A Bit of Release Before Dramatically Letting Go

My Mom is in the hospital. She was admitted to the hospital on Monday of this week with what turned out to be 3 broken/fractured vertebrae and an urinary tract infection. Having worked with physical therapists within the hospital, walked with assistance and support of a back brace, and her infection under control, my Mom was set to be released today and moved to a rehab facility for a “short stay”. Unfortunately, this morning we found out she had an increased heart rate, and they canceled the plans of moving her to the rehab facility today.

I share the above to give you an idea of my current mood. To be clearer, some of the emotions I am feeling include anger, anxiety, fear, frustration, sadness, and tiredness. And though my Mom’s current situation may be the catalyst for this post, my Mom’s current situation only added an intensity to the emotions I listed. I was feeling those emotions before my Mom was admitted to the hospital.

Generally speaking, I am an active Facebook user. I have a Facebook page that I manage for my pet sitting business, where I post pictures of my dog and cat clients (sometimes reptiles and amphibians clients, too). And, with regards to my personal Facebook page, I enjoy checking in with family, friends, and a few acquaintances, seeing what folks are posting, and sharing my own thoughts, pictures, etc.. For the past year, many of my posts have been about racism, because I am very passionate about the Black Lives Matter movement, and I am actively working to live an anti-racist life. However, for the past week or so, I’ve not checked in with others via Facebook, and I’ve not posted pictures, thoughts, and/or articles.

For the record, I’m not a Trump fan. I didn’t vote for him when he ran and won, and I hope he never returns to hold a political office. In my opinion, in all the years that I have used social media, it was the worst place to be last year, and I believe the negativity was fueled by Trump and his supporters. I unfriended many friends and family members, because I was tired of the conflicts and what I perceived as hate speech. While I was unfriending them via Facebook, I didn’t consider it an end to all of these friendships, because many of these friendships were created before Facebook existed. That said, if I didn’t feel a need to reach out and connect with them in real life, and they didn’t feel a need to reach out and connect with me in real life, was it really a friendship?

There was a cartoon popular a few years ago showing a picture of a funeral home, with just a few people attending a funeral. The caption on the cartoon was something along the lines of, “I was expecting a larger turnout, because she had over 2,000 Facebook friends.” I’m a person that takes friendships seriously, and I’m not saying I am alone in that regard. But as I unfriended many Facebook friends, I was slowly coming to the realization that what I really wanted wasn’t Facebook friends but friends in real life. That’s sad, eh? Because before social media, we had friends in real life. Right?

For the past few days, when things with my Mom seem to be improving, I found myself once again scrolling through my personal Facebook feed just about every day. I didn’t post anything, and I “liked” or “loved” very little. This morning, while I scrolled, I grew increasingly frustrated with the division that continues to exist within my feed and my world of Facebook friends: Dr. Seuss. Masks. Biden. Trump. Cancel culture. Rights. Freedom. Claims one “is not racist because”. Questions of whether or not “cancel culture” is uniting or dividing. I find it all so sad. And when one is already sad, it doesn’t make sense to surround one’s self with more sadness. Plus, it pisses the hell out of me that the majority of the people complaining about a cancel culture are white. (It doesn’t surprise me; it makes me mad.) Plus, plus – having *not* engaged in the dialogue, the urge to engage has diminished. (I consider that diminish a blessing.)

I don’t know that my desire to become active again on Facebook will return. I will continue to update my business page, and when I write something for my blog – like today – I will share it on my personal page. But other than that? I’m out. No more “likes”. No more “loves”. No more engaging in posts. I think it’s time I get back to my writing, which is a better way for me to express and share my passions without getting bogged down by the distractions that fill one’s Facebook feed. And, I want to get back to more meaningful discussions with the people I interact with outside of Facebook. If you happen to be reading this and you are one of my Facebook friends, then the following message is for you.

If you need me – I’m here. If you want to talk – I’m here. Email me. Call me. Text me. Not sure how to reach me but we’re friends? Then I am sure you can find a way to reach me. If we have a friendship, then I’m not ending the friendship; if we don’t have a friendship, then I am no longer pretending to be friends. I’m tired of seeing my ‘friends’ in a light that breaks my heart. Truth is – my own personal life can break my heart, and that’s all I can handle right now. If you need me, you can still find me – just not on Facebook.

Do you find all of this a little too dramatic? Yeah. I can see it. But, I like to write. I like to express my thoughts. And this is my blog, so it’s the perfect spot to write and express my thoughts, dramatically or not.

Black lives Matter.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Peace.

Pardon me while I pat myself on the back.

On January 8, 2017, I made the decision to change my lifestyle. No, this isn’t some coming out notice or anything along those lines. The lifestyle change I am referring to is weight loss and weight loss maintenance. When I stepped on the scale the morning of January 8 and read the numbers “167.5”, I had the realization that 170 was becoming a future reality for me. I did not want that reality, and I made the decision to get as far away from 170 as possible. I immediately set a goal: I will get to 155.0 by March 1.

The first step I took was not eating past 7pm. In fact, I made sure I brushed my teeth between 7:00 and 7:30 to ensure I didn’t eat. I realize that may sound odd, but for me, once I brush my teeth, my desire to eat diminishes.

The second step I took, simultaneously with step 1, was weighing myself every day at the same time of day (morning) and writing the weight on the mirror (every day). Seeing the number kept me focused and motivated – even when the weight didn’t drop and/or increased a bit.

The third step I took came into play after my husband, Rob, had to go on meds to address his high blood pressure. In an effort to help the meds better improve a change in his blood pressure, we decided to join a gym and exercise on a regular basis. Around February 11th, we joined Anytime Fitness.

I had not exercised for years. Someone once told me they were on an exercise hiatus. I thought that was hysterical, and I started telling people the same thing.

Since joining Anytime Fitness in February, Rob and I have been exercising regularly – at least six days a week, and with my hard work and commitment, I made my goal on March 1st, weighing in at 155.0.

Once I hit 155, I wondered if I could drop to 150.

I decided to extend my workout a little longer and push a little harder, to continue weighing myself daily and writing down the number, and to continue eating a healthy diet. By the middle of April my weight was 147.0, and this morning – my weight was 145.5.

Today I had my annual physical, and for the first time in over 15yrs, the doctor’s scale was below 150. I was elated. In fact, I was beyond elated, because the scale showed a weight of 147, and I was fully dressed, with shoes, and it was 1:15 pm in the afternoon.

But “weight” there’s more.

Last year, my doctor wanted me to take an iron and a vitamin D supplement, because I was anemic and had low vitamin D levels. I did as I was told for a few weeks, but I slowly got out of the habit. However, when I began this lifestyle change, I started taking a Flintstones chew-able multivitamin. (Yep, Flintstones. Yep, the same multivitamin my boys take.) I wasn’t 100% certain the multi-vitamin would have enough iron and vitamin D for me, but I figured it was better than nothing. Plus, it’s way more fun to hang out with the Flintstones than it is to hang out with One-A-Day.

Today, along with being elated about my weight, I was elated to find out my blood-work was excellent. The results of the blood-work impressed my doctor greatly, and she said it’s the best numbers she’s seen [in all her patients] in years. My iron and vitamin D levels are smack-dab in the middle of normal. And my normally low blood pressure? It’s lower, too at 102/60. (Previous normal low was @ 110/70.)

I am pleased with myself. I started this new lifestyle, and I set it up in a way that I know I can continue living it. I’m making this lifestyle a priority in my life, and I make sure there is time for it. It’s not always easy, and I don’t always look forward to going to the gym, but the positive results I’ve gained continue to motivate me. I look good. I feel good. And, I am stronger. Plus, like many of you, I kept my old clothes, hoping to fit in them again one day. Well, 15yrs and 20 lbs later, that “one day” is here! And, lucky for me, my fashion sense has always been lacking, so my lack of style 15yrs ago is still as [not] happening as it was then. #winning

As they say, “That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!” I made a lifestyle change, and I am happily living it out. Good job, Lenore. Well done!

Lenore and Claire
My 48yr old self with my 24yr old friend/coworker. We look like we just walked off a college campus, right? Well, one of us does.

.::.

Afterward
I was losing weight without exercising, by simply not eating after 7pm. The weight-loss was slow but steady. When I added the exercise, the pace of the weight-loss increased, but it was still a seemingly slow process. Being patient and letting the weight come off gradually was hard, but I kept going, because I wanted to meet the goal. One doesn’t gain weight overnight – so one can’t expect to lose weight overnight.

I am married, have two kids, two dogs, and two cats. Both my husband and I work full-time. We pay a total of $60 a month for our gym membership. Monday – Friday, Rob and I typically go to the gym after dinner. On Saturdays and Sundays, Rob and I will go to the gym in the morning. Adding a structured exercise program doesn’t make it an easy lifestyle for us, but the benefits outweigh the challenges.

A Pair of Socks

Today I am wearing my Dad’s long black dress socks. I’ve worn this pair of socks off and on for nearly 30 years.

I first wore the socks when I was in high school. I needed a long pair of black dress socks, and I didn’t have time (or money) to go buy a pair. I asked my Dad if I could borrow a pair of his socks, and he said, “Yes.”

After that initial borrow, whenever I needed my Dad’s long black dress socks, I snagged ’em. Sometimes my Dad would go to his sock drawer looking for this pair of socks, only to find I was borrowing the socks – again.

My Dad died 20 years ago. And, every time I reach for these socks, I think of my Dad. A simple pair of black dress socks keeps a memory of my Dad full of life for me.

Today I attended a funeral for a 44yr old man, who suddenly died earlier this week. Among others, he left behind his wife and two boys.

His boys attend my sons’ school. I am lucky enough to spend a few hours with these boys (ages 5 and 11) Monday – Friday in the Extended Day Program, which I run.

I was 25 years old when I lost my Dad, and I felt robbed. My best friend was 16 when she lost her Dad, and I know she felt robbed, too.

These kids – these two boys – they were hijacked.

I went to talk to the boys after the funeral. The 5yr old was ‘happily’ distracted by a game he was playing on an iPad, but the 11yr old wasn’t finding comfort in any gadgets. He was – is – old enough to understand. He is old enough to feel the pain. He is old enough to grasp the immense sense of loss. And sadly, he is young enough to have so many years without his Dad, as is his younger brother.

When I talked with the older boy, I told him I lost my Dad when I was young, too. And, I showed him my socks. I told him they were my Dad’s socks – at least 30yrs old -, and I told him I felt my Dad was with me whenever I wore these socks. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Really?” And, I assured him it was true.

Now, I realize he was probably more humored by the fact that I was wearing a pair of socks that are 30yrs old vs. feeling a sense of comfort/peace from my sentiment, but he’ll get it.

And, from now on, when I wear these socks to school, I will show the socks to these two boys. Because, there is comfort in remembering. It doesn’t fill the void completely, but it is something. And, I hope I can provide a bit of comfort for these two guys by showing them I haven’t forgotten.

.::.

“Let our faith be our consolation and eternal life our hope.” Prayers of the People, The Book of Common Prayer