Category Archives: Happiness

I’ve Been Thinking

Thinking about yesterday. And all that I’ve lived. Lived through. Lived with.

Thinking about today. My family, my granddaughters. I see myself in them.

Thinking about tomorrow. My birthday comes at the end of the year and it always makes me reflect not only on the year ending but the year ahead.

Thinking about celebrating ten years of beating Rheumatoid Arthritis. October will mark the official date of the first salvo fired in its direction. My arsenal has changed somewhat over the years, been modified, added to, deleted from. But one mainstay remains: Methotrexate.

I don’t remember the exact date; it’s in my chart. My doctor doesn’t know it yet, but I plan to get access to it. I figure I will put the three hours I spend waiting in his office to good use. Or, I might pay for them to print it out for me. Whatever method, I need some of that data. I plan to compile some of my posts on this site, as well as added material, into a book: Beating Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I will come up with a subtitle in due time. And perhaps I will write a sequel in 2024 to mark 20 years of engagement. Or if things turn out to be more eventful than expected, perhaps in 2019, after 15 years. For I know I am experiencing an unceasing battle, or perhaps more of a Mexican standoff at times, but not a victory. Yet.

I’ve been thinking about my readers and followers. I appreciate you all greatly. I send good thoughts your way and I wish for you the very best of wellness in this coming year, and all the years to come.

 

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A Glow

It is eerily quiet in this house now that we two are the only ones left rattling around. For almost two weeks we had a little person around us 24/7. In preparation for our trip to celebrate my younger granddaughter’s first birthday, I kept four-year-old Alyssa away from daycare. Though she loves school, I was afraid she would pick up some germ surprises to take to Carmen, who does not go to daycare.

Sometimes I wish I could stop thinking like a nurse, an infectious disease nurse, no less. But that doesn’t seem to ever become a possibility. And of course, I can never stop being an overprotective grandmother. But my plan worked well. Alyssa remained healthy and she fell in love with her little cousin. And for her part, Carmen loved toddling around after her big cousin.

Though RA went with me, and made sure I knew it was with me, I stubbornly refused to give it any quarter. Instead, I focused on enjoying a whirlwind week with my two grandbabies. From having them pose together for a professional photographer, to our trip to New Orleans, a fun day spent touring a children’s activity museum, then stopping at a pumpkin patch to pick out 25 pumpkins to serve as party favors for the birthday fiesta.

It was a little bit of heaven while it lasted and now that I am home, I miss all that activity. I especially miss that little voice and the little hand that slipped into mine at regular intervals, wanting to make sure that I was still her Na, even though she was having to share me with someone else.

We are back to “normal” now; all of us back to our routines. After a day of rest, it’s time for me to get back to work. But I have fresh memories to keep me company. To keep me warm and my heart aglow

Birthday fiesta

End of Days, Beginning of Days

I’ve been gone for a while and I’m having the hardest time getting back to normal. My routine eludes me. Seems all I have the energy for is cleaning out my inbox(es). I collect not only emails, but email addresses. I’ve tried to downsize, keep to one, but people still send me mail where I prefer they didn’t. And by the time I check, they’ve mushroomed.

I need to get back to my reading, my writing, my work in general. I came home but my mind is still making its way to me. Part of it stayed in California with my father-in-law, who is dying. Today finds him in an intensive care unit. That much closer to over there than to over here. As much as I try to stop the images from forming in my head, I can see all the flustered activity around him. A once robust man, he is down to a mere 110 pounds, slowly disappearing.

Graduation

My daughter, me, my FIL and his wife

And parts of my mind, my thoughts, remain with my infant granddaughter. After two weeks in Los Angeles, I flew across the country to home and the very next day flew backwards to the middle of the country. The thought of spending a week with her gave me the adrenalin shot I needed to get back on a plane so soon.

Uber jet lag, mollified only by the thought of spending my days with my little angel. Days that began at 6:30 am, a shock to the non-morning person that I am. At nine months, she is busy exploring how much she can do on her own, how long she can stand unsupported, how quick Abuela will run when she cries.

baby

My Lovely

baby

That smile

I didn’t realize how tired I was till I got home and began waking up several times a night wondering what bed I was in. What room was I in? What house, what town, what state? I’ve never suffered such disorientation before. It was quite eerie. Like being in your own horror movie.

But now I’ve been back a week and I have to get a move on. I promised a quilt. Due in one week. Yikes!

Quilting

Theme is Native American Culture and it’s barely in the planning stages!

 

Sweet Memories

I remember when I used to scour the stores looking for just the right basket. And when I found that, I went hunting for the just the right gift. What was it they were into at that particular time, in that particular year? Their whims changed with the wind and turned me into a weather vane, always pointing in a different direction.

It gave me untold pleasure to follow their beckoning. I would hide to arrange everything in their baskets just so. And then hide the baskets themselves until that Saturday night when I had to stay up and wait till they were sound asleep. Only then could I sneak into their rooms and place the basket where it would be the first thing their eyes would light upon come Easter morning.

Those days, those moments are now filed away in my memory banks. They are images of times past, marching before my eyes like clips of a movie collage. I needn’t worry anymore about constructing the perfect Easter morning surprise. Now they surprise me. Now they give to me. The most precious of all gifts.

Easter Sunday

 

My granddaughter Carmen (for some reason reminding me of Carmen Miranda).

Happy Easter everyone!

Dancing Away, Away, Away

Wouldn’t you know it. Just when I get in the mood to go dancing, my foot starts acting up. I haven’t been out dancing in a few months, what with my trip to see my new grandchild and then the holidays, and then all my deadlines cropping up. Every time my husband brought it up, I was like, “No, not tonight.” And no, I didn’t have a headache.

Now I have both a foot ache and an itch to go dancing. I can dance fine, at home, barefoot. But, I don’t think I can go out that way. I’ve been relegated to using my daughter’s left-behind flip-flops for the past few days. Normally, I can’t stand anything between my toes, but I have to suck it up.

Today I had to go visit the vampires in preparation for my rheumatology appointment next week. Gotta keep tabs on all those pesky little numbers that tell you if your meds are helping or hindering. I didn’t want to go out in flip-flops, as nice as these are. So, I tried my tennis shoes and wallah! they didn’t hurt! It made me fall further in love with those shoes.

They cradle my feet and I can walk without having to favor my right foot. The foot is still sore, but tolerable. As long as nothing presses down on the top of it. As happened the other night in my sleep, when I pressed it against the bed. Almost jumped out of my skin, let alone the bed. Next week I’ll consult with my rheumatologist, see if I can play with the steroids some more. Anything to avoid the podiatrist. I go to the doctor enough already.

Now I just want to go dancing.There’s nothing like losing yourself to the music and leaving your earthly cares behind. The beat pounding in your ears, the music flowing up from the floor through your body, filling your lungs, racing through your bloodstream. The ice clinking in your drink as you sway, sway, sway, unable to stand still. Letting go, you close your eyes and are transported away, away, away. So far away you don’t want to come back.

As JLo says:

Dance the night away
Live your life and stay young on the floor
Dance the night away

Tonight we gon’ be it on the floor

Well, not tonight exactly, but this weekend maybe. I’ll have to figure out what shoes to wear with my slinky little dress. It can’t be my tennis shoes. But then again, maybe I’ll start a new trend?

Life is Rich

After having spent the last four weeks traveling, to the country in the Deep South and then to the southernmost point of the country itself, I’m tired. Tired but grateful I was able to spend time with my family, and time away from the rut and routine one falls into. Almost without noticing.

These photos serve to remind me not to forget. That life is rich, if you make it so.

A view of Key West. What a beautiful island.

I was shocked to see how long my hair had gotten. When did that happen? This picture was taken at the Botanical Garden. The bell is made out of an oxygen tank, they say, and was donated by Yoko Ono.

At Papa’s. Hemingway Home and Museum. It was surreal walking through it.

One of Papa’s 45 six-toed cats that own the place, descendents from his cat Snowball. I wish I had caught this one’s name. The cats don’t allow the roaming tourists to disturb their naps. You find them curled up in all sorts of places.

Of course, the Atlantic Ocean. Gives one pause. I picked up some washed up coral rock. They will make perfect paper weights. And weigh my thoughts as well.

Sunset at the southernmost point. A wondrous sight. And then it was back to reality. I suppose I had to return sometime.

While my turkey roasts, and the cooking smells suffuse my house, I am able to enjoy a few minutes of quiet before my kids descend on me. And gives me time to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Something I try to do every day, give thanks that is.

Touching the Moon

I hold her little hand as we walk the four blocks to the park.  My cat, Tigress, follows us part way until I tell her to go home. Tigress sits on the grass and watches us cross the street.

“Stay home, Tigress,” she admonishes. It’s 6:30 in the evening and the birds are chirping. A whistling symphony seems to be coming from the trees themselves.

“Listen to the birds,” I say.

She looks up and scans the treetops. “The birds,” is all she says in her tiny little voice.

We turn the corner and cross another street.

“Your mommy went to this school,” I tell her, as we walk alongside the Elementary.

“My mommy’s school,” she says.

We reach the park and make our way to the playground. Her eyes light up when she sees the jungle gym. I find myself shadowing her every move. I was never such a mother hen with my own kids.

“Let’s go on the swing.” There I will have her in a confined, safe place.

“The slide?”

“No, the swing. Come, I’ll show you.”

We slog through the sandpit that is the playground and I lift her into a baby swing. She grabs on with a death grip. I get her going and then sit on a regular swing. I stick my legs straight out and lean back as far as I can, so that I’m horizontal as I stare up at the blue sky. I’m amazed at how quickly I feel like a little girl again. We swing until darkness surrounds us.

“Time to go home now.” I reluctantly get off the swing.

“I want to slide.”

“Tomorrow. We’ll come back tomorrow.”

We shake the sand out of our shoes and cross the parking lot on our way to the sidewalk. She points at a burgundy minivan parked close to the park entrance.

“I want a car.”

“What?” I bend toward her not sure I heard right.

“I want a caaaar.”

“You want a car?

“Yes.”

“That’s not our car.” I can’t help laughing.

We walk half a block in silence.

“I want a car.” Her little finger points at a gray sedan in the school parking lot.

I start laughing again. I understand now; she doesn’t want to walk. She wants a ride.

“But, that’s not our car either. Are you tired?”

“No.”

She is walking nimbly, her little hand in mine. But, I will carry her if need be. The moon is a translucent ball straight ahead.

“Look, let’s go touch the moon.”

“Touch the moon?”

“Yes, we’ll touch the moon.”

She concentrates on the moon as we walk again in silence. Rounding the school we pass a black F-150.

“I want a car.” Her tiny finger points toward the truck.

This time I don’t answer. I can’t. I’m laughing too hard. She thinks you can just take any vehicle if you don’t want to walk anymore.

I’m about to pick her up when she looks around concerned.

“Hey, where’d the moon go?”

“It’s right over there.” I point to our left. Her little face relaxes and she settles back into an easy stride. Someone is walking toward us and she becomes absorbed with the woman and her dog.

We turn the corner to our street and as we walk toward my house we pass by three cars parked near the sidewalk. Each time we near one, her little finger points and she makes her demand again. I haven’t laughed this much in years.

Finally we reach my driveway and she marches straight to my car. “I want a car,” she states.

I unlock it and open the back door. She climbs in and settles herself behind the passenger seat.

“Get in the car,” she says, pointing to the driver’s seat.

“But, we’re home now. It’s time for your bubble bath.”

She shakes her head and pulls the seat belt around her. Her face is resolute; I’m to get in the car. I only meant to let her sit in the car for a moment, to satisfy her want; I hadn’t expected that she would order me in as well.

I have no car seat so a drive around the block is not an option. Besides, I’m too much of a worrywart to chance these crazy roads with my precious grandchild. I have to come up with something much more attractive than a car ride.

My car is parked near the front door on our circular drive. I unlock it and turn around to find her still struggling to buckle the seat belt. I know she is as hot and sweaty as I am.

“Hey, let’s go inside and have some juice.”

Her head snaps up. “OK,” she says.

Soaring

A shout out to Ariesgrl23, who nominated this blog for an award.

I’m stoked, grl; you made my day! And I’m soaring.

Yesterday was a sad day for me and you gave me something else to remember it by. Thank you so much for this honor. And I agree with you, we should make lemonade out of the lemons life throws our way. And we can, with a little help from our friends.

As they say, tomorrow is another day, and with your recognition, it’s an even better day.

Check out her blog,  Ariesgrl Book Reviews.

It’s awesome!

Today I’m Broke

Strawberry

Strawberry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some days I’m flush and I forget. I forget I have an illness. An illness that never goes away. That can only be contained. I equate it to living on a high wire. One from which you can never climb down. You are always there, suspended. Make a sudden move and you’re tumbling. And the worst part is not the tumble or even the landing; it’s the struggle to get back up onto that high wire. Because that’s where you are safest, on that thin grey line.

What makes me rich is energy. Some days my cup is full. Or at least, half full.

“You look great,” my friend says. We are out, dinner and a movie. One of our favorite things to do. And I do feel great. I treat myself to a strawberry margarita. After all, strawberries are anti-inflammatory. I’ve been doing my research. Strawberries are “medicine,” as is chocolate. And what better way to have strawberries than in a tall, cold, rim-salted glass?

That was two days ago and now it’s time to make another deposit into that good old energy bank. So soon. Perhaps if I had slept more that night I wouldn’t have leaked out so much energy. But the writing bug bit and I stayed up till the wee hours. Writing is medicine, too. Or at least, therapy.

Words have to be my greatest ‘disease modifying drug.’ Reading them and writing them. Forget the chemo; forget the steroid. I take them regularly, my little crutches. Sometimes they make me feel like the women of Star Trek, who became beautiful after popping pieces of colored jelly. As it turned out, that’s all they were. Placebos. It was actually the belief in themselves that made them beautiful.

I know my chemical drugs are not placebos and I know they help me, but I cannot rely on pills to keep me up on that high wire. I don’t want to rely on pills. I prefer to think of them as garnish, a sprinkle here, a scatter there. I’d rather the main course be the things I do that make me happy, make me feel worthwhile. Being productive sends my energy level soaring, gives me the balance I need not to tumble or stumble.

The catch-22 is, of course, that I must spend energy to make energy. Sort of like, you must spend money to make money. The trick is to deposit more than you plan to withdraw or you end up with a negative balance and no overdraft protection.

Which is definitely my case today. So when the question, “What do you want to do tonight?” arose, my answer was, “Rest.” I have learned my limits and more importantly, my limitations. I try to observe them and live within those confines. I have learned after all these years with RA to be faithful to me.

Therefore I will rest and refill my coffers; I have a long list of projects and deadlines requiring my attention. And I have no doubt that tomorrow will find me feeling like a million dollars again. For you know what else they say.

Tomorrow is another day.

And maybe next time I’m out, I will try a chocolate margarita.

Why not?