I am writing and posting this from my laptop at 30,000 feet.

Nothing more needs to be said.

Yesterday morning, June 21st, my grandmother left this world after 89 years of doing just fine, thank you very much.

As y’all know from my previous post, this was not a surprise. She’s been failing for more than a month now, the stress of having her move from her home of 27 years into an assisted living apartment was too much. She moved, spent one night there, and then had a seizure and went into various hospital facilities as her health declined.

She believed strongly in dying a ‘good death’ and long ago had created a living will indicating that she did not want feeding tubes or resuscitating IVs if her mental state was poor (or absent). That was a blessing for the family because we could honor her wishes, knowing precisely what they were, and save ourselves from heroic measures that would only have prolonged the end, not prevented it.

Hospice nurses were there through her final weeks, making sure she was comfortable and not being given drugs or care that would have caused her further trauma. At the end, she was peaceful. She just slipped away.

The whole family here is off to separate places tomorrow. Sasha to Soos Creek while John is away, he’s off to Atlanta for business, and I’m on my way to Philadelphia for a few days and then on to San Diego for an HR conference. We’ll be apart for the longest time since we started dating — an entire week.

There is a strong potential for serious family drama, so I’m packing my calming crystal necklace and doing some prep work along the lines of being a Priestess/Counselor rather than (just) a member of the family.

It’s just a tad crazy around here. Here’s hoping July is a lot calmer. Busy, but calmer.

2010 has been a crap of a year so far. Actually, my 42nd year has pretty much sucked. The proof is that I was told I have breast cancer about a week after my  42nd birthday.

It just hasn’t stopped.

We went to Ashland this last weekend, rented a house with friends; saw some plays, ate yummy food, drank yummy wine, and had excellent conversations. I also fell down, hard and am currently nursing a sprained ankle OR a broken bone in my foot. (I’ll know the x-ray results tomorrow.)

Sasha is going to see a neurologist next week so we can find out (hopefully) what is wrong with her.

On top of all of that is the really sad news: my grandmother is dying. Its my father’s mother and although it isn’t entirely unexpected, it is still a surprise. She is in a skilled nursing unit, and being seen by hospice services. She is mostly very comfortable, but unaware of her surroundings. She will not recover, her death is inevitable, and I’m very sad.

So, I’m ok; it’s just still a bit of a unsettled life ’round here.

One of the largest collections of reviews of Neopagan/ Spiritual/ New Age oriented books, music, and other items of interest to our community has updated it’s offering.

June’s offerings include reviews of:
Living Temple of Witchcraft, pt 2
Worldshift 2012
Mala of the Heart
Weiser’s Field Guide to Cryptozoology
Weiser Field Guide to Ascension
The Mindfulness Code
The Compassionate Life
Emotional Wisdom
Single Woman of A Certain Age
The Way of the Crucible
The Flowering Rod: Men and Their Role in Paganism

We also have three excerpt/articles from Daphne Rose Kingma’s new book The Ten Things to do When Your Life Falls Apart.

As always we welcome your feedback. If there is something you’d like to see reviewed — let us know!

Opened on October 31, 2006 with just over 200 reviews, Facing North is — first and foremost — a community resource. We closed out 2006 with more than double our opening number of reviews (500+). Although we slowed our growth, 2007 ended with our database at more than 600 records, 2008 saw us at 900 and we edged over 1,000 by the end of 2009.

We are committed to creating a practical site with honest opinions that are fair, even when critical. A site that everyone in our diverse community can use. I always welcome your feedback and suggestions at: lisa_at_facingnorth.net.

I’m doing better at coping with the slow recovery, I think. At least I’m not so whiny as last week.

Last week I managed to walk Sasha 2x/day for 15 mins each. Sunday morning I walked her around the block (which is about 25 mins). It was a huge accomplishment for me. Better still, I’ve done that every day (except today). Moreover, J. and I have been starting to do strength training in the evenings. M-W-F are focused on the upper body, T-Th-S on the lower body. It’s early days yet to say how its going, but I have high hopes.

I’ve learned that I just won’t exercise regularly if its up to me. Aside from walking the dog, that is (and that’s a chore). I need a partner, someone to be accountable to, to talk to, and to go with. That is a tough admission to make, it breaks my ‘I can do it alone’ image.  Yes, I still cling to that even after this nine months of not doing anything alone (except suffer). The upshot of this increase in exercise means that I am quite sore from shoulders to feet. Which is uncomfortable . . . but necessary. I’m not ‘over’ doing it — I just am very weak and out of shape, so basically doing anything other than the ordinary is an effort. Effort = building muscles/ shedding fat (we hope). So, I start slow and work my way into larger and larger efforts.

Right now, for example, 15 mins of strength training is my limit. Luckily, I have good form and can pace myself well.

My goal(s): walk 2x/day 25 and 15 mins and strength training for 15 mins.

Other than that: J. and I are off to Ashland for the weekend.

It’s been lingering all day. I didn’t sleep well last night, that’s the first problem; but I just haven’t been able to shake a deep sense of . . .  BLAH.

I spent some time ‘sitting’ with the blah and came to two realizations: part of it is tiredness, but the other part is a reaction to the chemo. (Hold your ‘duh’ reaction justa  moment, please.) You see, I’m ‘supposed’ to be back to normal. Or something akin to normal.  Instead I’m still having trouble sleeping, I’m still experiencing food cravings, my body hurts (somewhere, all of the time), I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been (and not comfortable with it), and I’m having hot flashes. (On the bright side, my brain seems to be working more-or-less normally again.)

It’s damned uncomfortable being me right now.

The only thing that will fix this is time and hard work. Time will take care of the body aches and the cravings and the sleeping. It will also presumably lead to an increase in my energy. Hard work will take care of the weight gain, leading to an improvement in the aches and an overall feeling of increased vitality.

But I don’t have any motivation at the moment, plus it is HARD to even walk (still). I’m doing it, twice a day. But I am so not motivated to do anything else.

(/start whine) It’s HARD getting much of anything done. (/end whine)

In the hands of a skilled reader, astrology can be a useful tool. As proof, of sorts, I offer excerpts from Susan Miller’s forecast for Virgo, June 2010:

. . . Mars had spent an inordinately long time in Leo, reaching back to October 2009, and this is unusual. Mars typically spends seven weeks in a sign, not eight months! The placement of Mars in Leo put you in a holding pattern over the last months, but that’s about to end now.

. . .It’s also possible that you’ve had a lot of interaction with medical professionals lately, for the twelfth house rules health and healing. Perhaps you had surgery, needed long-term treatments, or required physical therapy.

One reason her forecasts are highly useful for me is that I am a double Virgo (sun and ascendant), others might find reading both forecasts for their different signs will yield a high probability of accuracy each month.

Please, stop what you are doing. Take a breath and close your eyes in memory of Jeanne Robinson.

The wife of Spider Robinson, Jeanne and Spider co-authored the influential Stardance trilogy in the late 70s. If you haven’t read it, do so now.

I can’t say it as well as Spider does, so I’ll let him do it. Moreover, my eyes are full of tears. Not for her passing, but for our loss.