Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Monday


I just think this is hilarious, it really wasn't a bad day. Busy, but productive. Can't ask for much more than that out of a Monday...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back in action

So Thursday night I had a sleep study. It was a trip. I tossed and turned and then finally took an ambien when my tech came in to fix the leg leads I'd kicked off during the tossing and turning. So I did okay, sleep wise (like, "they got enough data," not, "I slept great!"), but it was definitely a peculiar experience. I had 29 wires on me. Every twitch of my toe was recorded by video, audio, and those wires. About 2am The Voice From Above told me I had to get off my stomach, so I rolled on my side. Apparently my "sleep is very different" on my side, but that's the only result they'd give me. Full report should come back in the next two weeks.

Friday I was a little delirious, as you can guess. I left work around two and came home and slept for a couple of hours. You know, as crappy a sleeper as I am at night, I take a darn good nap. Mmmm, nap....

The weekend has been very low-key. I haven't been feeling great and today my stomach's been acting up. As has my internet, which I finally got working again today. But beyond that, I haven't gotten a whole lot accomplished. Which, you know, is okay. It was nice to hang out with my dog and just relax.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tried and true

I had dinner at Shady Pines tonight, after taking my mom to the oncologist (she's good. He's happy. We see the surgeon in six weeks. Still planning to go before the tumor board). We had dinner with their usual dinner mates, Edna and Alan, as well as this couple that joins them fairly regularly, Ollie and Olivia. The latter, it turns out, have been married for a month less than my mother has been alive. I mean, my mom's not old, but in marriage years, that's a lot! Ollie has dementia. Olivia has really bad breast cancer. And yet they're still as sweet on each other as you can imagine. They're hilarious, actually - they "bicker" back and forth like nobody's business. I imagine they've been doing that since they were teenagers. And they're just a riot; they could seriously take that act on the road. Too funny.

Olivia and I were talking tonight about the cancer, and I was saying that she was holding up really well through the extensive chemo for the two different kinds of breast cancer that she has. And she was like, "Honey, what else could I do? Throwing a fit wasn't going to heal it. You just keep going."

I like that. And I'm really glad she and my mom are friends. I think she's going to be a great role model for my mom if her treatment comes to chemo and radiation.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend deficiency

It's been a nice weekend.

I got a lot done this weekend. Had a good time at coffee yesterday and today. Had a nice baby shower for one of  my coworkers yesterday - it was a surprise. And it really was a surprise - she thought she was coming over to our friend's to pick up a crib and some other baby stuff. So she wasn't especially punctual. In fact, she was two hours late. But we amused ourselves greatly during the waiting. Managed to work out both days this weekend. Ran some errands, did some laundry.

So, really, nothing very out of the ordinary. Which is part of what made the weekend so nice.

I could totally use a couple more days of this.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Madness

So yesterday, one of my parents left the door open to their apartment. My mom went to dinner, and my dad was still home. My dog, however, wandered out, down the hall, off to have herself an adventure. Nobody knew she was missing until my parents' neighbor found her on the ramp leading to the dining room.

There are two things about this story which amaze me.

One, my dog had the good sense to not go into the dining hall. Because dogs in there are explicitly and strictly forbidden. My parents would've gotten in a lot of trouble if she had gone in. I have no idea how she knew that was a bad idea. Because, from her perspective, it seems like a GREAT idea - there's food, my mom was there, all of Maggie's friends were there...

The second...I still can't figure out...my parents live on the third floor. The dining room is on the first. Somehow, some way, my dog made it downstairs.

On the elevator.

That's pretty much the only way she could've gone down!  There's a stairwell, too, but no one ever uses it and thumbs are definitely required to open the door. I can imagine someone came up on the elevator and she went in, and then someone downstairs pushed the button for the elevator and out she went. But...but.....I mean...I know some of these people are really old, but....wouldn't you notice that there's a DOG coming out of the elevator?!! And everyone in their building knows her...

Or hell, maybe she just pressed the buttons herself.

After all, my dog *is* pretty amazing...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The things time doesn't heal

It's been a year today since my friend's mom died. The family has been in my thoughts all day. As has Patti, as you can imagine. I thought about her a lot this past weekend, as her son and daughter-in-law now live in the house she used to have. I miss her.

It's incredible to me that it's been a year. It's still a shame, you know? And it got me thinking about how these losses never get easy. It gets better over time, I really think it does, but it never goes away. There's always a gap there, a line that has ended, and no matter how hard you try, there's no filling that void. No amount of office work, of alcohol, food, drugs, sex, video games, any of the distractions we use can make us whole again, regardless of the mass quantities we might apply. Eventually, it gets integrated, it becomes part of who you are. There's a resignation and a familiarity about it. With work, with therapy, with time, it becomes less of a burden and more of a companion. You move on, but you carry it with you.

I think that's the best outcome we can hope for.

Grief is the risk you take by loving someone. It's not a new idea. And the fact is, you can't know one without the other. If you never grieve the people who leave you, it's because you don't invest yourself in them. And if you don't invest yourself, you never know the incredible power and goodness that comes from love and intimacy. In some ways, the grief replaces the person you lose, it stands next to you instead. But what it brings is not purely the pain of the loss; it anchors you to the memories. It remembers when you're afraid you won't. It brings to you a moment of wit, or insight, or comfort that the person might have offered. It hurts, but in the pain it reminds you how strong your love was.

I was driving home from picking up Maggie tonight, and my mom texted me that she loved me - a usual bedtime ritual. And for a small moment it made me sad, thinking that someday I'm going to miss that so much. And I started thinking about my grandmother - a kind, giving woman who helped raise me, and who died after a short illness when I was in junior high. And I started wondering what she would've done with a phone that could text. Would she have used it? Would she have had fun with it? I delved briefly into the fantasy that, wouldn't it be great if she could text me from wherever she is now? Oh, how I would love the chance to talk to her again. And I realized suddenly that I was crying pretty hard. It's been, what, twenty years? (Holy shit, is that right??! I'm pretty sure she died in August of 1991...holy cow....) And I started thinking about the memories I held so dear. I started thinking about her sister, who died not long ago, whom I also adored. And I cried harder. I loved them both so much.

It never lets you go.

And I think that's a good thing. I don't ever want to let go of people that mean so much to me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Totally worth today's exhaustion

So I spent the weekend in Chicago.

Oh, did I not mention I was going to Chicago?

Yeah, that was rather on purpose. I was supposed to go over New Year's, right, and then that fell through. And I haven't seen my Chicago crew in...yikes, almost ten months. And of course, Robin's little guy is two and a half, Bei's two are four and a half and just over a year. They're all growing so fast. And then my friend of nearly three decades, Ali, is having a baby next month. So when New Year's fell apart, I thought Ali's baby shower seemed like the perfect excuse to fly in. I decided to surprise her, so we kept it quiet. I didn't even clue her husband or Bei in until this past week. And the weekend was a raving success.

We actually arranged it so that I surprised her Saturday night, instead of at the actual shower on Sunday. She was definitely surprised, it was so good to see everyone. We had an awesome weekend. Claudia picked me up from the airport Saturday morning, we had coffee and chatted, and then had lunch at my favorite Greek restaurant. From there we headed to Robin's, where we all met up and watched (well, some of us "watched") football and ordered pizza. I made this drink that one of my Villagers taught me, which was a hit. We talked, and laughed, and ate real pizza (Chicago-style, baby!). We played with the kids. We were a little kiddish ourselves. It was great.

Sunday I saw my cousins from the North Side for breakfast, and then we had the shower, hosted by Claud and Jer's sisters. It was fun. The games were non-obnoxious, the cake was excellent, and the company was great. We met some neat new people.  And then the girls went back to Robin's for Wii Pictionary and Mexican food, which Jer was kind enough to deliver to us. And, you know, just being us girls. Monday Robin and little Luke and I went over to Bei's, and then hung out until it was time to take me to the airport.

Where I was for a very long time. My flight kept getting delayed. I was supposed to be on the ground and back to my house by about 8pm, originally; instead, I got home at almost 1am. I spent a lot of time wandering around O'Hare. Ate some more pizza. Bought a Cosmo. Discovered I've possibly outgrown Cosmo. Drank some iced tea. Nearly finished the hat I've been knitting (I needed DPNs, which I didn't have). Finally got on the plane, and we sat on the tarmac for almost an hour. It was a teeny-tiny plane, and I didn't fit especially well into the seat. So I was uncomfortable, and feeling giganamous, and the woman in the seat next to me was clearly irritated to be sitting next to such a fatty. However, she spent the whole flight flopping onto my side of the armrest and snoring like a chainsaw. I actually apologized to that bitch at the beginning of the flight for being so fat! Ridiculous. Whatever. We eventually got back to NC, and Bill came out in the middle of the damn night and picked me up, which was awesome of him.

But on the whole, the weekend was just so awesome. I miss my Chicago people. It was so nice to see everybody, and so nice to be back with the group I grew up with that knows me so well. And how amazing it is for me to have such a group of people who know me so well, who I came up with through the early part of my life, who are still so close to me. How great that I still count them among the most important supports that I have, even when I'm 850 miles away. And how blessed am I to have both groups here and in Chicago that are so comfortable and awesome.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Now I have no excuse

(PS - Happy birthday, Robin! And a belated happy birthday to Brad.)

I fell asleep last night, way too early.

I have to start sleeping better, because sleeping more isn't helping. I still suck as a sleeper...

So we had a ice storm last night. I got up this morning and my entire apartment complex was coated with a sheet of glass. The driving was miserable getting out of my neighborhood, and I spent most of the drive wishing I had a job where I could call out. But I made it. Peng made it. Our intern made it. Our attending even made it (although he was two hours late).

My clinic this afternoon was fun - only one of my four patients showed up. She was one of two that came to the entire child clinic. And she was pretty entertaining (in a good way, not in that holy-wow-is-this-one-crazy kind of way).

It never ceases to amaze me down here - every year I've lived here there's been snow and ice. And yet we have no idea how to deal with snow and ice. It's a perpetual catastrophe. We have no equipment for it. Every year, people! Get a clue!!

Grump, grump, grump...

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The dog ate my post.

No she didn't. But Blogger did. I have no idea what happened to the - short and relatively uninteresting - post that I wrote yesterday. But, like I said - short and uninteresting, so, not really a big loss.

It's been a nice weekend. Lots of time with friends and with my parents. Maggie finally got a bath yesterday. We went to a new groomer - a friend of Garth's - who was fantastic, and who rides a motorcycle. She was great, and Miss Mags is all fluffy and good-smelling and soft again. It's lovely.

Bill had a gallery showing yesterday, which was a lot of fun. He's been taking a photography class, and one of his submissions won in the class competition in the Abstract category. It's a beautiful macro shot of bubbles in amber glass. So they had a little reception and showing for all the winners in the college library. A bunch of us went to support him (except for the two of us who were at two separate funerals. Which I fine eerie). It was neat, and some of the photos were really fabulous. (I'll be honest. A few left me thinking, "I've got much better shots than that...")

I did get out on the bike for a minute yesterday. Something still doesn't feel right. I don't think it's just anxiety. Garth and Bill have both offered to ride it for me and check it out, and I'll probably take them both up on it. We'll see, I guess. Alls I know is that two miles I rode yesterday was hell for uncomfortable.

Today was mostly errands. Coffee, then laundry, groceries, etc. More time with friends and family.

All in all, a good weekend. I could still use a little more, but then, when is that not true....?

Friday, January 07, 2011

Gratuitous photo again

Because I've already stayed up too late.

More tomorrow.

But in the mean time...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Yardbird

Sometimes known to people up No'th as chicken.

Had a fine day at work, save for a parking ticket (not an undeserved one, but still). I was apparently supposed to do the journal club today, but never got the email, so we didn't have lecture. And my supervisor left early, and then my 3pm patient canceled, so I had a huge block of time in the middle of my afternoon. It was odd. I spent a lot of time doing paperwork and playing on Facebook.

After dinner, Garth and his son Kevin and I had dinner. Apparently this is a Thursday evening tradition for them, and they invited the lot of us along, which turned out to just be me (Larry was supposed to come as well, but he decided to be lame got stuck at work). It was nice. We went to this Cajun place nearby, which is excellent. I had the yardbird basket, which is essentially chicken tenders. Not quite as good as the yardbird po'boy, but still mighty tasty. And the company was great. I don't think I've ever heard Kevin talk that much. Garth and I talked motorcycles a good portion of the time. Ginny showed up to show off her new haircut as I was leaving, so dropped Kevin off on my way home. We chatted a little, he was very polite and thanked me when we got to his house. Such a cute kid.

All in all, a good day (except for that parking ticket). And tomorrow's Friday! Can't beat that. 

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Life lessons from a Tuesday

Here are ten things I learned (or, well, remembered) today, on this very ordinary Tuesday, in no particular order.

1. Good news comes sometimes when you least expect it.

2. Some good news is as simple as a canceled appointment.

3. Compatible neuroses make a powerful glue, but incompatible ones can cause a world of trouble.

4. Sometimes positive thinking works.

5. "No, no, anything but that" does not appear to be positive thinking.

6. Being a teenager sucks, and also rocks, which is part of why it sucks.

7. A good meal with a good friend can go a long way.

8. It's fascinating to watch the interplay of interpersonal and group dynamics, especially as the group shifts in a particular direction.

9. The male-female dyad is one of the most powerful and most complicated things about humanity.

10. Happiness really is a warm puppy.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Resolved. Or, well, not.

So day two of the year I decide I want to go back to daily blogging, and what do I do? Fall asleep at 6:30 pm. And then I woke up at 7:15, but was asleep again by 8:30. So instead, I give you a gratuitous picture of my dog. Can't go wrong there.

There may be a lot of gratuitous dog pictures this year, I'm just warnin' ya...

But, I'm going to try it again. Because I like the whole daily blogging thing. Unfortunately, Blog 365 seems to have gone under. I'm sure I can manage on my own, however.

The weekend was both delightful and exhausting. Jen had a brunch on Saturday, and was kind enough to invite my parents. Which was a lot of fun. They seemed really pleased to be invited, and seemed to enjoy themselves. It was quite an undertaking, getting them there, particularly with my mom's mobility being so limited. But we managed, and in fact did it again on Sunday, when I had my folks and the coffee crew over to my house for a pizza lunch.

My mom and dad wanted to meet these people I spend so much time with. I mean, I know I'm 32, but I'm sure it's still nice to know who you kid spends her time with, especially when they do things like talk her into buying a motorcycle which she then falls off of. So we all got together and ate take-and-bake pizza. It was a good time, which, we always have fun.

Today was my first day back at work. I think another week would've been just about enough vacation. Alas, though, back I went. The morning was a little hectic; the afternoon I spent much of in the ER. My shoulder's still hurting a lot, so much that it woke me up this morning. And then when I was on my way in to work something popped, and I had a lot of point tenderness, so I finally just gave up and had a non-me practitioner look at it. Took a lot of pictures of my shoulder and my hand, concluded both and my ankle were sprained. Got a sling (which I won't wear) and a prescription (which I'll use minimally). So at least I know it's not broken.

But if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go enjoy my Vicoden...

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Ponytails and Dirty Nails

That's what little biker girls are made of.

So I fell on the bike yesterday.

Relax, I'm fine. The side I landed on is sore today. The biggest bruise I have is from my armor. And oddly, the only thing that I actually injured is the thumb on the side opposite to which I fell. I have no explanation for that. Did ruin a perfectly good pair of jeans, though.

I went riding yesterday with Garth and Ginny. I did a little work on the bike first - added mirror extenders, fixed my tire pressure. Felt all proud of myself. I rode over to Garth's, met up with them, and then we went to a local wine tasting. I wasn't thrilled with the idea, actually. I'm already anxious enough on the bike; at no point did I expect to consume more than half a glass of wine, and I have the alcohol tolerance of a horse, so I didn't logically expect that it would impair me. Logically. Which is rarely what rules me. I ended up pouring most of my pours into Ginny's glass, because I was worried about getting on the bike with any alcohol in my system. And I doubt it was a factor in the fall, but I guess, who knows.

We left there, and Garth suggested we go for a ride. I was down, of course. But, here's the rub: Garth is a much more experienced rider than I am. And naturally he rides very differently. He also rides a sport bike, where mine is more of a cruiser, so they handle differently. And I've only put about 100 miles on my bike; I'm still not really used to it. I'm still not a very experienced rider. But I dutifully tried to keep up with Garth. And early in our ride, we came to a stoplight about five minutes from my house. It turned green; Garth took off. I tried to follow. Just into the intersection I tried to shift into second gear. I think I gave it a little too much throttle with the clutch in, and I think I let the clutch out too fast. There may have been some sand on the road (accidents are always a confluence of things). The bike flailed. I just lost control. And down I went.

I'm fine. Really. I got up. I pulled the bike up. A very nice police officer was behind me in seconds. I got back on the bike, rode into a parking lot, waited for Garth and Ginny to come back, which they did (Ginny saw me go down, apparently). I rode home, Garth gave my bike a more thorough look-over, and I went in to change out of the jeans that were now ripped over my entire right thigh. I was going to get back into the ride, but then I put on my clean pair of jeans and the button promptly fell off. My thumb hurt. I didn't have a clean pair of pants to wear. I took it as an omen and sent them on their way. I put on some sweats, got in the car, and went to buy new jeans and a new helmet. I was very cool until I got into the car. I texted a friend to talk me down, but he never responded. Which could be because I was like, "Uh, hey, when you have a minute, if you're not too busy, I just want to process this, blah, blah, blah." Which doesn't really convey, "So I'm sitting in my car in my driveway, and I'm only crying a little, but I could sure use a comforting word..."

I'm so bad at asking for help.

But the whole incident really drove home one particular point. When I was taking my MSF course, my instructor said over and over, "You need to ride your own ride." And I heard this, of course, and nodded, but I didn't really know what it meant until yesterday. This is exactly how I got myself into trouble. I needed to be riding at my skill level, not trying to keep up with Garth's. If he got too far ahead of me, then, as the group leader and the more experienced rider, I should have let it be his responsibility not to lose me. I should have ridden my ride, not his. I should've stayed at the level where I needed to be. I should've thought more about what *I* needed.

What particularly struck me, though, was the metaphor of that. In my life as a whole, I can't say I've been riding my own ride. I react to things, I respond, I wait for others to let me know - or try to anticipate what they would want me - to do next. Not respecting my skill level, not factoring in my needs (not even identifying them most of the time), taking what I can get instead of creating a space where I want what I've got. And so what happens? Down I go.

And the idea of letting other people be responsible for their own needs is foreign enough, but to think that they have a responsibility for mine, and to mine? Totally alien. Outlandish. But sometimes? That's exactly what needs to happen.

And so as we move into the second decade of the millennium, this year I'm going to try harder to ride my own ride, in life as on my motorcycle. Which is not to say it's all about me - working in the metaphor I'm totally up to group riding - but says that I'm going to have more respect for what I need. A good friend asked me the other day what I was doing to take care of myself these days...I was hard pressed to give him a solid answer. So this year, I'm going to do better.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go get back on the (iron) horse.