5 minutes warmup on the “arm bike” + the shortest legs that you can possibly imagine + the seat pulled up as close as it can possibly go + a generous, DD-endowed bosom = 5 minutes of rhythmically smacking myself in first one boob, and then the other, over, and over, and over again
Attempting to explain the concept of Daylight Savings Time to three hungry felines.
I just wanted to stop by and let you know that things are a lot better than they were the last time I posted. Apparently my last post spurred all the people around me into action, and they are taking the initiative to help me find some better pain management. So now they are in charge of research and question-asking and analysis, and I just get to be in charge of, “Hi-please make me feel better.” I can relax, because I no longer have to be both the patient dealing with all the pain AND the patient advocate. And apparently we now have a “Team Jen”, which is really cool. I think maybe we should all have T-shirts or something.
Also, Praise God, THE INTERNET HAS BEEN HEALED! And we were lent a TV in time to watch NCIS last week. So balance has once again been restored to the land of the Ryans.
Other good things: I discovered a book last week entitled, “Mennonote In A Little Black Dress”, and it is one of the funniest books I have ever read. Get thee to a bookstore or the library immediately and obtain a copy for yourself.
Also, MISS DOXIE IS BACK! It was a long, sad year without any new posts, but now she is back!!
Some of you long-time readers may remember back a couple of years ago when I did that course in stand-up comedy (Important Side Note: Hi, new readers! Two years ago I took a six-week course learning how to do stand-up comedy, and then our final exam was to perform a four-minute routine onstage at The Punchline. Because I was crazy. And also insane. I used to have the audio portion up, but somehow all my podcasts and this updated version of Word Press are refusing to get along. So hopefully that will be back up in the not-too-distant-future.) and Miss Doxie was there in the audience. And how she was totally gracious when I introduced myself, despite my being a combination of dorky fan-girl and on a serious post-performance adrenaline rush.
Also: homemade, made-from-scratch cornbread produced by my husband for dinner last night. Truly-there are no words.
Um, I can’t think of anything else right at this moment, but I will let you know the moment that I feel the return of The Funny, and a new blog posts begins to download itself into my brain.
I know I haven’t been online for a while, so I thought I’d swing by to let you know what’s been going on for the past two weeks.
I had fun celebrating my birthday with my parents and my husband, with lots of gifts and a great dinner, all of which then culminated in my husband’s made-from-scratch chocolate pie, which truly is a transcendent, spiritual experience, and one that I am sorry I was unable to share with all of you.
Then my husband had to go out of town for a week for training for his new job, and the plan was for me to drive back to Charlotte and spend the week with my parents, since I still can’t stay by myself for very long.
However, the night before we were supposed to leave I was completely paralyzed at the thought of having to pack up all my worldly possessions and transport them to a whole nother state (and yes, it really was ALL my possessions, because have I mentioned before that I am a hobo?) So I told my husband that I was going to have to cancel my trip and instead would be spending the following week whimpering under our bed, and did he think he could possibly arrange to have some food delivered while he was gone?
So my magnificent husband rose to the occasion as he always does, and did all my packing for me, and then it was time for us to leave.
I was excited to be away from home, and from all the projects that subconsciously tempt me all day with their siren song: “Come, do the dishes. And then as long as you are here, you why don’t you just go ahead and reorganize all of the drawers and cabinets? Because that would be really restful.” Fuckin’ sirens. And I was also excited because this is the first vacation I’ve been able to take since I got sick two years ago.
So I spent a wonderful week sleeping, reading a billion murder mysteries, watching Agatha Christie movies, watching all my weekly shows, and sorting through an ENORMOUS tub of quarters, looking for the fifteen we needed in order to complete our collection (because, have I mentioned before that I am severely OCD? I was SO excited to find a situation where this was actually an asset, rather than a liability.) I was also quite excited to be spending some time in a place where no one chose to express their affection for me by walking across my face immediately after using the bathroom.
Then it was time to come back home, which was really exciting until we discovered that, in our absence, the TV had broken. Oh, and by the way, we didn’t have any internet either.
And lo, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the land of the Ryans, because I WAS CUT OFF FROM THE WHOLE ENTIRE REST OF THE WORLD. And also, how could I watch NCIS?! Because, let’s fact it, without NCIS then really, WHAT IS THE POINT OF EVEN EXISTING?!
Oh, and I forgot to mention that during this time I was also experiencing some of the most excruciating fibromyalgia pain I had ever felt. On a scale of 0-10, it was a 15. And nothing I did even made a dent in it. And there was nothing around the house that I could use to distract myself from it. So one day I just sat down with a foot file and ground away at my heel for over an hour. I saw it start to bleed, I felt it start to hurt, but I Could. Not. Stop. I just couldn’t. I was completely powerless over this compulsion to hurt myself.
I did the same thing to myself just a few weeks ago, now that I think about it. My ankle was swollen to the point of unbearable pain, so I just found something with a sharp edge and spent over an hour digging that object into my ankle. And again, I was powerless to stop. And just like with my heel, I scraped off an entire layer of skin, to the point of blood, and the only thing that stopped me was the fact that my arm got tired.
There is just no way to describe the kind of physical pain where you literally lose your mind, and the only control you have is to refer the pain somewhere else, but this time the pain is under your control. It’s the only shred of control to cling to when your body is basically collapsing right before your eyes.
However-the problem is, of course, that this doesn’t actually help you feel better. It kind of just makes it worse. So after I finished decimating my heel, not only was I someone without TV or internet, I was a TV-less, internet-less temporarily crippled woman who was unable to put any weight on her left foot. A woman who also injured one of her scraping fingers so badly that she had to tape it up, and so now was a TV-less, internet-less, temporarily crippled, temporarily maimed writer. Because if I am going to have a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week, then BY GOD, I AM GONNA DO THIS PUPPY RIGHT!
But happily, my husband found a co-worker with a television he was willing to lend us, and as of last night we are once again connected to the magical world of entertainment. A thousand blessings to you, wonderful, magnificent co-worker.
And apparently Mrs. Co-worker was also excited about this plan, as my husband reported that, “she could not wait to see the back of this TV!”, and she was very disappointed to hear that it was just a temporary arrangement.
And then once we had the TV problem solved, my husband reminded me that I could get on the internet at the grocery store (Dear Kroger: God bless you for your free wireless internet), so that’s where I am right now, trying not to breathe the same air as all the other people due to my trashed immune system. “And so how’s that going?”, I can hear my husband asking me in that tone–you know the one I’m talking about. Not very well. unfortunately.
But I’ve gotta wrap this thing up anyway, because it is time for me to buy some cat food. Because 3 cats + 0 cat food=time to get the hell out of the house
So I hope this week is going well for you, and I really, REALLY hope that the Comcast guy can heal our internet tomorrow, and I can go back to my everyday life of not having to wear pants. Send good thoughts please.
So today I had to go to the eye doctor because I needed a new prescription.
The Eye Doctor: “So, how are you doing?”
Me: “I’m not gonna lie, I’m really not doing very well right now.”
The Eye Doctor: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. What’s going on?”
Me: blah, blah, blah, health problems
The Eye Doctor: “Well, let’s see if we can help with some of that.”
Me: “That would be great.”
The Eye Doctor (picks up an instrument): “First, let’s check and make sure the brain is still functioning. Because sometimes it isn’t.”
Me (completely serious): “Please don’t say things like that to me right now.”
The Eye Doctor: performs his examination
The Eye Doctor (apparently not having heard what I just said): “Good news-the brain is still with us!”
Me (feebly): “Um, yay?”
The Eye Doctor (doggedly cheerful, yet oh so clueless): “I bet it’s nice for you to get some positive news these days.”
And then, there was really nothing left to say.
So lately, I have not been doing all that well. There has just been a lot of shit going on around here lately:
-many, many, MANY days of spiking an 8, 9, or 10 on the pain scale
-helping my husband prepare for his job interview, and then waiting to see whether or not he got the job
-two weeks without any sun
-the Atlanta flood
-and the worst migraine I have had in years
And given the fact that I was on shaky ground to being with, it’s been re-a-ll-y hard for me not to go to the dark place in my thoughts and in my feelings. Especially since I was recently diagnosed with “rapid mood cycling”, something which falls somewhere along the bipolar spectrum. I haven’t wanted to talk about that here, because for some reason, even though I talk about everything else I have to deal with, I thought that if I mentioned this, then it would be the final nail on my crazy coffin.
So I’ve pretty much been at ground zero as far as participating in life goes-hitting the bottom and then s-l-o-w-l-y coming back up again.
And it’s particularly hard right now because it seems like everyone around me is making huge strides on their big dreams, and I am so far away from that place that my dreams are really painful. There’s nothing to say that I can’t have them at some point in my life, but I can’t have them right now. And that is really, really hard. I’m happy for those people, AND I am sad for me. Because the things I can do right now are so small, and feel so inconsequential, that it feels like nothing I do really matters or is in any way contributing to life.
So these things that I can do, I’ve heard them called many different things-connecting the dots, doing the next logical step, reaching for the thought that feels better, doing what’s in front of you. And so that is where I started this morning.
First, I was inspired to go and sit in the sun, the sun which I am especially grateful for after the week we had (because, did I mention there was a FLOOD? Here in THE CITY! A city which HAS NO PLACE FOR FLOOD WATERS TO GO!)
And then I did a little EFT: “Even though I feel so disconnected from myself, from God, from life, and from the creative flow, I’d really like to see if I can find a way to reconnect just a little bit.” “Even though I feel so empty and used up, I woke up this morning, and I’m still breathing, and still thinking, so I guess there’s some more for me here somewhere. I guess this isn’t ‘it’ for me.”
I just had to lay it all down-dreams, ideas, wishes, relationships, meaning, purpose, illness-I just had to put it all on the altar and let it go, because gripping onto these things so tightly was preventing me from being able to hear my next step, and from being able to find any peace or relief.
So after I had soaked up some sun, and surrendered, I looked over and thought, “Huh-I guess I could pull the dead leaves off of this chamomile plant.” And there it was-my next step.
And then as I was trimming the plant I heard, “I think you would probably feel a little better if you took a shower and got dressed in some of your cute new clothes.” Once again-there was my next step.
And then after I was clean and dressed I heard, “You know, it might just perk you up a little bit to do a load of laundry. But, hey-make sure you pay attention to me on this. I AM NOT TELLING YOU TO GO AND CLEAN THE ENTIRE HOUSE, DO YOU HEAR ME? One load of laundry, that’s it.”
And then I remembered that today is the day the new episode of my favorite podcast comes out.
And so it has gone today.
And eventually it will be time for my husband to come home, and I’ll have some company. And then it will be time for pizza Friday. And then it will be time to watch last night’s episode of “The Mentalist”. And then it will be time to watch my husband play his current video game, even though the music makes me want to rupture my own ear drums, (which I’ve actually done before-but not on purpose). And then it will be time to go to bed.
And then I will not only have survived, and made it through today, but I will have actually have thrived. Just a little bit.
So if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you are most likely aware of my family’s long and storied relationship with the game of golf. And if not, let me just give you some of the highlights.
So apparently this weekend a lot of the major players on the PGA tour were in Chicago participating in the Cialis Western Open. And, as usual, my parents were trying to convert me into a golf lover, extolling all the virtues of the game like mental discipline, elegance, beauty, drama, history, tradition, blah, blah, blah. But I was not buying it At All, because I could not get past the fact that the whole entire theme of this particular sporting competition was, “Men Having More Sex Because Their Penises Work Better.” (Apparently I was the only one who found that even a little weird.)
And so I declared to my parents that from now on I was going to refer to this particular event as, “The Penis Open”.
I have always had an a stormy relationship with golf, beginning with my first golf lesson at age 9 and continuing up through last Sunday, when I was unable to lend my full attention to the actual tournament play due to the unfortunate propensity of my pants to unzip at random times as I walked the course. Because nothing says class and sophistication like the occasional flash of your hoo-ha. (Unless you are a drunk, twenty-something college guy who thinks it is COMPLETELY appropriate to appear in public wearing brown, patchwork, vertically-plaid Bermuda shorts with a light green and white, horizontally striped, polo shirt. Holy. Hell. If there was ever an argument for allowing us everyday citizens to be armed with tiny, semi-poisonous blow dart guns, This. Was. It.)
But, I digress. My dad absolutely LOVES golf and so, when I was 9 and my brother was 6, he and my mom signed us up for golf lessons. I did learn a lot from those lessons, but unfortunately none of it had to do with the actual game of golf. Mostly it had to do with everyone coming to the realization that I am one of the most physically uncoordinated human beings to ever walk the face of the earth. And the rest had to do with the fact that, even at age 6, my brother was basically a golf Super Star.
So, just bear these things in mind as I tell the rest of this story. It will all tie in at the end, I promise.
So last Friday I was getting ready to leave for my haircut, and I noticed this black pickup truck parked in front of my house. That in and of itself wasn’t suspicious, but unfortunately, because I am a woman and I was home alone, I had to at least be aware of it in the back of my mind.
Especially as it was still there 20 minutes later, as I got into my car.
Especially since the moment I started up my driveway, a man got out and started staring at my house. And the closer I got to leaving, the closer he got to me and my house, all the while looking back and forth from something in his hand, to me and my house. And then, as I started to pull out onto the road, he started talking on his cell phone, and then looking back at whatever was in his hand, and then looking back at me and my house.
So I decided not to leave just yet, drove back down the driveway, parked, and then called my husband. I was afraid that I was just worried about nothing, but then the man came storming across my lawn in my direction, not paying attention to what he was doing, and looking for all the world as if he was coming to bash in my windshield and do God knows what to me.
My husband told me to go back inside and call the police, which I did, and fortunately they took me seriously as well, and sent out a patrol car to check the situation out. I will say that I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared in my entire life, and I have a totally new appreciation for the police, who arrived within 2 or 3 minutes of my call.
I started to feel a little better as I watched events unfold, and by the time I saw the police officer shake hands with the man I figured that it was okay to breathe again. As it turned out, the man actually lived down the street from us, and his car had died right in front of our house, and he was impatiently waiting for the tow truck to arrive which it finally did, simultaneously with the police.
And then, as I watched the man preparing to leave, I saw him reach into the bed of his pickup truck and pull out a pair of golf shoes and a set of clubs. And I knew exactly why he was acting so crazy-he was freaking out because he was going to be late for his tee time.
Golf. I had to call the police because of golf.
Apparently, I just cannot escape.
Once upon a time my husband and I were in bed reading , when I happened to look up, and noticed something odd about our window.
“Are those frog nads plastered to the outside of our window?” I asked
My husband got up to take a closer look.
“Why yes, they are,” he replied.
You know those days where you sit down and look at your blog, and you realize that there are like 80 billion humor bloggers out there, and apparently they must know something you don’t because they seem to be getting all of the traffic, and so you decide that must mean that you really suck at this, and so you decide to murder your blog and eliminate any evidence indicating that you ever had any sort of online presence whatsoever, and the only thing you can think of to help you go on is to ask your ex-tre-me-ly long-suffering husband to put a picture of Adam Baldwin on your desktop, which is nothing against your husband, but given that he is the only person in your household with a job, and the one who earns the money that allows you to continue living in a house, and not in a box on the street, it’s not exactly like he can stand around all day and be your own Personal Internet Cheerleader, and then you get a sinus infection and have to take antibiotics, and then all of a sudden you are plunged into a severe depression, as severe as you’ve ever been through before, and it absolutely terrifies you, because what if you’ve somehow broken your medicine, and now there’s nothing else that can help you, and this is how the rest of your life is going to be, and then you talk to your coach about it and she says, “You know, I just read that for some people going on antibiotics causes them to spiral down into depression like that,” and you think, “Wow-that sure would’ve been some great information to have a few days ago!”, and so as you are recovering you decide that maybe eating some fresh fruits and vegetables would help, so you go to the grocery store to pick up some green peppers and ranch dressing, but then you are standing in front of the display and there are too many dressings to choose from, and so you start to cry because you just want someone to tell you what to do, and WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SO HARD?!, and then you are so happy to return home, until you are reminded that your house is so, SO hot, you don’t know why, but clearly the only option left is for you to live naked on your bathroom floor until October, and hope that your husband doesn’t mind occasionally airlifting in some food for you, and then, and you have no idea why it took you THE ENTIRE SUMMER to realize it, even though between the two of you you hold two Master’s Degrees, and one of you (not naming any names or anything), is an actual engineer, but you finally figure out that the batteries in the thermostat don’t work, and that the ceiling fans have all been circulating the air up instead of down, and then there is nothing left for you to do except to write about it on your blog, the blog that you are most likely going to erase just as soon as you can work up the energy to do anything more strenuous than lying prostrate on the nearest flat surface?
Yeah, me too.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about my body lately- and honestly, I KNOW that you’re just as tired of reading that as I am of writing it, but, oh well, that’s what’s up for me these days.
I am especially thinking about my body after last night, when my husband and I were eating pizza and bread sticks from Pizza Hut. As I was preparing to divide up the “dipping sauce”, my husband said, “Oh, you can have all of it,” and my body apparently decided to celebrate this generosity by causing me to dump half the container all over the fingers of my left hand, and, HOLY MOTHER is that stuff hot. I don’t have a history of burning myself (although I did once staple my own thumb on purpose, just out of curiosity to see what it felt like, which is really neither here nor there, but this is probably the best opportunity I will ever have to work it in in even a remotely tangential way to any story), and so this might have been the first burn I ever received in my 36 years, but from somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind I remembered hearing something about putting butter on burns.
But thank goodness for Google, which I checked before I did anything, because apparently putting butter on burns is only The Worst Thing You Could Possibly Do, and Google was all, “Um, hi-welcome to the 21st century,” and I was like, “Wow-so this is what modern health care looks like!”
I feel like I’m coming out of some weird alternate universe after these past 2 years of being sick, which means I’m having to become reacquainted with my body. I don’t really know what to expect, and I also don’t really know what it can or can’t do yet. I do, however, know that the one place I am not going to for help with this situation is any kind of medical, health, or nutritional “authority”. Because all of those people so obviously go out and smoke a gigantic bowl of crack before they come back and make their “official” proclamations, which we are all then supposed to unquestioningly follow. Here’s a perfect example of what I mean.
You know that whole stupid chart doctors pull out that supposedly tell you what weight you should be according to your height? Well back when I was in high school (’86-’90) it said that a woman who was 5 ft. tall should ideally weigh 100 lbs. And then for every inch of height after that, you would add 5 lbs. So according to this plan I, as a 5’2″ female, should weigh only 110 pounds. Which will clearly only happen in the event that I suddenly become a refugee or a prisoner-of-war. Apparently the people (most likely MALE people) who compiled this chart were unaware of the fact that women are actually 3-dimensional beings.
Now we do have a friend who is only 5 ft. tall, and probably does weigh only 100 lbs., but she is definitely the exception rather than the rule, and I’m pretty sure that’s because she was constructed using only the bones of one tiny sparrow and a few golden clouds. She is very tiny and very cute-like a miniature doll you might want to pick up and keep in your pocket. And as a matter of fact she frequently has random strange men come up to her and tell her this very thing. That is, of course, the very last thing they say, right before she kills them and feeds their bodies to sharks. Which they clearly deserve because, seriously-that’s just creepy.
Of course, if I really want to feel badly about myself, I need look no further than my grandmother, who, when in college, was featured as one of LOOK Magazine’s “Most Beautiful College Girls of 1941”. (And while we’re on the subject her husband, my grandfather,was a Double Ace in World War II, a well-known criminal attorney, and once tried a case in front of the Supreme Court.) So I guess you could say that THE BAR’S BEEN SET KIND OF HIGH IN OUR FAMILY, as far as notoriety and life achievements go. Which probably goes a long way towards explaining why it is So Very Hard for me to just rest and recover, given all these inherited genes that want to be out conquering the world. (Oh, and speaking of worlds, have I mentioned that on the other side of my family I can trace my ancestry back to the Mayflower through four separate family lines? Four separate ancestors who ACTUALLY DID go out and conquer a new world? Seriously, it is a freaking miracle that my brain has not literally exploded all over my office, which is where I spend most of my days, totally not resting.)
It’s really f*&%ing stressful that my biggest accomplishment of late is figuring out what adjustments I needed to make in my daily treatment program that would allow me to once again have normal, rather than clown-sized, hands and feet, given this whole family legacy, as well as the fact that in his current postdoc position my brother routinely solves math problems where x=The Universe and Y=The Current Vibrational Level Of Human Consciousness.
Oh well, at least I still have some things: sarcasm, crankiness, and the ability to find a way to mock just about anything. And I’m still the first person people go to for entertainment, and for sharing the wacky things they see in life. Because, as my mom says, “You are the ‘Ass Person’ in the family.” (Truly, is there a better, more multi-purpose word in the English language than ‘ass’? I think not.)
Ha-take that, Pilgrims!