Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Delay of Gratification

I'm still waffling about the whole resolution thing. Part of me wants to curl up and hide because the responsibility of keeping any resolution seems far too heavy. Part of me disagrees. So I'll make it short and sweet. Since I have been saying that physical things I'd like to accomplish such as run a half marathon, do a pull-up (some people say I will still be able to try; others, that having torn a rotator cuff I kiss pull-ups good-bye), or use the OCR jungle gym in progress in the yard will wait until 2016, I resolve to be ready in 2016. This means lots of things, mental and physical, certainly enough to fill one year.
I have been bad about including photos lately. This is the OCR jungle gym mentioned above. Since this photo was taken, crosspieces have been added to one side for climbing up to the top. Said crosspieces are about three feet apart. The cargo net that will occupy another side is underway in the basement. The whole thing had better be done by 2016.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

You Say You Want a Resolution...

This is the time of year when I traditionally look at last year's or July 1's resolutions and consider how I've done with them. Then I make a new batch or propose a new direction in which to live. I'm just not in the mood for that this year, chiefly because the past half year has been a wee bit or more crappy. The last good, full workout I got was almost exactly six months ago. In no small part because of that, I can no longer wear most of the pants I fit into six months ago. Although I have somewhat gotten used to asking for help, it sucks still to be doing it on a more-than-daily basis. I tell myself that there's no direction in which to go save for "up" (there's no comeback without a setback), but really, truly believing that is more difficult. Still, there are some hours left in 2014 and 24 in January 1, 2015. I may still be able to wrestle my angst into something useful. As the song I started out with ends, "Don't you know it's gonna be alright." Resolutions or none, I imagine it will be.

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas

I love Christmas music and have been known to make it the soundtrack of my day even in the depths of summer. I especially love the carols, by which I mean the religious rather than secular pieces. It seems hard these days, though, to find a radio station playing the day away with carols or, for that matter, secular songs. Perhaps I just have the wrong stations "buttoned" on my car radio.

The physical therapy assistant who runs me through shoulder exercises twice a week asked what my favorite Christmas song is. For carols, it has to be "Silent Night" especially when sung in what I imagine the original manner was, by a solo singer to minimal accompaniment such as just a guitar. The large-scale choral or orchestral versions don't do it for me. I prefer simplicity.

Thinking about a favorite of course led to thoughts of a least favorite. I'm not sure I have one of those when it comes to carols, though there are some that do much less for me that others. I have never, for example, warmed up to "Good King Wenceslas." "Ding Dong Merrily On High" doesn't do much for me either.

When it comes to the secular side, it is safe to say that my favorite song can change from year to year. For the past couple of years, it has been "I'll Be Home for Christmas," but one specific version, the one on Josh Groban's Noel. Before, after, and during the song are clips of deployed soldiers or their families talking about their wishes for the season. Hearing those adds so much meaning to the lyrics. Oh that they all could be home for Christmas and not just in their dreams.

And if I have a favorite secular song, where to begin with the least favorite? Does anyone like "Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer"? Or "Jingle Bell Rock"? Or the current version of "Winter Wonderland" in which the snowman built in the meadow is no longer Parson Brown but a circus clown? Really? It's not politically correct to have Pastor Brown marry them while he's in town? Give me a carol or Josh, please.

Now where's my iPod?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

To Do Nothing in Haste

The coming Monday will be six weeks from my shoulder surgery. This means that at my surgical follow-up tomorrow morning, I will likely be told I no longer need to wear the sling that has held my right arm for every minute of the last five-plus weeks save for those spent showering, layering or unlayering clothing, or doing physical therapy or having it done to me. Quite frankly, this terrifies me. I know myself too well. I am a perfectionist and hyper-competitive, especially with myself. While I have become a bit better at it since the surgery, I still hate asking for help. Lightner's First Law is, after all, "if you want it done right, do it yourself."

I have been told that almost 20 percent of people who tear a rotator cuff re-tear it and have to have repeat surgery. I have also been told that 65 percent of those who re-tear it do so in the first six months after the surgery. My physical therapist has shown me movements that would likely re-tear something. The problem is that many if not most of these movements are done quickly or instinctively, usually with one's dominant hand which for me is on the same side as the repaired shoulder. I am pondering ways in which to remind myself to think twice, or more, before I use my right hand for anything. I saw or heard somewhere that holding a pen in the hand works. I have also considered a fingerless glove, though I have not yet looked through the glove supply to see if there's a right glove that fits the bill.

I have needed help with many little things. I skipped having a hot dog for lunch today because I was unable to open a new jar of relish with only my left hand, even with one of those grippy things. Unloading the dishwasher often means one plate or bowl at a time up from the dishwasher to the cabinet. Most pullover shirts won't without torquing my right arm too much. If the right arm can't go in first and come out of a shirt last without being tweaked in the process, I don't wear it. The husband has been a dear about tying my shoes each morning and putting my hair into a ponytail. While I expect I will be able to tie my shoes when I'm free of the sling, I may still be unable to do a ponytail myself. And whatever I can do, I must do slowly.

And that's going to be the hard part--harnessing my type A personality and taking it down to B if not below. It's scary; it really is. Perhaps I'd best go look through the glove supply.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For Sale: Tomorrow (As Is, No Guarantees)

About this time five years ago, 25th wedding anniversary looming, I forwarded the husband an email I'd gotten from Icelandair hyping watching the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) in Iceland with the text "25th anniversary?" I was actually a bit surprised when he readily agreed, but then he'd heard many times in the preceding 25 years that seeing the aurora from Iceland was high on my dream list. We did go to Iceland, and we did see the aurora from northern Iceland, which you can see and read about here. The posts before and after describe the rest of the trip.

With our 30th anniversary looming, the husband and I were talking about a return trip possibly with a bit more time in the north. At the same time, I kept seeing ads from Hurtigruten, the company that does the mailboat run up the Norwegian coast. When one of those ads touted a cruise in search of the aurora, I bit. Cruising north from Bergen to Tromso or south from Tromso to Bergen, crossing the Arctic Circle in one direction or the other, all the while with chances to see the aurora every night looked pretty good to me. I also figured that a cruise might offer some of the same feel that riding the Indian Pacific across Australia did. When the husband came back from running errands one Saturday, I asked how he would feel about spending a sum of money somewhat higher than the one we'd talked about spending to go to Iceland.

We discussed it back and forth over the next couple of days, going back and forth. Each trip had its plusses and minuses. I raised the question of the cost given that we did spend three weeks in Australia less than six months ago. The husband countered that Australia was in 2014; Norway could be our big adventure for 2015. In Iceland, we could pick up more yarn for the Icelandic sweaters I made that get complimented whenever we wear them. In Norway, we could make a stop in Trondheim, where the husband's cousin lives. By the end of the week, we'd booked Norway with a scenic train ride from Oslo to Bergen added because why not. The details of the cruise are here.

A bit more than two years ago, the wife of one of the husband's colleagues was diagnosed with a brain tumor. One day she was having trouble reading the crossword puzzles she'd always read easily; the next thing anyone knew it was because of the tumor. She passed away last week. Occasionally over the last two years my husband and hers had talked about the plans they had made for after he retired, the places they would go, the things they would do. They won't take those trips or have those adventures. Even before Scarlett O'Hara went with the wind, we've held that tomorrow is another day. It certainly is, but it comes as is, with no guarantees of what it might hold.

If we don't make it to Norway in February, it won't be for lack of trying.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Some of These Days

The "Which 80's TV Girl Are You" meme popped up in my Facebook feed today. Having nothing better to do in the next five minutes, I took the quiz. I was somewhat surprised both at the result and how much I immediately felt "I needed that."

Holy Invisible Jet, You're Wonder Woman! The quintessential female superhero, you are the embodiment of truth, justice, and above all else - Hope. Life may seem like a struggle between your "real" self and the standards the world holds you to, but if anyone is capable of striking a balance while simultaneously inspiring others to do the same - its you. You are a protector, a guardian, and a respected sentry of empowerment who sets her standards high and expects others to do the same.

Some days are easier than others, and today has been one of the less-than-easy-though-not-totally-devastating ones. I'm still struggling with not being able to do some things myself. I ask the husband each morning to tie my athletic shoes so that I can have a reasonable amount of arch support while walking the dog during the day. At some point though, like now, in the late afternoon, I'd love to slip my shoes off all the better to take a nap, my dear. Alas, if I take them off, I can't get them re-tied when the dog needs her early evening perambulation. Only after that can I release the feet with reasonable certainty that I won't be walking anywhere but around the house. 

The not-so-easy days often follow the nights in which I don't sleep at all well. While I did sleep all right last night, the couple before that were less than restful. I may be hung over from those. Or perhaps it's not being able to do any of the activities with which I would normally fill a free afternoon. I can read, but I'm actually getting somewhat tired of that. It's no longer the treat it used to be when I can pretty much do it any time after I finish any job work I need to do. I'm getting tired, too, of trying to teach myself to write legibly left-handed. The thrill of that faded quite quickly.

The fact that I am filling some time writing this is a positive step. I've thought on more than one day, "Hey, self, that would make a good blog post." And then I start to get the I-shouldn't-be-writing-when-it's-just-a-blog-and-I-have-other-more-important-things-to-do feelings that aren't really valid right now. Or, I start to think of what I would write and, in my less-than-amused state decide I can't write well enough to do it justice. Those feelings are actually funny--at least they've got me smiling right now--since it's not as if I'm writing for a grade or any other type of reward.

Logically, the downside feelings are probably my body's way of telling me not to do too many things or not to do what I do too intensely. Actually being able to nap in the afternoon suggests that my body will do just about anything to get the rest it needs. I think I'll give that a try now even with shoes still on. And having actually written something I shall post suggests I should do this more often now, while the more important other things I could be doing are really only in my imagination.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Random Thoughts, Interrupted

I am not good at asking people for help. I don’t think I ever got or would have gotten a plus, satisfactory, other positive grade in the “works well with others” category. I especially hated group projects, meaning it is a good thing that I aged out of the formal educational system before group projects became all the rage. I often said that Lightner’s First Law is “if you want it done right, do it alone,” an attitude I suspect I inherited from my Dad.

I have at times been encouraged to ask for help when or if I need it. The husband has often so encouraged me. When he does, I remind him of one time when I did ask him to help with something. His brother was there with him, and the two of them laughed at me and made fun of me for wanting help. I’m not sure he remembers doing it, but he does admit that it could have happened.

I have been, since the whole rotator cuff town 80 percent of the way through issue arose, trying to ask for help more. It may be a women from one planet, men from another case, but I somewhat think that if I thank someone for doing something or ask someone to help me with something that the next time I’m doing it, I won’t have to ask for help again. It was hard enough to ask the first time, for pete’s sake; don’t make me do it again.

And so, in the time leading up to Monday’s surgery, I have more than occasionally done something that I probably should not have. But the dishes aren’t going to put themselves away up on the top shelf, and I can do it one-handed with my left hand. Or so I think. I haven’t broken anything yet, but that might be coming. The laundry basket won’t take itself to or from laundry room in the basement. I can drag it down the steps behind me, but that doesn’t work as well on the way back upstairs. Fortunately, nothing I have done in this regard appears to have done more damage to the shoulder. And perhaps when the right arm is locked into place and not to be moved, help might be offered before I need it.

I am also not good at sitting or otherwise not doing anything in terms of a workout. The husband seems to think I should rest one day each week, but even that makes me feel somewhat guilty. Since the surgeon told me that I should not be working out given how little it would take to tear the remaiming 20 percent, I have not worked out other than walking the dog, which I don’t think counts since she’s not a large dog. As a result, I am getting quite cranky.

It also makes me cranky that I can’t seem to get a blog post written in one sitting, meaning that I lose the mood or my train of thought. I think I shall post this now and be done with it.