April 2016 Check In

How did I feel this past Month?

March definitely was a combination of the lion and the lamb.  I am actively looking for work.  I fear that my age and infirmity are preventing me from getting a job.  Yes, I try not to focus on it but it is the elephant in the room.  Sometimes, I say that too.  Then, my Jawbone hasn’t been working so even though I am not walking enough I can’t tell.  I am deteriorating.  No one likes to hear it or see it.  I fell three times.  The last was a week ago and I really hurt my left hand.

What did you do for yourself this month?

Still with the gym and less so Zumba due to the weather.  I can’t really go out in rain or snow, too much chance of falling.  I have started to write again.  I started journaling in January and am writing in the day.  I have continued to clear clutter.  I am trying to reach out to people.  I am reconnecting with the creative  bits of me, a little writing, a little art.  Decoupage again.  Something I started to do in 7th grade.  I was always good at it.  And I am starting to take some glasses.  It’s both an outlet and a way to meet people.

What did I eat this month  and how did it make me feel

More smoothies.  A little off the rails with gluten due to holiday.  And a little more meat.  Getting back on track.

Did I exercise?  What did I do?  How did it feel

More time in the gym.  I am really liking it!

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

Faith helps lots.  My friends are awesome.  Some came into my life, some left.  The ones that are here are my rocks.  My stepsons continue to amaze me with their love and support.

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

A higher purpose is kinda grandiose.  I stand by fighting for what’s right.  Hopefully, others can benefit.  Living with integrity and never ever giving up.

Conventional medicine  Still just Ampyra and Baclufen

Symptoms – Hands are getting weaker and my balance is off.  My fingers are going white and numb which is freaking scary.  My right hand turns purple sometimes.

What symptoms are most troublesome  – Independence and mobility.  I also have been falling more.  Part of it I know is  stress.  But the rest of the time, it’s balance. And the fingers!

Do I blame myself for things – Yes, I am still believing it’s food, stress and exercise.

How is stress level?  Well, I am  still not working. So it’s getting to me.  I am able  to sleep later though.  I’d like to wake between 6 & 7 in the morning.

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?

Faith, food, exercise.  Creative work. Never give up!!

March 2016 Check In

How did I feel this past Month?

A very mixed month with peaks and valleys.  Getting a job and maintaining funding has been consuming.  Some days are great, others less so.  I am fighting the blues. It’s winter so that’s not abnormal. The season distresses me.  My condition makes me housebound more than I’d like.  Also, not having income makes us stay at home – no joy-shopping.  I am in a waiting mode.  It’s never easy for me.  Sometimes, I am a slave to that e-mail, waiting for news, for any movement.

What did you do for yourself this month?

Still with the gym and less so Zumba due to the weather.  I can’t really go out in rain or snow, too much chance of falling.  I have started to write again.  I started journaling in January and am writing in the day.  I have continued to clear clutter.  I am trying to reach out to people/

What did I eat this month  and how did it make me feel

Back mostly to smoothies.  They really help my system and mitigate my sugar cravings.  I created an alert on my phone to remind me to have fruit in the afternoon and my Bac pill.

Did I exercise?  What did I do?  How did it feel

It’s exciting.  I am feeling achy at the gym.  I am taking it as a sign my nerves are reconnecting.  On the flip side, I seem a little less flexible and continue to experience balance problems.

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

My friends. The gift of faith.  I have been playing with “The Power of Positive Thinking” and it has reconnected me to faith.  The love that is in my life.  My stepson brought me the most beautiful rose on Valentine’s, unexpected and lovely.

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

No surprises.  No mission statement.  Purpose?  Let others benefit by my fight. Integrity.  Principles do count.

Conventional medicine  Just the Ampyra and Baclufan.  Really beginning to get that the right food and rest will do a lot.

Symptoms –  Hands are becoming a problem.  Fighting it of course!  Balance and flexibility which can be addressed with increased determination

What symptoms are most troublesome  – The lack of freedom.  As I write this, the newspaper is in the driveway and I just can’t go out and get it.  My increasing reliance on the cane is hindering me in my job search.

Do I blame myself for things – Of course, between stress, wrong food and not enough exercise

How is stress level?

Still high and who wouldn’t be between money, job and health.  This is becoming my new normal.

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?

Remember to breathe. Have faith.  Eat and exercise properly.

Convergence, Synergy, Serendipity

I have been out of work for four months.  What a strange phrase to use.  Let’s rephrase:  I have not been paid or going to an employer for four months.  Work is continual and takes different forms.

I was/am beginning to feel a little despair, desperation.

I have always believed things happen for a reason.

I also have wanted to take this time to clear up around the house.  I had let everything go when  I had a job.  Plus, I have hoarding tendencies.  I literally took everything off the top of my desk.   I found a little pamphlet that a friend gave me about 25 years ago.  I did warn you.  The pamphlet was an abridged “The Power of Positive Thinking”.  My parents had the book.  I can picture it in the bookcase at the top of the stairs.  As they aged, they moved things and got rid of things.  I don’t know that is a book I ever would have kept.  I never cracked its spine when I was growing up.  But now, I found this little pamphlet and threw it in my bag when I was going into NYC for an interview.  I started to read it.  Last time I was without work and my first marriage was breaking up and I was probably clinically depressed, my mother typed up a prayer for me.  It helped enormously.  There it was in the pamphlet!  A good sign.  The pamphlet was making sense to me.  I do have a deep faith sometimes.  Sometimes, as is natural, it wavers.  I also read and am a huge fan of Julia Cameron – Good Orderly Direction.  There you go and I am off to the races.

Next event:  I am in the car and hear the beginning of an interview with Marlon James, the first Jamaican to win the Booker prize.  I am half Jamaican and read Caribbean literature at uni.  I dabble in it from time to time but had stopped.  So I decide to get the book from the library.  Of course, I don’t remember its name.  When I do the library search, other West Indian novelists show up.  I order some Colin Chaner.

I was a student of Earl Lovelace’s years ago.  I had no idea who he was until 10 years or so, maybe even closer, a friend of mine mentioned him.  I immediately read him and adored it.  His writing was never mentioned or touted at school.  He only taught for a year.   I just found out that a book of his came out to serious acclaim a year after I studied with him.  No one said anything at school.  In retrospect, I wonder.  Was it racial?  Or was it “intellectual”?  This was a department that touted Coover and McElroy.  I decide let me read some more Lovelace.  Another library search.  Ha, there is a book on Lovelace and Caribbean literature on Goodreads.  The library doesn’t have it.  I go to Amazon.  Well, I am not working so I can’t buy it but I will.  I read the blurb and information on the author.  I call my friend and tell her I should have written that book.  I could have written that.

Onto next topic.  Since I have been at home, I have realized that somewhere along the line, I stepped off my life.  I had older women friends that believed I could and would run a major US corporation!  That had not been my interest for years.  When I was much younger, I had had three major ambitions.  First, right out of high school, I wanted to be the next Henry Kissinger.  Then, I wanted to be the next Calvin Klein.  I had a therapist point out that I wanted to be men.  It never crossed my mind.  It was the position, not the gender.  Last, I wanted to be either president of Macy’s or Saks.  I am not aggressive enough and lost that dream.  Still corporately, I was chasing that vice presidency.  I started the job that just ended,  in 2000.  I knew I wasn’t going to stay there.  Ha!  I was there 15 years.  I stopped and stepped off.  I can’t figure out the complete why.  Yes, my parents died. My father’s death left me responsible for my mother.  She had dementia.  I severed relations with my brother.  I married.  He’s an alcoholic but presently in recovery.  That was pure, utter living hell. And I developed this condition.  Ok, I guess putting it down on paper, it’s enough to derail most people.  But like my mother used to say, “Is your name everyone else?”

Next, there’s an annual short story competition that I have submitted to in the past.  Three years ago, the topic was complicated families.  I was excited and drafted an outline of related stories.  I had a central piece firmly in mind.  Work intervened and I put it aside.

Full disclosure:  my father was a writer.  I was always intimidated to write in front of him as it were.  He was very critical.  When he was older I used to take him to the Edgars, the mystery writing Oscars.  It was always filled with “auteurs”.  People always questioned me on what I was writing, shop talk.  At the last one we attended the year he died, we spoke about it.  He knew I wrote at home and wanted to know what was going on.  I told him that I really didn’t think I was going to do anything till he was gone.  He told me to write and write now.  It was the greatest gift he gave me.  However, he died a few months later and it sort of sucked everything out of me.

So, I am home, not going into work and I am going to finish this complicated family 750 word story and I can’t.  I am blocked.  I do not like the way I am writing.  I call my friend and she suggests I write around it.  I am cleaning and praying (due to the Power of Positive thinking).

Next, a friend from high school is also clearing and comes across her journals where my name is mentioned.  I tell her you must be in mine, too.  I pull them out but can’t touch them.  Two weeks ago or so, I am writing in my current journal and my husband questions me about the whole concept. I pull one of the high school ones off the night table.  An unfinished letter to this very woman falls out.  Queue the Twilight Zone music.  I start flipping through this decades old book.  I find writing that is excellent and then realize it was mine!  Talk about squandering gifts.  It is disturbing to me.

Next:  Plan B.  As I was doing this clear out, I came across folders stuffed with my old writing.  I decide I will type or retype this material.  This will put it in a more stable format than yellowing, crumpled sheets and may rekindle writing. Now, over the past few years, I have  been talking to my friend about the great Carib- American novel and we have also discussed themes of the immigrant experience, what you take, what you leave, what you bring back.  Yesterday, I reach into the drawer to start my project .  I am stunned.  It is the “great Caribbean-American” novel, outlined and with some pages!  The ideas are outlined in some detail.    I have no recollection of starting this. I don’t remember writing this at all.  It is decades ago.  It’s not bad, in fact parts of it are good!

The universe has sent me a clear message. It’s time to write.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Good question.

Right after Thanksgiving, my husband called out to me to come look out the front window.  “There’s something odd out here.  I think it’s a turkey.”

“Really?”  asks I.  This is a man who has had issues in the past. So I gimp out to the front.  I see nothing.  This is not unusual.  I was the child who always finally agreed that she finally saw the constellation or the bride coming out the church door rather than enduring “See?  See?”   I did see JFK on the Belt Parkway though. I am not quick.

“no, no, don’t you see that black thing.”

And there against the fence across the street was a black chicken.

And then, the chicken crossed the road!  Please understand, we live in a suburban area.  The bane of our existence is a used car lot next door to us that houses a massage parlor from time to time.  Across the street on the corner is a former gambling hall.  I was reading news headlines one day at work that the newly discovered bomb plot by either the Gambinos or the Gallos was directed at that building.  The Feds closed that one down.  And wait for it; we had prostitution there, too!  The house that the chicken bolted from we refer to as Sandford and Son.  A  seriously collects junk when he is not “away”.  Also, think from time to time, “junk” is sold from there.  Uh, cars pulling up with engines running and people running in and out?  And the SWAT team was literally there about three years ago.  Police frequent the house (more on that later).  Sometimes, on a weekend we have copter hovering over and doing a sweep.  No, it wasn’t like this when we moved in and who would want to buy this?

Back to the chicken who has crossed the road and is now in our yard.  Now besides the organized and unorganized crime, we also have woods behind us.  So, we have  a fox, opossums, feral cats,  huge raccoons and dogs.  T says “Do you think it belongs across the road?”  It crosses the road and is pecking at the fence.   “yes, why not?”

“Do you think I should go over and tell A?”

Me:  “Yes, I do not want to wake to chicken guts on the front step.”  We feed the ferals and as a consequence birds, raccoons, Fox and possums.  “We do not need to provide gourmet treats for the ‘hood.”

T trundles over and is gone for awhile.

A admits chicken ownership and is stunned that chicken crossed the road.  He has more than one.  It’s a menagerie over there.  In addition to the pitbull that pinned me in the car one day, there is a cat that we feed.  We call him AC for A’s cat.  We discovered this one afternoon when T & A were talking and AC strolled up and ate the food we leave for him.  A says “Oh, my cat never eats dry food at home!”  Uh, why should he, when he eats with us?  There is a macaw and a little dog, too.

So chicken custody determined, the guys begin to chat.  A discloses he’s on probation for DV.  Coincidence!  T just finished.  I did say more on the police later.  If you have been reading me for awhile you may believe that T is a devoted and caring spouse.  He is when he is not drinking.  He’s an alcoholic.  He is not allowed to drink in front of me.  Easier said than done, no?  So, he has been arrested here about 16 times, no joke.  This means police have been here at least 20!  It’s a small block, hidden away.  No one really knows how to get here except for the precinct.  In fact, one night they were over and asked, “Weren’t we here earlier today?”  No, they were across the street.  Fair disclaimer, T ended up in DV because they couldn’t get him on alcohol any other way.  An ADA even told me once, if we could get him in a car.  He has no license so that’s a non-starter.  The DV is the alcoholism.  It distorts people.  The cops who constantly arrested him realized that when sober, he is wonderful.  Over the years, they have liked the work he has done on the house.  “Wow, you redid the floor!”  We have an almost cordial relationship with them.  And we have been to court so often that we are personally greeted, and people look to me for advice.  Luckily, that is all over.

T was on probation for three years and concluded it successfully.  So, he is in a position to advise A and was giving him helpful hints and tips.  We believe it will be the same PO that T had. The first time she came over the house was just after dinner with the kids.  In fact, when there was a knock on the door, we thought one of them had forgotten something.  I had made stuffed pork chops and used rice wine in the stuffing and had sprinkled it because it was dry.  They breathed him and said he was positive.  We later learned that the amount would not have been recognized if he had been driving.  We didn’t know and were terrorized.  They told me that me or the kids would not know if he had been drinking.  So, not right.  We always know.  We have lived with it. And as I said at the time did they really think that having had him arrested so many times I would tolerate it and not call? I was told I could no longer use cooking wine and they made me dump my almost full bottle out.  Then they trashed my house searching for drugs and alcohol.  When they went through my mother’s antique petit-point purse, I lost it.    We have a tortoise shell cat that we took in from outside.  Of course, the cats are freaking out with these strange, hostile people in the house.  Miss Mollie runs out to hide someplace else.  Officer N shouts, “Is that a raccoon?”

Their home visits were fine after that except for the time they came after 10 p.m. when I was getting up at 4 a.m.  They have come over when we have been drinking coffee on a Saturday afternoon or making Easter chocolates!  And we  had no luck coaching Miss Mollie on how to be a raccoon.

Let’s be clear.   I never considered myself a victim, ever.  I called precinct so that I would not be.  Everyone wanted to fit me into a mold just like they do with this disease/condition.  When I work,  I make very good money so I am not dependent on a man.  The house is mine so I can’t be thrown out of it.  I was always being offered help to get a job and find housing.  Where I did feel like a victim was in the hands of probation.  Even though T doesn’t drive or work, he had to be at places that are very difficult to get to without a car.  There were also huge fees that in essence I was hostage to pay.  I was always told I didn’t have to and he would be jailed.  Does this make sense?  I was told I could give him the cash (they only accept cash) and transportation cash.  Uh, especially in the beginning, money was a trigger!  The situation is designed for people to fail and generate revenue for the county.  We had to discontinue our marriage counseling as we were told it was not allowed.  The program he was in was ridiculous and meaningless, no curriculum.  He was told if it was up to them he would not be allowed to live with me.  The people in his “class” terrified both of us.  There was the guy who had thrown his girlfriend out of the car when it was moving and one who said when accused of choking his girlfriend ” But I stopped when she turned blue!”  T successfully concluded the program.

I refuse to be considered a victim with my condition either. I will not conform to people’s expectations.  The child is father of the man.  My mother used to tell me that I conformed to non-conformity.  It’s turned out to be a good thing.  I don’t buy into the whole incurable thing.  As I have said before, I am not going to tout the advantages and delights of motorized scooters.  I hate the spectral leg.  I hate orthopedic looking shoes.  I use funky walking sticks.  And no, I am not going to apply for disability.  I do not walk well.  I am not disabled.  I am able just not as able in certain areas.  By the way when I am working I literally walk or stumble more than the average American! Yes, 8 – 12,000 steps a day.

So, husband is  giving A advice.  This is going to be interesting as I believe she is not as strong as I am and there is a language barrier as well.  And we believe  it will be the same P.O.s that used to come to us.  We would love to be a fly on the wall as they experience the menagerie, chickens included.

Why did the chicken cross the road?  Goes to show that we are more connected than we think.  And the chicken keeps on crossing the road.

 

Valentines – Get Out of the Kitchen

Well, things have been a bit tough lately with my not working in months.  We have been very frugal and watching every cent.  Last week I went on an encouraging interview.  It was one of those 2 on one deals as well. So, maybe a tad anxiety inducing.  As a treat ( I have a friend who always expresses amusement that I know how to soothe myself) we stopped in at the new Stew Leonard’s on the way home. It’s  a dairy, specialty supermarket.  The first one on Long Island opened not far from us and on the way home.  Feeling optimistic, we splurged on some ribeye steaks and baked clams.

Since Valentine’s was the coldest on record  if not a century, outdoor grilling was a non-starter.  I looked on Epicurious and found a stovetop recipe – 2 minutes on high heat on each side then a wine and garlic sauce.  I have been on the weak side the last few days and have been unable to hold things and off balance. Not sure if it’s stress or weather.  Refuse to believe in deterioration.   T also fancies himself quite the chef.  He said he would do the meat and I could do the sauce. Recipe said 1 tablespoon of oil heated till it shimmered.  “ how do I tell if this is shimmering?”  Mr. Excess had put in what looked like a quarter cup of oil and sprayed the skillet as well.  I said saute, not deep fry.  He dumped some out.  First side seared nicely.  Second side started to smoke and set off our fire alarm.  Cats dived for cover.  We disconnected alarm.  Second steak, first side ,house is getting really smoky.  It is 12 F outside.  T opens kitchen window and front door. T is asthmatic and starts to gasp.  Goes into bedroom and shuts door to try and block smoke.  He comes back out with shirt over his mouth and nose to remove steak.  I start sauce.  Now, part of my condition which has also been getting worse is I get really cold and my hand turns purple and my feet get so cold they burn.  We had worked really hard Valentines making sure I stayed at the right temperature.  At one point I even had on fingerless gloves.  So, needless to say as I am doing sauce I start to shiver and shake.  I make him close the window and door.  Steak was  excellent; atmosphere was smoky but not smokin’ hot.

February 2016 Check In

How did I feel this past Month?

Like I always do.  I fell apart after the main event.  Can I say Babka?  But I have been working out and mostly take care of me.

What did you do for yourself this month?

Gym, Zumba.  Gratitude journal.  Applied for jobs like crazy.  Writing a bit more.

What did I eat this month  and how did it make me feel

Struggling to get back on track.  Still trying to mitigate as the holiday stuff leaves the house.  I started again having a green smoothie practically every day.

Did I exercise?  What did I do?  How did it feel

Definitely more gym this month and started Zumba.  Zumba gives me joy and frustrates me at the same time.  I can do so much less than I used to.

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

Well things are moving along.  I had companies want to talk to me about jobs.  I was able to pay my bills.  I have amazing friends

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

I guess at the end of the day I want my life to have mattered and changed someone else’s positively

Conventional medicine  Just the Ampyra and Baclufan.  Really beginning to get that the right food and rest will do a lot.

Symptoms – Balance is definitely off and my hands are getting weaker but I am fighting.

What symptoms are most troublesome  – The balance and being confined when there’s snow.  Three years ago I could dig myself out in the driveway.  Now I can’t walk outside.

Do I blame myself for things – Sure.  Still not aggressive and focused enough.  I let this into my life.

How is stress level?

Through the roof.  No job.  Confined to the house.

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?

Change the food more and keep on plugging away.

Lotteries and Windfalls

As with many people in the US a few weeks ago, we caught Lotto fever.  Over 1 billion is worth a flutter.  Overall, I am opposed to the lottery.  Originally in New York it was supposed to fund schools.  Really?  And look at the schools in Detroit.  But enough of that.

We bought a few dollars worth of tickets and began to speculate.  What would we do?  Husband announces that first thing we get the absolutely best doctor in the world for what we call MC (my condition).  Ok, you may say I am in denial but it works for me.  Everyone is different.  And after that we would buy a nice house.  We would pay off the one we currently live in.  I must paraphrase Hyacinth Bucket a.k.a Bouquet – the house that is now next to the used car lot with the massage parlor.  The parlor or message store as the police referred to it in a report I made after I had another flat in my driveway is temporarily gone.  Funny enough, as soon as we returned from police, the big sign in the front was gone.  Do I need to say more?

Then after a house for us, one for each of the boys and husband’s sister.  And then?  Well, lots to real charity.  In fact, the other night there was something on the news about local people being displaced and renovations  would have run a few million dollars.   Husband said, “We could have done that in a heartbeat if we had won.”  Well, we didn’t.

Recently, I have undergone significant financial reversals.  No, not the stock markets.  More along the line of no income.  It appears that hopefully after all the belt tightening, this is about to change.  As I anticipate this, another list to make.  Late last summer, a man who saw me commuting, pulled up his pants (nothing lewd here) and showed me a device on his leg.  He thought we had the same condition.  It’s a Walkaid and there’s also another product called Bioness.  They cost a few thousand.  We didn’t have any money when we spoke to the doctor about it and she said it might give me the same results as the Ampyra or it might be better.  It tops my new wish list.  I had to cut back on my traditional donations.  I was an officer at a bank years ago.  One of the first things I did when I received it was write checks to my favorite charities,  My co-worker thought I was odd but it used to give me a kick, almost as good as sex, more like a deep kiss.  Donations to AAUW’s Legal Advocacy fund and the County domestic violence unit.  My two favorites.

So what else have I been thinking about and missing?  Well, as I have said before clothing is my life.  Therefore, I shop.  I love the air in stores, the undercurrent, the lust.  It energizes me.  I remember being in Paris once hungry and tired but in track of a shop I had heard about.  I found it and revived like a flower in water.  Due to my own personal economic downturn I haven’t been able to do it for ages.  I am surprised.  This situation has made me less materialistic.  Clothes and cosmetics aren’t really part of this list. When I received word that things were going to be ok, I admit to flipping through a Smithsonian sales catalog and seeing some Christmas necklaces that would be wonderful for my elves next year.

So what else is on the list?  I want a car.  I wanted one for my milestone birthday.  And not just any car, a “luxury” car.  I am known for saying carwise I am OK with a box, wheels and a radio.  I certainly do not see a car as a reflection of who I am.  My ex-husband and my brother always derided me for that.  I wanna Buick, like the commercial.  It’s cute.  My brother-in-law who is amazing with dealers and dollars couldn’t make it work for me.  The car represents getting something for me and for once not settling.  That’s what it’s about.

This is what I have learned during this setback, downturn, whatever you want to call it.  I no longer want to settle. Not in terms of what I do for a living, not in terms of a car, not in terms of my health.  Oh, right after car on my list I have sliders for Zumba for my sneakers and a personal trainer.

It’s been a huge lesson and one way or another, in my mind, I have won my lottery.

December Warrior Check In

Oh my.  I am not working a job and just realized I missed!  I am changing the questions from today to the previous month.  It’s more accurate

How did I feel this past Month?

Well still mixed.  I am still not working.  I have been getting much needed rest.  It is grand not to wake in the 4 a.m.  hour.  Having no money – not so good.   I don’t feel right about decimating my savings.  I worked so hard to put that money away.  I was finally at a point where I felt comfortable.  I know life isn’t about being material, truly but it was nice to go to dinner at a nice place and not stress, to get nice “stuff”.  I am trying hard not to be angry and resentful as that takes away from me and only lets them win.  I do believe that the evil you do comes back to you so I know the person behind what’s been happening will get it back in spades.  The way the world and life works I may not see it and that’s alright.  I do know that this time though I am not going quietly into the night.  I am going to fight it to the best of my abilities and limited finances.  So, in a certain way it is empowering.  I have reflected on what I have walked away from.  I have always been a great walker. Uh, slightly sarcastic.  Instead of dealing with anything, I just walked away, sometimes literally.

What did you do for yourself this month?

See above.  The rest and exercise have been great.  A lot of reflection.  I have started to write more and reconnect with people.  I am also evaluating how I have and am living my life.  On the fun side, getting ready for the holidays.  The Elves workshop is this Sunday which gives me enormous joy.

What did I eat this month  and how did it make me feel

Trying to return to good eating slowly but surely.  It has to be the key.  What I have been thinking is that it really specific to each person within parameters.  So no gluten is a no brainer.  Eggs, not so sure.  Definitely non-processed.  Sugar is bad.  I don’t think it’s possible to cut it out completely but it can be taken way down.

Did I exercise?  What did I do?  How did it feel – I am going to the gym on a regular basis.  It’s showing in my waist but not so much my legs.  I am not walking enough now that I am not working.  This has been complicated by my fitness trackers not being accurate.  I understand for the holidays that situation is going to be fixed.  I am not getting the same addiction to exercise that I have had in the past.  It is partially due to the fact that I can’t do exercise classes.  I have been faithful with my Zumba but am beyond frustrated that I cannot do what I used to.  In my mind I feel the rhythm and I know how simple it is and my body won’t do it.

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

Blessed, especially at this time of year.  We had all the kids the night before Thanksgiving.  It fulfilled a dream I used to have.  I had a family around a table, laughing and talking and eating good food.  I feel grateful that despite not having a job, I have a home and we can eat.  Oh and yes, we somehow managed for now to have decent medical coverage so I can get the drugs I need to keep on walking

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

Alright, no mission statement yet.  I believe in principles and integrity.  Years ago a minister told me I had an enormous capacity for joy.   I haven’t lost it this go round yet.  It’s important to share joy.  I tell my little “elves” that every year.  So, I hope that is something I will leave behind. And I stand on principle, proud of that.  By fighting back, I am fighting for others too.  At Zumba, I have been told I am an inspiration.  I have never wanted seriously to be a poster child.  However, if I can show people I believe in my life maybe they can too.

Conventional medicine  Well, I received the Biotin but unfortunately it is too expensive for me to get without a job and is never covered by insurance

Symptoms – Walking deteriorating a bit I think but I see it directly relational to stress.  I am weaker.  I had problems with a 2.5 pound weight the other day.  I used to easily lift 45.  I have had a UTI which also has impacted me.

What symptoms are most troublesome  – Walking as always. A bit wobbly too.

Do I blame myself for things – Same as always. 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?

Moderate.  There are days it peaks for sure.  When I take money out of savings to live and when I have to charge things.  But not commuting is so huge.

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?  Eat properly, exercise, have an attitude of gratitude, be productive and positive.

Wishing all joy and health in this season of light and darkness.  We shine light in the darkness and then it ebbs into renewal.  Don’t you think?

Flip Flop Girl

Somehow I never posted this:  And it’s summer and no flipflops:

I love flip flops.  I always have.   When I was little, the other little girls wore them.  I wasn’t allowed except for the pool.  We called them zorries or thongs.  My mother called them slam patters.  My mother had very definite ideas about children and shoes.  In the spring I wore saddle oxfords, white.  They had to be polished every Sunday night with that horrid white polish.  As soon as I was old enough not to wear them.  They became fashionable.  It is one trend that will never work for me.  In the summer, something like the Greek fisherman’s shoes.  Buckles and perforations.  In the winter, suede ghillies that had to be brushed.  Not fun.

I got away from home and started wearing them in summer on the beach.  They were like 19 cents and unfashionable.  I had more than one pair.

I met a man who wore flip flops and loved the beach.  Well, I still have his flip flops.  I would get all colors and kinds.  I would wear them with everything.

I went to a party in a turquoise mini skirt at the start of fall with black patent flip flops with a fake diamond in the center.  Diamonds on the soles of her shoes.

Then I married someone who didn’t wear flip flops and things just spiraled downwards.  He didn’t like the beach because there was sand.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I left and moved home to my parents.  By that time, my mother would wear them to water the lawn.  And I did have a few that I wore with censorious views.

I moved in with another man, older.  He knocked the joy right out of me.  I left.

I got an apartment and bought pink platform flipflops with pink flowers.  My best friend same over and said Thank God you are back.  “What do you mean?”  “You are wearing flip flops again”  From then on, it was flip flops in the summer, even at work.  And I work in a bank.  During the blackout of 2003, I walked out of New York City in a pair of black platform flip flops with glitter straps.

People bring them back for me from trips.  I have ones from the Far East and from Hawaii. I could go on and on.

And up until two summers ago, I was still wearing them at the bank – gold ones, silver ones and black patent. The gold ones are still under my desk.  At one time I had over 10 pairs of shoes under my desk.

I can’t wear them any more!  My feet no longer grip them.  This destroys me.  It’s my persona.  I miss me.  Instead I have been reduced to tie shoes – back to my childhood.  This is not right.  I mean really. No flip flops?  Also no beach, no walking.  This cannot continue.

So what do I do?  I’ll tell you, I haven’t thrown out a pair, even the pink platform ones.

With work this summer, maybe I can wear them again.

May Warrior Check In

Back for MAY :

How do I feel today – Nice day.  Attended a tea.  I actually did a table.  I was all tizzed about it but think it went well.  However, mixed feelings.  This is my fourth one.  I walked in first time four years ago  in a dress, today with a cane and pants.  But I am walking better than I have due to the drug.

What did you do for yourself today?

See above.  I went to a tea, very girly.  My husband was wonderful and helped set up and breakdown.  There’s a jewelry boutique so I got to shop!  And then went to Odd Job afterwards for this and that.  I didn’t work.  It’s a real break.

What did I eat today and how did it make me feel – BAD.  It was tea!  I did do a smoothy before I went but scones, salmon tea sandwiches, chocolate.  Then Chinese food.  I have been seriously sliding and need to recommit to proper eating.  I need to max the opportunity the Ampyra has given me.

Did I exercise? What did I do? How did it feel – Still not going to the gym or Zumba. But I am walking more.  I will get to gym.  This was the least I have walked all week.

For whom or what are you grateful? What matters most in life?   Grateful for friends and the possibilities of new ones.  Grateful for the people I am meeting through the blog.  Ampyra.  New possibilities.

Do I have a higher purpose or driving force in my life?   Make a mission statement – Higher purpose still not defined.  Beginning to dream again.  Uh, maybe some sort of sharing

How long have I been treated with conventional medicine Ampyra,  two weeks.  And it is working.  I was able to walk longer and stronger.

The first time I had a symptom – June 2004 walking on the beach boardwalk

What symptoms are most troublesome – being off balance and not walking well, wearing ugly shoes and consequently ugly clothes

Do I blame myself for things –  Yes, I am still blaming myself for not being aggressive against this. Still!  And I think always.  It’s funny how we don’t take things seriously

How is stress level? It’s high.  Trying to tone it down.

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?   Start over.  It’s a new month. Have a different day.  And yes, I am thinking about things other than disease and death. I am thinking about art and new jobs and possibilities, flowers and spring.

Until next month.