I’ll have what she’s having….

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I have several friends who suffer from chronic pain.  Some have a mildly annoying dull ache that never goes away and some are almost immobilized by debilitating pain.  My dog recently became a victim of that chronic pain but, unlike my friends, she had no voice to tell me how uncomfortable she had been until it was alarmingly noticeable.

If you read my most recent blog post, you’ll know that I took Callaway in to the vet on Tuesday and the vet prescribed an anti-inflammatory with a mild pain-killer.  After one dose and about six hours, she was a brand new dog.  She regained some of her youthfulness and we seemed to move the clock back by four years.

I immediately became jealous of my dog’s new vitality and joie de vivre.  I told the vet I would call the day after her appointment to report how she was doing on the medication and my first sentence began with “I don’t know what is in that Meloxicam, but I want some”.

what-shes-having

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But as much as I feel the oncoming burdens of aging, I consider myself very lucky that I have not fallen victim to the same incessant pain that my friends must bear.  It seems so unfair that the people who are able to voice their symptoms still suffer the same torment from their chronic pain, try prescription after prescription, and feel no relief at all.

I can only hope that each of you will eventually find your Meloxicam and enjoy the freedom of movement that so many of us take for granted each day.

 

 

Sometimes you can go back

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rearview-mirror

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Some would say to leave the past in the past.  Over the course of this previous weekend, parts of my past engaged with my present and it was a wonderful blend of remembering old and making new memories.

I’ve never been one to shy away from the things in my past.  All of those moments, good or bad, made me who I am today.  And although things may not have worked out the way I may have wanted, I always like to think I learned a lesson from each one of those experiences.

I learned to be strong when I needed to be and to allow myself to feel vulnerable when I needed support.  I have learned that each one of the people in my past still holds a piece of my heart even though they may not be an everyday character in this act of my present.

But the final chapters of my story have not been written.  There may be a rough outline but the story has not been sent to print and there is always room for a few backspaces and some new paragraphs to be written.  Sometimes you can go back, not to the past you had but you can go back to reread the story line and see if any of those characters can be written into a few paragraphs of your future.

I am not going to live in the past, but I will always allow my past to live within me.

What love could look like

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embrace

I remember the moment.

It isn’t hazy or clouded, but clear in my memory.

Your eyes met mine, your hand touched my shoulder

and you curled me into your embrace.

The day had been frivolous.

The sky was untouched by clouds

and our laughter permeated the wind.

We sat with the sun soaking into our skin.

We allowed the true beauty of life to envelop us

and we just enjoyed living.

That moment drew me to you.

I saw you as you are.

I saw you in the moments you are happiest,

the moments where nothing else existed.

I was intoxicated by your ability to escape from the shackles of the real world,

to let life drive while you took the back seat,

able to enjoy the ride.

I remember the moment.

That moment will thrive in my memory.

It taught me about your passions and wants.

It reintroduced my wishes and desires.

And it made me know what love could look like.

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In sickness and in stealth

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It happens at the end of every summer season.  Between the concentrated efforts we all put in for the 9 weeks of our summer season, the short hours of sleep and the continual decrease in the staff roster, sickness strikes.  It is stealthy at the onset, seeming to only target one person, but the snowball of affliction slowly picks up speed as it plunges down the slope, accumulating the remaining staff members like helpless snowflakes.  Yesterday, I became one of those snowflakes.  

I didn’t feel unwell when I woke up yesterday morning but, when I greeted my dog, my usual alto voice was expressed as a baritone.  It came as a shock to us both.  I tried to get through the rest of our morning routine, essentially in silence, and made my way into work.

The three cups of coffee did nothing to negate my feeling of infirmity and, although I gave it my best effort, I eventually conceded the loss to my state of ill-health and came home.  What should have been a restful sleep, thanks to some nighttime medication, became a series of small naps interrupted by superfluous coughing spasms.

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Being sick in the summer is a truly undesirable ordeal.  I struggled through my work day again today but now find myself wrapped in a blanket on my couch on a balmy summer day.  I’m giving this cough medicine one more chance.  If it doesn’t work – it’s Hot Toddies for me tomorrow!

 

 

 

When skin gets thin

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I cannot change the moods or the behavior of others.  I can only control how I let those moods and behaviors affect me.   Today, however, was a glowing example of how that ideal can radically fail.

If I were superstitious, today would have been my Friday the 13th.  My black cat was the neighbors dog, who, first thing this morning, managed to soil, not one but, two pairs of my shorts on my way to work.  The ladder I walked under was the exit door from my house.  And the broken mirror was the negativity that continued to rain throughout the day like the shards of glass falling from that broken mirror.

I am usually very thick-skinned.   Most of the time I can deflect negativity and remain blissfully unaware of the antagonism that tends to eddy in the normally calm waters of my life.  But the vortex of that disapproval became too much.  I, without my life-preserver, was pulled under and was out of breath.

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A little positive reinforcement can go a long way.  As an adult with a great deal of life experience under my belt, I know life is unfair and the wheels can fall off the bus at any given second.   But to focus solely on the loose lug nut that made the wheel come off is negating the safe driving before that wheel fell off and the work that the bus driver had to do after its liberation to safely get that bus to the shoulder of the road.

Thick skin can actually be quite tenuous and a little praise goes a long way.   If criticism is deserved, than criticism should be administered.  But if praise is deserved, it should be just as easily passed from the lips of the people who need to say it to the ears of the people who need to hear it.

The Church of The Fish

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Times have certainly changed.   When I began my career in the hospitality industry, food allergies were not even a blip on the culinary radar.  The kitchen was, for Chefs, a playground with no rules.   But all of that has changed.

These days, I make a point of asking each person making a reservation at the lodge if anyone in the family has any food allergies or food restrictions that we should be made aware of before their arrival.  The answers always weigh more heavily on the ‘yes’ than the ‘no’.  And although some of the guidelines we are made to adhere to are more preference than necessity, the kitchen now has to deal with a list of these instructions for each week of our summer season.

Now, while I completely comprehend the severity of an ingested or inhaled allergic reaction to a food, it does not negate the fact that I am more than moderately amused by the inability of our Sous Chef to pronounce one of the more prevalent choices in the current realm of dietary options.  A Pescatarian is a person who does not eat meat but will eat fish.  And each time I have the opportunity to add that choice to our “allergy” list for the week, my smile cannot be missed.   As I walk into the kitchen with that list, I calmly await the moment that she will read the list aloud and say the word “Pescabyterian”.

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According to Karina, somewhere there is a church for vegetarians who occasionally eat fish.  And this latest hotel guest, this most recent addition to our list of dietary anomalies, is a member of its congregation.  Each time she reads the list aloud, the words Pescatarian and Presbyterian become intertwined and I am reduced to a public school version of myself, unintentionally (not really) laughing at the combination of the two expressions.

Pescabyterian – a member of the religion of vegetarians who consciously choose to eat fish.

It may be juvenile, but this marriage of words helps alleviate some of the stress of our summer.  It gives us the freedom to laugh at the increased amount of tension in an already volatile environment.  And it allows a break for laughter in a scene that is meant more for drama, creating an oasis of calm in a sea of chaos.

One simple word, whether Webster chooses to recognize it or not, has the power to change the trajectory of our day.   Let’s hear it for the Pescabyterians!

 

 

 

 

Remembering the things I forgot

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Earlier today, a friend inadvertently reminded me of one of the greatest things about writing.  It’s not just for the melodic overture that silently plays as words form sentences and transport themselves from my brain to my fingertips and onto the screen.  It’s not the myriad number of ways I am able to express myself.  It is simply the fact that I am allowed to engage with people in a way that brings me joy.

When I post a blog, I certainly look at my stats to see how many people have stopped by to read what I have written.  But somewhere along the way, I have disconnected from the truth behind those statistics.  Those numbers represent people who have taken the time to ingest my words, who have possibly connected to what I had to say and who may share the same thoughts that I have shared.

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I was reminded today that my words have an impact on people.  It’s not just looking at statistics on a blog.  It’s realizing that I am able, through my writing, to make a connection with people on a level far greater than I imagined.   I can reach people who I cannot see.  I can engage with people I know or even people I may never meet.  I can speak to people without uttering a word out loud.

Writing this blog has not only allowed me to connect with the hidden parts of myself, it has enabled me to become a part of so many other lives.  This morning, this friend told me she spent an entire day thinking about a post of mine that she had read in the winter.  Her words gave so much worth to my words and this blog post is my way of thanking her for giving me the kick in the pants I needed to get back to writing more frequently.   Thanks Erin!