Pages

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming To Bring You This Severe (St. Patsy) Weather Alert...Whether You Need It Or Not

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother has been an alarmist about The Weather. As soon as skies would darken with storm clouds, she'd start scanning the horizon for low-lying, purple-black ones and a well-defined, heavy cloud deck. She'd peer out the windows, sometimes even venturing out on the porch to check the skies for lightning and to listen for that telltale "freight train sound" that foretold the one Terror Above All Else, a Tornado. In the days before The Weather Channel, the Internet, and even before network meteorologists broke into regular programming to report a simple summer storm, my mother's own Weather Alert System was often in overdrive as she looked for signs of Apocalyptic Weather Events.

Her precautions were many and legend, and we had no choice but to follow them: Don't talk on the phone during a storm! Don't take a bath when there's lightning! Get your hands out of the dishwater--there's lightning out! Turn off the TV; can't you see it's storming out? Every one of you kids get in here now; I saw lightning and it's coming this way! I don't like the look of those dark clouds over there; I think we'd better get down the basement. The weatherman says to take shelter; let's go down the basement right now.

And lest you all forget: I did not grow up in Oklahoma, Kansas, or Nebraska. I grew up in Northeastern Ohio, where, yes, there was actually a tornado in my hometown in 1924 (and, ironically, the Lorain Tornado was my father's nickname when he was a professional pitcher many years later), but my mother's fears still seem excessive. Especially since she grew up in Ohio, too.

Things have not changed much, as I found out not too long ago.

Scene opens on Rick and Nance at the lakehouse. They are chatting, finishing up dinner and talking about heading out for a boat ride. Nance's phone chimes, indicating a text message.

Nance: It's Mom. (reads aloud) Bad weather in your area. Watch out! Stay off the boat!!! That last sentence had three exclamation points. (looks outside at the calm lake and cloudless sky) Wow. I'm confused.

Rick: I'll put on the local radar channel. Maybe something is headed this way.

Nance: (types back) Really? It's nice here right now. Nothing threatening that I can see.

Rick: The radar is absolutely clear. I don't know where she's getting this. I'm confused.

Nance: Well, she says (reads aloud) They have tornado warnings for the Mansfield area and a tornado watch for Wayne and Ashland Counties, so you are in the area! Watch the sky! Stay off the boat!!!! That last one had FOUR exclamation points. And no emojis. She is really exercised about this. Let me bring up my app. (brings up weather app as Rick sits, exasperated, in front of television radar, still seeing nothing) I don't see it, either! What the heck is going on? This is like a Twilight Zone moment.

Rick: I'm getting the boat ready.

Nance: (types) Ok. We have the TV on and have not seen that. I just checked my iPad weather app and didn't see it there, either. You have the scoop, I guess. (to Rick) I can bring down my own wineglass and water bottle if you can carry the wine and your glass.

(Nance grabs a bottle of water out of the fridge; she checks to make sure the cats have water. She grabs her phone, wineglass, water, and heads down to the dock. Once on the boat, her phone chimes with a text message.)

Nance: (reads aloud) I am sorry. We were watching the soaps recorded from yesterday and that was the weather for yesterday! I just realized that!! Sorry!!!! (laughing hard) I'm not even going to tell you how many emojis and exclamation points are on all of that. Oh, brother. That's so great.

Rick: (laughs, shakes his head)  Doll. That may be her best one yet.

Nance: Wait. One more message. (reads aloud) Senior moment!!

Finis.



image

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

My New Mantra When Things Get A Little Too Real

facepaintforum.com
Even though I don't feel at all ashamed about Getting Real last week (it was so Cathartic), I have to tell you that my problems pale in comparison to this woman, who lives in a town not too terribly far from where I live. Longtime Readers already know you don't even have to click that link because I'm going to tell you everything you need to know.

While I'm bitching and moaning about cat hair, bathroom hair, English Language abuses, and other non-life threatening mundanities, a middle-aged woman was lying in her front yard telling a 911 operator, "I have a boa constrictor stuck to my face".

I know, right?

And you think you have problems.

Because the nine ball pythons she already owned were lonely, perhaps, the woman had adopted two boa constrictors the day before (or "rescued", as she terms it in the 911 call, at first amusingly misinterpreted as "arrested" by the operator). She decided, apparently, to take one out and give it a cuddle, and it...reciprocated, as five-and-a-half-foot boa constrictors are wont to do. Unfortunately, “it was wrapped around her neck and biting her nose and wouldn’t let go,” Fire Chief Tim Card said. “They had to cut its head off with a [pocket] knife to get it to let go of her face.”

Yikes. I mean, who would have thought it? Everything I know about snakes is that they're so nice and sweet. So easy to train and so obedient. Just the best pets, ever.

The snake (with its head, I presume) was summarily tossed in the town's garbage bin out back of City Hall.

One local animal handler opined that perhaps the woman handled the boa constrictor too soon after rescuing it; that a waiting period of at least one week is advisable to prevent trauma. He also felt the snake could have been saved if they had just used a few drops of rubbing alcohol on its head, which may have gotten it to release its jaws. Sigh. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

All I know is this: I had a few rough days last week, but at no time was a snake stuck to my face. Also, thank goodness snakes can't walk or fly. Or drive. That town is pretty close, and obviously, that woman is...a Little Bit Goofy when it comes to snakes.  But bless her, I'm glad she's okay.

This reminds me of back in 2014 when I wrote about the house near me that exploded right before Christmas. Remember that? I used "at least my house didn't explode" as my mantra for months, helping me to have perspective when anything went wrong or I had a setback or a bad day. It worked pretty well for a while, especially during the holidays.

Well, now I have a new mantra for when things get rough and I'm not feeling up to par. At least I don't have a snake stuck to my face!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Welcome To The Show! I Hope You Brought Your Melted Butter, Or, Come To Think Of It, A Mallet Might Be Kinder.


Welcome to Getting Real With Nance. Today's show will feature Nance Getting Real on a variety of topics, mainly because she's Crabby, Over It, and generally Irked. Let's jump right in and join her Already In Progress, while vacuuming.

Nance: I mean, it just does not matter! I brush them every single damn day, yet all they have to do is WALK INTO A ROOM, and it is covered in their hair. No. Lie. The carpet is covered. The tables are covered. *I* am covered. It is a Losing Battle, this war between me and cat hair. But I refuse to surrender. I will never stop wearing black, either. Never. Never!

Voiceover Announcer: Nance walks into the bathroom to put away towels, setting off a new, but related, monologue.

Nance: Holy crap! Look at the hair in here! It's my hair, it's Rick's hair, it's everywhere. I simply cannot escape the hair around here. If it's not cat hair, it's our hair. How do we even have any left on our heads?! I CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Voiceover Announcer: Later, after a frantic and manic bathroom cleaning session left her exhausted, Nance rests in her chair. Unwisely, she browses the Interwebs.

Nance: How hard is it? How hard, everyone? The word is YEAH. The correct spelling is Y-E-A-H. Not Y-A, like you're speaking a foreign language and pronouncing it YAW. Not Y-A-H, like...holy hell, I don't even know why you would spell it like that, ever. And while I'm at it, the word is VOILA. It's French. It means "there you are" or "there it is." It is pronounced VWAH-LAH. It is not some bastardized funsy American word spelled WALA, WALLA, WALLAH, WAH LAH, or WA-LA. Every time I hear or see someone use it incorrectly I wish I could haul the offender up and smack her. Or him. And do NOT get me started on "low and behold" for "lo and behold." So, so painful.  And so symptomatic of What Is Wrong With America on so many levels.

Voiceover Announcer: Unable to rest, Nance is up again and shifting laundry in the basement.

Nance: I deserve nice clean sheets to sleep on. So what. I hate doing sheets. Hate it. It's exhausting. And the load goes off-balance in the washer. And I have to stay down here to make sure it finishes the cycle. And then I get to look at other stuff that needs to be done. Which reminds me, I need to clean litterboxes. And that means sweeping the floor because Marlowe is an aggressive litter scratcher. Because of course she is.

Voiceover Announcer: Back from shuffling laundry and taking the used litter outside to the trash, Nance makes a quick snack of yogurt and fruit so that she can take her bigass vitamins.

Nance: Oh, hell. I forgot that we ran the dishwasher last night. How sad is it that I'm ready to complain about unloading dishes that I didn't even have to stand at the sink and wash? Someone should smack me. But if that someone could sweep my kitchen floor first, that would be great. Or scrub out the tub--even better. Anything, really. Then smack me. Smack away.

Voiceover Announcer: Jared arrives. He needs to use Nance's iPad in order to participate in a West Coast podcast. It is 12:30; the podcast starts at 1:00. He has to search for and download software. He also announces that he will be taking a shower since he came straight from the gym. Lunch may also happen.

Nance: Jared...how...? And I'm warning you now--I'm really, really crabby. Almost violently so.

Jared: Mom. It's okay. And have you tried dancing? Here, watch this.

Voiceover Announcer: Jared dances. Nance is motionless and helpless. Jared spends twenty minutes trying to contact his people on the West Coast to figure out the software download; finally he is successful. He tells them he will jump in at 1:15, takes a shower, and mixes up a "blue drink" which he may or may not have drunk in the shower.

Jared: Mom, I'm surprised you don't have the air on. It's supposed to be hot today.

Nance: I think it's comfortable. I'm sick of air conditioning. If you get too warm in the office during your podcast, turn on the ceiling fan.

Voiceover Announcer: Nance goes down to do the final laundry shift. On her way she belches loudly and uncomfortably.

Nance: Ugh. These damned vitamins. Can't I just get some sort of timed-release implant or something, like that birth control thingy? Or a patch, like they do for people who want to quit smoking? Wow. Did I really just say that? I am so, so crabby. It would not surprise me one bit if I looked down and my hands literally became big, red, pinchy claws.

***

Voiceover Announcer:  This has been Getting Real With Nance.  Nance urges you to Get Real in Comments. You know what she always says: Wallow A Little, Bitch A Lot. Or maybe it's Bitch A Little, Wallow A Lot; she can't ever remember. Either way, let loose your Real and feel no shame.



(original crab photo via Synapse Science Magazine)


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Would An RV By Any Other Name...?

Oh, Dearest Readers, I Am Back. Back from gorgeous and wineful Niagara-on-the-Lake, and back from the Grey Sad Doldrums of Vitamin D Deficiency. I feel so much more Myself; there is so much more Nance-ness bubbling inside me. The Blah in my bones is almost gone and my energy is returning. My ankle sprain didn't slow me down much at all, and Life Is Feeling More Like Living.

I'm so very grateful.

But enough about all of That. I want--almost Need--to talk about something else right now. And that something is RVs. Campers. Trailers. Recreational Vehicles. Because let me tell you--while we were driving from Ohio to Ontario, Canada, and back again, they seemed to be everywhere.

Now, I'm not a camping kind of person. Or even glamping (i.e., glamour camping--a term coined out of necessity because so many RVs and campers are so deluxe now).  I can't stand to think of dragging such a bigass vehicle all over the country, looking for campgrounds with hookups and then worrying about who I pull up next to and all of that. The cost of gasoline alone would send me into a panic. That, however, is me. Judging by the volume of campers Rick and I saw on the road, glamping is Hot Right Now. And a Big Deal.

I'm sure lots of people (who are Not Me) love the idea. It sounds very adventurous and pioneering. And, in a way, exciting and liberating. You can grab some basics, throw them in the car/motorhome, and start driving and explore the country. Or whatever.

What does NOT sound very wonderful are the names of some of these vehicles. I started noticing the names on the sides and back ends of campers and RVs and, let me tell you, whoever is naming these things should be out of a job.

The first one to puzzle me was Avenger. For a little old plain white trailer. It looked like the one my grandparents, Ethel and Joe, used to haul behind their Chrysler to Florida every winter. In what way is a trailer an "avenger"? What is it avenging? When I think of an avenger, I think of something dark and quick, something slightly sinister and sharp. For those of you who are more into comic books or films, you're probably thinking of The Avengers. Trust me, in no way did that little metal sugar cube look anything like any one of these:

http://img09.deviantart.net

Then we passed a Cyclone. This might be the worst name ever for a trailer. I think we all know of the unfortunate association between tornadoes and trailer/mobile home parks. Is this really the sort of image one wants to conjure up to boost camper sales? What are the other campers in this line--Toto, Dorothy, Tin Man, Kansas, and the deluxe model, Oz?

Other RV names were just clunky and ugly, like the one called Work and Play Ultra. Do that many people really buy an RV for work (or want to), let alone ultra work? This thing was as big as Rhode Island, so I'm sure just parking it was ultra work. Another one was called Dutch Star. I'm struggling to think what the Dutch have to do with RVs, driving, or stars. I know the Flying Dutchman was the legendary ghost ship that was doomed to never make port, but even that makes more sense for an RV name than Dutch Star, which, by the way, had absolutely no stars in its paint job, nor anything Dutch.

I started wondering why the RV and camper names were so goshdarned terrible. Was it because all the good names were taken by cars, like Roadster, Scout, Traveler, Pathfinder, Voyager, and the like? Why can't they start using literary names that are in the public domain then, like Ivanhoe, Lancelot, Caesar, Othello, or Beowulf? Even some animal names would be better, or some astronomy terms, or natural entities: Timberwolf, Solstice, Tumbleweed. I mean, come on. I would rather they gave these vehicles actual name names, even, like Stephen, Mirabel, Chris, Jose, Vilnius, Gretchen, or Anne. 

Even bottles of Coke have better names.

image via pinterest via google

Tell me you wouldn't rather have a little camper named Wolfgang than Work And Play Ultra. Or Cyclone.  I know, right?

Think up some good camper/RV names and put them in Comments. And tell me how you feel about camping.


header image

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Is Anyone Out There?

Anyone at all?

Oh, I do hope so. I'm popping in for a Quick Hello, just to check in and give a brief Update Of Sorts, and then I am planning to get back to Business As Usual after my Jaunt next week. I've just about Had It with Being Unwell and even moreso with Talking About It. Let's wrap it up, then, and Move On.

The Medicals: My labs were a sort of mixed bag, but the whole Vitamin D Thing, which was the Most Important Of All, showed a massive recovery. I am well into the satisfactory/healthy range, so I am on the maintenance dose for life, and feeling so much better. No pains, no fatigue, and while my stamina and strength are still an issue, they are s-l-o-w-l-y increasing. My autoimmune system is still, in a word, terrible; however, unless I am plagued by recurrent infections (I am not), it's not a cause for concern. I no longer need to see my Superhero Rheumatologist who gave me my life back, but will now see the Internist she highly recommended. I burst into tears thanking this doctor and all but prostrated myself at her feet in a weeping huddle of gratitude.

The Universe Is Cruel: My dear friend Shirley wrote me a nice email, and in it she expressed sympathy overall regarding my health struggles, and mentioned specifically how difficult it is to practice serene self-care and recovery whilst the Orange Nightmare/Toddler In Chief is wreaking shitful havoc. It's absolutely true. I feel abused by the Universe, which allowed this abomination, yet felt it necessary to screw me again on Sunday, when it put a rogue piece of gravel in my path, and I fell and sprained my ankle. Because, Life is not difficult enough for me. At least I am used to resting--A LOT--and the sprain was mild. I am almost fully recovered today although stairs are a bitch. (Count me as a fervent disciple of the RICE protocol for sprain treatment).

The Jaunt: I am a little overwhelmed at the thought of, but am looking forward to, our upcoming Niagara-on-the-Lake jaunt as a true getaway from Everything. I think I need a real change of scenery. My wine-drinking capacity is sadly and sorely diminished, but I have no problem doing the Swish-n-Spit as we look to restock our depleted cellar. I only hope Rick is not too bored since we cannot do our usual long, lovely walks by the lake and into the trails. That will have to wait until autumn. In the meantime, we will find other things to do, like attend theatre and taking Short Walks.

I'm anxious for Things to be all back to Normal again. My patience--such as it is--is very frayed. I am restless and bored. This is not the life for me. At the same time, I am beyond grateful that my condition was reversible and treatable. I know so many people whose lives are forever changed by serious illness, and I know how very fortunate I am.

Thank you for staying with me. I'll be back real soon.


image







Friday, June 02, 2017

In Which I Quote Adele And Check In For Just A Moment...

Zydrunas
photo courtesy Sam Donnelly

Hello from The Other Side. I still don't have a Full Tank, so to speak, so I can't stay long, but I wanted to let you know how I was doing and to thank a couple of people.

Firstly, I am feeling a great deal better. The pain is almost entirely gone. Certainly the jolts of pain have been eliminated altogether, and the deep aching in my arms and lower back has been reduced to a once-in-a-while twinge. I still have to use the gel insoles in my shoes for heel pain every now and then, but not nearly as regularly as I did even a month ago. It is very encouraging and wonderful progress.

What I am left with now is a sad lack of strength and stamina. My arms, especially, are astonishingly weak. Even now, after typing only this much, they feel heavy and shaky. Driving more than twenty minutes or so is very uncomfortable and, at times, impossible. My kitchen cupboards have been reconfigured to put heavier items on lower shelves to minimize problems and with an eye to my safety. I continue to try and take short walks, but my stamina is always a variable. I worry about being able to make it back home. The biggest struggle I have right now--besides Patience--is knowing that Fine Line between Building Stamina and Overdoing It.

I have been stacking up more and more Good Days--days when I feel more like Myself. Days when I can think quickly, speak confidently, intelligently, and fluently, and whip through a crossword puzzle in no time flat. I even picked up a little freelance editing work, made almost impossible by the vinyl siding crew working next door (playing thrash metal music at top volume, naturally).

I am tired, however, still very tired much of the time. Large groups of people wear me out; activity, whether I am involved or merely watching it, wears me out. I think the act of Trying To Keep Up With Anything is tiring to me. But I press on, always, for I am anxious to be Well.

No words can express my emotions for Jared's Mother's Day post, which was a complete surprise to me. I am always thankful for the human beings my sons have grown to be, and Jared's thoughtful essay affirmed that he is a caring and introspective adult. That he attributes some of his best traits to me makes me happier and prouder than he could know.

And I want to say a warm thank you to Jill and Wes Wanders, too, who have taken some time out of their busy, busy lives and emailed me expressing concern, inquiring about my progress, and/or informing me of this and that along the way.

Finally, I want to mention my mother, St. Patsy. She has, without fail, sent me an encouraging message--full of emojis--every single day from her trusty iPad. Knowing my general dislike of phone calls and how holding the phone can tire me, she cheerfully embraces this medium of communication despite being in her late 80s. And she has agreed to abide by my rule of limiting the pictures of great-grandchildren to one per day. (That was a tough one.)

Things are getting better, albeit more slowly than I would like. Compared to the Fear and Panic and Uncertainty I faced a few months ago, however, life is much better.  In a week I will have more labwork done; at the end of the month, a followup appointment. And in July, we have plans to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake to replenish the cellar.

Lots to look forward to.

Cheers!


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Tell Your Mother You Love Her. A Mother's Day Guest Post



Hello, Jared here. I am not great with graphics, HTML, or general Blogging Fanciness like Nance is, so this post may lack some of the aesthetic pinache of a Typical Nance Post. While she takes a break from blogging, and in honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to contribute in her stead.

I remember spending the morning at the desk in my bedroom with my brother. We were so young, and we wanted it to be perfect, so we spent a long time trying to figure out what the perfect picture to draw was. Trying so hard to fold thick awkward card stock precisely and sharply. Thinking long and hard about what we wanted to say so that everything was perfectly put in a way to conjure up memories and the good feelings that we had so that on Mother’s Day, our mother could open up the handmade card and know how much we love her.


Things aren’t so different now. Sure, Sam and I don’t live at home. We aren’t folding handmade cards. We both put to rest any idea that we were artistic enough to do accurately portray all of the things that we had. Some things, though, are remarkably similar. Sam and I share an apartment. We both want to do special and nice things for our mother and father. We both still have no idea how we can possibly do that in a way to radiate the love that we have felt every single day.
Those cards from my youth were full of things like “whether it is going to a movie and lunch, or talking about books”, and trying to come up with our favorite things about those moments, about our mother. All of those times, those wonderful experiences still matter. I still carry them around with me every day. I still remember leaving the theatre and talking to my mother about the film in a way that made me feel very adult, very smart, and very complete. Now, though, there are different things to take away from those times, those moments, and those feelings.
My mother often says to me,  when I find myself in a time of anger or hurt, that “it doesn’t cost anything to be kind”. And yes, while there is no financial obligation associated with commonplace kindness, there is a real and tangible cost. You can set yourself up for vulnerability, let down, and more hurt or anger. My mother knows this, and, in my adulthood, I’ve come to understand exactly what she meant by those words. Simply, there is no cost that is too great to pay to do a kindness unto someone that you love.
2017 has, for a few reasons, not been tremendous for me so far. I have leaned on my mother more frequently in the last handful of months than I have needed to in the last handful of years, it seems. No, her taking my aimless phone calls during boring and lonely days doesn’t cost her money. The dog and I showing up at her house with little to no notice causes her exactly zero monetary hardship. There is, however, a cost to all of those things, and my mother pays it over and over with no thought to how it may affect her because in her mind, being there for me in those ways is simply practicing what she preaches, and the cost of kindness for someone that you love is always zero.
I have learned a great many things from my mother. My gift with language, my analytical nature with feelings, films, and books. My practicality, empathy, and compassion. (And apparently the Oxford comma). Most importantly, I have learned to be kind and patient and to always do the best I could to think outside of myself, the moment, and what was best for me. I think that the best way to put all of those things under one umbrella is to say that, simply, my mother has taught me how to be an adult, and she did so through an unrelenting practice of the best ways that I can find to describe kindness.  
People make jokes about “turning into their parents” on television and in movies all the time. I can feel myself turning into my mother. I’m prouder of the man that I’m becoming now than I ever have been in my 32 years. It would be foolish to ignore the fact that this change, this sort of acceptance of self and circumstances has come in the time that I needed and relied on my mother the most.

So, on this Mother’s Day, I ask you not to think of times, gifts, or tangible memories of your mother. Instead, reflect on what those things mean. The intangible aspects of what those times were, and how they shaped you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...