Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's a Trap, and I'm Walking Right In

When I arrived at my first physical therapy appointment today, the receptionist (I think her name is Maria) asked if I was ready to be tortured. I laughed nervously and bantered back, "You don't supposed she'll just give me a parafin bath and call it a day?" "No, probably not," she laughed back.

Her laugh sounded real, and like she was genuinely amused. Mine sounded like I was high on Vicodin. Because I kind of was.

Guess what my certified hand therapist, Mary, did right after measuring my range of motion and my grip strength? She had me do a parafin bath! I kid you not.

Then she manipulated my joints, gently, no big deal. And she gave me a finger sock (think finger girdle) to reduce/prevent swelling. The treatment session finished with wrapping my hand in a soothing ice pack for a few minutes.

This is what therapists do the first session. They make you feel like you've been to the spa. Makes it so you'll come back for the real deal the next time. And it is totally working, because now that I know parafin baths and ice wraps are involved, I'm willing to do anything to get in line!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pin Free

My doc was just as impatient to rip these babies out as I was. We both had a hard time actually waiting for the x-rays to finish processing.

When I told him that the smaller pin had twisted a few times, he said, "Oh yeah. That happens. It usually means it's ready to come out." He's a very nonchalant man. But OH MY GOODNESS. If he had, say, mentioned that pin twisting wasn't completely unusual, I wouldn't have freaked out quite so much when I noticed that mine had changed directions.

One really disgusting thing he said: "Wow. You've kept these really clean." I truly don't want to know what he is using for comparison. That's just nasty. What is wrong with you people? Hydrogen peroxide is simply not that difficult a hygiene request to comply with, is it? Eewww.

My range of motion basically sucks. Now I get to go to physical therapy three times a week for the next month. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am at the prospect of someone regularly making my sad little finger do things that cause excruciating pain. My doc wants a complete bend in a month. And because I think he's such a cool guy today, that is exactly what I want to give him. (Plus I still have a small stash of Vicodin to take pre-therapy sessions. It will be our secret.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I'm Buying a Lottery Ticket Today

I really dislike my car. Hate is too strong a word, because it's a safe car, has leather interior that looks new, and has a stereo that plays my iPod. But dislike seems weak, seems unable to exactly nail how much I would love a newer car. This is why:

1. I have spent over $3000 in the past month just to keep the car from spontaneously combusting. Brakes, axle, hoses, radiator issues, etc. But here's the catch—it still overheats if I am within two blocks of the car and the merest idea of air conditioning enters my thoughts. I can even think of a cooler month of the year while the heat is on in the car, and it will overheat.
2. It has logged 149,631 miles in its eleven years of life. What the mileage hasn't ruined, the last 11 years have. If it isn't one thing (overheating), it's another (spindles, exhaust manifold, etc.). It's theoretically a good idea to not have to make car payments, but at least with car payments, I would know how much transportation is going to cost each month. The way things are now, I never really know if I will be spending a few hundred or a few thousand.
3. This is the one child-friendly, practical car we own. D's car is new and sporty and fun, but with two doors, no storage space, and no automatic anything, it's not exactly child-friendly. My car is the one that will be needed for the safekeeping and reliable chauffeuring of our babies. Did ya hear the frustration and sarcasm oozing from that word reliable in the last sentence? Sticky with frustration.

I'm going to go do some deep breathing, and since my car is uncharacteristically home from the shop, I will try hard not to think cool thoughts.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tuesday Cannot Come Soon Enough

I don't recall any events of major physical trauma in the last few days, so I am baffled and mildly freaked out by this: the smaller of my finger pins changed directions. It used to face a little up, and just a bit ago I noticed that the same pin was pointed in a decidedly down direction. What the heck? Seriously, I want to know. And because I cannot leave well enough alone, I decided to twist the pin back to close to normal. Now that seems clearly stupid. It didn't hurt, but I am so disgusted with my inner fifth grade boy right now, that I cannot live through the next few hours without some combination of sedation and inebriation. Why would I try to fix it??

Tuesday is my next doctor's appointment. I have been under the impression that my brilliant hand surgeon will elect to take the pins out then. Now I think it will be essential for him to do so because if he doesn't, I now know I am capable of yanking them out myself. Perhaps without my knowledge.

A to Z Meme

[A is for age:]
34. Not quite on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but occasionally in the neighborhood.

[B is for booze of choice:]
Patrón Añejo neat.

[C is for career:]
Junior high English teacher—the best job in the entire world, but shhh, that's a well-guarded secret.

[D is for your dog's name:]
Don't have one yet. But when I do, it will have a person name.

[E is for essential items you use everyday:]
Blistex DCT. Purpose moisturizer with sunscreen. Antibacterial hand wipes. My glasses. Right now, hydrogen peroxide, cotton swabs, sterile gauze pads, rolled gauze, splint liners, and my custom splint.

[F is for favorite song(s) at the moment:]
Bubba Sparxxx Heat It Up, Dem Franchize Boyz Ridin' Rims, Chamillionaire & Scarface Rain

[G is for favorite games:]
Pool, Nertz, Poker, Rummy

[H is for hometown:]
Riverside, California, whose biggest redeeming quality is its relative proximity to other far more enjoyable places.

[I is for instruments you play:]
Hammered Dulcimer, and then only a limited repertoire of traditional Irish jigs and reels.

[J is for jam or jelly you like:]

[K is for kids:]
I'm working on that. . . .

[L is for last kiss:]
D. This morning.

[M is for most admired trait:]
Confidence. Hope. Optimism. Tenacity. What do you call all of those together?

[N is for name of your crush:]
My husband. But I also see every non-horror Josh Hartnett movie, and I think Carlos Mencia is adorable.

[O is for overnight hospital stays:]
Once when I was a toddler. Later, I stayed with my mom after my dad died.

[P is for phobias:]
1. The house burning (with cats inside) because of items left plugged in/the stove being on/the dryer being on/etc.
2. Germs. Door handles, hotel rooms, some people's kitchens and the food that comes from them, thrift stores, public microwave ovens.
3. Cockroaches. I grew up in the tropics where they are the size of dachshunds and they fly.
4. Books stored upside down.
5. Lakes.
6. Tsunamis.
7. Speaking in front of large groups of adults. Speaking on the phone with anyone not on my very short comfort zone list.
8. I'm not thrilled about heights or flying. Or boats. Falling, crashing, drowning—not feeling the love with any option there.

[Q is for quotes you like:]
“ There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less.” —Kurt Hahn

“Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those in need of help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.” —Albert Schweitzer

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest accomplishment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” —Leo Buscaglia

[R is for biggest regret:]
Trying so hard not to disappoint people, and living small as a result.

[S is for sweets of your choice:]
Mom's chocolate cake, Cold Stone Rocky Road, See's Scotchmallows, Starbuck's Toffee Almond bar, coffee ice cream with hot fudge, dark chocolate, coconut syrup—why can I buy everything else in the universe except coconut syrup? Why doesn't Hawaii export?

[T is for time you wake up:]
Early. 4:30 September through June, and whenever I please in July and August so long as it's at least an hour before d wakes up.

[U is for underwear:]
Always matching sets, and always thongs.

[V is for vegetables you love:]
Red peppers, tomatoes, green beans, eggplant, asparagus, onions and chiles, peas

[W is for worst habit:]
I'm bad at follow-through. And I procrastinate. Because I'm lazy.

[X is for x-rays you've had:]
Besides dental x-rays, I've broken my left arm twice and my left pinkie once. In high school, I had CT head scans to rule out brain tumors because I had headaches.

[Y is for yummy food you make:]
All completely from scratch: Lemon Blueberry muffins, oatmeal pancakes, banana nut bread, pineapple cake, lasagne with lots of rosemary, tequila lime fettucini, vegetarian meatballs, pesto seared tofu, lentil soup, yellow coconut curry

[Z is for zodiac sign:]
Virgo. To the extreme.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

For Real

At the beach yesterday, there were several pods of dolphins swimming less than twenty yards from shore. The waves were great, one set after another coming in steadily. The dolphins rode the waves in, then swam back out, catching wave after wave for a couple of hours. I have never seen dolphins surf before. They didn't seem to care that there were human surfers so close by. It was literally spectacular. Then they had to throw in a couple of Sea World jumps just to show off. I love living here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


D and I have been seriously considering foster parenting for a long time. We are finally getting to the doing part of the process to become foster parents, and specifically we are signing up to do fost-adopt, in which we would only be given a child who is adoptable and will not be removed from us once it is placed. We are asking for a baby without special needs—I know all babies need good homes, but I also know our limitations. The packet from the agency has arrived, so we are now working throught the requirements. I need a fresh TB test, an updated CPR certification, and although I am a teacher, I need to be fingerprinted again. Plus, there are a lot of things that need to happen in the house before we get our home inspection. We need to lock up all the cleaners, make sure we have the right kind of fire extinguishers and first aid kits, and get the room ready, of course.

The room is the big project. Big, as in the entire house is a disaster because that room used to be my office, and now is not. Why is it that when I try to empty one room, suddenly every other room in the house looks like the collection zone at the Salvation Army and the trash bin holds more than I thought was in the room to begin with? For not being a terribly sentimental person, I have amassed a quantity of stuff that clouds my mind and leaves me feeling daunted when I try to sort through everything. D has graciously agreed to give me space for a bookcase in his office. I can write bills as easily from the dining table as from a seperate desk. And there are bins worth of books (three large so far) that I cannot part with, but whose spines I do not need to stare at regularly. They will be stored in the garage.

The kid room (not calling it a nursery for some reason—baby steps) is emerging from the chaos of the rest of the house. I'll post pictures when it looks like something remotely inviting. For now, it has a crib, a bookshelf, a twin bed for lounging on while hanging with the baby, and an idea about colors and paint that we are moving toward (browns ranging from tan to chocolate and shades of either blue or pink, depending on what we get). But not today. Today, we need to leave the mess and play outside.

Change of Plans

I know I said I was terribly excited about the writing thing this summer. I know I said I tried hard to get in and that the writing thing was going to be the best activity that could possibly happen this summer. I know that.

What I didn't know was how horrible it was going to be: how it would be listening to the most respected minds in academia talk about research and theories about writing, how it would feel like highly specialized graduate studies in something I'm not actually enthusiastic about, and how the other participants would be either very quiet or very impressed with themselves. I didn't know that I would not be getting inspiration for how to integrate more and better writing into my classroom. Perhaps it was the chemistry of the group, because I know people who have done this same program in the past and LOVED it. I wasn't feeling it, and perhaps I was going through a rough patch personally, but I had the distinct realization that life was happening somewhere else, so I quit. That sounds more noble than it is—if not for the rough patch, I would have stuck it out, even with the sense of life's tenuous moments drifting by. But there was a piece of life similar to hell that we went through, and that facilitated the quitting.

Now I am enjoying summer vacation, something I said I didn't like. I am working on a project, though, and while I am excited to share this project, I promise this will not become a blog about the project. Promise.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Why have d and I resisted becoming parents for so long when we both love kids enough to spend our lives working with them? What lurks in both our pasts that scared us away from this experience that I now crave so much I can scarcely breathe sometimes? What caused the huge pools of pain that we have tried to avoid by just loving other people's children? Why has it taken me until I am on the verge of what feels like too late to figure out that I don't want a quiet, orderly, peaceful life? I want a big, close, connected family, the kind that neither d nor I grew up in, and the kind I know we both idolize. I'm sending this wish out into the universe, a wish for a noisy house with flourishing kids who are going to grow up to like each other and who will want to spend Sunday dinners with us and each other. I want big noisy holidays with all the trimmings. I want dogs running through a kitchen where pancakes are sizzling on a griddle and the laughter is loud. And I really don't have to have our own kids; I just want kids.
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