Archive for November, 2009


It’s now November and November means several things to me. 

November brings back memories of my mother calling me to let me know my father had died during the night.  November is the month of my husband’s birthday.  November is the month that we had to put down our beloved black lab because he was suffering so badly from congestive heart failure.  (My dad died on MrSas’s birthday and we put our dog down the day before his birthday…different years…but MrSas dreads his b’day every year now.)  November is also the month that we celebrate Thanksgiving and we acknowledge the blessings we have.

I see as I get older how sentimental I’ve become.  Before I lost both parents I really didn’t think about family or enjoying the company of close friends, savoring flavors you may not get to taste again, filling computers and books of wonderful pictures – you know, none of that boring nostalgic stuff.  I just took all of that for granted…like things would always stay the same.

Now, it’s as if I hang on to every word my husband says, I long for a relationship with my sister and her family, I look through old pictures often and have even started looking into my genealogy some.  

MrSas has noticed the change in me and has used his observation of me to change some of his own ways.  He has started driving the three hours it takes to see his parents more often.   He has taken more of an interest in things that make me happy.  He and I have been having more “get togethers” at our house with friends.

November could easily be a sad month for me but I choose to stay in keeping with the November holiday’s name and this year I will give thanks. 

This is where my post takes a different turn and heads in a different direction.  I mean, I am thankful for the usual…my husband, my in-laws, my friends, my house, my job, my car, etc…but this post is going to consist of a list of things about my body that I’m thankful for.  I started thinking about this the other day and thought it might be a good thing to put out there for you and maybe you can add to the list as well.

I’m grateful for:

  • my legs which keep me mobile and get me from place to place, helped me climb a waterfall in Jamaica and let me dance
  • my arms that allow me to hug my husband, blow dry my hair, put on my make up and get dressed in the morning
  • my eyes that are hazel and sparkly and see (with the aid of glasses ;))
  • my hands that stay nimble and allow me to type and punch a ten-key, that can interlock with my hubby’s hand, that can also draw a pretty good picture
  • my mind which has a pretty awesome sense of humor, can grasp the seriousness of most situations and has the ability to learn
  • my heart and soul which allow me to feel and show compassion
  • my big fluffy body that gives my dog someone to snuggle with every morning
  • my voice that allows me to sing, tell jokes and argue my point
  • my spine which supports my body everyday
  • my heart that is apparently strong and pumps blood to all the parts of my body
  • my eyes that allow me to cry or that wrinkle up when I laugh
  • my mouth that eats, smiles, talks and laughs

I think sometimes, for those of us who are fat, we spend so much time degrading and bashing our bodies, that we need to sometimes step back, evaluate where we are and to be grateful for what our bodies have done for us.

I’d love to hear more because I know I have not exhausted my list.  Anyone have any stories of gratefulness towards their bodies?  Please join me in the celebration of our bodies during this Thanksgiving season!!




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Sunrays_by_alevel27mageI’m awake. Since 3 a.m. I’m blaming the wind outside, but that’s not really the problem.

I realize that I grew up in a place that had two seasons — a short rainy season and a long dry season. Then I moved to a place with a long winter, long-ish and beautiful spring, brief and lovely summer, and a far-too-brief autumn. Winter has abruptly arrived. SuperHeroPrincess has begun longing for the summer weekend days she squandered inside watching Sleeping Beauty on DVD. While growing up in Los Angeles, the idea that you had to be outside on a “nice, sunny day” seemed ridiculous (when wasn’t it a sunny day?), here in Western Washington, any day that you aren’t facing the kind of rain that seems to penetrate any item of clothing other than a full-body rainsuit is “nice day” and even on those days when the heavens seem intent on spitting directly on every available surface of your body and clothing, there often is a “nice moment” when you want to drop everything and run outside to soak in the one, slanted, golden ray of sunshine that seems to be just out of reach, but maybe, if you cross the street and stand on your tippy toes, you will feel it on your face.

Life sometimes feels like that, relentless rain that just makes it feel even more cold. And then, the spiritual equivalent of a “sunbreak” comes by. Yesterday, a friend I don’t see too often, who has a daughter just a bit older than SuperHeroPrincess, invited us over (after a few false starts over the past weekends) and SHP played with my friend’s daughter and another adorable child so beautifully they barely interrupted our deep discussion about applying Buddhist principles to parenting. We both had this sense of understanding and opening.

I noticed something as we were conversing. This was a friend who I at first felt distance from because I felt she was so attractive — slim, tall, beautiful. And that distance I felt had dropped away. It was no longer me feeling envious, but us just relating and talking. So, growth on my part, yes, but also just the impact of time spent together and demystifying someone else’s life. She talked about how we get distracted from our life’s purpose by the ways in which we are reacting to everything around us, and how meditation and centering and other practices are designed to allow us to re-acquire that sense of purpose and to allow those other things to swirl around us without engaging with them (at least, that’s what I took away from what she was saying) and I had a glimpse of that “life purpose” — and how in those moments when I feel connected to it are happening, I feel a surge of energy rather than an expenditure of energy.

My life has felt overwhelming lately. I’m without Mr. Rounded — a story I can’t tell yet, and more a development in just one plotline than the tragic final chapter of my life’s book — and parenting with the help of one particualr sister, the more distant support of another sister, friends, teachers, parents and others. I’m doing okay, and so is SHP, but one thing I’ve been neglecting is my diabetes management. This isn’t to say my health is poor, it’s actually okay. It’s just that I haven’t been doing all the things I usually do to “keep an eye on” diabetes. I have been exercising, I have been attending to my mental health, I have been taking my medications more or less on the regular schedule. What I haven’t been doing is testing my blood sugar regularly, or eating in a pattern that is optimal for managing my blood sugar. My weight has been surprisingly stable. But I have found it hard to eat on a regular schedule. I’m not neglecting breakfast most days, as this seems to help me insure I have energy left at the end of the day to get to at least some of the tasks I face (making SHP’s lunch for the next day and remembering the myriad assignments parents have to remember for her school, for example). But lunch sometimes is forgotten for me, and I end up eating way more sugar, mostly in the form of chocolate, than I intend to, at the end of the day. This isn’t good for blood sugar. I’m not attaching any moral judgement, nor does it feel like a binge. It feels like I am not able to accommodate one more thing to manage.

So, I’m going to get back on track. I’m going to make the doctor’s appointment I’ve been putting off, get my blood tests done, and see the doctor.

Mostly, I’m weathering this stormy season, with the wind spitting rain in my face and exposing it to the cold. If I cover up completely, though, I’ll miss the sunbreaks.

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Stranger Than Fiction


I am exhausted.  Depressed.  Overwhelmed. 

Now that my step-father (who raised me) is dying, it seems my mother is taking this opportunity to pull out all the crazy.  To me it seems like she’s taking advantage of the situation to be even more inappropriate and abusive than normal.  Maybe she’s not consciously doing this… but man… she’s a disgusting handful.  But that’s not the whole story.

My step-father has been married to my mother for almost 30 years.  He is insanely secretive.  My mother didn’t even know how old he was.  We found out through the hospital that he is six years older than he always told my mother that he was.  I, however, was never allowed to know how old he really was… not until my mother got overwhelmed enough to finally spill the secret beans.  If his age was a huge secret, can you imagine what truly important things he has also hidden?  We have just discovered the tip of the ice berg…

Because step-dad is old and has obviously been declining over the last couple years, mom started pressing him to put all legal/financial papers in one place so that she’d have resources when he died.  Before then, he only told her that on the day he died a man that she doesn’t know would come to her and give her all the information.  Nevermind that this put my mother in a very vulnerable spot with regards to con-men.  She pressed him until he gave her a safety deposit box key claiming that it had everything that she would need.  Since he was incapacitated and we were told that he would die very soon, we opened the box.  Empty.  Completely empty. 

We started searching the house.  We found a secret bank account where his social security payments are deposited.  We also found evidence of secret credit cards.  So far we have found $22K in secret credit card debt. 

I found some benefit information and started making calls to find out details on pension and life insurance, so we’d know what kind of income my mother will have.  $15K in life insurance.  That’s it.  $15 freakin’ thousand bucks.  No joke.  He kept my mother  isolated and didn’t let her learn any life skills and he leaves here with $15K??????  It’s like in death he wanted to give her one big “fuck you!”  That doesn’t make sense, because he did seem to love her and they did get along… it just doesn’t make sense.  I have some small hope that we will find some other life insurance policy that will actually be capable of supporting my mother.  She’s only in her mid 50’s.  She prolly has a long life yet to live and she will need financial support. 

As his wife, she will be entitled to half his social security and half his pension upon his death.  It’s hard to say if that will be enough as we’re still trying to find the pieces to this puzzle. 

At this point, it seems like this man who claimed all these years to have set up my mother for a good life after his death was lying.  He’s not even dead and I’m mourning.  I’m mourning the man I thought he was and apparently never was.  To me, the man who raised me (as faulted as I knew he was then) died last week when we realized that he has lied and lied and lied about some extremely important things.  As things stand now, most likely she will be very dependent on me (ew… I can’t stand to even be in the same room with her… agh) and may need to declare bankrupcy.  Just what I need.  The sexually, mentally and abusive woman that I wish would just disappear from my life dependent on me.  It’s all so disgustingly depressing. 

As for step-dad, we were told he wouldn’t last the night a week ago.  Since then, against all odds, he has been gaining strength, even though his heart is barely beating – literally.  After a few days in the hospital, he became paranoid and decided that me and my mother were trying to kill him and that we didn’t really have him in a hospital… he thought we had him in some secret prison or something.  No joke.  He was screaming and yelling… it was horrible.  It took four nurses to hold down this half-dead man long enough to sedate him with something in a syringe.  Since that incident, they have been keeping him on huge doses of Ativan to keep him calm…. but when he starts gaining his senses again the paranoia comes back and only increases until someone gives him another dose of Ativan and Morphine.  I have no idea how a heart that is so weak can sustain such physical violence and screaming.  It is possible that he will survive in this state for months or even years.  It’s sad to contemplate.  I don’t want anyone to die… but it’s also terrible to watch someone live in such paranoid delusion and otherwise drugged stupor. 

We were trying to set him up in home hospice, because when he was still making sense (before the paranoia) the docs explained that treatment would do little to help his chances for survival and he told us that because of this he didn’t want treatment… cuz it was likely pointless and he’d rather not have surgery and all that if it’s not going to make a difference.  It took some doing, but I convinced my mother to honor his wishes.  Me and my mother both had the same instinct to do whatever treatment we could do because there was at least a chance that it would improve his chance of survival.  But, what is most important to me is that his wishes are respected and I was able to get mom to tow that line… and so, hospice it is. 

The problem is… he can’t come home.  My mother would be his only caretaker and he needs 24/7 care.  We’re not completely sure yet, but we are assuming at this point that there won’t be enough money to hire in home helpers for when my mom is sleeping or when she needs assistance in caring for him.  He cannot even feed himself or sit up on his own nor do the docs expect him to improve much.  He needs  a very high level of care.  That means we need a nursing home – something he told my mother that he never wanted.  It is heartbreaking to me that he is going to end up in a nursing home (even with all the secrets and betrayal).  I suspect that the nursing home will just cause more paranoia, combativeness and delusion.  As angry as I am, I also don’t want him to suffer.  This just sucks. I wish we could afford home care.  😦 

Meh… drama. 

In the meantime, I am fighting my instincts to curl in a ball and do nothing about anything.  Nevermind that the apartment is a huge mess.  It’s a struggle to master my feelings of being overwhelmed and actually get anything done.  I worry that self-care and all that will go out the window… exercise, cleaning apartment and all that.  So far, I’ve been able to push through to some extent, but sometimes it is still so hard.  It’s hard even without the drama due to my depression and PTSD.  I keep reminding myself that I’m a much happier person if I take care of things.  It helps… hopefully the struggle will become easier in time.  Just about everything feels like a struggle right now.


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AGR News

I got an emergency call over the weekend that my stepdad was dying and I needed to drive 400 miles to be with him…  I haven’t even had time to tell my co-bloggers where I disappeared to.  I will be back blogging when I get home and things calm down… 


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