Friday, October 24, 2008

I Guess I Finally Arrived!

Yesterday, I got my very first hate mail. I don't know where this yahoo got my e-mail address, but there it was: a nastygram raving about my "liberal brainwashing," and how if I knew Obama's real past, watched the YouTube video that he attached, and started listening to (sic) Russ Limbaugh, then I'd be singing a different tune.

I told Husband about this, and he smiled and said, "that's a good thing! That means that people are reading you."

This emboldened me to reply to the sucker. My exact words were: "You know nothing about me so you have no right to speak to me about 'listening to the liberal press all these years.' And if you're going to spout your hero's hate speech talking points, then at least spell his name right." And I promptly checked the "junk" button on his e-mail.

I fully expected never to hear from him again, but there he was two days later, in my junk folder. And there was another video, and again, I did not watch. He wrote that I sounded like an intelligent person, so after he sent this last video, he wouldn't be bothering me again.

So does that mean if I were not an intelligent person I would be more susceptible to his slime?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Own “Bridge to Nowhere”

Most of you know by now that about 3 ½ years ago, I injured my back. This was complicated by a severe fibromyalgia flare-up and other things that ultimately left me with a lot less physical function than I had before.

Or so I talked myself into believing.

Because many of the professionals on my health care team told me that I should be able to do all these things. On the physical therapist’s table, I had full range of motion. But once I stood up and gravity took hold, I could not bend forward far enough to touch the bottoms of my kneecaps. Aside from an unusual amount of tightness in my muscles and tendons, I was told that I was within the range of normal.

Normal? I didn’t think there was anything normal about me. Every time I tried to do something “normal,” like unload the dishwasher, make a bed, climb a hill, squat down to pick up a ball or look into a child’s eyes, or even kneel long enough to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, I would pay the price of days of soreness, or a trip to the chiropractor or a spin on the physical therapist’s table.

And after trying enough of these things – and failing – a mindset solidified, that I’d never be able to do the normal activities that I hadn’t thought twice about before.

Some of you may also know that I live on a hilly road, in a house with a very steep driveway. And since hills were one of my imagined enemies, if I wanted to go for a walk – or even visit a neighbor, something that I had missed for a long time – I had to get in the car. That driveway became such a barrier between me and the rest of the world. I had become its prisoner; like a sort of Grimm fairy tale princess trapped in a tower of her own making.

I didn’t get to write about my first steps into the sunshine last weekend. It got all twisted up with all the other things that we were doing, and plus, I made my first foray out with my husband beside me. This doesn’t diminish the profundity of it one bit – but having him accompany me didn’t feel like I was doing it for the right reasons.

But today, I ventured out on my own. I, alone and unprodded, took the halting steps down the steep grade of our asphalt driveway, already covered with leaves. I felt the mild strain in my quadriceps as I worked to keep myself from falling forward. When I got to the bottom, I was bathed in full, late afternoon sunshine. As I turned left to make the trek to the very top of the hill and the very end of the road, I was a little bit frightened, especially as the hill grew steeper and I had to work harder. My heart was pounding – with the effort, and with fear – and I could feel my back muscles working, and stretching, and I could feel the tight fibers in my hamstrings and the backs of my knees being plucked like a cello.

But I kept walking.

I had hoped some of my neighbors would be home. Sometimes, when we drive by, or walk by, a few of them are out tending to their yards or visiting other neighbors, and I hoped for the distraction and camaraderie of them, cheering me along as if I were a marathon runner pushing through the wall toward the finish line. But nobody was around. I had to be my own cheerleader.

So I kept going, noting that the water level of one neighbor’s pond was low, wondering why another neighbor’s dog was always outside and in the road even when they weren’t home. Anything to keep me distracted from the one last, big hill I had to climb to get to the flat part of the road near the end. As the hill leveled off, I was back in full sunshine again, the light soft and warm against my face. Acorns popped as they hailed down on sheds and gazebos.

Finally, I reached the dead end, and the fence that separates the road from the huge, rolling meadow where one of my neighbors keeps her horses. I paused, looking through the fence, hoping the horses would come around to see if I brought any apples. But no, they were too content with nibbling on the grass in the sunshine to even notice that I was there. I felt like without having at least them as my witnesses, that none of it was real, that no one would know that I had escaped from my tower and fled the kingdom.

All my husband knew was that I told him I was going for a walk, and then opened the door. How would he truly know that I’d picked up the hem of my gown and waded through the moat and escaped?

But I’d know. I knew it, as I walked home, absorbing the beauty of the fire-tinged trees against a backdrop of unbroken blue. I knew that I’d be able to walk out the door and down the driveway anytime I wanted. To visit a neighbor, to get some fresh air, or to simply get the mail. I was free.

I’ll probably be a little bit sore tomorrow, like I was last weekend. But people who know such things have assured me that each time I do it, it will hurt a little bit less. And I hope that soon, I’ll start believing them.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Some interesting viewing

Want to know more about the Keating 5 case the Obama campaign has been bringing up, and why it says so much about the character of John McCain?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Heartbeat Away...

I could watch this again and again and again... ;)