Monday, December 2, 2013

Wickedly natural

It seems the earthy-crunchy fairy snuck up on me when I had my back turned. She smacked me with with a good bit of fairy-force and her cruelty-free, fair-trade wand and flew away before I could blink. For some women, this wouldn't be a big upheaval, but hey... have you ever seen a picture of me? Yeah, I don't go so light on the makeup. I also don't wear Birks. And even though I've given up Aluminum-laden deodorant, I haven't given up deodorant all together. It's just a more natural alternative that I use now, which happens to work better for me. But, I'll never, ever, ever give up my makeup! Not unless I wake up looking 18 again, and even then I'm know I'm going to want some eye shadow, blush, and lip gloss. That Southern part of me will never change.

I think what started it all was the pottery. **Nodding head** That had to be it. A little over a year ago, I sat down at a pottery wheel and discovered life on the green side may not be so bad. Or maybe it was when I started getting interested in Feng Shui about fifteen years ago. Either way, now when someone comes into my home, they're just as likely to hear Tibetan Singing Bowls playing in the background, as they are Adele or Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. There would also be the smells of essential oils wafting through the house from the oil burner that I made myself... or the cute one I bought on Amazon.

If you're wondering why I'm even bothering to write about this, it's because I think it's worth knowing.

The first little change was when coconut oil came it into my life. I read that it was really good to use in place of lotion, that it was a medium-chain triglyceride, and can basically replace plasma... lol... OK, that last one was taken slightly out of context, but it is a wonder oil. So, I grabbed a little 14 ounce jar at my grocery, and the rest is history. Now I have it set up to arrive in two big 54 ounce tubs every month through Amazon. This stuff has so many uses that I'm not going to even begin to list them all, but if you're wondering what it can specifically do just Google "The uses of coconut oil." I promise you, you'll be surprised. One of my favorites, though, is my homemade Magic Shell... it puts the grocery store stuff to shame. No, I'm not humble. Did you ever think I was?

Once the coconut oil became established in my pantry and bathroom cabinet, it seemed to pull some sort of ethereal power from the universe which then pushed out the fluoride and parabens. I switched my toothpaste from Crest (with fluoride) to Nature's Gate... do y'all know just how bad fluoride is? I switched out my body wash, shampoo, and perfumes. I then replaced my paraben-ridden body lotion with a brand called "Hempz" that's got this great little pot leaf on the front and smells good enough to eat. *Disclaimer: there is no THC in the lotion. Sorry, folks.

Then I attacked the items I was using on my face, one by one. Out went the facial washes and creams that have more bad ingredients than good in them. No wonder I have adult acne! Once I was aware of the ingredients and the potentially harmful affects, it just made sense to remove the threats where I could. The marketing departments of all the popular cosmetics companies were really doing their job though, because I had no problem remaining ignorant for years. But... "From small beginnings come great things." Now I rely on Amazon for items that are more natural, with the added bonus of being much cheaper, AND surprisingly, they actually work better than the Philosophy, Clinique, Smashbox, Estee Lauder, and all the other expensive brands that were hanging out in my makeup tool box. Between these changes and using the Clarisonic Mia and Opal that my oh-so-sweet and generous sister sent me months ago, I am now actually seeing the wrinkles diminishing, the spots fading, and the acne calming down. I'm now using oil cleansing and Dudu-Osan black soap instead of ProActiv. I switch them up in the morning and at night, and I love it!

As you may or may not know, I had a spinal fusion about 15 years ago. It wasn't a little fusion. It required a bone graft from my hip, metal cages placed at three levels in my lower spine, and a few months of recovery. It went perfectly, though, and gave me back my life for the next 13 years. About a year and a half ago that changed. All it took was the wrong angle with just the right weight and something seriously went wrong. It's been a long road since then, but I've survived and so has my wicked sense of humor. Thankfully, so has my marriage, too! About eight months ago, the chief orthopedic surgeon at the local military hospital told me I needed another fusion, but that I needed to put it off as long as I possibly could. Because of my age... I ain't THAT old yet, but the fact that it's already fused at three levels, it's just going to get worse, and they can't fuse my whole spine. So, I regularly see a pain management specialist who shoots me up with steroids and gets to poke tortuously long needles in my spine, all the while playing his favorite music in the background. He's cool, though, and I appreciate how he helps manage my pain. I recently talked to a psychiatrist and took a test to see if I was crazy enough for a permanent implant, of which of course I am! This implant will change the pain signals to a pleasant tingling. That'll happen right after the New Year, and a tingling I will be! After that procedure, I think I'll be able to give the Bionic Woman a run for her money.

With this sense of desperation for a reduced-pain life, I decided to attack it not only from the outside with pain killers (don't judge, please), but also from the inside with my diet choices. I'm now incorporating foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and learning more and more that Mother Nature IS smarter than man.

Which leads me to my most recent plight of using natural methods to relieve an issue: Oil pulling! You see, I've got gum recession right smack dab in the front on my lower teeth. It seems it's always been like that, no matter how much I brushed or flossed. At my last dental checkup, the dentist told me I needed a gum graft or one of the teeth might just get loose and fall out. Well, I don't think I can make that look work, and  I almost went to the specialist, but as fate would have it I put it off for good reason until February. It's odd how things can randomly happen.... or is it? Now, considering I'm already battling a good deal of pain on a daily basis, I'll be damned if I let them do one of the most excruciatingly painful procedures known to man or woman. Haaaaail NO! Can you tell how emphatically I feel about this? I would rather go through childbirth again. So, I Googled "Curing gum recession" and up popped about five thousand references to oil pulling. Basically, you take a tablespoon of oil (Coconut, Sesame, Sunflower... whichever you prefer) swish it around in your mouth for 15 minutes, and let the oil do its magic. Then you rinse with warm sea-salt water, and finally brush your teeth. Not only does it help your entire mouth and whiten your teeth, but it also detoxifies your body. I'm on my fourth day, and so is my husband. I dragged him into my experiment, and in turn, he's going to balance my Chakras. Laugh and roll your eyes if you want, but I'm determined to be THAT annoying woman ten years from now, telling everyone how I was almost in a wheelchair, as I'm eating granola out of an eco-conscious container and strapping on my number for the local marathon. Oh, who am I kidding... I don't like running in any dimension, but I AM going to repair the damage and be all the stronger for it.

It's scary how much we turn a blind eye to what we put in and on our bodies. While I'm not giving up every single vice, I am making significant changes. The last two months have been the biggest leap into living more naturally, but I actually started incorporating small changes about a year and a half ago. With the smallest changes, I was able to stick with it until I was ready to add more things. There's been no shock to my system, or my family. I'm currently waiting on an order of essential oils to be used for everything from pain relief, acne treatment, and just making the house smell nice. Now, if I could just get the tater-tot to eat her vegetables, life would be grand.

If you've got any health issues, or dental issues, what can it hurt to try a natural remedy? YouTube and Google are your friends. While most are not overnight cures, you might be surprised to find out that some natural remedies work faster than you can get in for an appointment with your doctor these days. If you have your own natural remedy for an ailment, please post a comment as I'd love to know, and it might just help someone else, too.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Don't do drugs without adult supervision

All I can say is, thank god I didn't do drugs last night.

Shoot, that's just not as fun to say as when I was in my twenties. Especially when the drugs I'm referring to are prescribed. My pain management Dr. prescribed a new medication for me, so I read up on it online last night. After reading a couple of legitimate pages from sources such as WebMD, I then took a gander at a blog that robbed me of an whole hour, but I got many laughs out of it as she was Funny with a capital F. What began as describing her story with migraines and weaning off this particular drug, turned into me reading all her posts from the last few months. It turns out that she's a Dr, so it gave the perspective of someone who took this drug and was able to understand all those big words in the warnings. While she didn't experience any of the really bad side effects that others reported, she was also using it for a different reason.

I also read some from a page called "CrazyMeds". Hmmm, I'm not crazy, am I? HAHAHA... gotcha! Yes, I'm crazy, but it doesn't bother me. This medication is not to treat my crazy, though. There's no helping that. This medication is to treat nerve pain and muscle cramps, and hopefully with the side effect of helping me sleep. I started having these "not sleeping" issues about a year and a half ago, and now my tolerance to (natural) sleep aids has forced me to try stronger things. My PCM gave me Ambien, but my pain management Dr. said he really didn't like to put patients on that. So, two weeks ago we tried a muscle relaxer that was to help with the awful cramping in my feet and legs AND help me sleep, but the dose is not keeping me asleep, plus I'm still having the muscle cramping. Which brings us to this new drug. Yet, I couldn't bring myself to take it. People's reviews seemed to be 50/50. Some said it was amazing and saved their lives, and that the tingles they got were a small price to pay.... then others said their eyeballs nearly popped out of their heads (OK, slight exaggeration); they lost a lot of hair (I cannot spare the hair); one person (or two) said they heard voices; others felt highly aggressive; and then the grand finale of weaning off too quickly can cause seizures. This is the point where I say "Legalize, already!". No Daddy, I don't really mean that. **To all you others: wink, wink**

Disclaimer: (before some self-righteous person judges me for that little joke) I do NOT use any drugs or medications that are not prescribed to me. I am extremely structured in managing my pain, even on the bad days when the pain killers don't give more than an hour or two of reprieve. I don't do illegal drugs. I don't even get to enjoy a glass of wine anymore unless I forgo a dose of my pain killer, so that means hardly ever. In a different world, though, I would like to see more natural options. That's all.

Mr. Wonderful is off being wonderful at his job, and the little tater tot and I have several days to ourselves. Oh, wait... let's not forget we have TWO cats. That would be two conniving cats with a very twisted sense of humor. They have their place in this story.

So after reading a lot of reviews on this medication, I decided to keep taking my current medication until Mr. Wonderful gets home. I didn't want to have stark-raving-mad dreams or be incredibly dopey while taking care of tater tot. I went to bed too late last night to feel comfortable trying this new stuff and I want to make sure I have 8-9 hours to sleep the first time I use it. As it is, I already have trouble sleeping and develop super-sonic hearing when he's away. This only sets in once all the lights are out. Last night was no exception. As I snuggled down in the middle of the bed, ready to read from my Kindle, I heard the first bump. I chose to ignore it. Then I heard a scraping noise. I chose to ignore that, too. But by the time I heard the thunk, I had to get out of bed to check the house... again. Tater tot was sound asleep with her lambie. All the doors were locked... still. No one was in the house, hiding behind a door or piece of furniture. But the cats were oddly out of sight. I'm quite sure they were right around the corner, laughing their fat little cat-butts off. After that, I climbed back into bed, ignored all the noises, read for an hour, and thankfully had a good night's sleep. Imagine if you will, though, how bad it could have been if I'd tried the new medication with Mr. Wonderful being gone and two crazy cats plotting to push me over the edge. Add to that the idea of it not being strong enough to get me to sleep, and then hearing all those noises throughout the whole night. No, thank you. I'd like to hold onto my sanity. Remember, my "sanity" may not be your "sanity." But here I am today: drinking my coffee and ready to get on with the day.

My doctor's office called me early this morning about scheduling my next epidural steroid injection, so I asked about this medication. She reassured me that they had several people taking it and no one had reported any of the horrible stuff that I had read about. That makes me feel better, but with these conniving cats and Mr. Wonderful being gone, I'll just stick to what I'm using until he gets home. I want this stuff to work, but I don't want to begin it with negative thoughts and fears that might taint what could be a positive response. But, if you see me in a couple of months with only one eyeball and no hair, please be nice and just tell me my butt looks great. OK?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Favors and not so favorites

It's been a while. A long while. This is because I use this blog as a place to fill in gaps of time that either my husband is away or I truly need to vent. In this case, I want to vent.

I try to be fair... and yet I realize that can never be more than a subjective attempt. Especially when I know I am biased because anything that happens to us is tainted by our "perspective." I do try to take responsibility for my actions though, and I step up to the plate and apologize if I unintentionally wrong someone. So, after much deliberation and conversation with my husband, I'm done with trying to be fair and done with giving someone the benefit of the doubt. I'm simply angry and I'm going to let the poison out.

We had a young girl who was occasionally babysitting for us...

Side note: we have about 4 babysitters we call, and I have my two favorites. I'm not saying names, just that one of their names starts with J and ends with "ackie" and the other's starts with B and ends with "rittnee". So there. I can have my favorites, and I'm sure any mother can relate to this. It's our child and our money, so as long as we're paying someone to come into our home and take care of our daughter, we'll pick who we damn well please, thank you very much. But this does not involve one of our favorites.... thank you little baby Jesus.

Another preliminary side rant: I am a decent enough person that I would NEVER say something mean to a person's face (or through text). I would, like any other decent person, do it behind their back, in the privacy of my own home, and most likely only to my husband. Yes, I can be snarky, but only with those adults that I like and that I know will give it right back in fun. But I am not mean. And I most definitely would not be mean to some impressionable teenager. I remember what that age was like. Oh my goodness, girls that age are so very sensitive, and the ones who act like their bad-ass tough only do so because they don't want anyone to think they're weak.... but they're still all sensitive. If you show me one who's not, I'd be willing to bet there's some serious dysfunction or emotional damage, or a missing/extra chromosome. So, I would never say something to damage any young girl's self esteem. I try to give encouragement and positive feedback to any young girl because they all need it.

Back to the original situation. The teenage babysitter was in my home talking to me about how she didn't have anything nice to wear for her family Christmas picture... how she really wished she had a nice dress, but was broke. Well, **shaking head and sighing** trying to be nice... I offer her one of my dresses to try on. It was a beautiful, 100% silk, red, White House Black Market, around $200 dress. She tried it on, said she loved it, and asked me if I minded if she borrowed it. This is where I want to be clear: I told her that no, I didn't mind her borrowing it at all, but I did want it back within a few days of having the pictures taken... not two or three weeks. I said this! And I said it gently. I said I didn't expect her to return it the very next day, but within two or three days after they had their pictures taken. We live in the same neighborhood, too, so I didn't feel this was unreasonable. I made sure (or so I thought) that she and I were on the same page. Y'know... the page where you do something nice for someone and you think they'll show their appreciation by returning the item, or at least being honest and forthright if something happens and they can't??? So, I told her she looked great in it and even gave her a wide black belt to wear with it, and then took her home.

Fast forward to two weeks after her family pictures. I politely (yes, politely) asked her about the dress when I was taking her home and then she tells me her little brother got it dirty and she was going to have it cleaned and would get it right back to me. I told her that was no problem and that I understood. I even tried to make her feel better about it by saying something to the effect of how accidents happen and it was not a big deal.

In that same conversation, I asked if she'd be able to watch my daughter the following Wednesday (this was on a Sunday). She told me to check back with her later on during the week. I said, "It's only three days away, and if you don't think you'll be available then I'll need to ask someone else." She said she'd call me that night. She never did. Nor the next day. Now, this was over Bruce's Christmas vacation and we didn't have the flexibility between his schedule or the Arts & Crafts centers holiday schedule to wait around until the last minute or even go on a different day, and we really wanted to have a day to spend together and work on our pottery. If she really wanted to babysit for us, she would have gotten back to us. We're not talking about weeks from when I asked her, just three days, and actually only two full days between. So, that Tuesday (the day before) I lined someone else up to watch my daughter. Then I sent the girl a message saying I had it covered, I figured she was probably busy, and that I hoped she enjoyed her last week of break... and inserted a smiley face.... oh, and I also said that she'd definitely be hearing from us another time, though.

Of course, it will be a cold day in hell after her yelling and screaming, rude mother called me yesterday afternoon.

Ahhh... but I'm getting ahead of myself. So, that text was the last I'd sent. Not because we didn't like her. Not because she hadn't gotten my dress back to me. Not because of any reason other than one of our favorites has been available and we've just been asking her lately. One who is dependable, nice, knows how to deal with a four year old. One who doesn't ignore my daughter and get on Skype for hours at a time. One who I relate to and has a great and easily likable personality. It sure doesn't hurt that the young woman has some medical training, too. We also haven't been going out as much in the last month and a half. But anyway, it's no one's business who I ask to watch my child, and I do not owe anyone any explanations.

Here's the kicker: After loaning this dress to her daughter, waiting nearly two months and it still not being returned, and simply asking the daughter about it nicely through a text... which by the way, I asked her about it because she's the one who borrowed it, you'd think, and expect, that if a girl is responsible enough to watch a child, she should be responsible enough to do the right thing concerning something she borrowed. Not go lie to her mother, if that is the case, because I don't believe she's telling her mother anything close to the truth in all this. I'm thinking this might be the problem, or her mother is simply crazy, or both. And what has happened to teaching our children responsibility? Is it my fault that the girl didn't have enough common sense to simply wait until after school to text? If she knows she's not supposed to text then why in the hell did she text? She could've simply waited three hours and then responded. It's not like I was badgering her. I sent ONE text (at 11:45 or so) simply asking about the dress, and I did so because I happened to realize yesterday morning that she still had not returned it, as I was trying to decide on a dress to wear for a ceremony I was about to attend. She responded immediately that they were trying to get the money together to have it cleaned. Because she responded so quickly I replied "Goodness, how much are they trying to charge you?" and then immediately texted not to worry about having it cleaned. Once again, trying to be nice. If they're really so broke they can't afford the dry cleaning for one dress over a two month period, then I don't want to put that strain on them. So, I said "Maybe you could just watch Alyssa on a Saturday or a Sunday when we go to pottery." How is this being "awful"? But, she responded "Sorry. I can't watch her this weekend but that's fine, I'll return the dress." **shaking my head** Was she kidding me? She makes it sound like she's doing me the favor. Oh, and the only text she sent that said she was in school was an hour and a half after the last text she sent. I, honest to God, thought she was texting during her lunch when she responded earlier. Either way, it's no one's fault but her own for texting. Of course, this is the perfect example of deflecting responsibility. The mother's wrong and her daughter's wrong. They took advantage of a favor, and were not responsible or appreciative, or even decent about it. Instead I was treated to disrespectful, hateful, and rude behavior. The dress should have been returned. It's as simple as that. The daughter said they didn't have the money and the mother said they've been busy and had forgotten it. Either way, it's not a valid reason after two months. It's an excuse for being inconsiderate, especially after I told her not to worry about having it cleaned.

At 2:30, the mother calls me yelling and screaming that I did not leave things on good terms with her daughter, that I was awful to her daughter, and then proceeds to list many things that I "supposedly" said and did to her daughter. Some of which were: I MADE her daughter clean up after our cat (how could I MAKE her when I wasn't even here??? I NEVER asked her to, and when she did, of her own accord, I thanked her profusely.... our cat had been really sick and had spent three hours at the vet the day before); I "supposedly" told her daughter she was a bad babysitter and that we had found someone better; I was supposedly rude in a text about a milk cup (I couldn't find the cup and simply asked, word for word, "Hi, do you happen to know where Alyssa's milk cup was?", of which in less than a minute, I responded "Found it!" How much nicer can you possibly ask a question? I don't know how I could've phrased it any differently.) Oh, and then she told me her daughter had followed ALL MY MANY RULES. Yep, that sure makes me sound like I have a bunch of crazy rules, of which I don't. My daughter is on a schedule and I simply gave the babysitter Alyssa's schedule. She does well on a schedule. She knows what to expect and we don't ever have any huge tantrums or acting out (Well, even as I write that, we all know little kids act out from time to time, but that's normal). But do I really have to defend myself because we have a schedule? And it's not as if it's in stone. It's just a guide. All it included was what time her meal, snack, and nap times were, and that she wasn't allowed to eat on the couch. Oh! I did ask her if she minded pulling up Alyssa's comforter and throwing her two pillows back on the bed after her nap. She said "No, of course not." Oh, and I also asked her to wipe Alyssa's bottom after she went to the bathroom. That's it. Was that unreasonable of me? Did she think her daughter would come waltzing into my home and me just walk out the door without leaving any information or instructions?

At the beginning of the phone call I tried to get the mother to slow down. I said "Whoa, whoa, whoa... wait a minute... hang on, please... I think there's been a misunderstanding. Did you even read my texts?" I said all this in a surprised tone, not an aggressive one. But she was yelling over me the whole time, and only paused to tell me that I needed to "be quiet and listen to her". Meanwhile, I'm thinking "You are one crazy bitch" but I listened to her. She never gave me a chance though, through hurling her accusations and insults, and then she hung up on me. Then she sent more texts saying mean and untrue things about me and then telling me to never contact her daughter again. As if! But I never responded to any of it. She finally stopped texting. If I didn't mention it before, her behavior took me completely by surprise because we've had interactions since the last time her daughter babysat and she was nice... really nice. She had always been so bubbly and sweet, and I mistakenly thought we were somewhat friends. But, case in point, just because someone is nice and gives you the impression they are nice doesn't mean they behave consistently in a sane manner. And, although some people would say not to worry about it, or that if someone knows me they wouldn't believe her, I am worried they'd believe her because up until this point she was always so nice. And because we interact in the same circles, I hate the idea of people who know both of us thinking that any of this might be true. Even though it all made me really angry, it also really, really hurt my feelings. I literally cried for an hour after her phone call. Thank goodness I still have each and every text. My husband could hear her yelling through the phone. Once she hung up on me, he read through all the texts and said she was crazy.

While listening to her spew her insults during her phone call, in my silent, seething anger I wanted to fill her in about her "innocent" daughter, but I didn't. I didn't let her know the fact that her daughter ignored my child for hours while she logged onto Skype on more than one occasion (and it was not during nap time). Yes, I checked the history after I saw Skype was up and running in the background the next day. There are logs and our computer saved it all. I'm sure the mother is not aware of her daughter's activity. There are other things, but it won't do any good to bring them to light. I'm sure it will all catch up with her through karma.

So here's the gist of what I've learned: It's not worth doing any favors for people who are not close friends. Nor will I ever have another babysitter younger than 17. You just can't trust people will do the right thing. For those of you who only know me as an acquaintance, I can only hope that if you are friends with her, too, that you take what she says with a grain of salt and keep in mind that there's always another version of what happened. For those of you who truly know me, at least I feel safe that you'll just laugh at the idea of me being mean to this girl or any young girl, for that matter. I refuse to be bullied, and I also refuse to have someone say such things about me without standing up for myself.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I've got a plan, and it doesn't involve two roads that diverged in a yellow wood.

Here's an update:

1. I'm by myself again. Well, technically it's me and the little sweetheart, but as far as adults in the house... it's just me. Yes, I knew there would be times like this being married to a man in the military, but it still sucks, especially since I'm in pain. We found out my husband would be flying out to the mainland just a few days ago.... and he's gone already. He'll be back... but not too soon. Some d!psh!d!ot failed to communicate the proper information in a timely manner, or rather in ANY manner, until just days before his report date, so he had no options in asking for a deferment, which is basically rescheduling his course. **Please feel free to join me at this moment in giving him (the unnamed soldier) the finger he has earned** If it were just me, I wouldn't be so upset, but it's trying to keep up with my lively three year old that throws a wrench into the idea of "taking it easy."

2. I'm still in a great deal of pain. Nothing is comfortable. It's awful. I knew I had arthritis in my spine, but this is not arthritis. It's been severe pain daily for almost two and half months. I DO, however, now know the root of this evil pain! I was lucky enough to see not one, but two great orthopedic surgeons during my appointment this past Wednesday. Oh, and by the way, that was the day after we found out he'd be gone by now. (I guess I've made it quite clear, by now, how resentful I am to the @$#%! who failed in his job of relaying important and pertinent information, huh?) So, anyway, back to the source of my unrelenting pain. About 13 years ago I had a spinal fusion. I healed beautifully and quite quickly from this. I've very rarely had any issues with it, either. Well, because of the location of the fusion, it seems it has put a strain on the areas above and below. So, now I have a bulging disc right above the fusion, bone degeneration and bone spurs below the fusion, and something going on in my hips (SI joints)... mainly the left one. So, they want to do some epidural steroid shots in my hip and spine, reduce/alleviate the pain, and narrow down something or another. The last part I honestly didn't understand all of, but essentially he said that my symptoms were leading him to think there might be something else going on. Maybe, maybe not. But, first things first... get rid of some of this pain, and that way he'll be able to see what's left. I was worried how long it was going to take for them to get me a referral for the pain management, as I'd heard horror stories, but it came in on Friday. Now I just need the appointment. The Dr. said it would be quickly because it was coming from them. I'm really, really hoping that it's very soon. I don't care how bad the shots hurt, either... just as long as it helps me stand upright and walk.

That's it. Oh, and the absolutely only good thing about my wonderful, helpful, comfort-giving, positive-talking husband being gone is that it's going to be easy to drop off the eight/nine pounds I've gained over the last two months. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that these shots work, because if they do, I might just fly to the mainland with Alyssa next month, grab my husband for the weekend, and attend my 20 year reunion! Who knows?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Looking for a few good bones

I'm going to sit, which means this will be a short post: OK... here it is in a nutshell: I did something to my back on the day my girlfriend arrived for her visit, a month and a half ago. It hasn't healed. Can't sit. It hurts all the time... let's make this even shorter. Bitch, moan, whine, and throw in a couple hundred complaints. There you go! That's the last month and a half for me.

I had an MRI last week, and I'm going in for the results this Wednesday. I was in the ER two weekends ago because I literally couldn't stand, but it's improved slightly since then. They did an x-ray in the ER and the fusion in my lower spine looked OK so we're wondering what it could be.

Will update later...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Seven shades of shady with an accomplice

I'm excited. Why, you ask? Well, in less than a week my cat and accomplice from college will be arriving. The accomplice is one wild woman, and the cat has been known to be seven shades of shady. It will be a week of fun, no doubt. We're going to a 50's dinner, out to ride go-carts, we're all going to learn paddle boarding, and I'm sure we'll fit in at least one "Girl's Only" night. In our downtime, we're going to the beach to build castles and be lazy.

Since Father's Day falls in the middle of this visit, I asked my sweetheart what his idea of a good time was. He replied "a quiet day." So, we're going to make ourselves scarce after making him a big breakfast, and let him play on the computer 'til his heart is content. He's been working so hard lately, too. They (his employers) are getting their money's worth out of him, that's for sure. I jokingly refer to his job as his "other girlfriend".  Well, she's got his attention more than I do lately, but I'm about to turn on the charm. I have ordered his gift and I know he's going to like it. Only because I didn't want to spend that much and risk him not liking it. SO, he's getting a nifty camera! A real one.... complete with a tripod, carrying case, shoulder strap... the works. I didn't mention the absolutely fabulous one piece bathing suit that I ordered at the same time. Why? Because I found a discount code that made said bathing suit a mere fraction of the original cost. This was all about him, anyway, so I though it was best to focus on the pertinent facts. But between me and you, it was a Lilibon bathing suit. Reversible, too. Considering the original price, the damn thing better make me look like Gisele Bundchen. Will update on that....

I'm moving forward with the FRG (Family Readiness Group, for any of you that don't speak Army). I've been doing on-line courses, and even gotten in a little practice on helping a few people. I must admit, I'm enjoying it. This is only the beginning, and I realize that what I'm about to jump into, versus what I've done, is only the tip of the iceberg. Either way, it's a good thing. I like seeing my daily planner (a new cute one from Target) filling up with meetings and social events.

On the medical front... I'm in awe of my iRenew bracelet. If it's a placebo effect, well, I'll take it! my pain level has reduced dramatically. And, on the specific topic of the botched surgery that was re-done after the initial surgery of last July... I've decided I'm okay. Yep. I'm setting it all aside. I met with one surgeon a few weeks ago who just left me with a bad feeling. He had another surgery approved with my insurance, but I just did not trust him. I called the insurance company, told them my concerns, and was approved to meet with another doctor (that I thoroughly researched online) that was within the network. I met with him this past Wednesday. Cool guy. He knew what he was talking about, spoke with me with a clear level of concern and respect, and told me what he thought. Basically, there's no surgery that will alleviate my pain. I'm not surprised with that fact. Maybe with time it will go away. Then he told me that he didn't truly believe that he could do a surgery that would "fix" what the other surgeon screwed up. That's okay, too. I had already come to terms with what is reflected back to me in the mirror. My body is amazing. I've survived having 3/4 of my left lung removed; I've survived having a spinal fusion; I've overcome complications from Endometriosis, and I've given birth by Cesarean to a wonderful daughter; I've overcome and dealt with several other medical challenges on a daily basis. I'm good. My immune system has my back (as my wonderful friend put it.) Whatever rash I'm dealing with may be my body's way of protecting me from something else. I've started doing more things that have put me in a different frame of mind. Call it "re-focusing", if you will. I'm giving back to my surroundings and appreciating more things that I may have taken for granted before. It's not hard to do that in Hawaii, either.

On a serious note, there's someone in my family that I am worried about. She's an amazing woman. She's sweet, she's kind, she brings a lot of people joy just by being around. We're all concerned and praying for her. She's dealing with some medical issues that are potentially very serious. Until we know she's in the clear, we're all holding our breaths. It's brought me back to the hope that prayer can work.

These are the thoughts that are important to me at this point: Enjoy life and those who bring you happiness. Focus on the good things about yourself and others. If you're in a hard spot, hold out... things always change.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Everything from Military events to "RUN LIKE YOUR HAIR'S ON FIRE!"

Yesterday was a busy and fun day for me. I got up early, showered, put my face on, did laundry, changed bed sheets, painted my toes, vacuumed, and then threw on a dress and boarded a battleship. Side note: I have officially found the perfect babysitter for daytime stuff, when my perfect babysitter for nighttime stuff is in school. YAY!

Bruce had invited me to a Change of Command Ceremony, and seeing as I'd never been to one before I wanted to go. It was on the USS Missouri which is a HUGE battleship that was as long as three football fields. I was told this by the nicest woman who personally walked me to the area where they were having the ceremony. I was dressed a little dressier than the casual tourist so maybe I stuck out. She just walked right up, asked me if I was going somewhere in particular, and then took the time to escort me. That's cool. I enjoyed the tidbits of information, too. After arriving at the area, I had a chance to chat with Bruce and watch while the company did a run-through practice. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, with a pretty strong breeze coming off the water. It was even nicer because we were in the shade, under a large tent.

After the ceremony, I stuck around for just a little while to watch the huge battleship in the background come in. It was quite impressive. I had no idea it was tradition for the Navy to stand on the deck when coming into port, or harbor... or whatever they call it when they come in.

I don't know if you can see the detail, but those are not little white posts going all around the battleship. That's the Navy.  

Since the perfect babysitter was telling me to take my time, I decided to go piddle around in Target. I spent a relaxing hour in there going through the clearance racks. I scored a cute Merona wrap shirt for .58 cents. Yes, 58 cents.

Two funny things happened after that. One was right before I went to bed and the other was after I'd been asleep for a couple of hours. The first thing is that someone asked Bruce if I would consider being the FRG leader for the company. What's even funnier about it is that I said yes. Oh lordy... what am I getting into?
The second funny thing that happened was the dream that woke me up at 1:30am. In the dream I was telling my sister to put on her Nike's and to "run like your hair's on fire!!!" Right after that I looked at an ex-boyfriend of hers from about 30 years ago (omg, that makes me feel old) but anyway... I looked at him and said through gritted teeth "I didn't like you then, and I do not like you now. Make one move and I'm gonna kick your ass." Well, he was scrawny in the dream with a dorky bowl cut, and he reached out towards me to be a smart ass to touch me. I flipped. That's when I woke up swinging and kicking in the bed. It makes me laugh. Thankfully Bruce didn't get hurt.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'm in looove

Tomorrow is my anniversary. Even as I type this, I'm grinning from ear to ear. I happened to have snagged Mr. Perfect-For-Me. Oh! He's just wonderful. He makes me laugh, he's so affectionate, and he understands me and my particular shades of crazy like no other. On top of all that he's pretty damn cute to boot. I admire this man and am so proud to be his wife. He seems to be smitten with me, too, so it's an even trade.

We met years ago through a mutual friend. I had just moved from TN to MD for my job. So, I was new to the area and hadn't made many friends. As a matter of fact, our mutual friend was someone who had worked with both of us. His name is Jesse and he'll always hold a special place in my heart for the simple fact alone that without his persistence that I join them on that New Year's Eve, I never would be where I am today. Jesse had invited me twice to go out with this group of people to the Hard Rock Cafe, but I'd said no twice. The third time he called me and said something along the lines of "I know you're not doing anything but sitting around in your apartment. Someone backed out and the ticket is already paid for so you better plan on coming. We're going by limo." I said yes because he was right. All I was doing was sitting around my apartment looking for another job since my company had decided to close 73 markets four months after I relocated. Thank god I'd saved my money as I was able to wait two months for the exact job I wanted. But that's why I had said no the first two times. I was trying to save money.

So, on New Year's Eve I show up at Jesse's house. I walk in the door and see a group of people laughing and having a good time already. Not knowing anyone but Jesse, I felt a little shy. He asked if I wanted some wine, to which I of course answered "YES" and I followed him into his newly remodeled kitchen. As he was pouring the wine, Bruce joined us in the kitchen. I noticed he was probably the only one there around my age. I had a brief thought that he was handsome, but seeing as I had gotten divorced in the previous year, I was NOT thinking about men. My focus was my career. So, that's where the thought stopped. The limo arrived a few minutes later. We all piled in and to make a long story short: we all had an absolute blast that night.

These are pictures from the limo ride to the Hard Rock Cafe that night. Of course, this was on the way there, so we were all pretty much sober at this point. The pictures taken a few hours later tell a much different story but to protect all those involved I won't post them.

That is the beginning of my story with the most wonderful man. Our story still continues, too. I look forward to each and every day and can't believe I got so lucky to have found a man of such caliber.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Am I pretty like you?

Yesterday I was reading through the brief little bits of news posted on Yahoo. There are always several that catch my attention that I open in separate tabs. When I got to the story about Samantha Brick's article, I chuckled to myself a little bit. Her article was about how being attractive has made some things difficult and other things easy in her life. I initially chuckled because I thought "Yeah, you got it hard when men buy you drinks... don't look a gift horse in the mouth." When I got to the bottom of the article I began reading the comments. That's when I realized humans can be a nasty, vicious lot. I was disgusted and sad.

All throughout the media, woman are brainwashed into thinking that they're not beautiful unless they meet a certain standard. This standard, as the media would have you believe, is impossible to meet unless you are a leggy, nearly-anorexic teen, with long, thick lustrous hair. The advertisers would like you to believe that it all can be attained through the latest cream, diet pill, shampoo, slimmer spanx, make-up, or a visit to any plastic surgeon that happens to be in the area. As much as I love to read the celebrity gossip in Star, they're down right mean when it comes to the issues of "Stars with out make-up" or the "Best and Worst" of stars in their swimsuits. Poor Julie Bowen from Modern Family, who I think is sexy, cute, and funny, got torn apart for having (god forbid) a few little wrinkles on her belly after having kids. **hands to mouth, with bulging eyes** OMG... who does she think she is to put on a bikini??? Get real. She rocks.

There is one good thing, for the reader, that may come out of this... but only one, and it's at the expense of the human being being criticized. For just a brief moment, the reader may look at the picture, compare herself (or himself) and get a small bit of satisfaction that they don't have the cellulite, the wrinkles, the thighs, or whatever it is that they think less of themselves for. For that moment only, they might say to themselves, "I must be OKAY. I don't look like that." But what happens when we change the channel or put the magazine down? We go back to our own "real" life, and eventually pass a mirror. And I bet that when many people who pass that mirror, stop and judge themselves, they're not even remembering the bit of comparison that was made against the star earlier. I'm willing to believe that most just go back to seeing what they'd like to fix. Even the "beautiful" people. Is anyone ever satisfied? I do not know of one person who wouldn't change something, if they had the money and/or the motivation.

Back to the article. These people attacked her by the thousands. They slaughtered her. They ripped her apart. The called her names. They told her she was delusional, ugly, fat, narcissistic, crazy... every imaginable insult that could be hurled, they hurled. Some people even went so far as to point out every single thing that they thought was not beautiful about her. This was from both men and women.

I'm going to compare this to something else to make a point. There is a website that I visit that is a support site for military spouses. Anytime a spouse has a concern about cheating or flirting or even just being away for a long time, the person is usually inundated with responses of how they should be more secure. Some literally pick on the person, instead of trying to help. Honestly, you'd think some of these women doling out advice must be drop dead gorgeous with amazing bodies, and that they've never, ever, ever been cheated on. Either that or they just find it easier to stick their heads in the sand. The reality of it is this: It doesn't matter how attractive you are. Some might be surprised to know that most people who cheat, cheat with someone who is not as attractive as their spouse. So, where does that leave all those women who boast that confidence will maintain a relationship? It doesn't. People who cheat will cheat. Most women are so scared of the "pretty woman", when they should be leery of the woman with less-than-a-model appearance. Even I'm guilty of this on occasion. I remember when I was dating a guy in college and had my epiphany. It was during summer break... the fourth of July to be precise, and I was on the phone with the guy. He told me he'd kissed another girl a few nights prior. I knew this girl. My ego took a blow. I immediately broke up with him on the phone and told him to enjoy himself with her. I hung up and cried for about five minutes. It wasn't because I was heart broken. I was actually a little bit relieved to have an excuse to break up with him. What made the 19-year-old-girl-that-I-was-at-the-time cry was the fact that this other girl had thin lips. Yes... thin lips. I couldn't understand why he'd find her more attractive when she had thin lips. Which leads me to this: Beauty is not solely what the eyes can see. It is a combination of attitude, flair, the sound of a voice, the mannerisms that are unique to that particular person, how loyal they are, how they sing (I find it incredibly sexy when someone who can't carry a tune in a bucket, and knows it, can belt out singing just for the fun of it)... It's any multitude of things, which can only be defined by "essence". Yes, there are the people that are extremely photogenic. It doesn't matter how they stand, which side is facing the camera, whether or not they're wearing make-up, they just end up looking cute in the picture. Yeah... I'm a little jealous of those people. But I wouldn't hold it against them. If anything, I just try to smile bigger the next time I'm caught in a photo with them. It's true that it increases your "face value". My idea is that people who look like they're having fun always look good.

I feel so sad for that poor woman. She was trying to pose a question. One of "why do women treat other women badly because of how they look?" Instead, because she mistakenly phrased it all in a way that came off as vain (and yes, it DID sound vain), she was torn apart. I can only imagine how this will scar her. Will she ever put on a pretty dress and a bit of make-up, take a look in the mirror and think "I look fabulous, dahling!"... or will there always be the vicious remnants of those comments flashing through her psyche telling her a plethora of insults for the rest of her life? I bet the latter.

How are we as women, from childhood to our senior years, ever supposed to believe that we are beautiful? There's always someone prettier, thinner, smarter, funnier, sexier, YOUNGER. Well, for me... I'm just going to keep on fighting the good fight. I have the white girl butt. I have body hair with a sick sense of humor that shows up in places it shouldn't. I have adult acne combined with melasma. I've got a wicked little rash on my feet that only time will heal. My natural hair color (if I remember correctly) is that yuck shade of something that's not blond, not brown, and not even shiny.... hell, it's not even thick. I also have scars all over my body. There's a little saggy skin on my tummy where I gained so much weight during my pregnancy, then lost it a little too quickly a few years later. I have broad shoulders, big feet, no hips, and a chin that I've been told makes me look like I'm related to Jay Leno. I've been told I look like Rikki Lake and Joan Cusack. That last one actually made me cry, and still haunts me. But then again, isn't Joan Cusack beautiful in her own right? I've seen pictures of her where she could be described as pretty.

And you know what? Then there's the other side of it. I've also been told (now this is through many different stages throughout my life) that I look like Drew Barrymore and Princess Di (both in college), Uma Thurman, Mariska Hartigay and Jane Seymour (most recently, and by a few different people). You, the reader, may be laughing. Even I did... but whomever said it must have seen something that reminded them of that person. It may have been something in my eyes, the slant of my nose, the line of my jaw, my hairstyle, the way I laughed... who knows? Either way, I took it as a compliment. They are all beautiful in some way... and so am I. I like my legs. I like how my arms look toned with no effort. I like that, in clothes, I look tall and lean. These are some of the positive things I tell myself. It's important for all of us to find the things we like about ourselves. Mean people will always be around to do their thing... they're not really happy. They're mean because it makes them feel better. Maybe they've been beaten down by other bullies, or told by one too many people that something should be "fixed". Either way, it's sad... and it hurts anyone who is at the receiving end of it.

Think Charlize Theron in that movie "Monster". She was not what one would call attractive if we saw her out in public... then think Charlize Theron in almost anything else. Gorgeous! We just watched her in "Young Adult" the other night. Although she wasn't by any means unattractive, one could see both sides of the coin. Most women don't wake up looking fabulous. It's a process. I can relate to the process she went through to get ready... except for the hair extension/clip, but I'll admit I've thought about buying

So, as much as we've been brainwashed to beat ourselves up over... don't do it. Don't fall for the negativity. If it takes you ten minutes to get ready and feel your best, then good for you. If it takes you two point five hours... then so what?! As long as you look in the mirror and think "That's the fabulous side of ME" then you're on the right path. Don't give those wrinkles, extra pounds, bumps, scars, cellulite... WHATEVER it is that we are mean to ourselves about... any more thought. You got what you got, and there's not much you can do but make the best of it. Slap on that lipstick, put on that push-up bra, do what YOU do to feel pretty, then sing off-tune while you sashay down the street. And know that no matter what.... someone thinks something about you is enviable. While you're at it... hand out a couple of compliments to other women. It'll come back to you, I promise.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How I plan to stay out of jail.

I should be organizing. I should be cleaning out drawers. I should be making a list and taking pictures of the items I'm going to sell online and adding them to an Excel spreadsheet. I should be going through all the clothes and separating them for donations and a yard sale. Yet, all I'm doing is procrastinating. I told myself an hour ago that I was going to type out a to-do list. It's time for lunch, though, so that's my excuse for now. We've been in our house for five weeks. FIVE weeks! Where is my motivation? Did I leave it back in Georgia? That's it! I simply forgot to pack it. Where can I go out and buy some more? But it's got to be on sale, too. Hmmm... so it's not for sale at all? What's a lazy girl to do? I guess it's back to the idea of breaking everything down on a list, and marking things off one by one. Boooooooooooooring. **eye roll**

I tried redirecting the blame, but I fear it's not working. I've told Bruce I need some help about 10 times. Each of those times I briefly felt a little lighter in thinking he might just motivate me. He keeps saying we'll work on it on the weekend, but then the weekend comes and somehow or another we manage to avoid the boxes. Upon reminding him again yesterday, he said "Woman! What do you want me to do?" I told him to simply grab a box and put the stuff away. He said "And where exactly do you want me to put it?" Darn it... he stumped me there. At this point, our bedroom dresser is a pile of odds and ends, the storage closet upstairs is packed to the gills with boxes (some have donations in them already.... the remnant reminders of a bygone energy) and the downstairs storage closet is full with furniture that we won't be using. All of Alyssa's dresser drawers are full of my old clothes, which the movers didn't bother to pack... they just left everything in the dressers. This meant that several items were damaged when they turned every single dresser on it's side in shipping and the clothes all rubbed back and forth on the rough underside of the drawer above it. That was two months in storage on a boat, and who knows where else. So, add that to the list of things to seperate for the damages claim. Then there's the garage. It's full of everything else, and some boxes of Christmas decorations. I don't even want to think about the garage... ugh.

What surprises me is my lack of usual anal tendencies that veer toward the maniacal style of Martha Stewart. I can hear ol' Martha in my head saying "This is NOT a good thing." But, what's so great about Martha, anyway? Even when all her stuff is organized, even with her own TV show and overly expensive line of items for sale... the woman ain't really that happy. I hear she has a tumultuous relationship with her daughter. She got into some kinda trouble that landed her in jail. Her fling with Anthony Hopkins sure didn't last... he seemed like a keeper, which makes me think the issue might be her. SO... after all this rationalizing, I've come to the conclusion that in order to keep my marriage happy, my future relationship with my daughter on the right track, and most importantly to stay out of jail, I just shouldn't worry about it too much. It'll get done when it gets done. Right?