Friday, June 18, 2010

Do Dried-Up Prunes Have Creative Juices?

As I was struggling to design a scrapbook layout today, I thought of the term "creative juices".  I'm not sure what those consist of, but I'm pretty sure menopause dried mine out.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This is My Blog and I'll Complain if I Want To...

There has been a lot of heated discussion on the Cricut messageboard in the last few days because of the new Cricut Circle membership club.  I for one was a little annoyed that I wasn't in the first round of invitees because of the way it was promoted (Provocraft made it seem as if many of us were being excluded).  But I wasn't angry with any fellow messageboard members because of it. However, I was dismayed to read a lot of name calling and general disrespect of others.

I'm not perfect (as any of my children would gladly testify), but I would also never intentionally say something hurtful to anyone else just because our opinions happened to differ.  I've seen people verbally attacked because they were upset at not being invited to join the club, and others have had their choice to join ridiculed.  For the most part, though, what I saw were people voicing their varying opinions in a respectful way.

I am greatly distressed at those people who feel it is their personal responsibility to correct the behavior of everyone else.  People complain about others who complain, which I find to be utter nonsense.  I'm sure I don't need to explain why that's so wrong.  If I'm on a messageboard and don't like what I see, I move on to something else.  If someone mentions they spent money on something I wouldn't buy, or spent more money than I think something is worth, or they buy something expensive even though a few days prior they were complaining about their personal finances, I don't feel it is my responsibility to make judgments about their personal choices.

What has really disturbed me the most, though, are those self-righteous people who, in a very judgmental way, chastise others who are complaining about minor things because "there are bigger problems going on in the world".  Yes, I realize people are dying, people are fighting cancer, people are facing unemployment and foreclosure on their homes, and the world generally sucks sometimes.  We all have hardships from time to time.  Not everyone who is facing difficulties has the desire to inform the world of those problems.  It doesn't mean we aren't dealing with trials and tribulations of our own.  Sometimes when life gets to be a little too problematic we choose to deal with it by focusing on something that isn't as serious.  It doesn't mean we are trivializing anyone's problems, especially our own.  We just need an outlet for our stress and anxiety. 

I remember when I was in the ICU waiting room while my sister was hospitalized and not expected to live.  She was only 42 years old and had suffered complications after a relatively-minor surgery.  The rest of the world kept going.  I couldn't comprehend that other people were laughing and enjoying themselves while my world was falling apart.  But I didn't lash out at them. 

Seven years later, I was sitting in the same ICU waiting room after my mother had suffered a brain hemmorhage.  Again, I watched as other people laughed and enjoyed light-hearted conversations.  It's surreal to watch the world go by when yours feels as if it's crashing down around you.  My mother died two weeks later, and I was devastated.  It was difficult to watch the rest of the world go on as if nothing tragic had happened, but I didn't climb a clock tower with an automatic weapon.  I understood that with six billion people on the planet, there are six billion different life experiences.  If someone is having a good time and I don't feel like having fun at that moment, I step away.  Likewise, if someone is complaining about something that I think is trivial at that particular moment, I don't reprimand them--I distance myself from the situation if possible.

The world will never be an easy place in which to live.  Evil exists.  People can be unkind.  Sickness and death will never go away.  Even innocent children suffer.  You and I might disagree in a most profound way.  But let's respect each other and try our best not to make life more difficult than it has to be.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Complaining About Complaining

Don't you just love it when someone complains about someone else's complaining???  Especially when they throw in comments like "put on your big girl panties".  Makes me want to take a dump in my big girl panties and toss it in their direction.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Non-vite (or Un-vitation) from Cricut

Well, the fine folks at Provocraft have joined the ranks of the high-end clothing designers in attempting to divide us into classes--those who matter and those who don't.  I don't.

When I first toyed with the idea of buying the Cricut, I hesitated because of the ongoing expense of buying cartridges.  But it was such a fun crafting tool that I let myself get drawn in.  In the 18 months since I bought my first machine, I have purchased over 60 cartridges, two more cutting machines, two copies of Design Studio software, a Cuttlebug and  a YourStory machine.  Somehow, this doesn't qualify me for inclusion into the exclusive "Cricut Circle". 

This really shouldn't bother me because it's a marketing ploy, the same one used by top-of-the-line handbag designers who charge a ridiculous amount of money for a bag that, although well-made, isn't really that much better than one that can be purchased for 90% less.  I'm no psychologist, but I believe I understand the concept that by marketing a product only a select few can buy (whether for financial reasons or simply that it isn't available to the "masses"), you create a frenzy where people will do almost anything to own your product so that they can feel like a member of the "special club".

It sucks.

Yes, I feel excluded.  It's irrational, but it feels like a slap in the face that I wasn't included in the "top 3% of loyal customers" (or whatever verbage they used to make the invitees feel like plunking down $275 to be part of the club). 

So thanks Provocraft for making me feel like the high school girl who wasn't invited to the dance.  I think I'll take my cartridge money and buy a big ol' freezer-ful of ice cream.

Dinner and a Trip to Costco

I've never been one to attend "events"  Unless by "event" you mean early dinner on Saturday followed by a trip to Costco with two kids in tow.

I want to be the type person who goes to "events".  Maybe it's because I've spent so much of my life watching daytime dramas (aka soap operas). Everyone on those shows goes to special events on a regular basis.  Doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, you'll be invited to all the formal affairs, and you'll go dressed to kill (and sometimes you do).

Every day I get those email "invitations" to spend money on some sort of bargain merchandise.  I think the only requirement to receive these "special invitations" is your willingness to hand over your email address.  They figure once they have that piece of information they'll keep tempting you with their wares until they break you down.  Today's special was Badgley Mischka eveningwear. I have long dreamed of owning one of these gorgeous gowns.  To hang in my closet.  I don't do "events". 

Like most young girls, I dreamed of a day when I could be "glamorous".  Have perfect hair and makeup, wear my beautiful gown, and go somewhere special on the arm of a handsome prince man.  Even my wedding wasn't that fabulous.

I've scaled back my dreams.  Now I just long for a romantic dinner where I can wear a simple dress and my husband presents himself in something other than faded jeans and a t-shirt.  And a babysitter would be nice.

As disappointing as the realization is, I'm pretty sure that when they were designing their beautiful gowns Mr. Badgley and Mr. Mischka didn't have me in mind.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

School's Out for Summer, Again

Now that the kids are out of school for summer, rather than whine about it I'll focus on the positives:
  • No more fighting to get the kids out of bed (at least not before noon)
  • Laundry can wait--they'll just get dirty again anyway, and no one's around to call child-protective services
  • With a little cooperation from the kids, I can sleep 'til noon
  • No homework to cry about (and the kids won't have to stress about it, either)
  • I don't have to drive to pick anyone up in the afternoon, so happy hour can start at lunch
  • There will now actually be an audience when I rant and throw things
  • I can justify spending all day by the pool because I'm "watching the kids"
  • August will come again

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pimp My Cane

I never wanted to need a cane.  When the physical therapist told me I should start using one, she might as well have handed me a hearing aid and a box of Depends. But I stopped on my way home and bought it anyway (the cane, not the diapers).

As soon as I got home I started practicing.  The better I can walk with it, the less attention I'll draw to myself.  If I could fade into the background completely you'd get no complaints from me. Using the cane at home doesn't bother me.  Using it in public does.  Yeah, I'm vain.  

As soon as my 11-year-old granddaughter (the one who knows everything) saw me with the cane, she couldn't resist pointing out the obvious:  "Nothing personal, but that cane makes you look like an old lady."

I'm not dealing well with this "aging" thing.  I'm not real thrilled with the alternative, either. 

Well, I've been thinking.  Maybe I can make the cane look a little more "hip".  (Hip. I hope that isn't the next bone I break.)  Lets see-- I could hang some glittery streamers from the hand grip.  Or what about a cool paint job?  Maybe some red and yellow flames up the sides.  (Oh wait, that was an episode of House.) Who am I kidding?  Nothing is going to hide the fact that it's a cane.

So yes, little Miss Know-it-all, I am getting old.  Nothing personal, but when the time comes you're first in line to change my diaper.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Physical Therapy or Cricut Cartridges?

I had my third physical therapy session on Thursday.  My understanding was that I would have two sessions per week, but I was never told for how long.  I guess as long as I was willing to pay, they'd find something to keep me busy.

The first two visits were helpful, even if the therapists were sometimes rude and condescending.  On the third visit I had yet another therapist. She was less insulting, and actually complimented my ability to walk with my new cane.  But I can't say she was especially helpful.  For the most part she had me repeating the same exercises I was doing at home.  At least I think that's what she had me doing.  She was busy with three patients at once, so I was never quite sure what her instructions were before she was on to the next person.  And she didn't seem to know what I had done previously even though she had my chart in front of her.  Based on the few questions she asked, I guess that's because the previous therapist failed to document much of anything.

By the end of the session, when I wasn't given any new exercises for home (heck, I wasn't even told to continue the ones I was already doing), I had pretty much decided I could finish my rehab at home in front of the tv.  And as I was paying my copay on the way out, it occurred to me that for what I paid out-of-pocket for each visit, I could be buying myself a new Cricut cartridge.  Now that would be money well spent.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Demoralized, But Not Defeated

Today I walked into my second physical therapy session feeling pretty darned proud of myself.  I left feeling totally lame (yeah, I mean it both ways).

A week ago I went for my first session.  Just five days earlier, I had gotten the okay from my surgeon to start bearing weight on my leg gradually.  No more than 25 to 50 pounds for the first week, he said.  The doctor had instructed me that after the first week was behind me I could start trying to wean myself from the boot and crutches, one at a time.  He seemed to indicate that within a few weeks I might have accomplished one or the other, but not necessarily both. In light of the weight restrictions,  I was quite surprised when on day one of therapy I was told to try walking without my crutches.  According to the doctor it was still too soon to put my full weight on my left leg, but I did as I was told (frankly, I wasn't thinking about the doctor's instructions at that point).  The physical therapist worked with me through a series of exercises, showed me how to walk on one crutch, and advised me to wear my boot for protection if I was going outside my house.

Back home I started doing my exercises twice daily, just as I was told.  I stopped wearing the boot almost immediately (I HATED that thing!), and within a couple of days I ditched the crutches, too.  Try as I might to increase the flexibility and strength of my ankle, about all I could do was hobble around the house.  Still I thought I was doing pretty well for someone who hadn't walked in seven weeks. 

My second physical therapy appointment was scheduled for this morning, less than two weeks after my visit to the doctor.  And I wondered...should I wear the boot?  Walk in on crutches?  No, I decided there would be no steps backward for me.  I was going to limp in on my own two feet with my head held high, and if the therapist reprimanded me for not taking the proper precautions this early in the game, so be it.

Little did I know I'd have a different therapist today.  Maybe she thought I was several months post-op.  After all, I wasn't wearing a boot or walking with crutches.  Or maybe I just looked like someone who needed a verbal smackdown.  But almost as soon as the introductions were made, the belittling began.  It wasn't so much what she said as how she said it.  "Is that as far as you can flex your ankle?  Your goal should be that the left ankle bends as far as the right!!!"  "If you keep walking with that limp, you're going to have hip and knee problems, too!!!"  Lady, did I just walk into physical therapy or a faith healing session???  Did I miss the part where, through the power of God, you smacked my forehead with the heel of your hand and told me to throw down my crutches and walk???  I had been doing everything I was told.  But if I hadn't been told yet, I had no way of knowing what to do.  And if I already knew the proper steps to total recovery, would I be paying out of my own nearly-empty pockets for the privilege of driving out of my way to sit in a crowded room practicing what I could do in the privacy of my home,  for free???!!!

I did learn a few things today:  The stride I take with my right leg should match the left; a cane will make it much easier for me to walk correctly; I should walk as slowly as necessary so that I don't limp; and I should have known all this before I entered the Hallowed Halls of Physical Therapy.

Smack me down as many times as you want.  I'll get back up.  And when I have the strength, I'll stand firmly on my left foot and kick your ass.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

LOST: Third Time's a Charm

I got my wish.  The series finale was replayed with commentary.  Still, it wasn't what I had in mind.  But in The End (pun intended), it was what I truly wanted all along.

The pop-up comments really only served one purpose--to remind us of previous events that tied in with what was currently playing onscreen.  While this was helpful, it didn't give any new insight into the creators' minds. However, realizing just how much I have forgotten from one show to the next (not to mention from season to season), I am excited at the prospect of watching the entire series again to gain new perspective.

We all wanted answers.  We were promised answers.  Even though the questions weren't answered as we expected, we got what we needed.  Would it really have been as gratifying if we had been told what it meant?  Or is the satisfaction found in our own interpretations?  Isn't it much more rewarding to think and discuss what it meant to us?

And so after watching The End for a second time, my verdict is that it is probably the best ending to the best drama ever seen on television.