Saturday, June 28, 2008

Long Memory?

Last year, I talked of killing a lot of Japanese Beetles in a Friday Night Massacre. I was worried because that very same evening, I sustained a bad bug bite. I was not sure if the beetles - the ones that lived - were exacting retribution upon me because of the scores that I had killed, but I wondered.

For the rest of the summer, I did not have much of an issue. I keep bug spray in a location on my kitchen counter where it is easy to reach and for the few that I saw in the following months... well, you could say that they were toast. That's the way I like my roaches. Dead.

Hot weather came early this year, and with it, the beetles have returned. My can of Raid is available at all times, and I've used it. A lot. But I'm starting to wonder what the lifespan of a beetle, exactly, is. I'm starting to wonder also whether they pass stories from one generation to the next. The war between them and me seems to have taken on a new complexity.

Now before you dismiss this notion, you should know the saga of Mom's dogs. She had a pair of Corgis in my youth, and one day they cornered a cat on the porch of a neighbor's house. They never forgot that moment and, for the rest of their doggie lives, checked that porch out each and every time they walked by. Before they left, though, younger generations of dogs joined them and so on and so on and so on. And fifteen years later and many generations of dogs, every one would check that porch just in case a cat might be lurking there.

So a couple of weeks ago, I emerged from the shower and wrapped myself up in a bath towel. (I know it's been a few years since I got on maintenance but the act of fitting a bath towel around my body has not yet grown old.) Anyway, for some reason which I can no longer remember, I decided that I needed to go into the kitchen. There I found a gigantic water beetle on my counter. I quietly edged towards the can of bug spray and picked it up. It moved towards the front of the counter. I prepared the can with my finger on the trigger. It took off and flew towards me. It was clear that it was going to land on my towel!

I shrieked of course. And hit the trigger, catching it in the mist during mid flight. Once it was hit, it dropped to the floor like a stone (thank goodness) and fell into death throes. I was unnerved. It took a while for it to die and I was too afraid to approach it to scoop it up and throw it out. I didn't deal with the carcas until the next morning.

I didn't think about that incident again until this evening. This time, I was in the guest bathroom. I've seen one of the roaches over the past few days peeking out from underneath my bookcase in there. It unnerves me, especially as when I am in the bathroom, I'm generally trapped by virtue of autoimmune disease. But fortunately, I've been able to scare it into running backwards and hiding. We ended up not interacting.

But tonight I was in the bathroom and it came completely out of hiding. I made a big movement - mostly out of fear because I was on the pot - and it ran into the corner. It froze there... probably trying to escape detection. I stared at it until I was able to get up, and following protocol, went to the kitchen to retrieve my can of bug spray. (Note to self: Get another can to keep in bathroom.) Quietly returned to the guest room, walked in, positioned myself, and sprayed.

Direct hit! I was expecting it to do the dance of death immediately but was shocked out of my complacency when it came running at me. I yelled, jumped into the air, and ran towards the door. Do you know it turned around and ran towards me there too?

I turned and sprayed again. Another direct hit. At that, it ran under the bookcase, presumably to die. I hope so.

But now I'm completely unnerved. Have they learned to attack now? Or am I overestimating their abilities to communicate and hold a grudge? Are the two incidents - in a row I might add - coincidence? Or do I have reason to worry?

I don't know. But I think I'm going to sleep with the light on tonight.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I do a lot of laundry. Attendant with ongoing chronic illness is the issue of clothing, but also of sheets & towels. Night sweats - not associated with menopause - are a staple in my life and I often have to change my sheets once, if not twice, overnight.

A few days ago, I did a big batch. Two sets of sheets, maybe 8 or 10 towels along with assorted items of clothing. Six machine's worth. Fortunately, my condo's wash rooms each house eight, so I could get the chore done quickly and efficiently.

When you deal with public laundry facilities, you need to be more aware of your personal belongings than if the machine was housed within your own property. I used to have sheets and towels taken on occasion, but at 350 plus pounds, there were not a lot of people who filled out my clothing. Now I have to be more cognisant of the timing of my clothes... be sure to be out there before the cycle is over so that there is little lag time between when the machines stop and I collect my belongings. I accomplish this feat by means of an egg timer.

Since I do the majority of my laundering during the day, there is little theft as everyone is either at school, work, or now that it's summer, camp. And so I had no issue when I gathered up my latest round of washing.

I dragged it inside; clothing on the top of the basket, I quickly matched sock with sock, folded underwear and shorts, and put everything away. Only one unmatched sock, hallelujah! I learned a few years ago that missing socks were generally the result of overloading the washer's tub... they float off the top of the wash over the side of the barrel and are lost in the cavern of the machine. Since finding this out, I almost never have single socks anymore, and when I do, I generally find them unwashed in my closet, behind the tub in which I throw my dirty clothes.

Once the clothing was addressed, it took little time to fold and put away the towels. Then there was the sheets. Two sets.

In the pink floral set, one of the pillowcases was still damp; I hung it over the top rail in my bathroom to dry. (It's still there. I really should fold it and put it in it's place - lol.) The blue striped set was completely dry. I folded it and put it in it's basket. I folded the remainder of the pink set and put it away too. And the next morning, decided that I again needed to change my bed.

I went for the blue stripes. After all, it's hot out and it's such a cool shade of what you might call light teal. But lo and behold, the pillowcases were nowhere to be found! Now I KNOW without any doubt that I brought them inside and folded them. In fact, I was quite relieved that only the one pink case was damp and specifically checked the blue ones to be sure they were fit to be put away. And then I don't have a clue what I did with them.

Fortunately, I have some spare cases for emergencies just like this. But I'd like to know what happened to the matching ones in the set. I've looked in all the baskets. I've looked in my closet, in my armoir, in my drawers where I put my clothes. I've checked the laundry room again just in case I was nuts, but I know that I brought them in and had them.

Some of you might be thinking "Aha! Senior moment." Don't go there. You should know that I am not having any senior moments until I qualify for the senior discount, and according to Denny's own calculations, I don't meet the age minimum requirement for another 3 1/2 years.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Spinning Yarns

Some days are meant for reflection and growth. Others are for self indulgence. Today is the latter for me.

I feel like eating? I'm eating what I feel like. I feel like taking the boys for a walk, I'm about to take them. I feel like not answering the phone? Don't bother calling... I won't pick up.

I've spent the better part of the afternoon at my spinning wheel. Brainless, methodical action. Not requiring a lot of energy which I am still lacking, but productive none-the-less. I just finished an eight ounce skein of gorgeous merino-silk yarn; started spinning the little bit of beautiful hand painted wool/silk varigated blue roving left over from last year's adventure taping a segment of "That's Clever" for HGTV. Before you ask, no, I never contacted them to see when the episode is going to air. I really should get around to it sometime soon as it's probably airing right now and I don't know it.

I tried an experiment on the Richard Simmons Clubhouse bulletin boards where I would post my daily challenges and goals, my food plans, and my daily weight. It got away from me and it became about the respondants and sordid stories of their past. In detail. Of wagging penises and exposed buttocks. Man bashing at it's best.

I understand the need to vent about the past and air dirty laundry, but not on my time. I don't understand what it is about me that brings out this side of people, but need to reflect on it. Everything in it's proper time and place is fine, but why on my time?

I do not have the strength to carry others through their personal issues. I don't really have the strength to carry myself, but I'm making it anyway. I don't understand what happened over there and wonder about it. I did not post details of my past, instead I tried to focus on the here-and-now and how I am strategizing to get to where I want to be. What made them think that their kinds of responses were of support to me?

What is with people? Why is it so important to drag everyone down to the lowest common denominator? I know what kind of yarn I've been spinning this afternoon. What kind of yarns to the others want seen as their legacy?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Psychology Today

Neurosis, Psychosis, Bipolar, Depressed
How do us crazies get up and get dressed?
With meanings complex and issues refined
How do we get psychological terms defined?

Anxiety, Hysteric, Compulsive, Diseased
And into our minds they plant fertile seeds
That our viewpoints are warped and our reactions extreme
Of our therapy appointments that would be the theme.

Zoloft or Prozac, Xanax, Effixor
Which one will solve all of my problems and quicker?
Especially the ones not born in my head
But are of medications of which have been said

To cause such fatigue and such stress to extreme
That they've caused me to think and therefore do deem
That a poem will help break the cycle of doom
And give me the energy to get out of my room.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Sometimes it's hard to write. Sometimes it's hard to just exist. I'm in one of those funks right now.

Last Sunday, I made a terrible mistake and bought too much ice cream. The act of buying ice cream was not a mistake in and of itself - it was way over triple digits out - but the quantity was. I am diabetic. I do not take medication for it because it's completely under control via diet. When I eat sugary stuff in normal quantities, I do not have an issue. But a double Hot Fudge Sundae with a brownie on the bottom for good measure was just too much.

I paid for that transgression the very same evening that I ate it. I was shakey and dizzy and nauseous and felt like my heart was racing all at the same time. I paid for the transgression yesterday afternoon into evening to when the ice cream hit my colon. And at the same time, it was time to give myself my Methotrexate injection.

The Meth is a necessary evil, but leaves me ill in a whole different way. Additionally, I know that it clouds my thinking and processing abilities. While I am able to write clearly here, in eral life, I react erratically to stimuli, and although I've become somewhat practiced at appearing calm now, internally I am anything but. I make decisions that seem irrevokable (and sometimes they are), I decide what people's motives are while knowing on an intellectual level that my thought process is not making sense, I question my sanity.

I'm back in that mode now. I've been on Prozac for three weeks and even though it's supposed to even me out, based on giving myself the shot yesterday and my reaction to it, it hasn't. The Prozac does make me nauseous though, and ultimately - according to the web sites - will be responsible for me gaining about 20 pounds.

I suppose that if I am even questioning my ability to understand the world, my concern that I have gone off the deep end is not valid. But there's a pressure in knowing that things I may say or do right now when I appear right but am not necessarily, will impact the future.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Sometimes subjects to write about come flowing out of me. Other times, I have nothing to say. For the past week, I've lived the latter scenario.

I can't say that the week has been bad. In fact, I'm on a reduced schedule for Cimzia now, and I think it's helping me. I've put a lot of focus on my food program and keeping food journals, and have started to identify those areas in which I've become temporarily weak and am shoring them up. Even though the medications seem to deaden my ability to create, I've forced myself to spin some wool and have gotten another 8 ounces spun and will ply it today. So all in all, I'm doing pretty well.

I just hope that you keep visiting. I promise to get back to my old writing form soon.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Walking Cosmos

Lest you think that all I ever have from Cosmos is trouble, you should know that he is actually a very sweet dog. A Dalmaian of questionable origin, he was found in the gutter before his eyes were even open and delivered to my doggie rescue friends. There, due to unfortunate timing and a terrific campaign by Dalmatian breeders to keep people from unthinkingly adopting these eccentric dogs around the time of the release of 101 Dalmatians, only to turn them into the pound later, he remained unwanted. For years.

The result was that when he came to me, he was still emotionally a puppy. Over the years, he's grown up and old, but his deep seated desire to please and be accepted has become, if anything, more intense than it was when he first came to me. And that takes us to our daily walks.

We go on short walks. The boys are old and I am not well. (Hence the sporatic blogging as of late.) I usually take them out of the back of my complex, walk up the alley to Reseda, make a left passing by two apartment buildings, and then make another left into the alley down there, and go around until we get back to our own complex. Because there are a lot of apartmetns and condos in my neighborhood, there are a lot of people on the street. Mostly coming and going from cars, but passing by.

Cosmos looks at these people as an opportunity. He lowers his head down between his shoulder blades in a subservient manner. He gives them his best smile and tail wag. And he looks at them beseechingly. "Will you please pet me?" he begs.

Last night as we went by the first apartment building, a very old lady of obviously European origin emerged onto the street. Aha! A target for Cosmos. Even though we were already by the front door of that particular building, he turned around and assumed the pose. She walked right by without noticing us and moved on to the street. Stood on the curb for a few seconds, and then turned around.

Cosmos saw this as his chance. He took a couple of steps forward, still begging to be noticed. She turned towards us. I thought he might have a chance. But then she saw my boy, started and backed off quickly. Cosmos did not approve.

When people refuse to pet him, he gets quite angry. Goes into a peal of barks and growls. Raises his hackes. His tail goes straight up into the air. And in the case of the old lady last night, he lunged forward to bite her. Of course, he's totally inept and fell down before taking more than two steps, but the thought process was there.

I comforted my boy. Told him that she was wearing black and probably did not want his white dog hair all over her clean outfit. Told him that we would find somebody to pet him on one or another of our walks, and that I loved him still. And then we moved on.

It didn't take us long to find our next opportunity. As we were walking up the alley, a woman was going into an apartment building, but within seconds, re-emerged carrying some kind of stroller. She saw us and Cosmos didn't even have time to assume the position. She walked right up and pet him! And Sunny too! It turns out, I learned in conversation, that she was having knee surgery on Monday and had taken her own pair of dogs to her own mother's home earlier that day. She was in doggie withdrawl and happy to see us. Cosmos ate the attention up.

While she was still fussing over my boys, another younger woman walked up to her. Clearly friends, the second woman had forgotten her key and asked the first to let her into their building. My boy's friend was just about done petting the dogs, but Cosmos saw a new victim. Assumed the position. Gave her such a nice tail wag. And I helped him along by saying to him "Cosmos, I don't know if this new lady wants to pet you or not!"

The new lady took the hint and gave him a couple of pats. Good enough to satisfy Cosmos.

We continued down and around the alley and back into our complex. We came across a homeless man scrounging through the trash looking for bottles and cans. I don't mind him; I see him all the time and he works so hard. And he helps recycle materials that would have ended up in the dump because our complexes are too lazy to have their residents sort. He pets my dogs all the time and this was not an exception. Cosmos was in heaven.

We finally came back into our own building and were heading down the courtyard, and from the other direction was a man walking quickly. Cosmos couldn't resist. He lowered his head, got a beautiful toothy smile on his face, and wagged his tail. But alas, this last attempt was for naught. When the man got closer, he was carrying a large water bottle - as in 5 gallon size - in each hand. Nothing left to pet my boy.

Well, even Cozie could see the futility in pursuing this avenue of petting. Did not get mad but instead asked to go on home.

We came inside and I gave the boys biscuits. And told Cosmos what a lucky boy he was. Three out of five attempts to be pet were successful. That's better than half!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dog Jail

Yesterday I had occasion to vaccum up my bedroom floor. My boys are sloppy eaters (ok, they're disgusting) and even when pursuing something as innocuous as dog biscuts, they always leave a trail. You should have seen the size of the crumbs that were going up the tube. Jagged, lopsided. A terror to step on barefoot.

My dogs pretty-much have the run of the house. They sleep on my antique furniture and at night, Cosmos deigns to allow me into his bed. They rummage through the pantry and refrigerator at will. They shred paper, scatter trash, play with my dirty laundry. All without reprisal. But there is one commandment in my home.

Thou shalt not eat thy dog biscuits in my bed.

That rule came about through a lesson hard learned. One of my dogs past took a biscuit in bed, and I'm here to tell you that not eating crackers in bed, lest the crumbs disturb you, is nothing compared to rolling over in the dead of night onto a piece of Milk Bone. The commandment is a hard-and-fast rule in my home and seldom tested.

Seldom. There was that time a couple of years ago with Cosmos...

It was spring. Every spring my dogs seem to go through a phase where they are re establishing who is Alpha. Or should we say Beta, because I have the honor - just barely - of being Alpha in our home. My status as such is directly tied to the can opener, but such as it is, it's mine.

Generally, they fight with eath other. Snarling teeth and laid back ears and a lot of posturing. I learned early on not to get in the middle of their arguments. Generally they don't hurt each other. But if I interfere, I get bit. By both of them.

One day, I came into the bedroom to find Cosmos in the middle of the bed. (Those were the days when Cosmos could still jump in bed on his own.) He gave me a somewhat malovelent glare when I walked in, so I knew that something was up. I took a closer look and sure enough, he was just starting to eat a dog biscuit. "Get out of the bed!" I roared. And he laid there and stared at me, declaring himself as in charge.

"Get out of the bed. NOW!" No move on his part.

I stepped closer. "You know that you are not allowed to eat dog biscuits in bed." Cosmos seemed to rise to his feet like strings were pulling him upwards from the shoulders and hips. If looks could kill, I would not be typing this story now.

"Get out!" Cosmos slowly reached down and picked up his dog biscuit. Then even slower, turned his eyes-of-defiance on me. And peed. Right there on my down comforter, through the sheets, the mattress pad, and into the mattress itself!

To say I was furious was an understatement. Don't get me wrong. I love my dogs. I love Cosmos. But at times, I could kill the little son of a bitch. And I can say that because he was a son of a bitch. Really. Think about it.

Well, I don't believe in physical punishment, especially of dogs. I removed his dog biscuit, yelled at him until he cowered, removed the sheets and blankets, and did laundry. I was not happy.

It took about 2 1/2 hours to complete the job and remake the bed. Comforters take a long time to dry. But finally the task was done and I was feeling much more kindly towards Cozie. Kindly enough to give both dogs biscuits once again.

A few minutes later, I walked into the bedroom. Cosmos was again in the middle of the bed, munching down. I screamed. He rose quickly and didn't even give me a chance to get him down. He gave me yet another malevolent glare full of fury at being disturbed at his snack and let loose. Yes, you guessed it. He peed in the bed for the 2nd time that day.

At that point, I had had it. I knew that I was going to have to go through the entire cleaning again. Hours and hours wasted because my dog is a pig. And so I came as close to getting truly physical with him as I ever have. I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and pulled him down off of the mattress. Dragged him across the floor. Through the master bathroom. And in there, I installed him inside of the glass-door shower. Dog jail.

Cosmos was miserable. He barked and cried and scrached and made a rucus of unprecedented volume. And trust me, his precedented volume was at many decibles. I was so mad that I made a point of being seen by him, but paid no attention. I went about the business of cleaning our bed yet again. Wash, dry, another 2 1/2 hours. That's all I did that day. Laundry. As a result of a dog.

Cosmos was paroled once the bed was remade. He was quite contrite. And to this day, he has never peed in the bed again.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Gone Fishin'

Saturday, as I was off doing my own things, Eric decided to take Garrett, Gabby, & Miles fishing at Trout Dale in Agoura Hills. Now mind you, they weren't exactly roughing it. The Ol' Fishing Hole is actually a concrete basin fully stocked with trout for the amateur fisherman to catch. You go there, pay your entrance fee, and hope for the best.

Total # of Splaver Fisherman - 4
Total # of fish caught - 1

That fish was caught by Gabby and it was a 14" one. That's important because besides paying an entrance fee into Troutdale, you also have to pay for the fish you catch based on size.

Now mind you, the fact that they only caught one fish between them is not so much of a problem because between all of the fishermen (and women), the only one that likes to eat fish is Eric. One fish caught for one man to eat. It works. Until you total out the tab.

Entrance into Troutdale for four - includes bamboo poles and corn bait - $7 per person; $28.
Can of worms (works better than corn bait according to the reviews) - $5
One caught 14" fish - $10
Cleaning of the 14" fish - $1 (best deal of the day.)

The total dollar expenditure for Eric's trout dinner was $43. Without any of the extras like vegetables or dessert.

I think I'd rather go to Crustacean.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Aggitating Situation

As long as I've brought up the laundry so many times as of late, I thought I'd reminise about a story that I heard several years ago. Elissa and I had decided to attend the Fibers Through Time Conference sponsored by the Arizona Federation of Weavers, and we were staying in a small hotel just off of campus. These conferences tend to be very social events, the women and men attending gather in the lobbies of their respective abodes after the day's events conclude to spin and knit, compare notes and finished projects, and just have a good time in general. This conference was no exception.

I wish I could remember the names of the women we were sitting with, outside by the pool with our spinning wheels in motion in front of us. I do remember that one of them was a teacher. I still find that odd; I always think of teachers as lofty individuals and when one that is teaching me in the daytime comes down to socialize with the group as an equal at night, I enjoy it immensely but am usually startled that they have strange kind of lives similar to mine. No matter what our status in the fiber world, we are all eccentric to the same degree.

Anyway, we were discussing odd pets, and the teacher brought up her son's habit of collecting snakes. I told her the story of L- and her snake "Muffin" that had disappeared for several weeks at one point, to finally be discovered curled around the seat of her neighbor's toilet. Apparently Muffin had spent a good portion of his time transversing the plumbing system of L's apartment complex. And so the teacher told the story of her son's snake getting lost.

It had been missing for weeks. Unlike L- who generally believed that the absent reptile would eventually turn up curled in one her shoes or something like that, the teacher figured that her son's snake was gone for good. She went about her housework like nothing was amiss, and that's how she perceived the situation. Oh how wrong she was.

One day she was doing the laundry. She opened the lid of the washer and removed the majority of the clothing out of the barrel. Looked in, and was shocked. There was the missing snake, angry as all get out. She quietly shut the lid of the machine and left the room.

We were all hysterical at this point. Of course. I mentioned that since snakes can make their way through plumbing, it was apparent that they can swim. I figure that, during the wash cycle, it just swam around like a merri-go-round horse or a sea serpent waiting for the ride to be over. That would probably not make it angry. But I figured that the spin cycle would be enough to do it. After all, that would make me pretty mad.

First we speculated on whether the snake had been mixed in with the clothing in the hamper or made it's way into the machine via the plumbing. But we were all anxious to know the outcome of the story. "What did you do?" we asked with gleams in our eyes.

"Well," she replied. "I did what any sane woman would do. I called my husband at work and told him he neeed to come home immediately to remove the snake from the washing machine."

"Did he?!?!" we responded.

"Not at first. He was really annoyed with me and wanted to know why I could not take care of the situation myself. To which I said, 'I'm not having anything to do with it. That snake is clearly aggitated.'"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Death of a Camera

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know the story of my last camera. How I sent it to Fuji for repair and how they tried to say that I had damaged it and the warranty didn't apply. And how we finally came upon a mutually agreeable solution and I had a camera back into my posession to use taking pictures for my blog. But that all changed at the end of last week.

I take my camera pretty-much everywhere I go, always on the look-out for a photo opportunity to blog about. And so I wore my Sears man-pants, the cargo pants with all the deep pockets that I bought from Sears on a shopping trip with Elena a year ago, to Lake Balboa for a walk. Put the camera into one of the pockets. And had a Crohns Disease accident there (again) and came right home to clean up and do laundry.

The thing is, I was a little discomboobulated by the situation this time; the lake had been abnormally populated by people who saw me in all of my misglory, and in my upset, wasn't thinking things out when I put my pants into the washing machine.

Yup. You got it. I sent the camera through the wash cycle.

Now you have to understand, washing small electronics is not an abnormal event for me. Eric, out of love, wanted to buy me a very expensive watch a year ago. I implored him not to do it, knowing that I would destroy it post haste. "I don't deserve such expensive things such as that!" I told him, and I meant it. He did eventually buy me a beautiful watch anyway, and so far it has not been washed, but it's currently misplaced and I may even spend a part of this afternoon looking for it.

Watches actually do quite well in the washer, though. Once you discover them, whether immediately after the wash cycle, or even when they go through the dryer, they keep on working. The crystal fogs up for a few days, but there is never doubt that they will survive the experience.

Cell phones are a little more sensitive. Yes, I've washed my cell phone more than once too. They generally don't work after being washed and or and not dried. But experience after doing this to several phones taught me that you can take the battery out, let the whole thing dry for a few days, then re-insert the battery and charge it up. It will generally work again once the moisture is gone.

But the camera is a different matter. It is not meant to be handled roughly at all, and I think that it must have been the spin cycle that did it in, or maybe it was just being aggitated. It is out of alignment and I have a hard time even opening and closing the compartment that contains the battery and the chip. I've dried it for a week, inserted the removable components, and tried to charge it up. It didn't even register that it was plugged in.

And so I suppose that this blog will go either pictureless for a while, or I will be relying on old photos and stuff that I steal from the internet. Next week after I get my monthly check, I will pay my bills and see how much camera I can afford with what is left over. And then check out and Costco and see what they have that will work. Something simple, and more important, something durable.

Because I am decidedly hard on things that I own.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Yoga Bear

OK Claudia. I did it. For the first time ever, I tried Yoga today.

This experience started out about 4 weeks ago as I was perusing the internet looking for venues of physical activity in my neighborhood. I discovered The Yoga Loft located in Woodland Hills, about a 15 minute drive from my front door. I was intrigued, and more so when I discovered that they had an on-line coupon good for unlimited classes for two weeks at a very favorable price. The final clincher was that Eric was interested in trying it out with me. Or should I say, Eric was interested in going, even more than I was interested in experimenting. He has done Yoga before and truly enjoys the experience.

We arrived promptly at 5 and was admitted into a lovely reception area by our teacher who's name escapes me. I would have taken pictures - assuming that they allow that activity - but the demise of my new camera is a topic for another post on another day. Lets just say that the room was appointed with wicker furniture, carved wooden screens and bookshelves, plants, incense, and fabrics very appropriate to the activity at hand. Nice.

Then we found out why the place is called "The Yoga Loft." The yoga happens in the loft! The class was 90 minutes and pleasant. I can't say that I was wild about it, but I did not dislike it at all. The positions - except for the ones requiring me to be on hands and knees which does not happen at all in my world - were easy and fairly reminiscent of the stretching poses that Richard has us do during his classes. Of course the music was very different, as was the atmosphere and intent.

The issue that I have is that I am a very nervous person at the best of times, and this evening I was particularly stressed. When forced to be still, I have a hard time controlling my mind and being in the present. In fact, I think that is the reason that I like crafting like spinning yarn and knitting and making jewelry so much. The tedium of the repetitive task settles me, and I've heard many other crafters say the same thing.

So rather than completely relaxing into the experience, I had to force my mind off of my worries many times. But I do admit that when I could concentrate solely on the breathing exercises and the movements, I did attain a certain state of relaxation and I did feel a little better on departure.

I have two weeks in which to play with this experience. I intend to use them well and figure out if this is an activity that I can pursue or whether I am not the right personality type. The class schedule says that anybody can do Yoga if they have an open heart and an open mind. I do have an open mind. I'm willing to consider the possibility that this may be good for me.

The rest will just have to take care of itself.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Manic Monday

I'm glad that the day is almost over. Sometimes we all have days like that, I suppose.

It started with, once the morning chores were done and today's dose of Medication was injected, a noon-time appointment at the dentist. Oy. I am on a "short rotation" for teeth cleaning. That means that I am in his office every three months for a cleaning and exam whether I like it or not. And like it I do not.

Unfortunately, with all the years of disease and medications and throwing up, my teeth have been badly affected and need to be watched closely. To this day, I have only lost one wisdom tooth although to maintain that record of dental health, I've had to endure many a root canal and it's less insideous cousin, crowning. In fact, all four of my front teeth are "fake" as well as the better part of my molars. But I have had an on-again-off-again pain in the upper right corner of my mouth since the beginning of April, and the dentist took a look today.

"Pull all of her remaining wisdom teeth!" was the edict.

"WHAT?!?!" Or should I say, "SMMMMMMMPH!" because the technician had her instruments in my mouth when this went down. I spat them out.

"What do you mean pull ALL of my wisdom teet? People have been telling me that for I don't know how many years and I don't think they really need to go, do they? If you pull them, I will have to get thicker glasses to compensate for the drop in IQ." (Everyone knows that people who wear glasses have an increase in IQ of 15 points.)

"They're not doing anything for you." he said, and left the room.

Well, I can tell you that I have not scheduled an appointment to have them taken out. I will give you that the one on the upper right is problematic and I will probably have to aquiese on it when it hurts a little worse, but the rest? They're mine, I tell you. Mine!

From the Dentist, I made a brief stop at Home Depot where I needed to buy a new nut to replace the one that fell off of a screw on my spinning wheel. With my ongoing drug (chemo) therapy, I am not thinking cohesively enough to make jewelry, but I think I can spin yarn. If my wheel was operational. So I'm going to try it later this evening and see how it goes.

From Home Depot, it was on to Bally's Fitness where an appointment to get a free 2 week pass from "Art" had been scheduled. Oy. Oy. OY!

Now I don't know if all Bally's are like this one or not, and in fact I suspect that they are not. But I arrived to find that Art had left for the day, but had left Juan behind to field his appointments. Juan was very insecure about me, and for good reason. He was trying to sell me a health club with antiquated and broken equipment, mildewed walls, and a college-age clientele. There were barely any classes available, and those that were weren't impressive.

It thought it would be prudent to sit with him anyway after the tour. If I was going to get a pass, would it be good at only this Bally's location or could I use it at others too? "No, only here. And by the way, as soon as I put your name in the system, you will not be able to get a pass at any other Bally's location for six months."

Well, I would like to see and try out the one that is closer to home too and I have a feeling in better shape. I took a pass on the pass.

Home to walk the dogs, then attend Richard Simmons weekly chat in his clubhouse. If things continue down the path that they are on right now, I will not be a member any more next week. I sat quietly during the chat, thinking of cracks that I could make, but sitting still. After it was over and Richard had left, I thanked all the people in the room for having been there, telling them that it had been an honor to have spent time in the forum with them. And then it happened. I had the melt down that has been coming on for the past five weeks.

I am eternally grateful to Iris and Joy who understood what I was trying to say, even as I took them out of left field. I apologize to the rest of the people in that room who I'm guessing had no idea that feelings and issues could run so deep in one who was seemingly riding the crest as one of Richard's poster girls.

And Richard? He was not there. I suppose I owe him an apology for opening my mouth up 'in his home,' but not as big an apology as I think I am owed.

I've had a good cry now. I'm probably ready to tackle the evening.

The Scarlet Letter

Even though 'The Scarlet Letter' was on the recommended reading list - or maybe it was required - as far back as in high school, I had never actually read it. I've had a copy in my library for years and years and years. Enough years, in fact, that the pages are yellowed and brittle. I had started it enough times, or so I thought, but in getting only a few pages into "The Custom House," I couldn't stand the book and would quit. But this time was different. And why? I took the time to read the forward and found out that "The Custom House" was not really a prologue to the story but an additional story that Nathaniel Hawthorne threw in when he realized that his novel was not long enough to stand up for publication on it's own. It was perfectly acceptable to skip it, and so, knowing that I didn't have to really pay that much attention, I forced my way through it and on to the real story.

I can undersand why this book is a classic. Even though the writing style is a little stilted for today's day and age (and I'm not talking about the Puritan way of speech but actually Hawthorne's method of writing), it still flows beautifully. And even though out-of-wedlock children really is a non-issue in my society and today's day and age, it was still a story that I could relate to on an intimate level.

You see, I believe that we do not have to have an embroidered "A" on our chest to be wearing a scarlet letter of our own. So many of us - especially me - have quirks or issues or garb of clothing that society considers out of synch with the standard. And we have been ostracized for it.

Have we never looked at a person from a different culture or religion who's skin color or way of dress might be different than ours and not react on some level at least with some faint suspicion or curiosity? Personally, I love mingling with different peoples and learning about their practices, but even after the initial gulf between us is bridged as they understand that my intentions are not hostile, they still must feel a little awkward to be the focus of that kind of intrusion.

I often feel the same way. My weight loss has branded me as different. My illnesses have branded me as different and socially unacceptable. My living circumstances certainly have done the same. I have been the object of curiosity and scorn or been put on a pedastal more times than I can count. There have been some occasions that I might as well have been wearing a scarlet letter and indeed, to wear one would have been preferable to the reason that attention was being paid to me.

The point of the story and the lesson that I am taking away from it is that I need to try and be ever sensitive to how others are feeling. That when in doubt, I need to keep my peace and silence, and try to react to other's differences with as much kindness as I can muster.

It will not always be easy to live by this creed and, indeed, I think that we are programmed on a biological level to be suspicious of anything that is different than the norm that we are used to. But it is an ideal to which I would like to ascribe to.


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