Saturday, December 4, 2010

It Hurt.

Back in March of this year my back started hurting.  It became very difficult to bend at all and then straighten up.  I've had back pain off and on since I was 21, and it always went away eventually, but this got worse.  So much worse. I finally sought help from a chiropractor, then an orthopedic surgeon, who referred me to a pain management doc, and then finally ended up in physical therapy.

At its worst, the pain I had was excruciating. I would get lengthy, paralyzing spasms that would drop me to my knees. I walked around carefully hoping to avoid spasms. Many, many times they just grabbed me and then I'd be sore for the rest of the day, and also susceptible to having more. This was the scariest thing I've ever gone through, physically. No, it's nothing like having a life threatening illness --- I'd never compare it to that. But it briefly took away a lot of my optimism and my joie de vivre.  I didn't think I'd get better, even with surgery as an option.

I learned a lot about myself (I'm stubborn, prideful and impulsive!) and those close to me during this. I also got a glimpse of what it's like to be in pain and feel like you're burdening people too much talking about it. It's a terrible feeling!  Thankfully, there were very few people around me who made me feel that way. And maybe they didn't, by the way, "make me feel that way". Maybe it was my stupid pride making me feel that way. (See? I believe I've learned something.) In any case, I hope I remember this feeling when someone I love is in pain and needs to talk. And talk and talk and talk. Please let me have learned that lesson!

Thankfully, I didn't jump into surgery. I listened to the pain management doctor (and a very bright friend on Twitter,@SarahWW!) and went to physical therapy.  I listened and made a rational choice rather than an emotional choice borne out of pain.  And the good news is, I'm mostly pain free now. Some niggling aches, but I'm moving around freely and I'm almost ready to get back to regular gym time. There are many times I shake my head, thinking "Would I have gotten better if someone had pointed me to PT first? How can this have been so simple?" I don't really know. I only know that I'm grateful for getting there and for the results.

What I really want to say is: Thank you. Thank you for being there. Thank you for asking about me and writing me, calling me. Supporting me.  Thank you for caring. Thank you for lifting me up when I was down. I needed that.

It hurt. But getting through it was so much easier with the support I got through it all. I won't forget it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Daddy

My Dad would sing this song better than this, I think. Well, he sang it in a more sober fashion (haha!) - Dean is being a little silly here. But I like this clip because my Dad's voice was very Martinesque. And who didn't love Dean Martin?

Love you and miss you, Dad.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Beautiful, Crazy, Agitating, Addictive Twitter Vortex.

I've been sucked into it for a while. And I've loved just about every minute of it. I've made some real friends there. I'm touched by that and I cherish those friendships and the sharing of bits of our lives those bonds bring.

I met my earliest Twitter friends through the Althouse blog. I used to read and comment on several blogs daily, some of them written by friends, like Trooper York and The Bit Maelstrom. I have several other people I consider friends who are now writing wonderful blogs too. Check them out - they're in my blogroll. But my Twitter interest and friends have spread way beyond that to include a lot of people I think of as friends. I think you all know who you are...yes?

The vortex of Twitter has consumed a lot of my time though, and I'll admit that I know that I can get obsessive about different internet interests. This isn't the first internet source I've spent what I consider too much time on. So I don't really know if the Twitter Vortex is contagious or widespread. Could be just in my living room. Heh.

Anyway, I need to try to set some limits for my own good. I've noticed particularly with the elections coming up, that my Twitter feed tends to agitate me a bit more. I feel like my tweets read as shrill and cranky. I know that I've retweeted some pretty shrill stuff. It could be just my perception, but even if it is, that in itself agitates me.

So, here's what I've decided: I'm going to try to set limits, and for the friends who care and have been so wonderfully attentive and concerned throughout my Twitter days, I thought I'd explain it, is all. Plus, writing it publicly puts me on the hook a little to actually, you it.

If you're reading this, I want to thank you so much for caring to read what I have to say on Twitter. My goal is to still be there, but offer less agita and more pith. Most of all, I want stay connected with my friends. They're the best part of Twitter for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Last Tennis Post?

It could be.

I've been a sports fan for as long as I can remember. If you share my love of sports you know that part of the experience is the commentating and reading about your favorite athlete or team.

Baseball and tennis have been my great loves most of my life. I've adored my Detroit Tigers and my Björn Borg and Ivan Lendl. My whole family is sports nutty. I recall that when I moved to Florida at 19, my younger sister sent me newspaper clippings about the Detroit Tigers. Back then we were somewhat able to pick and choose what we read about our sports, and even had to search hard if we wanted to read about the Tigers while living in Florida, so those clippings were precious to me. I still have them!

I don't want to get too deep into the ugliness that has somewhat involuntarily seeped into my brain surrounding the tennis rivalry of my favorite player, Roger Federer, and the current world number one, Rafael Nadal. Suffice it to say that I know that I've allowed myself to read too many fan and sportswriter thoughts over the years. It's killed the joy of the sport for me. How sad, that my thirst for reading about this great sport has played such a big part in killing it for me.

Now, you can say that's my fault for reading it or reacting to it, and you'd be mostly right, I guess. I think I could make a case for a particularly ugly period amongst tennis fans and people who are paid to opine about the sport, but I won't. I think the people who follow tennis and pay attention to all of this will get me.

I think tennis is one of the most athletically challenging and beautiful sports to be found. I love to support it. So much so, that I'll bug people on the NY subways to talk tennis with me. I'm sure I've annoyed plenty who follow me on Twitter with all of my tennis tweets. I hope I will still try to promote the sport. The game itself deserves it.

I'm just tired. I'm giving up following my sport for a while. I'll still watch my favorite player's remaining matches (he's 29 - in this sport that's near retirement), but unfortunately with commentary muted, to my great disgust. And that's it. I'm done.

To the victor go the spoils.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Proof of Life

I can't believe that he's gone.

A fleeting thought that I can't even explain the genesis of drove me to google an old flame last night. The oldest of serious flames, really. And the very first item that came up was a newspaper article about a man of the same name dying in a motorcycle accident last year. Too many coincidences added up in the article, and the dread settled in as I found his memory page on the web.

I gasped when the page came up. It was him. Some gray hair and wrinkles, but the same warm, smiling face. I browsed the slideshow of pictures spanning his obviously very full, joyful life.
He had children and step-children, and grandchildren...a Harley! The pictures portrayed a life well lived. Far too short, but well lived, indeed.

I've pondered all day as to what exactly has touched me so deeply about this. It's not a loss to me, in any kind of everyday real life sense. Certainly a loss at some level, I guess. But what I really think hit me hard is the question that I've known has been bubbling to surface since I laid eyes on that memory page: What will the pictures of my life portray to those I leave behind someday?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sarah and the Bear

I'm smiling after reading this article about Sarah, Todd and Piper Palin encountering a mama bear and her cubs just a couple of feet from them as they salmon fished. While the article mentions the Palins were "stunned", I must say that they appear very poised in the photo. That doesn't surprise me a bit.

Coincidentally, a friend and I had just been talking about Jimmy Carter's famous fishing encounter with a ferocious, attacking, swimming(!) "Killer Rabbit" a/k/a Killer Water Bunny. The official photographs mentioned in this article don't do the menacing rodent justice, so I decided to use a cartoonist's rendition of the encounter for fairness in comparison.  Here we go...

                                           Sarah and the Bear:

                                       Jimmy and the Killer Water Bunny:

I'll leave it at that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Snips and snails and gecko tales.

About that gecko...

I read today that GEICO has fired voice talent Lance Baxter AKA "D.C. Douglas", heard in several GEICO commercials, over some voice messages he left at FreedomWorks. FreedomWorks is a limited government advocacy group linked to the Tea Party. According to this article, Mr. Douglas left some nasty messages where he called Tea Party protesters "mentally retarded" and speculated whether protests would lead to someone getting killed. The article goes on to say that FreedomWorks then put Mr. Douglas's voice mail messages online and asked their supporters to call GEICO to complain resulting in the firing of Mr. Douglas.

This story has troubled me since I read it on Twitter via @teh_Dede. I don't like what Mr. Douglas did and what he had to say. He was wrong to do what he did, even though he says he was motivated by the belief that there were racial and homophobic slurs hurled during the Tea Party protest right before the health care bill vote. But did he deserve to have his messages publicized, his employer contacted (through a campaign) and then fired? I struggle with that answer, I really do. This reeks of scorched earth and tit for tat, and in my gut I feel it's wrong.

I don't have to like what Mr. Douglas has to say or what he believes. I don't want to defend it, and won't. But I do have to live in this country with people who will disagree with me AFTER I hope we see a big correction in our government leadership come November. I'd like to change hearts and minds, not bash over the head.

I've never been to a Tea Party protest, but I've always been proud of my fellow Americans, whom I've felt were representing me. They're great patriots to me and their interests are largely mine. They're out there showing the country that change can be brought through peaceful, thoughtful protest. This is what I want to continue to support and to associate with the Tea Party, or conservatism, for that matter. Getting people fired for relatively mild political statements doesn't fit those ideals for me, personally.

Now I know the Tea Party didn't do this. FreedomWorks and their supporters did. But they're going to be linked to the Tea Party as if the whole movement is behind it. That's the way the media works. Whether we, as supporters of this movement or conservatives in general, nod our heads in approval matters.

I am a proud Tea Party supporter and a political conservative.  I am not nodding my head.

ADDED: I tweaked the wording a little. I'm not trying to say this one thing will ruin the Tea Party movement or the conservative message. That would be silly of me. I'm saying that I feel a responsibility to say that I don't agree with this. On either side. And I hope it's a one-off thing and that conservatives and Tea Party advocates with a fair amount of power like FreedomWorks continue to focus on thoughtful protest and dialogue in hopes of persuading on the issues.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Silly stuff.

My son and his cousin of the same age went to stay with their older cousin at her dorm for a "family weekend" at Michigan State a couple of weekends ago. We had at least an hour drive home from there, so, having the two teenagers captive (hehe) I worked on prying some bits of their weekend out of them. I was mostly unsuccessful, but I did get this little back and forth which, silly person that I am, I found very amusing.

Apparently, his cousin (the one his age) had some, er...intestinal gas. Okay, he's pretty known for this. Can I say farting? Oop. I just did. Anyway, so apparently his cousin farts. College boyfriend of college cousin remarks on it. My son thought that the word used by the college boyfriend to describe it was hilarious. He just couldn't remember it!

Son: "He said ____'s fart was....beastly, or something like that. No, that wasn't it."

Me: [laughs] "Try to remember!"

Son: "Hmm...epic? No...darn it."

Me: "EPIC!" [laughs]

Son: "That wasn't it! I don't know...efficient?"

Me: [laughing so hard that I can't breathe...boys laughing at me laughing]


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wine and song...

Well, I blogged best friend Amy's birthday dinner, so I thought I'd slip in a few words about mine (from last night).

My sister Moira and Amy came over last night to spend the evening at my place for my belated birthday celebration. They put together a wonderful steak salad, brought some wine, and then after dinner we all sat down to watch "Mamma Mia" together.

The wine:

The salad:

The song:

Thanks, you two! What a lovely evening. XO

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Terms of Endearment

This holiday season, I've opted to immerse myself in happy thoughts. The political goings on that I've been following, coupled with recent terror threats had me on edge and...dare I say --- a bit crabby? Heh. So, following some recommendations on Twitter, I recorded all of the Thin Man movies, watched a bit of a Three Stooges marathon, and followed it all up with a Looney Tunes bonanza on the Cartoon Network. Ahhh...the therapeutic effects were amazingly successful.

The combination of these movies and cartoon/comedy shorts got me thinking a bit. What is it that makes me feel good about a show or a movie? Well, the easy answer is a happy ending. I'm definitely a sucker for that. But there are truly sad movies I'd watch over and over as well that seem to lift me up in the same way.

Pondering this, I began to formulate a list of (at least somewhat sad) movies that I loved, but probably couldn't take watching again, along with a list of similar movies that I had no problem viewing over and over.

First, the list of movies I thought were excellent, but have not viewed again:

1. The Deer Hunter
2. Frances
3. Family Business
4. Life is Beautiful (though I'd really like to try to watch it again)
5. The Untouchables (I'm sensing a theme here..hehe.)
6. The English Patient
7. Braveheart
8. The Last of the Mohicans
9. Million Dollar Baby
10. Bang the Drum Slowly

Now, the list of the movies I will sob my head off watching, but can't help but view over and over:

1. The Green Berets
2. Affair to Remember (Some may call this a happy ending. Me? Not quite.)
3. Terms of Endearment
4. Ordinary People
5. Legends of the Fall
6. To Kill a Mockingbird
7. Penny Serenade
8. Imitation of Life
9. Stella Dallas
10. The Alamo

That's just a start. Are there any that you would add to either list?