Sunday, January 29, 2012

Making the Mature Decision

It’s been a year since my dog Czar died and I’ve yearned for another black lab since the very next day.  With the passing of the anniversary of Czar’s death, that yearning became even stronger and I began looking into black lab puppies or youngsters.  Last weekend I located a 14 month-old female that was available for adoption.   We went to visit her, but the visit didn’t go quite as I had hoped.  I made arrangements to go back the next day, but then my back went out and I had to postpone.  It took all week for my back to get better so I had a lot of time to think about bringing another dog into our family.  I had hoped to finally make the second visit with the dog yesterday, but that didn’t work out.  As the day went by, I came closer and closer to realizing that, while I really want another black lab, that’s probably not the right thing to do.  We already have three dogs and I walk two of them most days.  How would I walk a third one?  When we travel, the three dogs fit nicely in the suburban with the three kids that are left at home.  Where would we put another large dog?  Our one big dog has become my shadow, following me around the house, sleeping by my bed.  Would he accept another big dog beside him?  No, I may want another black lab, but I’m not four years old.  Add almost a half-century to that number and I should be old enough to realize that just because I want it doesn’t mean I have to have it.  Ah, drat that darn maturity thing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Seven Miracles

Today I started reading the book, Make Miracles in Forty Days.   The author asks that we make a list of miracles we’ve seen.  I’ve thought about this, but the only real miracle I can think of is children.  As a person, an adult, it’s miraculous to me that children ever come into our lives.  And it isn’t just the “miracle of birth”, though that’s pretty miraculous.  It’s that there are children at all.  Regardless of how they come into our lives – birth, adoption, osmosis – it seems somewhat miraculous to me that they are here.  That I am their “leader”; that they learn from me; that who they become is, in large part, based on what I teach them, what I show them.  When I was younger, the miracle of children was based on the incredible biology of two people creating one new, separate being.  Later, I realized that there was also a miracle in being granted the responsibility of being given a child to raise.  And, still later, I learned that a similar miracle happens when a child chooses you.  Have I seen other miracles?  I can’t wrap my thoughts around any others right now, but the sounds of laughter and teasing coming from my kitchen, as several of my miracles clean the dinner dishes, is pretty miraculous in itself.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Now THAT was a Hot Flash!

For more than a decade I’ve experienced the perimenopausal symptom of night sweats and I’ve also noticed that my body no longer regulates temperature as efficiently as it used.  I’ve even had a few of what I would call “mini hot-flashes”.  Then this past weekend I was awakened in the pre-dawn hours to a fiery heat that I at first thought was emanating from my bed.  Still not fully awake, I jumped out of bed hoping to escape the fire.  I made a whining, crying noise and then, worried that I’d wake up my sleeping husband, I ran into our bathroom but the fire stayed with me.  I jumped around the bathroom trying to escape the fire, fanning myself with my hands and still making the whining, crying noise.  Not finding any relief in the bathroom, I ran out, through our bedroom and into the hallway.  I was still fanning myself and still making the nonverbal noise, but there was no relief in the hallway, either.  Sometime during this little predawn jaunt, I fully woke up and realized that the fire was not in my bed, it was not following me, it was IN me!  Night sweats, temperature deregulation, mini hot-flashes – pshaw!  This was a real, honest-to-goodness hot flash!  Maybe I need to get a little yellow caution sign, not for my car, but to wear around my neck, that reads, “Caution – Hormones on board!”

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I Have a Plan

Here we are again, into a new year, and I realize once again just how much I want to do and wonder how I can ever manage to fulfill all of my dreams.  How do some people get bored with life when I can’t even manage to do much more than scratch the surface of my wish list?

With every new year, for as long as I can remember, comes the renewed desire to lose weight.  As I age, that desire includes a lot more than just the number on the scale.  Yes, that number needs to go down, but I also want to make sure my innards are staying healthy, my muscles are not atrophying and my body, in general, retains (or improves) its flexibility.  This means setting aside time to exercise, which I’ve done for the more than a decade, but also means that exercise needs to include more than just the treadmill – weights, yoga, stretching, a walk outside for exercise, fresh air and peace of mind.  Speaking of peace of mind, I also want to find time to think about “stuff” – life, karma, spirituality, dreams, mental expansion, i.e. learning.  Thinking, reading and writing give me a feeling of fullness and joy, much like the “high” I feel at the end of a good workout.  Both physical and mental pursuits leave me feeling aware.  Aware of my body and all it can do; aware of my mind and heart and all there is to learn and understand.  Aware of the joyful nature of life that is often forgotten in the need to just get through the day.

Yesterday and today I was up early, as I usually am, but instead of heading for the exercise room, I’ve taken the extra early-morning hours to read, think and, now write.  I still got in my workout yesterday – I walked/ran a 10k, and today I will take the dogs for a walk once the sun is up, but this quiet time, this mental workout, is, oh, so precious.  How do I fit this into my regular there’s-so-much-to-get-done days?  Victor Hugo said, “He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out the plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.”  Sure, my life is busy – isn’t everyone’s?  But I have learned to make time for physical exercise and it now seems so obvious that I need to make time for mental pursuits as well.  Time everyday.  Time that is committed to my calendar as one of the “transactions” of my day.  Tomorrow, when the alarm goes off at 4:45, I will rise, workout, walk the dogs – all part of my physical fitness routine, then I will read, think and, perhaps, write – absolutely necessary components for my mental fitness.  And I will do the same the next day, the day after that and, again, the following day.  I have a plan.