Posts Tagged With: thankfulness

mammograms, Christmas lights, and yoga

I have had 4 mammograms in my life, the last one being about 2 weeks ago. Today I am going for a fifth. That last one, I requested it this past summer due to an unexpected and unexplained bruise that showed up on my right breast one day. I watched it for a few days, then went to see my doctor once I decided it was weird. She didn’t think much of it, advised that since I was taking some anti-inflammatories for a yoga injury (wait for it, I’ll explain in a bit), it was probably just a broken blood vessel. Gave me a requisition to book a mammogram for October, since I had just had a normal one the previous October, and they’re allowed on a schedule. Fine, no problem. If she’s not concerned, then I’m not concerned. So October comes, I book my appointment and tell them why I’m there (my bruised right breast). We do the squishing and they say my Dr. will get the results by the end of the week. On the following Monday they call and say the want to take some additional pictures of my left breast. Left. Huh. They schedule me in for 2 weeks later. No problem. They’re obviously not too concerned if they can wait 2 weeks. Then I get a letter in the mail from the radiology office saying the radiologist wanted some more pictures and my doctor asked them to book me in: mammogram and ultrasound. No problem. I go this afternoon. I’m not worried, not really. HardWorker gets call-backs all the time, has cysts, has to have fluid drained and tested, etc., etc. As a matter of fact, she has a post-mammogram specialist’s appointment this afternoon. I’m not worried for either of us, I’m sure it’s/they’re nothing. I’ll let you know.

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I’ve been seeing this link on Facebook lately to an “article” (or two) about why you shouldn’t put up your Christmas lights until after Thanksgiving. I don’t know what the reasons are, I haven’t clicked through to do any reading. I won’t. I think there are many such arguments out there, and they probably aren’t new. Here’s the thing: we are all busy, we all celebrate different things in different ways, and it doesn’t affect you (or anyone else, for that matter) if I put my Christmas lights up in June. Truth is, if I had told you last year what my “real reason” was for not putting up my Christmas lights before Thanksgiving, which we celebrate in October, by the way, it would be that I never took them down. Why can’t we just let people do whatever it is they want to do, particularly with the inconsequential things like Christmas lights or coffee cups? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with Americans having to work right after their Thanksgiving so that someone can pay a supposed rock-bottom price for a new tv/sweater/sofa/whatever (let’s be honest, you guys created that mess), but how about we stop trying to dictate to others what the “correct” way to live is? If people want to decorate their homes for Christmas right after Hallowe’en then let them. If they don’t want to do it until the 1st of December, that’s okay, too. When I was a child, our tree didn’t go up until Christmas Eve. No one ever tried to tell me we were doing it wrong. Different cultures, different times, different customs, different people. We are all different, and yet we are all the same. Let’s be thankful for our differences and work towards living in peace and harmony as humans. No matter what time of year.

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So, yoga. You know, I started walking daily (3-5km) after my knee surgery last year. Then I added twice-weekly visits to my personal trainer at her gym (and actually worked out, didn’t just visit). Towards the end of the last school year, I thought I’d add a bit of yoga to my fitness regimen. I had tried it many years ago at the community centre and the instructor just about drove me ’round the bend, so I didn’t pursue it, but I figured I’d be in good hands at a new local yoga studio. I signed up for Beginner 1 and went once a week. At the start of the program, they go around the class and have everyone introduce themselves and say why they are at yoga. Most people have the same goal: to reduce stress and find some balance in their lives; mine wasn’t any different, I wanted to find a way to calm my mind, thereby allowing me to reduce my stress level and even sleep better. I did alright with the yoga poses, never pushing myself past my body’s limits but still working through the flow. (Me while doing yoga, all to myself, of course: Seriously? You want me to bend into a triangle and pull my belly button into my spine while taking a deep inhalation? Exhale? I’m still inhaling from the second-to-last breath! Uh, no. My arms don’t reach that far. Never have, never will. Cramp!! Feeling a little dizzy here. No wonder that breathing technique helps you sleep, it makes you pass out! You know what? David Gray’s Babylon doesn’t really work as yoga music. *with laughter throughout*) At the end of every session, you go into shavasana or corpse pose, close your eyes, and wind down. Well, if I closed my eyes, my mind just went racing through what I still needed to do that night, or what was planned for tomorrow. I wasn’t making any headway on the calming my mind aspect. I was better able to relax if I just looked up at the studio ceiling, although then what was running through my mind sounded like this: “Is the ceiling supposed to look like that? I wonder where that vent goes? Do you think those windows actually open? Wow, it really looks different from this angle!” So, yeah, since it was obviously going so well, I signed up for Beginner 2. Again everyone introduced themselves and explained what their “intention” was. When it was my turn I very honestly said, “I have no idea why I’m here.” Everyone chuckled and we moved on. Just towards the end of the first set of classes, I had started seeing my massage guy every week as apparently yoga was kicking my ass; my back was a mess, my shoulders hurt, my legs were tight. By halfway through the second set of classes, I was having some real pain in my left hip and knee, to the point where I couldn’t walk more than a kilometre without starting to hobble, and then would pretty well be out of commission for the entire day after my walk. It felt like my hip was being pulled out of joint and I couldn’t tell if there was a problem with my knee causing the displacement or if the hip was referring pain down to the knee. I went to my Dr., she ordered x-Rays of both joints, and then we met to discuss the results (which showed everything was fine). I told her how pro-active I’d been with my fitness endeavours, described my pain and where it was (very high in my quad), and at one point she stopped me and asked, “Did you say yoga?” Apparently she has heard of this before, even her own daughter complains of this pain after yoga, and she said to lay off the exercise and prescribed a course of anti-inflammatories. I finished Beginner 2 and haven’t been back. I didn’t need as many pills as thought, and my walking is back up to 5-7km a day, generally pain-free. I’ve since stopped seeing my trainer, lost 5+ pounds throughout the summer just from walking, embarked on and finished Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix (lost another 5+ pounds doing that) and have only had to see my massage guy once in the last 4 months. My conclusion: yoga is evil.

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love, and circles

I wrote this in December 2013. For some reason I never published it. Maybe I thought it wasn’t finished. Maybe I just forgot. Maybe Christmas happened and who knows what else. I read it today, and I liked it. Just the way it is. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve got circles of friendship on my mind.

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I am sick. It started with a feeling of just not being well, that achyness that comes with a fever. BoyGenius has had a cough for over a week already, but we had managed to avoid the stomach bug that had hit our and other area schools very heavily in the last three weeks, so I felt lucky to only be getting a cold. Ha! Within 12 hours I had such a cough that I was sure I had dislocated at least 6 ribs. Then the coughing sent my stomach into spasms and I was throwing up 2-3 times a day. BoyGenius’ cough became a bit more prevalent, then his whole thing morphed into more of a standard runny-nosed cold.

This journey began on Wednesday evening for me and I think today is Saturday. This afternoon I started having sneezing fits, dizziness, and excess tension in my jaw. But hey, my ribs are much better!

I don’t mind the whole cold/virus thing. Really. I drug myself up, use the neti pot and the peppermint oil, drink plenty of fluids, nap, watch movies with the boy and wait it out. Usually. But it’s, what, 4 days ’til Christmas? I was going to head up north to bring my mother down to our house on Thursday. Then Friday. Hasn’t happened yet. Cleaning the house in anticipation of her arrival hasn’t been finished yet, either. Oops.

There has been much couch-laying. There has been very little cooking. There has been even less cleaning. There has, however, been time to peruse e-mail and facebook. There have been lovely posts and messages from friends far and wide, new and old. There has been love, and there have been circles.

Circles? Yeah, circles. You know, people used the term “circle of friends” long before those Mexican folk-art candle holders became popular. Way back before they had “networks” they navigated. Circles are cool. I have many different circles of friends. Some of them are old (and even broken) like Stonehenge. Some are like satellites orbiting around a centre. Some are unexplained like crop circles. Some overlap in areas like venn diagrams. Some are loops, hoops or bangles, linked like chains or singular like in carnival ring-toss games.

Whatever they look like, you know what these circles do? They link us together. They carry us — our similarities, our differences, our likes and our dislikes, and most importantly, our feelings — so that we can share our lives, our loves and our hardships with one another. They let love spread out like ripples (hey, those are circles, too) and when my ripple circles meet your ripple circles they intermingle and can even send brand new ripples even further out.

Categories: family, friendship, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

wisdom on a tuesday

I don’t often do this, but I am sharing a blog post I read over at Renegade Mothering. It’s important, it’s real and it’s something you should share with your friends. It’s brilliant, really. I get it. I think you’ll get it.

Oh, and, it made me cry. And laugh, too. Give it a look and tell me what you think.

 

The No-Bullshit, No-Drama, Friendship Manifesto

 

Thanks for reading.

Categories: friendship, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

fun with words (-ill)

Not completely sleepless last night; actually the best kind of tired feeling there is, when physical and emotional meld together in just the right proportions. It’s very rare and oh so sweet. Before drifting off into an almost motionless 5 straight hours of uninterrupted bliss, I finished this little thing off. The first five ‘lines’ have been sitting on my dresser, scrawled on a post-it, for at least 6 weeks now. My muse smiled and I’m happy with the finished piece. It’s just a little bit of fun with words. ūüôā

you thrill me
you chill me
you put me through the mill
addicted like a pill
can’t ever get my fill
you bend me to your will
I’ll climb the hill like Jack and Jill
without you I feel ill
you’ve tilled the soil of my soul
drilled as deep as you can go
my love spreads like an oil spill
and you absorb it with such skill
can’t no one ever pay that bill

and still
I’ll be with you until …

Categories: Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

“it hurts”

“It hurts!” BoyGenius is holding his head, crying, sitting in front of the toilet, and between sobs he’s wailing “it hurts.” In his wretched, pitiful little voice I hear myself at the same age and I feel as helpless as my mother must have felt back then.

BoyGenius went up to bed at 9pm and awakes around 12:30am,¬†the night leading up to Mothers’ Day, with a migraine. I can’t actually do anything to help him. Oh, I try. I give him a gravol and an ibuprofen even though I know it’s too late for them to help. I give him a cold washcloth and do most of the holding of it as it rests on his forehead. I tie his hair back into a loose ponytail so it doesn’t get covered in the vomit that will inevitably come. I murmur “I know, baby, I know,” as if hearing that between his own “it hurts” will be of some comfort.

And it’s true. I know. I have migraines. They started when I was about 7 or 8. BoyGenius’ started when he was 6 or 7. He got them from me. I got them from my dad. Dad got them from his mother. I don’t know which of her parents my grandmother got them from. My brothers were mostly spared, SkinnyGuy not really having any and BlueEyes suffering only once or twice. My cousins from my dad’s side got off scott-free, but their kids managed to keep the generational hand-me-down going.

But I digress. I manage to convince my little bundle of misery that we should move to the bed; it’ll be much more comfortable than the bathroom floor and I’ll have a bucket handy for the vomit that will inevitably come. I try to get him to lay still but he keeps twisting back and forth holding his head tight and sobbing. “It hurts. Oh. Owwwww. It hurts.” At one point he’s knocking on his head with his knuckles and I’m almost ready to take him to the ER. Then the inevitable happens. It comes in waves, with head pounding the whole time, 5 minute breaks in between, head still pounding for the most part. About half an hour into it the ibuprofen comes up, still a perfect little caplet form. I try to give him the benefit of my 40 years of experience with this beast and get some ginger ale into him. He doesn’t yet understand that the throwing up doesn’t stop just because your stomach’s empty. Doesn’t yet know that ginger ale coming up and out tastes infinitely better than bile. He also doesn’t know that those little breaks in the throwing up are a particularly cruel joke. You just about manage to doze off. There seems to be a lull in the pounding, even. Maybe it’s over. You open your eyes or move a toe or just blink. BLAM! Jackhammer starts and you better sit up quick ’cause here it comes again.

At about 1:15am he bolts up and heads to the bathroom. I take off after him and see that he’s sitting on the toilet. I put the bucket beside him and rewet the facecloth so it’s nice and cold. I notice he’s falling asleep, trying to rest his head against the seat lid behind him. He drifts off for a few seconds but that heavy-head-jerk (you know the one) wakes him back up. He takes the washcloth and wedges it between the base of his skull and toilet seat lid as a kind of pillow and catches a few winks. I ask every once in awhile if he’s ready to go back to bed but he keeps saying no. I talk him into believing he’s done on the toilet and direct him back to the bedroom. The bucket is still handy but I know that if he’s been able to get off the bed and into the bathroom and back to bed without having to throw up then that part’s over.

His little body is exhausted. He says his head still hurts but I can tell that even that is subsiding. He’s no longer rocking back and forth in agony. He’s able to close his eyes peacefully, no longer squeezing them shut against the pain. For this I am thankful. I breathe a little easier.¬†I have been through this all before, from both sides, and I know that I will be here again. I know that I will feel just as helpless the next time a migraine makes itself at home in my house; less so if it’s my turn.

As I sit beside BoyGenius in the wee early¬†hours of Mothers’ Day, watching over him, waiting to hear deep, even breaths replace the ragged, raspy ones from earlier I can’t help but think of Sheila and Kate, two moms whose blogs I read/follow, who have known much greater anguish than what I have gone through tonight. I don’t know them personally, face to face, but I know their stories. I send love and strength out through the universe to both of them.

It’s Mothers’ Day. BoyGenius gets up at about 7:30am. He tells me he’s fine, heads downstairs and lets me sleep. Life is good. I am thankful. Again. And again.

Categories: family, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Donna Day … wanna help?

Last year around this time a few of my bloggity friends gathered from far and wide for an event that was being held in Chicago. I Want a Dumpster Baby, From the Bungalow, Pinwheels and Poppies, The Monster in Your Closet, Mary Tyler Mom … they were all there. Trade show, bloggers convention? Nope. A St. Baldrick’s event. “What’s that?” you¬†ask.¬†“Some religious gathering?” Nope. A shave. A fundraiser. An event. This particular one was being held in Chicago, put together by Donna’s Good Things in memory of and to

Donna's Good Things event is being held at the Candlelite in Chicago

Donna’s Good Things event is being held at the Candlelite in Chicago

honour Donna Quirke Hornik, to raise much needed money to¬†fund research in the hopes that one day children won’t have to fight cancer. I couldn’t attend but I was there in spirit and I did donate some cash.¬†Donna was an amazing little girl and you can read her story here. It’s not my story to tell so I won’t do that, but it is my story to share and it is up to all of us to do the same. If you know of anyone who has fought cancer then you know how horrible it is … if you know of any child who has had to fight cancer then you know how much worse that is. If you haven’t got a clue (and even if you do), then please read Donna’s story,¬† her family’s story, her mother’s story. It ain’t pretty … but it’s beautiful.

So, Mary Tyler Mom (Donna’s mother) asked some people to blog today, Donna Day, about this year’s event. You can find out more about it and make a donation¬†here¬†(in case you didn’t see that last link). I wasn’t actually specifically asked, but you know, I didn’t need to be. Research into pediatric cancer is a big deal. It needs to be funded. We need to do this; we can make a difference. Sure, it takes scientists and money and stuff .. but we’ve got those things. Donate.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you don’t actually have to attend an event in order to make a donation. You don’t even have to be in the same state, province or country. You can donate to Donna’s event just by clicking through. Also thanks to this here internet, you can check to see if there might be any events in your area, if you would be more comfortable donating to or attending something like that. And by doing just that, checking for local events, I came across this little gem: a group of Tau Kappa Epsilon students from UOIT is holding an event on March 8th, 2013 at the Campus Ice Centre in Oshawa, Ontario. These young men are standing together to try to keep cancer from bullying more and more children. How can you help? Donate! You can click through and pick a certain participant to support or you can donate to the event. These guys are hoping to raise $1500 to help fund childhood cancer research. That’s not too much. I’m sure we can push them over the top. St. Baldrick’s partners with Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation so if you’re a Canuck and want your funds to go towards a Canadian organization, not to worry, they will.

Honestly, I’m not too concerned as to which St. Baldrick’s event you donate to, I just want to get you to donate. St. Baldrick’s is a good organization and like I said above, research into pediatric cancer is a big deal.

Please help.

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a day of giving thanks?

We are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. We are giving thanks. Is this something that we should only do one day out of the year? No, certainly not. Do we understand this, as a people? I think we are getting closer. Many of my favourite bloggers regularly express their gratitude or thankfulness .. and also allow others to do the same. Just ask Deb at The Monster in Your Closet or Kitkatkootie at I Want a Dumpster Baby. I believe we will all get there, given time.

Every day I am thankful for family and friends. I am thankful for my homes (current and childhood). I am thankful for my education, I am thankful for my abilities and I am thankful for the gratuitous gifts that have been bestowed upon me.

As I type this I find that I keep hitting a wrong key and am often typing “thinkful” instead of “thankful.” I keep going back and correcting it but after about 5 times in a row I realized that I actually am thinkful and not just thankful. As long as I keep being thinkful about all of these things it will be easier to remember to be thankful for them.

I am thankful for my beautiful BoyGenius and when I am thinkful about him and just how long a process it was to get him I give much more thought to the role my parents played in the whole thing. They were behind me wholeheartedly and spent tens of thousands hard-earned dollars. Enablers? Facilitators? Loving parents. Thank you.

I am thankful for my Hardworker and if I took more time to be thinkful about what she has given and continues to give us daily I would probably be even more thankful. I would at least be more expressive in my thanks. I’ll work on that. Thank you.

I am thankful for the fact that we have a bounty of food for our table and a table (or two) of family and friends to share it with. I am thinkful of this quite often …¬†I¬†hit the grocery store at least twice a week and while there is much to¬†choose from I am limited in my purchases to foods that my family will actually eat. I am lucky to have friends who like to eat things that I like to eat but can’t cook at home because I am the only one who will enjoy it. I can make and share with that other household and I also benefit from their own, bolder kitchen choices. For this I am thankful.¬†I know that there are many places on earth where there aren’t even grocery stores let alone 10 varieties of apples or 8 brands of pasta to decide on; this gives me pause and much to be thankful for. I am. Thankful.

I am thankful for online friends who write beautifully and give me much to be thinkful about. They also make me smile and laugh and cry and for all of these things I am thankful. Thank you ladies and gentlemen of my interworldly blogospheric community.

I could write for hours on this topic. How about you? Do you give much thought to being thankful?

Categories: family, friendship | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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