Skiing: I am making it my business

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“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…. And to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one’s self.”― Søren Kierkegaard

Weather permitting, tomorrow morning I will be on my way to Winter Park, Colorado.  Fingers crossed.

I am so excited for this trip.  I cannot wait to experience the majesty, beauty and freedom of a snowy mountain. I am looking forward to skiing again.  Skiing is very challenging to me, and that is another reason why I love it so much.  It doesn’t come easy to me. My body fights me every step of the way.

Today, a co-worker/friend jokingly said to me: “Ana, you have no business going skiing!”  I know it sounds bad, but I didn’t take offense.  He is a good person that would never say anything to hurt me.  He was just pointing out the obvious.  He knows about my issues with hip, back and collarbone pains.

Still what he said got me thinking.   I think I take pleasure in doing things that “I have no business doing”.  That is probably one of the attractions for me.  All my Brazilian friends are horrified that I rather be on a cold mountain instead of a hot beach.  I like beaches too, but given the choice I choose the cold mountain.

Then there is the fact that I am going alone.  So perhaps this whole trip is a bit crazy but isn’t the crazy moments in life the best?  Who is to say what is my business and what is not?

I have a lot thoughts about that and want to expand on it, but it is 11pm and I have to get up at 4am to catch my flight.

I also wanted to write about fear.  Skiing scares me, and yet entices me so much. What is fear?

I gotta run and will be back here soon.  Is anyone in Winter Park or near?

Go and do something that you have no business doing, but want to do it!

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”― Terry Pratchett

 

Finding gratitude in everything is the key to a happy life!

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“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” – ― Thich Nhat Hanh

This post is about gratitude and yet I was about to start complaining about all that is going wrong at the moment.   At this very moment I realize that nothing is really going wrong.  All is going as it is supposed to be going.  Problems and all. Headaches and all.

There is no wrong.  Everything is right.

Reminder to myself:  There are no problems, only opportunities.  It is up to me to welcome those opportunities and to figure out how to best use them; or how to learn from them.

In the last few months it seems I have misplaced my rose colored glasses.  My life is the same, with the same issues.  The difference is that I have been noticing them more and complaining more about it. My reaction to what is happening is what has changed.

It is time to stop.  Complaining doesn’t become me.  It also doesn’t solve anything.  It only serves to make me feel like a victim and to invite more negative energy.  It is about time to put the rose colored glasses back on.

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”― Alphonse Karr

The best way to look at life is with gratitude.  Gratitude creates a positive energy that permeates throughout all areas of my life.

This Thanksgiving I am reminding myself to be more grateful.  I am reminding myself of old me, positive and optimist no matter what.

Thanksgiving should be a daily prayer and not only a day in the year.

Problems are oftentimes wake-up calls.  They are the signal that perhaps we need to change directions.  My body is signaling that I have been neglecting areas that I need to look at.  

Some times if we are left to our own devices we just go, go, go, on 1 speed, not paying attention, not respecting our bodies and our limits.  We also get used to dysfunction, we adjust instead of changing.

“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” – Rumi

So this Thanksgiving I am grateful for all the problems and challenges I faced this year.  I am fully aware that they offer me a big chance for reflection and growth, so with that thought in mind I welcome and look forward to many more.

If I look back at my life what I believe are the 2 most important things are: gratitude and hard work.  So I will continue working hard with a grateful heart and the whole universe will continue to conspire to give me all that I dream about it.  Actually the result is more often much more than we can possibly dream about it.

On this Thanksgiving day I am grateful for this blog and most specially to you my friends that read and comment with so much wisdom and generosity of heart.  You make my blog and my life so much better.  You really do!!

I wish you a beautiful holiday!  May you be surrounded by all you love!

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”― Epicurus

Bye bye sleep. Hello hot flashes

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“For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

My sister has been having hot flashes for a couple of years now.  I thought I was the lucky twin that had been spared.

Sadly I I find out I am not.  I am just late to that party.  This week I started feeling sudden flashes of heat that seem to start inside my chest and go up my body.

I should be happy to see an end to menstrual cycles, but I am not.  To me it is just another sign that I am getting older and older.  I don’t want to grew older!

I am watching my parents getting older and lose a lot of themselves.  They are lucky they my siblings and I to care for them.  Who do I have?  Well, that is another story, another post.

Back to getting hot, and I don’t mean excited …

During the night it has been a constant struggle with the covers. I pull the blanket off,  I put the blanket back on, over and over again.  That makes me wake up and then I have trouble going back to sleep.

I am also having some lapses in memory, having trouble thinking of names or things that I was about to say or do.

Instead of losing the 10 pounds I wanted to, I gained 10 pounds in the space of a couple of weeks – all around my now non-existent waist.

Is this all related to Menopause? the joys of getting older?

Now add the vertigo to that.  It has gotten better but still makes an appearance every morning and night.

Yes I have been feeling like a prize lately 😦

“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

DATING:  Dating? What is that?  I am not sure what is going on with me as far as dating is concerned.  I lack the patience for it, that is what I can surmise.  I am making zero effort online to connect with anyone.  Let’s face it,  online dating requires effort and patience and at the moment I am lacking on those departments.

WORK:  I have been facing a lot decisions at work and the fear of making the wrong decision is almost paralyzing.  Constant prayers for wisdom!

“I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity. I want this adventure that is the context of my life to go on without end.”
― Simone de Beauvoir ,  La Vieillesse

This has been a cry baby post, so please forgive me.  The next one will be better.  It will be about my skiing trip that is coming up.  I am getting very excited for it. 🙂 ♥

Life is beautiful and I am blessed!

All good, a bit bad and lots of fun

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“How would your life be different if…You were conscious about the food you ate, the people you surround yourself with, and the media you watch, listen to, or read? Let today be the day…You pay attention to what you feed your mind, your body, and your life. Create a nourishing environment conducive to your growth and well-being today.”― Steve Maraboli

Biopsies: All good.  The doctor called me on Friday with the good news. The biopsies came back negative.  Even though I already knew that;  it is still a relief to hear it directly from her.  I can now stop with the thoughts of doom.

Vertigo: I have been having another bout of Vertigo for the past 2 weeks.  I had it in the beginning of 2018 and it went away after a couple of days, but this time it has been a bit more persistent.   I am not even sure it is vertigo. People that have Vertigo normally have nausea and headaches along with the dizziness.  I don’t.

What I have is the sensation that the room is spinning every time I move my head fast, specially when I lay down or get up.  Every morning and night, and throughout the day.

I had a physical yesterday and the doctor said it is hard to pinpoint a cause for that.  His first guess would be rhinitis.  He said that any kind of cold and stuffy nose can affect the balance. He wants me to use Flonase or another allergy relief medication for a couple of weeks and see if it gets better.

It is getting better on its own everyday so I will not be using Flonase.  If it gets worse again or returns in the future I will probably go to an Neuro or ENT doctor.

I think it is my body telling me things are not quite right.  It started with the chronic hives a couple of years ago, now vertigo.  At 53 years old I am sure hormones have something to do with it, but I am sure that diet has a big part in it.  It is time to pay more attention to my body’s cries for help.

It is time to make changes.  But I have said all that before …

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” – Samuel Johnson

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I have decided to try to do more things in Manhattan.  I want to make sure to take advantages all this amazing city has to offer.  So on that note my sister and I went to see the musical Tootsie this past week.

It was a fun show.  It had beautiful wardrobe,  clever setting, funny lines and wonderful acting.  I was reminded of how much I loved the movie.  I want to see it again, along with other Dustin Hoffman’s movies.  Growing up I had a crush on him.

“Take advantage of it now, while you are young, and suffer all you can, because these things don’t last your whole life.” ― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

 

Refreshing honesty with a side of warm bread

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“Shame was an emotion he had abandoned years earlier. Addicts know no shame. You disgrace yourself so many times you become immune to it.” ― John Grisham, The Testament

It is 6am Sunday. The fire alarm in my building starts sounding. I knew there was no fire. Well, I didn’t know for sure but I assumed. The alarm has been malfunctioning and has been going off at times. So, by now, no one cares, which is scary because if there is really ever a fire no one is coming out alive.

Since the alarm was not stopping and we were already up my sister and I decided to go to the supermarket to look for the brown bread from the Cheesecake Factory. I love bread and one of the reasons I love going to the Cheesecake Factory is because of their brown bread served at the beginning of every meal.

Warm bread with butter it my version of paradise. I had heard from a friend that the Cheesecake Factory’s bread was now being sold in some supermarkets.  It seemed like the perfect time to go bread hunting.

To go exercise never came to mind 😦

We get there and as we are walking in I pass a man arranging a bag of cans to recycle. I catch up with my sister that was ahead of me and I mentioned that I felt bad for the man and wondered if he needed anything. She hadn’t noticed him and immediately felt bad. She said: go ask.

I turned around and went outside and approached him. He was on the younger side but it was hard to tell his age as life on the streets has a way of aging people beyond their years. I assumed that he was homeless and lived in a shelter because he had a cart with his belongings with him.

I approached him and said hi. He turned around looking a bit surprised. I asked how he was doing and he answered: good.

I said: I am going to do some shopping. Is there anything you need? Can I get you anything?

I thought he would say coffee, or something along those lines, but he replied with one word:

Beer

Beer? I asked, I am sure looking very surprised. He replied: Yes, I could use some beer now.

I said: It is only 6:30am, they aren’t selling beer yet.

I actually didn’t know if that was true or not, but I was not about to buy him alcohol.

He looked at his watch and agreed with me.

I asked him if I could get him something else and he said: No, that was all I wanted.

I wished him well and said good bye.

Later I checked and found out that grocery stores in NY state are not allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays from 3 am to 12 noon.

I appreciated his honesty. He didn’t try to get me to give him cash or get me to buy things he didn’t want. I pray he is able to fight his demons and come out victorious.

I found the brown bread and it was divine. Why must bread be public enemy number 1? I guess I do love bad boys after all… and by “boys” I mean food.

That man in the parking lot sorting cans is me. His weakness is alcohol, mine is carbs. Hard to say no. Hard to remember to say no.  Vicious cycle of blindly doing, feeling guilty, then doing it again to silence the guilt.

He has work to do and so do I.

“We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.”― Santosh Kalwar

But what if?

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“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”― Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

But what if?

That thought came to mind as I was crossing the street on the way to the doctor.

What if turns out that I do have something to worry about? What if it is cancer?

What do I do then?  Is there anything to do?  What if I had only a few months or weeks to live? What would I do?

Who would I choose to spend the last moments with?  Any final declarations of love? Anyone I need to say sorry to?

Is there anything left undone? Left unsaid?

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”― Mark Twain

Would I continue to do what is expected of me or would I do only what I want? 

Would I ignore my brain completely and only listen to my heart?

Would I do nothing?

I think I would curl into a ball and cry until there were no more tears left. Then I would get up and go on.  I would probably start making lists of everything that I need my sister to take care of.  Even in my dying I would want things organized and people taken care of.

“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.”
― 
Langston Hughes

No, I am not dying, and no it is not cancer.  Well, I don’t think it is.  I don’t have the results yet, but I am not concerned.

The only certainty in life is that we are all dying at some point.  We just don’t know when.  But when the word cancer makes an appearance in our vocabulary, death becomes a new thought.  Movies with sad story lines keeps coming across my mind.

A lot people are alive but not living. Just breathing doesn’t equal living. But then again, who am I to judge how a person chooses to live?  I sit in an office and stare at a screen for the majority of my days.  That is hardly something worth writing about.

Why do I have death in mind? In July I went to a new ob/gyn because my regular one retired.  The pap smear came back abnormal and she wanted me to get a cervical biopsy.

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I had an abnormal pap in 2016 and at that time the doctor really had me worried.  She referred me to a specialist at the Cancer Institute. It was nothing.  I think it has been abnormal since then but new doctor probably wants to be thorough.

This time I was so unconcerned that it took me from July until October to schedule the biopsy.  I finally got it done last week.  I only did it because I feared my new doctor would let me go as a patient if I didn’t follow through with her request.

I am not a cry baby and have a high tolerance for pain but it hurt like hell, because, of course, the opening of my cervix is absurdly small.  The doctor said that in the future if I have to have it done again she will give me a couple of pills to insert so that it will make it easier the next day.   That was no consolation at that moment in time.

So there is nothing to worry, until there is something to worry.  Cancer and death were stupid thoughts that sneaked by while I wasn’t looking.

The message is:  We are all going to die one day.  Let’s make the most of today!  Let’s indeed live as if we are dying.

 “Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.” –― Haruki Murakami

BE HAPPY! NOW!

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Everything ends.

With that in my mind I try to be more conscious of all my blessings.  Of that I have tons and there is no bigger blessing than opportunities.

Lately I have been feeling that I am on a roller-coaster. Between being busy and bracing myself to be busy I am not fully experiencing and enjoying anything.  I am also not taking advantages of opportunities and just accumulating stress.

In Brazil we have a saying that loosely translated means: “I was happy and I didn’t know it”

So many times we don’t realize how good someone or something is, until they are gone.  When don’t honor the people around us, we are not grateful for our jobs, for the food on the table, etc.  Am I taking things for granted?  That I am sure of it!

All that came to mind  today when I realized that this is the last year I will be working in Manhattan.  It is a done deal, we will be moving out of NY City.  Have I taken advantage of the fact that I have been here every single weekday for the past 19 years?  Did I take enough bites of this Big Apple? Chances are I have not.

I have done a lot, gone to many shows, restaurants, bars, events, etc, but there is still so much I haven’t done.  So many museums, galleries, shows, sights, etc that I left for later.  It was all here, easily accessible, and yet so many I kept postponing.

What if later never comes? Can I come to NY again after I stop working here? Yes, absolutely, but not as easy and seamless as already being here.

Why do I worry so much about missed opportunities? While worrying I miss new ones. The key is to stop worrying about that and focus on not missing new ones.  And if I can’t find need ones I need to go about creating new ones.

I need to slow down and be aware of every moment. A lot of my time is spent looking at the past or planning for the future. I guess I am a combination of anxious and depressive. And that is not a joke, it is a realization.

What I want written on my headstone is:  “She never let an opportunity pass by.  She was blessed and she knew it”

“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.” – Kazuo Ishiguro

While I ponder all that is left to do in NYC before I no longer work here I may be able to cross some items off of that list in the next couple of weeks.  Tomorrow at 6am I will be at JFK airport picking up a friend from childhood and her husband.  He is coming to NY to run the NYC marathon.  They don’t speak English and they have no clue of what they want to do while here. So it will be up to my sister and I to entertain them for 10 days.

My aunt, God Bless her soul, used to say:  “Guests are like fish.  After 3 days they start to stink.”

I will keep you guys informed on how bad this stench gets.  All kidding aside what I dread most is the absence of my routine.

“Help others without any reason and give without the expectation of receiving anything in return.”-― Roy T. Bennett

On the subject of where and when to go skiing I came up with the following:  Skiing in Keystone in the first week of December.  I didn’t book anything yet, but I feel good about deciding at least where and when.  I also plan on something overseas in February.

“It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.” ― Elbert Hubbard

Be aware, be in the moment, be happy! Slow down and get going!

nyc, mANHA

some moments in small town, Brazil

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“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” ― Robert Frost

 

The neighbor’s cat loves that tree

My favorite fruit – Marolo. It is only available in March and in certain areas of Brazil, so we fill the freezer with them

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” – ― Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

Some of Mom’s plants

A close of the view from Mom’s back balcony

Chocolate and coconut fudge

A little church in my friend’s farm

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.” ― James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

at the farm the kids found a baby bird

Leaving the farm

Just the beautiful vast green

“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.” – ― Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

Havan stores use iconic symbols to attract attention

A trip to the hairdresser

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

Letting go and letting God!

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“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”― Lao Tzu

At the moment I am back in Brazil at my parent’s house for another few days. I was here in September to pick up my mom for her semiannual trip to NY. Now I returned to bring her back. My dad doesn’t fly so I get to spend time with him on these trips.

It is hard seeing my parents age and become more and more dependent on others. During those trips I am constantly trying to think of ways to make their lives easier.

Often the hardest part is convincing my Mom to accept help and to accept my improvement ideas. Right now I want to make some changes to the first floor of the house to create a bedroom for her.

One moment she is okay with the idea, but in the next she is very mad about it. When the house was built my parents were in their early 50s. Getting old and dependent was far from their minds. My mom is now 84. My dad is 83. The house is full of stairs and dangerous steps.

I am mad and annoyed at my mom’s stubbornness. I am the one that will pay for it and I am willing to be here to oversee this construction (removing floor tiles and building a wall, etc).

Then it hit me!  My mom is not the problem, I am! Why must things be as I want? She has not asked for this kind of meddling.  The only person I need to be mad at is myself.

Many years ago I visited a Shaman and he told me: “You are not God.  Why do you think you can fix everyone’s problems?  Why do you think you have to be the one to take care of your family?  Are they asking?  How about you taking care of your own life?

Those words resonated with me then and now they come to mind again.  I will, once again, try to Let go and let God. I can only to do so much. The rest I need to let God (the Universe) handle it.  I will try to wait to be asked for help and not try to force my help unto people, specially my family.

It is a matter of acceptance and control. Instead of accepting that they are aging and that there will be issues, I am doing all I can to deny that fact and control the situation. I am trying to control not only the situation but the outcome. I try to think of potential problems and what I can do to overcome them.

The law of nature is clear and merciless. My parents are aging and will eventually die.  I need to accept that for my parents but also for myself. I cannot protect then from falling or getting hurt. I cannot foresee every problem. I also can’t force them to agree to do whatever I want.

I am letting go and letting God!

I am witnessing what age and health issues are doing to my parents. I am seeing their struggles, not only physically but mentally. Am doing all I can to be in the best shape that I can, body and mind, by the time I get to their age?

Sadly the answer is no. There are tons that I could be doing to make my future better and old age less of a factor.  Watching my parents is a wake up call for action in my own life.

Think about it:  What are you going to be like at 80 if you continue doing what you are doing at this moment?

The house below is where I am writing from at this moment.  Today was so hot and it is only spring now.  I am looking forward to cooler NY in a few days.

Thank you for stopping by ♥

New Windows: It is all a Beautiful Mess

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OLD WINDOWS

NO WINDOWS

NEW WINDOWS

At times, like yesterday, my life feels like a mess.  I let windows mess up my day and my mood.  Windows!  It was not brain surgery or the end of the world, it was just windows.

Life sometimes is messy.  We are thrown curve balls and we have choices.  To breathe and handle it or to pull my hair out? Since I don’t want to sport the bald look I handled it.

The feeling of powerlessness, panic and failure that overwhelms me at times when things well planned in advance goes wrong.

My windows were finally installed yesterday, not without some issues.  I will summarize.  The installer originally didn’t want to install the windows and left with the excuse that he was going to his truck to park.  He then called and rambled on excuses, and I quote: ” The building is too luxurious. I need additional help.  It will mess up the elevators.  There will be not enough time to finish”  I don’t live in a dump but I would not call it luxurious.

To each of his issues I had a solution: Don’t worry about the elevator, the super is cool he will not throw you out at 5pm.  I even offered to have the handyman that I had already hired for the day to help them. I also called the company that assured me that they were handling and would get back to me.

Finally they relented and came back.  They started in my tenant’s apartment first.  Another issue: there were cars parked in the parking lot beneath the window and they were afraid that they my drop something and damage the cars.  I had to get the super to move some and cover the ones that couldn’t be moved.  Installing continued.

Once done my tenant called me to inspect.  One look at it and I see it is the wrong grid-lines.  Even though the new ones look great it is not inline with the rest of the building. Now more calls to the office.  Originally they wanted to blame me for ordering the wrong windows.   Then they realized that the right windows were ordered and they blamed the manufacturer.

They have ordered the right ones  but I will have to wait another month for them to return and swap the top window for the right number of grids.  The same ones were installed in my apartment as they assured me that to change the grids will be a quick thing.

It would be nice if I could choose whatever windows I wanted. I would choose just a big panel but I have to follow the aesthetics of the rest of the building.

The back and forth with the technicians and the company while trying to deal with work and keeping my mom from feeding off my stress was beyond stressful.

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”― Sun-Tzu

At those times I feel exasperated and powerless.  I feel like a complete mess and failure.  The truth is sometimes everything it is indeed a mess and it is ok.

Even though things are at times messy still they are perfect as they should be.  People make mistakes.  Things don’t go according to plan.  People don’t handle things as they should.  Still life goes on.  In the meantime this control freak gets the chance to learn to survive in a mess.  Controlled chaos is a thing and I think yesterday I had a taste of it.

In the end, it is just windows and I sound like a cry baby – I know 😦

“I’m not a mess but a deeply feeling person in a messy world. I explain that now, when someone asks me why I cry so often, I say, ‘For the same reason I laugh so often–because I’m paying attention.’ I tell them that we can choose to be perfect and admired or to be real and loved. We must decide.”― Glennon Doyle Melton