Monday, March 28, 2022

All My Bags are Packed, I'm Ready to Go.

It's the night and morning of my surgery and I haven't slept a wink.  Nerves.  Can't find my phone, even though I've used it twice today.  Grrrr.  Of course I was exhausted when I got into bed and turned off the light.  Some minutes later the brain switched on, as if I'd had caffeine, and BAM. That was the end of that. My mouth is as dry as the Sahara but I can't drink any water.

All I have to do is throw some stuff into my hospital bag: chap stick, skin lotion, ear plugs, hair and tooth brush.  

I watched a movie on my laptop, as that often helps me fall asleep.  I watched "The Adam Project" on HBO.  Entertaining, with familiar actors.  It didn't put me to sleep.

I'm going to get up and pack my bag and see if that helps me settle down for sleep. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Self Care While Rome Burns

Here I go again.  My bariatric stomach surgery is scheduled for March 28.  I had another bariatric surgery about 17 years ago, and it really helped me lose a lot of weight.  Eventually, though, the stomach band they put in had to be removed and man, oh man, did I put on weight when there was no more restriction.  I've tried over the last 3 years to lose weight the old fashioned way -- unsuccessfully. I mean, 1200 calories a day and a decent exercise program.  Lost 6 pounds over 3 months.  Each time.  Frustrating, much?  I like to say I am very efficient with my calories.  Hang on to each and every one.

I went to the zoo the other day for an outing with my grandson and his dad.  It was a great day, but after two years of relative inactivity, it kicked my butt.  Everything hurt.  Everything.  Reminiscent of the muscle pains after an afternoon of skiing.  I took Tylenol and went to bed exceptionally early.  Woke up feeling pretty danged good.  So I'm not crippled for life.  Whew.

I'm looking forward to shedding weight and exercising more.  Getting my mojo back.  I'm staring down 65 years on planet earth and it's time.  The surgery is a great help, but it doesn't do the work for you.  There are strict rules for eating and hydrating afterward, and getting all your vitamins and minerals.  I'm ready.  Let's see where I am a year from now, eh?

Of course the news out of Ukraine is an anguish for us all.  I search for the good stories there: the people who successfully made it out, the musicians playing in the street for people, the citizens who are yelling at Russian soldiers. Friends of mine in Portugal have taken in a Ukranian family of three, and are housing them until they can find a more permanent home.  They've taken up a fund to help raise money for housing.  I contributed and it feels wonderful to be able to do something.  Anything.

I've also started a monthly donation to the International Rescue Committee.  I didn't realize it was founded by Albert Einstein.  Bravo, sir.

My friend, photojournalist Peter Turnley, and his twin David, are in Ukraine now.  They retired as war correspondents many years ago, but were both called to this war.  They are sending out very moving images.  But honestly, I wish they'd get the hell out.  They have been witnesses to so many horrible wars and conflicts, and survived.  Russia is not only targeting citizens, but the press as well.  I just want them home, safe.

Meanwhile, my life here goes on, and while I feel bogged down by the collective sadness in the world, I know that I have many many blessings.  I will not squander them.  I am thankful every day (albeit some days are a struggle) and do what I can from afar to help those afflicted by this senseless war.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Women Who Were my Role Models

A lovely warm day just ahead of another snow storm.  Bitter cold with more on the way.  I did have a lovely evening with my kids and grandkids tonight, full of silliness and good feelings.

My daughter and son-in-law worked out logistics for my surgery on March 28.  Bariatric surgery to help me lose a lot of weight and (fingers crossed) keep it off.  The is somewhat old hat for me, as I had surgery 17 years ago to do this, but after 10 or so years, the LapBand they put in failed and had to be removed.  Trouble with my insurance company prevented me from getting a new surgery, and I ended up gaining a tremendous amount of weight.  After several years and negotiations with insurance Company, I now have 'permission' to move forward. If you are curious, there's a lot of info on line under Bariatric Bypass surgery.  I don't have the energy to explain it here, but it is the decision I have come to after much research and consultation with my doctors. 

Never too old to address obesity, I say.  I've struggled with it most of my adult life, and I remember when I had the lap band and dropped 109 pounds, I was ecstatic.  I was more healthy and mobile than ever in my adult life.  That's what I want to get back to.  Never too old.  Hope springs eternal.

March 28 is just around the corner. I am shopping for food items I will need in the first weeks after surgery.  And I timed the surgery so that I will be able to fly to California for my parents' service on May 2.  They will be buried on their beloved Monterey Peninsula.  A simple graveside service with family and a few friends who were close to us a children.

I saw my mother through her last days, and through her passing. I couldn't be there for my dad's final days, so it's more difficult to believe he is really gone.  It was so sudden, after all.  He had the stoke, went to the hospital, lingered for a few days and then died.  I also had nothing to do with the cleaning out of their apartment, so I can't imagine it empty of all the things they loved.  When I think of him, he is taking his morning walks, making meals in his kitchen, and enjoying sports on the television from his recliner.  He had a routine he liked very well, and think this routine helped him live longer. (Take note.)

With 5 deaths in 2 and a half years, I'm feeling my mortality keenly.  I'm planning ways that I can live out the rest of my life in ways that make me happy.  If I'm very lucky, I'll live to my early 80s.  That gives me 15 years to live it up to the best of my ability.  Become more mobile and healthy, get in a lot of family and friend time, and travel.  And enjoy my time and the creative arts it has to offer. 

We never know when our expiration date is (said my father) so we should live it up while we can.  Indeed. I am in agreement.  Do you think these sweet girls knew what their lives would be?  My grandmother and her two sisters, around 1920.  I knew them all, when middle and old age was upon them.  They were all pretty jolly until the weight of old age and ill health finally took them all. But even in their old age they were fun, smart, stylish, and doting on their grand children.

I recently had a large print of this made for my home. I want to look at them daily and remind myself how influential they were to me. Brave, educated woman who had children but still very much had their own lives.  So, cheers to you, Nadine, Ama Lou, and Kathleen!  They were also very supportive of my parents marriage, unlike my mother's parents.  

How I wish I could visit with them now.  How very odd that they are no longer with us.  They were a huge presence in my life.

Their fine example caries on with my daughter and her children.  My daughter did know grandmother, and remembers her well.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Peace, Love, and.....

We've had some lovely weather, mild and sunny, and my neighbors and I are crawling out of our dens to welcome the coming of spring.  We're in for more snow, of course, but right now we are blinking at the sunlight and taking our dogs out for a good airing.  Lucy spends the majority of her walks sniffing at the ground.  She can't get enough of it.  Knowing how important their smell sense is to them, I indulge her let her take her time.  I turn my face to the sun and just wait. Of course this all comes with the heartbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I'm limiting my news intake because it is so goddamn awful.  Then I begin to whine about MY issues sand realize that I sound like an asshole.   

Truth be told, I would lie beside that Ukrainian great grandmother and take rifle training.  I'm old,  I've lived my life.  I'd be satisfied going out taking some Russian soldiers with me.  Did you see that 40 mile column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles sitting on the roads to Kiev?  I thought, "why doesn't some country fly over and bomb the shit out of them?"  Because, say the 'experts,' it would start WW III.  Perhaps a nuclear exchange. I've not studied war, and I'd be a terrible strategist.  I just want it all to end and Russian to return home with its tail between its legs.  But that's not going to happen.

I'm imagining all kinds of global crises, like stock markets falling, millions of refugees, countless lives lost.  I really wasn't going to talk about this, really.  Spring is almost here and I want to delight in a sunny day where the birds sing and the blooms send out their wonderful smells.  I'm spent.  Two years of virtual isolation and now this.  No matter what I am scared about, it's nothing compared to the Ukrainian people.  I wish that Russian dictator could be assassinated. I'm not the "Peace, Love, and Doughnuts" person you may think I am.

You Can Go Home Again

 I took a vacation in the first week of May.  I went back to my high school and college stomping grounds, still populated by many friends of...