Monday, August 7, 2017

Apricots


August.

We didn't have as many apricots... it amazes me every year that the apricot tree is still there.  So many years ago when you were sick, it was sick and I almost cut it down, then I put my hands on it, I could feel the life in it, and I said (out loud because I am a little crazy like that)  as long as there is one green leaf left I won't cut you down, lets get you better.  The tree became symbolic and it thrived, and you did too...then you were gone... and still it stands, it healed itself, it is old and crooked, we lost a huge part of it last year but all these years later there are not only green leaves but fruit.  Not sure what it is symbolic of anymore.

The garden was good this year, you would have loved it; giant zucchinis, long deep purple japanese eggplant, four different kinds of tomato,  lots of aromatic basil, lemon thyme, sage, oregano.  I planted peppers but nothing yet, I made bread and butter pickles out of the cucumbers (there were so many) and the strawberries were new (hula pink berries) they were the only thing that didn't do very well in the heat this year.  The swiss chard dominates and I have yet to cook it, it has been there since we moved here it just keeps popping up.  We had so many beautiful nectarines but no figs, dad accidentally over pruned my tree.  The asian pears are heavy and falling to the ground where Elliott plays with sand and trucks and we are going to have so many pomegranates this year.

This garden is all you lovey,  your eden, I imagine you walking around, filling up a basket...

Your little brother loves fruit just as much as you, he would live on just fruit if we let him, not sure why we don't.

Noah is having a magical summer, he is traveling and singing and having so many great experiences. He is using a stage name, and gets on airplanes, he is becoming a man...how is this happening, I am not ready.  Stevie he shaves and has a girlfriend, he is tall and beautiful, his voice is deep and sounds like water moving over river rocks, far away thunder, rain, love, tears, everything.

He writes songs that make you feel, he is brave and tender, he takes you with him where ever he goes.

Aly is Aly, she remains gentle and fragile.  She is an artist but she doesn't dream, she is lost I think. She works, she pays the bills, she comes home on Sundays to do laundry, have coffee with dad, make us laugh.  She hikes and runs in the sun, she bikes down long winding paths. Her heart is sad she feels alone.  She has an adorable apartment, an awful room mate.  I think she needs a change.  If I had a magic wand there would be a boyfriend who adores the real her, there would be a job that she really loves, there would be more art in her life...maybe a stand up gig on the weekends...

I worry about her sometimes.

She is with your brother this month, staying close to him while he is away from home, protecting him, making sure he eats and sleeps... he is only 17.

She takes care of us Stevie.

Your little brother starts school this fall, and this will be Noah's last year of high school.  Two big milestones, its so surreal.

(Dad doesn't like me to talk about him in these posts, so I wont.)

I am losing the weight.  It has been more than weight it has been me holding on to things I need to let go.  I eat when I am upset, I bake when I am sad, I cook when I am lonely.   I am ready to let it go to breath better, feel better, be "me".  I have been hiding and not living.  My blood sugar went up and I was told that I was pre-diabetic, my cholesterol climbed and after 50 that isn't a good thing.  I found myself experiencing aches and pains that were mostly a product of a body carrying around more than it should.

My father once told me to "set it down, just set all that down and walk away, no need to carry it all".
It was a long,long, time ago, and he was listening to me talk and he felt it, felt me carrying too much, he called it a "sack of old rocks".  He was right but I couldn't hear him.

I remember things and hold onto people,  I carry tears in my pockets, I tie stories to my heart.  I am a hoarder of memories , I think it all has to be saved so I fill up journals with everyday tasks and events, resurrect the past, turn it around and upside down and make sure I have explored every bit of it.  I write down my thoughts because I am afraid someday those books will be the only thing that will keep me real, keep you real, all of this real.

Sometime in June I decided to ask for help, I didn't want end up in a bed or on a couch, never leaving the house, eating because I needed to feel loved and cared for, eating because I didn't know how to make the changes I wanted, eating because I felt alone or afraid. By medical standards I was obese, my BMI was 30.  If you looked at me you would think that I was just a 50 something year old woman who looked like every other 50 something year old woman at target wearing yoga pants and a big t-shirt going down the cookie isle.

I had just recently visited Aunt Sarah who was living in Bend with a her tribe of women friends, she had a lover that flew in from Seattle to have great sex, beautiful dinners, and long early morning runs with her. She looked better than ever, she had her dream business,  was living someplace beautiful, hip, and full of people who loved her.  She was in a happy place running marathons, triathalons, she had a big puppy.   Luke and Corey were grown up and doing what they loved, she had divorced her past in a graceful way and was living her own life, she was glowing top to bottom.

She was also diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma of the intestines.

I was there because she was giving herself a life party (a funeral of sorts) it was happy and sad and beautiful.  I spent the weekend with her, met her friends, shared late night snuggles in her big bed, talked, and just loved her.  When I left I did so without saying good bye.  I snuck out to the car that was going to the airport, I was in the back seat, window rolled half way down, she ran out to the drive way yelled for me, I yelled back "I love you, I will see you later"  she cried, put her hands to her mouth and I cried, I knew I would never see her again.

I didn't.  She died in July.

She was my family, my sister, for 32 years of my life.  She was someone I loved but she also drove me crazy.  She was a supporter.  That was her role in life to support and to inspire, to push you a little, to challenge you, to motivate you to do a little more, give a little more, follow your dreams.  She never took "No" for an answer, she ignored road blocks, she broke rules, she crossed the line, she spoke her mind (elegantly).  Everything was a mountain she was willing to climb and if  you were with her you were expected to go for the ride.  She asked a lot, she gave a lot, she loved a lot.

She was there when you died, she held me up, she took charge, she made everything happen that needed to happen.  I am forever grateful.

Her death was beautiful, as if she orchestrated it. I am going to miss her so much.  My promise to her is to live "My Best Life" and to use the tools and gifts she left me.

I haven't done all the things I wanted to do, I still have dreams, I don't have a tribe, my kids are still little and need me...

So I have to take better care of myself.  I have to put down what I don't need, what doesn't help me, what keeps me from moving forward.  I am starting with all this fat, and all this wasted time sitting in this house feeling sorry for myself.  I have a little who needs a mama that can run, ride a bike, swim, play and stick around for another 20-30 years.

On July 5th I started a diet, well not a diet really, I made a change.  I am changing my relationship with food.  It is not a form of entertainment, it is not my escape hatch, it is not my feel good drug, it is not my coping mechanism.  It is nourishment.

I have 40 pounds to lose.  I need to get my blood sugar down, my cholesterol down, I need to move my body more.  I don't care about being thin, I don't care about the size of me jeans.  I care about my heart.  I care about having more energy to do what I love.  I care about having a healthy body.  I care about being happy and enjoying the rest of my life.

I am walking again, just 30 minutes a day.  I eat three meals and a two snacks and I eat what my body needs not what my emotions crave.  It isn't easy, it hurts, I have cried, I am "hungry" but I know that what I am hungry for is not food, it is something else.

This will take as long as it takes.  I am addicted to sugar, flour, butter.  I am a junkie, these things are my drug of choice.  I don't know how to have just a little.  I can't change that relationship and it isn't good for me so I have to set it down, walk away.

I can't imagine a life without those three things but for five weeks I have managed and when I let them go I lost 12 pounds.  I still have a long way to go but I am on the road that leads to my goal.

Every pound I lose feels like a heavy rock left by the roadside, a pound of sad, of alone, of fear, of doubt, of frustration, of anger.  It isn't easy, this is more than losing weight.  I am visualizing this weight loss being the catalyst for a lot of change.  I have learned that I can't change other people the only power I have is to make my own changes.   I am starting here with me, being physically healthy will lead to better emotional health, I am getting stronger and expect to continue to get stronger in many more ways.  I am taking control of my life.

I am still afraid, I still want cake, a soft blanket, a crappy Netflix binge.  I also want to go for a hike through the forest with Elliott, be a better role model for Aly, show Noah that I am strong and he doesn't have to worry about me anymore.

Its August, I will be 52 this year.  This is my year of change, good change.

Maybe that Apricot tree is still standing there for me, maybe I know inside my heart what it is symbolic of.

I love you Stevie.  Every once in a while when I least expect it you show up and I am surrounded by you, it is subtle and beautiful.  I hope you found Aunt Sarah when she arrived, I know she was looking out for you, she was going to to tell you how much we love you.  Show her around, have fun and I will see the two of you later.












Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ten

(I didn't forget you, didn't forget to post...I just couldn't access this account and it has taken me a couple days to get back in.)

 Stevie,

Ten.  It has been ten years.  It just doesn't seem possible yet time seems to be flying by so quickly now, it is actually a little scary.  I am 51 now and you would be turning 29.

I can look in the mirror and see how much I have aged, the lines around my eyes and mouth, the grey hair that keeps appearing that I keep covering up with a different color every month..  I can see my hands changing, the skin thinner like my grandmothers, that waggly stuff under my arms that makes me laugh and want to cry at the same time.

I don't have the energy I use to have, not sure if that is from aging or just my lack of interest in things I use to think were so important.  I have gained all that weight I kinda knew I would but promised myself I wouldn't.  Everyday I wake up sure I will just accept this new mature fuller body then hating myself for not taking better care of a body that needs to last a long time.

You...I can only try to imagine you at 29.  I think you would have the job of your dreams and be in love with a guy that has a soft voice, pretty hands, who is smart, witty, loves to cook (just like you).  I can see the two of you sitting up late at night reading together under a blanket you knitted.  He would adore you and be protective and loving, feel so lucky to love a woman with such a brilliant mind who is funny and laughs with her whole face.

I imagine your hair past your shoulders, up in a ponytail most days,  cute sweaters, flats, perfume that smells like flowers.  You would be hipster for sure, no doubt about it and that man of yours maybe he would have one of those awesome hipster beards.  You guys would go to concerts and collect odd retro stuff for you apartment, make DIY christmas gifts, drive cute electric cars.

I wish I could call you and ask you to come to dinner on Sunday, you would bring something yummy for desert.  I wish we had a standing lunch date every week, you would share work gossip...I wish we could get pedicures and ready trashy magazines, Aly would come with us.  I wish I could trim your hair, do your eyebrows like I use to.

Ten years.

I read "What Dreams May Come" again... it comforts me I can't explain why.

We went to the cemetery, Aly came for the first time since the funeral.  She unburdened her soul, it tore me apart.  She loves and misses you so very much.  We planted a tangerine tree over your body.  We planted a cara cara at home.  I wish you were here to watch them grow, pick the fruit, drive me crazy by leaving the peels by the computer...

Ten years.

I miss you every single day.  I still count the minutes...5,256,000