Checking in

Hi, all.

So sorry to have disappeared there for a while. I can’t seem to keep up with life lately. Here are a few highlights …

* Got a new bed. Seems to be better on my back.
* I’ve got a new work schedule: M, T, Th, F. Wednesday is for physical therapy, tango lessons, and just generally keeping my body moving.
* I’ve got a great new chair at work and it helps a lot.
* Both my doc and my private pilates instructor says that they can really see improvements. So, that’s good news. I definitely feel better after exercising but I’m having a hard time getting motivated to make time to do it every day.
* My aging dog’s little peeing randomly problem has worsened. I’m going to have to clean the couch. Again. I’m making him wear a diaper now pretty much all the time.
* My work laptop died.
* My most favoritest, best of all time, God’s-gift-to-engineers manager finally got fed up with all of the political undercutting and general crap at work and found himself a better job. Bummer for me, but I say more power to him. I may have great benefits at my company but the culture basic disrespect and pervasive sucky people skills makes me wonder daily if it’s worth it. Now that he’s gone that means I have to take on some of his responsibilities until they find our group a new manager. So, busy busy busy at work and since I’m only there 4 days a week, it feels like there’s less time for LJ.
* In the meantime, we have had to had to undergo a project review by antagonistic people who don’t want to see us succeed.
* I’m currently near Montecito (at Pacifica for my weekend workshop series) on a much needed break from taking the world way too seriously.

I’m sure there’s more. But that’s what comes to mind for now. Oh, and I want a chocolate chip cookie. Bad. Can someone fax me one?

Fuzz Ball Drama

Over the past few days, Doo doesn’t seem to finish his meals. He is as excited as ever in anticipation of eating. But then he sorta peters out 85% of the way through. This wouldn’t be such a big deal except that this means he doesn’t eat all of his pills. Some are just supplements and its no big deal if he doesn’t get them every day. But stuff like the anti-dementia drugs are important (and cost like $2 a pill).

It used to be that I could pry his mouth open and do the force feeding trick where I stick it in on the back of his tongue and clamp his mouth shut and massage his throat until he swallows and sticks his tongue out. But he’s REALLY sensitive about me touching his mouth now. I had him checked out a month or two ago just to make sure that there’s nothing wrong with his teeth. There’s not. He’s just wound up. Finally, I got his mouth open this morning but I couldn’t get the anti-crazy pill in before he bit down. He NEVER bites me. He’s not an aggressive dog. I think he’s just freaking out because he’s scared and doesn’t understand what’s going on. Of course, if he ate his damn anti-kookoo pill, that might help things a bit.

But he made a hell of a dent in my finger which hurt like a $#@!& and sent me into a rage. Grrrrr.

Dog – 1.
Human – 0.

So, I swatted him on the ass. Hard. Which I vowed I would never do in anger, but I was fucking pissed and not thinking clearly. And then I cried because I felt so bad because I worry about him so much and what if this is his last day and I was mean to him and so on and so on. It’s sad enough that he has to spend most of his days now in diapers, caged in a 5×4-ish area now. I let him go without the diaper yesterday, hoping that maybe since he hadn’t been messing his diaper lately that the cycle was broken. But no. So, I got home yesterday–the worst cramping day of my period–and had to clean the floor and his bed and give him a bath and then do the laundry for all the towels, etc.

I feel so sorry for him. The only thing that makes it all OK is that, most of the time, when he isn’t sleeping or freaking out about food or getting bathed, his spirits are good and he is really a positive, loving little guy. It would kill me if he were depressed on top of all of this.

Random bits

It has been a perfect 80 degrees for two days in a row. Yesterday, the sky was so blue it could have burned a hole in your brain if you looked at it too long.

I have ridden my bike to work three days this week. Day one sucked. I had no idea I was so out of shape. But I made it up the big hill today without having to resort to the easy gear. Added bonus: crab apple flowers are coming out and they smell deelish.

I love my boyfriend. He’s a good man with a big heart and an appreciative eye.

I’m getting a fat tax return. Every year, I learn a little more about what I can deduct. (I think I missed about $600 of deductible stuff last year.) Last year, it hit me that I could deduct a surprising amount for charity donations and I vowed to figure out how much and then just do that much. Then I let it slip. I vow to do that this year. That’s that much more that could go directly to schools and hospitals and non-profits and not to making enemies faster than we can kill them.

It’s Friday and I’m going home now.

Magnolia and Passover

The other night, for some background and a little dinner companionship, I plugged in one of my favorite movies: Magnolia. If you’ve never seen, it’s a must see. There’s a lot going on in this movie. It’s so rich with layers and dimensions that I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it and I just now really got it. And what timing (Passover). The movie is basically about personal Exodus. (I saw all the “8” and “2” references pointing to Exodus 8:2:

If you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your borders with frogs.

It’s about all of these people suffering at the hands of past decisions or experiences (i.e, “pharaohs”) that still enslave them. And their lives are just spiralling downward and they just keep making things worse for themselves because they don’t know how to break out of it. And, at the climax of the movie, when it starts to pour frogs from the sky, everyone either suddenly gets a glimpse of a different, better life or the falling frogs stop them from making their next really bad mistake.

And, of course, there’s the rapper kid at the beginning of the movie (who cryptically rats his murderous father out to the cop). His rap is about running from a “long time oppressor”. And he sums it up by saying, “If sunshine don’t work, then the good lord bring the rain in.”

Like, if you can’t snap out of your sorry ass patterns when the sun is shining, then the “good lord” will make it rain and see if that snaps you out of it. And ain’t that so true? I mean, how many times have we all hit some new low and we could have sat there whining about our misfortune but instead we have an epiphany or find some inner strength we didn’t know we had? And then slowly but finaly we turn in a new direction.

Duh. You could have knocked me over with a frog.

Edit: OK, you are probably all saying, “But what about Stanley the quiz kid”? You’re right: Stanley isn’t part of this self-oppressing pattern. He’s wise beyond his years. And, as Donny implies, “No, it is not dangerous to confuse children with angels.”

Now, can someone explain to me the title of the movie?

Slowly but surely

After all of the leaning and scrubbing of aforementioned canine bowel disaster, my back was killing me by Sunday night. I could barely help Hermes with cooking Sunday’s dinner since anything involving standing in one place or sitting upright (much less elevating my arms to use a kinfe) just pulled all of my attention to the dull pain. And since I don’t really like cooking but once a year, I was a bear to be around.

Once dinner was ready, Hermes looked at me lovingly and said, “Don’t ever cook with me again.” 🙂 Cooking is one of his passions and it’s a real disappointment for him that I don’t share it. That it, in fact, makes me cranky. But I try to pitch in because I feel guilty that he’s doing all the work. But then he sees me get tired and cranky and he feels guilty like he’s making me do something that’s hurting me. So, we cut a deal. He’ll cook. I’ll clean. My only stipulation is that he start with a clean kitchen so that I’m not cleaning like *multiple meals* worth of kitchen mess.

Monday was tough in terms of pain but the weather was great and I rode my bike for 4 2-3 mile stretches. Boy, am I out of shape. But it was all good. Bicycling really helps me locate the core muscles I need to lengthen and strengthen. I biked over to see my back doc at the end of the day and when I hopped on the table, I could feel that my lower back almost touched it! She noticed it right away too and said that I’ve already dropped about an inch back. (It used to be that I couldn’t flatten my back to the wall if my life depended on it.)

I’ve been checking it out today and that back position seems to be holding pretty well without me doing any muscling of it. Hooray! It feels much nicer than what I used to have.

Also in the good news department, my new bed arrived today. If you recall, back in August, when I got back from India, I was commenting how comfortably and easily I slept, on my back no less, when I was just sleeping on foam padding on a board over there. At the time, I decided to get a new bed, but never got a round tuit. Well, I got one this weekend. Hermes and I cruised the bed stores on Saturday and tried all different sorts, and shor nuf, dense latex foam was the thing that gave my back great support all along the length without feeling like a board or swallowing me up. And, even better, the mattress company promises they’ll rebuild it to customize it for me if after 3 weeks it’s not working for me. And, just to take the edge off of forking out yet again this month a sizeable chunk of change, the mattress company carted off my old mattress and donated it to FEMA. Sleep tight, Brownie.

Another One Bites the Dust

I have resisted for years. I have stood strong. I have scorned the general rudeness and self-importance of cell phone users. I have given icy stares to people talking loudly enough to make it impossible for me to paste together a cohesive thought in my blissfully silent inner world. I have huffily gotten up from the table when my shared company interrupted our conversation to take a call, assuming I would raptly and agreeably sit and wait for them to finish handling something wholely non-urgent. And now I have been assimilated. Yes, I believe I can already feel a radiation tumor starting to stir behind my right ear. The NSA now has one more line for which they have no legal blocks to monitor conversations for seditious intent encoded in the mundane euphemisms of “Hi, honey, I’m at the grocery store. What do you want for dinner tonight?” and “Hey, I’m running late. I should be home in about 15 minutes.” My current phone number should follow me to my new cell phone within the next few days. And when it does, I’ll be cancelling my home phone service.

This means that I now have to make good on that vow I made to a month and a half ago. And I quote:

I vow that, one day, when I get a cell phone and I probably will eventually succumb because of changing social demands on my availability and the dwindling supply of public phones, I will keep my conversations in public places
(1) short and task-oriented.
(2) directed towards a wall or a floor or something that will absorb the sound so that other people around me don’t have to listen to it.
(3) out of situations in which others are waiting for me to finish so that they can have a prearranged interaction with me (e.g., dinner table, service counter, etc.).

Let me also add one: When not alone in the car, I will not make phone calls unless they are urgent/timely (like getting directions to where I’m going) and I have asked for and received permission from all those trapped in the vehicle with me. Let’s see how I do now that I’ve gone over to the “other side”. Anyone have any suggestions for where I could download some un-stentorian, un-obstreperous, non-“hey, everyone, isn’t my noisy ring tone cool” ring tones? As much as Bill Lumbergh would amuse me, I think something like nature sounds would be kinder. I’m thinking, “wolf howling”, “crickets chirping”, “thunder clapping”, that sort of thing. It has to be reasonably real sounding. Not some Casio “my first synthesizer” mock ups.

As for my 7 month Vonage experiment, let’s just say that you get what you pay for. $15/month seemed like a great deal except that people would call me and my phone wouldn’t ring. Or it would ring once and I’d pick up and there would be no one there. At first, I had trouble getting it set up to broadcast the calls through the entire house via the old analog lines. They sent me from initial tech support, to tech support in India, to tech support in the US, and by then the call quality was so bad I had trouble understanding the guy. I never did get call broadcasting in the house to work. So, I resorted to having only one phone that was tied to my cable modem. Then I had problems with calls getting dropped in the middle of the conversation. (Tech support fixed those, mostly.) But they never responded to any of my lesser complaints filed via the web. The customer service guy simply explained that they were growing too fast to keep up with their workload. When I called today to talk to Vonage about closing out my account, the guy asked me if I had also tried contacting my internet provider about my Vonage phone problems. I’m like, “Dude, phones are supposed to make my life easier. I have other things to do with my time than to get caught in the middle of buck-passing.”

Except I said it more diplomatically. Because I’m swell that way.

Trust me, you don’t want to know the details.

So, tango on Friday didn’t happen. We were all set to go, and I zipped home from work to feed dog and change clothes. But there was one little factor that I hadn’t given its due. Doo had found his way into a forgotten package of Oreos on Thursday night and had a snack orgy. He seemed fine (albeit a little sluggish) Friday morning (although he pooped a lot on the morning walk) and so I didn’t think to cage him for the day (which I usually only do under special circumstances). When I came home from work on Friday, there had been a shit explosion.

Let me take this moment to congratulate myself for having the foresight to have ripped out the carpet a couple years ago and put in bamboo floors.

So, Friday night turned into “Spring Cleaning” night. It took a scrubbing, a wiping, a vacuuming, and a mopping. And that was just the floor. Then I hand washed the 5×9 wool rug in my tub. And I scrubbed the living room rug with Nature’s Miracle and then wet vac’d it. I saved the couch cushions for a weekend day when the suns rays could disinfect them. My main floor is now cleaner than it has been since I don’t know when.

At least they were wheat free Newman-O’s. 🙂