How my 4Runner humiliated me. (Also why I am a gigantic DORK.)

4runnerflamesThis is almost too embarrassing to share.  But that has never stopped me before, so why stop now?

Warning:  Do not try this at home.

Disclaimer:  Weird things involving injuries and bruises used to happen to my sister when she was alive just as often as they happen to me, so I’m blaming genetics.

Okay, here’s what happened:

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Crack of doom

I was running late to a doctor’s appointment yesterday and putting on lipstick at a stoplight (don’t judge) when an eyeliner suddenly slipped out of my purse and into the crack of hell space between my driver’s seat and center console.  ( I know many of you are judging at this moment because I sound like a nightmare to be on the road with – but please note that this took place at a long stop light and I’m telling myself that makes it better.  Stop judging.)

At any rate, retrieving an item from this crack of doom narrow space should be no biggie. Unless you drive Christine my 4Runner.  You see, this body style of comes with a hard plastic carpeted shield in the cracks which helps catch things before they fall into this valley of death crevice.

So… I reached down to try to grab the eyeliner before the light changed.  In most cars this would be no big deal.  It was a tight squeeze, so I took my ring off my right hand. (I know, that should have been a sign right there.  Stop judging)  I reached back further and felt the eyeliner slip deeper into the abyss.  I knew I must abort the mission as the light was about to change.

But my hand was stuck.  I’m not talking a little stuck.  I am talking all-out eye-stabbing-pain STUCK.  The handy shield protector does it’s job so well that it does not let your hand come back up and out after you reach in.  It was stuck and I was unable to move it.  (Insert very loud profanity repetition here which took place at the same time that I was experiencing that feeling you get when a ring gets stuck on your finger and you think someone may have to cut your finger off to get the ring off.)

The light changed.  (Insert more profanity.  Was this really happening?)  I had no choice but to drive left handed while leaning to the right until I could get to a place where I could pull over and retrieve my hand.  I jiggled it and wiggled it and was only rewarded with more eye-stabbing pain, and no sign of it coming loose.  I am not kidding you people.  This really freaking happened.  I could not make this up.

I reached my doctor’s parking lot 5 minutes up the road and started feverishly trying to work my hand out of the vice grip between my seat and the console.  I tried moving the seat forward and backward.  More wincing pain (I was too freaked out to even curse.  What if a fire department was going to have to get involved?)  I thought my hand was going to break off down there.  I am not kidding.  It would have been a bloody mess, but at least I would have made it to my appointment on time and my hand would have been out of there.

Eventually I just had to squint my eyes, go to a happy place, take a deep breath and yank that fucker my arm out of there.  As soon as I did, I felt my heartbeat pulsate from my thumb knuckle all the way up to my elbow.  I thought about how easily I bruise if you even sneeze in my direction.  I could already tell that by the next morning someone would see my arm and report MacGyver for domestic abuse.  I pulled myself out of the car holding my arm like a cat that had just been hit by a car.

I made it into the appointment with my pulsating, bluing arm dragging on the floor behind me, banging from wall to wall down the long hall way because at that point I couldn’t feel it anyway.  Once home, I received minimal sympathy from my boys but luckily later that evening a friend saw the ensuing bruises and swelling (insert her profanity) and made me ice it and take various anti-swelling  medications to help abate the bruising process.

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This is only one side.

I am still in pain as I type this.  It even hurts to fold laundry if a t-shirt even grazes my hand or wrist.  Several bruises have appeared – on each side of my hand and on both sides of my arms.  It is super sexy, in a junkie kind of way. A different friend at lunch today saw the bruises up and down my arm and felt too awkward to ask me what happened until I mentioned it.  Yes, that bad.

And that, folks, is how Christine my 4Runner humiliated me.  And why, my friends, I am a gigantic DORK.

What is the stupidest way you’ve ever injured yourself?

What I did at the theater while no one was watching.

Theater photo by Petermilli (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Theater photo by Petermilli (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The intermission bell chimed.  My heart raced.  There I was.  In my perfectly refined Ann Taylor get-up for the theater, with pearls and heels on to boot. I had moments left to get a beverage with as much caffeine as humanly possible and return to my seat.  The line I had chosen  at the intermission bar had been moving painfully slow. (Why do I always pick the slowest line?)

I quickly scanned the drink list signage for a coffee beverage.  No, no… it couldn’t be.  Surely they have coffee, surely they do.  It was a semi code blue situation.  I needed caffeine and I needed it stat, like in an intravenous kind of way. Otherwise I was simply not going to make it through the second act.

Before I realized there were no coffee options available I saw a clear countertop refrigerator full of tall, silver, red and blue Red Bull cans.  Who in the world would drink Red Bull at the theater, I thought to myself almost laughing at the irony as I scanned for a coffee pot anywhere in sight.  Red Bull at the theater just seemed wrong.

But I had been dozing in and out of consciousness  (like my Grandmother did in Star Wars I when I was little for God’s sake) throughout the entire first act of a wonderful live performance.  I was with two girlfriends the other night, one of whom was nice enough to invite me and let me use her spare second row, center ticket to see Peter and the Starcatcher – a wonderful show with an uber talented (and handsome I might add) cast, a great story line, a terrific script and wonderful stagecraft.  Who could possibly fall asleep on the SECOND row where I could clearly see the spit coming out of the actors mouths when they spoke?  Grandma Johnson… and me apparently.

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I’m almost positive that I caught each one of my friends glancing my way at different times during my short, startled awake spurts and noticing me fighting to stay awake.  Or maybe I dreamt that. I was playing it cool, and told myself that I probably wasn’t drooling or making snortish, gargling snore sounds each time I woke up, so they probably didn’t notice.  And hopefully I didn’t lay my head on the shoulder of the random woman to my right (did that on a plane once).

I had no choice.  As I reached the bartender stand, my fears of no coffee were confirmed.   The Red Bulls on those cans stared me squarely in the eyes with little smirks on their faces.  So I quietly ordered a Red Bull.  “Sugar free or regular?” the gal asked.  I didn’t know there were different versions and didn’t care.  I murmured to her that I would take the sugar free Red Bull and a water as I handed her cash like I was making a drug deal.  She gave me a little cup with a lid (luckily no sharpie) and explained to me that under no circumstances could I open the big can before I was sitting down in my  theater seat since such a massive vessel of caffeine would not all fit in that little cup. ( I assume this was so that it wouldn’t spill all the way down the stairs to my seat, which was smart on her part considering she didn’t even know my history of similar episodes. )  She almost made me pinky swear that I completely understood her as she looked at me sternly to confirm my acceptance of this rule.

But there was no way in hell I was going to carry a huge, obnoxious Red Bull can into that theater and pop open the can just as the show was about to re-start.  I would have had to scratch my crotch afterwards or something. Plus, it didn’t go with my great outfit and pearls, or the ambiance of the entire evening.  Kind of like when you see a bride in a beautiful wedding gown holding a Bud Light.

But I was desperate.  I needed a hit.

The bell chimed again.  I quickly scurried over to a corner behind a column where the bartender gal couldn’t see me and poured a third of the can into my little lidded cup.   I quickly swigged some of it down and did a quick refill.   All I needed to complete this class-act picture was a cigarette package rolled up at the top of my Ann Taylor sleeve and a chain wallet hooked to the belt loop of my cute leopard capri pants.

That would have to do.  I took a deep breath and stretched my eye sockets as widely as I could and headed back in.

Luckily the caffeine hit my bloodstream quickly as I’m sure Red Bull is intended and I was able to thoroughly enjoy the second act.  I blame my exhaustion on a crazy work week, a first week of school for the kids with tons of forms to sign and hellish school supply shopping trips, that face punch gal incident way earlier that same morning and a little bit of that wine headache that might have been still lingering.  I was a zombie, but in a cute leopard capri pants.

Desperate times called for desperate measures.  and luckily it worked.

The best part?  I don’t even think I drooled on anyone during the second act.

Why I’m glad I didn’t punch anyone in the face today.

apalachicolaFor one thing, I’m sure I could have been arrested for assault and battery or something.

And the lawyer fees and such would be quite expensive and the whole process would have been quite a hassle  – making the punch hardly worth it.

Plus, I would have hurt my hand and I would have been embarrassed for losing my temper so easily.

Here’s the rundown of what happened:

I actually worked out this morning.  This is HUGE for me as I am out of shape and horrible about regular exercise.  And WAY out of practice.  And because my head was hurting after a tad too much wine last night with a friend.  Also because it’s been a hell of a last couple of weeks and I am fried.

But because I told my dear friend Yoda that I would go today, I sucked it up and went.  She takes me to her workout group sometimes with a trainer who leads a group of about five or six ladies for workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.  Great group of people.  Except for the one I wanted to punch in the face today.  I know, I know… I sound so mean and severe.  Which is why you need more background.

So within the first 20 minutes, face punch gal corrects me on how I pronounced a place that I have been to many times, the Apalachicola area of Florida, which happened to come up in a conversation I was having with other people. She calls me out in front of the group and tells me that I mispronounced it  and proceeds to tell me slowly and loudly how Apalachicola is “actually pronounced.”  (I know, who does this?)  She tells me “there is no L at the end of Apalachicola.”  I irritatingly waved her off because I didn’t want to argue over something so ridiculous.  First off, there is an L in the end of Apalachicola.  Secondly, I’m a journalism major who strives to spell and pronounce things correctly, because I usually know how to.  Thirdly, who the heck cares if I even did mispronounce it, and why did she feel the need to correct me (wrongly at that) when I wasn’t even speaking to her?  I know this sounds petty, but It gets better.

For the next part of the workout, I got stuck on the mat next to face punch gal for several sets of exercises.  She proceeds to correct the way I was doing at least half of the exercises.  She even comments to the trainer that I wasn’t feeling the burn like she was since I was doing one of  the exercises incorrectly the whole time.  For real.  It gets even better.  And I hadn’t hit her yet.

Next, as she is seeing me struggle with keeping up with murderous abs exercises and hearing me actually grunt a little as I struggled to finish  (it was toward the end of our hour and remember, I am not in shape), I hear her ask the trainer why our workout was so easy today.  She confirmed that it would be harder on Friday and then asked if she could do some dead lifts with weights to make up for how easy the workout was.

It was right about that moment when if I could have physically mustered the strength to, I swear to you I wanted to punch her in the face repeatedly (metaphorically speaking of course).

I know I shouldn’t let people like this get to me, and I realize my wine headache probably wasn’t helping, but I don’t think people with such limited tact and social skills should be allowed to leave their houses, ever.

Thanks for your patience with my little face-punch rant, I know this was rather off-theme for me since I try to have some kind of grateful or positive slant to my posts as much as possible.

But some days, I’m just glad I didn’t punch anyone in the face.

Balancing the edge.

IMG_4396 What keeps me on the right side of the edge?  Calms me when the apprehension of a new school year wrought with challenges starts gnawing away at me?  Helps me breathe more slowly and fully when I’m feeling worried, overwhelmed or frustrated with humanity?

Monkey Dog does all this for me.  If you’ve been reading my blog for long, this is no shocker.  She is my muse.  And her therapy abilities rival her monkey counter-surfing abilities, believe it or not.

Her office where this therapy takes place is in this little corner of my patio where I can listen to the sounds of the small song birds at my nearby feeder which hangs on my favorite tree, with her by my side.  Lucky for me, she requires no copay.

This is what keeps me from getting too close to the edge.

And why I am truly grateful.

Word Press Daily Prompt:  On the Edge. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/daily-prompt-activity/

Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Wise

Since school starts Monday and so many things are already starting to run through my head that are freaking me out about having both kids in high school this year, this post that I am re-blogging is timely.
Even though I think she has kids that are younger, all of these things still apply, some of them even more so.

Many of these things I wish more people taught their kids. Especially the parts about being kind and brave.
PS: check out her penguins too.

I Miss You When I Blink

Back to school. Time to start being responsible(ish) again. Sigh.

I’m not sure if I’m a Tiger Mom or a Sloth Mom or a Shark Mom or an Exotic Albino Sandflea Mom or what. Honestly, I don’t know what in the name of Athena’s flashcards I’m doing most of the time. (Which is why I almost never write about parenting here.) I just try to apply some method to the madness, focus on what might be the most important values, and hope I’m not doing anything that makes these little people decide to be strippers or bounty hunters or mimes when they grow up.

One of the few things I do as a parent with any confidence and regularity is send my children out the door with these words every morning:

BeBraveBeKindBeWise

It’s kind of our mantra, I guess.

If we have a few extra minutes over breakfast, sometimes we elaborate…

View original post 437 more words

Open letter to a Barbecue Lay’s Potato Chip

chipsDear Barbecue Lays Potato Chip,

Tell me why, after all these years, have you found me again?  Now I’m afraid I won’t be able to forget you again for a while.

I have resisted your temptation for a few years now since my boys have become obsessed with you.  I have often stared at your bag in the pantry where you live with all of your relative chips.  Even though I try to store you out of my sight, I still see you.  You have just politely and quietly stared back, almost knowing that you were my forbidden fruit and having mercy on me.

Maybe it was the way that our grocery store has been recently remodeled so  beautifully, making that chip aisle damn near impossible not to stare dreamy-eyed down the aisle of shiny bags, with you now perfectly positioned at eye level upon approach.  I think I heard harps playing in the distance as I pushed my cart down that aisle the other day.

You made me buy a couple of bags of you for the kids.  I didn’t want them to run out, after all.  I brought you home, and tried to position you  in the pantry so that I couldn’t make eye contact.

But then the other night, as I was perfectly perched with my soft blanket and dimmed lights, ready to watch my trashy Sunday night Housewives TV series (that makes my life look ever so simple, which is a good thing), I heard you calling.

Maybe it was Clone’s fault for being so nice and asking me if I wanted him to get me anything after grinning at the TV screen, knowing how awful the TV show was that I was about to spend an hour with.  My household loves to make fun of me for this weekly vice.

Whatever it was, I gave in.  I ate way too many of you.   So many that I might even be able to forget you for a while since I satisfied my craving so sufficiently.  If it weren’t for the orange powdery residue you left under my nails.  That makes it harder to forget you.

You were good.  I thank you for that.

If I smoked I would have had a cigarette afterwards.

Thank you for the great Lays, my friend.

Are you FOMOphobic?

fomoAre you thinking about what you might be missing out on while you’re reading this post?  If so, you may be suffering from the psychological affliction called FOMO, which stands for Fear of Missing Out.

Social media, which has enabled us to know things that we have no need or real desire to know … about every member of our entire social media network… at the exact minute it happens, 24/7  … is fueling this phenomenon at a frenetic pace.

A New York Times article found that we are virtually enabling this to happen by creating a ‘collective compulsion to document our lives and share them online combined with the instant gratification that comes from seeing something you are doing or experiencing get near-immediate approval from your online peers.”

One recent study revealed that 56% of adult social media users suffer from FOMO.  Another revealed that many social media users would rather have a root canal, spend a night in jail, or sit in traffic for four hours while listening to polka music than to give up their social media profile.

What’s more, a study conducted by British psychologist Andrew Przbylski looked at the connections between FOMO and social media and found that people who felt lower levels of autonomy, competence, and connectedness had more severe FOMO and used social media more.

Many believe this is hindering our ability to stay in the present and live fully in the now.  And it’s just getting started.

Don’t get me wrong, there are numerous positives of social media.  I myself like to know what’s going on in pop culture and social media is great for that.  I also like to share sayings and quotes and share an occasional photo. I also truly appreciate social media for helping me stay in touch with those I might not otherwise be able to stay in touch with.  And it’s good for business and for writers.  I get all that.

Yet each time I open Facebook, I have to weigh the odds of reading a post that makes me uneasy at the potential FOMOphobia it may be fueling against the odds of reading a  funny or thought-provoking quote or article posted by a friend.  Or of seeing a sweet post of a moment from a friend’s life.  Or of connecting with a family member. These are the aspects of social media that I love.

Often at social events I’m fascinated by the fact that when someone’s smartphone camera comes out and the word Facebook is mentioned, it’s like a drop of blood has hit the water and suddenly everyone around me has their smart phone out in a frenzy to capture a photo to post on social media to document their attendance.  At what point are we so worried about posting about all the great things that are happening to us that we actually are starting to become absent from our present lives?

Fortunately most of the time, the funny and  semi-personal connecting moments through social media outweigh the occasional quasi-narcissistic outbursts that I can only assume fuel the FOMOphobia epidemic.  Some days it’s a toss up.

But don’t you just have to wonder what will happen if the pace of  technology which is bringing us closer and closer to knowing way too much about each other’s activities at all times one day matches the pace of the rapidly spreading FOMOphobia epidemic?  Will the intersection of these trajectories cause us to combust?  Or to just reboot with the concept of living in the moment a thing of the past?

‘Ignorance is bliss’ never made more sense.

Related articles:

http://news.yahoo.com/social-media-addiction-based-fear-missing-143357943.html

http://www.livescience.com/31985-fear-missing-out-dissatisfaction.html

“Sorry honey, I think you have the wrong mother.”

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Little Red Riding Hood’s coat now hangs in her closet.

Before my long weekend get-away, I visited Little Red Riding Hood (aka Mom) in her dementia facility home last week.

My usual feelings of dread – and the pit in my stomach – had been building up as I anticipated my visit. I knew that once I saw her, the pit in my stomach would begin to dissipate into the smaller, more manageable pit that’s taken up permanent residence. Sweet Clone (my youngest son) offered to accompany me.  Having someone with me every now and then takes a little of the sting out of my visits.

We arrived and I punched in the code at the front door, where a much different reality exists beyond the threshold.  This is where I take a deep breath and swallow my trepidation for how the visit may unfold.

These days Little Red Riding Hood doesn’t recognize me. For the last two years she seemed to at least realize that I was someone she knew and someone who was nice to her.  Now it takes more effort to briefly catch her gaze once I track her down.  She’s usually rearranging silverware or dusting a table with a tissue.  Her head hangs low but she walks with surprising agility.

This time as we walked into her area of the facility, her roommate Amy (who scares me a little because she always looks angry even though I don’t think she is), was holding Mom’s arm and leading her toward me.  I just knew she was going to tell me that something was wrong.  (Mom has been irritating some of the other residents lately walking into their rooms and taking her shoes off to stand and gaze at them. I can understand their frustration  even if it isn’t that uncommon around there.)

Instead and to my surprise, after I said hi to Mom and tried to get her attention, Amy held Mom’s arm as if protecting her and told me that I must have the wrong mother.  That Mom couldn’t be my mother because she was actually her daughter.  She inquired about my last name as if to double check but then kept walking with Mom.

Christian, the sweet caregiver, told Mom’s roomate that I was indeed Mom’s daughter and wanted to visit.  She argued again, told me “Sorry, honey, you’ve got the wrong mother. It just can’t be.”  She explained that Mom was her daughter, and that she had not been herself this week, and therefore she needed to be taken care of.  And it was her job to do it.

I looked to Christian and nodded with a smile to let him know it was okay.  I softly touched Amy on the shoulder and thanked her for being so sweet and caring.  Her wide, smoky blue eyes met with mine  and her facial expression lightened, as if she suddenly realized I wasn’t going to take Mom away from her.

After chatting with Christian about how Mom was doing, checking her room and leaving her favorite Russell Stover’s Assorted Creams on her little bedside table, it was time to say goodbye.candy

I caught up with them again and Amy was still holding Mom’s arm lovingly as they strolled around the facility.  I stopped them to give Mom the longest and most loving embrace possible and I told her that I loved her.  I almost, for a second, felt the old her hugging me back.  Or maybe I was trying to wish it to happen.

I leaned down to capture her attention and tell her again how much I loved her.  I got a brief smile but she kept on walking.

Amy looked at me and smiled like she felt badly for me, and told me not to worry, that Mom “just hadn’t been herself lately.”

As we left, I smiled and was grateful that someone new was also watching out for my Little Red Riding Hood.

Rocky Mountain Wry

IMG_4594Visiting Crested Butte for the weekend.

Staying in an old 1800s garage converted into a small house called the License Plate House which is covered in old license plates.IMG_4665

There is an art festival this weekend so there are tents and tents of handmade pottery, ceramics and clothing. Coffee shop next door.  Open patio.   Perfect weather.

Right now I can hear a beautiful wooden pan flute being played by a man set up at a table next door.  I think he’s playing Scarborough Fair. For real.

Hiked Friday on Snodgrass trail. Through the Ancient Aspen Grove.  Surprised I didn’t fall multiple times (given my natural grace) because I was snapping a picture at every turn, in awe of the beauty everywhere.

Biked through a summer rain around Peanut Lake.  Came back covered in mud and laughing.IMG_4666 IMG_4623

Away with Macgyver and the boys.

Wry is happy.  And grateful.

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