Monthly Archives: September 2014

Anorexia at the Family Reunion

In an earlier post I wrote about last summer’s family reunion, and how we used the occasion to address my mother’s advancing Alzheimer’s.  Unfortunately, Anorexia was another unwelcome guest at the reunion.  Before my own daughter (called Guzzy here) was afflicted, I had only a casual understanding of Eating Disorders, and I knew my own family was struggling to understand. I sent the following letter to help my supportive family know what to expect.

Anorexia will be an uninvited guest at our family reunion this summer.  This letter provides some basic information about anorexia and how it affects its victims, while giving some practical advice to make sure anorexia does not put a damper on our event.  As my sister has said, we WILL have fun!

Please Do not ask ‘why’ or other questions designed to figure out how this happened. While I realize that these conversations would be initiated with good intentions, there simply is no good answer.  Conversations about the root cause of the illness can cause feelings of guilt and stress.  Any ‘blame’ should be laid squarely at the feet of the illness itself. Continue reading

If the Jeans Fit

I do not get excited about Casual Friday, although many of my colleagues think it is a great ‘perk’ that they can wear jeans once a week.  My lack of enthusiasm is due to several factors.

Some of my co-workers take the ‘casual Friday’ concept to the extreme; wearing ripped t-shirts, run-down beach flip flops, and/or the retro ultra-short shorts of the 1970s (yes, I AM talking about grown men.)  It is distracting (and NOT in a good way) to be in a meeting on a serious topic while sitting next to a guy in a pair of shorts that would make John MacEnroe blush.

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It has only been through the exercise of great restraint that I have not yet written of my grand-babies.  They are a little over 17 months old now, and I have not seen them for 6 weeks, which is the longest period of time in their short lives that I have gone without seeing them.  I am eagerly anticipating giving them each a big squeeze and kiss first thing in the morning after we arrive, since we will arrive much too late at night to see them until the morning.   Like most people, my job takes time away from many other interests, including travel to the Twin Cities where everything comes in twos.  My daughter and her husband live there with their lovely twin daughters, two dogs and two cats and a bunch of aimless turtles.   A weekend at their household is both wonderful and a reminder as to why babies are (generally speaking) born to and raised by youngish adults.

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A literary bath

I have always enjoyed a hot bath. I fill up the tub with hot-as-I-can-stand-it water, pour in a good quantity of bubbles and sink into the luxurious warmth.   I also love to read and usually do some reading while soaking in the tub.

I have a vivid memory of a crisp fall evening several years ago when my now grown children were about 7 and 9 years old.  At the time I was a single mom and it had been an unusually busy day; I was tired and a bit grumpy.  The kids were happily playing in the back yard and I asked if anybody needed anything before going inside for a relaxing bath. Everyone was settled and agreed they could manage without me for at least a half hour–Perfect! Continue reading

Alzheimers at the Family Reunion

Last summer my sister, Barb, arranged a family reunion.  This is ironic, since she is the only one to have moved out of state from where we were raised.  At a young age she moved to Colorado to seek her fortune, while the rest of us stayed hunkered down in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin–fools that we are.

It was a lovely gathering in July at one of Wisconsin’s many picturesque and lovely lakes.  There was one large house and a couple smaller cabins.  My husband and I stayed in a cabin with  my parents; and Guzzy stayed in ‘the big house’ with my sister’s family, including her same-age cousin.  More on this later.  In addition to Alzheimers, Ana (Anorexia) was also a guest at our reunion. Continue reading

Mom and the Card Gene

My mother’s card and game playing abilities were infamous in our family.  My siblings and I grew up on a steady diet of board games and card games.  Mom was never the kind of mother (or grandmother) that would ‘let’ a youngster beat her at a game of cards.  While she would never exactly gloat… she got a lot of satisfaction out of her skills.

I firmly believe that you can always tell if someone grew up playing cards–you aren’t exactly born with the card-playing-gene; but you get it from your family.   Continue reading

The Restorative Power of Hawaii

Our daughter, Guzzy, was weight restored from anorexia (ana) the winter of 2013, was back to school full-time, and was regaining more age-appropriate independence with her eating.  This was all fabulous progress!  At the same time, we were struggling to get over the final hump to full recovery.  Ana’s grip on Guzzy had weakened; it was a mere ghost of its present self, but Ana was still there tugging at the corners of Guzzy’s recovery.

It turns out that a trip to Hawaii was just the ticket!   We had a some extra money that year and I was looking to take a fancy trip for spring break.  Tentative plans with a friend to join her and her girls in Jamaica fell through, and it seemed the perfect opportunity to visit an exotic location that I have longed to see:  Hawaii!!  So, I booked the trip for the March spring break.

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A Day on the Court

My friend invited me to be her partner in a doubles tennis tournament, which was held today.   September in Wisconsin is usually beautiful, but it can also be quite cold. Today it was 44 degrees Fahrenheit when we started playing.  Despite our numerous layers (including earmuffs), we could not feel our fingers.  As you can imagine, this is somewhat problematic.  It was bearable when the sun was shining, which was pretty infrequent during the first two matches.

A few years ago, I played too much tennis on a blisteringly-hot summer day. During the final set of my personal marathon, I jumped up to hit an overhead.  I should qualify that when I say ‘jump’, that you could have fit a newspaper between my feet and the ground–NOT the Sunday paper, but a regular weekday paper from a slow news day.   However, for ME, it was a jump of enormous proportions.  During the microsecond that I was airborne, my right calf spasmed into a horrible cramp and was hard as a rock by the time I landed on the ground, writhing in pain.   The muscle was visibly twitching and simply would not relax.   I suspect it was due to dehydration, and  it took several days for the leg to feel normal again.  Since then I have occasional muscle twinges in the calf, but can usually walk it off without getting all dramatic about it. Continue reading

Sweet Guzzy Girl

Did you see what my sweet girl wrote? That will also teach me to leave my computer on and unattended.   My FB account has been hacked more than once – with comments such as :  “I am a terrible gin rummy player”.  Of course that would be from my grown daughter who has always aspired vainly to play gin rummy as well as her momma.  And if she’s reading this… go get your own blog!