Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving: Staring it Down

I kept hoping that Thanksgiving would go for me the way that Christmas went last year (I braced myself for the worst, but when the day actually came around, it wasn’t that bad, in fact, I had fun).

So I did the normal amount of widow strategizing for this holiday.  I planned other things, things that were new and different that I had never done before, time with fun friends and then with my family later.

I knew Thanksgiving was going to be hard.  Thanksgiving was a special time for Sawan and I.  Having met in the late fall, our first Thanksgiving we were falling in love.  In fact, the first time that he told me he loved me was on Thanksgiving Day.  He always said that I told him first, but I didn’t (we would playfully argue about it).  I had been advised by one of my close guy friends to give him space.  To let him say it first even though I knew that I loved him.  So as I was clearing the table from the Thanksgiving feast, I looked across the room at him and just thought in my head “How can I keep this inside?  I am so in love with this guy.  How am I not gonna tell him?”  As I’m having these thoughts, but saying nothing out loud, he said, “Me, too, you know.”  I startled.  I’m like, “Umm, I didn’t say anything.”  He just smiled and said, “I know.”  About two hours later we said it for real, and he went first.

Later years, it was such a fun holiday for us because of his love for food.  Sometimes I would help him in the kitchen, sometimes not, but he would be cooking for days.  He would make his own stock for stuff.  He made a Pumpkin Crab Soup one time that we had a string of family emails about because he had accidentally called it “Pumpkin Cab” soup and it became a joke about Cinderella’s vehicle.  That (other than grilled cheese) was my favorite thing that he made.  He made it often this time of year.

So, this year, by the day before, I was such a wreck.  I decided that I was going to have Wednesday to cry.  I was just going to let myself cry all day if I needed to, and then on Thursday I was going to find a way to enjoy my friends and family.

It just didn’t quite turn out that way.  I guess I haven’t quite learned yet how to control grief.  I did the “Turkey Trot” in the morning, a fun-run with some girlfriends and their family.  That kept me from being home while the parade was on.  I had a great time.  But by the time I got to my parent’s house for round two, I was pretty much just a puddle on the couch.  I tried.  I used every ounce of power that I had.  Sometimes it’s just not enough.

Did I enjoy Thanksgiving this year?  No.  I survived it.  Am I thankful?  Heck yes.  I’m thankful for all of the friends that I got to be around.  One of my Merry Widows was down from Bozeman.  She was one of the ones that came and sat next to me on the couch at my parents’ house.  I’m thankful for my sisters.  I’m thankful for my mom and dad that are just so amazing about my grief.  I’m thankful for my sister-in-law that also traveled for the holiday, and for her kiddos, that keep me cheered up.  And, for the rest of the family that I didn’t interact with that day but are there for me emotionally anyway.  I'm thankful for my friends that I started my day with.  I'm thankful for the quick turn around I made on Friday, as well, that seems to be something that's getting better (it doesn't take as long to recover from a bad day).  I have so much to be thankful for.

I found Sawan's recipe for Pumpkin Crab Soup, with his handwritten notes next to it.  I haven't gotten the guts yet to make it, but I'm hoping to soon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for..visits from kiddos

I’m enjoying a visit from my niece and nephew.  And sister in law.  (Hi Masha!  I didn’t forget you!)  They are helping to cheer me up in what is a very difficult few days.  As my dad put it today, with going to England the last two years (and flying on Thanksgiving Day) I’ve actually skipped this holiday the last two years, so this is my “last one to truly stare down.”

Noey:  I think I’ll go home and go to bed.
Mom:  But if you stay, I’ll make popcorn.
Addy (my two and a half year old neice):  I love popcorn.  It’s my favorite thing in the whole world.  Popcorn is my favorite and elephants are my favorite.

Ah, to be 2.  And not need logic.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful elliptical

I had in mind about a million of these little posts, but have just either been too busy or not really felt up to writing these days.

One of the main things that I’m thankful for lately?  My elliptical.

I was thinking that I wanted to quit smoking, and heard that you can “replace” endorphins that you get from smoking by exercise (I’m not sure if it’s true or not…I also was given the suggestion by multiple sources that when I was craving a cigarette I should drink a glass of water…you can hear the sarcasm in my voice when I say, “Oh, yeah, that was satisfying.”).  I had looked on Craigslist and other on-line sources, but no longer having a truck, I didn’t know how I was going to manage picking up exercise equipment.  It’s just not easy/convenient to arrange with a stranger, assuming it’s the perfect thing.

So, I posted as my Facebook status update that I needed a treadmill or elliptical for cheap and someone offered me their elliptical…for free.  Then someone else offered to pick it up, and I didn’t even have to go!  They showed up at my house with it, and all I had to do was help carry it up the stairs.

Now it sits in my bedroom, (that’s where my TV lives), I’ve used it 5 days a week since I got it six weeks ago, and haven’t hung laundry on it once.  After six weeks, Arthur has quit barking at it, and I have slowly gone from having to close him in the bathroom while I was using it, to just having the bedroom door shut, to making him leave the room but leaving the door open, to this today:

My view from the elliptical this morning:  Arthur sleeping on my bed while I did my workout (a vast improvement)
So, I’m not sure if it’s helped replace smoking endorphins, but it’s helped me to not gain the immediate 15lbs that I gained the last time that I quit smoking (in fact I’ve lost a little, but am definitely looking less fluffy these days, so I’m stoked!).  Either way…it’s a win, and I’m so thankful for this hunk-a-metal!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A gift I could not keep

Last night I watched Moonstruck.  It was silly and cute and ridiculous and funny.  And the main character is a widow. 

“I was raised that a girl gets married young. I didn't get married until I was twenty-eight. I met a man. I loved him. I married him. He wanted to have a baby right away. I said no. Then he got hit by a bus. No man. No baby. No nothing! I did not know that man was a gift I could not keep. I didn't know...”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thankful for...SLEEP

I have struggled with sleep my whole adult life.  Actually, I think I may have struggled with it some as a kid, too, but I can definitely say with authority that when we came home from Ukraine when I was 17 my body just could never really readjust to the time change, and I’ve struggled on and off with insomnia ever sense. 

I go in and out of phases where sleep is a major issue. 

Most widows that you talk to say that sleep is an issue for them, too, and when you add to it that I already had sleep problems, I’ve just sort of been hosed.  I never get a night of un-interrupted sleep.  A good night is where I only wake up a couple of times and can go right back to sleep.  A good night is when I sleep with waking up a few times but the stretch lasts for 7 hours.  That’s when I feel like I can cope, but better is when I can get 8 (dream on, right?).  A normal night in the last two years is me laying in bed for about an hour or two trying to fall asleep, then finally going to sleep with the TV on, then waking up about 5 times, then having to get up five and a half or six hours after I’ve gone to sleep.

All that is just background for me saying what I’m especially thankful for today.

This week I went to bed one night and was asleep by nine, giving me nine hours sleep, and I only woke up 3 times, so I felt pretty refreshed the next day!  I’ve had a couple of 8-hour nights this week, so I’m feeling like a new woman!

I’m especially grateful for…sleep.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Arthur picks up the tab...

Yesterday, I had probably the most interesting of all of the encounters that I’ve had to date as a “handler” of a service dog. 

It was at a restaurant, and my bestie and I were going to see a friend of hers from college that I had heard lots about but had never actually met, who was in town, visiting from NYC.  We walk into the restaurant, a busy, hipster breakfast place where you wait for at least a half hour with standing-room-only.  It’s always craziness at Snooze (and their pineapple upside down pancakes are almost worth it).

We greet the friend, a very cute doctor here interviewing for a fellowship, and we’re standing by the bar, which they seat from the host stand (it’s not first-come first-served like a normal bar in a normal restaurant would be).    Just after we’re all introduced, and the greetings are all finished up, a couple is sat at the seats directly behind me at the bar.  The woman (who incidentally had a very bad bottle blonde dye job, just so you have a visual) says to me, “Can you move your dog?”  He had been standing slightly behind me, rather than at the left or in front of me as is standard with a service dog.  I apologize and move him around to the front.  She said to me, VERY  condescendingly, “No, I want you to move to a different area.  It’s just a little bit disgusting to have a dog next to me while I’m eating.”  I politely said, “No, I’m sorry, I won’t.  He’s a service dog…” to which then my companions took up the cause as well and the doctor tried to explain to her that Arthur’s mouth was much cleaner than hers anyway.  She would have none of it.  She had already decided that she hated us because we weren’t going to give her her way (and probably also because she was jealous of my better fake blonde hair), and she stomped over to tattle to the manager.   I look over my shoulder and the guy says, “He’s a service dog.  She has every right to be here.  I can’t make her move.”

Later, my new friend bought breakfast for the bad blonde, telling the waitress to let her know when she dropped off the check that “It had been taken care of.  By the DOG.”

Friday, November 4, 2011

Let the Thankfulness begin!

Lots of my friends are doing “Thankfulness Month” either on their blogs or in their status updates on Facebook.  I think this is a great idea.

I won’t be posting daily, because, I can’t be bothered to be that thankful.  Just kidding!  I can’t be bothered to write that often.  And, I might write about other stuff in between.  But I will be focusing on an attitude and posture of thankfulness this month (especially since I seem to have skipped the last couple of years with my skipping the holiday in general).

I’m going to try to get creative here.  I’m probably going to write about the really obvious things at some point, but I also want to share some of the little things…

Today, I’m especially thankful for my programmable thermostat.   I just learned how to use it.  I finally have figured out how to have my house be slightly warmer than the 65 degrees that it was perpetually for the last couple of weeks. 

I have a day of respite.  I have been burning the candle at both ends lately, and I finally had a day where I could just sleep in.  I worked out and showered, then put my jammie-ish clothes back on and got back into bed to write and catch up on email.  That’s how Arthur and I have spent our day: snuggling in bed.  It’s been delightful.  Bliss-full.  And I haven’t had to go downstairs once to try to figure out how to change the stupid thermostat.  It’s pre-set (How cool is it that it has 4 different times of day that I can pre-set it to change the temp?).  Yeah, Baby.