Five Minute Friday: RETURN

Today’s prompt: RETURN

My friend Gordon posted the image below on our running club’s website a few days ago. It resonated with me because, despite *all* the well-intended encouragers out there who say “no goal is impossible if you try hard enough,” I truly “just can’t” run right now. But that’s a post for a different day.

Five Minute Friday

Here’s what I can do (alert: abrupt subject change). I can get rid of all the medication (and the non-alcoholic beer) that characterized my father-in-law’s time with us. Did you know when you start hospice (at least in our case), a FedEx package arrives at your door step almost immediately filled with “comfort items” like anti-anxiety meds and some high-powered pain relievers (i.e., morphine).

I have looked at those items pretty much every time I opened our refrigerator since he died on July 2 of last year, frozen. I would say “I need to look up the procedures for getting rid of these meds and do it the right way (flush them? take them back to the pharmacy?)” and ………. do nothing.

Thanks to this blog, I moved past the “can’t” in order to return a bit more to my pre-hospice, pre-caregiver life.

They have been disposed of. Maybe not the right way but it’s just like me to get hung up on the right way and in this case the need to move on prevailed.

It turns out I CAN mobilize myself to take the action I need to take.

Staring at those items on the year anniversary of his death (7/2/18) certainly wouldn’t have been the way to go.

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: PAUSE

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: PAUSE

WHY ARE YOU SLEEPING?

Although my use of all caps here may imply yelling, that’s not exactly my intent.

I am thinking of my father-in-law asking me that when he lived with us.

He didn’t understand my quick day naps (I’m not sure I did either).

Napping has always been something I have needed.

Unfortunately, my tendency to get sleepy at inopportune times (think: meetings, when sitting in the choir loft facing the church) has led to me taking a pause when I least wanted to.

But, being home for the past four years made it a little easier to meet that need for the well-placed brief midday nap without annoying an employer, stealing time from their clock or embarrassing myself by falling asleep in front of a group.

Especially as it relates to the last four years, though, I guess mainly the three years of caregiving, I wonder if the napping wasn’t a response to the overwhelm.

I read someone talk about stress napping a few months ago and I rang true.

Maybe that’s what I’m doing, I thought.

(Although, to be fair, I’ve rarely gotten enough sleep at night so am probably in a perpetual sleep deficit to a degree.)

This article talks about stress napping. I’m not sure its premise applies to me, but it is another piece of (sweet) food for thought.

Side note: I’m listening to the Paus playlist on Spotify because themes matter!

I also often fall asleep before my plane takes off and wake up at landing. I actually love flying, but this pattern started when I was…

***end of five minutes***

…traveling for work while also caring for an infant at home (can we say exhaustion?) and seemed to get even more entrenched after 9/11. Maybe my need to avoid/escape any unpleasant effects of flying is deeper than I think. Maybe I don’t want to chat with my seatmate.

I just know that whether it’s a mental health thing, or a physical need, or some other drive, a pause through a micro-nap is something I seek often.

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: SECRET

Today’s prompt: SECRET

I bought the sleep mask pictured above recently.

(I am going to bed exceptionally early (for me) and that creates a disconnect since inevitably I *just* get to sleep when my husband comes in to go to bed and turns on the television. I am not likely to convince him not to do that, so I sought help in the form of a sleep mask.)

When I went to purchase the mask, I thought about the cute masks Tenley used to get when she was a kid. They would have kitten eyes, or some other cute design. I also thought about how much I really don’t like to have anything on my face, and remembered what a huge frustration it was for my mom during her illness to have all the CPAP and BIPAP masks on, how she said she hated having anything on her face.

I couldn’t find a mask locally and didn’t make it to the mall to look at Claire’s, which is (I think) where Tenley got hers, so I headed over to Amazon and researched a few options on the Internet for people who need help getting their environments dark enough for sleep.

It was overwhelming!

So many options.

I was struck among many of the options, though, about the fact that the part that covers the eyes is so BIG. Wouldn’t it make sense for it to be flatter?

It turns out, the design is meant to allow the wearer to still be able to blink.

I suppose that idea has merit.

As I have begun using the mask, besides the fact that it looks like a tiny strapless bra for a small person…

***end of five minutes***

…I am still a bit struck by all that space. In addition, I have a really small face so the mask seems huge even though it is adjustable.

(The reviews also talked in detail about people who found it difficult to sleep on their sides without dislodging the mask. That has been okay for me.)

It is that space that still gets me.

I open my eyes, with plenty of space to spare. My eyelashes aren’t squished and I am looking out into darkness.

That space reminds me of something more permanent than the allowance for blinking and unsmushed eyelashes.

It reminds me how dark our secrets can feel —– trapped behind a barrier that can’t be breached —– floating around and getting in the way of our ability to see clearly —– all because we have chosen to give them room.

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: INCLUDE

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: INCLUDE

Today, at my work, I had written something summarizing another piece of information (it’s what I do at this job). The client asked for me to include a link to a different site that would help the reader understand more about the topic.

Don’t you want to be the hyperlink in others’ lives?

Okay, maybe it’s just me, so I’ll own it.

I want to be the hyperlink in others’ lives, the person who helps them think a bit more deeply about topics, talk more articulately about them, and (most of all) see other angles so as to be more accepting and open about the world.

I had hoped to write this post for Mother’s Day as a tribute to my mom, but we are going out of town so five minutes is it and she deserves so much more.

HOWEVER, she was the deepest hyperlink of all in my life.

We didn’t always see eye to eye, and it took me way too long to appreciate her selflessness, but it is only through her — through a girl who grew up deep in the country, in relatively bare bones accommodations, living off the land — the same girl who insisted on going to kindergarten at age 4 because she followed her sister to the bus and just demanded to go because she wanted to learn — that I can find the “deep” background that ultimately makes me who I am.

She deserved a different end to it all, for sure. I am grateful, though, that the way everything unfolded gave me time to sit with her and just “be” for about two months. I’m not sure how “deep” we went during those visits, but it was an important investment in each other before our hyperlink of life was deactivated.

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

This post was originally published on Medium as Five Minute Friday: INCLUDE.

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: ADAPT

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: ADAPT

Due to a temporary scheduling change at my freelance job, I have adapted to a drastically early wakeup time compared to my usual and (newsflash) I like it!

I do set an excessive amount of alarms, though, to make sure I get out of bed to do this work that I like so early in the morning. The oven clock alarm. About six alarms on my iPhone in five-minute increments. An alarm on the Alarmy app (it’s so cool — check it out!).

The early mornings have changed my nights, though. I think when I look back on this time, I will realize it has all been a part of this season for me. Previously, evening would be when I tried to cram in 7 more hours worth of commitments in about 4 hours worth of time.

Draft a guest post. Cruise social media. Take care of that annoying stack of papers I haven’t yet dealt with. I finally got all my emails cleared out this week, thanks to all the free time that came from losing my 10-hour-per-week part-time gig, so I no longer have to include “try to get Gmail down from 5,000” on this list.

Because we eat relatively late (we just do – after 25 years of marriage, this just isn’t going to change!), by the time we manage to prepare dinner and eat it, it’s time to iron Wayne’s clothes (yes, pin a medal on me for being such an awesome wife) and work my way to bed.

Maybe all those other things I tried to squeeze in over all those other hours in previous years needed to be winnowed down anyway.

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: STUCK

Today’s prompt: STUCK

I did something yesterday that hearkened to a different (but somehow similar) point in my life. Back when I lived in New York City, I had been working at my job (that I loved) for a few months, and my boss (who I also loved, mostly), wanted me to return to the Bronx (which I loved!) that night to participate in a Kiwanis meeting. I didn’t FULLY understand that it was not so much a request as a demand. He really liked us employees to be in Kiwanis.

But instead, I went to see the movie Pretty Woman. By myself.

I am sure all the introverts in the crowd can understand why I was able to recharge my batteries more by going to a movie by myself than going to a Kiwanis meeting (nothing against Kiwanis). I can almost still picture everything about that night — I’m pretty sure it was a theater on 86th Street.

I had a little damage control to do the next day (and as you can imagine it wasn’t long until I was a card-carrying Kiwanian (something I also grew to love).

That was sometime around late 1989/early 1990.

Here it is 2018 and I found myself staring at my email inbox, hoping for an email related to a job application I had submitted, an email/text from my realtor with an offer on our house that won’t result in us being underwater, or (best of both worlds) one of each. I was stuck in a cycle of waiting that no amount of wishing would change.

Therefore, I went to a movie (The Greatest Showman) by myself. I did offer my husband a half-hearted invitation, but truly I wanted to be alone (and he couldn’t join me so it worked out).

Nothing changed about my email inbox or text messages related to those two watched pots that hadn’t boiled, BUT it did my heart good to spend two hours immersed in someone else’s dream.

As they say in the movie, dreaming with your eyes wide open can be magical and powerful.

Let’s hope it can help me get unstuck, no matter the outcome of these two unresolved issues.Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: TURN

Today’s prompt: TURN

I wrote a post recently about Prana (PSA: you can still use code GGPK18 to get 15% off online!) and within the post, I discussed how one of the items they had shared with me could be great for yoga. I had all intents of actually doing yoga and taking pictures prior to preparing that post, but time ran out.

Today I am going to yoga. 

I have gotten so detached from fitness in general (and I believe yoga is about physical as well as mental fitness). I have also been doing Weight Watchers since January and, although I have had success and lost around 15 pounds, I keep thinking how much exercise would accelerate that loss (and make me feel so much better).

Is is time to turn around the long, sad slide of my fitness life.

I, admittedly, gave up about a year and a half ago when it became impossible to run without tachycardia issues even with beta blockers. Somehow, before I knew it, that turned into not just a halt on running but a halt on moving.

How? Why?

But it ends today. I suppose the thanks goes partially to the fact that my friend Diana is teaching a yoga class at noon, partially to a change in my work schedule that frees me up by noon, and the fact that I still feel I owe that blog post a session of yoga.

Let’s hope one session turns into many more.

Whereas my fitness life before was for me and my health, it was also for some public reasons (being a Fitfluential ambassador, being able to be in the “in” fitness crowd). Time to turn back to basics for now.

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: OTHER

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: OTHER

From the moment I heard that today’s prompt would be other, I knew I wanted to write about other as a verb. I originally thought I wanted to reflect on “othering,” treating people of different colors or abilities as something aside/more/exceptional than their humanity. It is something I probably did (although with good intentions) with my mother-in-law, who was blind. I overlooked her sheer humanity sometimes because I was so focused on the things she did as a blind person (knitting, golfing, ice skating, etc.) that I probably made a bigger fuss than she preferred.

Early this morning, though, I read Scott Simon’s piece A Sister Shares ‘Horrible And Wonderful’ Memories Of Her Brother’s Life And Death. There’s a reference in the piece to being a sister but not as a noun (she was his sister) rather as a verb (she sistered him for lack of a less awkward treatment).

Something about that stuck with me. I thought about headstones (there have been quite a few of those lately in our family) and how they often include the nouns: mother/wife/sister/friend/etc.

At a time when we have lost people in our family and lost friends to disease and accidents, I am struck that it is a potent opportunity to be a verb in the lives around us.

(Bear with me the grammar may be weird but…)

To mother our children

To friend those who aren’t of our blood but make our lives more complete

To sister or brother our siblings (or our siblings of the heart (shout out to my only children friends!)

To resident (reside in) our homes and neighborhoods

To citizen our nation.

Life often calls us to act; I am reminded to choose to do so more consciously.

This is the book Scott’s piece was about. It’s already on my Audible wish list.

Note: The audio version of Scott Simon’s piece can be heard here:

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: RELEASE

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: RELEASE

You know how some fishing options are “catch and release”? The person doing the fishing has the thrill of the hunt, but the fish gets the privilege of living to swim another day because it gets released after being caught.

Well, I have had some catch and release experiences lately, except with lizards and not fish. I am not sure what (if anything) the universe is trying to tell me.

Saturday, Tenley and I were on our way to the cemetery for the burial of my in-law’s ashes. My sister-in-law asked us to stop at Home Depot and pick up some ferns to place near the headstone on our way to the ceremony. (Note: Tenley has a brand new immaculate car … this matters slightly for this story. She wasn’t all that excited about dirt/ferns/water in the car but when relatives call, we respond.) As I was placing one of the ferns in her car, I noticed something ALIVE on one of the fronds. A lizard! I quickly took the fern back OUT of the car and performed an elaborate, awkward production to get it off of the fern and onto the sidewalk. I am just glad I found it BEFORE she and I were in transit. Although I caught lizards with my hands when I was a kid, they are not my thing at all these days.

Fast forward to yesterday. I was watching our cat, Alice Cooper stalk a green lizard that was between a window and a screen. Alice is a geriatric cat, and it was fun to see her so excited about something. Her tail was whipping furiously. I was just enjoying it — the lizard was outside and we were inside, as nature intended.

Once our other cat, Bella, showed up, she got in on the fun. I was taking pictures (and videos (see below) and sharing them with Tenley.

UNTIL (wait for it) somehow Bella enticed the lizard INSIDE through a small gap in the window!!

**end of five minutes**

I was no longer enjoying this and wanted her to RELEASE THE LIZARD!

One thing you have to know about Bella is she loves being outside. It was the ongoing bane of my existence that she took advantage of my father-in-law’s frequent trips outside to smoke his cigars to craft her own escapes. He thought it was hilarious. I didn’t.

My strategy was to take advantage of her love of the outdoors, hoping she would keep her prized lizard in her mouth, and get the lizard OUT even though that meant I would have to lure Bella back IN (luring Bella in is frustrating but not impossible. We are the ones in charge of the food bowls!).

There I am, screaming at Bella to go outside, praying she’ll keep the Lizard in her mouth.

Like a recalcitrant toddler, she stopped dead in her tracks short of the door and just stared at me.

She did drop the lizard. It was a bit shocked at this point and probably injured.

I screamed at Bella a few more times to take the lizard outside (why did I think she would obey??!!).

I then gave up and took a broom to manipulate the lizard outside. I have to admit I wasn’t gentle. Maybe the creature would  have had a fighting chance if I had picked it up but I just couldn’t bring myself to do that.

Its lifeless carcass was still on our porch where I had swept it hours later.

Unlike its cousin in Tampa, which survived its release, Bella’s prized lizard was not so lucky.

I think she’s still holding a grudge against me!

(See her enthusiasm (and the lizard in the last moments of its life) below — I know I shot this vertical – a mistake in the excitement of capturing the action!)

 

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

I am also linking up to Kat Bouska’s site (www.mamakatslosinit.com), under the prompt “Share an instagram image from this month and explain what it means to you.”

 

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: PROVIDE

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: PROVIDE

I grabbed the sunrise picture above this morning at around 7:20, when I was making coffee in the middle of a work shift that had started at 4 a.m.

When I used to run, sunrise runs in this neighborhood were the best. I would think “this will never end. I will never take it for granted. I will always appreciate this. Nothing else can provide the joy that running, in Hawk’s Landing, at sunrise provides.

As it turns out, sunrises are different now. I’m more likely to be at my laptop in slippers than on the pavement in running shoes.

Maybe the “no running” imposition due to health concerns was timed in a way that made it a little less heartbreaking (pun slightly intended) to take on work that has to happen early.

That work is allowing me to help provide for my family. And the latest changes are providing challenges to my brain that I haven’t experienced in a long time. Taking on a slightly higher responsibility makes two hours of the shift FLY by. Is it weird to compare it to meditation? It’s away from social media. It’s intense concentration. It’s (largely) solitary. It introduces me to new topics and tasks while drawing on my love of writing and editing. The biggest challenge is taking in large amounts of information quickly and fact-checking them.

That fact-checking challenge, come to think of it, is a little like trying to top a personal running goal or retain the feeling of running through a sunrise.

[end of five minutes]

As we prepare to leave this house, I’ll always carry with me gratitude for the different types of joys and challenges I’ve experienced here at sunrise.

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.