Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday Musings

The party's over.  The guests have all gone home.  The house is so very hushed.  I am left surrounded by beautiful flowers, bottles of wine and olive oil, jars of bath salts, and a very pretty scarf around my shoulders.  People were so generous, not only with gifts (which I asked them not to bring!), but with heartfelt cards, toasts, driving from far away and staying the night in a hotel, away from their comfy beds at home.



Throwing a large party is not my specialty, and so I was a tad nervous about how it would all work out.  I was so pleased, then, to look around when the place was packed and see people happily engaged with one another, sharing laughs and stories of how they met me/knew me.  Sparks were flying, people were eating delicious food (thanks to a spectacular caterer) and the weather was cooperative in the extreme.  Since it was an outdoor party, this was particularly helpful.  (The day after the party, we had thunder storms with hail.)

To cap the night off, my friend Adam had been tracking the space station with an app on his phone.  He alerted us to its presence in the sky and we all looked up to see a very bright object moving at a good rate of speed.  This was happening as many were saying their good-byes, and when we found out what a treat was coming, people stayed put.  Perfect nightcap to a perfect evening.

I am struck, once again, by the wonderful people who call me 'friend.'  This 60th birthday party brought together folks from many different parts of my life who hadn't met many others until that night.  How seamless it all was -- how friendly and inquisitive and funny people were with each other.  I have some friends who, like me. are not party goers, but they came because of me.  And as one of them said, she figured it would be a good party because she knows I have good friends.  What could go wrong?  Even for the nervous among us?  My sister came down from Washington, and knew hardly anyone there, and even she had a good time.  People were delighted to meet my daughter and her family, and of course there were those who gladly held baby Dylan for most of the night so her mom could sit down and eat dinner, and enjoy the party.  My husband's 'kids' stopped by on their way home from a day trip to San Francisco, and so that was a happy event midway through the festivities.

I will remember this special night for years and years to come.  The singing, the toasting, the hugging and the love.  I'm so happy I did this despite my trepidation.  So glad that my friend Paul pushed me to hire a caterer so I could relax and really enjoy the night.  I'm just filled with joy, and continue to pull up snapshots in my mind of big and little moments of the evening.

Maybe I'll do this again in 10 years.  Yes.  Yes, I will.

Friday, June 2, 2017

TGIF

Oh lordy, what a week.  My violent feelings towards our administration grows daily.  My disgust with those who voted them in (President and congress) knows no bounds.  I was conversing with fellow treadmillers at the gym and we were of like mind.  Hysterical laughter followed by deep sighs.  So many of us are filled with anxiety and deep sadness.  Thank goodness for the healing powers of exercise and companionship.

There are also healing powers in just taking good care of yourself in general:  eating well, getting enough sleep, taking time to unplug, connecting with friends.  We had a new hot tub installed today and we plan to get a lot of use out of it.  There are a few things that can transport me to a place of peace and relaxation, and soaking in hot water is one of them.  Another is walking in the woods.  Or on a mountain, or near water.  Rocking in my hammock on a summer day, with a book in hand.

Puttering in my garden is also good soul food.  So many greens, and pinks, purples, reds, yellows, whites and the cooling shade of our cedar tree.

I was visiting the folks the other day, and for a change they did not turn off the national Faux News channel while I was there.  I kept my lip zipped but was fuming inside at all the bullshit.  When I left I was depleted.  Same as it ever was.  They are in their 80s and I cannot hope to change them.  It is no wonder there is a large base of support for this administration.  They listen to garbage like Fox News.  Noise. Misdirection.  Out and out deceit.

I'm hearing from friends who were active in the protests of the 60s and 70s.  We are dismayed that we have regressed this far.  We thought we were making a difference, but now it doesn't feel like that at all.  Racism is alive and well.  Income inequality is even bigger than it was then.  We're still fighting in unjust wars.  Sometimes it is just too much for this gal.

And then I see this, and am infinitely relieved and amused:


I will be forever grateful to Leonard Cohen for his wisdom and his humor.  

Be here now (thank you, Ram Dass).  And know that you are not alone.  Many of us are suffering and finding our sanity and comfort in small and big ways.  Big love to you all.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Monday Musings (On Memorial Day)

So many have perished in war. In my darkest hours, especially in the days of Drumpf, I can't help but think their deaths might have been in vain. It becomes even more clear in light of such tragic losses, to ensure that this con man is ushered out of office. He betrays all that is good and right with our country.

"Nine thousand silhouettes have been stenciled in the sand on a Normandy beach to commemorate the soldiers and civilians who died on June 6, 1944.

This moving tribute, called "The Fallen," was conceived by British artists Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss, who enlisted the help of 500 volunteers to mark the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21.

It took two years to prepare for the project, and more than five hours to produce it.  The weather cooperated while the volunteers worked on the beach, but the piece lasted only a few hours before the tide washed away the memorial. The photographs capture the power of Wardley and Moss’ work.

"All around us there are relics of the Second World War, but the one thing that is missing are the people that actually died," Wardley said. "We've very quietly made a big statement." "


From the Gettysburg address:

"But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Matthew Brady, 1962
Abraham Lincoln Signature.svg

Friday, May 26, 2017

TGIF

When was your last mammogram?

Mine was today.  It was the fastest, most efficient one I've ever had.  Don't know if it was the equipment or the tech, but it was easy peasy.  Usually it's quite a pain, as I have heterogeneously dense breast tissue.  About 4 in 10 women do.  About half of women undergoing mammogram testing have dense breasts.

So, that's out of the way for another year.

I just had, earlier in the week, my annual eye exam and it revealed that after 25 years of living with diabetes, I have some minor retinopathy in my left eye.  It just means that the very tiniest blood vessels in the retina are damaged and leaking.  I'm going to see a specialist soon who will assess and monitor my eyes from here on out.  The good news is: laser surgery works wonders if the progression causes sight problems.  I have always known it might happen.  You can't have Diabetes with our some secondary damage.  But my annual eye exams were usually a source of celebration since the doc never saw any damage at all.   I was a tad dazed as I walked out of the office, so much so that I left my written eye glass prescription behind.  Air head.

I am a couple weeks away from my 60th birthday, so, hear is what's on my mind:  I'm officially old, whatever that means.  And what does it mean for me anyway?  More wrinkles, a few more gray hairs, and - whoopee - I've noticed some scattered broken blood vessels on my right cheek.  The skin on my legs has entered the sagging phase, and the alligator like texture stage.  Usually, I don't pay these things any mind.  I go by how I'm feeling, and that's enough (most times).  I know that my current preoccupation with the physical effects will pass after my birthday.

In so many ways, I feel better than I ever have.  With 8 months of resistance training and cardio under my belt, I have more strength and stamina than a year ago.  And that's what I really care about.  I want to feel good as long as possible, and exercise is the way to feel good.  It is the closest thing we humans have to a "fountain of youth."

My husband and I have one more week of working with our trainer, and then we're on our own.  He's transitioning us well, working with us on what we need to do from here on out.  We're scheduling regular workouts on our calendar, and we help each other to remember how important (and fun!) these workouts are.  I'm not a complete novice in the gym, but it's been many years since I did this with such regularity.  I am proud of us. 

Go team.

Have yourself a wonderful weekend!