Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DQ Update

Finally. After a year and a half of symptoms, I was diagnosed with DeQuervain's tendonitis in both of my hands last May. And after nearly a year-long game of ping-pong between doctors, HR at work, physical therapists, Work Comp, and me, I have been scheduled for surgery on my right hand on September 8th. I'm not enthusiastic about the idea, but after eleven months of less invasive and ultimately unsuccessful treatments, I'm committed to this course of action. The pain, loss of sleep, and progressive inability to do even the smallest of tasks have taken their toll on my normally upbeat and resilient nature. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks as a period of healing and acceptance. An opportunity to ponder and slow down. And with any luck, to emerge on the other side with a better idea of who and how and where I am while I jettison the negative and hold tight onto the positive. I am cheered by the idea of cooking a meal and dressing myself without pain. I'm sure at some point I'll return to griping about the proliferation of weeds in my flower beds, even when I am once again able to pull them. And typing with more than just two or three fingers sounds like a pretty wild thing to do. I like to think I'll return as a better and stronger version of me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dialect Deviance

Have you ever loved a movie? I mean really loved a movie? Multiple viewings loving a movie, including popping your own copy into the DVD player as well as catching it on cable tv in a hotel room and finding that you're unable to click away from it? Even though one little flaw makes you just a little bit crazy while you watch? I must confess I love The Butcher's Wife. I love the whimsical frothiness of it. I love how it looks from how it is photographed to the sets to the costumes. I love how all the characters yearn to find a particular something in their lives that seems just beyond their reach. I love the two Jewish ladies who on a daily basis haul their lawn chairs down to the urban sidewalk to keep an eye on the neighborhood happenings. I love how everything, as Marina says, has a way of working itself out. Sigh. So, you must be wondering, what peevish detail irritates me in the midst of all this adoration. And the answer is, Demi Moore attempting to pull off a Southern accent. It's not really her fault. According to the film credits Ms. Moore was dialect coached by one of Hollywood's best, Carla Meyer. Didn't director Terry Hughes note how often Ms. Moore strayed from sounding even the teensiest bit authentically Southern? Couldn't they have fixed it during a post-production looping session? Or maybe the finished product was as good as it ever got. All I have to say is, the absence of an accent is always preferable to a poorly performed one. And some actors just can't pull off sounding like anyone but themselves. For this viewer, the sound of the movie experience is right up there with the visual.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shipping News

I work for a company that likes to stress saving money whenever possible. Running a tight ship. Watching costs. Improving profit margins by working in a lean fashion. These are all good ideas that ought to be put into practice whenever possible. It just makes sense. Then the doorbell rings this morning, and there is a FedEx Priority Overnight letter laying on the front steps. From my employer's Human Resources Specialist. Informing me that if I do not return to work on Monday, August 30, 2010, I must provide to them a physician's statement authorizing my absence, that I have continually refused to return to work, and that my absence continues to be unauthorized. My alleged unauthorized absence, by the way, is costing the company not a single dime. My reduced hours over the summer months preclude me from using sick days and I have amassed such a paltry number of vacation hours that using them up would amount to less than a full day. The letter does not say what the consequences will be should I not comply. But this is the part that is interesting to me. I have phoned in and spoken to the very HR Specialist who signed the letter every single day that I have not reported for work. I was also under the impression that my current physician's office had faxed or mailed in a report outlining my updated restrictions. The HR Specialist did not inform me that she was missing this vital information in any of our phone conversations. I won't begin to get into the miasmal, paradoxical, and just plain confusing shell game of getting medical treatment through Workers' Compensation that has mystified and frustrated me over the last year. But I am curious as to why a letter was sent to me via this most expensive of methods when all she had to do was call me. Or my doctor. Either she's an idiot or I'm pretty darn special. Unless there's something bigger and darker afoot than I'm willing to ascribe to at this point. All I know is, mailing a standard, business size envelope through the USPS would have been much more cost effective. But not nearly as intimidating.

Monday, August 23, 2010


A year ago the new Camelot Intermediate School opened for the business of educating the fourth and fifth graders of Brookings. It is a mere three blocks south of my home. Most of the space between the school and my back yard consists of Camelot Park, which now serves as playground area for the students. When said students are called in for the first lessons of the day or in from lunch, they do not hear the standard bells or buzzers more commonly associated with the school day. They hear a trumpet fanfare! I find this enjoyable. And so appropriate considering the name of the school. And in these late summer initial days of back to school, much gentler on the ear than a bothersome bell.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Felonious Felines

The house is so huge and quiet when Reid isn't here. He's off to Wisconsin with his father for some extended family festivities. And filling that void are two annoyed and noisy cats! That's right, Newton and Einstein are locked up for a couple of days for some remedial familiarization with correct litter box protocol. I feel mean. But I'm sick up and fed with mopping up cat pee and picking up cat poop. The mean feeling comes from having to sequester both of them. I'm pretty sure Newt is the culprit, at least he's the only one we've caught in the act. Meaning that Steinie is being punished while innocent. I could set up separate food and water dishes and move one of the litter boxes into another area...sigh. Maybe they're back there conspiring how to get even with me once they've been set free. I don't mind cleaning up the hair balls. Pretty disgusting, yes, but those are more due to my negligence in keeping them properly brushed. This errant elimination seems to be more of an attitude problem than anything else. I informed both of them that they are entitled to their opinions but may not express them in this deplorable, nasty manner. They looked up at me not as if I were chastising them, but as if they were waiting for treats that they surely were most deserving of. It may be punishment enough to hang out with me for a long weekend. Reid is their favorite human. If I free them when he returns maybe that will make an impression. Bad kitties! You shall be deprived of the company of your favorite human when proper peeing and pooping ettiquette is ignored! I swear it was easier to potty train two human boys.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ms. Picklebrain

My Captain Underpants code name is Buttercup Picklebrain. That's Ms. Picklebrain to you. You want one, too, don't you. Okay. Go here. Sometimes, all you need is a good laugh. If your name is already this silly, you probably laugh all the time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


See the pretty box! Which has, as of yesterday, been appropriately recycled.

Ooohhhh! The bench parts in the box!

The bench parts spread out on the garage floor.

Oooohhh! Instructions and hardware!

In progress...

Okay, so I missed documenting a few steps. It was merely tightening up a few screws, deploying the pretty cushions, and hauling it from the garage to the back yard. Lovely.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Transitional Tome

I have been reading. Gail Sheehy's The Silent Passage, Menopause, to be precise. I pulled it down from the bookshelf earlier this week. I'm not sure when I bought it, it's probably been there a number of years. Since I have it in hardcover and it came out in 1992, I'm guessing I found it on the Barnes & Noble bargain table for just a few bucks. Since I loved her 1974 landmark book, Passages, I'm guessing I thought she would have an interesting perspective on menopause that I'd enjoy reading. And I must say that I am. In the eighteen years since The Silent Passage was published, great strides have been made in the treatment for menopausal symptoms. Doctors, at least the gynocologist I have entrusted with my care, seem to be more sympathetic about helping women through this most perplexing transitional period. Just as in the book, I have found discussing and comparing symptoms and remedies with women friends of a contemporary age to be useful, even comforting. No, you are not losing your mind. Yes, this shall pass. I tried this, and it helped tremendously. An early chapter has a title that has stuck in my head, and has become something of a mantra in the last few days. There are so many applications for this phrase in so many areas of life, it's almost meditative. So, I'll leave you with Gail Sheehy's words from nearly twenty years ago. Use them.

The need to know,
and the fear of knowing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

While You Were Sleeping...

Welcome to what I like to call the very fascinating and enlightening interpretation of my dream, by me. Not interpretation as much as a realization. Everyone asleep yet? Then I'll continue. A little over a week ago I had a vivid dream that I was able to recall in great detail. So vivid that the images are still hanging around in my head. Picture an elderly couple seated on a porch, it's mostly dark, just after sunset. The woman is sitting in a wicker chair with cushions in the corner, her bare feet are up on a hassock and she's holding a glass of iced tea. She has white hair pulled back in a bun and a few strands are floating free in the breeze. She's leaning back and comfortable and smiling at the man. He is seated across from her on a weathered bench. The man is wearing a whiter than white shirt that almost glows against the darkness, he is playing a guitar and singing to her. His voice is a bit wavering but clear and true. They are so happy, it's palpable. She is his audience of one. It seems as though this is their nightly routine, and has been for years. I didn't recognize either of them as someone I knew. At first I thought it might be a future me. But then it occurred to me that it was my parents. In some sort of parallel universe where they stayed together and grew old together. And I thought, if there is a heaven, and heaven is located in a comfortable chair on a porch in eternal summer twilight, I can't think of a better place for Mom to be.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Today's date. Numerical oddity. Just thought I'd point this out. Also, I've been prime for a full month now. It's not bad. You have to slip into these things slowly so you don't go into shock. I'm ready for full immersion. Enjoy the gerbera daisy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


e·piph·a·ny n., pl. e·piph·a·nies. 3.a. A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something. b. A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization.

Isn't this an absolutely grand word! I can testify that it is also a wonderful feeling, having experienced one this morning. While I was washing dishes, of all things. I have found that moments of great profundity often take place while engaged in routine activities. Your hands are busy with the familiar allowing your mind to roam free. The stubborn remainders of an issue I have been struggling with for some time have at last faded and fallen away. Things are what they are, by the same token so are people. Distance, of both the geographic and passage of time varieties, have brought me to this place. Here. All of this, after all, was worth the effort, the tears, the love.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Emily Dickinson 101

Hope. Such an optimistic, confident possibility. I seem to go for long stretches sometimes without hearing her chirp at all. Then, when I least expect it, she reminds me that she's there, has been all along. Close your eyes and listen.


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Peach Citrus Fresca!

I'm not a big soda fan. Give me a Coca-Cola classic once in a while and I'm happy. That's right, the sugar (HFCS, unfortunately), the caffeine, no substitutes! However, while in Georgia earlier this summer, I became enamored of Peach Citrus Fresca. It's cold, it's crisp, it's satisfying. And it's diet! I steer clear of diet soda because I can taste the aspartame. Well, not really taste, it's more of an unpleasant burning sensation on my tongue. The tart, fizzy formula of PCF seems to mask this nasty side effect for me. I bought two twelve packs of the stuff to bring home, and am halfway through the second. I can't seem to find it locally and wonder if it might be one of those regional beverages that isn't available here. I'm rationing the last few and hope to find it before my stash runs out. If you know where Peach Citrus Fresca can be purchased in SD, please share this information!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Little Blue Pill

Not that one, this one. Recommended for my tendonitis symptoms. Since I swapped days off this week, meaning that I am off today rather that tomorrow, due to the PAIN in my hands and wrists, I thought I'd give naproxen, aka Aleve, a try. Whew, that was a long sentence. And I typed it with less pain than if I had tried earlier today. I took one Aleve tablet about an hour and a half ago. My hands still feel a little tender. And I am experiencing a mildly euphoric disconnect with my immediate surroundings. I definitely should not drive or operate heavy equipment. I would not function well at work on this stuff. But it might be a lot more fun. All I have to say is, if Aleve doesn't do a miraculous job at removing the pain, which so far it hasn't, it's not worth all this. Excuse me while I put on Dark Side of the Moon and watch The Wizard of Oz.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Not as I Do

I'm a firm believer that actions speak so much louder than words. I remember being told as a child when I wondered aloud to my mother why there were perks and privileges others enjoyed, generally adults, particularly her, when I had to follow, in my estimation, dumb rules. Her reply was, do as I say, not as I do. Pretty lame explanation, I thought. I recognize now that there are so many things reserved as allowed, or even earned, when one attains a certain age or level of maturity. I think I did a pretty consistent job with my own kids giving reasonable explanations regarding activities and effects reserved for adults. I do believe that the examples we set for our children make a bigger impression on them than we might think, no matter what we might tell them. Case in point, smoking. A couple of weeks ago I was out for a beer with a friend and ran into a wonderful and beautiful young woman whom I have known since she was born. She was smoking, and it was heartbreaking for me to observe her indulging in tobacco use. Yes, she's an adult and is free to make that choice. And I'm not here to harangue and browbeat those of you who smoke. My point is that since the day this girl was born, nearly every woman influential in her young life was a smoker. Her mother. Her older sister. Grandmothers. Aunts. Friends of the family. What you observe growing up becomes an example of normalcy. It's no surprise to me that she smokes cigarettes. She may already be addicted to nicotine. I know she was told not to smoke. Do as I say, not as I do. But actions speak louder than words. I grew up in a household where both parents smoked, but their behavior had the opposite effect on me. I was so turned off by the smell and the mess I was never tempted to try even one cigarette. I guess that I'm lucky. And I'm glad I'm not a smoker. While I applaud and support anyone who makes an effort to quit, and resist passing judgement on those who continue to smoke, sometimes I'd like just the teensiest bit of credit for having the sense never to start. It was a conscious choice that I have never regretted. Particularly when I became a mother.