Four happies and a crappy

A few random happies mid-week…

Mad Men is back. It’s been 18 months since Don Draper suddenly proposed to his too-young Canadian secretary and Joan opted to keep Roger’s child and deceive her husband; I’ve been dying to know what happens next. I’m so excited it’s back. I was giddy watching the premier last night. Megan seems crazy. Lane Pryce is right there with her. Roger and Don are suddenly the same guy. And, Peggy sure looks fantastic, though I’m curious about her boyfriend, the journalist for “some underground papers.” Very, very interesting.

• Easter candy is almost out of season. Between the Reese’s peanut butter eggs, Cadbury eggs, and Cadbury mini-eggs, it’s a miracle I can still zip up my pants.  Of all the holiday candy, Easter is my favorite, so I’m not going to feel guilty about it. There is only a week left and I’m going to enjoy it, but I’ll be very happy to see it go for another year.

• Sunday, I had my first t-shirt trail run, proof (beyond the puffy eyes and drippy nose) that spring is definitely on the way. The weather over the weekend was so nice. Saturday, there was sunshine for the Celtic Faire downtown, the highlight of which was the giant bag of kettle corn I took home. T-shirts, kettle corn, and sunshine runs have all combined to put me in the spring spirit. (I wonder how far I’d have to run to burn off my Easter candy. I probably don’t want to know.)

• My nightmares stopped. After weeks of waking up every night between 1:30 and 2:30 from a horrible nightmare (sometimes two in a night!), I started keeping a notepad by my bed. I wanted to remember the nightmares so I could potentially figure out what was going on in my brain. Well, almost immediately, the nightmares stopped. The notepad is still on my nightstand with only a few cryptic notes about a dream I had about moving into a really small house with a large sliding glass door. This is the only time writer’s block has been helpful.

And, the crappy…

• Barley has a strange growth on his shoulder that needs to be checked out. It’s been getting bigger and now Dougal is licking it and making it bleed. Those two vex me in pairs. I admit I’ve been dragging my heels a few weeks in making the vet appointment. I’m afraid it’s something really bad and I don’t want to face it. (This has been a banner year for crap news. I swear a new bit of awful drops on my head every month or two.) I know how stupid it is to wait; nothing ever got better by letting it fester. So, I’m making the appointment. I’ll keep you all posted. His appointment is Saturday.

Let my laziness serve as a warning

Physical therapy works, but only if you do it. Such is the lesson I’m now learning since my shoulders have organized another coup against me. Ug. The pain. You’d think I would have learned the first time around, right? Not so much. My Shoulder Impingement Syndrome (aka Broken Shoulder Disease) is back again and I have no one but myself to blame. The physical therapist warned me that if I stopped doing the therapy exercises, I’d start hurting again. Yet, I stopped doing the therapy and I’ve started hurting again.

As punishment, I’m doing my exercises and stretches on my dirty office floor. For 15 minutes, I shut my door at lunch, get down on the floor, and, using two grapefruits as weights (all I can muster in my deteriorated state, unfortunately), stretch and strain and try not to inhale the wood chips I track in on my shoes. There’s something humbling about being face down on your office floor. It puts a lot of things into perspective.

I tell you about this now to hold myself accountable (shame is a powerful motivator, second only to chocolate) and to warn you to learn from my mistakes. Do your physical therapy, even if it’s boring and lame, and forces you to be face down on the floor, trying not to permanently crease your nose. The therapy was miserable the first time around, but it’s worse now that I have the added ache of knowing it’s my own damn fault my shoulders hurt again. Remind me of this lesson when I quit again in a few months. (It’s a sign of wisdom to accept your own shortcomings.)

Beware of ghosts and crazy girls in public locker rooms

Several times over the last few weeks, I’ve walked into the locker room at the gym to find a sobbing, puffy-faced girl sprawled out across an entire bench, her clothes strewn all over the floor, her shower items still in the shower, and a trail of wet towels leading the way. When she’s not crying, she’s talking loudly on the phone about crying. Frankly, the girl is a mess and she’s making me crazy.

This morning, she hit a new low.

As I walked in, I smelled her perfume (oily vanilla, yuck) and braced myself. She was sitting on the bench and it looked like she’d just woken up.

Crazy: “I’m so glad you’re here. Now I can take a shower!”

Me: “Wha?”

Crazy: “I can’t take a shower alone because the ghosts will get me.”

Me: “Uh….ghosts?”

Crazy: “You know, the ghosts that get you in the shower.”

At this point, I figured there was no more I needed to know about this nut. I took my shower, navigating through her piles of clothes, towels, electronics, and beauty products, and kept quiet, watching for locker room ghosts. Consider yourselves warned, independent shower-takers!

A challenge update and a mad rush into politics

I think the writing challenge may have worked a little too well. I’m writing something that is turning long and interesting, and I hesitate to say it might be really good. I’m not exactly neglecting the challenge; I’ve just gotten carried away with something unexpectedly creative and impossible to wrap up succinctly. I want to sit on this egg a bit longer before I share it.

But, that doesn’t mean I have nothing to say here. I have a few things floating around my brain. I’ve been writing since 4:30 this morning (a Saturday even) and there’s still a bit of juice left.

Have you ever worked really hard to make everything different and you suddenly wake up to realize everything is different? Well, that’s how it’s been the last few weeks. Everything feels different in a good way. Maybe it’s the vitamins or the accumulated effects of beets, but, after months of trying and feeling only glacial progress, things do feel different. It’s cliched to say I feel that weights have been lifted, but cliches only become cliches because they are true on some level. I feel lighter.

Well, I feel lighter until I hear Rush Limbaugh calling everyone a slut. How a man who forced his housekeeper to score his pills can complain about anyone else’s LEGAL behavior is beyond my comprehension. He makes me sick. The whole Republican primary makes me sick. But instead of wallowing in the sick, I’ll savor my birth control pills, not because they allow me to be a prostitute, but because they regulate my moods and keep me from falling apart two weeks a month. In spite of what Rush and his ilk believe, there’s nothing slutty about that. In fact, not everything is about sex. I challenge him to have monthly cramps, migraines, and mood swings, and then tell me how it is women should behave.

I suspect these old white men are threatened by a recession that has hit men harder than women and a series of culture changes that have them feeling superior to no one anymore. Without racial minorities and gays to kick around, they are suddenly equal to everyone else, and equal doesn’t suit the arrogant blowhards very well, it seems. So, they attack women, minorities, and gays, trying to bring back the imbalances from which they’ve profited for decades. I feel sorry for them.

I know I shouldn’t talk politics here, but I did anyway. It’s probably because of all the wild, crazy sex the government is paying me to have. I’ve gone off the rails. (I love that expression.)

Have a great Saturday!

A proposed writing challenge

As you may have noticed, I’ve been neglecting my blog for a while. I haven’t been writing as much as I should and, what I have been writing is entirely work related and not very interesting. In fact, my creativity is being sucked out of my butt. Seeing that, I got on the google machine and found this writing challenge. I don’t think I could do it every day; my goal would be three times a week. My only concern is that no one would really enjoy reading these kinds of posts. So, I’m asking for feedback. Does this look like something any of you would want to read? Could you handle a detour into fiction writing? Let me know what you think. Thanks! — A


Day 1 —Select a book at random in the room.  Find a novel or short story, copy down the last sentence and use this line as the first line of your new story.

Day 2 —Tell about a character who lost something important to him/her.

Day 3 —Write about the worst time you’ve ever put your foot in your mouth.

Day 4 —Write a story/excerpt to include the line, “Sorry, we can’t insure you for a journey like that.”

Day 5 —Pick a letter of the alphabet.  Now imagine two aisles of your local supermarket.  List everything found in those two aisles that begin with that letter of the alphabet.

Day 6 —Write about a person who would buy all of those items in Day 5.

Day 7 —What sets you apart from the crowd?

Day 8 —Tell your life story from someone else’s point of view.

Day 9 —What was your favorite childhood toy?

Day 10 —What do you want to be remembered for?

Day 12 —What is your favorite day of the week?

Day 13 —Write about a random picture you would find in an envelope of finished prints at Costco.

Day 14 —Elvis still gets 100 Valentines each year.  Tell about one of the people who sent one.

Day 15 — Create a character who is falsely accused of a crime.

Day 16 —If we assume ghosts are real, what type of ghost would you like to see?

Day 17 — Write a short scenario set in the kitchen of a fast-food restaurant.

Day 18 —Take a reader behind the wheel with the worst driver you’ve ever known.

Day 19 —Write a list of 25 (or just 5!) things you want to do in your life.

Day 20 —If you could go on only one more vacation in your lifetime, where would you go and why?

Day 21 —Find a job ad in the paper.  Write about your life if you had that job.

Day 22 —You wake up with a key gripped tightly in your hand.  How did you get this key?  What does it lock or unlock?

Day 23 —Pretend you’re a cartoon character.  What type of a character would you be?  What would a day in your life be like?

Day 24 —Write about the longest amount of time you’ve ever gone without sleeping.

Day 26 —Write about your worst habit.

Day 27 —Make up a near-death experience (unless you have a real one).

Day 28 —You read about yourself in your brother/sister, girlfriend/boyfriend’s diary.  What did you read?

Day 29 —You are at a cemetery reading gravestones.  Write about one of the people you find.

Day 30 —Write a short entry that ends with the line, “The silver dust of moonlight settled coldly on the night.”