Tag Archives: fear

When treats are tricks!

This isn't Jeter, but this is what he looked like!

This isn’t Jeter, but this is what he looked like!

Late the other night, after dinner and a run and some quality time with a pint of Haagen Daz, I finally settled on the couch with a bottle of cider and my guy to relax. The plan was to pick up where we last left off in our much-delayed viewing of The Sopranos and I was very really looking forward to reconnecting with all of the involved.

Jeter was his usual good-natured self, happily enjoying a roasted marrow bone. As I refreshed my memory with a few minutes of the previous episode (sometimes I doze off) Jeter jumped up on the couch next to me, something he doesn’t normally do. I pushed him down. He jumped back up. I pushed him down a second time, looking him in the eyes and saying “no.” That’s when I noticed the marrow bone circling his lower jaw.

We sat him down and began our attempts to remove it. We tried to slide it, turn it and push it all to no avail. He wasn’t in pain, but he was drooling up a storm since his mouth wouldn’t completely close and he couldn’t fully swallow. I began to panic – be it one of the boys or the dog, I definitely don’t shine in situations such as this. I called the emergency vet’s office and we headed over to Latham.

We arrived to a nearly empty waiting room and a full staff of super nice people. Wagging his tail, Jeter left my side and went with a vet tech to a room where they sedated him and deftly slid the bone “donut” off his jaw. It couldn’t have been much more than 5 minutes later when the tech returned with the offending bone in hand and reassured me that they would be waking Jeter up and he would be ready to depart with in 30 minutes or so. Sure enough, a short while later Jeter came wobbling out looking a bit dazed, but fine.

$250 lighter and infinitely lighter-hearted, we headed home less than an hour after our arrival. While I no longer will be preparing small marrow bones for Jeter, it is reassuring to know that top-notch emergency veterinarian care is nearby. Also comforting was hearing from the staff that they see this same situation about once a month – and that it’s just about always a Labrador.

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Good news/bad news and a bit of a Grimm tale

The good news? I weighed less than I thought I would when I stepped on the scale. The bad news? I need to see my ENT surgeon post-haste. For the record, I like it better when the good news follows the bad.

I went to see my endocrinologist yesterday. I wasn’t scheduled to see her until January, but there was something about the thing I felt in my neck that made me uncomfortable. I made someone a promise that I would call first thing in the morning and I did. The receptionist was great and took my history after a single run through. A couple of hours later, my doctor phoned and asked if I could be there by 4.

Following our usual chit-chat, my doctor got down to business, dimming the lights and lubing up the ultrasound wand. With her usual thoroughness, she repeatedly scanned the area of my neck where the protuberance was. After a few minutes she asked if she could bring a colleague in for a second opinion. I stared at the ceiling, attempting to escape the room mentally by trying to see what the wattage was on the bulb, but as the second physician took his turn with the magic wand tears slipped from my eyes. The doctors conferred.

Their opinion? It’s either a “bad” lymph node or a chronically inflamed minor salivary gland. (See how I put the bad news first?) The plan now is to see my ENT on Monday and have her determine the appropriate course of action. I’m sure there will be some sort of diagnostics or study conducted. The hope, of course is that it is nothing serious, but my history leaves me feeling vulnerable.

To be clear, I don’t write about my health to garner sympathy or concern. It’s more an exercise in becoming accustomed to the possibility of yet another surgical procedure. It also feels a bit like an exorcism.  If  I express my fears and release them from my inner psyche they kind of lose their power.  Sort of like in that fairy tale when the miller’s daughter shocked Rumpelstiltskin by knowing his name, causing him to run away never to be seen again.  I’ve seen you before and I know your name, Cancer.  How about you stay away and let me have a shot at happily ever after?

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Weighing in

Earlier this year I made the decision to cancel my YMCA membership. Financially and physically it just wasn’t making sense for me anymore and I’ve reallocated my membership $$ to the Hot Yoga Spot.  I haven’t regretted my choice at all.  Well, almost not at all.

I was only taking one class a week at the YMCA, a schedule I have replaced with a wonderfully hot and sweaty hour+ yoga class.  That’s all good.  What I have been missing, however,* is access to the YMCA’s locker room scale. You see, I don’t have a home scale.  At least not yet.

Do you own a scale?  Do you use it?  Me?  I’ve never really had a scale in my home before.  At one point, I had an extended vacation at a friend’s house in California.  This “vacation” coincided with a romantic break-up and I quickly dropped about 10 lbs before I even noticed.  Once I became aware of my decreasing weight, I forged a new relationship – with the scale.  I found myself weighing in first thing in the morning and again before bed.  Sometimes I stepped up to the scale before, or after, a meal or visit to the bathroom.  I realized I was becoming a bit too dependent on the digital feedback I was receiving and initiated my second break-up of the summer – with the scale.

In the many years since then, I’ve always resisted the urge to bring numerical judgment into my home.  But, I had my weekly YMCA weigh-ins (naked, of course) to keep me on track.  For the last 4 months I’ve been trying to push away my need to self-validate through my weight.  Instead,  I’ve practiced checking in with how my clothing fits – how are those jeans feeling, Silvia?  Is that top still pleasingly fitted or has it become snug?  But, it’s been hard and I find myself wishing for an opportunity to step on to a scale to see exactly where I’m at presently.  I mean, what if my clothes have all stretched out?  Or, terrifyingly enough, shrunk?  How will I know?

Please weigh in and share your own scale experiences and obsessions.

 

*Missing beyond the friends I made at the Y, that is.

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I don’t hate guns

image everydaynodaysoff.com

I hate what people use guns to do. Guns scare me, but I don’t hate them.  Today, more than two dozen people were massacred in a(nother) school shooting.  Twenty-seven people, including 20 children, woke up today for the last time.  I went for a run tonight and thought of the terror that was school today for those children and adults in Connecticut.  Each time I imagined the fear those children must have felt, I gasped anew, feeling my  heart nearly stop with my exhale.  Horror.

I couldn’t post today about the 12 Days of Dining DelSo. How could a person even consider a holiday season on a day like today?  This day belongs to those lives lost.

Peace.

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Observations from my couch


I slept on my couch last night for the first time.  Of course, I’ve dozed off there before, but this time it was intentional.   It was a warm, humid night and I wanted to be in the back of my house to avoid hearing the garbage trucks in the early morning. It had been a late night.

The first thing I noticed was the overwhelming sound of the crickets – they were crazy loud.  When I opened my eyes to look out the sliding glass doors, the view pleased me.  It was shadowy, with leafy branches and a dark gray sky promising rain. The scene was very different from what I see when I look through my bedroom windows in the front of my house and I felt the difference in vantage point might be just what I needed.

During the night the rain moved in.  Finally.  I was cozy with my sheet and cashmere robe, which doubled as a luxurious throw, and I kept my eyes firmly shut as I imagined the rain washing away the anxieties and doubts that have been muddying my waking hours.  The nearness of the rain felt ever so close and somehow intimate.  I welcomed it.

I can’t say it was the most restful night of sleep in my life, as I awoke repeatedly, but I feel as if I learned a few things from the night spent out of my bed.

1. Listen to what you hear and allow it soothe and inspire you
2. A change in vantage point sometimes can be precisely what you need
3. The comforts of a crisp cotton sheet and your favorite robe can make a foreign sleeping spot feel familiar.
4.  While I prefer my firm mattress to the too short sofa, it is nice to remain aware of life’s options.  Always.

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Touched

image: beyonebabedome.com

About thirty-five years ago, on an autumn night when the skies got dark surprisingly earlier than expected, I found myself in the storage lean-to where the barrels of bird feed were stored, at the farm that neighbored our house. It was damp and there was the strong smell of must and dried corn. I wasn’t alone.

“Uncle” Oscar was somehow there in the dark, too. The smell of his pipe completed the trifecta of aromas in that small, damp space. I wasn’t afraid of him. He was familiar, with his belted khaki pants and tan-colored Volkswagen, just another part of the scenery to which I had become accustomed. I think that sense of comfort was why I didn’t make a sound when his hands touched my chest in the area where my breasts would eventually reside. I was speechless with disbelief. It was only later, much later, after I refused to accept his candy on Halloween, that I began to examine that moment and what had happened. How I had been completely complacent and what that meant about me. Was I passive? What if he had tried something even more invasive? What would it have taken for me to react?

Today, I was in a bakery with some friends. We were hungry and planning a feast – a little of this, a little of that. What I hadn’t anticipated was the older man behind us in line – most definitely not a gentleman as he so blatantly revealed, touching me. It was the oddest thing. One moment he was merely another human being looking to satisfy an appetite and the next he was a predator invading my personal space.

His game went like this: he grabbed my bare shoulder with his hand and held it for a couple of beats, pretending that he had mistaken me for someone he knew. When I looked at him in utter disbelief, he attempted to persuade me that it was a joke, just a lighthearted goof. I quietly pointed out the need for personal boundaries and how he had crossed mine. I made it clear that it was an unwelcome touch and stepped a way from him. My male friend got much closer and inserted himself to provide a physical barrier between the perve and me.  The man continued to explain why I should I find his touch a benign act.  He wouldn’t shut the hell up about why it was ok for him to have friggin touched me.  He went so far as to point out that I was “very attractive,” almost as if it were my fault that he had put his hand on my exposed shoulder.

I was so rattled I couldn’t even think clearly.  What should I have done?  Should I have created a scene?  Called him out on his inappropriate behavior?  Had the surrounding people get involved?  Despite the brightness of the summer sky, I was immediately right back in that feed shed smelling something that was most decidedly “off.”

Fair warning: the next person who lays a hand on me, without my invitation, will be touched with 35 years worth of disgust.  I’m not taking another emotional bruising without leaving an external black and blue lesson.

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Free falling

More exhilarating than frightening

If you know me, whether in person or from reading here, you are aware that I have a bit of a control issue.  I lean towards being moderate in my indulgences and don’t enjoy the feeling of being out of control.  My dislike of that type of sensation probably impacts me in many ways, but overall, I believe it helps me to avoid harm, particularly of the physical sort.  Case in point…

During our annual beach vacation, we encountered a couple of opportunities to take a flying leap.  A sort of “long walk off a short pier,” to use the local vernacular.  Our first chance was on the road leading to Lieutenant’s Island.  Have you been to this part of Wellfleet?  It’s a lovely, fantastically isolated bay beach that is great for the younger set.  No waves, limited parking, and a bridge which is perfect during high tide for jumping.  The day we were there to jump, tide was really high making the bridge impassable due to the water level – it was about knee-high.  This was Quinn’s first year to take the plunge and he was fabulous!  The only real drawback to this activity, or to Lieutenant’s Island in general, are the voracious green-head flies.  My God, they are vicious!  We each took a few jumps and then ran through the remarkably warm water back to the wagon.

Our next opportunity for proving our fearlessness came on Martha’s Vineyard. We were fortunate this year to have our weeks finally overlap with that of some Albany friends and they turned us on to a beach area between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown that provided 2 bridges for proving your courage.  Or not, as the case may be.

The bridge at State Beach is crazy high.  I’m talking Cheech & Chong high.  At least that’s how it looked to me.  And, while there were plenty of the bold and the brave present, it turns out that I was not one of them.  Here are the pictures that truly tell the story:

Slightly defiant (read the sign!), a little nervous.

Major mistake – don’t look down!

On the other side of the railing – as close as I got to jumping. Note: death grip.

Yeah, it wasn’t happening.  When I looked down I just knew I couldn’t do it.  It wasn’t a matter of working up the nerve or taking a moment to compose myself, or even simply letting go.  I couldn’t do it.  While I am  a little disappointed in my lack of nerve, I understand that my strength in letting go is still developing.  I’m working on it and, there’s always next year.  Here’s how it is supposed to look:

Flying!

How about you?  How do you feel about taking a flying leap?

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