28 November 2009

Feeling Better ...

As those of you who follow me on me on Facebook or Twitter know, I was in the hospital recently. I've been out for a couple of weeks and I'm just now beginning to feel like myself again.

I went to the emergency room three weeks ago with chest pains and pain in my left arm. Since I've had a previous heart attack (October, 2000), complaints like this are taken very seriously. After a week and a million tests, they determined that it was ... nothing. Well, actually, they didn't determine that it was nothing, but they didn't determine what it was. I had an angiogram; my heart and stent look great. My EKG and EEG both came back normal. There was a slight abnormality in my nuclear stress test, but all other tests after that came back negative. So, all is well.

I've decided to change doctors from my beloved Dr. Hoenshell to someone more local. I say "more local" rather than just "local" because there are no doctors out where we live. My new doctor, Dr. Naresh Ganesh, is only 40 minutes away, rather than 90 minutes away! He was the doctor who saw me on rounds when I was in the hospital, so I decided to stick with him. I like him a lot, although some of his office practices are a bit infuriating. The first time I saw him, I had a 1:15 PM appointment (Tuesday before Thanksgiving, mind you). I was taken back to the examining room at about 3:45 PM. I saw the doctor at 4:50 PM. I left the office at 5:50 PM. Now, I've got things to do, and no one warned me he was always late like this. One reason is probably that he was taking his own vital signs, instead of having a nurse do it. And he does see patients on rounds at the hospital, remember, something fewer primary care physicians are doing all the time.

As I said, I really like the doctor, so I'm going to tolerate his tardiness. He took all the time with me that I needed him to, listened to my concerns and talked with me. And, he touched me while we talked. Nothing inappropriate, just gentle and caring. It helped me feel heard. I liked that.

Now that I'm home, I'm slowly regaining my strength. I spent a week in the hospital on bed rest, so I lost a lot of my mobility. Until today, I felt as though I'd never recover; today, however, I'm starting to feel like my old self. Good! It's about damn time!

06 November 2009

New Art & Chair Fabric

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I just purchased a new piece of art work. It's called "Cave Lady", and is painted by an artist named Micheal Noon. I purchased it from the Redlands Art Association. I fell in love with it from across the room and was pleased to see that was very affordable. It's 24" x 48" and very purple!

I also bought fabric with which to re-cover my dining room chairs. This is the fabric. I've never re-covered chairs before, but I've seen them do it on television! Besides, there's bound to be plenty of instructions on the internet! Any tips?

Now, I'm off to unpack the art supplies that I shipped to Arkansas for my vacation. They finally made it back home yesterday (Thanks Karen!) but I was out of town for the day. I'm eager to get back to art!

05 November 2009

Happy Day!

Just a short note to keep up the momentum with NaBloPoMo. I had a great day today. I spent the day with my good friend, Sandra. One of the things I did while we were together was buy a piece of original art from the Redlands Art Association -- a painting by a young artist named Micheal Noon. Tomorrow, I'll take a few pictures to share with you.

I also bought fabric with which to re-cover my dining room chairs. I'll share that with you tomorrow, too. For now, though, I'm going to go rest, read, and maybe watch some television. It's been a long day for me!

04 November 2009

Wanting The Day ...

It’s well past 11:00 on a Tuesday night and I long to be asleep; however, I long to be writing even more. My mind is a whir of reflections and intentions. I’m gradually developing a real vision of what I want my life to be like, and that’s very exciting for me. It’s got me forward looking: thinking and planning, dreaming and intending. But it’s also got me scared! I’ve dreamed before, and watched my dreams wither from lack of attention. I’ve set goals but not taken steps to reach them. I’ve made declarations and never followed through. Why do I think that this time will be different?

This time will be different because I am different. I am no longer content to be numbed out. Molly Wizenberg writes in A Handmade Life: “My father woke up each morning wanting that day.” When I read that sentence for the first time, I froze for a moment and knew that I would have to write about that sentiment – even if only for my own benefit – because it’s the kind of thing I’d like someone to say about me when I die: She woke up each morning wanting that day. Wouldn’t that be great on a headstone?

Far too often, however, I have approached each new day with a sense of trepidation, reservation, or even resignation, rather than with a sense of enthusiasm, anticipation, or joy. I live a gray life, and have for most of my 45 years. Oh, there have been moments of wild excitement and genuine grief, but mostly I’ve just been coasting along. The days and weeks have become months and years, and I’ve somehow managed to not be a part of my own life.

This is not the first time I’ve recognized this aspect of myself, but I’ve never before done anything about it. I’ve never, quite frankly, known what to do; I’m not exactly sure where this comes from. Usually, I blame it on the medication that I take to stabilize my bipolar mind, and I do think that’s part of the problem. But I also think resting on that answer is taking the easy way out. It’s a little too pat, a little too convenient. Other people take medication for mood stabilization and still manage to live authentic lives.

I’ve recognized this aspect of myself before, but I’ve never confronted it. I’ve always let the fear of what my life may become keep me from making any real change. I’ve always let the fear of who I may become keep me from really looking at who I am. I think, however, I’m at a point where I can no longer set myself aside as I go through life.

I’m looking at where I am, and life is good. But I want more. I’m hungry for joy and authenticity. I’m even hungry for pain and tears, if that’s what is there. I want to be truly present in my life, and experience it wholly. Too much time goes by between my glimpses of delight -- and there is much in my life to delight in.

This time will be different because I am different. I am no longer content to sit on the sidelines of my own journey. I am no longer content to let the fear in my life outweigh the joy in my life. I am no longer content to feel numb and un-alive.

She woke up each morning wanting that day. I’m not sure how to get to the place where that sentence describes my journey, but I intend to find out! It is my dominant intention to live a jubilant, joy-filled, exciting, authentic life.

Any ideas on what I do next?

03 November 2009


Every year, I try to keep up with NaBloPoMo, and every year I fail. I haven't decided whether or not to even try this year, but I wanted to get something posted for today just in case I decide later to make the effort. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, which means I've been doing a lot of writing -- I just haven't gotten any of it in a form that I feel comfortable sharing. Look for more in the upcoming days about what's been keeping my mind occupied.

What have you been thinking about?

02 November 2009

Vacation was nice ...

I'm just back from three and a half weeks of vacation in Arkansas, and I hardly know how to feel. It was delightful to see my mother again (it had been almost a year and a half since I'd been there), to sit in her kitchen, and talk about food and holidays gone by. It was joyful -- as always -- to see Tammy, to laugh with her, and to share in her life. It was invigorating to smell the rain, see the leaves turn color and then let go, and to cook with my mom. It was healing to see more family -- an aunt, my siblings, my nephew and his new girlfriend -- even for short visits.

Tammy and I went to the Homecoming football game my first Friday there. We sat in the cold and the wind, and watched the undefeated Mountain Home Bombers lose their first game of the season. Neither of us had been to a high school football game since we graduated. Cold as we were, we had a good time. Seeing the band march at half-time was a very emotional -- but very exciting -- experience for me. I love marching bands, but had a horrible experience in band when I was that age. It pained me, but I quit band after my sophmore year to pursue other interests -- and save my sanity.

Mom and I cooked together, talked food, and watched The Foot Network. Food is one of my strongest connections to my mother; not having a daughter of my own to cook with is one of my great disappointments. Most days I don't feel that loss, but when I'm with my mother, measuring and stirring, it's hard not to feel the emptiness of a tradition ended. Luckily, there was lots of good restaurant food, too, to take my mind off of it!

There was also a good book on my nightstand to distract and cheer me. My sister brought her copy of A Handmade Life by Molly Wizenberg for my mother to read, and I nabbed it. Molly (creator of the blog Organette) is a delightful writer, personal and conversational. Each chapter is a vignette in her life, followed by a recipe or two mentioned in the story. It was particularly poignant for me to read about her father's illness and death, as I still occasionally struggle with the loss of my own father, not too many years ago. It was both exciting and nostalgic to read of her long-distance romance with (and later marriage to) someone she met because of her blog, as I met my own husband over the internet. I enjoyed the book so much that I put it on my Amazon wishlist; I definitely plan to own this book!

The last week of vacation, I was joined by my husband, John. Even though he spent quite a bit of time falling in love with the area before we were married, he's not spent very much time there since then. In fact, this was only his third trip to Mountain Home since we married, almost 11 years ago. I enjoyed showing him the changes since his last visit and visiting old haunts with him. It was a sweet interlude for us.

Vacation was nice, but today was nicer.

Even though I had several things that I could have done today, I did only three things that I absolutely needed to do: I made two phone calls and cooked dinner for my husband (which is really more of a "want to" than a "need to"). The rest of the day was spent ingratiating myself to The Kitties Three, reading, surfing the internet, and writing. I treated today as kind of a transition day between vacation time and the calls of my everyday life. There is plenty of time, tomorrow, for listening to the answering machine messages, dusting, and unpacking. It was good to be back in my own home and lounging on my own bed.

As much as I love my mother's house -- the house I grew up in  -- it's not the house I share with my husband and my fur-babies. As much as I enjoy seeing my mother, Tammy, andn Mountain Home, the day-to-dayness of it isn't the life I've built in California -- and I love this life. I'm always torn when I leave Mountain Home, because I'm not sure, quite frankly, how much time I have with my mother, with my brother and sister, with my friends there.  I want to stay forever, and I want to return to my own home and the life I've developed in it.

Vacation was nice, but today was nicer.

01 November 2009

I'm Home ...

Just a short post to let you know that we are home from vacation. We had a wonderful time, visiting with family and friends. Our trip home was pretty uneventful, but even so, I'm just exhausted. I'm off to my book and bed. I'll post more tomorrow about our trip.