Thursday, April 23, 2015

Somedays, You Just Can't Get Rid of the Bomb - Top 10 Good Things About Dying

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can be, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom act as one with our very soul.


                                                                    Image result for large photo batman you just can't get rid of the bomb

Watching a parent die is one of the hardest thing you can do as an adult child. You wrap yourself up in the "busy-ness" of daily care, household care, financial care; researching the latest symptom, the next scan, the next loss of human dignity your parent must endure. And yet in the end, it's just a ticking time bomb waiting to explode, with you in the Batman suit desperately look for a place to drop it so no one is hurt.

No one escapes this life alive, you we as a human race spend a lot of time and energy pretending we can delay the final appointment we all must attend - our own death. We read all kinds of books on how to live longer; don't eat red meat, eat no meat, eat ONLY meat; spend thousands of dollars on magic pills to stop the aging processes  and resulting wrinkles and even try to cryogenically freeze our bodies for the Frankenstein revival we are sure a 12 year old is now developing an App for.

But really, in the end, there is GOOD in all things, even dying.

1. You get to eat anything you want.
Okay, the 72 oz steak might go down your esophagus only to come up 10 minutes later, but who really cares? My Dad was diabetic--WAS--the 70 pound cancer weight loss became the miracle cure for his diabetes. Once diagnosed, the shopping list read as follows: Donuts, Cookies, Sponge Candy, Hershey Kisses, Ice Cream, Maple Syrup, Apple Pie and Danish. And more candy. And discounted Valentine's day candy, followed by chocolate Easter eggs sales, followed by Girl Scout cookies.

2. You get to drink anything you want.
Yes, the medical world will tell you not to drink because you are on chemo, you're taking radiation, you have pain pills, sleeping pills, pills for diarrhea, pills for nausea, pills to increase appetite, pills for skin rash, pills for anxiety, pills for depression, pills for infections. None of them work well with alcohol. None them are probably good if you have LOTS of sugary drinks,  tons of caffeine, milk shakes for breakfast or pop with morning muffin. At this point, who really cares? Have it anyway.

3.You can stay in your pajamas & slippers and no one notices when they come to visit.
It's funny how little things like your personal appearance don't matter so much when the end is near. Comfort rules. No too tight tiddy whities, no bras that bind, no shoes that pinch your toes. All of it gone, replaced by fluffy soft pajama bottoms that become your favorite fashion accessory.

4. The end of toilet bowl cleaning and floor scrubbing - other people clean your stuff.
Years of vigilant organization and cleaning were vigorously maintained for my Dad by family and friends, and eventually a loving Mom of a neighbor was hired to do it for him. In the beginning, he got to continue being master and commander making to-do lists for the weekly cleaning, but toward the end reality hit home: dirt just really isn't an issue at this point.

5. No more worrying about financial matters. Either you have it or you don't; it's all the same.
Yes, there will be a roller coaster of worry about having enough or what to do with what you have, but the end result of trickle-down economics: we all come in with nothing and we leave with nothing. We are all just as rich as the next guy in the end; a leveling of decades of labor trials happens, so forget about money as your currency and think of love as your currency instead.

6. Pain is triumphed by love.
Remember all the days you called in sick to work, or missed parties because you didn't feel up to it? And then you would hear the stories of something great that you missed, making you wish you were healthy? Well now, you call out of  life and lay in bed because you're sick, you call out of sick and lay in the bed of life, cherishing everything and not missing a thing.

7. It's your special day everyday.
Did you always want to be the Queen, the Big Guy, the Head Dude? Well guess what, now you are. Want to take a trip? Watch all your favorite TV shows for days on end? Demand that everyone listen to you and pay attention for once? Wish that the kids visited more? Now you have it. It's not one day, it's weeks and months, tons more special days that you had in your whole lifetime, so enjoy.

8. People visit all the time and make you laugh.
We all would like to have Jimmy Fallon visit us and do a personal comedy routine in our living rooms and guess what? Everyone you know is Jimmy Fallon. All the funny stories that you ever told, all the adventures you shared, and all the funny things going on while you are in your sick bed will be retold to you again and again. And you will lap it up like it's your favorite ice cream flavor in a ten gallon bucket. It's amazing, it's the gift that keeps on giving everyday in small ways.

9. The Rules No Longer Apply.
Skinny Dipping Is Mandatory. Go Commando, Get Wild, Drive Like a Maniac; Do it All.
Your free spirit that you have been holding in your whole life breaks free. You have an amazing sense of  "who cares, let them arrest me." Want to go crank the car to 100 or do donuts in the parking lot? Go ahead, make my day. No one will judge or question, in fact they may join in.

10. Your heart will grow three sizes bigger with love.
All the love you shared in your life will come back to you ten-fold, you will remember each and every kiss, soul-mate, baby, best buddy and puppy you held. You will dream it, see it, discuss it and feel it like it was yesterday, because in the thousands of years of humanity, it WAS just yesterday.
You will feel compassion and understanding you never thought possible and make new connections you didn't think existed. New friends, old friends, all helping, all loving you. And in the end, that's all that matters.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ya Canna Change The Law Of Physics

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can be, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom act as one with our very soul.

Mr. Scott, there are always alternatives  --- Spock

Daughter's Log, Orchard Park, 041415. We are cautiously entering the final dimension for Dad after receiving a distress text from Alex. Garbled transmissions report the Captain is under attack from an unidentified alien; possibly the Klingons have returned with a new attack to transport brain cancer, diabetes,  dementia. Our mission is one of compassionate rescue, and if necessary, confrontation with a hostile force.

My Dad has spent the last 18 months battling small cell lung cancer. He has an the fortitude of 40 men and 10 giants, battling these disease alone, living in the home by himself that he shared for over 50 years with Mom before she succumbed to cancer in 2011. He struggles to get out of the chair now and walk with his cane to the bathroom; dressing takes upwards of 30 minutes, shaving only attempted on the best of days. Yet through this all, he has been the Captain of his ship, setting the course and barking orders in 10 directions in 12 seconds before you can even grab a pen to write them all down.

Since May of 2013, he has battled a 3 month bout with pneumonia that was the prelude to the lung cancer, coughing wheezing, spiting up blood,  5 months of chemo, hallucinations from brain cancer that led to brain  frying radiation, strength sucking body radiation blackening his back and most of his mind; projectile diarrhea, a constantly dripping nose  and a 70 pound weight loss, and came back up each time, ready to swing for more. Until recently.

The text came late Tuesday from Dad's neighbor, helper and trusted companion, Alex that Dad was just not right, his speech is garbled. On my way, packing  the bag, tripping, turning round and round in circles trying desperately to hurry, holding back the tears, trying to think logically where there is no logic,  what to pack, work clothes, no work clothes? PJs? how long do I plan for? denial, rage, fear hitting me like a bunch to the gut from which I may never recover. It's back.

So my brother Ron and I begin to chart the course for the end, or is it really the beginning? I am back sleeping in my childhood bed, trying to provide what comfort I can at night, and somehow fit the new job in during the day. Thank God for great neighbors, my husband and my kids, now grown, coming to babysit the Grandpa who not that long along was babysitting them. Listening to him talk, in 2015 one minute, in 1958 the next and in the Dead Zone the one after that. Trying to comprehend hearing him say he's ready to die when they are just beginning to understand what it means to live.

I admit not knowing how to do this. I am a mother, a planner, a scheduler, a list maker, who thinks from the end and multi-tasks backwards; start dinner, do laundry, wash dishes, collect the garbage and talk on the phone while hair dye sits on the head for 30 minutes. Give me a target date and I'm in, even when it's 3 phone calls to make a doctor appointment, 2 more to cancel your own meetings, 3  more to arrange rides, one email tell your boss you will leave early, one text to your kids, one call your husband at work; only to receive a call one hour later that the appointment was moved to the next day. Refresh, do over, fix it all again in a new day of schedules.

I tell my kids to look for the good in all things. See the good. Flip the problem to the end and find a blessing. Easy peasy in one-off events; longer struggles and you need to dig deeper for the treasure. I think it's just the simple moments of life, the laughter, the hot meal, the friend phone call. Think of the comedian making the joke of the old man walking with the cane and realize, that now your Dad has the George Burns walk down cold.

I came home from work to see Dad dressed in a strange combination of  multiple shirts and sweaters, looking rather like the guys from Animal House in the supermarket scene, you know the one where they wear 4 shirts bunched up to hold the steaks and food they steal for the party? And as I look closer, I see my white work blouse, a scrunchy knit with puffy rows, sticky out from the layer of sweaters, and I burst out in laughter. My Dad the comedian. Maybe I should buy him a few more colors to go with his PJS.

Friday, November 14, 2014

He's Just Not That Into You

He's Just Not That Into You

"So trust me when I say that if a guy is treating you like shit he genuinely doesn't give a shit. No exceptions." -- Alex, "He's just not that into You."

I've been on the dating merry-go-round for 7 months now. You all know the one I mean. The one where you can't think of anything else, you find yourself putting their name into random conversations, you can't sleep at night because you are too excited about seeing them tomorrow and wake up everyday realizing you dreamed again of them giving a speech before a crowd of 80,000 at Ralph of how wonderful you are and that they can't live without you.

And then you have the job interview.

The days-weeks-months of anticipation of a job interview makes having a colonoscopy look enjoyable, even heart warming.  If you haven't been lately, fill your gratitude journal everyday with platitudes of thanks for not putting you out there. I wish often for a better way to sincerely let people get to know my background, experience and skills. The jokes about hover parents going on job interviews with their millennial children seem like a good idea once I get through yet another round.

He's totally going to call. Maybe his grandma died or maybe he lost my number or is out of town or got hit by a cab....

We wait months for that call. We prepare. We spend time working out not only why we are a good fit for company, what we did in the past that demonstrates exactly why we are a good fit with their culture and how we will perform in the future. This is where it gets interesting, where you see the soft underside of the belly of a company by the details of what they are asking you.

Tell me you would handle shifting conflicting priorities, a loss of a key team member and a deadline being moved up from one month to one week from today?

Pretend you are on survivor. Your teammates all hate you, and we cut your resources in half.

We often have crazy times at XYZ company. Some days we need to come in at 6 and work until midnight. How will you handle your home life when this happens?

We believe in life balance. We work Saturdays but only half a day, and you can do it from home.

Ugh. Then there is the interviewers themselves. Taking text message during the meeting. Answering emails. And my personal favorite, calling someone on her team on the phone to question me, and them leaving the room for half the interview to talk on the phone outside the door. I suspect she was really ordering a pizza for her lunch since we meeting at 12.

If you can't even give me an hour to get to know you, I don't know what to say. You're too good for me. Anyone who ends up with you is SOOOO lucky. And my favorite:

It's not ME it's YOU.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Let Go and Let God

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can be, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom act as one with our very soul.

"Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings."

Years ago I read the Mitford Series by Jan Caron. I loved the cosy books, set in the fictional small town of Mitford, North Carolina with Father Tim. One minute I would be caught up in the story, another I would be wanting to talk one of the characters out of something they were planning to do; other times I would want to have a heart to heart with Father Tim and tell him all my troubles. At one point early on in the series, Father Tim, a sweetaholic, comes down with diabetes. Here we really see him with all his human failings cursing the disease and fighting against it. He's mad, he's sad, he's in denial, he's making bargains to get away from the daily management of a terminal disease, when he has an Epiphany. He goes back to his roots, and remembers to "Give Thanks for all things". He begins to give thanks for everything in his life, even diabetes. He turns his life as always over to God, and understands that we must put our faith in the higher and love everything in our life, to laugh and love it and make it our own, whatever the problem it. We can't understand what may come out of whatever we are going through, but we must let it go, give it to God, and give it love.

As Moms we find this easy to teach our children to do, saying and showing, "its okay honey, no worries." We love, encourage and nurture them in thousands of ways everyday, starting at dawn when we wake them for their day, making them breakfast while simultaneously packing our own lunch, emptying the dishwasher and starting a load of laundry; moving on to make appointments, pay bills or run errands thorough our lunchtime, coming home to cook dinner, finish laundry and run them to the store replace the headphones they cannot live without, all the while we are listening to them, checking them for illness, worrying in an instant about their lives today and for the next 50 years.

We love them with all our hearts and soul from the time of conception, and we create the environments for them to thrive. We give them love, we give them balance by being the CEO of our household and we forgive them for any and all slights that occur. That's what Moms are supposed to do, yet we seldom remember to give this to ourselves. We fret, we worry, we get mad, we get sad and we take on more duties to help them get through stuff. We give it our all constantly, and are reminded repeatedly at work, on TV, in magazine, books & songs to do more, to be more, learn more, to have more. What if that really is the opposite of what we should do?

I woke up, 530 again, ready to journal, to dump out my angry thoughts about a situation I am in. I open the journal to write, and realize I have my previous journal, not the new one. On the page I opened was this thought:

"Give yourself wiggle room,see what it might feel like to not be all or nothing. Let go & let God."-me

I had been asking God for what to do about my problem each night before I went to sleep. I basically felt I needed to learn yet again how to not be myself, to behave contrary to my nature, to be a different person. I was fretting and hating some parts of myself that caused the issue in the first place and felt I needed to change. I needed to give it my all to be this way, so of course read books on it, write about it, make a plan on how to do, give myself daily talks on how to do it, learn to do this, don't give in, and by all means, never let them see you sweat.

What would I tell my children if it was them explaining the problem? I would say be who God meant you to be, and I would probably talk about one of my more memorable job interview questions for a job I obviously was not meant to be at. They asked, "If you were on "Survivor" would you make it to the final four? My brain screamed, give them the speech about giving it your all and succeeding, its what they want to hear and my heart said, Live without a comfy bed and my morning coffee, are you nuts, I'd never be in the final four on "Survivor." I decided to answer with a joke instead, saying that I can cook well and men usually can't, so I'd exchange skills to make it a win-win for everyone, a survivor first.

I believe in the original team building mentality, where we are all in it together. We sing each others praises and do what we do best individually, making us more than we we were to begin with. As a manager and a Mom, I have to see the big picture that maybe if someone is struggling at something, its not in their nature to be that way or they don't have the skills right now to do it. Remember when our kids were little, and they tried to clean their room quickly by making one big pile in their closet? The first time you opened the door, Mt. Everest of clothes & toys toppled over, sometimes breaking fragile things piled in the middle. They would then try to wiggle out of it, try to find a way to fix it by propping it up or shutting the door, which of course never worked, would instead bury them in clothes, making them laugh and scream, "Mom, help!" Or how about when they first when to the store alone & tried to bag groceries? They'd get home, and the bread would be on the bottom of the bag, all squished and flat? They'd look at you with their sad eyes, and try to cover it up saying, "Umm, well, can we make grilled cheese out of it?" You'd laugh and say "its okay, let me get that for you."

Why is it, when confronted with our own issues, we seldom give ourselves this wiggle room, seldom tell ourselves to laugh & ask for help? Maybe we should just remember to bury ourselves in laughter and let God handle it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ipad App for Roman Catholic Sins, where's my weekly tracker?

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can be, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom act as one with our very soul

"To be truly happy & content, you must let go of what it means to be happy or content."--Confucius

"If your kids are happy & smiling, they did something, you just don't know it yet."--Me

The big news of today is a new app for the IPad that keeps track of Roman Catholic sins, to help users keep track of their sins, in hopes that they will go to confession more often. It takes users through a series of question on the ten commandments to help remind users where they may have slacked off. (

I heard this on the radio as I drove back from the gym this morning, and instantly thought the developers should go all the way with the app and make it user friendly like my Weight Watchers tracking tools. It should have not only a daily sin tracker but a weekly progress report. Log your sins daily and chart them weekly to see how you're doing week to week, but really, it should talk back as well, flag you with better choices.

When I put in meals or recipes at Weight Watchers, I can play around to get to better, lower point options for a meal or snack. Take a smaller portion or put in low fat dairy instead, and watch the points go down. Add in some fiber and make it a healthy alternative. Why not the same for this? Add in the reconciliation for the daily total. Okay, look, that's five hail Mary's but if I only thought impure thoughts instead of dropping the F bomb twelve times when the kids left dirty dishes all over the house again, then its only 3 hail Mary's.

Give you a little "Healthy Choices" button pop when you manage to only take the Lord's Name in vein, instead of gossiping about the slacker co-worker. Get a good job when you see the number of sins go down on your weekly time line. Get a concerned prompt when you forget to log the sins for the day. Add in strong moral fiber and have a smiley face pop-up. Have church bells ring on Sunday when its time for church and you're laying in bed watching the Three Stooges.

Think of the possibilities if we had this for our kids, it could just parent for us. "Did you leave your clothes all over the bathroom again", "Did you finish your homework or just put your name on the top of the paper & fill out 4 questions so you get credit" or "What were you really doing at the sleep over " with a drop down menu of choices, and the punishment choices "No video game for a week, no Facebook for 2 weeks or go clean the living room".

Wait, my living room is clean, what did the kids do that I don't know about?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Change Your Thoughts

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can be, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom act as one with our very soul.

"Remember, happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have, it depends solely upon what you think."-Dale Carnegie

A new year, a new you. Let's fix our diet, fix our budget, do things differently with the kids, read the latest business book and use it our work or volunteer meetings, go on a relationship weekend to be closer with our spouses, get a personal trainer to help us meet our fitness goals, and so on and so on; change is everywhere. We always start the new year deciding to hate something and get it fixed for once. We change for the day until we have to cook dinner, change for the hour, until we hit the first wall in using the "new" communication styles in a meeting, change for a week until we get sick of the effort it takes to do things differently with the kids.

But what if we didn't need a huge plan, pre-made meals bought through the diet center of the week or an Arnold look alike to make us behave on our exercise routines? What if all we had to do was make our mind to do it? Really commit, really be ready, really mean it this time? There are many books on the subject to get us going, and countless tapes, but what if we just started and ended our days differently?

I noticed as my kids grew up that how they started the day really made the difference in the quality of it. I noticed when I learned not to talk about anything life changing in the morning that life was easier with my spouse. I noticed that my employees seemed happier when I eased them into the day. All it took was how we started it.

I have been a long proponent of quiet time in the morning, reading inspirational material or writing in my journal. Many days I am rushed and can't get this in, what with driving the kidlets to some before school event that requires a stop for a cappuccino on the way (maybe starting the twins on coffee at age 6 wasn't such a good idea) or needing to rush in and get some work done before the crazys get in for the day (sorry, was that out loud?). Sometimes, I just can't get my me time (ok, that is the life of most Moms).

I came across a wonderful help for morning inspiration, called Julie is a wonderful, cheerful woman I met at a church craft sale, selling jars with inspirational sayings in them. She has jars with themes for a year (365 sayings) for all occasions, and in different types like Smiles, Faith, Romance or Laughter is the best medicine. I picked up one of these for a gift and one for myself and I love it. It really is instant smiles in a jar. Check out Julies jars yourself.

What a great concept that Julie came up with, she is a lovely woman, what a great business she can do from home. Julie herself is disabled, in wheelchair. She called to tell me she'd deliver my gifts to my house, but could I please come out and get them so she didn't have to get her wheelchair out in the snow?

And we all think we have it hard to get to work some-days. Smile on your way to work and give thanks when its easy to get out of the car and walk in.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Twas the Week After Christmas & Mom was Snug as Rug With a Mug

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can be, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom act as one with our very soul.

"The Human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter."--Mark Twain

I braved an old frontier this past Sunday, hopping in Vicky to head to the Galleria to return gifts on the day after Christmas. What in the world was I thinking? I once again do more thing for my teens than I would ever do for myself. I hate returning things, I never return my own stuff, only stuff for my family. I would rather let stuff take up residence on my dresser for 3 months, then spend 6 years in my closet until I can no longer shut the doors, and finally move it to more comfortable lodging in the attic. I like to think these former gifts as my retirement plan, you know the one, where you slowly sell all you own on Ebay to pay for your Depends and Metamucil and canned dog food you buy at CeilingMart, where you work as a greeter, handing out smiley faces as you lean on your walker.

Actually, it wasn't too bad, I breezed through 5 stores, one after another and didn't get one hassle from any of the future leaders of our country wearing the lip ring, eyebrow ring, belly ring, liver clip or kidney barrettes that are popular ways for our youth to spend their college loans. The crowds were a bit maddening, as you noticed the Mom's with the bags and lists herding their families through each store, looking hassled and tired while the kids were shopping, shopping, shopping with their Christmas plunder. And nary a Dad was in site. I imagine they were home sleeping off the
family induced method of dealing with each other, a.k.a., holiday carb coma that. Seriously, our Moms didn't teach us to bake 140 dozen cookies, melt everything under the Sun with cheese on it, encase all kinds of meat in pastry and make dips with more fat than most third world countries see in a year, no, the real reason we do all this madness is to get some peace the week after the holiday.

My favorite Christmas movie is White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. Most people say its the romance of the movie and Bing's singing that sucks them in every year, but not me. No, I actually live for the most honest line in a movie I can remember. Bing Crosby ask Danny Kaye why he should go on date, why bother meeting, a woman when he's clearly too busy to bother with one? And Danny tells him, I want you to get married, and have 9 kids, and if you spend just 5 minutes a day with each kid, and that will give me 45 minutes a day to go get a massage or something. I love it, just love it.

That's really why we do all this stuff, starting months before to put on a pageant last 15 minutes. We are all in it to get 45 minutes to ourselves and go get a massage or something. The kids are snug with Uggs and Xbox COD in their beds, the spouses are passed out from carb induced comas and we get to sit down and go ahhhh, the best AH of the year, even beating out Meg Ryan's Ah in "When Harry Met Sally." We did it. We say, we came, we conquered.

AHHHHHH. No matter your beliefs or your holidays, its time to sit back and say it with me, "AHHHHHHH". Amen. May God Bless you with the joy you gave your family this week all year long.