Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sing a song

Nursery songs in my head:

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?
Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
Did you guess which thing just doesn't belong?
If you guessed this one is not like the others,
Then you're absolutely...right!
(Sesame Street)
"When I grow up, I'd like to walk and run
But I wonder if I'll know how
I guess I'll learn this thing a little at a time
And I think that I will start right now
Because we learn big things a little at a time
To go right up the mountain, first we learn to climb
I can be anything when I grow up
By learning a little at a time"
I know it seems ridiculous - my "kids" aren't little anymore, so these songs just bubbled up from my subconscious, I guess?

Adults make life so complicated.  If we could just tell ourselves what we would tell a child we love, we could simplify it enough to make it through, one step at a time.  I don't know...just going out on a limb here.  Still, those songs are rolling around in my head.  And it works better if I sing a little ditty rather than overthink what I am doing.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Trying everything

{Someday the tone of these posts will change.  I can feel it!}

In my quest to get over the knee surgery and its myriad aftereffects I am trying everything I can think of, everything that is suggested to me.  Something, or a combo of somethings, will push this thing over the top.  I just have to keep at it long enough.  So here are the tools I currently have in my box:

Physical therapy, and a complimentary home program
A schedule I follow every day for vitamins and home exercises
A NMS for home use (which I have slacked off on...)
Treatment for depression and anxiety from my primary physician
Counseling services, courtesy of my employer
Self hypnosis (haven't quite mastered) and meditation
Visualization and positive mantras
Getting a working Wii and starting on the Wii fit program
Leaving the cane in the car and walking mindfully
Starting this blog
Communicating with friends and family to express my feelings and frustrations
Kinesiology tape
Doing a nice thing for myself now and again
Sit outside in the sun whenever possible
Set goals, no matter how small, try everything once

I still have those times when I feel like "why the F*** did this have to turn out like this?  It shouldn't have been this way!"  It's been a rough go, but I am trying like hell to move it forward.  And  I'm sure I will continue to vent, too..

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Things that make me sad - sibling edition

OK, first of all: Do not be fooled by photographs of smiling people.  Or even people right in front of you who smile, all while saying something that will later, make you scratch your head and wonder what they really meant by what they said out of the side of their mouth. 
(how do people do that? I don't have that skill)
That being said, this is my sister - the only sister I have that shares the same mother AND father.  The one I am closest in age to, being only 14 months younger than me.  The one that lives in my zip code, less than a couple miles away, who sent her daughter to all of the same schools my children went to, knows a lot of the same people I know, shops at the same places, drives past my neighborhood to and from work, which is also close to my house and across the street from where my son works.....I could go on here.  I'll stop  The point is, did I see this person on any sort of regular basis?  No.
Thanksgiving 2011

I won't say that I am blameless for the way our relationship has disintegrated.  For being clueless about so much that must have crept under her skin.  For giving her advice she hated, opinions she didn't want, help she didn't need.  But God knows I tried to keep it going, long past when it was clear to others that it wasn't bringing any joy to my life or hers.  Every time I look at a picture of her at our house, I realize how false she must have felt.  Every gift I purchased, item I hand made, thing I cooked, photo I took, kindness I extended, was viewed completely different by her than I presented it.  Truly, I never had any intention of making her feel belittled or jealous or sad.  But, competition was waging even so.  I was unaware that envy was poisoning how she felt about me.  Passive aggressiveness became her norm.  And by the time I caught on, it was too late to "fix" it.   I've blogged about her before.  And even though I feel sad at something I lost, it's clear to me that we didn't have the relationship I thought we did.  I wanted it to be what I believed it was.  But, the truth is:  As adults, we were never alike, we were never really friends, she does not admire my life or family or home.  She doesn't really love me, and the "she" I loved does not even exist.  I feel sad about it, of course.  To have so many siblings, but this one,I felt, belonged to me.  So close in age, but so far removed from me. And now estranged because I finally figured some things out and told her how I feel, to which she titled a response "Goodbye" and "I understand your decision".  It must have been what she was looking for, and probably a relief to her not to pretend anymore.  There's not much I can do about that.  Maybe things will change in the future, who knows?  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Current goals


In no particular order, I thought I would post my current goals.  It will help cement them in my mind, I hope.  They're not lofty - I am making them as practical as I can while still setting my sights.
Here goes:

 No cane this week, with the exception of getting from the car to PT and back.  And maybe if it's raining and I need the psyche assist of thinking the cane will magically keep me from falling.  And the long term goal is just to forget I even have a cane...


Get a Wii to replace our old one that is on the blink.  The therapist suggested I dust off the Wii Fit board and game and use it for therapy at home.  Not a bad idea since we are halfway done with March and much as I like her, it's getting to be time to wrap this up.

Finish decorating the house for Spring.  Add some Easter in!  Get rid of that last collection of pinecones I found on top of the kitchen cabinets.  It's a mental thing - I want to get as far away from last Fall and Winter as I can.

Take the boys to the movies.  {It is Spring Break after all.}  There are three movies playing at the dollar theater so we need to decide which ones to see.  We have to work around Scout's work schedule and my PT appointments, but we have time.

Get back into following the strict home program I set up for myself and the schedule for getting up early.  I've been slipping on that.  Also, I probably should email a brief hello to my boss.  And I need to call my mother and see when I can visit her.

Continue with the EFT and self-hypnosis.  Neither one of these things hinder me and I believe they are beneficial.  If for no other reason than they fill my mind with positive images and affirmations.  Which, is a stark contrast to what I was filling it with a month or so ago...

All in all, fairly reasonable goals.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Not the same old me

I had a revelation last week.  I don't know why it took me so long to "get".  I'd been mourning for the "old Gina" - the one who I felt had her shit together and was smart, capable, loving, and strong.  That Gina would have handled things differently, I felt.  That Gina would have jumped back up from whatever pushed her down.  She would have excelled in PT.  She would have gotten back to work faster.  She would have kicked some butt.
Or, would she have?  It's not like that Gina was ever really challenged in a way that gave her that confidence, its just like she "knew".  Or, rather, that she assumed.  She expected the best.  {And that's not terrible - optimism is a magnet for success.}

Gracious!  What happened to her?!  
Well, she's not here, and the "new Gina" is a little different.  Not better, not worse, just different.  Hopefully she's learned a lot about herself these few months.  And gained a little perspective about so many things.  She can take all of that new knowledge and apply it to who she is right now.  Still the same core person, just a little different in how she sees things.  Relationships, friendships, work, people in general.  And that's a good thing, it's growth.  Why would I be looking for an old version of myself?  I realized, that doesn't make much sense.
So, here's to the new Gina.  She's still smart, capable, loving, and she's getting stronger.  Her health is improving.  Her psyche, too.  She's going to figure out all of this and get back to you...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Helping hands

It's been a good week.  I feel like I have made some strides.  However, I'm not ready to give up help here and there.  I don't feel like I'm ready to be pushed out there on my own.  I've been walking down to my youngest son's bus stop and having him walk back with me.  He dislikes it greatly - so yesterday I said, just go on home...and he did.  Leaving me out there to navigate back.  Like I have done a billion times in the past, with strong legs that could carry me miles.  And I know I should just do more and more by myself.


But, I still need a helping hand now and then.  I rely on many people to help me along.  My family, to be my major support system.  Friends, to provide a sounding board.  A therapist for this, a therapist for that.  The nice elderly volunteer at the hospital that insisted on giving me a ride to my car.  The grocery bagger who walks me to my car and helps me load groceries in terrible weather.  The post lady who walked my mail up to me in the driveway.  Could I do some of those things myself?  Of course.  
But isn't it nice just to accept the extra help while someone is so willing to give it?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Right where I am

I am a creature of habit, for sure.  And I started a few years ago doing a simple thing that has had a profound effect on how I feel at the end of my day.  By no means is it magic - I still have moments falling asleep at night when I feel fretful, and sometimes I don't sleep as well, for whatever reason.  I've come to accept that it's just the roller coaster of a ride called Gina.  

But just before I fall asleep I sing a little song in my head that the ladies at Mother's Day Out taught Scout and Bubbie years ago:

"Thank you God for giving me this day,
thank you, God for giving me this day,
thank you God for giving me this day...
right where I am."

It helps for me to remember that things could always be worse.  I have a LOT to be thankful for.  Which is not to say I don't have things to be sad about.  Doesn't everyone.  I'm trying hard to keep perspective.  I think that's a daily struggle for a lot of people.
So, today:

Hooray for doing really well in physical therapy this morning
Hooray for getting Bubbie up and at band sectionals on time
Hooray for leftover Chinese for lunch
Hooray for being able to walk down the block and back
Hooray for getting some quiet time to catch up on reading

And I'm starting to feel like everything is where it should be right now.  
Right where I am.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Simple enough, right?

I was talking to my counseling lady about PT and how I felt like I was being bullied by the therapist.  Well, maybe bullied is not the right term to use.  She was having me do something, I can't remember exactly what, and I had a meltdown.  Now, I'm a grown woman and I know how to act in public, but this was at the height of my anxiety ridden time and I had jut been to see my regular doc about that the day before.  I wasn't trying to garner sympathy.  At all.  But I felt like "geez Louise, let up a little bit lady".  And that's not usually the real me.  The real me, underneath all of this angst, doesn't crumble.  She forges on.  But I told her about being treated for anxiety and depression, and I noticed a change in the way she handles our sessions now.  I get a lot more encouragement, and I am making strides.

PT has been a blessing to me, even though it has been incredibly hard at times.  It has helped me go from not wanting ANYONE to touch my knee at all, to where I am right now.  I no longer gasp, swear, cry, or say "Oh, God" in the therapy gym.  That's not to say I am not being challenged...I still get sweaty palms and am frequently out of breath from nervousness.  But, the therapist and I can actually laugh now, and she tells me every time that I have done a good job.  She thinks that the only thing holding me back now is trusting my knee.  {Gosh that sounds simple enough.  You'd think I could just hop right up and do that.}  But I have bad days where I slip into thinking "How the hell am I going to do this?"  I guess the answer is I just keep trying.  It really is simple enough.

What I say when I talk to myself

I think talking to yourself is a valuable tool.  It's something you can do to love and support yourself.  But I have to remember to keep it realistic.  I'm not going to cheerlead myself into anything that isn't genuinely possible.  When I keep it real with myself, it becomes an empowering affirmation.  And I see it's power, and the power, conversely, of negative self-talk.  It's something I have to be mindful of at all times.  Maybe some of that negative talk got me to this place to begin with.

So, I do a validity check on that negative stuff - is it true?  Is it true all the time?  No?  So I  give myself a little self-love.  "Maybe you aren't where you want to be today, but you are getting there.  This is hard, but just keep trying.  Give yourself some credit for what you can do and how far you have already come."  Yada yada.  I don't care if it all sounds canned.  It works better for me than general statements like "Everything will be fine.  Life is unicorns and rainbows.  You'll do fine."  That's so general and not even realistic.  Will things be hard sometimes?  Yes, but I will figure out a plan to manage.  Will there be days I feel like I can't do this?  Yes, but I will take a deep breath and continue on.  No one ever made a promise to me that this would be easy.  If they had, I would feel so gyped right now.  Instead, I feel like there's a every possibility things will work out.  So I can keep that in mind while I talk to myself.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Baby Steps

I've talked a lot with my physical therapist and counseling lady about baby steps and how frustrating they are.  I know that baby steps move you FORWARDS, not backwards.  {Otherwise they wouldn't be called steps.  They'd be more like Fall on Your Ass's.} I'm so anxious to make progress that's measureable in more than one or two increments.  When you add up the increments, I know there's something more substantial there.  It's just hard to be patient and wait for the drops to form an ocean.
 I am not known for being patient.  I want to rush to the next step.  Literally.  I almost lost control of my shopping cart in Wal-Mart the other day because I said "Let's see how fast I can go".  The answer was: Not.  That's not going to work for me at work.  I cannot just sit or stand there.  And I cannot shuffle like a hundred year old woman on the way to a stat portable.  Yet, I also cannot fall and create a scene. So.  There's an issue. But I really need to keep trying even so.
  I do seem to have Fear in spades.
I am trying so hard to remember to keep the faith.  I worry.  Will the Gina that returns in April  get things done like the Old Gina?  Including moving down the halls with urgency when she needs to?  The New Gina is still the same core person: hardworking, loyal, conscientious, professional, caring.  Surely there is the same value to her as before.  Being Speedy Gonzales - that's a questionable trait anyway.  The boss says he wants quality over quantity, and in theory, I agree.  I just want to be able to move at a reasonable pace. Maybe that should be my new aim - a reasonable pace.  Not a race.  Baby steps that get me where I need to go is reasonable.
 I really need to leave the house more often, too.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Hello, it's me!

Whenever I call my mother, I always say "Hi, Mother.  It's just me, Gina"  so she will know exactly who is talking to her...she's 85 and mostly on top of things.  But years ago, after she lost her husband, if you called her and did not tell her who you were right off the bat, she might have a whole conversation with you thinking you were someone else.  Grief does that to people.  Makes them lose direction, focus.
 My mother and me, 1963
But enough of that now.
This is a space for me, to talk about whatever I feel the need to talk about.  And lately, that's been a lot of stuff that's not exactly what I want to post on The Cannary Family.
Because not all of it is artsy craftsy.  Or even family related. 
And I can't keep leaning on friends and family so hard.  I need a different outlet. And here it is.
So, hello it's me, Gina.
I am a 54 year old mother of four living in Austin, Texas.  My hubby and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage this October.  I was born in Lubbock, and moved to Galveston when I was 11.  My parents were serial parents; by the time I came around, my mother had been married three times, my father twice.  They had 10 kids between them, with another 3 to follow after me.  As well as another two marriages.  Someone should have counseled these people.  Anyhoo...
A lot of that has to do with a lot of me, so I guess it's relevant.
You learn a lot from your parents about what to do.  It also follows that you learn what NOT to do.
This is my forum, trying to make sense of life so I can keep moving forward in a positive way.  Not being bogged down by negativity from the past, but acknowledging it at the same time.  It's not healthy to pretend.  It's my goal to be real.