formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Friday, July 17, 2015

I've Been Around the Block a Few Times... Again

This is a re-post from a couple of years ago. It still applies. Every single bit of it.

I read a blog post (Single Dad Laughing… look him up… he’s good!) yesterday that gave me an idea for my own post. SDL wrote about the five things he’s learned in his 30-couple years on the planet. Well, I’ve been here 47 years (er, now 50 years) and I’ve learned a few things, too… things like:

How, even if they call them ‘dried plums’ and infuse them with orange flavoring so they taste like candy, they’re still prunes and you should never, ever eat a whole bag in one sitting.

How I’ll never be so old that I won’t glue my fingers together when I use super glue.

How you should never, ever read the comments after any online news article, political or otherwise. Because they will make you lose all faith in and hope for humanity (and good grammar and spelling), that’s why.

Stuff like that. Good stuff, no?

I’ve learned other stuff, too… important stuff (not that the whole prune thing isn’t important. It is. Trust me on that one, people). I thought I’d share some of those things with you today.

So, as Oprah says, here’s what I know for sure…

This, too, shall pass. Nothing lasts forever. It’s true. Good things don’t, though we wish they could. Bad things don’t, though it feels like they do. Life is moving… even when you feel stuck. It’s still going on around you and it’ll take you along for the ride, whether you want to go or not. And that ride? Will be full of knocks and hills, bumps and thrills. Sometimes you’ll want to get off. Sometimes you’ll want to throw up. Sometimes you’ll scream for joy and wish so hard you could stay in that place – in that rush – forever. But you can’t. It will end. Because nothing lasts forever.

Until you learn the lesson, the lesson will keep popping up. Over and over and over. Until  you learn it.

Over and over.

Until. You. Learn. It.

And I don’t mean the No Child Left Behind sort of ‘learn it,’ where you simply just have to get it right on the test.  I mean ‘learn it,’ where it’s imprinted so deeply on your psyche, you’ll never forget it.

It’s the people around you that make Life worth living. It’s not the accomplishments or the adventures, and it is most certainly not the stuff. And people are great. But they will disappoint you. They will aggravate you, infuriate you, offend you, and make you want to live on a deserted island, far from anyone else on the planet. And you? Will do the same to others. Because you’re a people, too, that’s why. But when you move past the disappointments, the aggravation, the anger, and the frustration, you’re left with the best – the caring, the humor, the camaraderie, the history, the empathy, the partners-in-crime, and the LOVE. And that? Is some good stuff.

You have to be happy on your own before you will ever be happy with anyone else. If you’re unhappy, and then someone comes along and makes you smile and love Life and think the sun shines out his butt, it will feel like that person is making you happy. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt (it shrank in the wash). But at some point you will realize that the sun? Shines out no one's butt. And eventually, no matter what that other person says or does, unless you’ve fixed what was making you unhappy in the first place, you’ll be back to that place, with or without them. You have to fix it. You’re the only one who can fix it.

Not everyone is going to like you. And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it. And it doesn’t matter how nice you are, how funny, how pretty, or how well you write or sing or make balloon animals.  Not everyone is going to like you. Period.  And that? Is OK. It really and truly is. So be kind. Be good. Be yourself. Don’t be a dick. And let the chips fall where they may.

Comparing yourself to other people is the most assured way to feel like crap. There will always people who have more than you do; who have accomplished more; who are prettier, thinner, more talented, etc. So stop it. And remember, someone, somewhere, is comparing herself to you… and falling short. Tell her to stop it, too.

Forgiveness is something you do for you, not the person who wronged you. Staying angry and holding onto grudges and hurt only holds you back. It robs you of happiness and peace and personal growth.  Forgive. Move on.

Helping someone in need is the quickest way to take your mind off your own troubles. It’s hard to focus on what you don’t have when you’re focused on someone else who has less. And it reminds you to be grateful for what you do have. And gratitude is absolutely, definitely, no-doubt-about-it, one-hundred-percent necessary for happiness.

When you have time to criticize other people, it means you’re not spending enough time working on your own life. Period. So shut up. And look in a mirror. And take care of you.

Life is short. It’s cliché, I know, but it became a cliché for a reason. Because it’s true, that’s why. Life is short. It’s crazy-short. It’s yesterday-I-was-16-and-now-I’m-middle-aged short. It’s I-thought-there-would-be-another-dance-with-my-dad-but-then-he-was-gone short. It’s how-did-my-baby-girl-turn-into-a-teenager-overnight short. It’s short. There will never be enough time to do what you want to do… or maybe even what you need to do… it’s SHORT. Get it? So you can’t waste time. You can’t wait for Life to get its shit together and be what you want it to be. Life isn’t working on your timetable. Life doesn’t care about your timetable. So you have to make it what you want. You have to do stuff – stuff that’s interesting and fun and makes you feel good. Make sure the people you love know you love them. Find your passions and go after them.  Find the things you believe in and stand up for them. Get a hobby. Find a job you don’t hate (because spending 8+ hours a day doing work that makes you miserable will suck the life out of you faster than anything) and work hard. Read good books. Be out in nature. Create something. Drink wine or tea or Yoo-hoo if it makes you happy. Do good. Help people or animals or the environment (or all of them).

Make sure that when there’s no more Life left, you’re not sitting on the couch wishing you’d done all those things.


Because life is short.


That’s it.

As my friend Mel says, that’s all I know.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

You Are What You Eat

For the past three weeks, I've been doing the Whole30 'food plan' (I hate to use the word 'diet' because I don't see this as one). If you've never heard of it, you eat nothing but whole foods for 30 days, eliminating processed foods, sugar, grains, dairy, legumes... basically everything except vegetables, fruit, lean meats, and good fats. After 30 days, you can slowly reintroduce the healthiest of the previously eliminated items. The plan is designed to help you figure out what foods might be making you feel bad.

When I first heard about it a year ago, when my friend Kati was doing it, I thought, No. Way. In. Hell. I love me some, well, all of the stuff that has to be eliminated. I mean, I've given up ONE thing for a little while (and suffered) but ALL those things at once? Gah! And 30 days sounded like an eternity!

But that was a year ago. That was before I knew how rotten I could feel. That was before all the medicines designed to make me better made me sick. And I've been 100% certain that the crap I eat has NOT been helping me either. So, with my doctor's approval, I decided I was ready to give it a go. I already knew sugar and grains were an issue for me, but the idea of really clean eating for a month appealed to me. And when I decide I'm ready, I don't have to worry about falling off the wagon. It's so weird. I always think I have no willpower... but that's not true at all. I have craploads of willpower. It's motivation I often lack.

But not this time.

It's been a piece of cake. Well, OK, it's been a bowl of fruit salad. Other than the never-ending planning, shopping, cutting, chopping, cooking all the good food, and washing up ridiculous numbers of pots, pans, and dishes, it's been easy.

OK, so the EATING part has been easy. I haven't really craved anything (unless I'm actually in the grocery store and walking past the donuts... so I just walk faster). I've been loading up on veg from the farmer's market - homegrown and organic. My wallet has taken a hit from the better quality of meat I'm buying, but I feel a million times better about it (for a lot of reasons). I'm drinking unheard of (for me) amounts of water (which keeps me in the bathroom for the better of the day and night), a little bit of tea (I make it), and a V8 in the mornings. That's it. No wine. All summer. NO wine, people. All summer. Also? I haven't been out to eat in three weeks. And that? Is something, people.

I wasn't supposed to get on the scale until the month was up, but I was curious. Two weeks out and I'd lost 8lbs. Not bad. I go back to the doctor on Thursday, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the scale says then, even though I swear I did NOT do this as a diet.

The testimonials on the Whole30 website tout this plan as pretty much the Second Coming. It hasn't had that effect on me. Yet. I can't say that I feel a million times better. Yet. But I'm optimistic. I still have chemo running through my system. I've been in a bit of a dark place this summer, and that will take its toll on both body and soul, and coming back from that sort of place can take some time. So I'm going to give it longer than 30 days. I figure I've spent a very long time stuffing my gob with not-so-good stuff, that I owe myself to fill it with very-good stuff for a bit longer than a month.

And though I can't say I'm feeling loads better (I'm still tired and achy-all-over), I've noticed something significant...

I'm back to walking the whole park trail these days (instead of just dragging myself to a bench to wait while Sunny sniffs around and finally poops). And though I'm worn out by Sunday night, I've spent the last two weekends doing all sorts of work around the house and running a million errands. A few weeks ago? That definitely wasn't what my weekends looked like.

So it seems that maybe I'm on the mend. I see this as a long-haul-sort-of thing -- this clean eating. I don't think for a second I'm never going to have chocolate or wine or ice cream again, but to get to where I want to be? I've finally accepted what I've known for a long, long time -- that eating like a 6-year-old at a birthday party just doesn't work for me.

Who'd a thunk it?

Thursday, July 2, 2015


There have been (many) times in my life when I've wanted the earth to stop spinning for a bit. Well, OK, maybe not stop spinning, as that would cause us all to fly off into space. But sometimes, I just want to stop. That's all. Take a break. From everything. From every responsibility that has my name written all over it in capital letters. I'm not even talking about a vacation (though that sounds appealing), but a total Life-break. Total.

Wait. A total Life-break sounds like death. OK, I totally don't want that. Damn it. You guys know what I mean, right? A break. From everything.

You know what I'd really like to do? I'd like to spend my days (about 30 of them) floating in a pool - still and quiet... and my nights floating on an unimaginably comfy bed in a cool room.

I want to float.

That's it.

I want to float my way through a break.

From everything.

But no one gets that lucky, do they? There are few people in the world who can just walk away from everything they have to do and do nothing but float. I certainly can't.

These past few months have been hard. They've been harder than I expected them to be. And I am so tired, I can't even see straight most days. Every inch of me hurts. I missed lots of work with chemo treatments so I'm working hard now, trying to make up a bit. I'm coaching every night. I'm parenting every day. I can't take a break.

But still, I realized that I needed to step back a bit. I needed to regroup... to get my head on straight... to spend a little time with just MY thoughts. So I decided to limit my social media time and took my Facebook page down for a while. I love the connections I have with people but I was really feeling the need to be alone - or as alone as it's possible to be when I'm surrounded by people all day.

I don't know if it's really helping. I come home so tired that I'm not spending a lot of time thinking about anything important.

And maybe that's OK. Maybe I don't really need to be thinking about anything important. If I can't float, maybe I just need to breathe. Maybe that's enough.

Quite frankly, it's going to have to be.

For now, anyway.