Archive for November, 2012

Crawling out of my skin

Friday, November 30th, 2012

My Synthroid dosage was changed for the seventh time in seven months and the latest change has made me feel as if I have an army of ants trying to get out of my body. I’m hyper, hyper. I started smoking again because I can’t even deal with myself. I kept waiting for the half life of the drugs to drop off so that I can see a change, but hyper I remain so I’m going back in today for more blood work so my endocrinologist can read my blood and tell me what makes me so jumpy. He thinks I might be producing two antibodies that are at war – that is what it feels like – being tugged in multiple directions from the inside out.

Every website I read says that hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Disease and Synthroid are synonymous with anxiety.

Uh duh.

When the planets align

Friday, November 30th, 2012

In the past few days you can readily see Venus and Mars alongside the smallish full moon. This morning from the terrace off my office, I went outside pre-dawn and saw more planets all in a line.

November 2012 presents all five visible planets, although only Jupiter and Venus are clearly visible all month long. Mars appears but briefly after sunset, and the planets Mercury and Saturn before sunrise.

I woke early to light the yahrzeit candle for my mom as today is the third anniversary of her passing. Three years ago, my life changed profoundly as I watched my mother dying for six months in the hospital. Right before Thanksgiving our second adoption plans had failed and I tried to tell my mother because she kept rubbing a circle in the bed saying, “I’m making room for the baby.”

At her bedside I told her through my tears that there would be no baby. But she knew better. Because the week she died became the most profound week of my life. My mother died on Monday, I flew home from New York on Tuesday, we buried her on Wednesday and on Thursday I became very ill. On Friday, Heidi called and said, “I have a sad story, are you ready to listen.” And I learned that a barely nine month baby boy was in need of being adopted (yesterday). On Friday, we contracted an attorney in Indiana. On Sunday, I drove to Batavia, Illinois, just an hour outside of Gary to spend the night before heading out on Monday to meet my son.

It was 14 degrees outside and I walked into a strange house and was handed a baby boy in diapers and I looked into his eyes and knew why I had waited 50 years to have a child. I knew why I was here. I knew why my mother was so sure that I would have a baby soon despite the nurses thinking she had gone crazy.

Today, I celebrate my mother, my son, and my life. The planets aligned before November 2012. They aligned three years ago on this very date.

Venus and Mars and everything in between

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Last night and this morning I looked up at the full moon, which is supposedly the smallest moon of the season, and saw Venus and Mercury so clearly that I didn’t believe my eyes. Isn’t that the case, that wonder and mystery is presented to us every day and we at first don’t believe what we are seeing. Daily life tends to make miracles seem like flights of fancy.

A friend wrote from India where she is leading a group of yogis:

For those that have experienced loss or illness of body, heart or mind this year…teachings from India on our Radhanath Swami pilgrimage…the Maya casino…”when you are winning, you are more susceptible to exploitation, greater temptation, loss & deceit because there are so many conditions…when you are losing you are more apt to depart the tricks, turning instead to the Great shelter with far more clarity.” Hari Hari

Simplify, simplify, simplify

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Last night, I went to a parent teacher meeting at Waldorf and one of the teachers gave a presentation on gift giving during this crazy season. She had put together gift baskets because she said kids love to be busy, they love to be around their parents, and they love to do creative things. So one gift was a sewing box complete with pin cushion, scissors, thread. Another was a games box filled with a jump rope and old fashioned jump rope songs and some sidewalk chalk. Another was a rainy day box that you can pull out when you can’t go outside and make people out of clothespins. And the other was the dream present for Tin – a tin bucket and a washboard (he would call these items musical instruments) but they were really about pretending or actually washing some clothes.

I have so many things on my plate right now that simplify is what I’m really aiming for. I’m reading too many books, I’ve got too many projects, I’m still seeing doctors about my health, and I’m a parent – let’s not forget that in the mix.

So today’s word of the day is simplify. Is there something in your life that you can let go of right now that would simplify your day and make you enjoy it more?

Rainy days bring their own relief

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

It’s the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and already the season is rushing in to blow us out the doors. Too much to do, no time to do it.

I sat at my desk simultaneously juggling four projects that are begging for attention, let alone looked at bills that need to be paid, emails that need to be responded to, and calendar items that are stacking up three by three.

Tin’s Adoption Birthday is fast approaching. December 7, 2009 and oh what a day it was! At some point after missing yoga and circling my piles on my desk, I walked downstairs to sit on the screen porch and contemplate my life.

We are building out the website for Transracial Parenting and all of its accompanying social networking links. Kwanzaa is approaching and honestly I don’t know the first thing about the holiday and how to celebrate it, but I want to incorporate that into our holiday tradition.

Kwanzaa is an African-American cultural holiday which originated in 1966. Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is celebrated from Dec. 26 – Jan. 1. Each day of the celebration focuses on one of seven principles (“Nguzo Saba”). The name, “Kwanzaa”, is taken from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits.”

I know clearly that my life has brought to me all of its challenges and glory for me to work on self-improvement, on self enlightenment, on self-awareness in parenting Tin, and all lead to my self-actualization as a person.

I know this to be true. That doesn’t mean it is not exhausting.


Monday, November 26th, 2012

I went out to walk the dog, notice no plural, this morning and it was a breeze. I was able to walk Heidi off leash and she listened to all commands and we passed other dogs and I didn’t tense up or get vexed because of another dog in the midst. I took a big deep breath. And then a nag came in and I felt sad that Loca was not with me, and happy that she was in the country, and suddenly anxious that now I have one monkey off my back, another might show up.

One monkey don’t stop no show – or at least the shit show that my mind has been in.

I told myself that it’s okay. That’s it’s okay to have taken a dog that I loved and had for years to live somewhere else, with someone who has the capacity to love her and care for her, and I told myself that it didn’t mean my doing it would result in something bad now going to happen. I told myself this several times. Then I went and reread something Nicole Douget wrote in her blog – about how sometimes these things happen and it’s okay. It’s really okay.

Yesterday, after meditation we began reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, and I had missed last week’s beginning where they talked about shoshin, the beginner’s mind. “People say that practicing Zen is difficult, but there is a misunderstanding as to why. It is not difficult because it is hard to sit in the cross-legged position, or to attain enlightenment. It is difficult because it is hard to keep our mind pure and our practice pure in its fundamental sense. … The goal of practice is to always keep our beginner’s mind. … You might easily lose your original attitude towards it.”

I am like the warrior who has come home from battle and has her armor still on. I am waiting for the next shoe to drop. And I need to let that go. It is okay that Loca is in the country. It is okay that I have relieved myself of a burden I couldn’t bear. It is okay to love and let go.

I ran into a friend and he asked me what the word of the day is – I said, “Imperfection.” Know it, accept it, move on. He said that if I was a fish, I’d be a redfish. A common species in Louisiana.

Everything is in flux

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

I walked down the street to the Zen center this morning for meditation and learned that they are in the throes of trying to buy a lot and build a new facility uptown. Uptown, I thought, this is not good. When I needed the Zen of meditation, I learned that a few blocks from me was a place to provide exactly what I needed to work through my inability to meditate at home for long periods of time.

Now they are talking about moving.

Proof in the pudding that the world is in a constant state of flux and the sooner we recognize it, the better.

This afternoon, I sat down on the back steps and stroked the ivory elephants on my necklace trying to soothe my unquiet mind into just being. I thought of Loca on the farm, running and jumping and I wished her to thrive in her new environment. I wished my cousin companionship and both of them love.

I read two New York Times, last week’s news (Israel and Hamas) and this week’s (Jesse Jackson and Philip Roth retiring), and the more I read the more un-tranquil I became. Sometimes the only solace is knowing that things change.

And now for some peace and quiet

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Life ain’t nothin but a funny funny riddle

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

We headed back across the lake today to bring Loca to the country to live with my cousin and his zoo of sheep, goat, cow, bull, horse, donkey, rabbit, and puppy. What a wonderful day it was to see Loca running with Jake, his new friend, a six week old black lab puppy. We took Tin’s friend with us and the country did us all good.

I’m forever thankful for this land, for the roots my mother brought to me, for the country life, and for the family that connects me to over a half century of wisdom and love. We drove off with Loca and Brian in our rearview mirror and Jake, the puppy scampering about.

We then went and had a picnic of roasted vegetable sandwiches and apples at Mimi’s grave – I’m sure she is thrilled to have Loca nearby.

Well life on the farm is kinda laid back
Aint much an old country boy like me cant hack
Its early to rise, early in the sack
Thank God Im a country boy

Well a simple kinda life never did me no harm
A raisin me a family and workin on a farm
My days are all filled with an easy country charm
Thank God Im a country boy

Well I got me a fine wife I got me a fiddle
When the suns comin up I got cakes on the griddle
Life aint nothin but a funy funny riddle
Thank God Im a country boy

When the works all done and the suns settlin low
I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow
The kids are asleep so I keep it kinda low
Thank God Im a country boy

The imperfect is our paradise (Wallace Stevens)

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Clear water in a brilliant bowl,
Pink and white carnations. The light
In the room more like a snowy air,
Reflecting snow. A newly-fallen snow
At the end of winter when afternoons return.
Pink and white carnations – one desires
So much more than that. The day itself
Is simplified: a bowl of white,
Cold, a cold porcelain, low and round,
With nothing more than the carnations there.

Say even that this complete simplicity
Stripped one of all one’s torments, concealed
The evilly compounded, vital I
And made it fresh in a world of white,
A world of clear water, brilliant-edged,
Still one would want more, one would need more,
More than a world of white and snowy scents.

There would still remain the never-resting mind,
So that one would want to escape, come back
To what had been so long composed.
The imperfect is our paradise.
Note that, in this bitterness, delight,
Since the imperfect is so hot in us,
Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.

Note: Wallace Stevens worked as an insurance company executive for forty years, writing poetry on the side. He became one of America’s greatest poets.