Sunday, September 23, 2012

How I went from Big to small

Purses seem to be all the rage these days.  Big leather purses especially.  Big heavy designer purses.  Big heavy expensive leather designer purses.  Who pays in excess of $500 for a purse?  Seems every ladies magazine promotes one.  They are heavy even when empty.  I don't know too many people who buy these, every now and then a friend finds one on sale and if that makes your day, that's great.  My bigger concern is how heavy they are.  And because we are women, because they are big, we are good at filling them up. Oh, our poor shoulders!

I have spent my life looking for lightweight big purses.  I don't like spending much on a purse because I am really hard on purses.  I am lucky if they last me a season.  And since I have myofacial pain in my shoulders, I try to buy a lightweight purses and not fill it up too much.  But ever since I had children, my motto has been, "be prepared", so I pack everything but the kitchen sink.  Of course, my sons are in their 20s now, so I rarely need a tissue or bandaid or toy or candy.....

The last purse I thought was going to be a great success, was from Kohl's for $20.  It seemed lightweight empty.  It had an outside pocket and numerous inside pockets.  And yet it was heavy all the time and I could never find what I was looking for. 

This is what I carried with me for work.
I failed to include in this picture a notebook, pen, pill case,  journal articles and work I brought home.
I never wanted to be without something to read  so I carried a book and a magazine.  My wallet was always filled with every loyalty card imaginable, numerous credit cards, cash and discount cards. It was heavy, clumsy, always falling over. 
This summer, realizing that my shoulder was killing me, I knew I had to do something different.  When I was on vacation for my son's wedding, I didn't carry much at all.  What made that lifestyle different from my work life? 
I decided to trim down to just my essentials.  Then I took a small wristlet I had purchased for vacation and decided to try that for a while. Here is what I came up with.
And here is what I carry.
I have a key case that carries my license and debit card and a few emergency dollars.  I can leave the house with just that; to run to the store, for example.  In my wristlet, I carry my phone, my glasses, lipstick (moisturizing so I don't need chapstick),  a few pills in a tiny ziplock that a button came in with a new outfit, face blotters for my constantly oily skin, breath freshener strips, and a small case for cash, a couple of  business cards,  and my library card.  It has worked perfectly all summer long.  Do I need my loyalty cards?  Most I can just give my phone number at check out.  Others, I keep in the car.  I have, in fact, turned my car into my "purse".  I cleared out the console in the car and put in a cube box of tissues, a small cosmetic case with handy wipes, lens cleaner, Biofreeze individual packets, a small pill container with a few common meds, and a business card holder with my loyalty cards. For work, I have added a small 5'x5" lidded box with extra things I might need seeing patients, like an otoscope, extra tongue depressors.  Since I drive to different nursing homes, my little stash comes in handy. 
This wristlet is my absolute favorite thing.  It comes from an Etsy shop called Heart2Handbags.  They are handmade by Amy in Waupaun, Wisconsin. is the link to her shop.  She also makes purses, key fobs, lanyards, ebook/ipad sleeves and aprons. Everything is reasonably priced, the wristlets are only $16.00.  I have 2 wristlets, a purse and a key fob.  I have bought a wristlet for a gift also.  I find the wristlets wash very well in the washing maching on a gentle setting and dry in the dryer without needing ironing. 
These wristlets save me pain, and are lightweight and convenient.  My key case has a clip on it so I clip it to my wristlet and have only one thing to carry.  No more big clumsy purses for me. And I owe it all to Amy! 

Finding the right path

I awake each morning and try to find a path.  It seems each morning I re-invent myself.  During the summer I would awake leisurely and read and think and contemplate God and try to be thankful for the day to come.  Once up, I got going on whatever it was I wanted to do, even if it was as simple as going to the pool. 

Now that I am back to work, the only way I can function is to get up without thinking and put myself on automatic to do the morning ritual of ablations and costuming.  I feed the pups and myself, check email, make sure my patient list is up to date, take care of little details and make a K-cup of a sweet beverage for the road. I put on my happy face and go.

Every day I am pretty much the same person.  But every day I feel I am on a new path for some reason. Perhaps because I never know what I am going to encounter during the day.  There always seem to be detours thrown in my otherwise straight path.  Interruptions, inconveniences, delays about.  These surprises are rarely the fun kind. 

Somehow during this summer of leisure, though I never mastered meditating, I did learn how to live each moment and take one day at a time.  I guess instead of trying to live my grand plan I think I have designed for myself, I allow the day to unfold.  I do one thing at a time and do it the best I can and then move on. I try not to judge it or myself, I try to just play the doctor role.

I guess that is why I feel each morning is a blank slate and why I feel the need to find the path.  I need only define myself as a daughter of God, held and loved by God, strengthened and supported by God.  Letting go of a grand plan and following a new path each day is quite hard for me.  But trying daily to create my grand plan hasn’t worked for me in the past, so allowing the unknown in to surprise me, might just be the way to peace and happiness.  I am happy so far with my new career.

Think less, be more.  Judge less, experience more.  I can feel my shoulders relax just knowing this.  Thanks be to the good and gracious God.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pity Parties

I am a firm believer in pity parties.  I don't throw them often.  Maybe 2-3 times a year.  But when I do, they are wild, fantastic blowouts.  I had one this week.  When my son and daughter-in-law left after 10 wonderful days, I was devastated.  It hit me so hard.  I returned from the airport after dropping them off and just couldn't shake my loss.  I knew it was time for a pity party.  I put on comfortable clothes, got in bed propped up with soft comfortable pillows and my cutie pie dogs nearby.  I wept and wept and didn't even bother aiming my tissues at the wastebasket. " Poor me, woe is me."  How will I get on with the two of them in NYC?  It seems an eternity away.  When I was cried out, (it only took about an hour), I was wore out.  I picked up my Kindle and started to read, and within minutes I was asleep. I slept for three hours.  It was a good sound sleep.  I decided I needed to wallow in pity for the rest of the day.  I got up and made a giant bowl of American Dream Cone (Ben and Jerry's) and ate it in bed. I read my email - in bed, I wrote one to my dearest friend telling her of my plight - in bed and I read some more - in bed, you get the idea.  I pouted, whined, pulled the covers up over my head.  Finally I showered, put my PJs on and went to bed.  Slept for 12 hours and awaken with new hope.

NYC couldn't really be that far.  I would just have to go see for myself sooner rather than later as I had planned.  Chris is still nearby and we have fun together. Just like the summer after Tom died and both boys went off to college, I knew I had choice.  I could still be miserable or I could create some happiness for myself.  I had my art, my work, my family, my lovely simplified home. It's time to start making some friends.  Get back into the swing of things.

That's the great thing about a big, all out pity party.  You get things out of your system, all the tears, the exhaustion, the hunger.  It's like taking care of HALT all in one day.  Hunger, Anger, Lonely, Tired.  And once those things are taken care of, hope floats to the surface.  It's like making it though a long dark night and seeing the first rays of sunlight.  A new day. 
The Perfect Place for a Pity Party

The key to a good pity party is to never chastise yourself for feeling bad, sad, lonely, angry, in pain. Just feel every feeling that surfaces.  Dig down deep for the ones that are buried.  Swim in it. Just don't beat yourself up for doing it.  Those feelings are all yours, let them out, let them free.