No Bones About It

Today is the 8-week Injur-versary from when I fell down, go boom at the roller rink. As you may remember (bear with me — I’m telling the newbies!), I fractured my distal radius and was in a hard, yet removable-after-4-weeks cast for 6 weeks, then a soft brace when I worked and slept until this past weekend. What a strange, weird, interesting experience this has been. I know I still have weeks to go until I have full use of my left extremity again, but I think 8 weeks is a good time to look back at Bone Break 2017.

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Waving the White Hair

It’s official. On Thursday, December 8, I finally conceded defeat. After years now of finding and foiling its plot, I am becoming outnumbered and simply can’t go on fighting.

Little white hairs pop out on my hairline. I see some springing to life in my part. And for a long time, I would seek and destroy, plucking them from within their auburn nest. They were short by the time I caught them white-handed. They were (and still are) extremely outnumbered by brown comrades.

Woman pulling white hair

Artist rendering of the actual event.

But that morning, as I brushed my beyond-the-shoulder length tresses, one popped up on the side, springing to life with a curl all the white hairs apparently long to be. And it was more than half as long as the surrounding brown hairs.

How did you get by me, you little bugger, I thought. I shouldn’t have been surprised, because last year, I bought my first pair of reading glasses at the dollar store (simply because companies are making the text on products and boxes much smaller now, of course). This long white curly hair mocked me, daring me to pluck it.

I thought about it, but then decided to let it be.

Anderson Cooper is older than me and has been white-haired since his 20s, he has said. I accepted, hell, I celebrate the laugh lines around my eyes, which I’ve had for decades. I EARNED those. Well, maybe I earned the white hairs, too, if only by living as long as I have so far on planet Earth.

It’s no biggie anyway, right? I look younger than I am (coworker, bless his heart, guessed 30 and admitted he thought he was guessing too high, and I’m frequently asked what college I go to, still). Plus, the brown hairs still maintain control, for now. Go ahead, white hairs! Come in and curl ’til your heart’s content. I won’t bother you anymore (of course, I can’t see most of you, so that’s a help).

But look out, white eyebrow hair. You stood out like a sore thumb (especially in the magnifying mirrors) so you had no hope of survival. Of course you return incessantly, unlike many a brown hair I plucked by accident (WHY DOES THAT HAPPEN?). I haven’t given up on you… yet. I wonder how long it will be until that one gets a few more friends…

For now, though, white head hairs, be free! I surrender.

 

Salon, farewell (I wish)

 

I hate the entire experience.

I hate waiting, flipping through magazines with hair styles I neither like nor have the patience to pull off, or the latest copy of whatever gossipy mags lay about. I hate sitting in the chair, looking at her looking at me in the mirror, discussing what to do with my hair, even though it’s always simple. I hate the always too-tight, uncomfortable, and unattractive smock. I hate having my hair washed, usually by a gum-snapping curly-haired girl. I hate looking at her armpit, clothed or not, while she scrubs bubbles then takes an eternity to get all of them out of my tremendously long tresses. The water’s always too hot, but after three wrist tests and upside-down inquiries, it’s faster, I think, to just go along.

I hate being back in the chair anticipating the small talk I can’t stand. I never go to the same cutter twice (I go to cheapie places since I just need trims) — I don’t want to know about their kids, their vacation plans, or how awful they think the news story that’s blasting on the TV at the back of the room is. I dislike small talk in general, but it’s definitely not fun while trapped in a chair with clips holding my mop on the top of my head as it’s trimmed layer by layer. Besides, I worry when the stylist chats away that her view will skew and my hair won’t be even. Since it’s straight, that’s kind of important, ya know?

I hate the clips that aren’t strong enough to firmly hold my heavy wet hair in place, the smell of Barbicide, and locking eyes with the person two chairs over in the mirror between us, her head slightly down, as her short fuzzes are shorn off her neck. That’s never been done to me, I think. Why do our eyes meet? Because one can only look at themselves and the woman cutting their hair in the mirror for so long, and closing my eyes seems weird.

Wet, cut. Blow dry? No, thanks. I don’t have that kind of free time. Plus the 30 minutes this ordeal takes is long enough. I’d trim the two (to however many) inches off my long locks myself if I could. See: age 13, bangs, promise to never do that again.

Of course, all that’s not why I don’t go to the salon the way some people do (monthly, for hours, gleefully gossiping, and surfacing — engaging only in pleasantries). I don’t have to go that often because my hair is long, which I love. Except when I hate it. See: humidity, mostly.

At this point, it’s the longest it has been in decades, and that’s the question: how long should it be? Just below the shoulder blade — meaning a visit three times a year or so — has been the standard for a while (especially since a shorter, layered disaster in 2010 that I’ll never repeat). But now it’s just below the waist of all my pants. I’ll be able to sit on it soon!

Big girl pants, party of one. Your salon chair is ready… and waiting…

The Spider I Named Lazarus

Either the counter was moving or something was on it. Upon closer inspection, I discovered a teeny tiny spider crawling along. He ended up walking on my most recent grocery receipt — perhaps an accountant spider? I wanted to throw it away, though, so I picked it up and gently tapped the edge on the counter, hopeful Mr. Spider would simply slide off.

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It’s curtains for me

Shower curtain with gold fleur de lis

Purty, right? (Still not worth the agony.)

Chores I dread: getting the oil changed in the car (endless waiting); vacuuming out the car (I seem to have car issues); and hanging a new shower curtain. For that last one, I put it off for weeks, until I can’t take the mildew that refuses to be Scrubbing Bubbles-ed off the plastic liner anymore. You know after a time, it just neeeeeeeds to be changed, no matter how much you clean and scrub. It just need to be gone. Every few years, I decide to reward myself for doing this awful chore by also hanging a new shower curtain with the new liner. Somehow, the pretty new curtain doesn’t make up for the torture of getting them in place, though.

The torture: a good 15 minutes with my arms up over my head trying to get the rings to clasp back together: shoulder pain that I haven’t known since the last time I did this chore, which demands I hold my arms in an unnatural position up and over my head for an unnatural amount of time. Sure, I’ve put my arms over my head for, let’s say, jumping jacks, raising my hand in a class, or when I conform and let peer pressure force me to do the letters in Y-M-C-A. But to hold your arms up seemingly forever while the ends of the clasp that worked just fine on the last curtain for months all of a sudden forget how to do their jobs — A-G-O-N-Y. (I don’t have the strength to form those letters with my arms, though.)

Of course, I don’t help myself by always — ALWAYS — misplacing a ring. No, I don’t take the rings off the curtain rod and yes, that means I, too, wonder how I can misplace something that’s hanging right in front of me, but seemingly invisible, at least for a second. Then there’s the lining up of the holes wrong, ending up with an extra empty grommet on the liner and an extra stitched hole on the curtain. And they are NEVER the same hole or anywhere near each other, meaning every — EVERY — ring has to be undone and realigned and… for the love of all things holy, do my shoulders burn right now!

Oh, did I mention I just did this? Trying to take my mind off the pain by delving into my writing, my happy place here. I know! I’ll go take a shower. Good thing that lining’s up and ready to go….

Look Down

 

Usually, I’m an eye-to-the-sky kind of girl. There are cloud shapes to recognize, blue sky to marvel at, birds flying by. There’s a lot going on up there. Plus, when you tend to be optimistic, things are always looking up, eh?

Last week I discovered, though, the joy of looking down.

On the hottest day of the year, with my gas tank gauge needle dangling perilously above the “E,” I decided I needed a little fuel. I wasn’t looking forward to getting out of the cool of the air-conditioned car, but hey, that’s why I  wear the big girl pants. Adults do what they gotta do (whining optional).

As I walked around to the passenger’s side where the gas tank is, with my head slightly tilted toward the ground, I saw something shiny. (This is not an ADD alert — I really saw something shiny.) Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a quarter — a whole 25 cents! — just waiting for me to pick it up and pocket it. “Thanks, Mr. Person Who Dropped a Quarter,” I said out loud to no one in particular.

After fueling up a wee bit, I decided to go to the library to pick up the books I had on hold. Four. To add to the stack in my office already — both library and bargain bought. As I left the parking lot and ambled on the pavement leading to the Door of Knowledge (I love the library, in case you didn’t know), I saw chalk on the ground. There were hearts and books, numbers, random letters. Then, a most beautiful sight: “I ❤ books!!” Me, too, kid. If only I had some chalk to add a contribution to your awesome thought.

I sometimes forget to look around and down, rather than looking up, as I’m wont to do. Turns out, if you do, you might find and/or see some amazing things. Give it a try. I’ll bet you a quarter you see something cool.

Drop it like it’s hot

 

I didn’t see it coming.

I didn’t think it could happen.

I’ve been on the planet long enough to have learned this lesson by now.

In the kitchen, I danced around the island, arranging Tostitos Scoops(tm) on a plate, then filling them with a Mexican four-cheese mix. The cookie sheet heating in the oven was to make them extra crunchy on the bottom (an experiment). Mom’s dog came prancing in as he’s wont to do when I’m near the island. He knows that’s where the magic happens. I stand there and teeny pieces of shredded chicken or cheese sometimes accidentally drop onto the floor just under his nose. Just a taste.

He seemed especially excited about what I was making. I deduced it was because, as a Chihuahua, he favored Mexican-inspired dishes. I started singing ~ it’s our thing.

“Little puppy, here for cheese. You would cross your paws, say please.
‘Drop some cheese onto the floor and I won’t beg for any more.'”

(I make up lil’ songs for the boy. He wags his tail and barks, i.e., sings along)

Humming whatever tune I put those words to, I put an oven mitt on and pulled the now-hot cookie sheet out. It sat on top of the stove as I created verse 2 of my new doggie song. I thought about bringing the cheese-filled Tostitos over to the stove a couple at a time. It might be quicker if I held it, I thought, then did the unthinkable ~ swung around from the island to the stove and reached for the cookie sheet with my bare left hand.

Thumb, index finger ~ full grab. Middle finger, just starting to grip when 3… 2…. 1…

OW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I dropped it immediately (twas only lifted a bit ~ hadn’t a full hold of it) and ran to to sink. The dog looked at me, wondering why his song stopped. So I made up a new one, while cool water ran over the forming blisters.

“Doggie, I have burned my hand. I know you do not understand.
You just want more cheese and chips. My fingers, they hurt like a bitch…”

An hour later, with pruned multi-crimson-shaded thumb and finger, I turned off the faucet and dried my hands gently. The mere idea of air made the skin tingle as if a flame was trying to break free from the inside out. A white bumpy blister formed quickly on my index finger as I wrapped it loosely in gauze. The thumb, extremely red, seemed to have escaped such serious injury. Still, I wrapped it, too.

“That’s a pain that will tend to linger.” Ed Grimley, clutching his burning fingers after removing a batch of cookies from the oven without using a mitt

The pain did linger, for a few hours, until the Advil kicked in. The gauze/Hello Kitty combo did a great job keeping the enemy ~ air ~ at a distance.

A couple days later, both fingers are a wee bit sensitive still, but the blister’s just about gone. The Tostitos were delicious ~ filled with cheese and topped with homemade pico de gallo. I ate them while holding my left hand awkwardly upward to stop the throbbing blood flow. I wasn’t letting something that good go to waste for a blistery burn and a wee bit of pain. I ate my way through the pain. Twas delicious.

What I’ve learned:

  • (again) the human body is an amazing healing machine
  • finger injuries hurt like a *&@#$!
  • And being on the planet for several decades is not long enough to avoid doing something stupid.

They have all kinds of treatments for burns and finger injuries.

Unfortunately, as of yet, for idiocy, there is no cure.

May I please see your ID?

It happened again.

I looked at the teller tucked behind the thick glass pane of the bank’s drive thru and thought, I would hate to sit in a tiny room with a huge glass window like that. It’s like a storefront which leads me to… How much is bank worker in the window?…

After taking my check from the metal drawer thingy where I had placed it, she looked at me.

“Do you need a balance?” She said, then looked more closely. “Is this your account?”

My brow furrowed a bit as I responded, “Yes, is there a problem?”

She paused then looked at her computer screen again. “Well, you don’t… I’m sorry… I was just confused. You don’t look your age.”

I smiled. “Thanks. I get that a lot.” Then I wondered just how much of my info was on the screen… and since my birthday was coming up soon (which she apparently knew), if she’d give me one of the fancy green plastic bracelets embossed with the bank logo strewn near the overflowing dog biscuit container as a pre-birthday gift.

She kind of shook her head, put the receipt for the transaction in the drawer near her then pushed it toward me and my open car window. “I’m sorry again. You’re lucky. You look really young,” she said, as if I was 90.

I smiled and nodded and grabbed the receipt (no bracelet). I drove away wondering how much longer I can get away with looking like a college student. Then I had a lovely thought: I look young and have always looked young for my age. ‘Tis a gift I shall appreciate even more as I grow older (if that’s happening, which is apparently up for debate).

Hey, does this make me the female Karate Kid? Better find my Mr. Miyagi and hope my back holds up through the training.


*Note to anyone under the age of 29: The REAL Karate Kid is Ralph Macchio, who was in his 20s when he played a high school kid who got his butt kicked in 1984. Let’s look back, this Tune-In Tuesday, to the extremely young-looking actor, who’s 52 now (but looks like he’s still in his 30s), as The Karate Kid.

Spider Solitaire

This post is part of NaBloPoMo, Feb. 2014. Today’s prompt: Write about an event that happened today. Now write about it from the perspective of someone else in the room.I’m stuck in the house in the snow, so…

For four days, we’ve known the other exists, but we haven’t connected. Every time I go into that room, I see my new friend, but we haven’t been formally introduced.

I think I sense fear. I get the feeling it’s preferred that I pretend my new friend doesn’t exist. But I can’t.

He’s black. He’s tiny. He kind of stands out.

All eight legs must be tucked under — he looks like a ball, but it’s a noticeable ball on the white wall of the inside of my linen closet.

Do spiders really think we can’t see them if they just stand still? Dude, you so don’t blend.

“Hello, Spider,” I say every time I go into that closet and he freezes, jolts a little, tightens more into his ball. “I won’t hurt you. You just do your thing and I’ll do mine, and we’ll be fine.”

I close the door and, every time, I hope he (she?) will decide it’s time to move on. For four days now. I have towels to put away, but don’t want to — Spider doesn’t need a more comfy location in which to roost and I don’t need the surprise of my life after a relaxing shower.

“Hey, Spider,” I say, opening the door today. “Aren’t there other warm cozy places you could be?”

A few hours later, I realize Spider’s not budging. I decide to encourage a little movement. It’s not the quilted stuff, but it’s soft enough — I nudge Spider slightly with a tiny toilet paper arrow I’ve created.

“Time to move on.”

The spot where Spider was — just white wall now. Did I see where Spider went? Of course not. The long-limbed black ball I couldn’t help but notice is now invisible, like he got some kind of arachnid version of Harry Potter’s cloak or a Romulan device that will enable him to hide, even right next to me.

Looks like I’ll be shaking out my towels right before I use them for a few days, just in case, and double-checking the toilet paper rolls before I put them on the holder.

If only he just moved… and left a forwarding address.

~ ~ ~

Ah, nothing better than relaxing after a tough day of spinning and fly-eating. I’ll just stretch my legs and… What’s that bright light? Holy cow, that’s the biggest spider I’ve ever seen! I better hide.

(pulls all eight legs tighter under his body)

There. Now I’ll be safe… boy, that thing is big. I hope it goes away soon. You can’t see me. You can’t see me. la la la.

Wait… what is that noise?

(“Hey, Spider…” which Spider hears as mamawawa)

It doesn’t speak Spider! What the hell is that?

(Spider closes his eyes tight)

Go to my happy place, go to my happy place. Be gone, large creature!

(The door closes. Spider relaxes. This repeats several times… until the large creature pushes Spider with an object that seems somewhat familiar to him, but he can’t place).

What the… ahhhhhhhh! I’m falling! … Wait!

(Spider spins a little silk to the wall to stop the fall).

Phew! That was close. … Maybe I should find another place to hang out.

(Spider starts to leave, but sees the large creature peeking in his warm abode as if looking for him).

Nah, I think I’ll stay.

(Spider hides in a closet crevice where he can see large creature, but it can’t see him. He puts two sets of his eight legs up to the sides of his head and wiggles them).

Nah nah nah nah, nah, nah. If I had a tongue, I’d stick it out.