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Archive for August, 2010

For those of you who actually read my last blog till the end and understood, without freaking out or assuming, this is for you.  LOL!    I had a dinner date the other night.   I guess that was naturally my first step since I declared I fell in love with myself again the other day or actually decided to try to love myself again.  Much like a new crush, I was flirting with ideas and trying to learn a little about the person I used to know but someone forgot about along the way. I wanted to take things as they struck me and really discover what I liked and/or didn’t like and how to be comfortable in my own skin and with myself.  But first things first, my dinner date…

I guess my day started as most.  I woke up, had my pot of coffee and wrote a blog.  The rest of the day was a blur to me in a sense as after I wrote….I was actually excited about my date with myself.  I cleaned the kitchen and started on a recipe conjured up in my own mind.  Those who know me know I very rarely use recipes (unless it is my Grandma Kelemencky’s Stuffed Cabbage recipe which I follow to a tee).  I decided on boneless chicken breast Mexican style.  I pounded out the chicken and stuffed it with Monterrey Jack cheese, fresh garden tomatoes, black olives, green chili peppers, a little cayenne pepper, black pepper, fresh red onions and topped it with tomatoes, a dollop of sour cream and more cheese.  I made regular brown rice on the side.  As this was cooking, I cleaned the kitchen, and especially my small kitchen table which on normal days is used as a drop-off station for keys, my work bag, mail, and whatever else I just throw on it to go through at a later time.

Next, I went out to the back yard and cut a variety of fresh flowers from the beautiful efforts of my neighbor and I and placed them in a vase on my table.  I then showered and put on some comfortable clothes (which in this season consisted of shorts and an oversized tank top).  I even plugged in my perpetual holiday tree and popped a CD into the player of Indian flute music that a friend once heard in the caves of Arizona.  I lit the Bay Breeze Yankee Candle I received as a gift recently in the parlor/living room (if you want to call it that).  I closed the front windows as not to hear the constant traffic and turned my cell and home phone on silent.  I set out one place setting of the good china (a set my mom had purchased to me for high school graduation to go into my hope chest).  Ah yes, the infamous hope chest, filled with things I would need once life really began.  I lit two candles on the kitchen table and continued to prepare for my date.

The aroma of the chicken baking with a Mexican flare enveloped my small apartment.  As I sat down for dinner, I realized that it was the first time in a very, very long time that  I was actually eating dinner at the kitchen table and not on the run, or grabbing one leftover or another from the refrigerator and plopping myself on the futon in front of the television and watching the news while taking a bite here and there.  And you know what … it felt nice.  It was nice to have a good, fresh meal – on “good” hope chest china – at the kitchen table – in my own apartment.  It was nice to see the fresh cut flowers, to admire them, smell their scent and gaze at the varying shapes and colors of the petals.  The candles cast off a nice, warm and inviting glow. The soft music in the background added to the ambiance of the evening  as the Bay Breeze scent of the Yankee Candle transported me to the present moment.  No distractions, no news of murders, accidents, traffic, the war, politics, or any of the usual storylines the news channels continuously throw at us during the dinner hour.

Along with the reduced to no distractions, I noticed something else.  I was just not eating dinner … I was really tasting flavors, feeling the textures of the food, the combinations of ingredients.  It was like noticing or experiencing something for the first time.  Something so different than what I was used to.  I also noticed how relaxed I was.  I didn’t feel the constant urge to hurry up and finish eating so I could do something else.  There was no rush, no deadlines, there was no urgency, there was no list(s) being made in my head or on sitcky notes of things to do.  I was at peace in the comfort of my home in the company of just me and my cats.  As a reward to a rather good date, I  savoured a single serving Edy’s Frozen Yogurt  Cappuchino Chip and ended up reading a book I had started long ago but pushed aside until I was ready to go to sleep.  And imagine, I actually slept in my bed and not on the futon for a change.  All in all, it was a great dinner date with myself and as I promised in my last blog, I would not be disappointed and I wasn’t.

I learned a lot about myself that night.  One thing is that I do not often stop and when I do, I am forever making lists, fretting over unfinished stuff, worrying about the next day.  I also learned that by stopping and really seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling, I could get so much out of life.  How many times do you – or I  – actually use the senses we have to their fullest.  Worse yet, how many times do you – or I – look at things with “eyes wide shut,” so to speak. In black or white with no gray areas?

There are so many things in everyday life that are miracles, once in a lifetime scenes, experiences, tender or encouraging words spoken to one another or small gestures that can change a life.  These are the very things that are overlooked when I do not stop, look and listen.  I guess the important thing is to be in the present moment and really experience everything it has to offer. 

My experience brought up a conversation I had awhile back with an acquaintance who felt between her crazy hours and her husband’s crazy hours, they were losing themselves and their relationship – They had been married since the 80’s.  Their schedules turned them into ships that passed in the night working and striving for something but neither knew what exactly they were striving for anymore.  Through serious self examination, they instituted one weeknight and one weekend night each week as date night.  They could go out, stay in, do nothing or conquer the world, as long as on those nights they totally devoted the entire evening to themselves.  A beautiful thing happened between them.  They rekindled something that was slipping away and rediscovered so many things they used to enjoy together that they pushed aside.  They discovered themselves again and fell in love all over again.

So back to my main point, if there really is one in this rambling…Look in the mirror and tell me … can you really see you?  Who are you?  What do you enjoy?  Are you happy?   Do you love that person starring back at you – your own reflection?  If not, try a dinner date for one and start to fall back in love with your first love…yourself. 

I am only on the first step of this journey, and I hope, God willing, that many more steps will follow. I realize it takes time and I know there will be pitfalls, speed bumps and detours along the way.  But my hope is that I can continue to learn from this experience.  I hope you will join me in this rediscovery of life.  And maybe, just maybe, you will see something or feel something through my words.

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I was always skeptic in the theory of “love at first sight” or “reconnecting with a past love.”  There is just so much that can’t be told from that first moment or trying to recreate something in hopes it will be better.  Speculation can drive a mind wild and outcomes very often do not match those tender first thoughts, impressions and butterflies.

Maybe I was wrong as today I am smitten.  I am in love and to tell you the truth, it has been a long time coming.  Do not let this scare you away and do not get the wrong idea here.   Seriously, there is a lesson to be learned so keep reading.

I knew from the moment I looked at her there was an instant connection.  Her face had a certain familiarity about it.  She reminded me of someone I lost along the journey of life and made me think of just how much my life had changed without her.  Her eyes showed a shyness and she – even in her shyness – intimidated me.  It scared me at first and I looked away, but I was drawn back to her and could not break the gaze. It was as though when our eyes connected, she was looking deep inside my mind – reaching my very soul.  Without saying a word, I studied the lines on her face.  I wondered why she looked timid and scared, maybe even unsure or worried.  But a smile started to come to her lips and I just couldn’t help myself…I smiled back.  As much as she looked familiar, she was a stranger in so many ways.  She looked older than I remember and there was a roughness about her.   

She used to be my rock and the one I depended on, through thick and thin.  She made me constantly question my very being; she embraced my triumphs, my goals and helped me understand what really mattered.  She pushed me to be better, to rage on and to be true to myself.  She always had a way of finding humor in most situations.  She had a yearning for knowledge, a “can do” attitude and usually a smile on her face. 

I tried to remember when I lost her but it all seems so foggy and unclear to me.  I don’t know if there was a turning point – one event that started it all or if it was a slow and steady demise and downhill spiral over the years.  Suddenly I felt really guilty, that I craved her and needed her back in my life.  Especially since I knew deep down that I, and my actions, was the direct cause of losing her in the first place.  I had ignored her, pushed her away and basically it was my own fault.  I questioned if the person looking in my eyes could help me become all that was possible or if I had crossed the point of no return with what I had become, the broken dreams, the pushed aside hopes, the lack of will.

During those precious minutes today so much whirled through my mind. But one image remained constant.  It was the pleading look and that first tear that drove me to the breaking point.  It made me realize that I am nothing without her.  She gave meaning to my life, my future, my goals and every breath I took.

As that first tear fell, I could not help but break down into a full-blown, tears streaming moment.  I cried along with her, pausing only to grab a tissue and to help dab her eyes and mine.

It was at that moment I realized I was falling  in love again.  I felt a certain inspiration and determination that I had not felt in years.  Thoughts and images started crashing upon the walls of my mind.  I did not want this moment to end.  I wanted to tell her everything would once again be alright now if she would just let me back into her life.   I could not wait to comfort her soul and plan for the future – instead of continuing to destroy this ever important love affair.  But deep down I knew this.  I knew I was losing her slowly and watched as she slipped away, and in most cases I had only myself to blame, ignoring and not wanting to admit it.  The signs were all there, plain as the writing on the wall.

There is a reason for everything and I think at this moment in time, we had to reconnect or the results could have been tragic.  It’s a strange thing when a person loses someone, something, anything that helps define and validate who a person is.    Who am I? What am I? What can I be?  Mine was a slow demise yet I do not think that before today, a bloodhound, GPS or looking in the “Lost and Found” would have helped me.  It took the tears and a certain realization that something had to change. 

Today, while looking at my reflection in my mirror, I saw someone I did not recognize at first.  The stress line between the eyebrows, the tiredness reflected in around the eyes, the expressionless face.   Today while looking in the mirror as the steam started to dissapate, I once again found, behind MY OWN REFLECTION … ME – and yes, it was love at first sight – A love that I have not felt in so very long.  I believe that once a person admits or realizes their faults, weaknesses and demons,(not to mention their worth)  it is only a matter of time, and with  determination and perseverance that a reconnection with oneself can be made.  I think with continued strength, hope, and will, this love affair with myself will flourish.   

Today is the first day of my new journey in rediscovering and reconnecting with my first love…myself.  Welcome back Sandra Lee Hagan, I’ve missed you and look forward to working together to be the best that I can be – physically, emotionally and mentally.  It’s going to be a slow journey but enlightenting to say in the least.  So, Sandy, let’s have dinner tonight – just us?  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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HELLO….are you there?  That is what a few recent emails and messages I received basically said.  Well, that and, Where have I been lately? what’s up with no blogs?, and even a few that said they missed my rantings and the “world according to Sandy.” 

Just to ease those who have asked…I am still here – but just in my own little world and “hormonal bubble.”  The past few weeks I have realized I am in the midst of a very big MentalPause and Midriff crisis and YES, these both should be confused with Menopause and Midlife Crisis.  I will be the first to admit,finally, after refusing to believe it,  that I am in full-blown peri-menopause which adds a whole new dimension to my life, reality and world.  Mentalpause also qualifies as a good excuse for my actions, ill judgment, and whatever I can blame on these hormonal swings.  Menopause (or as I affectionately call it  … Mentalpause) affects every woman in various ways.  But with me it seems to run the gamut.  The doc says it can last 7-10 years…please do not make me a statistic in this group.  I, and those close to me, will not be able to handle it.

There is no rhyme or reason for what, when or how I am experiencing this wonderful change of life.  I can be up and high as a kite one minute with not a care in the world and ready to conquer the world or at least the day…when all of a sudden without warning, I can be crying my eyes out.  If melancholy sets in … well, frankly I am a goner.  The workers in my local Stop & Shop are getting used to me hanging on to the end cap of the aisle when a hot flash sets in.  My coworkers have stopped asking me if I have a fever when I get all flush and break out in an honest to goodness drenching sweat and those who know me expect me to burst out crying at the drop of a hat.  It even shows in the amount of laundry I have been doing thanks to the wonderful hot flashes and sweats.  I have grown accustomed to carrying an extra shirt in my car for those moments.

MentalPause and Midriff crisis are now clouding my reasoning, thoughts and daily endurance.  For example:

Cravings –Every other day it is something different.  I feel like an addict looking for the next fix as I run to Stop & Shop and get whatever it is that my body is craving.  Let’s see, I have always had the dark chocolate craving but it is now an addiction.  Then there’s the salsa craving, the sunflower craving, oh and let’s not forget the black olive craving, the fried bologna night, eating  ham salad for almost a week, and pouring Hot sauce on just about everything mood.  I still have no explanation for the cravings I get like green peas every night or the 10 tubs of humus I purchased in one shopping trip last week. 

No short-term memory….not even for something that might have happened a few minutes ago, though I don’t remember if anything actually happened a few minutes ago so am I really forgetting or did nothing just happen?  The other day I had to look up my mom’s telephone number…now that’s sad.  

I have misplaced so many things in the past few months that I have lost track of what I have misplaced.  I must admit that when I do find something I misplaced, it is usually in the most obscure place.  Like the morning I found my deodorant in the kitchen cabinet.  Or my empty, clean coffee mug in the refrigerator. 

Tiredness is another new thing.  Damn, I am just tired.  By 2 p.m. I am literally falling asleep at my desk.  Not for lack of work or boredom.  I just can’t keep my eyes open. Then on some days I come home and have to lie down because I am so tired.  Other days, I get a second wind and unfortunately end up awake into the wee hours of the morning.

Body aches and pains are constant now.  I don’t know about you but I feel like I have chronic arthritis.  I am forever sore in places I did not think muscles or tendons existed. 

My ability to accomplish things and tasks has also changed now.  If I need to get something done, I, or whoever needs it, should schedule it for the morning as afternoons are now out of the picture.  Mornings have always been my best time and actually they still are…I think…well, I’m not sure, ohhhh, I just don’t remember now.   

My judgment is off in so many different ways.  I don’t know how to explain why I thought I could fit in a size 12…I haven’t been in a size 12 for years – but looking at them in the store, I just knew they would fit and of course I was so sure, I didn’t even need to try them on….Wrong move. (See bifocals failure and bloating/midriff crisis below).

Water weight gain  and bloating is just a fact of life at this point…and NO MOM– I am NOT pregnant.  This is where the midriff crisis comes in.  Mid life brings the repositioning of some body parts (specifically on those of us who do not exercise), especially around the mid section. Again, No Mom, I know what it looks like but really, seriously, I am NOT Pregnant!  Then again, maybe I just don’t remember…nahhhh , I think I would remember that!!  LOL

Not sure about anyone else, but I am quite the edgy person nowadays.  And it’s paranoia over stupid things such as spiders, bugs, bees and yes I am getting back my extreme anxiety of driving with others. 

Intolerance to noise – This is a new one.  I can’t stand loud sounds, loud radios, repetitive sounds, dripping water, construction, etc. and especially beeping. 

Road rage and swearing is now a norm with me, as well as giving others the finger and the familiar yell of WTF.  I know that the PMS defense has been used in the court of law before…do you think Mentalpause qualifies??? 

Bifocals failure – I feel like I am squinting at everything, like just how close is that car, where are the lines on the road, why can’t I see my computer screen and when did they change the type to something so freaking small in the newspaper.…and how could I actually think the size 12 would fit over this shell. 

Crying over the smallest things.  Like today I busted out crying cause one of the stray cats was attacking a beautiful yellow monarch butterfly.  I chased the cat away and held my hand to the butterfly.  As it climbed up, I placed it across the yard on the hydrangea and started to apologize to the butterfly and started sobbing.  What’s up with that.? Or crying over commercials, forwards from utube or half the posts on facebook. 

The “Oh Well” syndrome has also emerged.  Lately a little voice is just saying “Oh well and whatever.”  It’s not that I don’t care, I think it is more of me taking a step back and asking myself if it really makes a difference and what the options and consequences might be.  Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.  Not sure if this is mentalpause or just getting older and wiser. 

OK, well, time to get off this computer as  I am in the midst of a major hot flash and I think I have things to do, people to see, places to go.  Well, wait a minute, maybe I don’t, oh if only I could remember what or who it was…. Oh, and before I forget, will ya do me a favor, please let me know if you like my blog because the way it’s been going, I won’t remember that I even wrote this!

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