Archive for January, 2012

More Lessons From My Mom

January 29, 2012

I have mentioned in passing that my Mom has  macular degeneration and dementia ( I will not  give either one capital letters) and that it has been a very stressful situation for all of us.  My husband and I live with Mom  in the house where I grew up – childhood triggers all over the place.  The change has been gradual until the past few months, suddenly it seems to have speeded up and now it is hard for Mom to remember who I am.  I think I have come to terms with it, I feel so in the middle of it all that it is hard to be objective.  I also realized it is stirring up all  kinds of uncomfortable things as well, but I am now at a point where I can say “I’m not thrilled to deal with all this but let’s do it and clean it out”. It is uncomfortable, but then again, all the work with Ike Pono and Debye and her deep tissue massage have all been uncomfortable.  However, I am still here, I have survived all of it and it feels good to have things cleared out finally.  Yes, I know there is still a lot more to unearth, yet I am not as afraid to look it in the face as I was.

I have “kinda” known some things I learned growing up, it is only now that I see how it has operated in my adult life.  One of them is not asking for help – it is imposing on people.  I was talking to my older sister the other night and mentioned that – boy, does she know what I mean!  Her comment was”Ditch it girl!”.  I have had to ask for help because all of this has made me realize I am in over my head.  I haven’t felt I have a handle on what todo, where to go , etc.  I contacted the Alzheimer’s Association and they have given me a place to start.  I have been to a couple of support groups for caretakers, plan to go again next month and also to understand I have to take care of myself as well as Mom.  There are legal and financial ramifications, plus now I need to make sure there is someone with Mom all the time.  That way I can go out and do things for myself and my sanity, yet she isn’t left all alone when I do go.  My life has become narrower and narrower because of that.  But I do have to take care of myself and what’s left of my business – not sure how all of this will come together yet.

This not asking for help, doing it alone – we very seldom went to the doctor, Mom took care of us at home.  As I look back on my years of RA while we were moving around, I realize I was doing it on my own, not asking anyone for help except maybe the doc or the OT.  So I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it until I started volunteering at the Connecticut Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.  I met other people who understood, but a lot of what I did was  not about me but more about giving basic info on arthritis and what the Foundation offered.  Also, not talking about it because “other people really aren’t interested” as well as “you don’t tell other people your business” – now I know other people have dealt with the same thing or similar and they are there to support me.  I have gotten so much support from friends and business associates – last week I talked about it in my breakfast group and found myself breaking down.  I hadn’t planned on that happening, I just wanted to thank people for their support.  That just brought up another one – be stoic and don’t show emotion – we do have British ancestry so I come by the “stiff upper lip” honestly.

These days I have a very wobbly upper lip, I seem to be crying a lot.  Now I have always cried easily, I always thought it was a sign of weakness.  I cry when I am mad, when I am sad, when I am depressed, frustrated, fed up with pain – the list goes on and on.  Now when I talk about Mom and the things I am dealing with, I am a puddle so quickly ; I find when I am doing work with the massage, more puddles. I am wondering if that is just releasing and that stuffed down emotion and stuff that I didn’t feel qualified or eligible to express at the time.

We were also taught that when someone offers you something, you politely decline.  Never did understand that one.  I also found myself picking apart a compliment, as if I was worthy or deserving of a compliment.  It took a long time to be able to just say Thank You when someone told me how well I looked or how amazing something was that I had done.  I understand now that I am giving a gift in receiving a gift, whether it is a compliment or a physical object.  Sometimes it takes awhile for the message to finally get through and I know that I know it.

I know my parents did the best they could – they always made us feel loved and wanted, taught us integrity, honestly, gave us discipline and boundaries we could count on and they always did things as a family.  As I grew up and learned how other families operated – I just assumed everyone was like us – I began to appreciate and understand how blessed the three of us are.  It is a big job to raise a child and I knew I didn’t have the patience to do it – thank goodness I married a man who also didn’t want children.  My hat is off to people who do raise their children well.  So now I am a parent after all.

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Happy Birthday To Me!

January 15, 2012

This is my 65th birthday.  It seemed to be something waaaay in the future that would take forever to arrive – the future is now!  I am not unhappy about turning 65, I would rather be here than in my 20’s – though with the knowledge I have now, things certainly would have been different.  I am not quite at the point of saying I wouldn’t change a thing – maybe in a few more years.  However, I have earned every one of those years along with all my wrinkles – my life is definitely on my face.  Funny, I look in the mirror and my face looks pretty much the same as when I was in my 20’s – except for the wrinkles, the second chin and probably more freckles.  It is still a round baby face with round cheeks, deep set eyes and a small mouth – as I get older I see I have my mother’s mouth.  I was never a great beauty who worried about losing her looks, I figured I would look much the same through out my life.  Yes, I have always wanted cheek bones, a slender face and body and to feel I am pretty.  I am working on loving every part of me, even the uncomfortable parts and to release myself from those Madison Ave messages that constant told me I didn’t measure up.  I am not tall, blonde, tanned, beautiful, slender and look like a model.  I am somewhat short, Rubenesque or fluffy; freckles with pale skin;  brown, white and grey hair; a round baby face that is friendly and welcoming.  In short, I Am Me and the best part of me is what’s inside!

I had a wonderful birthday wish from The Universe which said in part:

A few years back, not so long ago, heaven and earth erupted into a major celebration with the news of your impending adventure into this very time and space. You see, someone like Lee Kaplanian doesn’t come along all that often. In fact, there’s never been a single one like you, nor is there ever ANY possibility that another will come again. You’re an Angel among us. Someone, whose eyes see what no others will EVER see, whose ears hear what no others will EVER hear, and whose perspective and feelings will NEVER, ever be duplicated. Without YOU, the Universe, and ALL THAT IS, would be sadly less than it is. 

Quite simply: 

You’re the kind of person, Lee,
Who’s hard to forget,
A one-in-a-million
To the people you’ve met.
Your friends are as varied
As the places you go,
And they all want to tell you
In case you don’t know:
That you make a big difference
In the lives that you touch,
By taking so little
And giving so much!

Lee, you are so AWESOME! For your birthday, friends and angels from every corner of the Universe, including buddies you didn’t know you had, will be with you to wish you the HAPPIEST of days and an exciting new year in time and space. You won’t be alone! 

What delight to read it!  I am finally at the point where I can really begin to accept this and know it is true.   I could write about the parts of me that are not working well, instead I would rather concentrate on all that is really great. I have a wonderful husband of almost 43 years, wonderful friends I cherish, some very interesting relatives from both side of my family as well as my husband’s side, an interesting life that continues to surprise me (who knew I would meet Eddie and go to Australia to be married!) with opportunities to meet people, go places and do things.  I have been working on personal development for quite awhile, the last 2 years have been the most intense and enlightening, I am finding my own voice and enjoying writing this blog.  I look back and see that in my own way I have helped others, they have helped me and in many cases it hasn’t been obvious but very effective.

Mother Nature has given me a gift for my birthday – snow!  Fortunately it isn’t sticking but it still is fun to see it come floating down.  It is as if  She turns on the spigot and the snow falls, then it goes off for a bit.  Each time the spigot opens, it comes down in different ways, sometimes a few flakes, other times a real shower or a bunch of tiny flakes.  It reminds me to the places I have lived and how well or not so well the snow was cleared, sometimes stuck for a few days.  I don’t drive in snow – Nothing is that important!  This gift is a delight because I can enjoy it without having to shovel or drive in it.

A lot has happened in 65 years, I am excited to see what is coming for in the next few years.  It is going to My Time, creating and living my passion, what I am born to do.

PS   The snow did stick and there is 2 or 3 inches on the ground and decorating the trees and bushes – how absolutely gorgeous!  Mother Nature never ceases to amaze!

Thinking of a Title

January 8, 2012

It has been quite a rollercoaster lately, I am in waaaay over my head with a personal situation and I finally sought help from experts.  I could beat myself up and say I should have done it sooner, etc. – but I am not going to should all over myself or beat myself up.  It has helped to know others have knowledge and experience that can really help since I have no idea about it.  I have friends who have dealt with the same thing and have offered help and an ear to bend whenever I need it.  I am also going to go to a support group this coming week –  I have been ambivalent with RA support groups before but this is something that feels entirely different.  I will see what it is like and go from there.

As a result, I have drawn a blank on what to write about this week – a little surprising because I often have plenty to say.  One bright spot every week day is my Note From the Universe to encourage me, make me smile and give me great insights.  It also helps me put things into a better perspective.  This one came and made me laugh as well as help me put things in perspective:

Dwelling on the unimportant, stressing on the unintended, and freaking over the unknown, Lee, simply doesn’t work… and are a bit like lighting a match in a dark room to make sure no one accidentally sprinkled any gunpowder on your bicycle, kept under the stairs, near the back porch, in January.   Actually, some of that wasn’t really important, but hopefully it distracted from any stigma you may have attached to freaking over the unknown. 

You’re so adorable,
    The Universe

Why not just celebrate that you’re alive, Lee, every single day? After celebrating that you don’t need a bike to get email, in January.

This one came and just made me smile and feel so good!

What do blaring trumpets, cartwheeling angels, harping harpsichordists, and celestial hoedowns bring to mind?
The Pearly Gates? Welcome “Home” parties? Heaven gone wild?
Actually, Lee, they play for every earthly sunrise and all of the moments of each day and night that follow.

Duck!! 
    The Universe

Phew… you were nearly accidentally side-kicked by an exuberant admirer returning from a hoedown, Lee, who simply adores you.

And then comes ones like this, that are so encouraging when I am rather down on myself for not accomplishing much.  It makes me realize how much I discount what I do, can do and have done.  In my mind I know that so often I am the most effective when I am just being me – God works through me so much better when I show up and get out of the way!  When I “know that I know” deep in my heart that I am doing exactly what I am meant to do, that I don’t have to be famous or wealthy or have a lot of hoopla to live my purpose, then I can cease and desist.  I feel I am in the process now, but old habits die hard.  Thank you ego for your concern and protection, I choose the positive.

If you were able to look back at your most brilliant successes, stunning comebacks, amazing catches, and smokin’ ideas, Lee, and you were to find that virtually all of them seemed to materialize out of thin air, when you least expected them, and that they had exceeded even your greatest expectations at the time, how excited would you be about the new year and whatever else I’ve got up my sleeve? 

Hubba, hubba – 
    The Universe

If I’ve ever helped you before, Lee, don’t you think I can do it again… and again… and again… ad infinitum? Actually, it ought to be even easier next time, with your new saunter.

I know there is a gift in this situation but at the moment it isn’t necessarily clear to me – it may not be until it is all over and I have had a chance to absorb and process it all.  I know there are lessons I can learn and that too is very hard to see. ( NOTE TO SELF:  Ekhart Tolle talks about being in the moment, in the NOW – well, isn’t Mom a great  example of living in the moment?  Yes, it can be frustrating but it also is an advantage because she doesn’t remember my impatient, bitchy moments.)  I have too much emotion in the situation and the person, so it is harder to detach, take out the emotion and be more objective.  I have learned I take on others emotions and that gets me into trouble – another habit of a lifetime to continue working on.  I have not had a massage for 2 weeks and I really miss it, I hope to go this coming week because it has been a way to clear out a lot of old stuck emotions and help me see things in a more objective way. Plus Debye and Monty are a big cheering section for me as well as helping me understand things better.  I have spent so much of my life “doing it on my own” – it’s part of my upbringing and then I carried it through my adult life.  I dealt with RA mostly by myself because I didn’t really have anyone I could talk to about it – seeing the doc and other patients was only once a month or so.  My husband traveled and I was alone a lot – it made me more independent – and the women my age either had kids or a job or both.  I had neither, plus they didn’t really understand  having a husband who traveled a lot.  I have often felt I march to a different drummer.

Hmmm, for having drawn a blank I have managed to fill the page.  Isn’t that often the way!  I just start and never know what will come or where it will arrive.

Small Things – Part 2

January 1, 2012

Awhile back I wrote bout how it is often the small things that make a big difference, not the big, complicated ones.  I just discovered how to create tags for this blog.  I figured out how to activate Zementa so it can generate tags for me.  Unfortunately they don’t seem to really fit  what I am writing about and it feels as if it would lead someone down a rabbit hole.  Just looking at the list for this paragraph makes me wonder – small business, shopping, consumer, insurance, rate of return.  Did I miss something?  So I will work on my own, check their suggestions and do my best not to send people down a rabbit hole.

One thing I have found that really helps with sore muscles and joints when I have overdone is arnica gel.   It has been around for centuries and has been used by a lot of people.  I find if I rub it in to those places I think are going to be stiff before I go to bed, I am either not stiff or less stiff in the morning.  Now sometimes I can’t always tell where the stiffness is going to be and then in the morning I know.  During the day when muscles are sore or whatever it is under there that hurts, I can rub it in and after a bit I feel the relief.  Now I will admit, if it is really bad, it hasn’t seem to make a dent in it – those are the times when nothing seems to relieve anything.  That is a poor-me-osis day, we all know how that feels.

I learned that germs, especially cold and flu germs, don’t like an alkaline atmosphere.  When I feel that “coming down with something” feeling, whether it is a cold or flu, I go for the baking soda right away to nip it in the bud.  It is 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in a small glass of water, another one an hour later and then another 12 hours later.  Now sometimes it doesn’t seem to quite nip it, so I either do another round or just have one morning and evening.  It really seems to work.  The past few weeks I have been doing this off and on – I can’t seem to shake it completely.  I am fine for a bit, then I have to do the round again.  Some suggest having alkaline in your water all the time as a preventative, not a bad idea.

Sometimes I find myself stuck in an negative attitude about someone or something and have a hard time turning it positive.  So I ask God to change my attitude.  Some days it is an attitude adjustment while once in awhile it is an attitude overhaul.  When we moved to an apartment in Torrance, California; it was a new complex and it was a larger one than we had before.  I remember standing waiting for the elevator and thinking “I don’t like it here”.  I didn’t have any particular reason why, maybe it was just having to start my life over again.  Anyway, I asked God to help change my attitude to positive, then promptly forgot about it (that is often a crucial part).  A few days later I suddenly realized I liked where I was and it came as quite a surprise.

Several years ago, my sister Candy Paull gave me Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”.  One of the things Julia advocates is morning pages – three handwritten pages  every morning.  You just start writing about whatever you want – rants, raves, complaints, interesting discoveries, insights, ideas, whingeing – without worrying about  right or wrong.  There is no right or wrong, only the doing.   If you tend to do a lot of whingeing and complaining, after awhile you get tired of it and find yourself writing things that are more positive.  It is also a great way to bring out ideas for things without sitting and thinking, trying to create something.  You never  have to go back and read what you write – it is the act of writing that is important.  Remember, you are a writer if you write, not if you are published.  I will admit to not doing morning pages for quite awhile – there is always the excuse my shoulder hurts, I don’t have time in the morning,etc.  Well, write during the day or night!  She recommends getting up and doing it the first things before your ego has a chance to wake up.

When I am scared, there is that fluttery  butterfly feeling in my stomach.   When it becomes a full blown “Get me the hell out of here!” fear, that little butterfly calls in all his friends and they all start doing aerobatics in my stomach.  What I have since learned is that excitement has the same feeling!  So now when I am scared or really afraid, I change gears and see it as excitement.  Simple but not easy.

I will work on a new list for another time.  I am always open to suggestions.


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