Category Archives: Uncategorized

imperfect reconciliation

imperfect reconciliation
Relationships between mothers and daughters are complex things, mine is no exception.

My mother’s heart issues go back years. First the pace maker, then the unstable blood pressure. The last two years, the reality came. Congestive heart failure. The rushing ambulances to the ERs, the prolonged ICU stays, the rehabilitation. It has just made her weaker and weaker.

I’ve spent many hours while watching her sleep in the hospital overwhelmed by anxiety. Coming to terms with the one fact that I have avoided as long as possible. Diane, you cannot save her from this journey. It’s one we will all have to walk for ourselves.

As I grew from a girl to a woman, somewhere without notice, the roles reversed and I became the care taker of my mother, instead of the other way around. She has lived close to me and recently, far away in FL, but I’ve tried my best to provide for her. She made sure we kids grew up with everything we wanted….now it was our turn to ensure she wanted for nothing. That’s how I saw it anyway, even though that plan went awry. A story for another day.

My mother lives with my younger sister. They are loving companions, they’ve sewn their lives together, like sisters almost. In the end, I’m glad they have each other, although it has been complicated, challenging, painful sometimes.

I’ve had periods of my life when I’ve not spoken to my mom. The longest period was an entire year….probably 6 years ago. I broke the ice and called her when I was going in for surgery. As stubborn as I can be (trust and believe!), my mother is the most stubborn person I’ve ever known. She will suffer pain in her heart so deep…just to avoid saying, I’m sorry, I was wrong. She’s a beautiful woman, in every aspect, but she can’t bring herself to that humble place. My mom has endured a lot of hardship in her life. She has that Irish dna that affords her super human strength to pull herself up from her boot straps and move forward. Warmth and love….well, its sprinkled in there….but you have to look hard for it. Love is expected. She expects you to know she feels it. My troubles have come when I’ve asked her to show it to me. Here is where our antlers have locked and well….thats the water. Now here comes the bridge….

January 2022 began with mom in the ICU. Her first rehab was at home in FL because we couldn’t find a rehabilitation hospital to take her. She went back into the hospital in May, this time was much worse. She was severely anemic and had lost her conscious awareness. She did not know where she was or what was happening to her. They had to tie her hands to the bed, to keep her from ripping out her IVs, her oxygen and attempting to leave. By the time I got from Maryland to Florida, she was a tiny little woman in this big hospital bed.

She was so glad to see me. She had the wide eyes of a child. I sat at her bedside and talked with her, softly. Taking time to explain to her why she was there, and what was happening to her. And to say….I know this is scary. I’d be scared too. But it’s OK, it’s behind you now. Now let’s look forward. We talked about what we’d need to do and that she had some work to do to get strong enough to go home. Truthfully, I don’t know if I was lying then. I don’t know if mom is going home. We can hope though.

Days later she moved to rehab, and these conversations continued each night as I visited her. One night we were selecting her meals for the week and spent longer than was necessary visiting all our food favorites. Waffles with strawberries and cream for Sunday breakfast, and catfish (yes, you love catfish, mom, even though you always say you’ve never had it. LOL) for dinner. We talked about the days when I was a girl and we went camping with Dad. We laughed about crazy dinners she had made, and Christmas trees that my older sister fell into and knocked flat to the floor.

One day as she napped, I looked at my mom and realized….I had a choice to make. I was going to either “fight” with my mom till then end….OR….choose to find a way to love her by believing she loved me, even when she couldn’t say it or show it.

Leaving Florida to go home to Maryland while Mom is in rehab was difficult. Bargaining with myself, I manage by calling her every day. I pick up the phone with a story in my mind….I live the future with my mom by remembering the past. It’s easier to connect with her from those days long ago. It’s imperfect, but I’ve decided….I’ve decided to love my mother this way.

Last night, she ended our call with this….Diane, I love you, I’ve always loved you.

I know mom….and I’ll never doubt it again. I’m on the bridge with you mom. There is no way you will walk this next journey alone. I’m with you mom.

Ciao for now…..Diane

genuine

genuine
Was it a break? Did I snap? Or did I run out of ability to pretend anymore.

No matter. Whatever happened, it has become a choice. A choice that I am settled with and that feels like the right way to spend the remaining energy that will be my life. My circle has always been small. Small family, small circle of friends, small connections that comprised my small piece of this big world. Some people must life large. They become the “mayors” of the street, the PTA presidents, the class moms, the rumor mill, the celebrities. Those folks feed on the energy of others. Eating attention like cheese-its and collecting friends on FaceBooks like stamps. I don’t judge, I just don’t get it. It feels like an awful lot of work, so much wasted energy, for a whole lot of inauthentic stuff, in result. Words that fade, love masking jealousy, friendship in fair weather only, and attention as long as you serve a purpose…usually their purpose.

The object of my affection has always been something simpler. something quiet. something true. something genuine.

A page from my favorite book, The Velveteen Rabbit, says it best…

He said. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why
it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have
sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally,
by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your
eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these
things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except
to people who don’t understand.”

So my circle gets smaller, as fake friends or family in name only, are shown to be as inauthentic as a raggedy old bunny. No worries. No pain. No r.e.a.l. loss. What remains is beautiful and deep and dependable and trusted. What remains is genuine. And I rest my head on my pillow tonight knowing, you will be there when I wake.

Ciao for now…..Diane

my happiness project

my happiness project
When I wandered into this place again today, I knew it had been a long dark while. Almost a year. Wow. I’ve been unhappy longer than I’d realized. The only thing I know for certain is — it’s not going to get better unless I work on it.

The next year will be that work. My own little happiness project. LOL, that might sound like I know what I’m doing. Eh, long ago I leaned toward the belief that the best thing’s in life happen when you let gooooo…..when you don’t know what you’re doing. More than anything, what I need is to get my thoughts out of my head, and to start “doing” again. Maybe doing new things, old things, whatever things….but just doing, moving, forward momentum in my life, my feelings….and eventually I think that will move me toward my happiness.

I’m committing to a renewed habit to come here each day, and leave behind some feelings and thoughts. In the end, it doesn’t matter if anyone beyond myself ever reads them. I reminded myself how cathartic the act of writing has been for me during high and low periods of my life. I’m going to lean into it now, and if any bit of what I leave behind helps you…well, that is the gift of community. When you are low, you need the community. When you feel strong, the community needs you.

So please, come….go…take and give…to this community. Happiness….we’re coming for you.

Ciao for now, Diane

When Two Good is 3 good things

When Two Good is 3 good things

Around 2pm, my stomach starts to rumble for a snack. THIS IS GOOD!

It’s hunger. And this snackity expert (me, this girl right here) hasn’t felt that very often. Back in my “before” days when I was grazing constantly…it’s hard to ever f.e.e.l. hunger. Instead I often felt discomfort and shame. But that’s another story for another day.

So, yesterday was shopping, planning and prepping day, AKA Saturday. At the Publix down here in Florida, my husband Peter and I found a good thing. Well, it’s actually Two Good.

I walk the aisle with my WW scanner App AND my education on carbs. As a T2 diabetic person, my #1 job for myself is to eat well. Weight loss is a derivative. I OWE myself good nutrition. I’ve managed to regain control over my blood glucose levels, free of medications, and I want to keep it that way. I’ve made the progress I’ve made by making good choices. Along the way, I shed many foods that used to be staples in my diet. For instance, I rarely eat fruit these days AND its been forever since I’ve had a yogurt.

Back to today. It’s 2pm. I’m hungry. First move – make a pot of tea. See if what i am feeling can be satiated by a nice hot cup of #JOY.

No Go. Didn’t cut it. I’m actually hungry. GOOD Diane. You are actually hungry, so f.o.o.d. IS the appropriate answer.

I pulled one of these Two Good yogurts out of the fridge, opened the lid, slipped in the spoon and tasted.

Yes.

TWO GOOD will be my 3 small good things for today. But Diane, they are TWO good, how can they be 3 good things?

Well – here is how this yogurt sizes up on my 3 good things list for today.

#1 – It’s coconut. s.w.o.o.n. <3 <3 <3

#2 – It’s only 3 grams of carb and that is due in large part to the fact that it only has 2 grams of sugar in the whole thing! Very carb friendly for a yogurt.

and #3 – The entire 5.3 ounce container is only 2 Weight Watchers smart points. For COCONUT! Hey, all of you coconut lovers out there know, when you “ZAP” a coconut yogurt, you get ready for 7 points on average. I had to zap these three times in the store (um…and once more just now before I ate it)….I just couldn’t believe it. All this coconut yumminess for 2 points and I can make a good carb choice.

Two Good is my 3 good things for today. Maybe you will try it….but however you feed your hunger this afternoon – make good choices for yourself. You. Are. Worth. It.

Ciao for now….Diane

security is under-rated

security is under-rated

I woke up this morning, like every morning, in safety, security, warmth and comfort. Gratitude abundance!

Before I even opened my eyes this morning, I could feel the things for which I am grateful.

Today’s small things are warm, soft and fixed.

#1 – The safety and comfort of my bed. I perhaps don’t think enough about the women and children in this world who live without this…and what it must do to their sense of self and security in the world.

#2 – Sometimes when I wake up an hour or two too early, I reach out, eyes still closed, and find Peter’s hand. He responds and clasps his warmth around my hand….and I drift back to sleep. Peter’s love is a fixed mark and it grounds me to the planet.

#3 – Quiet mornings where my shuffling feet are the only sound in the house. I make my coffee and sit outside, listening to the birds for a few moments…waking up slowly. There is security in this quiet. Our world, in big places far away, and small neighborhoods nearby need more peace.

Find your joy….

Ciao for now…Diane

Bacon, eggs and avocado!

Bacon, eggs and avocado!

Those are my 3 things today. I’m grateful for 1) Bacon, 2) Eggs, and 3 )Avocado.

This combination is my breakfast most days. In some combination, form and function. G.O.N.E. are the days of a tiny yogurt and berries. Eating bird seed and drinking water to save calories and opportunity for a treat later in the day. Those treats would spiral me into sugar oblivion. I’ve learned that those milk and fruit options were also a trigger for me. Not a key to success for me anyway. Of late, I am following a low carb, keto type diet, with focus on protein and healthy fats. It’s working. What does “working” mean, well… firstly, I. AM. SATISFIED! I am full, satiated both physically and spiritually. Hey, don’t discount the spiritual aspect of food. The universe gave us taste buds, so life could be sweeter, spicier, full of flavor and zest. Add those things back into your life, but in a healthy meaningful way.

Conclusion….my 3 small things today fill me with g.r.a.t.i.t.u.d.e. I am HAPPY. And…I’m losing weight and gaining control over my appetite and choices. A+ Diane.

Ciao for now…Diane

Gratitude all around you

Gratitude all around you

Build a habit of finding 3 small things each day. Three small things that make you grateful.

I’ve been gone for too long. So my #1 thing I am grateful for is …You. The fact that anyone is even still out t.h.e.r.e. reading this, is amazing in itself. So thank you. Thank you for listening in on my internal dialogue. The self-imposed therapy as I work my lifelong problem to turn my critical internal voice into a friend.

So we’re here. On the other side of the pandemic. Or we hope anyway. The past 18 months…whew. When somebody finds that DELETE button…PUSH it twice, okay? Just to make sure. Well, actually, maybe I don’t want to delete ALL of it. Let’s go back to gratitude….because I found some things that Ive learned to cherish in the past year….things that have become more deeply important to me than ever before. I wanna keep those. So, let me get them out of the way, and into my treasure basket – THEN, you can push the button. TWICE, remember, hit it twice.

So #2 came in the form of technology. When we all began to hunker down and separate physically, we learned to use ZOOM and let people, friends, work colleagues, and even strangers into our homes. Yea, even strangers. For me this happened in my Weight Watchers meetings. When the Workshops in Maryland closed down, (eh- and NEVER opened again, Grrrr!), an opening in the universe brought me Denise and all my old East Brunswick WW friends on ZOOM! WOW! Gratitude in abundance. It’s Sunday morning at 9am on ZOOM, but o.m.g is it fun. Huh? Weight Loss Can Be FUN? YES! We laugh, we learn, we motivate, we comfort and encourage. We. Are. Friends. My #2 of small things IS that WW community. Still to this day, I have never found a place where I feel as comfortable. There is a green chair in East Brunswick that I miss So So much. But Sundays on ZOOM bring that green chair and the community that surrounds it right. into. my. home. Come friends, you are welcome here. I am really hoping this lasts forever!

Number 3, for today…is family. My daughters who have cuddled closer this year. My husband who remains a solid rock upon which I rely and yet (also) a soft place for me to rest and be safe. Thank you sweethearts….your love and closeness this year has meant everything. My mom and my sister in Florida….boy have they had their fair share (and then some) of tough times. I’m grateful for your resilience and your bravery. You are not alone. Your family , as small as we are, are around you. Rely on us.

So the task for the next while….however long this while may be…is to look inside your life and find the small things. In those small things, I believe, we will find peace, and comfort, and the drive to reach tomorrow…..and its 3 more things.

We’ll find happiness….3 small things at a time.

I’m here, loving that you are there! Thank you….be well friends.

Ciao for now…Diane

A new day with no mistakes

A new day with no mistakes

When my daughter Erin was a little girl of 7 perhaps, we stumbled across a tv show, Anne of Green Gables. Now I had read the book when I was a girl, but soon enough Erin and I had pulled the back sofa cushions off the couch, and we snuggled in under a blanket and fell in love with Anne and Gilbert. Perhaps we became kindred spirits of sorts. Week after week, we laughed and talked and enjoyed being together with these amazing characters. Anne was so relatable….equally for a 7 year old and her middle age mom. We promised one day we’d go to PEI together. It’s still on our bucket list, but I’m convinced it will happen one day.

Anne had a resilience about her that was intoxicating. Every day was a fresh beginning, with no mistakes in it yet. Reflecting back, her mistakes were harmless, joyfully innocent, typically well intended. Anne was the gift to Marilla and Matthew that helped them see the hardship of life through a softer, playful, unbounded perspective.

Mistakes. What of them. Nothing more than an attempt. A try. A stretch with good intentions.

Good thing, tomorrow will come again. And another chance, a new day with a blank canvas upon which we will paint our mistakes. Anne, and my 7 year old Erin, visited my memories today and brought beautiful perspective into the things that challenge me. I’ll try again, and again, and again. We’re blessed with another new day…..use it well friends. I know you will.

Ciao for now….Diane

weight loss is the side effect of being a bad@ss

weight loss is the side effect of being a bad@ss

Sometimes the universe is talking to you….and it takes a little time to hear.

This weekend, i heard this statement, “Weight loss is the side effect of being a bad ass.” I was getting dressed after a nice hot relaxing bath this morning, and it stopped me in my tracks.

This doctor I was listening to on Youtube went on to say….most people who are trying to lose substantial weight ask him, ” I hope once I lose it, I can maintain it”. But what he says in reply is…”Maintaining is the first step to re-gaining”. Whoa.

Yea. Apparently, we need to be vigilant every day. Whew, man….just the thought of that makes me tired. Aren’t you tired? Well, this doctor said, “yea…well…you can be tired if you choose to see living life that way. But instead, he suggests that we shift our mind, and reframe our goals. See life every day as exciting and feeding ourself as one very small part of it. That it’s not hard. We make it hard by how we choose to look at food and weight as work”.

What if weight was just not that important. Huh?

LOL, yea, um – that’s been my life’s work Doc. My weight.

But see, THAT’S exactly what I’ve been doing wrong. Weight…up, or down, or the same….is NOT the point. It’s how I’ve been living my life that matters. My weight is just a side effect of how I’ve been living.

Most significantly overweight people have other factors that have lead to weight gain beyond overindulgance and bad relationships with food. Some of us have confidence issues, and we should work on that. We hide in the back of the photo, or better still — we take the photos to avoid being in them at all. We hide in the back row of our lives. Silence our voices. Bury our feelings. Deny our strengths. Forget our dreams. Fail before we try. Is it any surprise that we doubt our abilities?

The advice to us is to find something, something to throw yourself into that will grow an ability, grow your confidence, potentially open a new door for ourselves….. and become a badass at it. I <3 this!

I think this is what running was for me. Running was such a surprise. How much I loved it. How good it made me feel. And how capable I became at it. Who knew…I could be athletic? When I lost running…I felt like I lost ALL OF THAT. But thank goodness I allowed myself to try something else. None of us are 1-and-done at a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. You can have a fresh start any. and. every. day. of . the. week. Now, kettlebell workouts give me that same feeling.

I. Can. Do. A. Plank .

I LOVE BURPEES

I Can Swing 53 pounds.

Who Is ThiS Person?

I’m Me. I Am A Badass.

Or at least that’s how it feels every time I do kettlebells.

While in quarantine, the people who run our gym, David and Abby, have been producing daily workouts via Zoom. 2-3 times a day. It’s amazing really. #39MinuteWorkout is an incredible community of badass men and women who work equally hard at becoming strong for themselves as they work at friendship with each other. And the trainers, David, Abby, Drew, Betsy and Wendy care as much about your success as you do. They will believe in you when you feel weak and will call out how AWESOME you are when those burpees rock! It’s unique. I can say this because, if someone like me…someone who lacks confidence in her physical abilities, can join and assimilate with this group of incredibly strong people, without any fear of being the “last kid in gym class to be chosen to a team”….Oh you get me….then, this place is special. #NoDoubt

Peter and I were working out last Monday night on Zoom with our people...and it was hard. Hey – it’s supposed to be hard. Hard means we’re growing. Peter took a step away and took a break to drink some water and he said, ‘Baby, you’re amazing. You push yourself hard, every time”.

Yea. I don’t know where that comes from, but it’s true. I don’t feel competitive. In fact, I sometimes still feel that “I hope no one is watching me” feeling. I am a work-in-progress, but I do push myself. But, you know what, I always push myself. At work, on the job, as a mom, with my kids, at fun, at play. Why should this be any different? Just because being athletic is new-ish to me, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t go at it with the same intensity that I bring to other facets of my life. It’s just been an area that I never allowed myself to think of as mine.

Now I do. And that’s huge.

So, I’ve reframed my journey a bit. I think back to one of my last longer talks with David. He tried to tell me this months ago. He said, “at some point, my mind set had to change. I had to stop looking at weight loss as the goal.” Back then, I couldn’t think my way into what he was saying. Perhaps this time in quarantine at home has given me the time to just do it. I think I get that now. Weight loss is a side effect to being a badass. Whatever that means to each and every one of us. And whatever that means to us over time. How we do it will change, should change. Being a badass is the constant.

Right now for me being a badass means working out with kettlebells on zoom 3-4 times a week and feeling incredibly strong and taking walks in this glorious spring sunshine, and feeding myself food that makes my skin glow.

Weight loss?

I believe it will come.

But my goal? It’s to live this new life of other goals that drive up my confidence and improve how I feel and change the way I see myself. If I string those days together…..how can I not manufacture happiness?

Be well friends. Rest peacefully when you rest. And be a badass at what you love. Keep walking the journey until you find it.

Ciao for now…Diane

good medicine

good medicine

Social distance may keep you well, but activity, exercise will keep you sane.

This week, almost half the nation, employed in non-critical jobs, worked from home…or didn’t work at all. Trying to keep the world population from becoming sick with the COVID-19 coronavirus, is requiring drastic measures. Measures that are scaring people.

Will you or your loved ones get sick? If it happens, will you become one of the ones who end up in the ICU on a hard-to-find breathing machine? Or worse. Will your employer keep you on, or furlough you until this is all over? How long before this is all over? Even with all that has transpired already, has this even started yet?

We don’t know.

And that’s scary in itself.

When this all began in earnest about 2 weeks ago, I wasn’t self monitoring very well. I was calming myself with food. Eating my way through my fear and anxiety. The one blessing is that I monitor my blood sugars every morning and evening. I didn’t need to get on the scale, or attempt to squeeze into my jeans to know….Diane, you’re going down the wrong road. My blood sugars were signaling me. The return of my morning headaches were signaling me. And now more than ever is a time to be healthy. To stay healthy. To focus.

So that’s what I did.

It was easy enough. I just laced up my sneakers and went for a walk. Every day. Two times a day. Three. Whatever it takes…to let the fresh air into my brain…and chase the thoughts away. For a little while.

I work for a really great company. Trust me, they want hard work out of me, and they get it. But they also care about us, their employees. Enough to send an email to us, their employees, reminding us to take care of ourselves through this. Read a book, meditate, phone a friend, take a walk….was their advice.

Now that’s investment advice I will take.

My new routine has become…get up early. Check in, read and respond to critical email that came in overnight from the global offices, sipping my first cup of coffee. Then lace up, and go walk the trails behind my community. Breathe Diane. This coronavirus is out there. But it’s not here. Not in the air that you are breathing into your lungs, not in the oxygen that is filling our brain and cleansing your thoughts and your cells. Breathe. Heal. Let it Go. For 30 minutes.

Then, I go back to it. I work. I’m a leader, a manager, a mentor, a problem solver, an innovator, a thought leader. I work until lunch time…then I eat a small healthy meal of whole foods…and lace up again. Repeat the walk through nature, down and around the neighborhood. Sometimes I see a neighbor walking a dog, or a runner, or a cyclist. It’s remarkably quiet out there. People ARE staying inside. I just hope they aren’t locked inside their homes in fear.

Come out friends. Please don’t gather in groups. Still keep your distance, but it’s a big world. Come out into your little corner. Come breathe the fresh air and find some peace, some space, some sanity. It’s good medicine.

I can’t call it a habit. It’s only been a week of this new “non-normal”. But I see it for what it is….it’s my lifeline to staying sane.

Breathe friends….this will come to an end. And we’ll all come back together and hug the hell out of each other. Then begins the social non-distancing times! Good times. Nah….Great Times :).

Ciao for now….Diane