Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Necessary procrastination ...

Needlework. Yes, that's what I'll do. I'll awaken bright and early tomorrow and head over to a craft store and buy one of those punch kits and make something clever/cute for my kitchen. What a hooker I am I'll think as I punchpunchpunch the hook into the canvas, bright embroidery thread trailing.
Perhaps I'll head over to Border's and get lost in magazines or new fiction titles. Started reading THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA last time I was there -- even got halfway through Hemingway's tiny tome -- this time I'll finish the piece.
Could always go to the Kansas City Zoo, I suppose. Haven't been there since my own kids were small, what? ten years now? Lace up the comfort walkers and slather on the sunscreen. Maybe even wear one of those uber-ugly fanny packs. Who knows what lurks in the gift shops. Might need a polar bear keychain.
There's always grocery shopping, which I need to do, but I'm certain to see something that will remind me of him: bananas, coffee, tapioca pudding, crunchy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside bread rolls, Little Debbie's, icecreamicecreamicecream (no matter the flavor, just make it cold and creamy), Hershey's bars at the checkout. Better not head to Price Chopper. Groceries can wait another day.
I just have to find some activity to keep me busy ... some non-Dad activity that will occupy my thoughts so I won't be crying all day missing my dad.
Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of my dad's death.
Maybe I'll just skip the day altogether and stay in bed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Aah, Relief ... At Last!

It only took ten days, but I am now pain free. By the fifth day of EXTREMETAKEMYBREATHAWAY back pain, new understanding came my way: first, I will never (so help me) make fun of my mother's back pain again; second, Dr. Kevorkian had an important place on this earth. Seriously. As I lay on the sofa softly moaning, hour after hour, I told myself that should this pain be chronic, I'd have to find a way to take myself out of this earth. Honestly, I do not know how chronic pain sufferers endure. Like cancer patients. Accident victims. Eight-headaches-a-month migraine victims.
Apparently I am a pansy. And I always thought I had a high pain tolerance (natural childbirth three times, sans pain medication).
I suppose I have Dr. JC Penney to thank. I'd gone to the store, hobbling (thinking walking would help me) with my sis today to take advantage of a store closing blowout sale! and after I bought several hundred dollars worth of stuff (schlepping the gigantic bag throughout the store) my back pain suddenly left me. No warning. No, "Hey, Lady, I'm getting packed up, ready to leave ... ." No, none of that. Just as Mr. Back Pain had sneaked up on me ten days ago -- suddenly and without notice of any sort -- he was gone.
Sneaky bastard.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pain, pain go away ...

On Friday, June 13, at approximately 2:15 p.m., I dropped the soap while showering. Twisted in a weird way to retrieve it. I haven't been the same since. (Hold the prison rape jokes, please.)
For eight days now, eight days I say, pain has been my constant companion.
There are two positions that don't bring me pain, but getting into -- and then out of -- those two positions causes pain. Serious pain. The kind of pain that makes me screw up my face and mutter "shitshitshit" in rapid succession.
On the 1 - 10 pain scale, my lower back pain rates a clear 7. Maybe an 8. (Do know that, for me, a 10 would have to be how I'd feel if, say, some demented murderer chopped off one of my limbs with a chainsaw.)
Of course I went to the doctor. My 16 year old drove me and then proceeded to carry my purse even though she clearly did not want to into the clinic. I had to take itty-bitty-bird steps into the place. Obviously I was having some pain. The woman I sat down next to waited for me to get settled (Read: in the chair without crying) and then said, chomping her gum, "Ah, it's your sciatic nerve, huh?" We chit-chatted for some time and then my name was called. "Tell them I'm coming, and to have some patience," I told my daugher.
Diagnosis: sacro ileitis.
Prognosis: I'd get over it.
Prescriptions: Muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, painkiller.
I've played by all the rules (except the one where the doctor said to do floor exercises). Still I hurt. The pain is now throughout my hips and upper thighs. I suppose by this time tomorrow it'll be around my knees. Monday, through the calves. Tuesday, by then, well, maybe the pain will go to my toes and exit altogether.
A girl can hope.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Teachers let the monkeys out!

Remember, back in elementary school, running through the hallways on the last day of school, waving your arms around, shrieking "School's out, school's out, teachers let the monkeys out?"
Just so you know, we teachers do that exact celebratory singsong dance after the kids leave on the last day. Nirvana, that's what it is, once the last student walks down the hall. Into File 13 go the last-minute assignments ("Yes, you're getting a grade for this worksheet, and a big one at that!). Happy dances abound. Even the old-fart educators have bounces in their steps.
The lockers are cleaned out, the classrooms are boxed up, the bulletin boards are dismantled.
And we teachers have two glorious months off. Not three, which is what most people think. Same kind of thinking to being pregnant for nine months when really it's 40 weeks.
In case you're reading this, thinking Spoiled Teachers, Always Complaining About Low Salaries and Look They Don't Even Teach the Whole Year, just let me say that my salary is so low even the school custodian outearns me. Seriously.
And of course there are "mandatory" courses to take in June and July.
But I am not complaining. No way.
There are lazy hours to spend out on the porch talking to the kids. Museum trips coming, picnics at outdoor festivals (Kansas City has a yearly Shakespearean Theatre in the Park soiree ... delectable!), a gazillion movies to rent, a neighborhood swimming pool to visit, sunscreen and iced tea in hand. Even though I don't swim it's relaxing to sit poolside with an Anne Tyler or Elizabeth Berg something. Each summer I vow to read Some Sort of Classic; inevitably I end up with a women's fiction, recently published.
And this life, this "I'm home all day life," this is the life I love the most. It's my comfort zone. Domesticity brings me joy. I love doing laundry. Really. Ironing is meditative. Preparing a dinner for the family makes me happy. Vacuuming soothes my soul.
Ah, sweet, sweet summer. Bless your heart!