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The Dreaded Reality of Mortality

When I was young, I thought my parents would live forever – most kids do.  On occasion, the terrifying thought of death would cross my mind but it was always in the form of a car accident or a fire.  Never did it cross my mind that parents age, and in time, lose the abilities to do all the things they were once able to do:  Arthritis sets in, the mind isn’t as sharp as it used to be, etc.

A few years ago, my dad was having chest pains, in addition to a number of other health issues, and the doctors discovered he had a blocked artery and had to have a stent put in.  MY dad?  The guy who was once able to walk on his hands and do a back handspring with his eyes closed???  MY DAD??? Former NY State Champion of the Bar?  The same guy who could fix just about ANYTHING?  Holy smokes!  Talk about a wake up call!

Shortly thereafter, there was a noticeable decline (not anything major but still noticeable) in his memory. Some years later, my mother (his senior by 10 years) began to experience the same thing.  Additionally, both of them have arthritis in their knees, which no longer allows them to climb stairs.

My parents have always been very healthy, particularly my mother who has always been into holistic medicine and never smoked or drank in her life.  These changes just couldn’t be!  But there was no way around it.  Each day it became more obvious:  my parents are getting old, and what’s worse – EVERYBODY DIES.

It is part of my culture (on both sides of my family) to take care of each other.  Nursing homes are never an option unless absolutely necessary, ie. the person needs round the clock care.  I have always sworn my devotion to them, that when they were no longer able to completely care for themselves, I would never abandon them….and now it has begun.

Scheduling doctors appointments, taking over most of the housecleaning, writing reminder notes for everything, etc. has become a normal part of my daily routine – and yet it still doesn’t feel normal at all.  It scares the hell out of me and only emphasizes the reality that their time on this earth is limited, be it another 5 years or 15 – what’s it going to be like then???

As an avid music lover, my thoughts are often quieted by the way I interpret a song, which regardless of how many times I’ve heard it, can vary repeatedly depending on my mood.  This afternoon, as I was running some errands, I had parked the car and was ready to get out when one of my favorite tunes came on:  “Love Song” by Tesla.  I have so many memories tied to this song, but this time I sat and listened to the acoustic intro and really listened to the lyrics, for the thousandth time ; )

So you think that it’s over,
That your love has fin’lly reached the end.
Any time you call, night or day,
I’ll be right there for you if you need a friend.

It’s gonna take a little time.
Time is sure to mend your broken heart.
Don’t you even worry, pretty darlin’.
I know you’ll find love again. Yeah.

Chorus:
Love is all around you. Yeah
Love is knockin’ outside *YOUR* door.
Waitin’ for you is this love made just for two
Keep an open heart and you’ll find love again, I know.

Love is all around you.
Love is knockin’ outside **YOUR** door.
Waitin’ for you is this love made just for two
Keep an open heart and you’ll find love again, I know.

Clearly you can apply these lyrics to loneliness experienced after a breakup, but this time I thought of my parents and how devastated I will be when their time comes to leave me.  It has always been the absolute most heartbreaking, frightening thought that has ever crossed my mind, however, while I soaked in the lyrics I thought something different for the very first time:  losing anyone you love, especially your parents, is a trauma like no other.  Your entire role in life changes.  You’re no longer anyone’s “little girl” and it’s devastating.  All of sudden, your load in life seems to double because no matter what, your family is always there for you – that is, until they’re gone.  But this time I dissected these lyrics and realized that death is inevitable and when that time comes, my heart will probably feel empty for a very long time, but there will still be people around to help me through it…people for me to love and people who love ME:  my precious daughter, my (few) closest friends, and whatever family still remains at that point.  And they will ALWAYS be in my heart -ALWAYS.

“Love IS all around you. Keep an open heart and you’ll find love again, I—know—doo doo doo-doo-doo -I KNOW- doo doo doo doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo, I KNOW- doo doo doo doo-doo-doo-doo-doo, mmm mmmmm…..”

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“LOVE” is a cotton candy high

Ah, love…the butterflies in your stomach, waiting for the phone to ring, the anticipation of seeing each other again, etc. “The Honeymoon Phase”, as they call it, can last weeks, months, or rarely (VERY rarely), years.  Sadly, the older I get, the more cynical I become.  I’ve been knee-deep in BS more times than I care to remember so these days, it’s less about words and more about actions – as it SHOULD BE.

But what happens when even the ACTIONS are no longer cutting it?  I tell ya, for ME, it seems virtually impossible to find a guy in my own zip code, much less my own STATE or even on the same COAST who intrigues me enough to give him a second look.  Floridians, or at least the “men” (more like lazy adolescents with no ambition trapped in grown men’s bodies)  who LIVE there, aren’t exactly the best conversationalists.  The ones who ARE typically have a harem of other women on speed dial so naturally I’m extremely wary.  That leaves me with the guys who live out-of-state and/or across the country:  the dreaded “long distance relationship”.  I tried it ONCE.  It was a dream.  A lovely (and expensive) dream that after almost 2 years, ended as a nightmare.  It crippled me.  I’ve never been so shattered.  Needless to say, that was ALL I needed to swear off EVER going down that path again, and yet, here I am. FOOL.

Lengthy conversations and text messages allow you to get to know someone in very limited ways.  Face-to-face interaction is what truly shows you WHO a person is…what they’re made of…and by then you may have already discovered some things about them that rub you the wrong way.  But relationships are about compromise.  After all, NOBODY’S PERFECT.  It all comes down to whether or not these irritants are things you can live with or will eventually have you in a padded room donning a straight-jacket.

After nearly two years alone, I finally have someone very special in my life.  He’s a perfect gentleman.  He’s kind, honest, affectionate, hard-working, and very generous.  Most women would think “So what’s the problem?”  Refer to the last sentence, two paragraphs up.  But he’s absolutely convinced it can work, and as long as he understands the circumstances I’m in (basically that I’m a starving, full-time student) who am I to fight it?

Our time together is wonderful!  A total sugar rush – a cotton candy high.  We have so much in common, it’s hard to find anything to fight about…except when we’re apart, and then there’s PLENTY:  2,500 miles worth!  It’s then that the all too familiar heartache sets in and I wonder how long I can continue this facade?  Or could this actually be the real deal?  Stay tuned…

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Being a guest in someone else’s (incredibly HUGE) house…

So it’s my first trip to Vegas in a number of years where I actually get to kick back and enjoy myself rather than get up at 6 am every morning, make myself beautiful, then spend 8 hours on my feet repeating the same schpeel to every man who walks by -who is usually more interested in finding out my cup size than knowing the details of the product I’m demonstrating.

Day 1:  I have a friend I’ve known for over 20 years (yes, we met in kindergarten – hahahaha) who I recently reconnected with via Facebook -I suppose it DOES have its advantages- and conveniently lives a mere 20 minutes from where 2 of my close friends from Orlando are getting married in a few days.  PERFECT!  We get to spend some time together reminiscing AND I have a date for the wedding!  So I flew in on Wednesday afternoon, he picked me up at the airport, and we got back to his home in Henderson where I unpacked and got settled in.  I got a tour of the house (the 4,000 + sq ft house) and thought, “WOW, this is beautiful!  I’m going to really enjoy staying HERE for the next few days!”

Wide Open Spaces

Day 2:  I’m up at the crack of dawn (still on East coast time) and I’m starving.  I don’t want to wake my host so I make my way to the kitchen to get some breakfast.  The kitchen is every chef’s dream come true – granite counter tops, plenty of space, open and airy, top end appliances, etc.  Although this is my first venture into the great unknown, the refrigerator is easy enough to find. Pantry? Check.  Now comes the hard part: plates? silverware? pans?  This could be a problem: Note the 20 some odd upper and lower cabinets.  Suddenly, waking up my host doesn’t seem so terrible but I’m determined to find everything on my own. Ok, well it SEEMED like a good idea at the time.  After opening LITERALLY every drawer and cabinet, I found just about everything I needed and yet it all came down to one little thing:  where on earth were they hiding the sugar?!?  After searching everywhere else, including the smallest of the three ceramic canisters on the counter (pictured in the corner on the left) and finding it was empty, I assumed they were strictly decorative and didn’t bother checking the other two.  I guess that’s where that whole thing about “when you ASSUME, you make an ASS out of “U” and “ME” comes from.  Yep, you guessed -right there in the second canister was a whole bag worth of sugar!  So as I searched tirelessly, inching closer and closer to the point of insanity, it had been sitting there right in front of me the whole time.  YEAH.

And so, kids, the moral of the story is that unless you enjoy that feeling of helplessness and frustration, make sure that in addition to getting a tour of the house, you also get a thorough tour of the KITCHEN -or better yet, have your host make your meals for the first day and simply pay attention to where everything is kept.  Trust me -it will save you the headache of guessing!

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Avoid the scale!

So I’ve been on the “healthy living” bandwagon for over a month now. The last time I weighed myself was probably during the first week I incorporated my free-weight workouts too. I had lost roughly 6 lbs since the last time I weighed myself -maybe in early August? So it’s been a while since I’ve stepped on the scale, but I’ve never relied much on it anyway. Every girl I’ve ever known who weighed herself on a daily or weekly basis spent endless hours complaining that she “just can’t lose the weight!” and yet CONTINUED to torture herself by weighing in religiously. I learned from their experiences and opted for just paying attention to how my clothes fit. Once I got past the fact that it is virtually impossible for the dryer to shrink ALL your clothing at once, I found this to be a reliable way of determining when it was time to put down the Twinkies and pick up the salad.

So I can’t tell you what I weigh NOW, but I CAN say I’m very comfortable in my size 5s again and plan on staying that way for a good while.

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Fascinating information on child rearing

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been subscribing to iMom.com for over a year now and although I’ve saved virtually EVERY e-mail they’ve sent me, I’ve actually only READ a handful.

Tonight, I decided to catch up a bit and see what I’ve been missing.  I remembered an article titled “Einstien Never Used Flash Cards” that I received last month and I was intrigued. As it turns out, it was very informative, and not just in regard to toddlers but also for school age children as well.

Here is a look at their “Espresso Moment” for the article I’m referring to.  iMom Subscribers receive these on a daily basis.

August 15, 2011

“Gathered around the living room a few nights ago, everyone watched smiling, as the three-year old in my lap read letters off of my shirt.  That was until someone made the comment that the boy’s cousin who is the same age can already read.  Suddenly, the little boy in my lap was behind.

There seems to be an invisible measuring rod and competition between parents to raise the best and the brightest. No one wants their child to “fall behind” so parents are enrolling their toddlers in tutoring programs, pushing their kindergartners to read chapter books, and doing everything they can to raise a brain.

But studies have shown what kids really need is the opportunity to just be kids.  “

This is then followed by a link with more information pertaining to this subject.  Parents, please take a look and kindly let me know your thoughts!  I found it quite interesting.

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More important health information, courtesy of Dr. Oz

Cardiologist & Health Guru, Dr. Mehmet Oz

Please have a look at this link and see how you can improve your quality of life AND longevity in just 1 minute a day!

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Guide to Healthy Living

I love to read BUT I’m very particular to writing styles and the way things “flow”.  That being said, I’ve come across a handful of authors who capture my interest and KEEP it.

In regards to healthy living, one such author is Michael Pollan, described by a New York Times Book Review as “liberal foodie intellectual”.  Whether you’re already fairly knowledgeable when it comes to healthy eating or you know very little at all, I highly recommend “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”.  There is even a “Young Readers Edition” for children!

Other books by this author (which I have not yet had a chance to read) include:

I should also mention that I became aware of this book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by way of a dear friend who was suffering from severe neuropathy of the feet.  He had no history of diabetes or otherwise & visited several doctors for an answer -none of whom were able to give him one.  After countless tests, medications, more tests, etc., he was speaking with a client one day who is a master chef.  The man had been a client and a friend for many years and was aware of my friend’s condition.  He told him “We’ve known each other a long time & I consider you like family.  I don’t mean to sound preachy so please know I won’t be offended in the least if you decide not to take my advice.”  At that point, he told him of Pollan’s book and how it was chock full of important information that may literally change his life.  “It’s an easy read” he commented. “If you finish it and decide ‘ok, that was useless’, so be it. But I urge you to at least give it a shot.”  My friend, being somewhat cynical, decided he had already tried everything else so why not?

Upon finishing the book, he completely revamped his diet and within months, ALL his symptoms were GONE.  When we spoke again, he told me he had never felt better in his life!

Thus I tell you all the same thing his client told him:  give it a read.  If you find the information to be a bunch of malarkey, so be it.  Just remember this:  You must put Pollan’s findings into PRACTICE in order to see change…kinda like the Lotto – “Ya can’t win if ya don’t play!”