Badlands

I have discovered Amazon Prime Music and I am in love and enthralled.  The music of my life at my fingertips, for free.  Well, for the annual membership which I use for tons of other things so this is just bonus.

I think I may be like many people in my age range.  I have albums of my music or as my little nieces say “What big CDs you have:.  I have downloaded some of it on my ipod.  But….  There are all those albums and memories.  I am in Amazon download frenzy.

This weekend  I found Badlands.  Serendipity.  I get through my life with music.  When I lose the music I know I am in bad shape.  After a long bad time years ago, I knew I was going to be alright when I heard Springsteen on the radio and felt joy again.

But Badlands is more .  Years ago I lost the job that I loved.  Why do we say lost?  I didn’t lose it, they let me go.  Eight and a half years of mostly love.  I believe the roots of my present condition hark back to that time.  I used to work insane hours happily.  I didn’t understand why people couldn’t wait till Friday or were upset at Mondays.  I travelled  all over the world for that company.  However, there was one trip.  I was really sick before I left.  I was going to spend two weeks in Japan and Taiwan and fly back to California to work a trade show.  Then I would stay a few days in Los Angeles with my boyfriend’s best friend.  Men who did that trip used to spend some days in Hawaii and their wives would fly out to meet them.  I was unmarried and wanted to go to the beach in Thailand (bucket list though the term wasn’t used then) .  Instead, I had to fly back to California to work.  One of the guys gave me advice on how to fly so sick.  “Blow Afrin constantly up your nose before landing.”  Well it worked.  I made it through landing.  Who knew half an hour later that the pain would be excruciating .  I was really sick.  I was the company’s “little girl”.  The men I had to meet for business were terrified that George (the president) would be furious if anything happened to me.  I was constantly plied with soup. I slurped my way through Japan and Taiwan.    There is a reason for everything .  I was in the same hotel in Tokyo as Mike Tyson.  His posse insisted that I “party with Mike.”  I couldn’t even croak.  Just nodded “no” numerous times and kept on going.  My brush with “destiny”. When stories came out about those girls later,  I totally believed.   I left Taiwan at 11 a.m. in the morning, landed in Los Angeles at 11 a.m. the same morning (international date line) and worked till 11 p.m. that night.  I was so sick I couldn’t think of staying in LA after the show.  Back in NY, I collapsed  in JC Penney’s.  I was diagnosed with pharyngitis.  I truly believe that disregard for my health is a source of my ultimate conditions.  And ironically enough on my return I found as scared as everyone was of telling George being furious if anything  happened to me they were also terrified of telling him that I was too sick to undertake that trip.  So, after all that dedication, passion and bad health, I was cut loose in the world.  I was gutted.  I lost my livelihood and most of my friends.  Well, I guess they weren’t my friends.  Actually,  I do still have some from those days and some have died.  In fact,  I had a card this week from one of them.  But with no money and no job ,  a disastrous marriage, I felt cut off from everyone including myself.  I would wake in the morning feeling as if there was a huge pillow in my face.  I left my then husband ( I love that phrase “my then husband”) and moved back with my parents.  They couldn’t acknowledge depression.  My mother was a pull yourself together type. She said to me at the time I had to learn how to do it myself because she wasn’t always going to be around to do so.

I was back in my childhood bedroom.  Me and my record player.  I started to play Darkness on the Edge of Town and Nebraska obsessively.  Badlands helped me through.  “Talk about a dream, try to make it real.  Spend your life waiting for a moment that just doesn’t come.    I believe  in the faith that can save me .  Raise me above these badlands. For the one who had the notion, notion deep inside, that it ain’t  no sin to be glad you are  alive. I’m gonna find one face that ain’t looking through me.  I want to spit in the face of these badlands.”  And that’s what I did.  I made it through the badlands.

 

And here I am again years later.  Another job “lost”.  Financially crunchy.  Up against those Badlands again.  It all came rushing back again.  This time I do not have my mother to put me back again.  I am starting to crash.  One thing I know I can’t and won’t go back to that freefall again.  Well, I still feel the joy of the music again.  And I still retain my resiliency.  Resiliency feels like a curse sometimes.  I used to tell my mother I felt like a Joe Palooka punching bag.  Every time you hit me I spring back.  My spring is getting kind of rusty.  This time there’s the extra wrinkles:  no parents, my condition, uh, actual wrinkles, a mortgage.  We wonder when I go for a job with my outfit coordinated cane/walking stick what the impact is on the hiring decision.  I had an interview where I had to get in and out of a van.  I would have and have had the same difficulties in the past with heels.  I am not the most graceful or coordinated person as numerous airport shuttle drivers can attest.

I see my resources dwindling as I hold onto faith.  And yeah, I’m blasting Badlands again

November Warrior Check In

How do I feel today

Mixed.  I have been getting good rest.  Down side – I am out of work.  So,  I am not getting paid and there is confrontation in my future.  I am angry which is something that doesn’t agree with me.  However, it is an improvement of the stress that I have been undergoing since August.  I just want definitive closure which I don’t see for the definitive future.  It’s Sunday and I read the Times again!  I am slowly, slowly decompressing and getting back to me.

What did you do for yourself today?

I did my stepper and tried to recalibrate my tracker.  I am reading.  I will probably cook something healthy.  I will play with my tea business.  I calculated everything I have earned for the year so I can sort out my health insurance.

What did I eat today and how did it make me feel – Still thinking about food and making good choices.  I did do chocolate but I am doing so much less of it.  I am looking forward to cooking something from Two Moms  in the raw.

Did I exercise?  What did I do?  How did it feel – Well,  I did the stepper and will do so again.  I have been to the gym twice this week.  Being out of work, I will start going practically everyday as I know from previous experience, it’s the only way I will stay sane and healthy.  It feels good.

For whom or what are you grateful?  What matters most in life?

Ah, I am blessed.  Someone I knew a long time ago said I was one of the few people at school that was authentic and cool and still am.  Kinda validates what I am about.  Grateful that I have the wherewith financial and emotional to weather this storm.

I have an opportunity to focus on getting healthy.

Do I have a higher purpose or driving force in my life?   Make a mission statement

Driving force?  Well, I am standing on and committed to principle.  Hope it matters.

How long have I been treated with conventional medicine   I am going to start Biotin this week.Ampyra since April.  Baclufen.  I am seeing more and more about food.  I am thinking about mostly committing through the end of the year.  I should be at home and can couple it with exercise

The first time I had a symptom – June 2004 walking on the beach boardwalk.  This week I walked 11 blocks slowly during rush hour with a cane.  YeaH!

What symptoms are most troublesome  -still hung up on the ugly shoes!  And my hands seem to be weakening.  However, see stress rearing it’s ugly head.

Do I blame myself for things –  Of course! Yes, I am still blaming myself for not being aggressive against this. However, getting back to me, slowly, slowly but surely!

How is stress level?

Coming down a bit.  Last month, I was returning to uncertainty.  This month is uncertain in a different way.  I feel calmer all in all.  Not getting up around 4 a.m.  Is HUGE!

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?   Exercise, structure and move forward

Until next month.

October Warrior Check In

How do I feel today  -Better than I have in awhile.  I am going back to work tomorrow after a week off and I am dreading it for numerous reasons.  However, it appears the hurricane has passed us by, the sun is shining and I am focusing on the positive.  I have so much to be grateful for. I also feel that I am back on track.

What did you do for yourself today?

I read the Sunday Times, most of it, on Sunday!  I cooked something healthy and good.  I was indulgent and bought nail polish

What did I eat today and how did it make me feel – Eating right except for dinner tonight – will have small steak.  On holiday I did OK and tried to be in balance

Did I exercise?  What did I do?  How did it feel – Ah, every month there is a weak spot, still trying to calibrate Jawbone but I definitely have not walked nearly enough in the last week.  I feel weak but determined.

For whom or what are you grateful?  What matters most in life?

Friends and family.  Last night the boys and their girlfriends joined the nieces and I at a mystery dinner at the church.  The table read Reserved – “X – Family of 8″  It made me feel warm.  The fiancee declared in 10 months, I will really be a part of this family.  I was given beautiful presents for my birthday and a beautiful card.  I spent 4 days with one of my best friends on vacation last week.  It was restorative. I had all kinds of birthday wishes from near and far.  And as someone once said ” You know Santa and the Easter Bunny?!!!”  What more could I or should I want out of life.

Do I have a higher purpose or driving force in my life?   Make a mission statement

Ok, still a problem. Still believe deeply in joy.  In the last few weeks due to the situation at work where  I am no longer being allowed my medical accommodation,  I am planning legal action.  I have been told this will benefit other people.  So, there you go.

How long have I been treated with conventional medicine Ampyra since April.  On my birthday, I read in the Times that my medical insurance company is closing so we are scared that I will lose this drug.

The first time I had a symptom – June 2004 walking on the beach boardwalk.  Lately,  I have been using the cane which I am going to rename a stick more and more each week.

What symptoms are most troublesome  -still hung up on the ugly shoes!  And my hands seem to be weakening.  Same as last month.  Getting a little wobbly.

Do I blame myself for things –  Of course!Yes, I am still blaming myself for not being aggressive against this. However, getting back to me, slowly, slowly but surely!

How is stress level? Middling, as I have not been at the office Sept 23 but have to go back tomorrow and face the music.  I know I will survicw

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?   Continue to take positive steps in eating, exercise and most importantly the pursuit of balance.

Until next month.

Evaluating, Instincts and Perspective

It’s been a hard few months for me.  Particularly, the last few weeks.  I very rarely admit it but I have a streak of a workaholic in me.  Years ago, one of my friends told me I was the same as her except I did the extra work at home in the bathtub and in my bunny slippers.  My assistant used to go “Grrr, I see you wrote this in the bath again.”  That situation ended badly.  I was in that job for nearly 9 years.  I increased their business.  I literally made myself physically ill and as I have mentioned the roots of my present condition lie there.  I went to Asia on business when I could barely talk or breathe.  Forget experiencing Asian cuisine in Asia; every place I went they poured soup and tea down my throat.  Here’s what I did:  I left Taiwan at 11 o’clock in the morning, landed in LA 11 a.m. the same morning and worked till 11 p.m.  The men always stopped in Hawaii with their wives.  I  flew home to NY and collapsed in JC Penney.  Several years later I was let go from that company.  It was awful.  I had invested too much of myself.  I was left without myself.  I was severely depressed.  I got married.  Yes, I know.  And that made everything so much worse.  I was unemployed or under employed for 10 years and then I got this job.  Financially, I was back.  The first four years as an employee were great.  I left it at the office.  I worked late once or twice.  There was a downsizing and I was let go.  I said “Thank you.  Summer on the beach with shells in my hair.”  My condition manifested itself for the first time that summer and we put it down to stress and lack of activity.  Working, I walked miles a day, literally.

Cut to the present:  My life has been out of control and out of balance.  I went back as a part time consultant.  It was never really part time.  I joke the reason I was approved for my mortgage working part time was a major project went live the month they looked at my financials and I was doing over 40 hours a week.  Well, once I went back full time I started at around 37.5 a week.  I told my manager when I started back that  I knew hw he was and it would be more.  He swore to me I could be out the door by 4:30.  Well, that lasted a few weeks when I was told they needed more time.  Our agreement was that I could do it at home.  For years, I have done nights and weekends. 2007 – 2008 averaging 50 hours a week.  Note the word average.  Once this condition began to impact me I worked more and more from the house.   I work in an IT department so it’s relatively technologically advanced.  I laugh as every other Friday from home I am in a meeting with New York, New Jersey, London and Ireland.  This year even though I worked from the house I have been averaging closer to 45 hours a week with a lot of weeks 50 – 60.  Yes,   I do bill by the hour.

Recently, the two people I have always worked with except for a hellish 6 months were reorganized out of my area.  First hint – no one knew what to do with me and I heard unofficially I was going back to Hell.

In the interim, the group head starting signing my time sheets August 1.  I worked 48 hours one week to deliver a major project.  She said it was over time.  I said you owe me a lot of money then.  Upshot, not allowed to do more than 40.  Okay, I can live with that.

I work remotely on Friday and have done so for a few years or very, very short Fridays in the office.  It  is too dangerous for me to commute with the weekenders and I do have fatigue.  I have a doctor’s note.  I usually work longer on a Friday as I don’t have to commute.  The doctor wrote me a letter not to work when it’s 85.  This hurts as remember, summer on the beach with shells in my hair.  She apparently is not honoring this.  This means unless  I come in and jeopardize myself I lose a week’s pay a month.

A friend texts me Thursday night that the company has posted a job opening for Learning and Development.  I look it has been written to exclude me – must be able to sit or stand for long periods.

So, I  find myself in the same position I was over 20 years ago.  I did it again.  I put my heart and soul into this.  I cared. I did their work at the expense of my life.  They would call it scope creep at my job.   I can’t believe I bought into it.

I used to work in the garment industry and was laid off all the time.  I just had a sixth sense as to when it was going to happen plus someone would tip me off, too.  The only time that didn’t happen was when I was let go from my short interim position while I was doing little part time for the bank.  For the last three years,  I haven’t been feeling right there.  I have very positive moments and very positive reviews.  However,  this morning I said to myself “Face the facts.  You are going and sooner rather than later.”  I already had started taking things home.  However, when my credentials/capabilities were questioned. I brought in framed copies of my certificates.

I find myself feeling sad, nervous and betrayed.  I have to hold onto the belief that someone will hire me on suitable terms even though I am technically old, limp and use a cane.

I am resilient.  I always try and see the upside.  So being home for four days has been a blessing.  I am getting to catch up on my life.  I spoke to three friends on the phone yesterday, a luxury.  One was one of my exes (yes me and the eternal exes) and he had been with me for part of the first time.

I am approaching a milestone and am frighteningly aware of my mortality.  But this is an opportunity for new horizons and new possibilities as I approach this.

August Warrior Check In

Life is still intense. I am thinking about the “default future”

How do I feel today –   Pretty crappy.  I was in a slightly manic phase the last few weeks.  I couldn’t do things fast enough.  I knew I had to crash and I have.  I put in a high stress over 50 hour workweek this week.  Bed late every night.  I made a presentation to our head on Friday.  Well, all I can say was it wasn’t negative.  It is hard to live with the continual uncertainty about the job.  There never seems to be enough time.  I am a Libra and feel seriously out of balance.  I need to clear the decks and can’t.  I have started a new venture except I haven’t.  I have the skills and the tools to rock it and little Miss Sabotage strikes again.   The MRI shows no change but I seem to be getting worse.  I  think  I am going to look into genome testing.

What did you do for yourself today?

I tried to sleep late.  I read the Sunday times,  yeah!  Straightened up a bit.  Sent in a job application,  sat outside in the gazebo. Did NOT go grocery shopping or any kind of shopping.

What did I eat today and how did it make me feel – Getting back to clean and it’s the right thing

Did I exercise? What did I do? How did it feel – No excuse not to go to the gym and I didn’t.  Miss Sabotage.  My fitbit has been wonky lately and I know that I had at least two days closer to 12,000 steps.  Ain’t drugs grand?  But zip didn’t record

For whom or what are you grateful? What matters most in life?   I am blessed with the most amazing friends, truly.  I have a husband who watches over me.  I continue to have possibilities.  And this year, beautiful flowers in the garden

Do I have a higher purpose or driving force in my life?   Make a mission statement –   Never give up?

How long have I been treated with conventional medicine Ampyra since April.  The Ampyra continues to work.  I am walking more with less fatigue.  Friday high stress day and took subway to Village during rush hour

The first time I had a symptom – June 2004 walking on the beach boardwalk.  Think it’s time to add last time -off balance, weak knees

What symptoms are most troublesome -still hung up on the ugly shoes!  And my hands seem to be weakening

Do I blame myself for things –  Yes, I am still blaming myself for not being aggressive against this. Still!  I let go of me and who I am and could be.  Same as last month

How is stress level? Skyrocketing with work issues

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?   Rest, take a step back.  Contemplate that default future and SMILE

Until next month.

July Warrior Check In

Back for July and late again.  Life has been a little intense lately.

How do I feel today –   Better than I have for the past few days, see previous blog.  I know I will never go back to the way we used to live.  Today is a holiday and the weather is uneven.  This works out as my plan for this weekend is/was to paint the office and catch up on my life.  I blog sometimes on another site and haven’t done so for ages. I am starting a new business and need to get cracking.  I really need to clear the decks.  It was great not getting up early today and not going anywhere.

What did you do for yourself today?     I slept, I am cooking, blogging and cleaning.  It feels peaceful.  I like spending time in my head.  I think I will read trashy novels.

What did I eat today and how did it make me feel – Still cheating with the good stuff.

Did I exercise? What did I do? How did it feel – Thinking about getting on the Wii and playing games, particularly balance ones.

For whom or what are you grateful? What matters most in life?   Grateful for friends. Grateful husband is back on track. Grateful that I can afford to take the time off and for the little things in life that are huge.

Do I have a higher purpose or driving force in my life?   Make a mission statement –   sounds too affected for me.  Working on the Mission statement, something along the lines of do no evil and never ever give up

How long have I been treated with conventional medicine Ampyra since April. I have walked more than I have in years.  The Ampyra continues to work.  I am walking more with less fatigue.  I even handled Grand Central and Penn pre-holiday!

The first time I had a symptom – June 2004 walking on the beach boardwalk.  Think it’s time to add last time -uh this week cramping and off balance

What symptoms are most troublesome – wearing ugly shoes and not being able to really walk.  Problem with the new spectral leg is my foot is too weak to get into the shoe

Do I blame myself for things –  Yes, I am still blaming myself for not being aggressive against this. Still!  I let go of me and who I am and could be.

How is stress level? Stress is still there but I have taken time off and am trying to keep things in perspective

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?   Go to the gym!  Continue to do what makes me happy on my day off.

Until next month.

The Liebster Award Blog

liebster

Well,  better a little late than never.   I  do have to thank  Ms and Fabulous http://msandfabulous.com  for doing this for me.   I love reading her. It’s been really good for  me to think about some of these questions.

Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog because I have always had a journal/diary whatever.  As I’ve previously said in a way this is my Midas in the bulrushes moment.  It’s my way to vent and to process.  Ok, and to share.

What is your favorite color?

La vie en rose, of course.

What is your favorite dessert?

So many to love.  It  can  be seasonal.  Things I like Key Lime pie, Christmas pudding, trifle, cheesecake.  My current favorite mango coconut sorbet.

What are your top 3 favorite books?

Again, so many to choose and so many to love.  Well, Dickens at the top of the list.  So, I am thinking David Copperfield.   A Little Princess or The Secret Garden.  Hmmm.then….. Amy Tan is wonderful, Joanna Trollope, Ruth Rendell, Laura Lippmann, recent loves.  Maya Angelou –  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  The Last Picture Show – Larry McMurtry.  Anything by Gail Godwin.  Barbara Pym – definitely shaped my consciousness.

What are your top 3 favorite movies?

Oh three so doesn’t work for me.  My favorites are transitory.  Movies I watch again and again….

Forrest Gump – I even paid to see it three times.  “The Object of My Affection,”  I keep on coming back to Easy Rider.  Did I love Peter Fonda?  “The Secret Life of Bees”,  “Jean de Fleurette and Manon”.  “Breaking Away”  – struggling to find yourself and recreate yourself.  Next week or next month,  maybe a different answer.

What is your favorite home-cooked meal/comfort food?

These are hard questions.  Eggplant parmigiana.  Stuffed flounder.  Solid Cadbury chocolate is comfort.

If you could speak another language, which one would it be?

Uh but I do.  I love French.  I wanted to take Latin and my parents put down their feet and  I threw one of the few hissies of my life and ended up in French.  It changed my life.  I have a facility for language and do Italian, Spanish and German.  In high school, I wanted to do Farsi and Russian.  Japanese would be useful in my job now.  Language is like extra vocabulary.  I believe knowing only one language is limiting.  My father used to make sure I knew how to say “I am American.  I need an attorney” in any country I was traveling to.   And me, personally,  I wanted to be able to understand “Let’s kill that little girl over there”.  I have enjoyed the freedom speaking other languages has given me.

If you were a superhero, what would your super power be?

Super power.  It’s always a toss up between invisibility and flying.  Right now,  flying trumps all.  It would be glorious to feel free, soaring and weightless instead of the careful measured tread I have to take.  And to be carefree.  Peter Pan calls me and don’t tell me he wasn’t a super hero.  He must have been the first.

What is one piece of advice you would give someone just starting a blog?

The same advice that was given to me – take a course.  I learned a lot from Blogging 101.  The other piece – read other people’s blogs.  It helps.

Which song would you pick to be your personal theme song?

Ah, these questions with no clear answers.  I always thought the Rolling Stones “Satisfaction”  was my theme song, flawed for obvious reasons.  When I was a college, Don McLean’s “Everybody Loves Me Baby” really worked.  I was going through a bad time and Bruce Springsteen’s Badlands. “Thunder Road” obsessively and constantly.  “it’s a town full of losers and I am pulling out of here to win” (See Levittown (read childhood)  comment)  but it’s so much more.   Hangfire by the Stones saved my life somewhere in the 80’s. Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young” is a consistent theme.  I am a Levittown girl.   Joni Mitchell’s Cactus Tree and/or Coyote the last few years.  Van Morrison reaches my soul – Caravan.  Lately,  I have been playing the Allman’s Melissa on my ipod and Jason Isbell’s Live Oak.   The soundtrack of my life.   Is there a theme to all this music,  maybe someone else will see it.

Which do you prefer: bare lips, chapstick/lip balm, lip gloss, or lipstick?

Lipstick.  Finally, a definitive answer.  But I can’t live without eyeliner!

Eleven Random Facts About Me:  (Jessica, this stuff is hard!)

My favorite place to be is on the beach, any beach.  I miss the ocean all the time.  This condition has stopped me from walking on the beach.

I like my chocolate  and liquor straight and unadulterated.  Read that – not in cake or ice cream.  No juice, no soda.  Maybe a little ice.

I used to fit a terrorist profile in Italy.  I was single and travelled all over, staying usually only a night or two, all over Europe.

I love to cook.  This was unusual for my family as on my maternal side, they had servants and ladies didn’t cook and on my paternal side, well, maybe it was cooking but it certainly wasn’t good.

I can’t stand wearing red, pink or coral nail polish.  Blues, purples, greens, silvers and golds for me.

I hate red roses. They symbolize death to me.

Being married and staying married is something I never thought I would or could do.

I have a dish fetish.  I don’t know how many sets I have now.  I moved out of my mother’s because I had seven sets under the bed and in the closet.

I am a secret workaholic.  I do it in bunny slippers.

I am terrified of being a little old lady with cats.

I have great faith.

I nominate:

OnBeauty https://onculturebeauty.wordpress.com

Deuce2treble3quinn4 https://deuce2treble3quinn4.wordpress.com/

EmmaLisa3 http://emmalisa3.com/

F you, MS https://fyoums.wordpress.com/

Kelzbelzphotography https://kelzbelzphotography.wordpress.com

MyBrainisMessingwithMyHead mybrainismessingwithmyhead.wordpress.com

My questions:

  1. Why blog?
  2. If you could be anywhere but here now, where would that be?
  1. Traditional Medicine or Alternative?
  2. Is make-up part of your armour?
  3. What genre do you like to read best?
  4. Last film you saw and why?
  1. Favorite holiday?
  1. What is your favorite place you have visited?
  1. Did you like high school (or equivalent)?
  1. What scares you most?
  1. What advice would you give to someone starting a blog?

Official Rules

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award, AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster Award in which you:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog.
  1. Answer the 11 questions about yourself provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  1. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  2. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 200 followers.
  3. Create a new list of questions for the bloggers to answer.
  4. List these rules in your post.
  1. Inform the bloggers that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post.