Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sometimes I just feel down

Don't know whether it was the letdown of my younger son's visit (seeing my Addy) or the weather or the time of year, but sadness grips me. I lay on my bed and wonder what is the point of getting dressed or going out. My dating life sucks and my spirit feels deflated. I have been thinking about heart attacks lately as well. No signs of impending doom physically just blah. I force myself out, I make sure I exercise with swimming and I plan activities. It's just inside my soul, something is amiss. Also, noticed even my sugar intake or lack thereof makes no difference. I have suffered from depression for over 30 years and it is very well controlled. I had global depression and with everything going on in the world my little uptake inhibitors are on overload. Things keep sneaking in to my mind that usually I can metaphorically sweep away. Not so much anymore. I am cutting back on reading "bad news" and have been trying to focus on "good news and good people" and happy projects like my non profits, that I am active with on a weekly basis, but still the melancholy seeps in, eroding my cheery self.  As I was visiting a friend this week with ALS, it dawned on my how happy she was and here I was just feeling depressed about life and the world. She talked about ALS being something she wouldn't change as it has helped her with her perception of what is important everyday. I know what is important to me and I march on but some days the tunnel is long and wide and with little light at its end. I know when I write and paint I feel better. This too shall pass and I am looking forward to a month away where I can explore a new neighborhood, a real Southern Spring and the Smokey Mountains. Sometimes I feel guilty for having it all (minus the man aspect) but such is life. Get over yourself Madge, I say and move forward. Keep helping, exploring and enjoying the goodness in the world and back up those worries and spread your wings even farther to fly higher. Off I soar to my acupuncturist for a needle showdown with my body and soul. Always feel a lift of high when I leave her house.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Last wrote to you on July 29th

I have been lazy about writing. I find myself busy with so many other things and traveling the world that I forget to write the mundane daily life of me. I am feeling so grateful for my family. My kids and their kids keep me busy.  I love the sound of their voices asking to come over to relax or with Addy (in Chicago) facetiming me so we can see and talk to each other about our lives. Their voices soothe my soul and I am blessed to still be happy and healthy and able to share in their activities. Having married young and having kids young I am not too old to have goofy times with my grandkids. We laugh and I love how, when they come into my house, they go right to my bed, get under the covers and load up on all the crap Grammie has for them. They have a routine and I love it. We play games both old and new and really do just laugh and relax. Their lives are so busy that Grammie's house is a refuge for chillin' and soaking in my big old bathtub. They use all my oils, bath salts and resting pillow. They soak until the water is a slight brown color after a day of school and sports. Then the lotions are applied as bodies dry out. Their mom always knows when they have had a soaking as they come home smelling like lavender and their hair is all gel'd up. Metrosexual little beings they are and they love, the love expressed, as I put on lotion on their backs. It is so wonderful to be loved so much with no qualifiers. They rush to see me when they have been gone for a few days on a trip or when their lives are busy with homework, projects, sports and dance/gymnastics or I return from an adventure. Going to their activities fill my days with such goodness.
As the holidays are upon us, we will all celebrate Hanukkah, the first night here. My sister and part of her family will come over for a deli dinner, latkes and games with the dreidel. Also, we play left, right and center for pennies and prizes. This year it is a school night so we will have to end earlier but all will be full, the candles will be lit, a little thought about Hanukkah and then back to their houses.
They say that kids fill your life, but I must say having grandchildren lights your fire. They move you to places within yourself that your kids got to only glimpse. Life was about making a living, a great home, affording vacations and getting them into college. Grandkids mean pure enjoyment. Let their parents do the heavy lifting and as a grandparent we get the joy and love just because. What a treat, I say. Here's to all my friends enjoying their families with love, compassion and pure joy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

In the land of forests.

In  a state very far away, which was lush with trees and greenery lived a family. It was a bit of a cluster fuck as this family was divided and one was sent away and ended up in a state far away.  This person would come to visit the family from time to time to sharpen his sword and fling his arrows. No one really ever understood him. He didn't really understand himself and created havoc for anyone who came into his path and that included his family.  The wife had tried her best for so many years and was the glue that held everyone  together, but one day the glue came unstuck and the family, as it was known, was thrown into a shit storm. The kids were lost, the man was always lost and the mom was on her way to face her biggest battle-the building of a new life in a more serene area. Everyone was depending on the mom to make it all work. She was driven day in and day out by demons; sometimes by her kids and the sword bearing man when he showed up. She would try not to surrender but the forces were too strong. She would weaken and the flood of tears would come. The kids also floated in the current being washed out from time to time but would cling to the woman and be saved. Sometimes it was temporary but mostly never seemed to just be still. The woman tried everything to calm the chaos because from chaos she was sure something would appear to help guide her. After a while it became apparent that everyone was disappearing except for the girl who hung on for dear life. She would not let go of the mother. She was taking her mother down a road that would be hard to navigate but what was the woman to do? People tried to help but it was hard to hear them. The sleep deprived woman continue to try until one day she could take it no more. She set boundaries, rules and goals. She wrote lists of responsibilities. She found better therapists and a new house and started to feel stronger again. Her friends will help her settle in to her new life and as the story is taking place the narrator leaves the scene. She hopes the outcome will be accomplished and the family will be able to allow no more men with swords and awful words to penetrate their souls or their lives. The girl will stop hurting herself, the boy will continue maturing away at school and the mom will pursue her new career which took her 12 years to finish and all will be righted. Light will again show the way through the forests to the light and lushness around her new surroundings. The new house will become the home she dreamed of and this narrator will be back another time to finish this story and see where they all end up.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Online dating, why?????????

I have been online dating with real effort for just under two months with three months as my goal on the paid sites. I am on 2 free sites and 4 paid sites. I have changed my profile and photos many times to keep on the top of the viewing list but all to no avail. I have not had one meetup. Came close a few times but realized that something was fishy three times and after a few emails cut the communication off. Two told me they had been hacked and had security checking all their sites and that's why age was 10 years off and why nothing came up on google (one a professional that needed to be licensed). If I can't google them I am leery and for good reason. I have gotten some form letters and when I wrote back they didn't acknowledge my responses at all. I have asked for what I want, told some facts about me and posted current photos with my full body in them. Hey, I know I am not the thinnest, nor tallest, nor cutest nor  most beautiful but either are the ones I am choosing. I have picked all races, all religions and all sizes. The last few days I have had a conversation with an interesting person who lives more than 20 miles from me and I asked if he wanted to meet halfway as I thought he was a good guy. He wrote back that he was tempted but felt there wasn't a connection for him. It had to be looks as everything else was compatible. I wrote him back and wished him good luck in his search and that he was passing on a wonderful person and that is when he wrote he was tempted but in his search he had to tell the truth. Okay. Believe me I have passed many a photo that truly didn't meet my standards. I want someone with nice teeth and looking like he takes care of himself. That's it. I am not that picky I don't think.
Well with only one month remaining on the paid sites I am taking a new tactic. I am telling it like it is. Here is my latest profile. "I am financially secure. I own my home. I love my grown sons and their families and most importantly we get along. I have lots of friendships with many years under my belt. I work on my friendships. I love to travel and have seen a lot of the world. I have had amazing long term relationships after my 20 year marriage but now am ready to settle down and be with my last man. I am willing to live with someone, which I had not wanted in the past. Marriage, not a necessity but if it happens that would work as well. Swimming three times a week is my passion as well as making art and writing. I just am looking for a man who can say the same. Are you out there?"
I have changed the format from listing honesty, trustfulness and wanting someone secure and happy with their life to putting exactly what I have to offer.
This is not my first go around on internet dating. I did it when I got divorced 25 years ago and every time a relationship broke up. This will be my last time. I still believe I will meet someone from my adventures and in person. All my relationships have been from just that way and all were ones who wanted marriage (except one) and I didn't want to live with any of them or get married again. I love my life but would love to have a boyfriend who is compassionate, a lover, a traveler and is young at heart. I truly think that is not asking a lot. What do you think?
I have heard from many women who all say the same thing and are happily single but have so much to offer. They write on the sites FB pages how awful it is out there. I truly have heard great stories as well about how they met the love of their life. I have heard from men who think every woman is out for their money and have too much baggage. I want an equal partnership with each person giving 100%. Is that out there? I am not giving up hope but my skies are clouded right now and I need to breathe in a fresh day with wonderful air quality to push the clouds away.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My Mom died today.

My Mom died today after an 11 year struggle with total disability and dementia. She was a fighter in life and even in dying. She did it in her own way over the last two weeks. My Mom was strong-willed and a very private person. She loved to work and was her own boss for over 40 years in the antique jewelry business. She had the “eye” and her clients, as well as competitors, loved her. She was known throughout the business as the consummate expert. She bought and sold beautiful items and all admired her for her savvy and ability to be a visionary as to what was gorgeous and wearable.

She traveled the world looking for treasures and my dad went with her acting as her Sherpa. They had an amazing life and after he died she really went downhill. She has been cared for lovingly by a wonderful group of women for the last 11 years. She enjoyed the caregiver’s young children who grew up calling her grandma especially as her own great grandchildren in the beginning were living in other states.

My sister and I remained close in vicinity to our mom. Once she started her business, at 40 years of age she was busy. She was not the “go out to lunch kind of mom” and when we did take her the conversation came back around to how long she could be out to eat before she needed to get back. She normally ate in her office surrounded by customers and her inventory. This was her life.  I once worked for my mom and it lasted a year; I couldn’t wrap a UPS properly according to her and when I mentioned, in joking, that none of my packages have ever been rejected by UPS in my lifetime, it held no credibility. It was her way or the highway. My sister tried next and she lasted 2 hours. She couldn’t imagine how I had done it for one year.

They say someone loves you the best way they could and my Mom was no exception. She definitely loved us, but in her own style. She dressed to the nines and was always trying to get my sister and me to be fashion plates, to no avail. When we were young and not able to have a say or choice we looked smashing. But as we aged out of her choices, we looked like typical teenagers and my sister having gone to Berkeley in the People’s Park era, brought home boyfriends who literally had only sandals or no appropriate footwear. My parents took it in stride. Well, almost. They did outfit one young man with shoes to go to dinner.

I was a pleaser and an anxious child and the best thing I remember was my mother playing the “what if” game with me. I would imagine the worst possible scenario and I talk it through with my mom.  The real happening was never the worst case, so I got over my anxious period time and time again.  Eventually, it worked. She worked from the negative to the positive. Not sure that was right for everyone, but it helped me.

As I recall my childhood (which is very difficult for me), I was happy, but anxious. I was loved and taken care of. Even though my mom was controlling, I knew she loved me.  Sometimes she didn’t always express it in ways I could feel but it was there. I did save one letter when I was separating from my then husband and moving to my own apartment by myself and it was so heartfelt. She supported my decision to divorce.  It was the best letter I ever received from anyone. She had a tough time growing up with a father who was sick from her 10th year until he died on her 19th. She grew up faster and I think much of her childhood was not as easy as others. She loved her dad and spent many hours when he was sick developing film with him in his dark room. She talked fondly of her parents and I was privileged to know her Mom and loved her. She was the best Nanny a granddaughter could have had.

My kids were fortunate to know my Mom well into their early 40’s and when they had children. My Dad never had that chance. And how he would have loved his great grandchildren and she did. But as grandparents to my sons, they were the best.  Trips around the world and lots of love from both of my parents to their grandsons were a regular occurrence. My Mom was the serious one and my dad, the joker. My Mom retained her royalty until the end. She always looked so together and even as she aged, she had nails, brows and hair done weekly until it became impossible for her to move or even be lifted into a wheelchair.  As we cleaned out her closets, when we moved her out of her big home and into a rented apartment, my sister and I were amazed at the designer clothes she had that were still classics. She also shopped for bargains and knew what she was buying at all times. Most of her clothes went to consignment shops and the owners were thrilled to sell them.

My Mom was private and didn’t share with anyone. She never went to therapy and lived a lot in denial which worked for her. Hard on my sister and me, but this helped us to be the women we are today. My sister is much more private than I am and has always been that way. I share most everything and as my mom used to say, “anything on your mind is out your mouth” and it was true.

I will miss my Mom and her little quips as they were often harsh and said in a manner I couldn’t or wouldn’t accept. She was smart and educated but still a wife and mother from the 50’s. My mom’s life  was not easy and therefore it was hard  to live with her when you had a mind of your own and exercised your own will.  But she taught my sister and me well, to stand up for what we believed in and fight to make it happen.

I will miss her fierceness, her strength and her ability to stick with it. On her gravestone, that she wrote, (I told you she was controlling) is only “She Lived and loved” and for that I am glad. In her own way she loved and lived with the best of them. RIP, my dear Mom. Your job is done. I love you.

As she wanted there will be no funeral or memorial but just an “immediate family only” service at the graveside.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dying isn't for the faint of heart.

As  I sat by my mother's bedside today, as she stared up at the ceiling, I talked to her about who she will soon see waiting for her. My mother is dying and it should be much easier than it is. For the last 11 years she has been failing (she will be 87 in a few days) as her life became a living nightmare for those who loved her. First she start stumbling and then a dementia started to play out. She still could go get her nails done, hair colored an occasional lunch with friends and the caregivers. She was happy to go and wanted to continue her way of life but life had another plan for her.

 She stopped being able to walk and her muscles atrophied and she started to hurt from lack of use. Slowly over the last 11 years everything was soon of no interest to her. She would stare sometimes blankly and if engaged in a conversation she would ask as soon as it concluded, "so what is new" and the story would be repeated. Finally all activities stopped and she was  a shadow of her former self (she owned a successful jewelry business for 40 years and was known all over the world).

 The visits to the beauty salon to dye that previous beautiful natural red hair stopped, the nails were no longer polished and beauty and makeup, which was so important to my mom, also waned and stopped. She now lays in her bed waiting to die but still on those very  limited lucid minutes will remember she wanted to live to be 100 (her dad died at 42 after having a heart attack at 32).

 Even hose thoughts are all but gone and now when she is awake and you ask her if she is ready to go she will say yes. Within the last month she has had so much pain that we are giving her pain patches which help her relax and sleep. She is no longer interest in eating. Her doctor is advising us on how to make this passing as easy as possible. My mother without modern medicine would have already died. She had a major heart attack in her 60's and was given an angioplasty with stents and she bounced back. Medicines lowered her cholesterol and all her inherited issues from her father and mother. Modern medicine kept her going until now.

I struggled with my Mom for most of my life but somewhere after years of therapy for me, I came to a peaceful way to communicate and we got along. Did we hang out, not really ever. Did we have deep conversations, never, I do have one wonderful letter my Mom wrote me when I was getting divorced which was the most loving letter I have ever received from anyone. I cherish it and just read it to my sister and family. It spoke about our inability to talk to each other and how letter writing was always better for us. I agreed at the time.

As I watched her today, I wish I had a magic formula to help her pass quickly and easily but that is not the case today in our state. Thank goodness I have a loving sister who was always much closer to my Mom and she and the doctor have worked closely to end her pain and make the transition from this earth to what awaits all of us.

As I sat today and told my mom I loved her very much and she did a great job and it was okay to let go, she listened and kept looking at the ceiling. Finally after a time she said a simple thank you and that was enough for me. I have done what I needed to do. The caregivers are all sad as well as they watch on a much more intimate basis, my mother's fading. The care has been amazing and loving and the one main caregiver's kids grew up calling my mom grandma and they too. at 12 and 5. will miss her. My kids and my sister's kids (the grandchildren) have all said goodbye when they visited last week. The great grand kids have gone to visit her in much better times and fairly recently when it was too sad for even the older ones to understand, so those visits are over.

It is now a waiting game which has no winners. Her body will continue to break down as more and more pain patches are administered and the time will pass, as my Mom finds her peace and lets go. For me, there is a sorrow that I will now be an orphan, as my dad died 11 years ago soon.

As I think about my childhood and all that it entailed it has been a gift and blessing and I am so full of gratitude for the life I was given by this very strong, determined mother who changed before my eyes from a 50's mom to a powerhouse. I inherited my strength and strong will from her. And because of my struggles, I learned to believe in myself and the ability to take care of myself and be proud to be who I have become. Thank you mom for the struggles and the love which I knew was there even though it often very hard for us to communicate.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The New Year is already starting out great.

I just finished spending time with 3 of my 4 grand kids. We had special outings and enjoyed the Ronald Reagan library, Baseball Center, American Girl Doll shopping, ice skating, Netflix and lots of other activities while they were on winter break. Now as winter (80's today) approaches I look forward to more comfort food, back to painting and more writing. The year ended with 4300 gift bags for the incarcerated women in SoCal and county facilities through ACWIP and end of the year visits with friends and family.

Now that I shifted my apartment work and Mom's accounting to my sister and her husband, I have even more free time to volunteer. Today I was asked to be on the board of my new favorite charity POPS out of Venice High School, under the leadership of Dennis Dansinger and Amy Friedman. It is a school club where all it's members (high school students (have to have a connection with someone in prison). I was honored to talk to the group about mentoring and also donating money for their food lunches, cooked by another volunteer who happens to be a chef. I was included in their holiday party where a complete holiday meal was made. For some of these students this will be their only holiday party, I contributed cookies that were a big hit. The kids are learning to write about their feelings and the impact of having a relative in  prison. It makes my heart and soul weep for some of their losses. I look forward to being more involved with this wonderful group of good souls.

I have started painting again after a lull for a few months. I am back to my collage making as this represents me best. I love having a studio in my garage. It is easy and I feel like I am on a retreat when there.

After over 10 years of training in a gym with my wonderful trainer, I have quit. My trainer was fabulous but the private gym she used was awful. The woman who owns it doesn't need the money so she has less than zero customer service and even though I was paying a token amount because I used a trainer from there, I finally had had enough of her attitude and lack of smile. She continued with this behavior the entire 10 years I was there. In the end I got feisty and started just hating being there so I decided to let this go. My trainer and I will remain friends and if she ever changes location I am back.

I started swimming last year after meeting Michelle at a Spirited Women  meeting and was immediately entranced with her Aqua Chiro training. Every since February I have swam 2 times a week in an outdoor pool. It is the best thing I could have done for myself. This year I will increase to three times a week. Swimming for me and being in water makes me happy. I love the water and anything that gets me in a pool or the ocean works for me. Plus Michelle is a great coach and we have become friends which makes the training even more wonderful. I am purely entranced in a pool and the time goes quickly. Also, my body feels so much better and that is always a good thing.

As you all know I have had a friend named D for almost 14 years. We have been lovers, friends, friends with benefits, friends without benefits and now once again just enjoying each other's company while just being friends. There is something that ties us together even though we have had a few bad years as well as great times.  We are not matched for marriage in any way or even living together but our love for each other continues to let us keep trying anything to stay connected. Actually, sometimes it is extremely difficult and then other times as smooth as silk. Since neither of us have been connected to others we just drift back. I would think that since we are both open about finding others when we do, the relationship probably will change again. My friends are not real happy when I see him but it is up to me to choose what I want. Yes, he did something awful once many, many years ago and has more than made up for it in my mind. My grand kids love him  and that is good enough for me right now.

I have been more spiritual lately, reading cards, attending more spiritual events and commenting on blogs and radio shows that deal with spirits, angels and life. My life is balanced to me and I am living each day with gusto and enthusiasm for the hear and now and  the future.

I am blessed to be able to travel and plan many trips for this year. I will be attending weddings, Bat Mitzvahs and traveling to Cuba in the first half of this year and then who knows what the the rest of the year holds. But whatever evolves I will enjoy it by sharing it with family and friends. I love Facebook for giving me so many new friends that I have met in person and those that  I only know through their posts.

Here's wishing everyone in my sphere a new joy of adventure, love and spirit.