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Hi Everyone. Hope this finds you well this first Sunday in August - OMG August! Where has the year gone? I am looking out my window this morning at a cloudy gray sky with the possibilities of rain. It rained like heck yesterday and was chilly for this time of year. I have been retired a month now and have done as I promised myself and technically not worked so far this summer. I have been running around dealing with family and life in Massachusetts. I have learned to value life and family even more over the past month.
As I have written previously I have been walking in the mornings and trying to get in 3 or 4 miles at a time and they have been glorious mornings. I think the neighbors are getting to know me as I hear more and more greetings. I love hearing the "good mahnin." The first week I was here one of the women actually asked me if I lived here and I said my parents do so she left me alone after that. I actually ran into a distant cousin the other day. I thought I recognized her the week before and as I approached her the other day she said: "are you Marie?" I said yes Victoria it's me. We had a nice long chat and got caught up on a few family members. Many of the people in this development have small gardens either flower or vegetable. I took a couple of pics so you can get a taste of what I see as I'm walking. I did not walk yesterday, raining too much, or this morning as I am feeling tired and like I am fighting a summer cold.
My family had a great week as my nephew Shamus came home for a visit for the first time in 18 months. All week we talked to my mom about Shamus coming home as we hoped she would have a good day on Friday. My dad was so excited he had me order a cake and an Italian meat platter, chips, etc. You would think he was feeding the staff at the hospital. I am providing a couple of pics from Friday. We all had tears in our eyes when Shamus came in the room to see his mema (he named her).
I must admit my dad was driving me a little crazy this past week. He was getting aggravated with me when I was in my normal questioning mode. Of course, it does not help that he is trying to stay independent and prove that he can still handle everything. I am trying to complete the insurance papers for the hospital and he is busy moving things around which can cause issues. He thinks I'm questioning his decisions and finances and believe me I'm not. As I keep letting him know, I need to know where items are so I can help in the future. Oh well, this too is a learning experience.
I know dad won't be happy with me tomorrow when we have a discussion about me leaving on Tuesday. Because he is truly not supposed to drive I have worked with a few of his friends to arrange rides for him when I'm not here. I am deeply concerned about his driving and arranged to have him dropped off and picked up to visit mom every day and to get some shopping done. Still not sure how to start this conversation tomorrow as I think he is going to be really ticked. Oh well, another learning lesson for both of us on this journey of life.
Update: As I went to publish this my dad found the list of names that had been prepared as drivers. He listened and agreed. Talk about waiting for anger and upset, my sister and I were both sitting here when he found the list. We approached it from concern (which we are) and he actually agreed. Could have knocked me over with a feather at this point. So many emotions going through me at this time.
I finished reading "Glimpses of Heaven" by Trudy Harris, RN. The book contains true stories of hope and peace at the end of life's journey. Trudy is the former president of the Hospice Foundation for Caring. It is beautifully written and to me is a learning tool as well.
(If the slideshow does not appear in your view, you will want go to the website using this link: http://beaconcoaching.weebly.com/
I am ending this here today. I hope you have a good week. Take care. Chat soon. Marie
“A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of sheep.”
- Vernon Howard “Let go of certainty. The opposite isn't uncertainty. It's openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.”
- Tony Schwartz “Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”
- Hermann Hesse
Hi Everyone. Hope you are well and had a good week. I am looking this morning at clouds as I hear that storms will be moving in soon. It was gloriously sunny when I woke up lazily this morning. I must say that all week we have had some fabulous weather. My morning walks have been glorious. I have not seen any turkeys this week so my walks have been peaceful. I do pass some beautiful yards that either have flower or vegetable gardens with gazebos and sitting areas. I don't have the patience to garden, but so admire those that do the work. First morning I have not walked in a week, thought I needed a day of rest.
Had some wonderful family times this past week as my dad's Aunt Virginia and cousin Karen came to visit from Long Island. My father was so excited as he has not seen them in several years. I almost cried because I had not seen my dad that happy in a while. They even brought some Italian pastries that my dad loves! We had lots of laughs and memories galore as we reviewed hundreds of old pictures that had been scanned onto the computer. We hooked up the computer to a gigantic TV and we watched the show. My aunt and dad told us stories about the pictures and identify lots of relatives. There are still hundreds of pictures to be reviewed, but after spending about 3 hours that day looking we were done. We also had breakfast with them this morning before they headed back to New York. My sister posted the following picture on Facebook and I decided to share it here (I am the short one) I think you can tell that we are all related in some way shape or form!
Of course all this family time has led me to really think about family dynamics. I know there are no perfect families out there and relatives are definitely not always easy. There are large families and small families and sometimes they get along and sometimes they don't. I sometimes think families are like friends they come and go as needed in our lives. My niece asked me the other day if I ever fight with my sister. I said no I don't think we have ever fought per se (maybe because we are over 8 years apart). I'm sure I ticked her off at times and I know she ticked me off at times, but nothing to make a big deal about. I trust and respect her and I believe she trusts and respects me. Our extended family is large and we don't see them very often for whatever reasons - I told my sister we were the evil red headed stepchildren. I stopped trying or reaching out years ago to several sectors as I just did not want to bother with the stress of it all. I do feel bad for my parents though as they never knew what they did to cause their only nephew and nieces to stay away and not contact them. My father still gets upset when he thinks about it. I try to be supportive and understanding for him because I am upset that he is upset, but at the same time part of me does not care any longer. How do you handle family dynamics? Do you tolerate each other during holidays and/or vacations?
I must say I wrote most of the above paragraph last night because it was really bothering me. I am looking at it this morning and thinking should I remove it, change it, add more and then I decided to leave it alone. I always promised myself that I would write what's on my mind as perhaps some of you are going through the same things. I really thought all night about the above. I decided to add that I want people in my life that are genuine and truly care about me and I care about them. For this reason, I will not have thousands of "friends" on Facebook or connect to those that only want to add numbers. I am not condoning any one that has thousands of people connected to them, I say more power to you. I also believe that the word family has many meanings. I consider many of my closest friends a type of family. What about you? What do you think of the above?
Oh well, enough of that rambling! I am still heavily involved in reviewing paperwork for my parents and daily visits with my mom. There are some good days and some not so good days. My dad and I spend several hours there daily. My parents are the talk of the hospital as they take therapy together and hold hands or he walk behind with the wheelchair as the therapist guides her. They truly demonstrate to me the hard work and dedication it takes to keep a marriage going. They have had their ups and downs as all relationships do, but kept on working so their marriage has lasted 57 years so far. I hope you cherish your relationships as I am seeing daily how love works.
All excitement in our family this coming week as my oldest nephew Shamus will be coming home for the first time since January 2013. He is in the Army and has been serving overseas. We keep mentioning to my mom every day that Shamus will be coming home and she gets a big smile on her face.
I have not had the opportunity to finish any books, but perhaps over the next couple of weeks I'll catch up. What are you reading?
I was going to write about asking for help today, but got sidetracked. My quotes today have to do with help.
I am going to leave it here. My dad woke me up this morning as he left the house for church. He should be back soon and expects me to be ready for breakfast. I hope you have a wonderful week. Take care of yourself and those you love. Don't be fearful of saying I LOVE YOU! Chat soon. Marie
P.S. If you can't see the picture above as I understand you receive text only you can use this link to go to the website directly: http://beaconcoaching.weebly.com/
"All of us, at certain moments of our lives, need to take advice and to receive help from other people."
- Alexis Carrel
"Needing help doesn't make you weak, in fact quite the opposite. It makes you strong, smart, resourceful, and realistic. Being prideful is a weakness. Asking for help when you know you're in over your head is STRENGTH. Don't ever forget that!"
Referrals are always appreciated.
Hi Everyone. Hope this finds you well today and you had a good week. This is a late posting for me as I look out the window and see a gloomy sky - think we are headed for some rain here in Plymouth.
I leaving it here for the day. I hope you have a great week. Take care of yourself and appreciate those around you. Chat soon. Marie
"Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it."
- Andy Rooney
"You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor."
He that can have patience can have what he will."
- Benjamin Franklin
Hi Everyone. Hope this finds you well today. What a gorgeous day in Plymouth, MA! Sun is shining and very warm, but there is a breeze. I took a long walk this morning through my parents' development and it was just lovely. Saw quite a few walkers while I was out there. I did have to double back when I came across two wild turkeys blocking the path - I thought to myself do not start the day ticking off the wild turkeys and they were huge!
As I mentioned in the Thursday blog, it was a busy week as I retired and tried out new things at the adventure park. Now I am staying with my dad. It was a hard morning seeing my mom and the doctor decided today was the day to give my dad a reality check. My parent's doctor is very plain spoken and to the point which I truly appreciate even if I did not like the discussion. If I have not told you before my mom was diagnosed about two weeks ago with Alzheimer's disease. The doctor advised that my mom will not be coming home and will be moved from the short term rehabilitation part of the hospital to the memory care facility. It seems my mom went downhill very quickly some of it because of the infections she was fighting and some just because it progresses differently in every person impacted. The doctor very plainly told my dad that he can not take care of her.
I can tell you that although I was prepared mentally for the possibility of her not recognizing me today it was still hard on the heart. She knew my name which I thought was terrific, but did not associate me as her daughter. She did like the picture I gave her from 1983 with the red hair and said she liked that picture. Somewhere deep inside she knows I'm family because she was a little cranky when I tried to get her to eat breakfast. But she would perk up and be nice when the nurses came in the room. It was funny because as I left the hospital earlier she made a statement about me having a head of white hair.
I have been telling my sister for the past few weeks that I have to deal with everything logically in my head before I can handle it with my heart. I think being HR for many years has helped me prepare for some of what is needed logically, but that does not make it any easier on the heart. To see the woman who raised me, wrestled with me and danced around the kitchen with me; so helpless in many ways just bring tears to my eyes. My love of music and dance came from my mom as she always said she put me in the playpen when I was a baby to watch American Bandstand. Plus her mom played piano and loved Elvis (if you don't know who that is you are too young).
My parents have been married for 57 years and known each other for at least 59 if not 60 years. So this is devastating for my dad. It is hard for all of us, but he is at his wit's end so to speak. He has taken care of her in many ways for several years. It is hard to understand that it is the disease that is causing her to act out or be spooked at the slightest noise/movement. He was talking today about the house and it being their home. I am glad I was here with him when he talked to the doctor.
For those of you that have loved ones that have gone through this I know you understand the emotion that is behind every word I am writing. I am trying not to be maudlin or feel sorry for myself. I am trying to talk to my mom at whatever level she is at. We have not told many people because my parents are very private people. I am sure neither would be happy with me for writing about this in the blog. I just feel it is something I need to do - perhaps in some ways it is a bit selfish - I am not sure at this point.
I am glad I retired last week though so I can be here to help my family in whatever way I can. I am grateful for the care my mom is receiving as they seem to be taking good care of her as best they can. I am grateful to my support system as they are always nearby.
I am going to end here for today. I hope I did not depress you too much by writing the above. Have a good week. Chat soon. Marie
"Once you choose hope, anything's possible." - Christopher Reeve
"Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination." - Roy Goodman
"The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs." - Vance Havner
Referrals are always appreciated!
Hi Everyone! Hope this finds you well today. Welcome to the new Website and blog - new picture will come in August timeframe. I am doing great. A bit tired after a very hectic week (explanation below). I am looking out my window at a sparkling clean white fence and the green colors of summer. My week was full of emotional highs and lows and fun!
My day job takes the top honor this week. My office pulled off the "gotcha" of the century when they hosted a surprise retirement party for me. You can tell there was a lot of preparation put into this as there were so many people involved including other offices to keep me occupied or out of the building while planning was going on. My office planned a flashmob yes a flashmob to the song Happy because I always jump up and start singing and dancing to this song to make everyone laugh. I was invited to a meeting where the participants all sat in such a way that I had to keep my back to the glass door and not see what was going on. I must admit the meeting was about a project I was working on so I thought it was real. Then someone came in about 1/2 way through and I truly did think, but did not say it out loud: "Who the hell is this person and why is she so late?" They provided a decent answer to the unasked questions - see they know me so well! Ten minutes later, my boss ran into the meeting with a person carrying a boom box and a photographer, the woman I did not know jumped up and led the participants in the dance. Everyone was dancing! I must admit tears popped immediately into my eyes when I realized what was happening. That started a basic conga line and as I danced along there were people lined up all throughout the office. I saw people that I currently work with and a few from past offices as well as my BFF and the retired ladies lunch bunch (I will be a member next week). Everyone was holding smiley face fans and then I realized that on the other side was my ID picture from 1983 (about a year after I started).
I found out on those days I left a little early, my colleagues were collaborating on crafts (fans as well as visors with smiley faces on them) and practicing the choreography that this lovely woman (zumba instructor) had put together. We danced and walked around for 20 minutes while they put together the last of the major surprises, which was some people from far away places came in over video to also be part of the flashmob. They also held my picture and smiley faces. Two the people I had actually hired over 10 years ago so it was so good to see them and one knew me from a prior project. I can't believe so many people were involved and I did not know it was happening. They LOVED getting this accomplished in secret.
My boss loves to event plan and cater so she was in her element. Her sister whom I also know came all the way in to deliver some of the food and help with set up. You should have seen the over 250 mini cupcakes with mini marshmallows on the top with hand drawn smiley faces. When I looked at the layout I realized that the yellow icing cupcakes spelled out my name. The staff told me after how this was organized almost down to the minute so I would not know. I almost blew it myself when I walked back into office to grab a pen for a meeting and everyone was standing up and froze. I was so intent on the meeting that I did not even register at that moment that they were all looking at me and holding their breath. The photographer remarked that we had set the bar for retirement parties as he had never seen one with so much fun! Believe me the song Happy has so many meanings for me.
I spent Friday night and Saturday at a Jazzercise Taping in Washington, DC. I have never seen so many people gathered in one place wearing spandex in my life (including myself). There were close to 2000 people - mostly women and the energy was unreal. I worked out between both days for close to six hours. I was definitely tired by the end of the day yesterday. I am a little stiff today, but slowly stretching everything out. The funny part of this was I went with my friend D who arranged the hotel. We got there, checked in and went to the room - only one king size bed. She was devastated and called the desk, but of course nothing available so I said no big deal, big bed, we'll be fine. I told her the rumors would fly that we were sleeping together and we just laughed. All-in-all we had a great time - exhausting but fun. I realize again that since the weight loss I have a lot more energy and stamina than I ever did in the past. Have you ever been to one of these events.
The low part of my emotional week concerns my mom. Her health is not improving and she is not gaining her strength back. It's hard on my dad as well as he wants to take care of her at home and currently she is still in the hospital. It's hard on my sister as she works and has kids that also need her attention and now our dad wants her attention as well. I'll be visiting soon so I am hoping to see where I can help.
I did not finish any books this past week - still reading three so hopefully I will finish one soon so I can let you know about it. Any recommendations?
I have a 15 year old visiting for a week so we have lots of interesting events planned. I'll write you about the experiences in a future posting.
I am going to end it here as I have been putting this together for hours and I feel like I'm not engaging enough for you today. Take care. Chat soon. Marie
"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning." - Maya Angelou
"Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning." - Joseph Campbell
Trust yourself, then you will know how to live." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go." - Natalie Goldberg
Referrals are always appreciated.
Hi Everyone. Hope this finds you well and you had a good week. I am looking out my window this morning at a cloudy sky that is clearing with the sun coming out. It is not too humid yet. I am excited as I'm writing this blog today via a new venue for me. I am moving my website over the next week. Please be on lookout for a new link where you will need to sign up to receive the weekly blog. As I have mentioned previously changes changes changes - lots happening and I'm trying to roll with the changes and be open. I have five work days and a wake-up left until I retire from my day job/career!
I had a crazy week emotionally and energy wise. I am in the midst of some very big life transitions and although I am excited and positive at the same time I am nervous and hesitant. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but it does to me since I'm the one going through it. I honestly believe this is why I have been hesitant finishing my resume and passing it out. The resume to me is a final break with my old work life and opens me up to a new work life. Perhaps the younger generation is used to doing this, but I am not. I am a person that for many years lived to work and everything else was on the side. I am flattered and excited that people have reached out to me asking for my resume and I keep promising I will get it to them, but so far have not followed through (procrastinating! hmmmm). It's not that I have not started it and actually have a draft ready to go, but it's the actual finalizing and sending it to someone who will then use it to make some judgement about me that I think scares me (fear another hmmmm). What do you procrastinate about? What are you fearful about? Can I help you move forward in some way?
On the other hand my emotions and energy are going haywire as my mom is in the hospital again. She is fighting another infection, but is on the road to recovery. My dad, of course, is at his wits end as he wants to be her caretaker and sometimes he just can't be. My poor sister is running herself ragged and all I keep saying is I'll be there soon to give her a break. I can be a sounding board for my sister, but hopefully when I'm there she will be able to get a better break. My parents are both becoming a little slower and a little more needy so as I have said previously, my retirement is coming at a good time so I can be there more often. I have been doing lots of research of caregivers, facilities (if needed), financial and legal issues that arise at this time and balance their wishes to be as independent as possible for as long as possible. In some ways being an HR officer for so long as prepared me for some of this, but it is definitely not easy when it's your own family. Now to work on an internet connection for my parents house so I can stay connected while there.
I did have a new experience the other night with some friends as we went to the Hot Spot Sauna in Herndon (http://hotspotsauna.com/about/). It's an infra-red individualized sauna studio. It is a very simple and clean studio with minimal decor. Some people use it to detox, weight loss, stress relief, etc. The temperature can go up to 150 degrees. After my fainting the week before I decided to keep it a little cooler, so I started at 146 and by the time it was done I was down to 130, but believe me I sweated all over. I popped the glass door open a couple of times to get a cool breeze. They have wonderful soft music playing and lights that change color as they do different things for the body. The attendant was extremely nice and knowledgeable and never provided any pressure to purchase a membership although I know they have them. She mentioned it and then never brought it up again. I find that extremely refreshing. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I am not sure I would do it more than a couple of times per year. I also realized that there was too much going on in my mind so for this first time I was not even meditating very well. Now that I have completed it once I know that I would definitely get my mind in the right place for meditation. My friends enjoyed it as well and I must say my skin felt fabulous when it was over. Have you ever tried something like this? What was your experience?
My other business is a bit busy this time of year as I end contracts with some clients and take on a few new clients. Some days are busier than others as I have preparation work to do on both sides of the equation. I did finally start the process for online banking with this business so I can handle some items while away from the area - more changes (LOL).
I am reading three books at this moment, but have not finished any of them. Two are inspirational, but sometimes those take me a little longer to read as I have to absorb a little at a time. What are you reading?
I had two great workouts with the trainer this past week. He continues to challenge me each and every time. He even had me doing a little running on the treadmill (just a little) as he builds my endurance. I told him I would be gone for a month and his jaw hit his chest. He is going to give me some ideas for at least maintaining while I'm gone. He and the other trainers are all so encouraging and tease me about being a gym rat. I had a woman stop me the other evening when she said, "you come here a lot." I said yes I try to come every week day and see the trainer twice per week. She works out with her husband who is training her. We had the nicest conversation and she could not believe that I have only been there since January and how I enjoy working out now. Are you taking care of you with exercise? Have you come up with a plan or a goal?
I am going to leave it here for today. I hope you have a great week. Take care. Chat soon. Marie
"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy." - Anne Frank
"Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them." - Marcus Aurelius
"You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as ahuman being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter howslight." - Elizabeth Gilbert
Welcome to "Thoughts for a Sunday," the weekly blog of Marie Nagle of Beacon Coaching. Let's have a life changing conversation! Please share your thoughts and insights with me by submitting a comment. All comments are moderated and subject to approval. Subscribe to my blog to receive weekly posts via e-mail. Thank you!