Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Moving day...

Tomorrow, perhaps I’ll the funnier, but today, I’m reclaiming my Space.

With that I mean my writing room. Since Husband was the one who was using the fancy computer, the fancy scanner, and the fancy drawing tablet more frequently than I was, I let him have the use of the Space, while I had moved my command control center to the kitchen table.

The arrangements have been made. The shiny new workstation stands twinkling in the corner of Husband’s studio. All his equipment in a nice shiny row.

Even though my Space is not yet exactly a “turnkey” operation, today I moved the first piece of my equipment – my keyboard – back into my new old home.

It looked a little lonely there – of course most of the diagonal desk had been taken up by a big ass monitor – but when I get everything else set up, I will make it mine again.

I feel like I should have some kind of ceremony, a ritual, something to commemorate the occasion. A room-warming, if you will. Flowers don’t quite cut it – while they’re beautiful, sometimes they make me sneeze. A fresh coat of paint? It’s already painted the color I like – a nice, soothing shade of pink. Some art on the walls? I already have some prints up that I like – a framed movie poster from “Picasso,” another from “Casablanca,” and the room is too small to take on too much more. Plus sometimes I like looking up and seeing a broad expanse of soothing pink, just to clear my head.

Speaking of clearing my head, perhaps I’ll light a few sage candles and intone passages from Virginia Woolf. Paint my face and do a ritual dance or two.

I’m open to suggestions…

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Didn't miss a thing...or did I?

Just flew in from paradise and boy, are my wings tired.

I suppose that among various problems one could have, spa withdrawal is one of the better ones.

After having wonderful meals ready and waiting for you, hot tubs and massage therapists and every kind of exercise possibility at your disposal, it's a little tough to go back to the real world.

Reentry has been difficult. But I think I can handle it.

I learned several things about myself. One, I can physically handle more then I thought I could. Two, I'm not alone. And three, for christ sake I need to lighten up a little.

One thing I took away from the experience is that for the good of my soul, I need to take more walks in the woods. I never realized the subtle power of letting nature clear your head and soothe your psychic wounds.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

No offense to those of you in the media business, but for five days I didn't so much as pick up the newspaper, watch news on television, listen to the radio, or cruise the Internet. And you know what? Nothing has changed. I figured as much. I figured that when I remerged, the war would still be going on, the media and the majority of the American public would still hate Bush, and things would still be blowing up halfway across the world. Presidential would-be candidates would still be polluting the atmosphere with their sound bites and rhetoric, and no minds would have been changed.

So what does this say about what we're doing? I suppose that more voices offering their dissent raised up to the stream of consciousness is a good thing, I still admire the people who really put it out there, the ones who stand on street corners with signs, the ones who write letters to the editor, and the regular bloggers who daily add their voices - opinionated and strong - into the atmosphere, but I'm left wondering at what level of commitment I'm willing to give.

It just takes so much energy. And I'd much rather make people laugh.

After all, we need laughter just as much as we need a sign of protest thrust into the air.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Opus is off the ice floe

I'm off to the land of low-fat rice milk and organic honey.

Back next week !

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Deja vu all over again

It’s hard enough getting my courage together to talk to a computer without that little “tah –dah” sound my computer makes on start-up.

It’s almost as if the computer is saying, “All right folks, now watch this!”

Oh, the pressure.

Of course I could simply turn it off, but what’s the fun in that. I like a good challenge, some more than others. Especially challenges that don’t involve pain and getting over thereof.

Speaking of which, each morning I strap on my black elbow braces (I’m vascilling between referring to them as my wonder woman magic bracelets and looking like I’m ready to take a piece out of somebody) with a sense of déjà vu.

About 15 years ago, I was doing the same thing. The elbow braces were less high-tech (a foam - lined plastic cuff with a woven strap) but the condition was much the same. My wedding gown had those detachable sleeves in case I needed them to cover my braces, because without them (the braces, not the sleeves) I was worried that have been be able to carry my bouquet down the aisle.

But that pain went away (after the stress of planning the wedding was over, and after lost my job) and this pain will go away too.

I don’t even want to wonder to the universe what I’ll have to give up in order to make this one better.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Is There A Doctor In The House?

I’ve been going to the same general practitioner for nearly twenty years. He’s a very odd man; and normally begins each appointment with me by telling me what’s wrong with him.

This week’s visit was no different. "Oh, I have this pain in my shoulder,” he said. "I go swimming, and it doesn’t hurt when I go swimming but when I wake up the next morning… Oh, man that hurts.” All the while he’s rubbing at this spot in his shoulder that’s been bugging him. “So that’s why I’m glad that this summer’s almost over so I can stop swimming.”

“Why don’t you join a gym so you can keep swimming?” I said. Which sounded logical to me. There are lots of doctors and gym, and some have ridiculous hours. Both the doctor and the gym.

“Yeah but who am I kidding,” he said. “I’m up at 5:30, don’t get home until 6:30, and at lunch I’m really hungry and need to eat.” I start wondering if maybe I should see somebody else instead. But he’s helped me lot, and it’s been real interesting to see his growth for the past 20 years.

“Anyway,” he says, “what’s wrong with you?”

I tell him about my elbows. About when the pain started, when it hurts, what makes it hurt, etc. While I’m talking, he turns his back and takes a very large manual out of the cupboard. If you’ve never seen a physician’s desk reference (usually called the PDR), is about the size of your average microwave. I’m thinking, oh great, once again I have something so strange he’s got to look it up. But no. It’s much worse than that. He holds the book out to me grasped by one spidery hand, tells me to hold out my right hand, and take it from him.

I just look at him like he just asked me to pick up the Statue of Liberty.

Whatever, I think, and take it from him. “That hurts,” I tell him, sagging under its weight. Then he asked me to hold it with my hand going in the other way, and then comes the worst part. He wants me to the same thing with my left hand (that arm is the one that’s been hurting more).

“That hurts a lot more,” I tell him, gritting my teeth and sagging under its weight.

“You have tennis elbow,” he tells me. So much for scientific diagnostics.

And this is only one reason why he’s an interesting guy. He’s also gone a little more anti-meds than he used to be. Now he’s into stretching as the cure for everything.

“Now here’s what you do,” he said. He then showed me a series of very scary looking, very intense looking, and not very fibro-friendly stretches.

And had expected me to do them three times a day. Including mashing the lights out of anything that hurts.

Afterward, I went to work out at my physical therapist’s. I asked him about the stretching and the mashing, including the physician’s opinion that the weight regimen (extremely light and wimpy one pound weights) that the physical therapist had put me on would only make the situation worse. The physical therapist disagreed. This makes me crazy. Sometimes I want to get all of them in a room, give them a pot of coffee and half an hour, then come out with three alternatives for me to choose among. So during my workout I let my doctor’s advice and the PT’s advice duke it out in my head. My gut told me to go with the weights. After all, a PT treats more cases of tendonitis than a doctor in any one year. Plus the idea of all that mashing gives me the heebie-jeebies.

All I can do is make the best decision for me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Laugh Any Way I Can Get It

At this point, I’m willing to do almost anything to get a good laugh. Even if it takes nearly burning my house down to get it (and no, I didn’t do it).

Husband was grilling some chicken on the barbecue for dinner. He finished, and like he usually does, he left the grill on low with the cover closed to burn off the residual fat. He was at the sink doing some dishes, and I was sitting at the kitchen table watching a DVD on my computer.

I looked up and happened to notice flames licking at the bottom of the barbecue, where the grease cup normally is.

“Um, husband? You might like to take a look at the grill. It’s on fire,” I told him.

He looked up. Then scrambled outside. He opened the hood, and it’s dancing with flame. He turned off all the knobs, and that only licked them down a little. Then he turned off the propane tank.

“You need the fire extinguisher?” I asked him.

“Nah, it’ll be alright.”

It might have been alright, except that (he claims) when he blew some of the cinders back into the grease cup, he created a spectacular fire ball that had that engulfed most of the barbecue. Anyone else looking at the scene would think that he was trying to blow out a grease fire.

“Now do you want the fire extinguisher?” I asked him.

“ Get it,” he said.

I got it. I also told him that he might want to move the aerosol can of wasp and hornet killer (does anyone know the difference between a wasp and a hornet, and does it really matter when they’re swarming around your back deck?) out of harm’s way. That’s all we needed, a house fire, and a true aerosol bomb.

Turns out he didn’t need the extinguisher (although he did more the aerosol can) and the fire, while it had flared spectacularly, had now burned itself out.

I’m saving the irony for last. For on the side of the propane canister was a magnet which read, “Danger Men Cooking.”

Apparently, printing the magnet with one inch high letters is not a prominent enough warning for some.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Blame Game

A horrible tragedy happens, and we look for someone to blame.

The epoxy failed. Somebody sold the sick kid a gun. The project went to the lowest bidder.

The rubble is still settling around the Minnesota overpass, and the media is there, compasses out, wanting to know where to point the finger.

I suppose this is only natural, the human thing to do. We simply do not want to believe that something horrible can happen for no good reason.

But there’s nobody that I can blame.

The lost jobs, the money I spent at doctor’s offices, the procedures I’ve undergone. There’s no finger that I can point, no lowest bidder that I can chastise for using the wrong 0 ring, no epoxy that I can claim did not live up to its promises.

Even if I believed in him I couldn’t even blame God.

And it wasn’t my parents' fault. They didn’t know what kind of primordial soup their combined DNA would foster; and nobody even knows if this thing is genetic anyway.

Meanwhile I keep on going, this little energizer bunny, having long ago given up on the idea of looking for someone to sue.

Friday, August 03, 2007

What am I afraid of?

You might have heard it said that as far as fears go, more people are afraid of speaking in public then they are of death.

I’m afraid of speaking to computers.

Because of an undisclosed and undetermined pain in my elbows, my physical therapist recommended that I try voice-activated software so I can rest my arms for a while.

But the way my brain is wired, it’s so much easier for me to write than to speak. My verbal skills, sadly, fall far behind of my written skills.

So I sit here looking at a blank screen, wondering what to say. No. Not just wondering. Afraid of how to start, is more like it.

I used to be afraid of thunderstorms. Deadly afraid. Like hiding under the covers screaming kind of afraid. That lasted until my early teens, when I cured myself of it through aversion therapy.

It was nothing formal; No therapists involved. At the time we live in a house on a hill with a view of the Catskill Mountains, which was the direction the weather came from. Including the thunderstorms.

One day a storm was developing, and I forced myself to sit in the center of that room, floor to ceiling glass pane windows on two sides, and experienced that storm from beginning to end.

I was nervous at first, but eventually realized I had nothing to fear. Eventually instead of seeing the fear and danger of the thunderstorm, I began to see its beauty. The dramatic colors of the sky as the clouds bunched up, the way it took hold of the trees and battered the leaves to and fro, the way the rain pelted down on the windows, and the clean way the sky and the air looks after the storm was done.

And I suppose to cure myself of the fear of speaking to computers, I should approach it the same way.

Just sit in my chair, make a cup of tea, and talk to the stupid thing.

I think I can handle that.