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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thoughts On Spring... dieting, turning 50, & Luis M.












Our group of ATVing guests left the Inn this morning for home, happy w/their 2 days of riding, several armed with hand-made WV coal tchochkas for their wives :-) The daffodils & magnolia are in bloom, as are our 3 fruit trees, & Dan even set up my giant, new 7' tall inflatable birthday cake outside! I would like to be bubbling over with happiness- and should be, truly: happy guests, more bookings, gift shop sales, two great reviews on http://www.tripadvisor.com/ and http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/, and a gorgeous page on http://www.wanderingeducators.com/... But a young friend of ours is apparently dying & I'm broken-hearted.
Luis M., a FEMA co-worker and friend who is in his 40s, is in the hospital in Puerto Rico, apparently dying from prostate cancer. I say "apparently" because I cannot bear to say otherwise; I HAVE to hold out hope for an "extreme miracle", the "Hail Mary Pass" in the big football game of life, as it were.



Not having medical insurance, Luis kept working & put off going to the doctor until it was too late, and now his friends around the country are emailing each other news from our colleagues visiting him in the hospital in Puerto Rico telling us of his sickness during what seem to be the final days of his life. I have been posting "status updates" on my http://www.facebook.com/ page asking my 156 facebook friends to please send him their prayers, hope, love, good karma, healing wishes... because I don't know what else to do. I want to cry, but I can't even do that... But I also can't sleep. For Luis to needlessly die young from an illness that could have been successfully treated had he been able to afford to see a doctor, makes this all so incredibly tragic that I've been walking around pretty much in a haze now for days, & he hasn't left my thoughts for months.
Luis was (is? It is hideous to be talking about him in the past tense when his is alive!), bubbly, funny, smart, talented, good-looking, and full of life and laughter. He was, like me, a FEMA Community Relations Field Specialist and a Reports Tech. The picture I have in my head of him is all of us dancing and laughing one evening during a FEMA training @EMI in Maryland a few years ago... and how he howled and teased me mercilessly for slipping & falling on my way up to the stage to join the gang in singing "We Are Family"... When I heard how ill he was, I sent him an "Easy" button from Staples to cheer him up, hoping & praying that somehow he would get the life-saving treatment he needed...
But he didn't- or whatever he did get didn't work- and he was "sent home to die" several times, each time winding up back in the hospital, where he is again, apparently now being given nothing but pain medication to ease his suffering.
I am "muddling through" as they say, thanking G-d daily for the miracle of my life & going about the minutiae of day-to-day living- "putting a good face on it" as they say. From the emails I'm getting from my FEMA friends, they're apparently doing likewise... I'm striving to enjoy our guests & the antics of our 2 puppies, trying to focus on planning our summer garden & working on promotional writing projects for the Inn, and letting myself be distracted by Facebooking & Tweeting, and, of course, eBay- my "retail therapy" out here in the mountains... But my thoughts keep cycling back to death & dying, and the fears I have of both; & a lot of dwelling on the existence of G-d, & why humans have always needed to create religions, in great measure, I think, to convince ourselves that death is not The End & that there really Is "eternal life"... Yes, I need therapy! But not having a therapist out here In The Country (where every doctor's answer to almost everything is "take anti-depressant pills), I write; hence, this Blog...
Another issue factoring into my "mortality thoughts" is that my 50th birthday is coming up in a few days: 1 a.m. on April Fools Day. I always loved having that birthday as a child, first of all because no one could forget it, & second, because my mother always made it fun w/a gag gift of some sort. The party we are planning to celebrate it with friends isn't until July, so in theory I'll get to celebrate twice, which, again, should be making me happy: I'm alive & seem to be in good health, & I'm gonna be a half century old! :-P When I was turning 38 & depressed to be "pushing 40", (Oh, to be 38 again!), my mother told me it "was better than Not turning 40", which, of course, it was. This time she emailed me that "50 was good, 60 was good, 70 was good, & 80 was good" (she's 86); and so, please G-d, it shall be! But 50 happened so damn FAST!!! It truly feels like my 40th birthday party was about a year ago and I got out of the Army about 3 years ago... A lot of my friends are older than I, and think it's hilarious & ludicrous that I've gotten myself all worked up over turning 50, spring chicken that I am, but to me it feels so Odd to be- all of a sudden!- so damn Old... Yeah, "50 is the new 30", me & Madonna are both the same age as Barbie, etc., etc., but having not had kids I think I'm stuck in a kind of state of arrested development: I still feel- in my head at least- 19... No one's carded me of late (like they do my friend Cindy, the Ageless Beauty of NYC), but I don't think I look Too bad- just Fat. And so I have finally, really, started to diet- the first one I've had to do in decades. :-P
About 2 years ago my metabolism seemed to come to a grinding, screeching halt while I was working on a FEMA disaster operation in Kansas. I remember having to go to the Sallies to get new size 8 khaki slacks, after I'd "grown out of" all the size 4s and 6s that filled my suitcase. Having put on weight on FEMA ops before (the 3-meal-a-day-thing really packs the lbs. on me), only to have it come off w/in a few months of being home & "eating normally" (one meal & a lot of coffee, basically), I wasn't worried. But this time No dice. By the time we left on our honeymoon trip I was so fat I couldn't fit into any of the cute clothes I'd bought for it; I gained still more weight in Vietnam, to the point where I had 2 chins & had to have clothes Made for me there... And then last week I went to the doctor for a check-up & learned I'm almost 140 lbs., & nearly gagged. I am 4' 9 1/2" tall & should be 100 lbs. 110 is fine, even 114. But I have NO BUSINESS being Anywhere Near 140. Last year I tracked my food intake on www.Glamour.com, & discovered that I rarely go over 1000 calories/day- but that I was GAINING WEIGHT on 1000 calories/day! And so The Diet has begun: I'm on Day 4 & haven't cone over 650 calories/day- including my nightly 100 calorie 4 oz. glass of red wine! :-) I figure if I can keep this up for a month I should be back into my 4s & 6s before July4th... I found a sparkly little Bob Mackie spaghetti-strap mini number on eBay for a song- a veritable festival of sequins it is!- and assuming I can get it zipped & not look like a sausage in a casing, I intend to wear it- with suitably sparkly stilettos- on July 4th... I also have my Slendertone belt & a batch of new pads, & tonight I will start using that again. What I Should be doing, of course, is exercise, but I'm a sloth... & between mistressing the website & online gift shop, taking bookings, blogging, email, professional assignments, LinkedIn, eBay, facebook, & twitter, I'm almost literally chained to the computer! I'm Hoping once it warms up a bit more we'll be out there playing golf, ATVing, & gardening...
In looking for a way to 'treat myself' for my b'day (and focus on something really silly & thus distracting), I did a Lot of internet research & eBaying, & finally decided to get myself a few help-the-birthday-diet purchases: an order of my fave AminoGenesis anti-aging skin care products to both restock our Gift Shop & my vanity table, a pair of LG-XL (UGH!) ShapeFX Lytess leggings that promise to take off 2 inches if I wear them for 28 days straight, & a bottle of Ageless Fantasy, the perfume with clinical trials proving people think you're 8 years younger when you wear it. As expensive as it is (but I scored another eBay deal...), I want to test it; if it really Does work (I'll have to ask the check-out clerks in the Kimball WalMart how old they think I am...) I want to give samples of it to all my girlfriends in July! Does shopping ease depression? I don't know yet for certain, but I'm giving it the best shot I can...

1 comment:

elisse said...

On March 31, 2009, Luis Miranda died. I miss him, as I miss Pedro Pico, my other FEMA friend who died young a few years ago. They are both ever in my thoughts.