Category Archives: Life’s Curveballs

Burned

Burned.

Some time ago, someone I considered a friend decided our friendship was too much of a bother. All communication was cut. No explanations, no apologies. I spun scenarios in my head, trying to determine how I messed things up, what I did to cause such a rift to happen. Nothing made sense, every recollection seemed normal. I worried I had hurt feelings, made possible transgressions that were not easy to forgive. In public the banter is still friendly when our paths cross, adding to the confusion. It seemed disconnected, forced.

And then I realized that all I had done wrong was offer an ear. I’m a big believer that a trouble shared is a trouble halved. I lent my shoulder and my ear, and perhaps sharing was something akin to breaking a confidence. I’ll never know. It’s a habit of mine to reach out and try to help others when they are distressed or sad. I’ve offered total strangers the comfort of my shoulder as they grieve for a sick relative. This time I got burned. But unlike other people who would learn a lesson from it, I refuse to let it dictate reaching out to others in the future.

There’s Bactine for that 🙂

Advertisements

How I Stopped Fretting, and Learned to Love the MRI

Yesterday was a fun day for me. And by “fun”, I mean at least I didn’t cry.

Full disclosure: I have back issues. Last January, I managed to do something that aggravated my lower back, specifically my lumbar region (I was born with fused vertebrae in the lumbar region). I was in pain for a few days, and after it lessened, I discovered that my lower back now liked to crack like it was Knuckles Malone. My back now hurts more periodically than it used to, specifically when I bend or sleep in an awkward position. So, I made an appointment with my provider to be seen. He suggested I take a steroid (NO!), ibuprofen (CANDY!), and Lidocaine patch (…..wut?). I will say that patch does relieve the pain rather nicely. He also scheduled me for a back X-ray and…an MRI.

Sigh…. I am not a fan of certain enclosed spaces. I can hide in a closet just fine, but can’t wear a scuba mask. I knew there was a chance I could get the open MRI is there was no wait list. I called, begged, pleaded, and finally they told me they could fit me in.

In August.

That wasn’t going to work, so I chucked it up and made the appointment for the old-fashioned tunnel of despair. And so it began.

I get there with plenty of time to check in, only to be told they are running 30 minutes behind. No worries, that just gives me time to breathe deeply and not freak out. In what seemed like a few seconds but was actually 35 minutes, I was escorted out to the dressing area and asked questions about my affinity for metal. I told them I get my metal from Sirius XM. Satisfied, I am instructed to get into scrubs ten sizes too big and wait in the lounge area. Sooner than later, they walk me back to the gallows MRI. It looks like a tunnel to nowhere. I am given earplugs and a button to press in case I have issues with the procedure. As I lay down, I ask if I can have a bolster for my back, as I can’t lay straight without a considerable amount of pain. They tell me sorry, but no can do since that’s the area they need to scan. Fine….FINE!! They slide me inside the coffin, and the scanning begins.

BANG BANG BANG!!!! Sounds like some kid is hitting the outside of the machine with a hammer. I concentrate on counting the holes in the speaker so as to distract me from the fact that I am now a sardine. All goes quiet, and then I begin to pray my thanks to the Almighty God for the earplugs, because it begins to sound like my head is inside a semi truck’s engine while the trucker is blasting his horn.

Meanwhile, my back is beginning to let me know she is about to stab every single nerve. I am trying my damnedest to stay still when suddenly, I remember my ablation procedure and begin to panic because I HAVE COILS IN MY FALLOPIAN TUBES!!! I feel my heart thudding while I picture the coils being ripped out of my abdomen and sticking to the sardine can in bloody splatters. This is when I calm down enough to remember the freaking button in my hand and press it. Scan is stopped and I explain my dilemma. I hear the tech laugh and tell me that it’s ok, the X-ray shows it isn’t metal. Well,  of course it isn’t. Momentary lapse of reason due to panic. The adrenaline rush isn’t the only pain I am experiencing by now. And before I can stop myself, I move juuuuust a teeny, tiny, weensie, itty bitty bit. I’m talking micro-milli-meter here. I realize what I have done and pray the techs don’t notice.

Yes, I laughed too. After I got home and had taken a pill and drunk a margarita.

Due to my slight movement, I had to repeat the procedure. This time I begged for a bolster under my knees to help with the pain. The obliged, and even though it was a small bolster, at least it was something. Second time was the charm, and finally I was able to go upstairs to wait fifteen minutes for a CD of the scan to take to my provider, who as we all know can’t read it, but whatever. I’m just glad it’s over for now. I can stop fretting over it and move on to fretting over more important things.

Like wondering when the rain will stop 😉


The Year in Review, Sorta

Well, another year is coming to a close. I have been remiss in blogging due to the holiday and family commitments, none of which involved a mental institution. Well, none so far. After all, the holiday isn’t over yet.

Every year around this time I find myself sighing deeply. It’s not a contented “I ate all the chocolate and feel NO SHAME” sigh, nor is it the “I wish they could stay home longer” sigh. It’s the “What happened ?” sigh. For a while, it seemed this year just dragged on and on, and suddenly–BAM!!!–it’s December 31st and I have no idea how that happened. School band, having a split household, dealing with kids away for the first time, family happenings, all take their toll and can be serious time sucks. And let’s not forget social media. That alone can make the days seem like minutes, especially when a soap opera is unfolding on the social-site-with-faces.

By the way, I started writing this post two days ago.

As usual, with the end of the year come the reflections and the resolutions. Upon reflecting on my year, I found a few truths to be rather self-evident: I am quite lax at writing, technology still escapes me, I don’t laugh at myself as much as I should. I am loathe to write of resolutions because they are lofty goals usually mired in dreams and cotton candy. So this year I resolve not to make any resolutions save one: to be happy with my lot in life, and grateful for all my blessings.

I guess that’s TWO resolutions. But they will be easy to keep.

Hope y’all have a safe and wonderful New Year’s Day, and blessings to y’all in the coming year 😀


Though Seasons May Change

I am starting to realize that changes in Life are a mixed bag. Some changes are simple and require nothing but an acknowledgement before one moves on: a change in hairstyle, the falling of leaves, etc. Some changes come as mixed blessings, and though part of the change is bad, invariably it enhances the good.

The other night I sat down to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. It has been a tradition in our home since before kidlets came along.

A-Charlie-Brown-Christmas-tu

I love Peanuts™. Growing up in Puerto Rico, it was a BIG DEAL when their specials came on (had maybe three channels, and cartoons were not their forte). It became an even bigger deal after I learned English. They are timeless, and ageless as well. But this last time I came to the realization that I sat there, alone. And it wasn’t the first time I sat alone to enjoy a family tradition. Kids are growing up and away, becoming on their own, Hubby is stationed away so our youngest can remain in this school district, and youngest is busy with band and theater and myriad other activities. One would think that leaves me time to write, but actually the opposite is true. I can’t find the motivation to write fluff when it feels like loneliness is weighing down on my heart. Some days the absolute silence in the house reminds me of how the kids used to fight hammer and tongs and me screaming for them to SHUT IT. Now I wish I had that opportunity again, just to let them fight it out Coliseum style.

I can’t wait for Christmas 🙂


Regrets of the Sith

I’ve always held fast to the belief that one should never have regrets. They tend to steep one in melancholy, or make one bitter, and nobody has time for that. That usually applies to big things, like letting go of the love of your life, or throwing away a winning lottery ticket. But little regrets? Sure, plenty of those to mull over a glass of vino.

I regret not ordering the molten lava cake the other night.

I regret not learning to knit.

I regret listening to Air Supply when I was in Junior High.

I regret matching my socks to my shirt.

I regret paying money to see Ishtar.

I regret not saying “goodbye” to my German neighbor.

I regret not keeping in touch with old friends.

I regret dyeing my hair Chocolate Cherry.

Those are but a few of my “pocket regrets”, the ones I keep in my pocket to remind me that things could have been worse. Regrets can choke you and stunt you, but reminding yourself that small ones happen can stimulate you into taking chances instead of holding you back for fear of failure. Can you imagine passing up an opportunity to be in a shark cage?? I didn’t, and I’m grateful my uncle was too chicken to do it alone.

So here’s to the little regrets, and may they always motivate y’all to keep living, and not just existing 😉


When I Was Your Age…

While helping Son get squared away at school, we got acquainted with his peers, as well as his command. Walking around the school, talking with other students about campus life when some dudes were running around questing for fire was a lot of fun, and they were surprised at the many changes that had occurred since we had matriculated. The biggest change was of course, Bonfire. And then it happened.

“Back when I was your age….” I sighed, and stopped.

Oh. Dear. GAWD!!!

I keep catching myself saying that phrase more often now, along with “back in my day”. I’m not even 50 years old and feel the need to have a shawl and a cane at my disposal when I say those phrases. Little One comes up to me to ask if she can get some high heels for a dance and I spew it out like an incantation. “Back in MY day, we wore flats and LIKED IT!!” Never mind she has flats and sneakers. I have to fly off the handle like some deranged wild hag. Yesterday I was at the grocery store and a young gal asked me where to find the wine mixer cocktails. I asked her what those were and after she explained, I said, “Back in my day, we called those wine coolers”, to which she replied, “why??” I told her to check on the aisle across from the beer fridge and departed, feeling my hair turn a whiter shade of appalled.

That’s it. I am NOT going to say those phrases anymore. I refuse to go down the path of my forefathers in this regard. From now on I will be more mindful of being repetitive. I will strive to be a bit more worldly as I impart my wisdom to the younger crowds.

Henceforth, I will say:”When I was very, very young….”

Because that makes me sound like a wise storyteller, and not like a sour, prickly crone 😀


Soldiering On

Yesterday, we took Son to his parental units’ alma mater. He has chosen to follow in his dad’s and his late uncle’s footsteps: joining the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets. Already he has made new friends and reconnected with old ones. He has learned many traditions and aspires to be the quintessential Aggie. I have no doubts about his abilities and his aptitude. Anyone who enjoys calculus and argues physics will succeed in his chosen field. And being a member of the Corps cuts down on your laundry chores, so there’s that.

As an Aggie, I’m totally psyched to have one of my kids share in my scholastic experiences. As a mom, I’m terrified. Oh, I’m not afraid of something happening to him or of him doing some boneheaded stunt. That’s bound to happen anyway. But I do fear him growing apart from his family. I know the time will come when he makes his way in the world. I’m just hoping that happens after he graduates and goes into the military. At least I get to see him some weekends, so the loss isn’t so acute.

But today is a dark day compared to yesterday. Today, Hubby leaves for his new position in Washington, D.C. I keep telling myself it won’t be as bad as Iraq or Egypt, since we will be at least in the same country and only one time zone difference. Even after experiencing deployments before, this still leaves a hole in my heart, knowing he won’t be walking through the door to the bark of the dogs, or enjoy his video game (don’t worry, he took the console and games with him), or watch a B movie after a long day at work. My family of five is down to two for now, and it feels so lonely in this house without them.

But that’s what we do. We go on and adapt and hold down the fort until our loved ones return. I can only hope and pray that they will adapt faster than I will, because I can’t be there to help them through it. Already I am counting the days until Christmas when we can be together again, fighting over the the last of the doughnuts and waiting for dinner to be served while watching Christmas movies. Until then, I can only be there in spirit, and through Skype 🙂


The Shift of a Compass

Let me preface this by saying I consider myself lucky to have friends. One can never have too many. Growing up they came and went out of my life with regularity, and some have passed on before their time. But I never regretted the time spent with any of them, whether in anger or laughter, in sadness and joy, in cacophony and silence. Every one was a blessing unto my life, even the ones who chose to leave.

Back in the days before social media, we were comfortable not knowing every particular tidbit from every particular friend. I had no ideas on their religious convictions (even when we attended the same church), their political leanings, their discriminatory views (and by this I mean likes and dislikes, not racial bigotry), and outside our high school football team, not even sport fandoms. Personally, I didn’t think it was any of my business, and if they liked the Dallas Cowboys, that was their cross to bear. But social media has made it easier to put one’s views out there. Sometimes that makes friends aware that they don’t have so many things in common with each other, and the dreaded happens.

In the interest of our friendship….

Those are chilling words to read on one’s media. At first it seems they are trying to cushion a coming blow, but that’s the masquerade. Those words come right before being told how “wrong” or how “bigoted” or how “evil” your statement is. It isn’t a way to soften the rebuttal but rather an implied threat. I don’t agree with you and our friendship will suffer for it. And I have to wonder why. Why would any friend consider a different opinion cause to sever all ties? I could understand if my opinion went against the law or broke social taboos but that wasn’t the case. It was a case of the mirror having two faces: two different ways of looking at one thing. Ignoring one face over the other simply because you don’t like it is a disservice to others and to oneself. Always remember: one must always play “devil’s advocate” and question everything; living in an echo chamber gets very old, very fast; and no one has a right to be offended. No friendship should ever be tested because of discourse. Differences of opinion are valuable, necessary, and natural. To think otherwise is to be myopic about the human condition.

And now that I have done my deep thoughts for today, it’s time for another cup of coffee 🙂


Relax, There’s Vodka For That

This is the last week of school, y’all.

I am not looking forward to the summer like most people are. Son is graduating and getting ready for college. And that means my anxiety is growing as the apron strings get cut once again. For someone who has big plans for an empty nest, I sure have issues when the chicks decide to leave it. I admit it was difficult to get used to Eldest’s departure for the military. Now with Son’s impending departure for college, I am left behind with one chick, and she isn’t the most amiable towards my melodramatic angst.

I think her exact words were, “Get over it.”

Sigh….. It will be difficult but I am sure I will get over it eventually. It’s not like I am constantly checking up on Eldest. So what if I know her work schedule and know when she should be in her barracks? I’m her mom, so I can’t be charged with stalking, right? This parenting thing is hard, learn-as-you-go and sometimes thankless, but they never tell you that all you go through is a piece of cake compared to them leaving you. At least Son will be able to come home for some weekends and holidays so the break will be slow, like ripping a bandage or twisting thumbscrews.

I did mention my melodramatic angst, right?

I know my parents are laughing at me. Come to think of it, so is my sister. And most of my friends. I know this isn’t as bad as I make it out to be, and it definitely isn’t the end of the world. It’s a new beginning, and I just hope and pray that each one is ready to face the world alone. My apron strings are being cut and Hubby tells me they can’t be sewed back on.

But there is always Velcro™!! 😀


Finding My Happy Place For Today

Unfortunately, I have to find it without the aid of candy or wine. I already vented my spleen over at Uncivil Peasants (NSFW), and feel the need for happy thoughts because if I don’t, I may just vent something else, like a carburetor.

happy tuesday

It’s not just politics that make me want to force choke the milk carton. It’s also the lack of empathy I witness everywhere. I witness the disparaging remarks of a “pacifist” towards a soldier and wonder what happened to civility. I watch commercials showing disrespectful children sassing their parents and wonder what happened to manners (don’t get me started on the teen eating out of the cereal box and drinking out of the milk carton). I see History repeating itself while lamenting how we don’t learn from it. There is a quiz going around social media that asks “How smart are you?”. I saw it pop up on my social-site-with-faces page and saw all who took it got “PhD” level. ALL OF THEM. But it was our friend SoCal who pointed out the obvious: every question was something he learned back in elementary school. And yet that qualified one as PhD level? Is that how far education has fallen?

I picked a heck of a time to quit eating sweets. I guess yoga will have to suffice until Easter. Ok, maybe not yoga but perhaps thinking about yoga. I have my limits, and so do my tendons 😀