Saturday, April 30, 2011

I'm Alive

As I write this entry, I hopped off my bike and am sitting under a semi-shady tree in a park that spans two towns. Branch Brook Park is infamous for it's annual showcase of Cherry Blossom Trees. The last time I was here was shortly after I crossed the river and just in time to marvel at the beautiful colors of autumn.

Now as I sit here on what could be described as an ideal and perfect spring day. Much is on my mind but nothing that would normally weigh me down. I have really embraced the concept of "one day at a time" since learning I have a thyroid condition. I don't react as much as I used to and if I do it's when pleasant moments appear. Though those are scarce so is our time here on earth. I want my days to be filled with events I cannot only appreciate but capture in a photo, a blog entry, and a memory to reflect on.

Reclaiming my life has been a process. I am becoming successful at knowing who and what I want in it. I feel confident that whatever the outcome of my upcoming discussion with the surgeon will be favorable. I have made a decision to eat better. By making my own soups and fruit yogurt smoothies, loading my plate with spring mix salads and a little meat. I finally feel alive instead of just living. I have since applied to two universities for fall√ĺ 2011 admission. This week I will be starting a training program for volunteer court advocates. There are a couple more goals I would like to accomplish but as they say everything in moderation. There really isn't a rush to do everything anymore. I am on no one's clock. I am appreciating the now. I encourage you to do the same and live the life you want.

There's no instruction manual, but if I could offer a prompt you: start by asking yourself: what is it that I want? What is that I need to acquire it?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Are you appreciative and how so?

Many years ago I experienced the loss of my youngest son. JNM was in this world less than four months. I have gotten over it remarkdly well as life for my surviving son and I were marred with all sorts of turmoil that kept me "busy" and little time to dwell.

What I learned from this, was as the saying goes, it is true, "life is too short." I am witnessing this everyday as another force of nature hits and sometimes devastates the world and leaving it's citizens in ruins. Take for example, last night my area experienced heavy rains and high wind gusts due to tornadoes that just early battered places. One of which, I visited twice in the last two years and where I have family. Fortunately, they were unharmed but their surrounding towns, ones we drove through weren't. Before this it was Japan's tsunami and earthquakes of which a month later aftershocks are still hitting the area. Then previously, it was Haiti.

I realize these events have always taken place for as long as this planet has been around, but it makes me appreciate what's here now for the next hour it may not be. I ask you, what are you appreciative of? How or do you cherish what is in your life?

For me, it is doing and engaging in activities I longed to do but previously haven't gotten around to it. I no longer wait to do something. Mine include writing regularly, traveling more, taking random pictures and trying something new at least once a week. That last activity usually involves trying or making food and exploring the towns I am in.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Doing Instead of Wanting

I have always wanted to eat healthier but wanting is not actually doing. When I recently learned the thyroid ultrasound scan I had done found a nodule, I decided that this was the time to do more and want less.

I scoured online retailers for an economical mixer/blender that would allow me to do the job simply. Since I bought this device, I have had meatless dinners and feel a difference of how my usually feelings of fatigued have waned. I am not sure it's a state of mind or knowing I will have additional tests to discern what the course of treatment will be. But I do know, I am nourishing my body in a way I have never before. I also hear that eating right also helps one's mood. I am not feeling as depressed either. 

The depression I attribute to a former life of oppression. Learning how to take that back has not been easy but it gives me hope and a kick of motivation. My oppressors have took notice of  my changes as they are now looking for a way back in. However, I hold the keys and I have told them I am not ready to open those doors again. I am in the stages of going forward, not backward.

Recognizing that sometimes we have to go backward in order to go forward is a hard pill to swallow. This is why I also had made a decision to do something I thought I would never again. At our recent child support case I was approached by my former abusive husband and son's father. He seemed genuine in wanting to end a years long absence in his son's life. I had to think and tread carefully on this request, knowing he's one of those people that wants but doesn't always do. The one who gets hurt and becomes disappointed is my son. I am left to pick up the pieces. I agreed. They were reunited on my son's 16th birthday.

As of late crossing the river has become much less of a metaphor than actually doing it, as I take steps to bettering myself. Becoming who I wish and want to be. I am no longer only wanting but doing. Now I need to end here and finish my mission statement to the university I applied to.

Some simple, tasty recipes I created for you to try and enjoy.

Tortellini Vegetable Soup- Suzanne’s Way
1 package of tortellini
1 can of creamed soup (I like broccoli)
1 can of spinach 
1 can of mixed vegetables
1 cup of frozen winter vegetables
handful of shredded cheese (I like the Mexican blends)
Boil tortellini and frozen winter vegetables according to package.
Prepare creamed soup according to the can. 
Season to taste ( I use adobo, sometimes curry)
Place and stir all ingredients into a large bowl and microwave covered for about 5 minutes.
Top with shredded cheese. 

 Smoothies by Suzanne
Smoothie number 1
12 ounces cold chocolate soy milk
3 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
Blend for desired consistency
Smoothie number 2
4-6 ounces vanilla yogurt
1 banana (or fruit(s) of choice)
handful of favorite dry breakfast cereal ( I prefer either frosted flakes or frosted shredded wheat)
blend until smooth

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Today marks 16 years

Sixteen years ago today, I became a mom for the first time. BTM entered my life at 11:37 that morning, and it hasn't been the same since. Being his mother, I learned what unconditional love is. He is my pride, mirror, and reason I have never given up-even when there were times I felt that was my only option. I have learned how to be his advocate, biggest cheerleader, and teacher. BTM was born with developmental delays and later diagnosed with ADHD. He had and still has needs that require much more patience and tolerance that could overwhelm two parents much less one. I have almost raised him by myself for nine years while holding down full time jobs and going to college.

These 16 years are filled with both lifelong memories. From the time he first sat up on his own at five months, to his first baseball game that affirmed his loyalty to the Yankees, asking endless questions scoring his first three pointer on his basketball team, his genuine interest or more like obsession with NYC's public transportation system, our first trip and eight day stay in various cities in California together in 2005, to shopping for a suit to wear at his junior high graduation and then my own college commencement in 2009 that we celebrated that summer by visiting other baseball cities around the country, his voice becoming deeper and signs of a slight now full mustache beard, and now me looking up at him. Where did the time go?

As he celebrates another birthday, this will be the second one I won't be with him. Earlier this week, his long estranged father and I agreed for them to have a visit. Something, I have been hesitant to allow given our past history and allegations that have been both proven and unproven. However after consulting with others in similar situations, I thought carefully and broached the subject with my son. The decision was not an easy one, but given that many of us (myself included) have lost a parent without having many questions answered, it's time. Just as it will be one day to let Brandon go into the world but first we have a train across the river to catch.