Tag Archives: life

Pineapple “1” – k8edid “0”

 

Pineapple Wins!!!  Pineapple Wins!!!

Pineapple Wins!!! Pineapple Wins!!! (photo credit k8edid)

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a post about how 2013 had kicked my ass.  It was one of maybe 6 0r 7 posts I have written in the past 18 months.  You see, 2013 was a bitch – but 2014 has conspired to make its predecessor feel like an old, fondly-remembered friend.  I will tell a tale about an altercation I had with a tropical fruit this week that illustrates what I mean.

In this year of our Lord – 2014- I have been diagnosed with not one, but two painful, chronic and potentially debilitating maladies.  One affects my joints; the other affects my muscles.  Both involve fatigue and weakness. Depression is an “interesting” common denominator.  Neither is curable but, I am told, are manageable by utilizing an amazing array of poisonous chemicals, copious amounts of rest balanced with exercise, and a good attitude.  Some days only my joints are affected – other days my muscles ache.  On “perfect storm” days everything, including my eyelashes and fingernails hurt. Some days I cannot even turn over in bed.  Many mornings I cannot walk when I get out of bed which makes that first trip to the bathroom rather entertaining.  Usually after 10 – 15 minutes of stretching and range of motion exercises, I can maneuver around with only moderate pain.  Good insurance being what it is, I have amassed an incredible schedule of specialists’ appointments.

I have been referred to the pain clinic where I am treated like a wild-eyed drug-seeking addict…I must bring my prescription bottle with me to have my remaining pills counted; I must submit a urine sample at every visit to be tested for illegal substances; and I must make an appearance every 30 days.  Heaven forbid that I have a prescription for more than 30 days worth of relief.  I am fairly certain I could get heroin more easily (and more cheaply).

Give me the good stuff and I’ll leave you alone for 30 days. Wait, wait…I gotta pee.

On the worst days, my left arm is virtually useless.  I am right handed, so that is a small blessing.  If you have ever had a bum wing, though, you know how difficult it is to maneuver through your day using only one hand.  Your less-dominant hand is important for such tasks as pulling up your underwear, holding the cookie jar so you can pull the top off, or flipping off passing vehicles.  I cannot hold anything for any length of time in that hand, including a wine glass.  A cup of coffee is too heavy for my weakened arm and attempts to lift one are likely to result in a spill, a burn, or both.

I am recovering from yet another abdominal surgery this week (Merry Christmas to ME), so I am even weaker than usual.  My beloved Sweet Cheeks, who has had to assume most of the tasks of running this crazy train we call home, purchased a beautiful, perfectly ripe pineapple at my request.  So on Christmas Eve morning, I zig-zag staggered to the bathroom, managed a quick shower concentrating on the parts I could reach with my right hand.  I shaved my right leg and the right side of my left leg plus my left underarm.  I dressed slowly, pulling up my underwear on the right side and managed one-handedly to get both my 38L boobs (that’s L for long) tucked into a brassiere.  I styled the right side of my hair with the blow-dryer and ran a comb through the left.  I staggered to the kitchen and prepared to wage war on the splendid tropical bromeliad.

pineapple slicer

I chose my weapons carefully: my best knife and a new-fangled pineapple corer/slicer/peeler purported to make  quick work of the task at hand.  I selected a cutting board and prepared the pineapple as if offering up a tropical sacrifice.  I laid the fragrant golden fruit on its side to make the first cut to remove the spiky top.  With my stronger right hand I grasped the knife and…nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zero.  I pressed harder and the stubborn fruit squirted off the cutting board and onto the counter.  I laid my useless left hand on top of the fruit and leveraging my weight onto the knife blade, managed to just cut into the firm flesh.  Juice ran onto the cutting board, somehow making the surface both slick and sticky.  The fruit slipped again with the blade stuck about an inch into the side.

By practically laying on the pineapple, utilizing an exaggerated sawing motion, and employing a multitude of standard and newly minted curse words, I was able to separate the top of the fruit from the body.  Feeling victorious, I stood the pineapple up and attempted to use the new-fangled device.  So simple – just press and twist the device into the pineapple and when you are finished, the fruit is sliced, cored and peeled.  I managed to twist the apparatus about an inch into the dripping yellow flesh.  I could not make further progress.  I gathered the fruit into my useless left arm and held the dripping fruit next to my body. Grunting and sweating, I somehow managed to twist another half-inch.  I was covered with juice, sweaty with effort and frustrated as hell.  My blood sugar was falling and my blood pressure was, undoubtedly, on the rise!

Finally, in an uncharacteristic fit of common sense, I decided juice and toast sounded like a much better breakfast choice.  I waited for my beloved to wake up and complete the job I couldn’t do.  Which he did, rather easily.

I threw the pineapple out yesterday.  It was perfectly ripe, beautifully sliced and cored, and very juicy. I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it.

I guess I’m just a sore loser.  In more ways than one…

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Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated – Part 2

Last month I wrote a post about a dream I had where my mother (long deceased after a short and troubled life) visited me for tea.  That post was the culmination of a long stretch of days (weeks, really) fraught with deepening sadness and mostly sleepless nights that were punctuated by haunting dreams.  That post was Freshly Pressed, and after replying to comments and visiting the blogs of old and new followers and other passersby, I vanished from the blogosphere for a while.

But life went on.  Each morning, when I hoisted a 90 pound book bag into my vehicle for the trek to the educational emporium which employs me – this guy would be staring at me…

Maybe today is the day...she's moving slower...it won't be long... (Photo credit:  k8edid)

Maybe today is the day…she’s moving slower…it won’t be long…
(Photo credit: k8edid)

But life went on. In an epic battle – serotonin wrestled with norepinephrine about whose job it was to cheer me up, and after coming to the conclusion that joy was highly overrated – both neurotransmitters waved sayonara and abandoned ship, leaving me with a desire to punch everyone (including sweet little old ladies) in the throat; sleeping about 3 hours a night, and wishing my mom would come back and take me with her.  (PLEASE NOTE:  I am okay, really).

But life went on.  I started feeling a little better, sleeping became my new hobby, and writing seemed like a vague memory of something I used to enjoy.  My neurons stopped twitching. I began to see hope and joy in simple things, and felt like I was making a slow, if somewhat wobbly, recovery.  Then I checked the mail.  I’d received an invitation.

Scan0001

To a funeral home.

Related Post:  Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated (Part 1)

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Filed under humor, Uncategorized

Tea with My Mom

My Mom.Photo credit:  k8edid

My Mom.
Photo credit: k8edid

My mother is sitting at my dining room table with a book and a cup of tea.  I remember that she loved to read, and loved tea.  Although, in all honesty, I don’t remember ever seeing her actually sit down with a cup of tea. Or a book, for that matter.  Eight children and mounds of laundry, cooking, and housework were what I remember.  I remember slurping the dregs from her neglected, cold teacups and getting into trouble for “borrowing” her library books as a child.

“Mom, what are you doing here?”

“Reading.  Having tea.”  She set her book aside with a smile.  She didn’t look tired, or sick, or any of the ways I remember her looking.

“I see that, Mom.  But…you’re…” my voice cracked.

“Dead?” she asked softly. “Yes, I am.  Grab a cup, sit down and join me”.

“Mom,” I am truly stymied. “Really, I have to get ready for work.”

“Pfft.  They can wait.  They don’t deserve you.”

“You know my employers?” I asked incredulously.  I take a seat at the table.

“Oh, of course I know them.  Certainly you know I’ve been there with you more than a few times.”

I knew exactly the times she is talking about.  Wait.  Hold on –  is she really here talking?  To me?   My mom’s been gone for more than 30 years.  But she’s at my table this morning and wants to chat.  Who refuses their dead mother’s request for a visit?  Not this gal.  I have wanted this for years – no, dreamed of this for years.  Work can wait. Work will wait.

“You were there when I told my students about colon cancer, and colostomies and screening and how you died so young,” I said, remembering one of many times I felt her presence in my classroom.

“Yes, I was there,” she said, her voice soft like I remember.  “ You weren’t going to tell them.  About me, I mean.”

“No, I…I didn’t think I could talk about you without crying.  I felt you there, though, and I didn’t want even one of them to know what it was like to lose a parent so young.  I wanted them to nag their parents if they had to so they would get screened for cancer.”

“I’m glad you told them.  They love to hear about your stories, about being a nurse and nursing school and your kids and grandkids.  Your surgical scare, your broken ankles.  Your concussion.  They just love your stories. ”

“I know,” I smile.  “I try to always tell them the truth – about how hard it is to be a nurse sometimes.  How saving someone isn’t always the happy ending you think it will be.  How dying isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.  How some patients fill your heart with joy, some with sadness, some with terror,” I laughed.

“They love you,” she smiled.

“Well…” I can’t think of anything to say.

“Did you ever want to have a job?  I mean besides being a wife and mother?” I ask her.  I am ashamed that I don’t already know the answer to this question.

“Oh, that doesn’t matter.  I was too busy with such a big family.  I wanted to get my high school diploma someday, and would have if…” her words trailed off.  “Women didn’t have careers so much then, you know. They were expected to stay home, care for their families.  I really did want to finish raising my kids though…” her voice trailed off again.  We are both silent.

“But look at you.  A college professor and all.  A nurse,” she changed the subject brightly – and I remember her doing just that, always deflecting the focus away from herself.

“Mom, “ I start slowly, not sure what words would come next.  I remember her playing along with Jeopardy on television – keeping score and for an uneducated woman, knowing so very, very much.  I remember seeing her standing at the stove, silent tears streaming down her face, stirring another pot in an endless stream of meals.  I remember sitting beside her on the couch when she told me, without looking at me, that I could leave if I didn’t feel safe but that she hoped, no – prayed, that I would stay.  I remember her pain and her terminal illness.  Her wasting away before our very eyes.  Her selfless, shy ways.  The wit and humor which never left her.  I remember her hands, so much like my own, with short puffy fingers and soft, flimsy fingernails.  I remember her hugs; her soft arms and cushiony warmth.  The way she smelled of Jergen’s cherry almond hand lotion.  And, sometimes, like onions.

“Mom,” I close my eyes and start again.  I want to ask her so many things – how she managed so much sickness and pain in her 42 years on earth.  How she managed abandonment, infidelity, cruelty, and disappointment without anger or bitterness.  How she forgave so easily.  How she asked so little for herself yet always had so much love to give.  How she could bear to leave her children.

I am suddenly ashamed.  Mortified by my whining and bitching and the definite lack of grace I have been exhibiting lately.  Ashamed of my pissy attitude and ungratefulness.  I am embarrassed by my incessant irritation with my first world problems; by my impatience and unhappiness.  Ashamed for not appreciating the health and bounty and opportunities placed before me each and every day.  For not appreciating that I am given, undeservedly, a new and beautiful chance at happiness each and every day.

“Mom,” I open my eyes to try again.  She is not there, of course – but she is not really gone, either.  I get up from the table and go to the kitchen to start my morning coffee.  I stop.  I reach into the cupboard and take down the tea instead.

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Thinks and Thanks Giving

When I was young (about 1,000 years ago) my mom would explain, in a patient and loving way, the errors in my way of thinking by telling me “you have another think coming”.  As in “If you think you’re wearing that miniskirt to school, you’ve got another think coming”.

Thanksgiving at the Trolls

Thanksgiving at the Trolls (Photo credit: martha_chapa95)

So today, I’m going to give out a few thinks, and a great many thanks.

To the patron at WalMart this morning at 6 AM (don’t ask.  Well, okay, I said I would bring homemade dinner rolls to our friend’s dinner but forgot to check my yeast supply):  If you think wearing a heavy jacket, gloves, daisy dukes and flip-flops is a fashion statement – You’ve got another think coming.

To the cashier at WalMart:  If you think drawing your eyeliner to the hairline at your temple is a good look for you (or anyone) – You’ve got another think coming.

To the Black Friday Shoppers – if you think that is the best way to support our economy – buying cheap foreign goods at corporations that don’t even pay taxes – You’ve got another think coming.  I’m going to spend the day trying to find local businesses to support on Small Business Saturday.

 

Detroit Lions logo

Detroit Lions logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To the Detroit Lions – if you think I’m going to spend another Thanksgiving watching you lose a football game – you’ve got another think coming.  I’m going to take a nap.  Or read a book.  Or anything else.

To my family – if you think because I moved away I don’t think about you every single day – You’ve got another think coming.  I think about you and miss you every single day.  Sometimes to the point I have to fight the urge to keep driving north on the way home from work.  Sometimes to the point I lay on the couch and cover my eyes with my arm and weep softly because my arms miss hugging you, my eyes miss your faces, my heart misses your hearts.

To my readers and followers – If you think I don’t appreciate this creative community – this outlet, the sharing of thoughts and feelings – you definitely have another think coming.  “Meeting” you all has broadened my horizons (and my backside from all this sitting at the keyboard and hours reading “just one more blog”).  And I appreciate you all.  You make me laugh, think, cry, learn and feel.  Where else can you get all that?

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving.  If you think I’m going to count calories today – you’ve got another think coming.  On this Thanksgiving – I am so thankful for family, friends, work, play, and loose stretchy pants.

What are you thankful for?  Do you have any more “thinks” coming?

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Stuck in the Middle (Age) with You

I seem to be mired in a deep rut these days.  The sides are slippery and I feel like even if I could climb out of it, there is a deep sink hole waiting to swallow me up just outside this rut.  So maybe I’ll stay right here.  This is that crazy time “Middle Age”*** – can’t quite pull off young and not yet ready for the retirement home.  Somewhere between having to worry about birth control and funeral arrangements.  Here are ten truths I’ve discovered about middle age:

1.  I had it good back in the day.

But I didn’t know it.  I thought I was fat. Now I am all set for the next famine.  I had boundless energy.  Now I can barely lift the remote.  I could play poker all night, work all day, and sling meals effortlessly. Now I can barely make reservations.  I managed a household on top of a full time job and 2 robust and active boys.  Now I manage to get from the bed to work to the couch and call it a good day.

Someone is bound to notice this hairdo.

2.  Beauty is a full time job.

In my younger days, I could still turn a few heads (especially if those heads had been drinking).  Getting dolled up meant enhancing my natural assets with a touch of mascara and lip gloss.  Now I fill wrinkles with spackle and cover age spots with a thick layer of “age defying” shellac. Even industrial strength hair coloring cannot cover what is growing out of my head, and my chin hairs are alarming in both their length and strength.  My moustache is envied by Justin Bieber.  I’d give myself a pedicure if I could reach (or even see) my toes.  But I don’t know why I bother because…

3.  You become invisible.

Somewhere around 43 or 44 you will become invisible – no matter how beautiful (or loud, or funny) you are.  Children are cute, youngsters are hip and savvy.  Oldsters are entitled to respect and senior discounts.  You are just there – sort of – if anyone even notices.  All those things you thought you’d do if you were invisible – not happening.

20120310 Amazon motorized scooter

 I traded my roller blades for this (Photo credit: kbrookes)

4.  Half the distance takes you twice as long. 

I can no longer open jars by myself, my eyesight is failing faster than my vision insurance covers new lenses, and my teeth are wearing down.  I have fillings older than many billionaire CEO whippersnappers and they are working loose at an alarming rate (the fillings – not the CEOs).  My joints are achy and any rapid movements could land me in traction.  While I don’t yet need a hover-round, I am not exactly zipping about on foot, either.  I’ve traded sexy shoes for comfortable ones.  I spend 2 hours a day on exercise – an hour dreading it, half an hour trying to talk myself into it (by promising myself a bowl of ice cream afterward), and 30 minutes letting the dog drag me down the sidewalk.

5.  Your brain will let you down.

I can’t remember things.  Except at 3:00 a.m.  Then I remember the name I couldn’t recall when I saw that old acquaintance today.  I remember what I meant to get at the grocery store but couldn’t remember where I left my list.  I remember birthdays on the day of – too late to send a card, but if I’m lucky, not too late to call or Skype, if I could remember where my cell phone is or remember my Skype password.  I remember to feed the dog when she begins gnawing on my leg.  Then I remember I meant to get dog food.

6.  Your life is filled with wonder.

You wonder why bad things happen to good people.  You wonder how many times a heart can break.  You wonder how a One Minute Manager can make 8 hours seem like a year.  You wonder why liars, abusers, thieves, perverts, killers and other rat-bastards get to breathe the same air as the most innocent child.  You wonder if you’ve done enough with your life.  You wonder what you did to deserve the bounty you’ve been given.  You wonder why monogamy seems so hard for so many.  You wonder if you’ll be remembered for your wit or your chocolate chip cookies, or for walking around with your skirt tucked up in your pantyhose.  You wonder why it takes 10 minutes to consume a pan of brownies but 7 hours on the treadmill to get rid of them.  You wonder where in the hell you left your car keys.

7.  You have enemies.

Time, insomnia, karma, and gravity.

8.  You start hanging out with well-educated rich people.

Pharmacists, orthopedists, ophthalmologists and MDs.

9.  Your roles change.

Your children are grown, even if they still live in the basement.  You’ve imparted all the lessons you’re gonna give ‘em –  they still know more than you (for a few more years, at least).  Your parents are off enjoying their retirements and spending your inheritance.  They’ve imparted all the lessons they’re gonna give you and they still know more than you (for a few more years, at least).  You get to worry about both and can control neither.

10.  This is the time of your life.

You’ve done a lot of hard work.  You watch your children work to find their way in this world, and you remember the journey.  You know who you are and what you are.  You’ve seen enough to know what is coming down the road…if you live long enough you’ll lose family members, friends, acquaintances and co-workers to disease or accidents.  You enjoy the health you have left, even as you feel it slipping away.  You will never again be as young as you are today.  Youth and beauty may be leaving you in the dust, but you know that experience, wisdom and treachery trump all that, anyway.

***I am middle-aged if my life expectancy is 114.

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