I have been stricken with a cold as of late. My major preoccupation is sleep, sleep and more sleep. I tend to get very down on myself when I am not Productive, so depression then just adds to the misery. In addition, my job requires me to be able to think clearly, which is a tad difficult with dizzy head full of phlegm. Even a simple cold serves as a firm reminder that good health is not something to be taken for granted…
As I sit and sip my Earl Grey tea, I feel compelled to write about some of the other wonderful aspects of my current life for which I am grateful (in addition to the world of CNBC blogging, of course). So in no particular order here I go…
I am grateful for:
Smart Wool socks. Generally, I do not have trouble keeping warm–with hot flashes and all–but, if my feet get cold all bets are off. I appreciate my Smart Wool socks several times a day. They are made of Merino wool, so they are not scratchy and feel oh so good on my feet. By the way, if you are in the market for a holiday gift, these could be your ticket. May I suggest crew or 3/4 crew height and medium cushion?
Our boy Elroy. Here is a picture of him as a puppy. He has bandages on his back legs because his dew claws were removed shortly before I rescued him. His boundless enthusiasm, energy, and affection light up our lives.
My Man. We have been married for almost 11 years, and have survived job changes, several moves, family member and pet losses, my illness and hysterectomy, and much more. I adore his sexy phone voice, his fine taste in wine, his thoughtfulness and generosity, his loyalty to friends and family, his sense of humor, his cute boyish looks, and the way he still looks at me, and more, of course.
Our lake property. We recently purchased 5 acres of lake-front land about an hour and a half from where we live. Here is a picture of some of it and our architect. Someday we will build a small storybook cottage here. For now, we pitch a tent overlooking the lake where we can hide from the evening mosquitoes and listen to the loons in the early morning.
My job. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to return to research in a biochemistry lab after teaching high school chemistry for 12 years. Now, I loved teaching too. I had some amazing students, many of whom I still remain in contact through Facebook. I was selected as Teacher of the Year (the only one of two to ever be selected at that school as far as I know) and was christened “Doc Has.” My reason for returning to research is a topic for a whole other post, but suffice it to say, life in the lab has been awesome. My colleagues are fun, supportive, hard working, bright, and make the worst days better than pleasant.
My friends and family–from my hairdresser to my identical twin sister, D. My sister D is just a phone call away, and I know she will understand my situation with just a few words from me. We have been through so much together, and she will always be my partner in crime. She is the one who rescued me from Endometriosis/Adenomyosis/Fibroid hell when after an unfortunate year of writhing pain, bad doctors, and Lupron, she convinced me to see her doctor several states away, who eventually performed my hysterectomy and restored my sanity.
Music. I am not sure I could survive without music. I love my internet radio stations, Slacker and Radioio. Radioio’s Eclectic station was my introduction to internet radio, and over the years has introduced me to a plethora of new artists who have added dimensions to my life. I am so addicted to internet radio that I bought a portable speaker that plays my stations via Bluetooth from my cell phone in my car. My car is a 2001 Honda Insight that still gets 55 mpg and was my first brand new car, but due to its age, does not get satellite radio, so my hodge-podge speaker/Bluetooth/cell phone system works for me. I also have a Logitech Squeezebox hooked up to our home stereo system so I can listen to Slacker or Radioio while I cook and/or when we entertain.
Books and the Internet. Wow, what can I say? Through books and the internet I can explore whole other worlds. I read regularly (I am currently reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, which I recommend), and reading can almost be as good as a lovely vacation–on second thought, maybe I am overstating my love of books a bit, but you get what I mean…
Therapy. My emotional toolbox has many more tools in it than it did when I first left home as a teenager. These tools allow me the ability to maneuver and navigate tricky terrain with skill. I have choices that I didn’t even know existed pre-therapy (are choices really choices if you don’t know they exist?).
I am grateful for everything on this list and so much more. There have been some really dark moments, but they have been definitely out-numbered by stupendous moments of sheer joy.
My parents may have had lots of faults (who doesn’t?), but they succeeded as parents in several respects; one of the most important being that they were able to change. They changed more than once. And they keep changing. And with change I believe comes Hope. (Geez, with all the “hope” and “change,” it sounds like I am running for office ).
With that being said, I recently did a walk for Breast Cancer Research. I was not thrilled about going–at all. But spurred on by knowing that I was meeting up with some of my dear colleagues, I propelled myself out the door on an early Sunday morning. Chatting it up as we strolled, I found myself declaring that I was finally going to do it: I was finally going to start working out. I was going to start small, but do-able. 20 minutes a day on my Nordic track. I elicited the help from one of my dear colleagues. I asked her to inquire every day to see if I had followed through on my mission. I needed additional Motivation.
So began my Nordic track quest. I bought my Nordic track on EBay for a couple of hundred dollars about 9 years ago. The little computer gadget no longer works, but since the rest of it is not too sophisticated, it is still operational. It lives in a corner of my huge refinished basement, by two windows that overlook my wooded backyard. I have sporadically used my Nordic track, listening to music, but quickly getting bored with the whole idea.
Somehow, there was shift in my attitude. Maybe it was seeing how healthy some of the runners looked at the Breast Cancer Run/Walk. Maybe it was the recognition that I didn’t feel so great lately–I was getting stiff–like the Tin Man without his oil. I was feeling old and flabby and lethargic. Maybe I am starting to forgive my body for letting me down on the baby front. At any rate, I weaved my Nordic track quest into my morning routine, right between the first cup of Earl Grey tea and my second cup with Greek yogurt and granola.
Now mind you, my gym teachers did way more to discourage me from physical exercise than encourage me. I am plagued with memories of having my glasses flung across the room after getting whacked forcefully by the rubber ball in dodge ball, when I could no longer successfully hide behind some other kid. Or waiting and waiting to be “picked” for a team. I learned patience, but not a love of sports, because I was usually the last to be picked. I am not athletic or especially coordinated, and after being humiliated repeatedly, I tend to shy away from most athletic activities altogether.
But despite all of that, I am doing it; every day, I am pounding away on my Nordic track. And for the most part, I enjoy it. I actually enjoy it. It is some “me” time, where I am alone with my thoughts. And I feel better, I am not longer carrying a bunch of stress around in my body, and I don’t feel so stiff. I have hope that things will get better because I know I can change.
What about you? What are your thoughts on hope and change?
As I wearily reflect on the workweek in the laboratory, I am bemoaning that most of what I did was to repeat experiments in order to fix mistakes I made earlier. But there was one sulk-dispelling bright note…During a moment of mutual multi-tasking, one of my colleagues declared that she liked spending time with me because I “taught her how to be a person.” When I replied that she certainly seemed like a person to me, she said that she meant “a good person.” I was so flattered I was speechless. (BTW, I also think that she is a good person). I think that her compliment might be the best one I have ever received. Now, if that isn’t a trip to Happy Valley, I don’t know what is!
Yep, I took the day off from work to finally get a driver’s license from the state where I have resided now for over four years. I put it off as long as I possibly could as my old out-of-state license will expire on Tuesday. A small act of rebellion from your friend who is generally a Mrs. Goody-Two-Shoes rule follower. I was once struck (color me stupid) by the number of people who allowed themselves to be bored out of their minds waiting. For some folks it took over an hour for their bingo-like letter/number combo to be flashed and let them “win” a spot at the window for service. Didn’t they know there would be long wait? They didn’t plan something to do with the time to amuse themselves? I don’t believe in being a willing victim of these sort of circumstances, and packed a notebook to journal in and sketch my compatriots. After a while, I was wondering why I had put the whole experience off as long as I had. Perhaps I victimized myself by fighting the requirement for four years…