Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Friday, October 17, 2014

The October Report

Well, you'll never guess what happened: I didn't lose my job after all!  The very night BEFORE my supposed last day of work, I spoke to two coworkers who both asked if I'd spoken to my manager.  Baffled, I said no, I hadn't, and why?  Seems there had been a reconsideration somewhere, and it was decided that they would renew my contract after all.  And while this was a big relief (seriously, it was HUGE), it was a little odd the way my manager played it off like that had been the idea all along, and why was I acting so surprised, anyway?  Whatever... I was happy to seize the opportunity, and I've just kept my head down and kept right on working.  Sometimes with large companies, the less you're noticed, the safer you are.

And so, this past month, I've been busy working away in my upstairs office, while keeping watch over my neighborhood from my front-facing window.  Just call me Mrs. Kravitz (but you'd have to hark back to the 60s and the "Bewitched" TV show to understand that reference).  But yes, that's me, keeping watch on Preakness Drive's comings and goings, taking note of how fast the painters are moving along through the neighborhood (not fast enough) and whether or not they are noticing all of the repair work that needs doing first (not often enough).  *sigh*  So I've had to bust out of my little office nook and remind them a couple of times - you know, just to make sure a good job gets done.  Mrs. Kravitz is on duty 8 hours a day.  You're welcome, Preakness Drive.

I've been on special diet patrol as well.  I haven't had a drop of grain for 2 months, and you know what?  I don't feel any different at all, darn it.  I was so hoping... My rheumatologist said that going gluten free helps 7 out of 10 people, but not me, apparently.  I will persevere for the full three months, however, and make my final judgement then.  In the meantime, 3 fingers on my left hand and two on my right hand, and both wrists continue to be swollen and stiff every morning, like rubber gloves that you blow up.  It's painful and annoying, and the joints are starting to have knobs and knots on them.  The damage has begun, and it makes me sad.  I want my young hands back.  For a couple of days my jaw also flared and I couldn't close my teeth, but it didn't last too long.  And the dry mouth!  And yuck - another eye infection!  While relating this to my doc, she took careful notes, and when I was reading the order for a new set of labs I noticed she wants them to test for something called "sicca syndrome."  I googled it (what did we ever do without Google??) and it's another autoimmune illness that many times goes hand in hand with rheumatoid arthritis.  Hurray...  Possibly more fun on the horizon.  SO - next I'll need to see if dairy is causing me grief, and that will be hard.  Because I do love my butter and cheese.  (Does ghee count as butter?  I'll have to ask...)  We're going to Utah again the first part of November, and I'll have to consult my apothecary guru lady again to see what she thinks.  My rheumatologist is open to it.  That's what I like about her - she has such an open mind.  I love a doc who will think outside the box.

Oh - and yesterday I got a massage.  I mean, who doesn't love a massage, but this time I was hoping that it would really help me with the swelling and pain.  And it did - in part, I think, because I was so darn relaxed.  I felt so much better the rest of the day that I'm convinced I need to lower the stress in my life.

You would think that someone who works at home all day in leggings and a baggy T-shirt would not have much stress.  But you would be wrong.  I bring it on myself - I'm fully aware of that - and I know I need to learn to let things go and remember that I cannot control the universe.  But that's hard for me to do.  I'm a control freak.

When I see my aunt and she hasn't slept in two days, and she can't string together enough words to form a sentence, I worry.  And I fret when she can't seem to style a simple pixie cut.  When she can't remember how to put a movie in the DVD player.  When she gets mad at me for trying to help.  I need to just STOP.  Stop helping, let it go, que sera sera.  She is the one who needs to get her sleep and eat right.  I cannot force her.  And when she's too proud to admit she can't do something I need to stop trying to do it for her anyway.  Just let it be.  Decompress.  Take a very deep breath, give her a big hug, and say good night.  There's always tomorrow.

When we all had to meet together recently, and tell my dad he couldn't drive anymore, I didn't sleep for two nights beforehand.  It was horrible, and heartbreaking just thinking about it.  But I needn't have worried, because my dad came though it like a champ.  He was surprised, he was sad and disappointed, but he took it like a man, and I haven't heard a word of complaint.  He was/IS a class act.  He's a warrior with his cancer - he won't give it an inch.  When others would lie whimpering under the covers, he is up, and out to the gym.  Daily.  We got him a driver - Frankie - who takes him to the gym, and wherever else he wants to go.  He doesn't really like it, but I think it will grab hold after some time.  I told him I am taking notes, and that in 20 years when my kids have to tell me I can't drive, wherever he is he can have a good laugh at my expense.  But because I've been taking those notes, I hope I am a class act too. 

But it's been a difficult few weeks getting through all of these little skirmishes of the soul.  Trying to figure out where the line is between dignity and safety.  Resisting the urge to argue every little point I don't agree with.  Pick my battles wisely, and stick to them with determination, because my natural inclination is to waffle when the going gets tough, and the stubborn get...well... more stubborn.  And disagreeable.  I'm learning to learn to walk away, to not take it personally, and to take care of my stress before it kills me.

I'm learning to cook with nut flours and coconut flour, and honey and maple sugar instead of white sugar.  Is it as delicious?  Hmmmm... probably not.  But I'll tell you, after 2 months of nothing that even remotely resembles bread, or cookies, a rough looking little bun made from almond flour that you can split and toast in the morning tastes DIVINE.  Pancakes made from coconut flour and banana?  Don't mind if I do! 

But the best were the little pumpkin cookies drizzled with a honey cinnamon glaze.  Even L had to admit that they were good little cookies.  We are used to our "pasta" being zucchini "zoodles" or spaghetti squash.  We're giving it a good college try.

Now the family.  Christmas planning has already started.  Christmas - can you believe it's almost here again?  Already?  But those gift lists are already being made.  And planned out.  It's crazy.  To add to that nuttiness, it's almost time for Hayden and Drezden's birthdays.  They are having a dual party this year.  Drezzie will be one, and Hayden will be five.  And they're having a Halloween-themed party.  What fun - wish I could go too!  Katie always throws such good parties for her kids.  So this little boy here:

and this little sweetheart here:

will celebrate with a few of their friends in a couple of weeks.  Drezden has no opinions or ideas on the matter, but Hayden is beyond excited.  She has a special doll she is wildly excited about getting, and she is involved in all aspects of the planning.  She'll be a stunning birthday girl.  Her broken wrist healed nicely and life is pretty much back to normal for her.  Katie got the boot off her foot/ankle as well, but she is still in physical therapy, much to her dismay.  It'll be a while before she walks without limping.  Moped drivers beware. (It was a moped crash that broke her ankle whilst on Cape Cod for their 10th anniversary.)  They are gearing up to live through their last New England winter.  Next year Zach will be done with his residency and they'll venture out into the real world - it's been a long, long haul.  They've talked to hospitals in San Diego, and in Scottsdale.  More will follow, I'm sure, so  it's still a mystery where they'll end up.  Of course, I'm rooting for San Diego, but wherever they end up, it will be the right place.  And like a kid on Christmas Eve, I'm getting very tired of the suspense - mostly, I'd just like it to be somewhere that's easy to travel to.  New England is lovely, (so, so lovely!) but it got very expensive to get to.  I say, if they can't be in my state, then at least make it a state that I like to go to.  And there are a lot of those, so I'm feeling fairly confident.

And so that's the October report.  The way it's been going, I probably won't have another until at least November.  I mean, I'd love to be back and ramble on, but there's only so much you can say about inflammation and almond flour and work.  Yep, life is a regular ball of fire around here.  In November we'll celebrate my dad's 84th birthday.  That will be an occasion to jot down and discuss.  My mom is already making plans to have everyone over.  We'll have to make it a real birthday soiree.  A Wingding.  Dad may not stay awake for the whole thing, but let it be said that there will be celebrating.  After all, a young man doesn't turn 84 every day. 

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