"... And a beer- in a tree!"
Come to think of it, I don’t believe I was ever a huge one for the “Holidays”. For some reason I don’t share the obsession many do. What I do share is friends and family, and seems enough for me.
Yesterday, Christmas Eve afternoon, I had to go across town on Saturday schedule buses to a big supermarket to pick up a highly discounted generic prescription I had run out of. And the cat food was running nearly out as well. There were masses of last minute shoppers. A great host of them, actually. And the mind numbing lines that go with all that. The Rx was fast. The cat food check-out…. an eternity. I had planned on picking up disposable smoke free cigarettes and start a quit for a Christmas present to myself and my daughter. The line at the services booth for that was amazing. I estimate 30 or so people in it. Quit date slid to some time next week. I’m OK with that.
On the route home I dropped into several haunts to see who was around and spread holiday cheer. Although the three stops were sparsely populated I managed to run into some friends as well as meet new ones. Very pleasant, indeed. Then home it was. Cat Santa with a bag goodies for Queequeg… Just the two of us.
I decided to go a different route this year and give a different tradition a shot. There’s a take-out place up the street so I ordered Chinese and watched a movie, “Annie Get Your Gun” being on PBS. Around these parts this is called “Jew-mas” and I can fully understand its popularity among that population. It’s a great thing. They usually go out to the cinema. I went low-budget.
Later this Christmas Day I’ll be heading literally over the river and through the woods. To the annual family dinner with a very WASP fare of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and some green vegetable disguised as to utterly mask its true origin and fool the most fussy food-spoiled child. And it will be wonderful. And a fun excursion.
I ate that Lo Mein straight out of the container with the enclosed plastic fork last night. This morning, I find myself trawling for all the Klesmer music I can find posted on YouTube…
It is indeed a good day when you have one of those “light bulb” moments.
In truth, I had one of mine some time ago in regard to the subject at hand, that being stress. A recent reunion with a former co-worker and dear friend led to a lively explanation of life experience.
I decided to develop the line of thinking into this: a kind of de facto dissertation.
Anyone who has a long history with me knows that for more than a fair amount of time in my adult career I was something of a “poster child” for stress. Yes- laid back little ol’ me was a boiling cauldron of anxiety and emotional knots. Totally out of control. Completely internalized. This is nothing unusual in the modern world, it seems. It can, however, kill you. I know for a fact it nearly did me. I could actually see the damage on a monitor screen during a scan of my heart while in the hospital. “See that? This is nothing new…” said the technician operating the echo unit…
It is said that there are indeed forms of “good” stress. The stressors that do not do damage. The best example of this would be a kiss. Yes- it’s a stressor. It quickens the pulse and sends out a very pleasant hormonal response. I, for one, think we all could use some more of these…
The ones that wreak havoc on our bodies are nearly always the ones that are outside our control- the operative word here being outside. And that is where they should stay. The skill is in keeping the outside on the outside where it belongs. To facilitate this, what I have done is to redefine such things as annoyances. Cuts down on the confusion. These annoyances are measured in degrees of intensity- from minor to major. If a host of minor ones start to stack up (thus becoming a major issue) I can deal with it before it goes internal. Or better yet, just shrug them off as annoyances. In their rightful place. Outside.
I’ve found that this really works for me and encourage others to try it out. If you look in the dictionary under “stress”, you won’t see my picture any more. “Eureka!“.
There are certain things in life that one never forgets.
My daughter spent the first few months of her life in a neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) transitional nursery growing from a little under 3 pounds to right around 5. At that point it was determined that she could pretty much function outside the NICU care. She was sent home wired to a heart monitor– an apnea monitor to be specific. I learned how to work the leads and sensors and her mom and I were instructed on many things so we could finally bring her home.
That monitor had two alarms- one for a disconnected lead and one for an apnea event. It didn’t matter which sound it made- any alarm resulted in sheer terror on our part as new, first time parents awakened from the shallow sleep we had become accustomed to- exercised with one eye open, if you will.
Recently yet another alarm was sounded- possibly more terrifying than the ones I heard when she was just a preemie. I was notified that she was in a hospital emergency room. This had become something of a semi-regular event in the past several years. You see, for the past ten years she has been struggling with the eating disorder of bulimia. One by one different systems would just shut down- typical for this condition. This time she landed in the hospital with her electrolytes so low that her heart nearly stopped beating.
Anyone who has ever dealt with a loved one with an eating disorder knows full well that the condition is cloaked in elaborate secrecy and lies. It’s a very dark and heart-breaking thing. To her credit, she announced this terrible situation via social media to the scores of people she knows. I (praying for a watershed moment for her) was impressed by the absolute honesty- finally. In addition I was encouraged by the unconditional and legion outpouring of support for her from her peers and all who know and love her.
Without question- this was a big wake-up call. She is realizing how much she has to live for. I think things are turning around for her at last. Effective changes are being made. She happily announced that she knew she would be going home- this time to her husband- once the hospital staff removed the heart monitor…