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Friday, July 29, 2016

Standing Up to Worry

I'm learning how to stand up to that big 'ole bully, WORRY.

Just as I was getting ready for bed last night Bill comes around the corner and says, ‘Hey, there’s a message on the machine from some Doctor about results from a test?’ 

Unreasonably and immediately I am mad at him.  He had to tell me this NOW?  He couldn’t have waited until morning when I can DO something about it?

So I check and there is indeed a cryptic message about results from blood work on my phone.

About a million and one really scary scenarios all flew through my mind in, oh,  about the space of a 1.2 nanoseconds.  Old me would have worried all night.  Old me would have followed those terrible worries all the way through to their horrible conclusions and gotten no sleep at all.

NEW me took a minute to indulge in the scary possibilities, than shut it down.

You see, I come from a long line of maternal worriers.  My Grammie Orser was so well known for her worrying it was mentioned several times at her funeral.  How she would pace the floor at night, worrying and praying for her children.  My own mom is a recovering worry-wort, kind of like me.

It’s a struggle.

But I managed to push it aside because I knew there was nothing worrying would do right now, at 9pm at night.  And luckily Bill didn’t say…’Don’t worry.’  Which is like telling an obese person to just ‘lose weight.’  It’s a stupid thing to say and totally unhelpful.  I would have had to smuck him in the head with a dead fish.

Luckily he didn’t say that.  He made me laugh, which was nice.  And I got a good night’s sleep.

I’ve got a long list of reasons why THIS particular scenario is a big trigger for me.  Doctors.  Blood work.  Results.  For people who know my past they can easily imagine why this might usually send me spiraling off into some scary, dark unknown future.

Although this story is ongoing, the reality is almost never as scary as what we've imagined.  

it has something to do with my having an Anti-M antibody.  No one I’ve talked to has ever heard of this.  Apparently if my mom was the carrier (passing it to me in utero) everything is sunshine and roses.  If Bill is the carrier (passing it to me through…ah…marital relations….) everything MIGHT be sunshine and roses, or the baby might have something called hemolytic disease.   Basically, the baby could become anemic in the womb and need a transfusion of blood either in utero or at birth.

So.  We wait while Bill waits to have an appointment made to get his blood checked.

And while we wait I shall not worry. 

Instead, I will share this story and I’m sorry if you’ve heard it before. 

So, many of you know I meditate.  While we were trying to get pregnant I did this online guided visualization thing about imagining being pregnant, positive vibes, etc.  I was asked to also imagine the future baby giving me a message that would help me in my journey to become a mom again.  In this scenario, I imagined the word ‘strength’. 

That night Bill came home with one of those pink breast cancer bracelets that had the word….you guessed it, STRENGTH written in all caps.  "This is for you!"  he said.  And I said.  "Wow, is it EVER!"

Some of you cynics out there might dismiss this as coincidence.  I do not.  Especially now, after all the drama I’ve endured before even this latest experience.  (We had a close call where we thought the baby might have Down Syndrome a few months ago).

I think God knew I was going to need a reminder that I’m always cared for and supported.  To not be afraid because all I need to get through this is a little strength, and that strength will be given to me.  I have faith this is the message I was given, and I have faith that everything will turn out the way it is supposed to.

So, at the risk of getting hit upside the head with a dead fish…I encourage us all to just…stop worrying already.  Let's all calm the heck down.  

"Worry is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”  Erma Bombeck



Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Pain and Magic of RIGHT NOW!

The bassinet arrived today from Amazon.  I bought some new born diapers.  I’m getting used to the kicking and jumping jacks on my spleen.  

I am settling in to the pregnancy.  My last pregnancy.  It should be easier, since it’s my last, to ignore the aches and pains, the heartburn, the annoying list of things I can and can’t eat or drink, or do.  It should be easy to ignore that stuff and focus on how amazing and miraculous it is that my body is nurturing and creating a HUMAN BEING!  It IS amazing.  

And yet…I still get lost in right now, petty annoyances like the frustration of my thwarted desire to chug a 24 ounce tub of Columbian coffee while I do Hot Yoga then go for a long bike ride to the airport where I scarf down sushi and hop a plane to go to Colorado to shred some powder.  In July.

Never mind I wouldn’t be doing those things even if I wasn’t pregnant right now.  It’s the fact I CAN’T that has me wanting so, so badly to do these things.  There’s nothing like the word ‘no’ to make you squirm suddenly with the desire to Yes, dammit!  

And, I probably worry too much.  I worry about Zika.  About pesticides on my apples.  About eating too many Tums.  About not getting enough exercise.  About getting too much exercise.  About being too hot.  About jiggling the baby loose if I move too fast or jump too high.  

Like when I was capturing Mr. roach on the ceiling last week.  Man they are unearthly fast.  He scuttled right over my head and I leapt to the floor with the quickness of a seasoned athlete.  

And then I thought, yikes, did baby bump his head?  Or her head?  I guess it’s pretty soft in there…still.  One worries.  And worries.  If YOU’RE worried about a happy ending to this roach hunt, Bill caught him and released him back into the wild.  (No, they don’t come back in).  They wipe the sweat from the beady little eyes and thank the stars they made it out alive.

Sometimes I let the joy of the moment get crowded out with the fear of all the things that could go wrong.  Or I end up focusing on the negative aspects of what is, really, the most amazing, sacred and absolutely beautiful experience I will ever have.  Aches and pains not withstanding.

So, I’m going to do my best to get over my whiny self and I’m going to let the magic of THIS moment enchant me.  

Just as I wrote that last line I looked up into the big brown eyes of our resident deer, his impressive rack of furry antlers tipping my way.   He raised his head and looked me right in the eye. RIGHT IN THE EYE.  Our eyes locked.  Sometimes I think God, or the Universe, or whatever you want to call it might be winking at me.  Like a gentle push back when I try to pull my best self out of the crummy, crappy, whiny, petty shell I usually keep her in.

Like, yep, you’re right Angela.  Give your head a shake.  There’s amazement and wonder and magic out here already.  All you have to do is stop and enjoy it.  

Dear old Al said it better than me:

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”  Albert Einstein.








Friday, July 15, 2016

My Ideal Life

So I’m reading another self-help book.  I can’t HELP it, I’m addicted to improving my life.  It’s just, there’s only ONE you know, that I know of, that’s available to me right now anyway so I want to make the most of it.  Seize the day!  And stuff.

Anyway, it’s like a self-help book for people who can’t stand people who read self-help books.  It came out a couple years ago - “You are a Badass - How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life”.  By Jen Sincero

ANYWAY - there’s a section in it that asks you to describe your Ideal Life.  Who you’re with, where you live, what you do for fun, what you do, how much you make, what you’re wearing, etc.  And I had SUCH A HARD TIME WITH THIS!  

Everyone has to try this because if you’re anything like me you sit there with a pen and a blank piece of paper and go…why is awesomeness not just dripping from the ink?  Why can’t I think of anything?  And then I DID think of things I thought would be awesome but they just kind of fell flat.  Meh.  

The point of the exercise was to explain your ideal life with such accuracy your heart beats faster, your brain wakes up and your heart goes, YES, YES, YES!!  I wrote that thing four times before finally giving up.  Everything I thought I wanted my ideal life to be like just…wasn’t exciting.

So I slept.

When I woke the next morning it seemed clear that although I had mentioned doing Yoga for fun, I didn’t have enough Yoga in my ideal life.  So I rolled that around in my head and thought about it and read my O magazine.  

There was an article in it about meditating where they reviewed Yoga Nidra and Kundalini Yoga.  I won’t repeat what they said but it was flippant and rude not to mention misleading about aspects of a beautiful practice they obviously knew nothing about.  

I.  Was.  So.  Mad.  

I IMMEDIATELY fired off a very angry note back to the complaints department about the article and while I was pounding at the keyboard about them pulling the wings off the beautiful butterfly that is Yoga it hit me.  WHAM.

No one gets THIS riled up about a magazine article unless the topic is something that is so much a part of your heart and soul if you don't go make a life from it RIGHT NOW, you're an idiot.

So.  Now my Ideal Life includes time spent living and working at a Yoga Resort (maybe owning it?) in Hawaii with Bill, Ellie, Baby Yeh # 2, Toby, and our Great Dane, Bilbo.  Now THAT got my heart going all a flutter.  Wheeee!

I had a friends daughter over to help me watch Ellie yesterday and she asked me why I was trying to imagine my ideal life.  I said;

“It’s good for you!”
“Why?”  Blink.  Blink.
“It’s good to help you figure out who you really are, what you want.”
“I already know exactly who I am.”  (Throwing a gaze over at me like, lady you’re a hundred if you don’t know by NOW, give up.)

I don’t know, maybe at eleven years old you do know exactly who you are and what you want.  But then you grow up and have to make decisions that have real consequences and you get input from EVERYONE, parents, friends, strangers.  Everyone who has a label for you and is convinced they know who you are and what you’re capable of.  What they EXPECT from you.  

You carry around your own labels, your own concepts of limitations and are pretty clear what you ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ want for yourself.  What’s practical.  What’s safe.  

That was my problem when I was trying to write ‘My Ideal Life’…what would make mom happy?  And Bill?  What would make them feel safe?  Instead of…what makes ME want to do jumping jacks and cartwheels?  

And, things are good right now.  I am pretty happy.  I’ve never been one to take risks when there was a safer option to take.  But I think that kind of mentality isn’t serving me well anymore if it ever did. 

So.  Anyone know of an opening coming up teaching Yoga in Hawaii for $300,000 a year?  Or a Great Dane needing a home?

If I'm going to live this ONE LIFE right, I want to LIVE it.  And when I get tired of Hawaii I'll think of another dream.  That's the great thing about being alive and healthy - you can do anything/go anywhere if you really, really want to.

As usual, I will finish with a quote from someone who was way smarter than me.  

"Your time is limited.  Don't waste it trying to live someone else's life."  Steve Jobs.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Why I'm quoting Goethe and Dreaming of Donald Trump

“Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it.  Action has magic, grace and power in it.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This is one of my favorite quotes - I actually have it taped up to my closet wall.  These past few weeks have been a flurry of fun activity for me.  Applying for blogging jobs (they PAY you for this!?) writing articles, even submitting a few of my poems.  I didn’t get the blogging job but if there’s one there must be more.

I started my own website and figured out how to link it to my blog and vice versa.  And you know what?  That was REALLY FUN.  I think everyone should go out there and make a website, just for the heck of it.

During all this fun creative activity baby Yeh # 2 has been plodding along, growing steadily.  I’ve reached my half-way mark.  Ellie is also growing steadily both in height (Yippie someone in this family might be able to reach that bowl on the top shelf someday!) and in maturity.  I almost want to gather her up and put the ‘growing up’ back in the box.  She’s still a baby!  But mostly just in the mornings and at night when she’s tired.  The rest of the day she is gangbuster exploring, talking, asking questions, going to potty, making friends and swimming like a fish.

As the baby grows (and me, ahem) and Ellie grows I can feel the deadline of the birth counting down.  The day when my sweet, only baby who has had all of my and dad’s attention lavished solely on her will now be split with another soul.  

It won’t be equal attention either, not for the first few months.  My anxiety about how she will feel, both when I’m not at home for a few days for the birth (for the first time EVER away from her at night) and during the ‘new baby’ transition is growing too.

Last night I woke up in a cold sweat, the vestiges of a really bad dream still making my stomach turn in knots.  You’re going to laugh but for some reason I left Ellie with Donald Trump.  

I was apparently still married to Bill but had been married to the Donald at some point (that’s enough of a bad dream right there but stay with me) and it was his ‘time’ with Ellie.  Then we had a hail storm.  And he lost her because she was scared and I wasn’t there.  And his assistant found her.  Then lost her again, outside IN the storm and I woke up still searching for her, running between turkey-sized hailstones frantically.  

Sometimes if I have a bad dream I can imagine how it SHOULD have gone when I wake up (I found her, everything was fine) but this time I couldn’t even go back and think about it again.

Bill and I were talking about the plan for the birth day and the few days after right before we went to sleep so maybe tomorrow night we’ll talk about bunnies and rainbows before bed instead.

In any case, the anxiety I felt at 4am was much worse than now during the day.  Everything always is when your ‘freak-out’ brain has full court and no distractions in the quiet hours of the night.

I remember a co-worker years ago telling me about a dream SHE had, her first baby was turning three and she was due in a few months.  It was much along the same lines, anxiety over how the ‘baby’ was going to cope and how in the world one will be able to lavish love and attention on both and still stay sane at the end of the day.  Doesn’t this one child take up your whole heart right now and more? 

But you know the same thing will happen with the second baby and then, won’t your heart just BURST INTO A MILLION PIECES!?

At the time I thought she was sweet but silly.  Of COURSE she could love them both.  Of COURSE her first baby would be just fine.  And now…and now I see logic doesn’t matter a lick.

So, there’s that.

Also, my birthday was last week.  I’ve decided now that I’m older that age doesn’t matter a lick either.  Someone smarter than me said, ‘Growing older is inevitable, aging is not.’

So, if you’re anxious and logic isn’t releasing the stranglehold it has on you…wait for morning.  Eat some sugar pops.  See how you feel.   If you don’t feel better…write about it.  On your OWN website you created!  

“Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny.”  (Our friend Goethe)


Friday, July 01, 2016

Wonderful, Amazing and Really, Really Weird

First, HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!  I’ve scrounged around and found a T-shirt with ‘Canada’ on it and I will wear it all day and tell anyone who asks that today is the day we celebrate CANADA!!

Second, happy almost July 4 America, I look forward to watching the remake of Independence Day.  And to moving Ellie in her playpen to sleep in our closet at the back of the house because our neighbor sets off fireworks the extravagance of which Las Vegas have never seen.

So, back to me.  We took Ellie to the zoo on Sunday as a last fun, easy trip while she was still in diapers.  I’m glad we did - we won’t be going anywhere for awhile, at least without 3 changes of clothes per 15 minutes…and lots of wipes.  They’ll be no room for our ego’s.  (Yes, my daughter DID just pee all over the floor while you were putting ketchup on your hot dog.  Yep.)

I didn’t go crazy this first house-bound potty training week.  I wasn’t running around just getting out of the house for something to do so I had time to sit down and write an article for a pregnancy magazine.  Two, actually.  I had time to apply for a blogging job that…PAYS.  (duh duh duuuuuh)  I had time to start to read a book.  (In between running her to the potty crying ‘Almost there, almost there, almost there!!’)

Also, I had a life changing experience while changing her underwear all day.  Turns out when I wanted Ellie off the TV and/or IPAD I didn’t have to distract her with LEAVING THE HOUSE or with anything, really.  I just had to say…no.

She cried for exactly 23 seconds and then went off to play and was totally fine.  HUH.  My whole world-view has shattered.  Can this magic word work in other area’s of my life?  

(Want to watch my four kids and three dogs while I go on a vacation to Maui?  No?  NO!)  

(Want to watch Formula 1 with me now that Ellie is asleep instead of reading that really juicy romance you’ve been waiting the whole day to read?  NO!!!)

Ahhh, my whole life has changed.

Also, just for fun, here is the progression of my potty training method:

Day One: There will be no stickers or chocolates or treats.  She will want to go to potty because it makes me happy.  There will be smiles and high fives and hugs when she does.

Day Two: There will be stickers if there is pee or poo in the potty.

Day Three:  There will be one sticker if you get ON the potty and ice cream and chocolate if you pee or poo.

Day Four: There will be chocolate for getting ON the potty and ice cream, chips, a Mazda Miata for every time you pee or poo…please just please oh please pee IN the potty for mommy!  You can have anything you want!!!  PLEASE!

Ellie says…no.  

Seems like she’s ahead of me on the whole ‘I can say no’ secret.

Quick Pregnancy update:  I’m getting bigger by the minute (which thrills me.  Really.  I LOVE getting bigger.  And bigger.  And BIGGER….)  There will be henceforth no photos of me unless it is above the waist and unless it’s one of those freak pictures where you look ‘glowing’ instead of just fat and exhausted.

He or she is really getting their groove on in there which is simultaneously reassuring and…freaky.  There is a living being INSIDE ME.  MOVING AROUND.  Has anyone ever stopped to think about…how weird that is!?  Amazing, wonderful, and really weird.

That could be the motto to my life.  Amazing, Wonderful, and Really, Really Weird.

Here’s a quote from a wise blue guy:

“Today me will live in the moment.  Unless it’s unpleasant in which case me will eat a cookie.”  Cookie Monster

Good Idea Mr.Monster.  Good idea.