I was sad to hear about my friend Lourdes being in the hospital. I have been asked to take her place as a speaker at the Scripps Integrative and Holistic Nursing Conference this weekend in San Diego. I am excited to mingle again with like-minded healthcare professionals in California. Fortunately Lourdes has PowerPoint slides already put together so I just need to work my speech around that. I hope I can deliver up to her standards.
Life happens fast. I was planning to get my kitchen, garage and living room reorganized this weekend, recovering from the remodel that’s not quite done yet. And then my grandson and I were going to start the Whole30 diet on Sunday. We will put that off until Tuesday. I keep thinking life will slow down but so far it just keeps happening. So I keep putting off starting the diet. I am doing it so I can eat more healthy food. I have been eating a lot of junk food, getting ready to give it up, and I don’t feel so great. When will I learn? Junk food is not good for me!!!!
This morning at their request I led a small group of nursing students in a relaxation exercise just before they took a final exam. I’ve been studying more lately about the relaxation response. It has so many benefits. It will help students do better on exams, and enhance their immune systems, lower blood pressure, and many other things. I would like to do some research on student stress. Perhaps I could start offering relaxation sessions regularly and see what the students have to say about whether or not the intervention works. Facilitating relaxation sessions is a win win because I feel relaxed myself when guiding the students. I have a great job!
Well, I’ve been talking about it for a year, and I finally did it – cancelled my cable TV! I will go “offline” on Thursday because I wanted to have time to catch a few more episodes of Dancing With the Stars before I learn a new way to watch TV. But I think I just won’t watch much TV anymore. We’ll see. But seriously, the money I save will make up for it. My DirecTV bill was $170 per month! Now I’ll just be paying a total of around $30 a month for HULU, Netflix and Amazon Prime. That’s a $140 saving every month! I am excited!!! And I just realized, as I was typing this, that I can still catch Dancing with the Stars on my local channels, which are FREE. Just like it was when I was growing up.
I went to Tai Chi this morning and on the way I was thinking of all the big changes that have happened in my life in the past couple of years, such as brain surgery, husband’s passing, kids moving away, kids getting married, new job, house remodel…. And I thought, one thing I really like about Tai Chi is that I have been doing it through all these changes and it provides stability. No matter what, I go to Tai Chi 4 days a week. That remains the same. I have met some great people and made friends. When I walk in the door I feel accepted and cared about. It has really helped me get through these changes. During each session I invite myself into the present moment and all my cares and concerns drift away for an hour. I’m so glad I discovered this retreat. Plus it’s great exercise and as I age I need to work harder to stay in shape. I wonder what else in my life I could give up like cable TV and embrace more meaningful, fulfilling activities like Tai Chi?
Two of Steve’s sisters and his mom are here visiting from Oregon. We are having a wonderful time just being together with our family here in Utah. They were not able to attend Steve’s funeral due to weather issues, but they were here with him last August, a few months before he died. We visited Steve’s grave. I didn’t know the marker had been installed. The cemetery people had to wait until Spring when the ground thawed. I guess Spring has arrived. The cemetery is only 10 minutes away, which is nice. I realized as we were looking at the grave that every person processes grief differently. I know what it is like for me to lose a husband, but I don’t specifically know what it is like for each individual to lose a brother, or a mom to lose her son. Relationships are complex, and as for me, I never know how I will react when I lose a relationship. I hope Steve’s family is OK. Their relationship and history with Steve was different from mine. I am sure glad they are here. I married into a great, loving, supportive family. I am blessed.
I was so excited on Monday. I went to campus, had a couple of meetings, and got a lot of work done. Then I went to Tai Chi in the evening and when I got home, I WASN’T TIRED! That was so unusual. I am still dealing with the fatigue that has been my companion since I had brain surgery 20 months ago. So having a day without it is so refreshing! On Tuesday I was still feeling energetic and went to an ENT (Ear, Nose. Throat) clinic to run some tests to figure out why I am dizzy so much. That was an adventure. The audiologist put goggles on me that photographed my eyes while he asked me to look at colorful moving lights. Then he poured cold and hot water in both ears, which made me dizzy. He found I have an inner ear problem and the treatment was pretty easy, so we’ll see if it worked. So far no dizziness. But I was sad when the fatigue came back with a vengeance Tuesday evening. Tonight I’m feeling better again. My energy is like Utah weather – it goes up and down and is unpredictable. It was 75 degrees outside yesterday and tomorrow it’s going to be 50.
I am not a good cook. When my husband Steve was sick, many people brought home-made food to us and I hardly cooked at all for 9 months. It gave me more time to spend with Steve and the family. I was so thankful for that kindness that when I had an opportunity to make potatoes for a friend’s funeral today, I volunteered. I felt good about beginning to pay back what I had been given. I got up early, made the casserole, went to tai chi, then came home and baked it. I got dressed and took it to the funeral, running slightly late. When I deposited the food in the kitchen, I just stood there, with the people who were organizing the food, a little paralyzed. I just could not make myself go into the funeral. I think it’s just too soon, and I would be thinking about Steve the whole time. So in the spirit of not getting upset and interrupting the funeral, I silently wished my friend well and left. So…my big question is: Am I just being lazy or scared, or using Steve’s passing as an excuse not to sit through a sad event? When will I be OK at funerals? Soon, I think, but I’m not going to push it. I’ll just keep making those funeral potatoes and one of these days I’ll stay for the funeral. Baby steps.
A few weeks ago my tai chi instructor invited me to ask myself WHY I wanted to be more fit, more healthy, and eat better. I told him it was because I wanted to age in a healthy way, and be able to take care of myself as I get older. Well that was a great reason, but didn’t really feel motivating or passionate. Then a few days ago I was driving in my car and came up with a better WHY: I want to stay healthy so that whenever the opportunity comes up, I will be able to DANCE. Now that feels motivating! I am a terrible dancer but I just love to dance. I dance almost every day in the shower and while putting my make-up on. It just brings me alive. I never want to just watch other people dance. I want to stay healthy so I can stay on the dance floor for as long as I want. I’m thinking of getting pictures of people dancing and placing them on the walls in my home office. Then if I eat junk food or don’t exercise enough, I will be reminded that I WANT TO DANCE! Yeah, it’s great to have a vision. Now I will come up with an affirmation. Something like “I am calm, healthy, and I keep on dancing.” Life is good.
Life is moving fast right now. Taking 2 weeks off in the middle of a semester has created a boat load of work at home and at work. I got all caught up, then my son Andy and his family came to visit. So I will be putting in long hours for the next few days. I will be back on track by Friday. The good news is that Andy helped me reconfigure my home office so that now I stand up and work on my computer. I love it! I stand up for awhile, sit down for awhile, stand back up. It’s great. I don’t feel like a couch potato. Grading papers is not so exhausting. Working from home has its challenges due to so many interruptions but I am getting in the rhythm now. I teach two online courses and one on ground course so usually only go to campus once a week. I work with great people and my students are brilliant.
In the grocery store this evening I ran into a neighbor who just lost her husband. Things have really turned around. I felt like I was able to listen and give her comfort, which so many people did for me. Life moves on…