My health update a long time coming

I haven’t shared any of my health update in quite a while and thought I would fill everyone in.

I haven’t done much in the way of exercise lately. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I’ve torn my rotator cuff and instead of exercise I’ve been going to PT. I have surgery in a few weeks. PT was not getting the results that were necessary and a MRI showed that I have something like a bone deformity that is irritating the rotator cuff and keeping it from healing. I won’t bore you with the anatomical details of what this is. I just hope that after the surgery and the requisite recovery, I will at least be able to do a few down dogs without pain. In fact my goal is to dial my exercise back to Tai Chi, Qigong, yoga, and just some general exercise. I am taking all the serious CrossFit stuff off the table. It was fun but a partially torn Achilles, bummed knee, and rotator cuff is enough for me. YMMV.

I am still at least 60 pounds lighter than I was 2 years ago. My diet has stayed fairly stable and therefore so have I. For anyone that tells you that you can exercise your way to good health without moderating your diet, they are lying to you. As my life has shown lately, I have maintained weight through healthy eating. Being able to exercise  would be better for my overall health but the weight is off because of the healthy eating not the exercise.

Does this mean not drinking multiple glasses of wine every day? Yeah that’s exactly what that means. This is never really been an issue for me as I’m not a big drinker but I’m always amazed at people that complain relentlessly about how they can’t lose any weight but every picture you see of  them on Instagram and Facebook include copious amounts of alcohol. Some unsolicited advice? Drink less. Eat more food.

The true test, at least according to the doctor, is blood work. So what did the most recent test show? Triglycerides are in the normal range for the first time in years. Blood sugar normal. Good cholesterol in the normal range for  the first time in years. Bad cholesterol okay too. Thyroid in the normal range again. While not blood work, my blood pressure has been unbelievably right on target now for quite a while. As I said already, my weight has been stable at 60 pounds lighter then it was two years ago.

The one complaint my doctor had  was that my overall cholesterol is slightly elevated. If she had asked me, my response would be that it is only slightly elevated above where it was two years ago when I was taking statins. So no statins and only slightly elevated with better triglycerides and HDL and LDL levels. Plus I don’t have  the muscle ache that I had for years and didn’t realize it was because of the statin drugs I was taking .  Or that the statins actually made it harder to take off weight . Or that they caused elevated sugar.

Seriously, she told me to be better with diet and exercise and it took everything I could do not to laugh my head off.

Doctor, just leave me alone. I’m doing fine.

I hope you enjoy your holiday season and drink moderately and eat that piece of pie with the whipped cream. My diet won’t let me eat pie (I will get ill) but I love chocolate and I found a few brands that I can eat and I enjoy them immensely. Without guilt. And I don’t go running off to the gym the next day to work off the calories. I now exercise because I enjoy what I do.

Eating that chocolate is not doing something bad. Having a glass of wine is not doing something bad. Eating that fried potato latke is not doing something bad. It is enjoying life.


How Not to Give a Woman Mixed Messages

It’s kind of funny how this post came  to me. About three weeks ago I had a dream and when I woke,  this post was more than a seed, it was almost in full bloom. I thought about this post for a number of days before I ever put pen-to-paper or finger to keyboard as it were. But now here we are and after sitting on it for an additional two weeks I’m pushing it out into the world. (Should I ?  Should I not?)

And so what is this about? What I was thinking about in my sleep was how men give women the wrong impression when they are dating. Yeah I resemble most of these remarks. I’m sure there are a few people who will wonder who I’m talking about. Some of these go back more years than most of you know me. But if you see yourself in any of this, perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned. Here we go.

Dear Men:

If you don’t want a woman to think you are serious about her please do not buy her perfume. Even if it’s her birthday, I implore you –  don’t do it. Perfume is a very personal thing and if you are buying her something that you think smells good it implies that you want to smell HER in that perfume. So if you’re not serious don’t buy her perfume.

Dear God if you’re not serious about her (or taking her away on a weekend excursion just for sex) do not buy her lingerie. Lingerie is rather very  personal n’est ce pas? In fact, even if you are in a serious relationship, some advice –  if you’re buying her lingerie for her birthday? That is a present for you, not for her. I would suggest buying her something else for her birthday and save the lingerie for maybe your anniversary together.

If you don’t want to be in a relationship with a woman don’t introduce her to your parents. Or your siblings. Or your best friend. Or your children . At least not early on. Those introductions are indications that you may like the person more than you really do. Inviting a woman to a meal at your parents’ house when you do not have the intent to date her more than casually is giving the wrong message.

Conversely, never inviting a woman to dinner at your parents’ house is also a message. Those holidays that were spent alone? Yeah, believe me, received the message loud and clear.

If you are away on a business trip, or a holiday with your family, children, or friends, do not call the woman that you have no intent on being in a relationship with to tell her that you miss her and look forward to seeing her when you get back. Talk about a mixed message.

If you don’t want to be in a relationship with a woman don’t  stay with her for the weekend (at your place or hers). Especially when the kids are around. Or go on a vacation with her or to visit her family. Or go to her high school reunion (or family wedding or bar mitzvah or friend’s milestone party). This is even more important  when her hometown is a long car trip or plane ride away and includes a hotel stay or worse, at her parents’.

If you are dating someone and get transferred out of state don’t invite her to visit if your intent is to break up. She has better things to do than spend her money and vacation time  getting dumped by you in a strange environment and then have to take the red eye home with red eyes.

One month or one year, if you aren’t intending on hanging around, being solo, somewhat monogamous with a woman isn’t exactly honest. It provides a false sense of security and is disingenuous. I can guarantee that the longer you are “a couple” the more comfortable a woman will be that you want to be with her. Just pull the bandaid off and be done with it. Having ones heart broken doesn’t get easier the longer you string her along. And yes, you are stringing her along.

Last and probably not least,  if you don’t want to be in a relationship with a woman do not give her jewelry, especially if it has a heart on it. It may not be heartless but it certainly is thoughtless. You are giving her a message that you most certainly don’t intend. Do I have to spell this one out? Really? You are not giving this woman your heart so skip the heart jewelry.

I’m sure other people have their own stories to tell. These are mine more or less. Now excuse me while I dream some more blog posts. Night.

Speaking Truth

I have written a few blog posts that are sitting as “private” and “draft only”. I have not wanted to expose myself or others in such an open manner.

It has not stopped me from wanting to express myself however. I feel such overwhelming sadness and loss right now and writing is cathartic for me. So I write and write and write some more.

Frankly though when I think about it, I’m less concerned with exposing my feelings than with how others involved in my life will be exposed and how it will affect them. So I wonder if I should just “release” these posts and let the chips fall where they may. Is it right? Is it hurtful? Does it matter? I don’t know the answers to these questions.

Prayer in Public

Since the election, there has been even more about the issue of prayer in school on my social media feeds.

Here’s my viewpoint on this.

When I moved to Texas in my junior year of HS (January 1978), I had my first taste of prayer in school and it has left a lifelong bad taste in my mouth for any sort of public prayer.

The school used to do the prayer over the loudspeaker every day. Every day it was “in the name of Jesus”. I had never experienced this in my 17 years. We never had prayer in school in New York City. Not ever. We did salute the flag every day. But prayer? No. Never.

Every day in an Arlington, Texas, public high school, however, the Jewish girl that I am was subjected to a Christian prayer. Every single day I felt dirty and ashamed. I only told my mom about this for the first time last week. This was almost 40 years ago and I didn’t want to talk about it until recently.

Now when I’m asked in public meetings and events to bow my head, I don’t. (I only ever bow in Temple for those prayers that call for the bend of the knee and the bowing of the entire upper body.)

And during that public prayer, I wait for it — that “in Jesus’s name”. And I get that clench in my stomach and the tightness in my jaw because I know it’s coming. And I’m surprised on the rare occasions that it doesn’t. But that awful feeling, even as a 55 year old adult never leaves me.

Over the years I’ve tried to rationalize it. “They don’t mean to be exclusive.” “They don’t know better.” “I just ignore the ‘in Jesus’ part and remind myself that I believe in God.” Or in those instances where the leader just says “In his name” I  say to myself that it doesn’t really mean “Jesus” when they say “his” but the truth is, they are saying”in His name” and they do, indeed, mean “Jesus”.

All of my rationalizations don’t help. The lack of understanding of how that prayer is not my prayer; that I don’t want to pray in the name of Jesus. That I am sitting in a public meeting and don’t want to have to even make myself rationalize my feelings to make this situation palatable. Hey, if I was sitting in a church or a private club meeting, or someone’s private home, sure! I expect the prayer and I just sit quietly and take everyone’s hands as asked and be respectful as respectful can be.

But in a public meeting, and in the instances when I’m a member of a non-religious organization that insists on having prayer before the meeting or meal, it takes everything I have to stay quiet anymore. Because let me state this unequivocally — I am a Jew. I am not Christian. I do not believe that Jesus is God and I sure as heck don’t want to pray to Jesus. That you do is okay. It’s your religion — believe what you want to believe. Just don’t make me follow.


Opening Your Eyes and Letting Go

There are those people that you consider very good friends and if you’re like me you take that seriously. You care enough to call on a regular basis just to check in, say “hey how are you?”. If you’re a little busy you may text or email but you always try to keep in touch with those people on a very regular basis.

When my dad came to live with me my schedule became pretty packed. I was still working my business full time plus taking on other duties. I was doing huge amount of laundry, cooking meals for Dad (anything that my dad would eat) and then making myself something to eat as well. His cats became part of my household and I joked (and still do) that my life had become about cat pee, poop, and vomit. My grocery shopping became an ordeal. I had his appointments to attend. Plus since he no longer drove I often spent my weekends playing chauffeur. Dad needed more assistance in general, although he sure did give it a strong showing at independence.

My point is that with those few people I considered my very best friends, I found the time to still call and say “hey”. I admit I slipped a little. I’d not call as often as I had but I always made an effort for those few that I hold dear.

What I noticed however was that when I wasn’t calling (emailing or texting), some didn’t pick up the slack and contact me to find out how I was doing.

Then dad died and honestly between trying to get my business back on track and dealing with his estate , not to mention my grief at his passing, I slipped even a little more. I considered it a great dereliction of my duty as friend but it couldn’t be helped. For some people I admit I totally disappeared and I am sorry.

I most certainly noticed those friends that really stepped up to the plate. But some became even more distant.

Recently I called one of these people and apologized for being neglectful of our friendship. I made a point of saying that *I* was neglectful and that if we were good friends we needed to stay in touch. The person totally agreed with me. I was hoping that would kick-start our back and forth of calling each other just to say “hey”. But it hasn’t. If I don’t keep in touch, neither does that person.

It’s been eye opening.

I wrote another blog post recently, unpublished, called “Expectations”. The timing wasn’t right to put it out there, but the thoughts of that post meld perfectly into this one. (Timing is everything. Frankly, the timing for this one still isn’t good but I’m going to push it out there regardless.)

Alexander Pope, an 18th century poet, said “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

Yet, I am often disappointed. Horribly, heart-wrenchingly, disappointed.

I realize that my expectations of others are high. It should be noted that my expectations of myself are exceptionally high, and yes, I disappoint myself as well. As someone recently reminded me (as she has often over the years) “I regret to inform you that you are only human, however inconvenient that is for you”. A tough lesson for me for certain; one I’ve been working on my entire life. (Ask my mom about my adventures in learning to ride a bicycle next time you see her and you’ll understand.)

But yet, I think about this word “expectation” and the “experts” who say that if you are disappointed in your expectations of others, look to yourself, not them. Is it true that we should have no expectations of others?

Should we, don’t we, have an expectation that a parent will take care of his or her child? Is an employer being reasonable to have expectations of an employee? Does how a person reacts to your needs really say more about you, or does it, in fact, say more about how they relate to you?  Respect you? I’m inclined to think the latter.

Is it wrong-minded to have some modicum of expectation then? No, I don’t think it is. Those that disappear and become scarce during the bad times, maybe they can’t deal with it. That’s okay; they are entitled to their own emotions and way of dealing with those life events and people that are challenging or life-changing. Does that shatter my expectation of them? Yeah it does. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t also hurt like hell. But maybe it should. Maybe it means that if to everything there is a season, winter has come.

So during the Days of Awe (from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur), I started the work of forgiving those that couldn’t match the expectation I have for them. But I also started the work of realizing that I will need to let go of those people and then move on so I can focus my attention to those that truly, really, love me and care about me, respect me, and can meet the expectation that if I show a person my love, attention and respect, the person will return it. I honestly think that is a reasonable expectation.

It is a hard time though. I have thus far “failed” at the forgiveness and moving on. I’d say I’ve done a total face-plant. And yes, it hurts.