Friday, July 30, 2010

She Soaks Sea Shells From the Sea Shore

Last week I returned from a vacation in Washington State. One day during the trip, my daughter and I picked up sea shells from a beach off of the Puget Sound called Horsehead Bay. We gathered quite a few, the ones still intact and with minimal damage to them. I've had the sea stowage in my garage airing out for the last week. Today I decided to bring them in and wash them.
I began by dropping each one in hot soapy water. Then with a scrubbing sponge, I scrubbed them inside and out. At first, I only noted the swift removal of their grit. As I turned one over to clean the outside of it, I noticed the more I scrubbed the more it faded. I placed it in the side sink and did the same to the next one, wanting to prove my theory. It was one of the bigger ones we had found. It reminded me of a human hand. Its more prominent curves resembled the bones that lead out to webbed finger tips. On the other more the rounded side formed its wrist. Starting horizontally, grooves ran in subtle waves cutting across it ending on the other side. Each wave encapsulated colors ranging from dirty coral tones, to muted browns, and almost muddy purple hues. As I scrubbed it, the browns faded. I continued rubbing until its knuckles were completely white. I looked at it. It was no longer a vibrant beautiful thing, it was a lifeless bleached corpse. Its uniqueness had been scrubbed away. I was careful with how I cleaned the rest, using the sponge side on the outside and the scrubber side to remove the sand. As I began rinsing off the clean pile, I noticed the hotter the water, the more the colors faded. I wondered if it had to do with steam or if once they dried out a bit, the color would return. Of the ones bathed in hot water, their colors didn't restore. So, I changed tactics. I rinsed the rest off in cold water. I noticed another pattern of color change; if the water was too cold, they lost their brilliancy, however, if the water was merely cool, they retained their original hue. I was perplexed by this phenomenon, and as I always do, I applied its effects to my life.
The more experience I have, the more scars I have. The more I try to stay on the path I'm suppose to stay on, the more intact I stay. And perhaps the more rips and tears I endure from these experiences on this path, the more brilliant I am and the more beautiful my life becomes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hairy Cairy

Today, I find myself in a rare situation. Both of my kids are "hanging out" with other kids, my husband is at work and I am sitting in silence with nothing to do. This isn't true, there's always something to do, I guess I have no motivation to start a new something. Yesterday I made an appointment to have my hair done. Through anxiety and tremendous trepidation I arranged to have my hair cut and colored at a Salon I had heard little about. This is in stark contrast to the last place I was butchered at where I had heard and read rave reviews, so why not? The original person I was scheduled with was suddenly, and regrettably unable to take me within an hour and a half of my appointment, so I was given to someone else. Strike one. I arrived on time and met the girl who was going to fill in. She was cute and edgy and willing to listen to my past tortured hair-situation. Unfortunately, I think I scared her to death. Immediately she spilled bottle water on me, she pinged me repeatedly in the head with combs, brushes, and clips. She accidentally flung a piece of hair she had just finished coating in bleach and caught me in the eye with its tip. I then followed her blindly to a sink where I stuck my face under freezing water to rinse out my eye. I sat the rest of the four and a half hours with exactly half of my face resembling an abstract watercolor, ducking, cringing and holding my breath every time she whisked about my head with a pair of scissors, or razor blade. Strike two. I also crushed a little inside every time she made comparisons between me and her mother and told me that I now looked like a "sexy mommy". Strike three. Despite the emotional and physical dangers I experienced I will go back, and I will even go back to her. The reason is because she did an amazing job with my hair (think along the lines of Mary Tyler Moore circa 1960s with an edge). I love it! This ordeal made me wonder why I would "put up with", and possibly risk my life, merely in the name of a fantastic haircut? I think we (particularly women) "put up with" a lot according to the end result. This "putting up with" extends beyond the hairdo (e.g. paint color of the living room, your husband's favorite shirt, and even foreplay).
I recently got back from visiting my brother-in-law and his wife who live in Seattle. In the name of cutting down costs and developing a stronger relationship with family, my husband and I decided to stay in their home with them. We had a blast. We are in love with them and we will gladly go and visit them again, but we'll probably stay in a hotel some place close to them, next time.
My brother-in-law and his wife go a million miles an hour. I thought I was a go-go-go kind-of person, I have nothing on either one of them. Because they are constantly rushing in their life, there is a lot of energy bi-product in the form of numerous projects consuming their every living space. The contents of these projects are complex to me and appear meaningless, but to my sister-in-law, she knows exactly what they contain and what their value truly is. What I interpret as chaos, they view as a home where life is worth living.
Today, I discovered I know nothing about living in a home. I have lived in the same house for ten years and have not yet created a home. I live in a dwelling that I am always complaining about and fantasizing about moving from. I don't have close friendships around me because I simply don't like who I've become while living in my own neighborhood. I have morphed into a stressed out tyrant who sulks within a house, desperate to change my circumstance without truly knowing where to start. I live in a house, not a home. My in-laws live in a home. I realize how hard it is to share your life and your home with someone and how generous it was that they would so easily share with us. So I don't mean for any of this to sound negative. I am positive if the situation were switched, they would find my life and my house, perplexing and probably down right boring. I have learned from this vacation, that I love them for themselves. Perhaps on our next visit, I can love them from the solitude of a hotel room.
Last night on my way home from my hair appointment I was telling my sister about the experience. She laughed and gasped and all the things a sister should who has also experienced hair calamity. By the end of the phone call she said she was sorry about my hair. I was confused. No I like my hair. I plan on going back. She laughed and I tucked a piece of hair behind my ear where I noticed I had been clipped and was bleeding. I'll be aware next time. And will possibly make sure my health insurance covers maimings. But I will go back because my hair looks so awesome! Besides, in understanding I at times self-sabotage, maybe someday I will realize the importance of how to achieve an actual home run and be happy with where I am and who I am.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Eye for an Eye

I can't believe it has been two months since my corrective eye surgery and I haven't bloggedabout it. After three consultations and price comparisons I settled on a surgical center. Getting the outer layer of your cornea removed is expensive. For three days straight, I whethered eye dilation and probes. I finally went with the Eye Institute of Utah. I liked everyone I came in contact with and was treated incredibly well. By the way Dr. Hoopes Sr, is a real jerk. Anyway, I made my appointment and my husband drove me there. I didn't realize there was a difference between Lasik Surgery and what I was eligible for; PRK. PRK stands for Photo Refractive Keratectomy, it also stands for Son-of-a-bitch, this is the worse pain in the history of all pain. I worry about writing this last statement for a couple of reasons; my Mother may someday start to read my blog and will know I swear, and the other is that my blogs seem to talk about the many different experiences I've had that are painful, seemingly both emotionally and physically. I worry that I am the biggest wimp on the earth. However, this is a brutally honest documentation of said experiences and so, pain is what I write. For you, I will commit to experiencing so many of the things that are painful and pass on my wisdom...
On the day of surgery, I was whisked upstairs to the surgical unit at the Eye Institute. The lights were low and a fountain splashed somewhere nearby. I was given a hairnet, a Valium and a green apple Jolly Rancher. I found this perplexing. I wouldn't have thought to take a Valium with a Jolly Rancher chaser. I was then led to the actual surgical room. I felt really good. I mean really good and I don't think it was the Jolly Rancher. I laid on top of a padded sort of stretcher where my head had to be wedged into a doughnut hole shape at the top. This was so I couldn't squirm resulting in the Lazar hitting something else (I was told). I was wrapped from my waist down in a warm, soft blue blanket and was handed a stuffed bunny rabbit doned in green surgical scrubs. Between the Jolly Rancher and the surgically outfitted stuffed animal, I began wondering if the procedure was going to be performed by Willy Wonka.
My eyelashes were taped open both the top and the bottom, while the other eye was covered with a hard sphere, also taped to my face. A technician counted throughout the ordeal. It was bazaar watching as a liquid was poured onto my pried opened eye and then a tiny tool which looked like a hoe, began scraping off the top layer of my cornea. I could see and unfortunately comprehend a tweezers-like instrument pulling off what the hoe had loosened. Then a large plastic contact lens was placed over my pupil and the tape (and most of my eyelashes) was then torn off. I had to endure the other side at this point. It only lasted 7 minutes per side and when it was finished I could see immediately better than before I went in, wearing my glasses. I asked the technician if I now belonged to "the collective". He must not have been a Star Trek fan because he didn't know what I was talking about.
The following week my eyesight grew worse. Even worse than being blind was the pain. I could not get any since of relief. It burned when I closed my eyes, it was worse when I opened them. The light hurt, the air hurt, I hurt. I was on a dose of pain medication which I normally refuse to take. After my Hysterectomy I took Loretab for one day and then 800 mg of Advil for the next few days afterwards. This was intense. I was told that I would be in some discomfort after the PRK. They lied. It was horrible. In the middle of the night my husband took me in after I spent the day screaming into my pillow. Apparently the large bandage-type contact lens I was fitted with was too tight. What was bad about this whole ordeal was that I couldn't produce tears. Normally when you get something in your eye, tears soothe and flush it out. This wasn't the case after my surgery. The following day I had a follow up exam. The doctor asked about my "discomfort". If I could have seen him I would have slugged him. "Discomfort?!! I know what discomfort feels like, I wear under wire bras! This is sheer pain!" I yelled. He was apprehensive with me after that. I felt a little better when, the next day he called and started asking me about my "discomfort level" again and abruptly changed mid-sentenced and asked how my pain was doing.
Within one week of the surgery I felt better. I wasn't in pain anymore and I was able to open my eyes for longer periods of time. Each week I feel like my eyesight improves. It has been a slow process (PRK takes up to three months for a perfect and nonfluctuating eyesight), it's been two.
Overall, I am glad I did it. I love going to bed being able to see, waking up being able to see and getting in water both while showering and while swimming,being able to see. Plus finally, I believe my eyelashes have grown back!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fantasy Island

My Hubby and I went to a movie the other night. We saw "Knight and Day", which was a very fun flick and we liked it. During the previews, a coming attraction starring Angelina Jolie aired. It was 30 seconds of her scowling, running, shooting and dying her hair from a false blond to a bluish-black and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. Is there anybody worse than Angelina Jolie? She's crazy. She's scary. She's gorgeous. Her stardom is puzzling. I feel like the only thing we have in common is that she derived from the same Island as Wonder Woman and I from the Island of Misfit Toys.
When I scowl, there's not a sexy smirk on my face. It's a scowl. When I run, I look like it takes a lot for me to be doing it. And the hoses both outside and attached to my kitchen sink count? I also have super dark hair and recently went blond-ish. It was an accident and it wasn't blond, it was more highlighter-yellow with orange stripes. I resembled Tony the Tiger, not Angelina Jolie. When it comes to me and moments of craziness, I have to be medicated. And, although I adore my Hubby, he's not Brad Pitt. That's alright though, he informed me, I'm no Angelina Jolie.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Molting Mug

One week ago I decided to under go a Chemical Peel. I was told it was fairly non-evasive. It resulted in the removing of skin deterioration, pock-marks and fine lines. There might be some discomfort. There could be some peeling, I was informed. I was told this by an esthetician who donned the skin of a new born baby. She looked fabulous, but she lied. The very name of "Chemical Peel", should have clued me in. You are chemically peeling your face off! If I dunked my face in a tub of Bleach, I would probably have less wrinkles, fewer pock-marks and the obliteration of acne scars. I also wouldn't have skin on my face. And it wouldn't cost me $139.00! The procedure was done in a beautiful, peaceful, spa environment. There was mood lighting, the smell of eucalyptus and essential body oils waffed through the air. In the distance I recall hearing a fountain. I know this because whenever in close proximity to water, I have to pee. And I had to pee during this experience. Anyway, the beautifully-skinned woman applied what she referred to as a "less evasive" peel. It had the consistency of Liquid Dish soap and smelled of Wintergreen. I enjoyed the facial massage that went along with the application. Skin-girl didn't seem to mind my absent-minded prattle. Then she handed me a large portable fan, giving instructions to pull a lever left for more wind and right for less and placed it on my stomach. Interesting...10 seconds after the expensive goop was rubbed into my skin a horrible burn scratched its way to the service. I panicked. Which way was I suppose to pull the lever for more air? Quietly, the woman with the beautiful skin, asked me to describe the pain. On a scale from 1-10 I was suppose to rate how much discomfort I was experiencing. I skipped the number 1 phase and began on a number 5. I was trying to "walk it off", refusing to be a wimp, while at the same time wonder if an epidural was included in the $139.00. Breathlessly, I blurted out "Seven!" It was really more of a 15, but I didn't want to admit that. 15 wasn't even on the pain registry! Luckily, it was short lived. When the procedure ended, I didn't look that much different. I was determined I could see immediate, visual improvements. On Tuesday, there was nothing different, maybe a little redness, but nothing to report. The next day the peeling began. I slathered sun-block 70 all over my face, and unfortunately in my eyes. BTW sun-block-eye-slather-pain lasts off and on for hours. Day three, I woke up, blistered, scabbed, peeling, and burning. I looked like I had literally fallen off the "turnip truck", and then the truck backed up over me. I couldn't eat (my mouth would split if I opened too, widely). I couldn't blink (my skin under my right eye would split). And, I couldn't laugh at my pitiful self (my face would gash open). I lived on 4 Advil and a Diet Coke every 4 hours that day and stayed hidden within the solace of my 3-bedroom Rambler. The following day I emerged. I had three doctor's appointments, and had to go to my College class. I felt awkward, naked, exposed. I couldn't wear makeup, I was sporting a hideous haircut from the week before, in order to prepare for a Lasik Optical exam I was wearing my dreaded glasses, and if I had to be in a swimsuit at the moment I would have shot myself. A woman from behind a drive-thru window confirmed my worst fears. She commented on my ugly hair. Saying that now I look like a "mommy". She then asked what was "going on" with my face and then informed me that I really should take a vacation; I needed to be hidden from the public looking the way I did. An hour and a half later I was sitting in a hair salon. Another two inches was cut off(a total of 6), and I began to breath again. The next day my face was better. My hair was better. I felt a little better. The day after that I was able to wear a bit of makeup, and my haircut was actually now on the cute side. Today, my face is much, much better. I went to my Optical exam and received great news. Soon, no more glasses or contacts. I am getting used to my haircut and don't jump when I see my reflection anymore. I can see I have a fresh look to my skin. My pores are tiny. Today, I began wondering if maybe I too, will become a skin goddess. I still have two more chemical peels to go and I feel confident that my acne scars will be gone soon, just in time for swimsuit season and sunburns!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Egg Blues

Sometimes I worry that I am stuck in the Twilight zone. It is as if I am the only person without the whole story and I am suppose to navigate through life trying to fit different pieces into the void. I sat at two Easter dinners, with nearly identical menus, and tried out different pieces. Who am I? Where do I fit in? This is my family, why is it I am still trying to fit in? Both sides of my family tree are generally alike, but then there are huge differences. I don't consider myself extreme, in any way and maybe that is why I feel misplaced. Maybe, it's because I want to hear all the sides of an issue before I commit to a side. Doesn't this mean I'm non biased? Isn't this good? Instead I am seen as a rouge;some weird transplant that doesn't function how it should, and doesn't quite match the other appendages. I am someone else's heart.
I learned in my yoga class about being at one with the earth and the best way to do this is by being a valley, not a mountain. A mountain stands tall, and loud and wants the whole world to understand that they are the mountain. But the valley is constant, sturdy, and strong. The valley is quiet and reserved. The valley is what holds up the mountain, without the valley, the mountain would be lost. In fact, the mountain upside down points in the wrong direction. The valley on the other hand, has no direction, it is the direction. This is my own interpretation, and maybe I don't quite have it down how I would like, but it's a working thesis.
Three times today I had to try and remember to be a valley. I view being a mountain as better. Doesn't the valley just lay there? Isn't it weaker? Isn't it boring? Who wants to hike along a valley floor, when Mt. Kilimanjaro is right in front of you? I see the valley as the place of no where, don't you drag your feet across a valley? It isn't connected to the earth, it is the earth. Isn't the mountain in the heavens? Anyway, I am tortured by this mantra, I'm not sure I will go by it.
So, the bottom line is I am conflicted. I am confused about my place in my family, my place on the earth and my place in my own life. Happy Easter to me. Now that I think about it, Easter is just as confused as I am. A holiday devoted to Christ, symbolized by a mammoth walking Bunny that leaves eggs in children's colorful baskets. What the? Unfortunately, it has always made since to me before.
Well, hoppy Easter anyway, from the great void that is somewhere between the valley and the mountain peaks!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Immaturity 101

I recently did something I regret.
I have been going to College, and have been working incredibly hard at it. I feel like I am constantly defending (mostly to myself) why I would be attending classes filled with people who are close to half my age.
One such person, I condescendingly call "Skippy" because I don't know his real name, and because he absolutely drives me crazy; Skippy is constantly reminding me of how old I am. He'll reference things and then look at me and say things like, "in your generation..." or "when you were my age..." which adds to my insecurity and diminishes minutes to my mortality clock.
In my English class we are learning how to debate. For the last three weeks, almost exactly, we have been debating the classic debate of which is better, Vampires or Zombies? Seriously, for three mind-numbing, eye-gouging weeks, we have been debating over fictitious entities that frankly, I don't give a damn about.
Skippy brought up the subject, surprise, surprise. And just in case you are wondering, there isn't enough material to cover three weeks worth of V's vs. Z's. I actually considered throwing in a new possibility of a "Zampire" or a "Vombie" you know a hybrid of both. After all, if the Apocalypse were to happen(which is the beginning of these debates)and all that was left were Zombies and Vampires, wouldn't they start biting each other? It pains me deeply that I have actually thought of this.
Anyway, during another debate, pre-Zombie, pre-Vampire (one day earlier to be precise), the class was having a real debate over what a town should do concerning an oil spill on their shores. A) choose a company who has a 70% rate of successful clean up or B) a local company of the town's who claimed a 90% success rate but had no field experience. I couldn't see why the town couldn't use both. My thought was start with the 70% guys, who also had 20 years experience, and let the newbies practice during the other's clean up. Doing the practice in their own backyard would lead to a true success rate, and they could clean up the 30% left over. I don't know if this is uber-reasonable, it simply made the most sense to me.
Immediately the tirades began. Over and over again, I was put down for what I thought was a no-big-deal assessment. The thing about the kids in my English class, is the immaturity. They don't know how to debate. They think in terms of, 'this is what I think so this is the way it is, period'. After an hour of being put down (by this time, I was no longer speaking and was trying to find my happy-place somewhere inside my head) my teacher asked us to start a blog for our next class assignment. A what? The kids didn't know what a blog was. My teacher then asked who of us had a blog. Me and two other people raised our hands.
Skippy looked over at me and said, "Oh, so it's like a stay-at-home mom thing where you just sit around eating bonbons?"
I small, tini-tiny twig, deep inside the recesses of my recesses, snapped.
I spun around and barked, "What the hell are you talking about?!! I want to smack you! I want to smack in the face!"
Every person in the class shifted in their seats a few inches away from me. The room fell dead silent despite every mouth falling open.
Luckily, it was time for class to be over.
I called my husband, angry, spitting the ordeal over the phone.
"Where are you going now?" He asked.
"To See's Candies to buy myself a box of chocolates!" I was dead serious. Bonbons, no. Dark chocolate Truffles, absolutely!
He talked me down from that ledge and we met for lunch, instead.
Later that day, I told my kids what I had done and asked them what I should do in the future instead of threatening physical violence.
My seven-year old said I should "ask my teacher to move my desk away from that boy."
My always reading, very intellectual eleven-year old told me to, "take a deep breath, but be sure they don't see you because that will make you vulnerable."
It's awesome to see how your kids think you should act. And, realize the way I acted was really the most immature way possible. I guess I could have said, "Well my dad could beat up your dad", which would have been equivalent.
I still see good 'old Skip, although he doesn't look me in the eye. I admit I like that kind of power. I do regret I didn't handle it better but am relieved that I know my kids would have.