Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Workaholic

I’ve been labeled a workaholic again lately. It’s not the first time in my life. Over the last handful of years, things had slowed down a bit. I spent a year and a half marketing my new services but it took that long to for it to take off.

Now I’m back in full swing. I know where the work stuff comes from. Straight from my upbringing. Dad never missed work and he was clear without saying a word that working hard was a very highly valued ethic to live by.

I was in a session talking with a woman who is facing that struggle so many of us do. How do you honor your instinct and gifts of helping others with taking care of yourself? How do you not over-extend and over-burden yourself?

Fine line to draw if you ask me. A very fine line.

I’m proud of my work ethic, but as I was mulling it over in my head, I thought I’m really more of a “responsibility-aholic” than a workaholic. My days are bounced back and forth between the several careers I am juggling, but also being a homeowner, a parent of a teenager (academics and sports), caring for an aging (and failing!) pet, being in a relationship and having a balanced social life. Yes, even having a balanced social life I consider a responsibility in order to take care of myself. You can’t help others if you are depleted.

I want to officially coin that term. Not sure if there’s a huge difference between work and responsibility, but it feels like there is at least a small distinction.

I’m on Step One: I admit I am powerless over “responsibility-ism”. Not sure if my life has become unmanageable. I can usually manage ok when my support systems are in place. (Although some of them suffer from the same disease so they aren’t always available.)

Just need to stop and smell the roses en route to my next thing. Today it was stopping to pet the cat for a few minutes when I was making the bed. She is a purring machine so I paused my “list” and enjoyed her joyful personality. Gotta do things like that more often.


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Vitamin D

When you are coming off a crummy spring like we had, it makes you appreciate the sunny days. It is no secret that it is much easier to be more motivated and less depressed when the weather is pleasant and the sun is shining.

This weekend was a lovely one. I have been working hard at relaxing more. If that isn’t an oxy-moron, I don’t know what is! Saturday night we had a fire and had an exceptionally good turnout. There were 16 of us and it seemed as if everyone had a great time. The highlights of the night were Mike’s fire dance (which I am unable to provide video of, sorry to say) and the discovery that Tiffany is capable of making the perfect toasted marshmallow.

Seriously, isn’t that amazing? Of course, it looks ginormous in the picture…

Sunday it was another lovely day and it progressed as it usually does around here. It started out with me and then the calls came in. Some friends stopped over and lounged in the pool. Then my granddaughter Callie called me. She melts my heart when she wants to do something with me. She came over and played in the pool, then took a walk with me and Taffy by the creek.

I’m hoping Mother Nature remains kind to us. I like to like life!


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Duh Moments

The “duh” moments just keep increasing. Let’s see. I sent a payment in the mail except it returned in my mailbox. Good thing I had my address and stamp on it so it came back. The only thing missing was the entire name and address it was going to. Nice.

Then there was Tim’s hunting/lawn chair. I took it to Dave’s track meet and forgot it there. One of the parents took a picture and texted it to me. He brought it back which was nice because it was an hour away. Fast forward to another track meet. That parent laughed and said, remember when you forgot that? Yep, I will never do that again. Of course, that very same day, you guessed it. I left the chair. Only this time there was no one there to rescue it. I drove back the next morning but it was gone. My cousin started #prayfortim.

My favorite one was coming in the house to ask the boys what the heck happened to the basketball net. We have two in our driveway. Now they are big, and with all the wind we get they tend to fall down. I was passing by the yard and noticed only one of them was on the ground. How could anything so big go missing?

Timmy did his usual blank stare and Dave asked what the heck I was talking about. He goes over to the window and says they are both there. I go over to the window and point out there is only one laying on the ground. He points out that the other is standing next to it in the upright position, just like it’s supposed to be. OMG, I really am losing it.

One thing I did get right though. Dave has a small room off his closet. It has slanted roofs so the space is difficult. It used to be a playroom but at 16, it had become a dumping ground for hockey equipment. Tim and Timmy got on the mission and designed this lovely thing.

It looks like a professional locker room if you ask me. (The picture looks like the shelf is slanted up but it’s actually not.) Do you think it might not smell as bad if that equipment is hanging like that? One can only hope. Kudos to the men in the house for deisgning and building in a difficult space.

Sometimes my brain works.


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Legal Lying

When I am with clients, I am very careful to articulate that while I may have some experience, I am NOT a doctor, and I am NOT a lawyer. I don’t want to misrepresent myself and give advice out of my scope of competence.

But holy crap, do I ever wish other professionals would do the same. Last week we were exposed to a lawyer that is everything that gives them a bad name. Why can someone who DOES have the official training and degree get to go out and blatantly lie about what is legal and what is not?

Poor Tim has been trying to sell his trailer since February. We thought we had a buyer a couple of weeks ago. Correction. We DID have a buyer. He signed a binding contract with an agreed-upon amount. It clearly stated the trailer was “as-is” and even a non-lawyer could understand it. Tim knew the guy and he is a close friend of two of our relatives. He was actually excited about buying it.

Then his “cousin” who is a lawyer got involved. It started weeks of nonsense. I mean utter nonsense. He was saying and doing things that are absolutely not the way a trailer is sold. A trailer is like buying a vehicle. Most people don’t even have a lawyer for the transaction. Couldn’t be more simple.

One of his brilliant suggestions was giving us a check for half the amount, allowing his cousin to live there for a while. If he decided he liked it, he would pay the other half. Who in their right mind would agree to that? Wish I could get a car dealership to agree to something like that.

I won’t bore you with the dozens of untrue things he said. I will tell you the day he was supposed to pay, they brought four people to the trailer. One was a home inspector. Oh yea, they lied about that too. He was a contractor, not a licensed inspector. They decided the trailer was “unsafe” and breached the contract. After they provoked Tim until he loudly told them to get off his property (with an expletive or two) he got applause from the ridiculously dressed lawyer. (He had on a suit and bow-tie.)

The kicker was discovering the contractor was trying to record it all. It honestly felt like the whole thing was a set-up. Perhaps they thought they could provoke Tim enough to hit someone so they could record it. They severely underestimated my guy.

What is beyond comprehension is that this lawyer works for the city of Buffalo. He’s high up and all over the Internet. Another lawyer explained to us that these city slickers are used to doing whatever they want. The follow-up communication was more nonsense with absolute untruths regarding the law.

It infuriates me. I already hate politics. Kills me that this guy can go around doing what he is doing because he knows he’s untouchable. The law doesn’t touch him. He calls himself a lawyer but advises people erroneously and without shame.

Anyone out there who is honest that wants to buy a trailer?


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Exclusive Rights

When I was guided through learning my personality type in the Eneagram, I discovered one of the worst things that could happen to me emotionally was to be excluded from something. I could give you several stories from my life where that happened. I get crushed when I find out I’ve been left out. Knowing it’s a personality thing helps soften the blow a little, but overall I still get bummed.

Last week I had to go to a funeral on Tim’s (my husband) side. It was a Catholic service, true to family tradition. I asked about whether it was appropriate to take communion and I was told that the priest will announce whether you need to be Catholic or not. If there is nothing said, it is ok, even if you are Protestant. The announcement came so I didn’t partake.

This week I had to go to a funeral on Tim’s (current partner) side. It was a Catholic service as well. I waited and sure enough the announcement came. There was also a lengthy explanation about Polish Catholic vs. Irish Catholic ritual and how to appropriately walk with your hands for the Eucharist depending on your background. I abstained again. Tim wasn’t really listening (lucky) so he went up anyway. His heart was in the right place.

I remember when I was in college at a fundamental Christian college, studying to be a missionary. When I came home on break and went to church with my family, I wasn’t allowed to take communion there either. They said if I was currently attending a Lutheran church, I couldn’t take it, even though I was baptized and confirmed there. Sigh.

I struggle with the whole thing. I feel like it is a good and polite thing to respect traditions. My heart isn’t interested in offending anyone, especially in a place where love is taught. Men don’t sing in the Buffalo Women’s Gateway Chorus. That’s exclusive to women, right?

I have to admit though, it feels a tinge different. For me, church is a place where God (and often Christ) is preached and the basis is love. Love with a capital “L” and in bright shining lights. Why would anyone want to discourage another human from participating in a ritual that brings our souls closer to God?

I remember in my years with more fundamental churches and being afraid sometimes to take communion. It was between God and the person, but the pressure was even worse. There was emphasis on the Bible verses that talk about how “some have gotten sick and even died because they took communion in a manner than was unworthy”. Holy cow (pun intended)! That’s enough pressure to keep the most saintly person from participating. I could get cancer or even fall over dead if I didn’t participate the RIGHT way.

Yikes.

I guess for now, in my 50’s, I feel like I’m on a good track. God is about inclusion and love to me. Come and share in the bounty. For those that believe differently, I will respect their wishes. But next time I think I will choose Tim’s path. If I don’t hear the restriction, I can take the bread and wine in good faith (pun intended) and enjoy the ritual that has meant so much throughout my lifetime. Alas, ignorance really is bliss sometimes.


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Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em?

I’ve been having some serious angst about what to do when I grow up. I was here in January of 2018 and now I’m back. I went to see my former spiritual director. She made reference in our conversation to the song by Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler.” It made me chuckle because I had just listened to that CD earlier this week after I don’t know how many years. Love his music.

I know that when it comes to my decision making, I don’t have a problem with stick-to-it-ness. I can hold ’em indefinitely. I will try every avenue no matter how long it takes or how frustrating it gets. My error usually lies in knowing when to fold ’em.

I’ve sought out some wise folks to help but it is still a daunting endeavor. Some say you have to do what you are passionate about. That is the foundation for all else. Others say it is primarily a job, an avenue for making money. Passion is the icing on the cake. I think I’ve decided you need to balance the two.

One of the things I got out of spiritual direction is that my underlying emotions are in conflict. We recently made a pretty large financial decision. While I think it was the “right” couple decision, I discovered I wasn’t as emotionally comfortable as I thought I was. I know it’s hard to believe that a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve so blatantly even has underlying emotions, but it does happen on rare occasions. At any rate, postponing financial wiggle room has made my work search a bit more frantic.

I love variety and I love that I have had so many different experiences in life where I have been able to earn money. At the same time, moments like this I wish I just had that one simple thing. So many of my endeavors require networking and advertising ad nauseum. How do you evaluate if you are using your time and energy wisely? How long do you keep having conversations that seem so promising but turn out to be fruitless before you just stop having them?

Anyhow, that is where I am at these days. I have an appointment with Darren in just a few moments. I’ve blogged about him several times over the years. He is the last “ear” that I have scheduled with and I am hoping we come up with some helpful plans of actions for how to move forward.

So please feel free to share your own stories. And keep those prayers coming. I need to know when to walk away and when to run. Or maybe stay put.


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Puppy Love

I have no great writing agenda today. I just think this puppy is so dang cute, I wanted to share my pictures of him. My brother introduced us to nine-week-old Willow yesterday. I had spoken to Randy on the phone earlier and his exhaustion and comments about what a pistol his new baby was had me laughing and intrigued.

I mean really, isn’t he priceless?

He did not disappoint. He is this tiny fur-ball with the energy of ten puppies. With three adults giving him full attention, Willow still managed to pee about five times on the rug. He ended up back in his pen a few times for biting with some razor-sharp puppy teeth. Actually, I would call it more like a death grip. He would get my shirt or sock so firmly implanted in his jaws, we couldn’t get him off.

Now how could we leave him in there for long?

After an hour I expected Willow to do the puppy thing and suddenly drop to sleep. It never happened. He would look sleepy, but it was all just a mischievous ploy to fool us into thinking we would get a break. But he’s worth every ounce of energy you put into him. I could tell you how soft and adorable he is, but the pictures speak for themselves.

No writing of depression, grief or medical nonsense this week. Just unadulterated cuteness. Hope you enjoy!