Luckily heat was coming up in the morning because I only needed four layers of afghan blankets to keep me warm.  I had to get up at 8:45am for a phone call I had scheduled.  By 9:30 Lauren announced that due to a water main break we were going to have to take all different trains today to get to everyplace we had to go.

First stop was Starbucks at Union Square in Manhattan. Then we enjoyed an hour at the outdoor holiday market at Union Square park. I bought a Christmas gift (and had to carry in the rest of the day) and we stopped for lunch at a food truck that sold Arranchini (Italian rice balls) in several flavors. I enjoyed the spinach and tomato best. Then across the street to Whole Foods to purchase a vegetable platter and dip to bring to my brother's for NoThanksgetting Day. Now we were on our way to Pelham Bay in the Bronx.

I cannot tell you how happy I was to see my brother standing again. He has been recovering for the past sixteen months from a systemic infection that nearly took his life . As part of the recovery doctors had to amputate more off his legs. He is a diabetic and does not have a spleen. Recovery from anything is a challenge but each tiny blister that formed whenever he tried to stand on his prosthetic legs would set him back 6 weeks. Each and every blister. That means he has been forced to sit for 16 months. Now finally he healed enough to start wearing new prosthetics. He even drove his car to the train station to pick us up. For the rest of the evening he had the legs off and stayed in his wheelchair so as to not do too much too soon. It was a joy to see him happy again.

My sister and her family were there and we have a real family mock Thanksgiving. We ate chicken and talked about things we were not grateful for and then we talked about watching a western where the heroes steal the land from the Indians but too soon it was time for Lauren and I to take the first of three trains to get back into Manhattan for the 8pm curtain for Love Letters at the Brooks Atkinson theater of 47th street.

Love Letters was really enjoyable but then I could listen to Alan Alda read the phone book and I'd be happy. I just love him. Through my daughter's connection she was able to get us orchestra seats, ninth row, center. The only empty seat in that section was the seat directly in front of me, which meant that I had am unfettered view of the stage and I was close enough to see the twinkle in their eyes.

After the show I wanted to wait at the stage door to see Alan Alda come out. He does not sign autographs after the stage performances. I wasn't concerned about getting his autograph. (I have it several times over). I just wanted to see him close up and maybe get a photo. I took a position right next to the gate and waited. It took about forty minutes but finally he came out and waved to us before getting into the chauffeur driven SUV.  My daughter took the photo and I got video on my iphone.

Heading up the block we darted into the Edison Hotel to use the hotel before heading for the train. The doppelganger of Phillip Seymour Hoffman exited just as I reached the door. I was ready to ask interact with him and tell him how much I enjoyed him in Doubt when I remembered that PSH is dead and it couldn't be him. That was a bit freaky.

The next morning my daughter and I explored her neighborhood a little, visiting several of the Polish grocery stores and buying some things to take home. We had a brunch breakfast and then she accompanied me back to JFK airport. It was time for me to fly home.

It was a lovely 72 hours. I was open changes, grateful for everything as it happened and took care of my food sobriety at every turn. I came back home ready for this week of Thanksgiving.

I continue to feel blessed.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

RIP Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols died today. I love so much about his work. I was amazed by his vision for projects and his eye for people. Condolences to his wife Diane Sawyer. Peace to his soul and to all who know him. 


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Telling Story of a Chocolate Experiment*

Not my nails
*No sugar was consumed in the writing of this story. No product is displayed in edible form in this post.

I loved what Crabby McSlacker posted the other day about her experiment with Kettle Corn and portion control. It reminded me of my multi-decade experiment with M(and)M candies.

The ampersand often fails in formatting so I avoid using it but you know what I mean by M(and)M. That freaking rainbow bag of chocolate mock happiness. I adored the colorful little buggers my whole life. It was my chocolate candy of choice for many years. When I was a kid we had red, blue, green, orange, yellow, light brown and dark brown. Then we lost blue because of the dye issue. Then we lost red. Then red came back. Then we got blue back. Finally, we lost light brown. Mourning ensued. (Are you detecting my emotional connection to these freakn' things?)

When they came out with holiday themed bags of the damn things I was in candy coated heaven. From the way I reacted to the Halloween, Fall, Easter and Christmas color lines, you would have thought it meant there was something  new and wonderful about the taste of each color. Not so! There is no noticeable difference, no matter what my mind tells me about the green ones.

That's right - the green  ones. Here goes the story.

I knew I had to 'limit' my consumption of candy/chocolate so I reasoned that I could just eat the green ones. Of course to get the amount of chocolate I wanted this meant I had to buy bigger bags. Eventually I would start to reason that orange was the new green and eat all the orange.
Candy 1: Jane 0.

I played the game where would limit myself to the green ones in the Christmas line of red and green. I threw out the red and only had the green. I could only have a couple at a time. I couple is two, right? My 'couples' must have been from bigamist candy families because two was easily a handful by the third taste. I found every possible excuse to return to the room with the container and have just a 'couple more.'
Candy 2: Jane 0

Now this reminds me of a Lego Store
Then I tried only having the original green color, removing said green buttons from the bag and giving away the rest of the bag immediately. This proved to be a puny little amount of chocolate for my 'needs' but I stuck with it until I found that I could go to the mall, where they have a WHOLE STORE DEVOTED TO THESE G!#$D@#$M THINGS and purchase bags of just a single color. Now any color I could try to 'limit' was available in untold quantities by just visiting the mall.
Candy 3: Jane 0

My mind can conjure up the smell and taste even today, in a home that does not have any candy in it. Yes, these innocent little buttons of chocolate were the last candy I ate before being freed from sugar insanity nine months ago ago. I write innocent because the candy is not to blame for the addiction I have to sugar. Addiction is a disease: not a sin, not a crime and not an excuse.  I have already done all the experimenting needed in my life with this subject.

My experiments were a complete success! I successfully proved without a doubt that portion control did not and will not work for me when it comes to sugary things. My experimenting days are over.

Candy fails: Jane Wins.

Did you/Do you have an emotional attachment to a candy?


Friday, November 14, 2014

The New Math?

This is the Frozen Advent calendar they are selling at Target this year. This is the only one left on the shelf so I cannot tell you if they were all made incorrectly or if this was an abnormality. If you are going to Target, please look for it and tell me if they are as ridiculous at your store as they are here. 

If you insist on stuffing your Advent calendar with candy,  each 'pocket' on this calendar does not fit more than a single peanut M&M. It is not worth the effort. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reflections in a Cemetery

I was online at Starbucks this morning. At this location salespeople tend meet with prospective clients. I was in line behind a salesman. His client walked in and the salesman greeted him and said "what will you have, I'll get it." The client said no thank you, mine is free today. The salesman was puzzled and just looked at his client, finally asking "Why?" I figured I'd help the salesman out. I turned to the client, who was standing behind me and said to him "Thank you for your service, sir." The gentleman replied "it was an honor to serve." The salesman hit himself on the head and said "I forgot it was Veterans Day." I don't know if he'll get the sale, but at least he was honest and didn't try to cover.

I took my coffee and on the way home drove to Woodlawn Cemetery in Gotha, FL. We have two friends who are buried there, both were veterans who served honorably and were blessed to return home and live their lives with family and friends. While I will never reside in a cemetery (my wishes are cremation and scatter), I believe in honoring those who have gone before me and if that means they have chosen to be in a cemetery, I am comfortable making a visit there.  

I expected the cemetery would be busy with people honoring those who no longer live along us. I was wrong. As I drove through the different lanes and paths I could not see anyone else. It was after nine in the morning but there were no other cars or visitors in evidence. Did everyone come before nine or was everyone coming afterwards? I know I cannot be the only one. I parked in an one area and walked along the memorial stones, paying respects to several graves adorned with US flags. It was very quiet and very peaceful. 

I had my dog in the car. Of course, he never left the car - I would not ever let him out at the cemetery. This was his first and maybe only car ride in a cemetery. He sat looking out the window as I drove the lanes. He watched from inside the car when I walked on the paths. He never made a sound. . . .until- 

I had a hard time finding one friend's grave because the area in which he rests has been remarkably landscaped to include a rock stream, garden and small bridge. When I was about to give up I stopped the car at one final row and prepared to get out to walk down the lane, looking for the grave. That is when my dog starting barking like crazy, straining against the window , barking and looking at . . . nothing? 

There were no people, no squirrels, no cats, no turkeys and no peacocks in this area (we had seen turkeys and peacocks in a different area and the dog didn't even care). Now, in this one area Keeper suddenly sensed. . . . something that caused him to bark while wagging his tail. I stayed in the car until he calmed down and behaved by sitting quietly. Then I opened the door and got out. He remained looking out the window with his tail wagging. 2/3 of the way down the row, I found my friend's grave, said a prayer of thanks for his service and came back to the car. Keeper was sitting quietly on the back seat. It was then that I realized that our friend, Jim, had met Keeper once, before he took sick. Jim is the only resident in that cemetery that ever met Keeper. 

As strange as it all sounds, I believe Keeper was aware of something.

That is how I honored Veteran's Day today. No Veteran's Day sales for me.

I have two questions for you today. Do you have any traditions for Veteran's day? Do you think I will bring Keeper with me the next time I go to the cemetery? 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Some Days it Ain't Easy

Now that I have been faithful to my decision to give up sugar for almost 9 months I can see that most days it is very easy. I am pretty happy and I don't have sugar, add sugar, want sugar or need sugar.

Every now and then there is a day when I feel like I've been body slammed into a wall and life is speeding by too fast or everything is all out of control and I start to want something to soothe my feelings. Soothe is the wrong word. Anesthetize is more accurate.  I want to numb out.

I don't do it. I don't dive in. I don't measure out a serving. I don't give myself a nibble of a bite. I feel whatever it is that I have to feel that day. I allow myself to cry, feel sad, hurt, angry - I feel it. Later that day or the next day, or a few days later, whatever I needed to feel is done and I feel well and happy and whole again. 

If I had picked up sugar the feelings would be buried but then I would feel bloated, fat, out of control and angry; always angry because I would know that anything I 'soothed' away with food will come back to slam me again someday, sometime because I did not deal with it properly. 

When I don't anesthetize myself from the feelings they serve their purpose and when they are done, I feel better quickly - as long as I don't pick up. 

The past couple of days have been hard. I have NOT picked up.  Feelings are hitting me like a freight train. I will survive. This will pass. 

I will not give in to the idea what a food can make me happy or take away my pain. 

Because I have NOT given in to the addiction I can look forward to feeling better soon.

For this I am grateful.