Friday, October 19, 2018

Two steps forward....

I have written ad nauseum  about my painful knees.   I'm not sure what took me so long, but I am really trying to take matters in my own hands (I'm full of cliches today).

I have known for years that I need to lose weight.  I keep putting off.  I guess it's some sort of denial.  Then, when my knees started to get really bad, I knew I really had to do something.  But I still didn't

When I was at my orthopedist about a month ago he told me that he has gone as far as he can in my treatment.  The only real option is knee surgery.  yes, I knew that.   have made promises to myself.   "I'll start dieting on Monday"  Haven't we all done that?

I'm not sure if I have been afraid to actually lose the weight, or if it's the fear of failing.  After all, I didn't get to be more than 100 pounds overweight by feeling like a great success!

So, I joined Weight Watchers about 6 weeks ago.     It's slow going for sure, but I have actually seen some changed in my behavior.   Last night I went to dinner with a friend.  My order came with a side of fries.  I love fries.  But  last night I wasn't really even tempted.  "Normally" I would have eaten the whole order of fries.  Last night I shared them with my friend and her daughter. I only ate a few.  I didn't feel deprived!  I have lost about 15 pounds .  I have a lot more to go, but I a glad I am finally doing this.

I also thought about doing physical therapy.  I figured, my knees hurt so much, what have I got to lose. (that's not a rhetorical question)    I looked online and found a promising physical therapy place. I went for an evaluation and started right away.   I wasn't sure if I needed a doctor's order.  Apparently not.  After the first session, my muscles were sore.  After the second session, I noticed that my knees started to crack.   I decided that the cracking was a good sign.  I think that the increase in motion in my knees is why they are cracking.

Today was my third session of physical therapy.   I am feeling so much better!   My range of motion has improved.  I can walk better and have way less pain than before. 

No, I am not 100% pain free and I know that there will be some moments that are better than others.

So, at least for this minute, I am feeling pretty good!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Wow, just wow

HJ512: Commending Nancy Ruth Sherwood.

Commending Nancy Ruth Sherwood.

Agreed to by the House of Delegates, March 7, 2018
Agreed to by the Senate, March 9, 2018

WHEREAS, for more than 35 years, Nancy Ruth Sherwood of Fairfax County has helped new and expecting mothers in the Commonwealth and around the world learn about breastfeeding as a La Leche League Leader; and
WHEREAS, La Leche League International was founded in 1956 by a group of mothers hoping to provide breastfeeding help and support to interested women; a mother of five children, Nancy Sherwood became a La Leche League Leader in 1979 and a lactation consultant in 1993; and
WHEREAS, Nancy Sherwood has led hundreds of free, monthly La Leche League meetings, answered thousands of phone calls, and hosted a weekly breastfeeding cafe for the Reston and Herndon communities; and
WHEREAS, Nancy Sherwood has used social media, especially Facebook, to reach thousands of families with her informative, compassionate, and humorous posts, and she has inspired and sponsored other women to become La Leche League Leaders; and
WHEREAS, thousands of women have benefited from Nancy Sherwood’s expertise and support, and she has fostered a sense of community by building strong relationships with mothers, their children, and their partners; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby commend Nancy Ruth Sherwood for her work with new and expecting mothers as a La Leche League Leader; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to Nancy Ruth Sherwood as an expression of the General Assembly’s admiration for her commitment to serving mothers and babies in the Commonwealth and throughout the world.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Life with myself

Today I had my second physical therapy session.  It's a lot of work and takes a long time. Now I am sore.  After the first session I was really really sore!  But, also after that first session the swelling in my left food has improved a lot.   Wearing nasty support hose helped too.

It's been a weird week.  Nick and I went to Reston last Thursday to supervise the packing of our household effects (Foreign Service talking) 

Friday, Nick went to Reston to be there while the movers put all of our furniture and "stuff" onto the truck.   After the truck was full, after their lunch break, the truck full of our things came here to Aldie.

I couldn't believe how long it took for them to unload everything.  They were here until dark! 

It is so different when you are doing all of the arranging and paying than it is when the State Department is paying.   Of course, whenever we were going overseas our things were sorted into air freight, sea freight and storage.  It usually works pretty well.  You get to your new home and shortly your air freight arrives. the basics.  Enough dishes and pots and pans to get by.  Sheets and towels and a small amount of clothes.  Then after a couple of months you learn that your sea freight has arrived.  And you look around and wonder "what did we ship?".  We have been doing just fine with what we have, and now there's another couple of thousands of pounds of household effects.  And then you reverse the project in a couple of years and either go to another posting, or back home. 

We have lived in the new house since July and have been doing alright.   Okay, living in a six bedroom house with one bed.  But for the  two of us that's enough.  And sitting on the love seat with Buddy and Nick sitting in an office/ desk chair while we watch TV.

It.s as if we have been living on our air freight. but now that we have all of our things, it feels good.   There's still unpacking to do, but there's no hurry.  And this time there are no kids running around and trying to help.

We're still sleeping in the downstairs master bedroom.   That's where we have been sleeping since July.  And with my crummy knees, it works.  But I am sure we will be moving upstairs soon.


Image may contain: one or more people and baby

Friday, October 5, 2018


I am a mother.   I had my first baby when I was 23, and she is now 40.  So I have been a mom longer than I was not a mom.

Wife.   I have been a wife for longer than I was not a wife.  Married for 46 years.  Single 18 years.

When I was little, we (friends, my sister, I cannot remember who) used to play wedding and we used to play house.  I remember putting on a petticoat over the back of my head to serve as my bridal veil.   I had a little wooden playpen that my grandfather had made for all of his granddaughters, my cousins..  My grandmother had made tiny quilts to fit into the playpens.

I don't really remember all of the details,but I remember playing with other little girls and we would make baby voices when talking to our "babies".    One year for Christmas I got a beautiful, doll sized baby buggy (pram) and a baby doll that ft in it.     I was about seven or eight, and I remember walking everywhere pushing my baby down the sidewalk! I was a very proud young mother.

When I was nine, we visited relatives all over the country and Canada.  My Uncle Ralph made the biggest impression on me.  He was an orthopedic surgeon.   I wanted to be a doctor just like him.   Uncle Ralph was my father's older brother.  I admired Uncle Ralph.  He smiled and was happy.  He liked boating and fishing and horse back riding.   He had a lake house.

My dad was just "Daddy".  There was not anything special I could say about him then.  Maybe because my dad was in my everyday life and Uncle Ralph was almost a mythical man

My pediatrician was a woman.   A woman doctor.  That's what I wanted too.

My mother told me to  forget about dreaming to be a doctor and plan to get married and have babies.   Maybe she was trying to justify or at least make sense of how her life turned out.     She was in a terrible marriage and had three screwed up kids,

Around the age of 15, I had my eyes opened to feminism.   I was a camp counselor at a day camp .  One of the older counselors was very vocal about the things we do that are socially demeaning to women.  So, I stopped wearing a bra.  I stopped shaving my legs and arm pits.  I was in the process of figuring out what women's choices were.  I was radicalized. 

I believe that for the most part, becoming  radicalized feminist gave me a cause and a reason.   

I vacillated between wanting to be a barefoot hippy mom with lots of kids scampering around, to being a doctor with two children.  If I was a doctor, I would take off a couple of weeks with each baby and then go back to doctoring.  After all, being a  doctor is more important than  being a mother .

Staring college at the age of 18 is pretty normal.   Starting college and the age of 18,being married, and being a feminist is not.

I looked pretty much like any of the your college students.  I was active in the "Women's Center" writing a feminist newsletter.    Answering phone calls from other young women seeking information on safe abortions.    Roe V Wade became law a year after I started college.

I pictured myself as the woman with the pregnant belly marching for women's rights.

That's not what happened. 

Nick graduated from law school and almost immediately, we were a part of the Foreign Service, when the State Department hired him.

By this time I had already dropped out of school and was working full time.   As soon as Nick was hired, I quit work to prepare for our diplomatic lives.

We started trying to get me pregnant.   When it didn't happen naturally, we went to a fertility doctor,  I was on a regimen of fertility pills and twice a month shots.  Nothing happened aside from me having hot flashes and some spotty vision.

Leaving stuff out here- flash forward.  Courtney was born February 25, 1978 in Bangkok, Thailand.     I had read everything I could get my hands on while preparing for her to enter our lives. 

There's something that I was vaguely aware of- the mamma bear- but I had not experienced it yet.

Once Courtney was in my arms, I never wanted to put her down.  Breastfeeding got off to a bumpy start as it does with many mother/ baby dyads. 

Once the nursing was going well and Courtney was living proof, I wanted to shout out "Look What I Did". 

And so on and so on.  Four more babies came after Courtney.  Each one of them took my breath away with their perfection.  They were amazing.  Nick and I did this somehow.  Yes, intellectually we all know how babies are made.

How a family is made is different.  Organic.   The dynamics of multiple ages and multiple needs and wants and ideas.   Sometimes it feels like a whole ball of yarn is tangled up and it takes patience to untangle it.  But sometimes you get tied, frustrated, and even mad. 

Somehow it all comes out in the end.  Now, the babies, the whole of my being for a short, intense time in my life has passed.

And yet, even through all of my kids are adults and on their own, they still seem to like us and sometimes need us.  And always love us.

The thing that prompted me to write this is memory that is more than 15 years ago.   My mother used to watch the late night show "Jay Leno".   After Jay Leno's mother died, he spoke of his mother and how she was so important to him.  He said she was his best friend.     My mom said that she hoped that her three children would feel that way about her.  I was very uncomfortable when she told me that.  Was she waiting to see what I would say?  Should I have told her she was my best friend?    I couldn't say this words.   I loved her dearly.   We even had good times and laughed sometimes.   But I never thought of her as my "best friend".

Now that my kids are grown up, I find myself wanting to ask them if I was a good mother.  Will they miss me when I am gone.    No, I will not do that.  It feels creepy- almost like emotional blackmail.

All of my kids say "I love you mom":.   

That's enough.