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my balanced life (me and lot’s wife)


I am Lot’s wife.

Frozen in place.  A pillar of salt.

Eye on the past, no thought for the future.

Carrie and Regina Mae

I haven’t written a word since my last post on my beautiful friend, Carrie.  Afraid to write, afraid to think or feel.

Afraid to lose my friend.

Not the kind of loss that can be overcome by a long talk and a foot soak over a favorite pastry from The Corner Perk.

My sweet friend who taught me how to listen to my body.  How to walk into a room full of stretchy-bendy yoginis and just do my best.  Not compare myself to their best.

My sweet friend who taught me how to recognize peace.  How to walk away from the toxicity in my life.

My friend who taught me as much about bravery as any sheepdog I know.

I keep looking back to when the studio was open.  My safe haven from the ugliness and pain in my life.

Always looking back.  Frozen in place, my own little pillar of salt.

After spending the evening with her, I realize the fear is mine.  The despair is ours.  She’s made her peace and is ready to move on.  It’s those of us who will be left behind who struggle and despair.

Holding my breath, holding my words, won’t change the outcome.

Maybe breathing again, sharing my pain, will provide the salve my soul needs to keep going forward.

Maybe sitting next to her, absorbing her peace, will crack away at my pillar of salt.  Allow me to break free and face forward again.

Carrie

I love you, my friend.

I’ll miss you.  Always.

Sweet dreams.

See you on the other side.

my balanced life (or my broken heart beats)


 

I’ve never understood how a heart can be broken and still keep beating.  And yet, here I sit once again, heart broken and still beating.

Carrie and Herman Wandall

Checking Facebook is mindless and automatic.   Glancing past the inanities of our every day life as a way to pass the time, fill an overactive mind always seeking new information.

Sometimes buried in the food porn and relationship updates, I stumble across life-changing, heart-breaking news.

Hello Family and Dear friends,

Our dear Carrie will not be with us as long as we would like. Please send your love, visit, call, send a note or what ever way you would like to show Carrie your Love. Thank you all again for all that you have done for Carrie and I. We are both eternally grateful for all your love and support. Love to all Herman and Carrie

Herman and Carrie, who personify Sufi poet Hafiz’s “A Love Like That”.  Carrie, who has fought so valiantly to beat ovarian cancer.  Carrie, who will not be with us as long as we would like.

Carrie standing in the surf

Last time my heart was broken, Carrie healed me. Saved me, really. I wish there were a way to return the gift she gave me.

Heal her, save her, the way she did for me.

I have a hard time imagining my world without Carrie.  Without yoga classes and healing Reiki sessions.  My world is different, I am different, for having met her, for having spent hours in her yoga studio.

Carrie’s love, her legacy, will live on. The lives she touched will touch others, passing on her legacy to all we touch.

Carrie had a way of blanketing people in love and peace.  In my darkest, most painfully heart-broken days, I knew if I could just make it to her yoga studio, I’d be okay.  I’d survive another hour, another day.  Even when I was too beaten to do anything but child’s pose, life was better if I could just get there.

Now it’s our turn to send a blanket of love and peace to cover Carrie as she finishes her journey on earth.

Our turn to cover Herman with a blanket of love and peace as he says goodbye to his love.

Heart broken but still beating.

my balanced life (or 95 days of movement)


There are ninety-five days left in the year.  I’m making a vow to myself and my body to make them ninety-five days of movement.

silhouette of running woman

Four years ago, I started taking yoga classes.  Yoga saved me.  During the lowest time of my life, yoga was my safe haven.

In 2011, things changed and I couldn’t make it to as many yoga classes.  So I started walking.  And then I started running.  In September 2011, I walked and ran my first 5K.   I finished.  Last.  But last beats the quitters behind me who stopped.  Even the quitters beat all those who didn’t start at all.

I walked or ran two 5Ks last year.  I kept running until November, when I fell and threw my hips out of alignment.

This year, I’ve struggled to get back into my groove.  The yoga studio closed while Carrie uses all of her energy to beat cancer.  There is a yoga class I take on Saturday  mornings, when I’m home.  And healthy.  I haven’t been since…when?  August?  Maybe July?

The last time I ran was the night before Nature Boy got mad, ran down the stairs, jumped over the gate and got bitten by my Rocky dog.  It was one of those hot, late night runs that sustained me through 2011 and mostly eluded me in 2012.  A slow, hot mile in shorts and a sports bra.  Nobody out but me and the moon.

After that, I went to bed each night thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the morning.”  And every morning, I’d wake up thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the evening.”

There are ninety-five days left of this year, and I’m done with excuses.  I’m going to fill those ninety-five days with movement.  If I’m too tired to run, I’ll walk.  If I’m too tired to walk, I’ll ride my beach bike.  If it’s too rainy to go outside, I’ll go to my yoga room and pretend that Carrie is there to push me to hold that position just a little longer.  Breathe just a little harder.

Between my birthday and the end of the year is when most people put on weight each year.  Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas goodies, it’s a challenge to get through the year without plumping up like that Thanksgiving turkey.

I used to say I dieted and exercised to get my old body back.  I’ve changed my goal.  I don’t want my 25-year-old body anymore.  I want a different body.  A better one.  One that is soft yet firm.  Toned and healthy.  Lungs that can fill me with oxygen.  Heart that beats strong and sure.  Legs that carry me to the finish line.  Arms that hold me in a handstand.  That’s the body I want to walk into 2013.

Move with me!  Let’s end 2012 in triumph and start 2013 in the best shape of our lives! 

one lovely blog


One Lovely Blog AwardMy new friend Sally at Deliberately Delicious nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Sally writes beautiful descriptions of life in Canada.  Her series of posts on sailing this summer made me feel like I was sitting next to her, sipping a glass of wine.

Thanks for the nomination, Sally!  This is my first award for writing since fifth grade. Oh happy day!  I got Sally’s notice a while ago but saved it for my birthday, so it’s a double celebration today.

According to the rules, I am supposed to thank the person who nominated me, share seven things about myself, and nominate fifteen blogs I find to be lovely.

Here are seven things about me, which you may or may not already know.

1.         Growing up, I was painfully shy and more than once managed to attend school an entire semester without speaking to any of my classmates.  I was so quiet in high school, when I went back for my 20 year reunion, one of my classmates asked my best friend if I attended school all four years, or just the last year.  The question was doubly funny because we had classes together all four years.

2.         I have loved everything about reading and writing since I first learned to string letters together to make words.  I remember the awe I felt on my first trip to the library.  Books provided a safe haven for a painfully shy introvert and opened me up to the wonders of the universe while safely tucked away in my bedroom or backyard.

3.         Humor can get you through almost anything in life, makes every situation more bearable, and helps lessons learned.

4.         My greatest blessings and accomplishments are my two children, Sweetness and the Genius.  They are my heart walking around outside my body.

5.         I married my first boyfriend when I was twenty and stayed married over twenty years.  I’ve learned more about myself in the time I’ve spent dating since my separation than I did in twenty-plus years of marriage.

6.         Crème brulee is my favorite dessert.  If it’s on a menu, it will always be my first choice.

7.         I am completely open to sharing the contents of my head and my heart on my blog, in the perhaps misguided hope that my experiences will help or at least entertain one other soul.

Since I started blogging, I’ve taken up following other bloggers.  Some of them make me weep with the beauty and simplicity of their writing.  My life is richer for their insights and musings.  Here are my nominations for the One Lovely Blog award.

Bonnie at My Dating Blog and I seem to live parallel lives on opposite sides of the pond.  I love her honest, funny take on dating that confirms men are the same, whatever continent you live on.

Never Contrary is filled with humorous musings and insight into life in a small, Southern town.  I found her the first time she was Freshly Pressed.

I look forward to catching up with Day Today Dating.  Her current musings about her relationship with N give me hope of finding my own special someone someday. And remind me to keep the windows shut!

Single White Female Dating chronicles one woman’s journey with on-line dating.  And confirms that on-line dating, like getting older, is not for sissies!

Patrick Latter posts incredibly vibrant pictures of hiking in Canada.  I live vicariously through his pictures, which are the closest I will ever get to mountain climbing.

One Thousand Single Days is quite the opposite of all the dating blogs I follow.  She’s taken a vow to remain single (completely single) for one thousand days.  Her youthful enthusiasm is contagious.

35 and Online Dating is a fun read because it is a man’s perspective on dating.  It’s like sneaking into the enemy camp for intel.

I look forward to reading 1000 Awesome Things every morning!  It reminds me to enjoy the simple things in life.

The bloggess at Ring Finger Tan Line shares the pain of being betrayed, a pain I know well.  Watching her progress as she recovers gives me hope for all of us who’ve been hurt.

I love reading Carrie Starr’s Cheap Love, a blog about creating beautiful marriages and living economically so you can afford great adventures.  Following along on her family’s month-long adventure in Australia this summer made me feel like I was right there with them.

Jenn at The Serenity Space is a fellow energy healer and I love reading her ramblings.

Jeremy Statton is an orthopedic surgeon and gifted writer who finds secretly incredible people and then shares them with the rest of the word.

Mike Nichols writes about family, marriage and leadership in ways that make me nod my head.  His post on relationships is a must-read for anyone in any relationship.

Faith Rises posts a beautiful picture and verse each day which encourages me and uplifts my soul.

It Starts With A Quote is one of my new favorites.  I love the quotes which start each post and the insight which follows.

My balanced life (or everything happens the way it’s meant to happen)


 Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.  Soren Kierkegaard

I had dinner with Sweetness and three of her girlfriends in Charleston this week.  Smart, beautiful girls with their whole lives in front of them.

As we sat at the bar waiting on our table, one of the girls told me she’s graduating in November.  The worst possible month to try to find a new job.

I assured her everything happens the way it’s supposed to happen.

That doesn’t mean we understand why things happen the way they do.

It doesn’t mean things happen the way we want them to, necessarily.

But they do happen the way they’re supposed to happen.

When I graduated from law school twenty years ago, I was pregnant with Sweetness.  She is one of those babies who was planned for, tried for and given up on.  Then she came along, in her own sweet time.

The plans her daddy and I made for our lives changed the instant the doctor said, “I know why you’ve been so sick.  You’re pregnant.”

Plans to move from Camp Pendleton to Florida to take the bar exam and find a job.  Plans for her daddy to get out of the Marine Corps and go to school full time.  Plans to buy a Miata because if I couldn’t have a baby, I should at least get a convertible.

Morning-noon-and-night sickness made studying for a bar exam impossible.

A new baby on the way convinced her daddy to stay in the Marine Corps.  I don’t remember having a vote in that decision, but twenty years later, I know it was the right one.

A two-year hiatus between graduation to my first job as an attorney.  Two years of explaining to people, yes, I’m a lawyer.  I graduated from law school.  I just can’t practice law in this (or any other) state until I take the bar exam.

Looking back, the time I spent at home with Sweetness was the best time of my life.

I look around my life now, my big, wonderful, glorious life filled with love and laughter, and I know I wouldn’t have this life if Sweetness hadn’t come along exactly when she did.

That other life, the one we planned out so carefully, probably would have been a nice life, too.  But I wouldn’t trade it for this life for a second.

Having the opportunity to tell this sweet girl not to worry, things happen the way they’re supposed to, is an opportunity to remind myself as well.

I was married for twenty-three years because that’s the way it was supposed to happen.  I don’t know why, but I know that’s true.

I left my marriage after twenty-three years because that’s the way it was supposed to happen.

Coach came into and out of my life in less than six months.  Lessons learned.  Purpose fulfilled.

Life is a giant puzzle.  Thousands of pieces fit together to make the whole.  Any given piece may make no sense.  It’s only when we fit the pieces together that we see how everything works together to give you the life you have.

Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.”  Looking back twenty years, I understand clearly how things worked out to give me the life I have today.

Question:  Do you believe things happen the way they are meant to happen? 

my balanced life (or my HCG diet experiment)


I have probably tried every diet under the sun!

Before and after pictures for HCG diet experiment

before and after

In theory, any diet works if you work the diet.  I’ve lost weight any number of ways over the years but the pounds never seem to stay off for long after the diet is over.

Last month, I ran into two different friends who used the HCG diet to successfully lose thirty pounds in six weeks.  Since that is almost exactly how much I want to lose, I decided to give it a try.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I hadn’t weighed myself since sometime last year, so I was disappointed when I stepped on the scale and saw how much weight I’d gained since last year when I was training for two 5Ks.

But then again, I dress myself every day, so I wasn’t particularly surprised to see how big the number was, either.

The HCG diet seems to be one of the “it” diets right now.  I did some research (a/k/a googling) before starting the diet, and found more bad things than good.  But I couldn’t discount the two friends who had successfully lost weight (and kept most of it off for several months.)

In essence, the HCG diet consists of the HCG hormone, taken either through shots or drops taken orally.  I did the oral drops, six drops four times a day.

I took the drops religiously.  I even set a timer on my iPhone for each of the four times a day so that I couldn’t forget.

Following the diet was more of a challenge.  Two meals a day (lunch and dinner), consisting of one vegetable, one fruit and 3 ounces of lean protein.  And therein lies my diet fail!  Five hundred calories a day did not work for me.  At all.

The bigger problem is that one week after starting the HCG diet I got sick.  And stayed sick for the next three weeks.  A stuffy nose turned into a hacking cough, which turned into bronchitis.  I haven’t been that sick, for that long, in years.

My first week on the HCG diet, I lost five pounds.  Cue the celebratory confetti!

The next three weeks consisted of me gaining and losing the same two pounds, so that at the end of four weeks, I had a net five-pound weight loss.

I was so sick the last three weeks of the diet, the only exercise I participated in was coughing hard enough to bruise my breastplate.

Even though I only lost five pounds, I consistently saw a difference in my body each week.  Every Friday morning, I took pictures in the same bikini.  For once, I wanted visual proof of the effects of my diet!

At the end of the fourth week, I decided I’d had enough.  I’m too busy to be that sick.  And my body couldn’t seem to get well while I was on the diet.

I haven’t given up the desire to lose thirty pounds.  (Well, call it twenty-five now, thanks to the five pounds I lost on HCG.)  But I am determined to find a way to lose the rest of the weight without throwing my body into a tailspin!

Question:  Do you struggle with weight issues?  If so, what are your best tips for taking off, and keeping off, extra weight?

my balanced life (or my frozen lungs)


Grandma and Grandpa Banis on their Hawaiian vacation

Grandma and Grandpa in Hawaii

My chest feels like someone has been beating on it with a ball peen hammer.  Like someone is trying to get in.  Or get out.

Bang.  Bang.  Bang. 

 

Each deep breath is punctuated by face-reddening, uncontrollable coughing.

Hack. Hack. Hack.

 

I am sick.

Bronchitis, I think.  The good doctor who loaded me up with steroids, cough syrup with codeine and antibiotics didn’t say, specifically.  But he talked about reducing swelling in my lungs.  Sounds like bronchitis to me.

Ancient Chinese Medicine teaches that each major organ in your body relates to an emotion.  The lungs represent grief.

As I lay in bed, feeling the effects of the ever-present tapping on my breastplate, I wonder which grief has frozen my lungs.

The death of a marriage.

The disappointment of a lying boyfriend.

The literal death of my grandmother.  My last living grandparent.

Grandma Banis stood next to me that summer day I pulled in more than my share of fish.  She loved telling the story over the years, imitating my girlish delight with each caught-fish. Wheeee!”

She taught me to sew, a meticulous taskmaster who still managed to make it fun.  I remember scouring through patterns and fabrics with her for hours.  Picking blouse and skirt patterns that would be easy enough.  Choosing different fabrics so that once I had a pattern set to my measurements, I could make it over and over.

I remember my first lesson on zippers.  I think I ripped it out six times, because as Grandma said, “We don’t do no half-ass work around here, Gina.”

After that first lesson, I never ripped out another zipper.  I wish all of my life-lessons were as effective as her lesson on zippers.

Grandma’s passing wasn’t a surprise.  Over three years in a nursing home left her a shell of her former sassy self.  I don’t like to remember her like that, and hate some of the pictures posted of her with her face sunken because the nursing home lost her teeth.  I prefer remembering her with her hair just so, make-up carefully applied, smart pantsuits (that she most likely whipped up on her trusty sewing machine.)

A widow-woman for the last ten years or so, as far as I know she never dated or even entertained the notion of being involved with another man.  I think she was content to wait to reunite with Grandpa Banis.

And now she has.

Good-bye, Grandma.