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Dare I Say It? (“Good ‘Ol Days”)

I’ve finally gotten around to getting my personal network set up for optimum viewing. Cables have been dropped into my sewing room, my son’s bedroom and into my master suite. It is absolute heaven not having to rely on wireless services anymore (although I do still have it for the remainder of the house for phone use).

So, I’ve been watching a lot of movies, such that I have figuratively run out of new movies to watch. So when I am sewing, I re-watch movies I haven’t seen in the past couple of years. Even some I haven’t seen in decades.

thegraduateToday’s movie was “The Graduate”. Dustin Hoffman is about twenty years old and I had forgotten just how handsome he was (I have always thought he was handsome, but there is just something so insanely adorable about that twenty year old face).graduate-dustin-hoffman-1967

And the movie is set in its own history, that is, it was contemporary when it came out. So, the clothing and the cars and the settings are as they were during that timeframe – mid- to late sixties. I don’t really remember those particular days, as I was just a toddler-ish, maybe five or six. But everything seems so clean (and this is Los Angeles) and fresh and green with plants. And just clean… like no graffiti and trash or congestion or smog.

And the music score is just as just as refreshing. In case you’re not familiar or have forgotten (as I had) is songs by Simon and Garfunkel. Peaceful, tranquil and calming, much as southern California can seem. Seem back then, anyway.

(There was just a scene where the male borders in the house where Hoffman’s character is living and some other residents appear… including a very very young Richard Dreyfus!)richard-dreyfuss-young-76408b40f2a229b21f90f607f8944d83

Anyway, it just struck me as I was talking along (or talking to) with the characters, just how differently people were. I mean, when the characters were angry with each other, the strongest language used were words like “filth” and “scum” and “degenerate”. And the two rooming house “managers” are about the ‘cleanest’ people you could ever know!

But what really strikes me are the “sex scenes”. Not only are there not really any (seems like the lights have to go out to suggest sex is occurring) but the talk about it, the harshest language was sex being referred to as “a piece” and then followed up with laughter and then “…of wedding cake!” was added.  Heck, I don’t even think there was any moaning or heavy breathing; even the kisses were rare. I think that this particular scene was the most risqué:risqueI’m not sure if it was better than now, but it certainly was more civil. And gentler. At least by this movie’s standards. I was trying to imagine what this movie would be like if it was remade to today’s standards. I don’t think it could.

Good or bad. I don’t know… I guess we live with what we have. Although I could use a little less vulgarity and profanity in my life.

MacCupcake

 

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A New Year

I guess I missed the first week of the new year. Actually, been a while since I posted at all.

I am nearing the “finish” line for my knee surgeries. That is, at the end of the month and first part of February, I will be “celebrating” one year since I went ‘under the knife’ and had bi-lateral knee replacement surgeries.

Its been a tough year.

First, I really believed that these surgeries would change my physical world. The pain and limitations from advanced arthritis prior was really reeking havoc on doing much of anything physical – including climbing the stairs to my sewing room. I had these grandiose plans of being able to hike down into the Grand Canyon or maybe even attempting part of the PCT trail in California, but in retrospect I was so unbelievably optimistic.

Honestly, I’ve not really had much more mobility compared to the ‘before’ levels. Everyone kept telling me, you have to wait for the healing to be complete to see the real results. Well, I’m here to tell you, either something is wrong or all those healthcare specialists are.

So, not only do I get the same restrictions on walking and stair climbing, but I have lost the ability to kneel and run. That I knew about in advance, but figured it would be worth it if I could walk effortlessly. I have this clicking noise with every step and it just doesn’t seem like it should do that.

Being on my feet is tiresome for more than an hour and stair climbing is still difficult if not downright painful. I can’t cross my legs and I can’t get anywhere near sitting cross-legged. And getting up from the floor… well, let’s just say that a small crane might be useful.

Even worse (if it can get worse) is the fact that I’ve gained quite a bit of weight. I was already overweight to begin with and hoping that the knee surgery would help allow me to be more physically active to combat that, well, let’s just say that I’ve been doing way more sitting than anything even remotely considered exercising. I had hoped to at least be walking more, but with the winter ice and snow, well… I don’t want to take the chance on slipping and falling. As it is, I have fallen three times in the past couple of months and of course, it always includes landing on one knee or the other. Or both. Sigh.

So, in a couple of weeks, I make the cross town trek to see my ortho doc. Maybe he will give me some news about why I seem to have the detrimental results of knee surgery.

MacCupcake

 

 

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Little Lost Coco

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks. Now that I am working, trying to wrap up things with the other blog and get the house in some sort of order, I never seem to have the time to sit down and write.

As you may know, I’ve started a new job some months ago. Two weeks ago (more or less) as The Kid was dropping me at work, he saw something out of the corner of his eye. Way over in the landscaping, right at the edge, was a white animal. I looked closer and thought it must be a cat, but The Kid said it wasn’t, but a small white dog. I whistled to the dog, trying to encourage her to come to me, but she was startled by someone coming up behind her and she took off.

A few minutes later, The Kid texted me this photo:

img_1280

And I knew that was the puppy we had seen!

I texted The Kid to come back down and see if we could get her. When he got there, he and I searched the bushes for her and did find her, but she was very skittish and bolted when we tried to get near her. The more The Kid chased her, the harder she ran. One of the security guards of the place I work came out and joined us. But then she was just gone. We searched a little bit longer – the grounds are extensive and well landscaped – and there was just no site of her.

We finally gave up and I went back to work. As I was coming in, Security told me that she had been spotted at the other end of the building near the parking entrance. Everyone had seen her, she had been hanging around the building’s grounds for the better part of two days. She was a puppy of just 8 months and I couldn’t imagine what she was eating or drinking.

I called the number on the poster and told the woman what I had seen. She thanked me and asked me to text her the address of the building. I suggested that she start with the security force at the building’s parking lot and wished her good luck.

A couple of hours later, I got this text:img_3817

As you can see, I messaged back that I was very happy to help. And you can see “Coco” very happily snuggled up with her “big sister”.

I can’t say that I did all of this out of the goodness of my heart, there was a little part of me that wished I could have caught her, never found an owner and I could have adopted her! I am so ready to bring a four legged child into my life… but, well, I was happy to help get this one back to her “fur mommy”.

MacCupcakecoco

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I‘ve been mentally writing this post all day. Actually, its been in the works for several weeks. But after today, it was something that I could no longer keep to myself, nor question its validity.

One wonders just when you can experience your last love. That fluttering of butterflies in your heart when he crosses your mind. When you know you’re going to see him, if only for a few minutes.

Wondering if he feels the same way you feel? And the sheer amazement when you realize that he does. Its conveyed in such an almost invisible way that absolutely no one sees it, no one hears it, no one notices it. Just you. And him.

I remember my first love. The very first time that I gave my heart to someone and they gladly accepted it. When every breath and every thought is about him and you only hope that he feels the same.

And then you see him. And he calls you a pet name. One that would sound silly to almost anyone – to almost everyone – if you were to actually repeat it out loud. But has touched my heart so pointedly. Just thinking it repeatedly brings a smile to my face and a light to my heart.

Who says love is only for the young? Or maybe that love makes you feel young? Again? I would have never guessed in a million years that I could feel like this again. I thought that was all behind me.

But I retire for the evening, hoping that tomorrow I will get to see him again. And he will look at me like he looks at no one else. And he will glance back for one more look when we part. And he will smile and he will know.

Like I know.

MacCupcake

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The Cubicle Farm

I have almost exclusively worked in environments that have “cubes”. As I mentally tick through my jobs, I can find one or two which honestly gave me an ‘office’ – that is, a room with four walls and a door. Otherwise, its been the cubicle farm.

Cube Farm

Why this phenomena occurred, I won’t profess to know the answer, but somewhere along the line it made sense to corporate officials to build moveable, rebuild-able  cubicle farms for their workers. It gives them the sense of privacy, albeit a modicum at best, and some sense of their own space.

However, it doesn’t create enough of a buffer for most people. Want to really get some work done and you need to concentrate? Good luck because the guy who sits on the other side of your “wall” uses a hands-free device for his conference calls and for some reason believes he has to shout to make everyone hear him. Or the woman who thinks work is her own private dating service. Or the one at the end of the row who plays his music so loud that every single person on the floor can hear it. Even those who detest his choice in musicians. Or the guy who clears his throat every 10 minutes like clockwork.

I have invested in noise cancelling headphones of the highest quality. Which, for the most part, does what I need it to. But – and yes, there is always a ‘but’- it gets tiresome to have to wear them. That constant pressure on your head does get annoying. And it also seemingly makes you anti-social. And on more than one occasion, I’ve been startled to a scream because I was so tuned into what I was working on and so turned out to everyone and everything around me that someone tapping me on the shoulder scared me! I have also missed a fire alarm!

It isn’t always bad, don’t get me wrong. One place I worked the cube walls were only as high as your line of site, so when you were sitting you weren’t constantly distracted by movement around you. But, it was low enough that it fostered communication and interaction with the people around you.

Good and bad, these cubicle farms provide different benefits and negatives. And there is no doubt that they are here to stay.

So, what do you do? Grin and bear it, I guess. And kvetch here, so that I can continue to work where ever it is that I am.

What’s been your experience? I’d love to hear all about it.

MacCupcake

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Am I Too Nice? Do I Expect Too Much?

This past weekend was spent being a good consumer. That is, I did a lot of shopping and spent a fair amount  money.

It was leaving one place that this idea of being too nice popped into my head. Even though I used the ‘self service’ checkout, I did require assistance because of specific items in my basket.

Okay, I am just going to tell you it was at HomeDepot. And even though this is one of my favorite places to shop – for supplies and products and tools and even ideas – this whole notion of being a customer started building in my head.

So, here I am at checkout trying to maintain control of an eight foot piece of PVC pipe, a half dozen plants, a couple cans of spray paint, two ceramic lamps I found on clearance and an assortment of other general type products.

So up comes the spray paint and this requires the cashier to verify that I am over 18 to purchase. Now, keep in mind that the whole point of self serve is just that… to serve yourself. It keeps me from having to interact too much with the employees and I can keep on the single track of creating and getting all the other necessary tasks done so that I can just get back to the task of making beautiful things.

Now, the cashier was pleasant enough, but she was overseeing four of these checkout stations and wasn’t really “plugged in” to what I was doing. So the fact that once she cleared the transaction validating that I am, indeed, over the age of 18 and not heading out to tag the nearest wall or train car, she set about assisting others. Now, that eight foot section of pipe was going to also require her assistance, since they don’t have UPC codes and it is sold ‘by the foot’. So, I had to get her attention and get her back over there to assist. That accomplished, she flitted away again.

Well, those lovely ceramic lamps were a special deal that I negotiated with someone back in the clearance department. Actually quite a good deal as one was chipped (I knew I could camouflage it) and the other was the last of its kind. Originally 19.99 a piece, I got them both for $5.50. But it had to be rung up uniquely. Queue cashier girl. This time she was less than enthusiastic but got the job done.

Okay, everything is scanned in and I pay for the items. Because recently I have committed to reducing my plastic footprint (namely those GD plastic shopping bags), I had to figure out a way to carry these items without the use of a shopping back. (I do carry fabric bags in the car, but apparently haven’t gotten too used to bringing them in to the store with me to use – a story for another time.) So, in all of this, I still managed to look, catch and maintain eye contract long enough to say “thank you” to the young lady and head toward the parking lot.

I wasn’t more than a few feet away when it occurred to me that I shouldn’t be the one to say thank you, shouldn’t that be her role? And then it occurred to me that it wasn’t just this store, not even this particular chain of stores, but everywhere I seem to go.

A little background: When my son was a baby and in daycare, he got sick. Sick enough that the staff decided he should go to the emergency room. They called me and at the same time, we left our individual destinations and made our ways to the hospital. This was when I was working in Silicon Valley and regardless of the time or day, traffic was always a nightmare. And I had about 20 or so miles to cover, all the while I knew that my precious baby boy was puking and running a fever. I know I drove like a crazy person and wove in and out of lanes of traffic, inevitably cutting off people and generally pissing off those around me with my inattention and bad driving.

Long story short, I made it to the hospital and baby was eventually fine – a little gastrointestinal tract irritation that cleared up almost by day’s end. But in looking back, I decided that I would use the basis of this event to help justify others’ driving when it impedes a hopefully smooth commute for me. I don’t know what’s going on with that person, maybe they, too, have a sick/injured/scared/threatened baby/parent/child/significant other and aren’t just being a bad driver, it was a singular event that caused them to be the total assholes they are being. Like I was that day I was scared out of my mind that something terrible was happening to my baby and I couldn’t hold him or comfort him. It sort of grew from there, making allowances for others when the apparent situation didn’t call for the extreme reactions or lack of simple common courtesies.

So, back to the HomeDepot excursion and the fact that I had to say “thank you” even though I was the customer spending my hard earned money for their products and essentially handling the financial transaction, even forgoing having anyone bag my products and even the bag itself! As I continued to think about it, I realized that what you and I refer to as ‘common courtesy’ isn’t really common anymore at all. I tried to think of the last time I really had good customer service (forget ‘excellent’ customer service) and found that I think I’d be happy if someone just acknowledges my existence in their place of business!

Is the times? I suppose there are some that would say so, but I find that it occurs no matter the person’s age… younger or older than me, I still am unappreciated. When was the last time someone held the door for you? Allowed you to enter first? Offered you a seat before sitting first? Have you ever had anyone hold your chair for you to sit?

The Kid used to open the car door for me. He’d make a big show of it, but it was sweet. Once he held my chair for me in a popular chain restaurant and I swear the table next to us gasped! Hasn’t happened in a long time, but I did initially teach him manners. He still regularly holds the door for me, although on occasion I have been known to stand and look at the door, then look to him and then back to the door again. We generally chuckle at it, but I want the person he spends the rest of his life with to want to thank me for raising such a courteous man.

And ever since my HomeDepot excursion, I’ve been noticing too much the lack of “service” in customer service and the lack of manners and polite behavior. It seems especially lacking in written communications like email and texts where it can be especially troublesome. In a recent response from (the company where I work’s) technical support group, I received such a terse and clipped reply that it was almost shocking. Asking for their technical service (which they are highly paid to dispense) was accompanied with what I perceived to be a sigh of exasperation and a grumbling that would be quite uncalled for given the professional level of behavior expected at this company.

I has become more and more clear… manners and good behavior is a thing of a the past. When was the last time someone thanked you? Or wished you a great day. Or went out of their way to assist you?

I hope someone can prove me wrong.

MacCupcake

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Knee Surgeries Update – Four Month Status (Went Back to Work Too!)

I’ve been talking about my surgeries like they were babies and they’ve now “grown” from the “weeks old” stage to the “months old” stage. It has been a slow moving year thus far.

But now that I am four months out from both surgeries, things are getting a little better. Gone are the endless days of pain and it is now done to a wrong or sudden move or from sitting or standing too long. I hope that this is an indication that as even more time goes by it will continue to get better. I do have some prolonged pain – similar to those ‘growing pains’ we all experienced as kids – that occurs when I am tired and at the end of a long day. It has to be expected, since the surgeries as really the same as having two breaks in each leg that has to heal. And it has to heal around titanium rods that were hammered into the bones above and below each prosthetic knee. Its a lot to ask your body to do at the same time it is handling all of its other tasks. And at my age, I guess its normal to expect it to take longer than when I was twenty!

Physical therapy is about to run its course as well, at least the insurance is going to run out. Honestly, I don’t know if I really feel that I am getting much – if any – benefit from thrice weekly hour long sessions. I am not doing anything that I wouldn’t normally do, with the exception of doing it repetitively all at the same time. I guess just having to drive over there and being directed to do these things are more than I would probably do on my own. I mean, if I had my ‘druthers, I’d sit on my duff and watch old movies!

I’ve actually gone back to work too. Full time forty hour work week and business casual dress. I don’t have to walk much, but do find some days that it almost feels like it might be too much to do without many breaks. And there certainly isn’t any couches to put my feet up on and ice down the knees! Just the daily grind of getting up at the crack of dawn was a difficult adjustment after being on sabbatical (a year) and then on disability (three months). And of course, I got older in there too! LOL

I still wish for that long lost uncle to leave me a small inheritance so that I could comfortably spend the remaining years without a ‘nine-to-five’ to be tethered. Ah, we can all wish, right?

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Another Week (Weeks 6 and 4)

Time seems to really drag lately. I have officially hit the four week mark since surgery on the second (right) knee. Physical therapy goes extremely slow with it. The first/left knee is much better, but everything seems to have been worse and slower with the second surgery.

One might think it funny that having this time off should be grand, but nothing can be further from the truth. I am sick of being in pain and the slightest stretch or bump can send me into tears and shrieks. I am sick to death of watching television and movies and even attempting to do anything that interests me – ie all of my old hobbies – is almost impossible to attempt. Going upstairs has me exhausted before I even hit the top step, so I end up sitting in my sewing room watching tv while I recoup, and then it takes everything out of me to go back downstairs.

On occasion, I actually go something, it seems so pathetic the task. I was able to hobble out to the garage and get the necessary supplies and tools to re-pot a couple of plants. That was the highlight and the summary of my day yesterday.

Don’t get me started on physical therapy. I swear it is such a scam… there isn’t anything I am doing there that I can’t (and am often doing) at home. I’ve been to two weeks of it and I don’t seem to be doing any better by going. I can say that the one thing is does motivate me to do is shower… God knows I wouldn’t want to go to this place stinking… and I suppose I should be grateful for that. I don’t see much reason for going to all the trouble of showering just to be sitting and laying around the house.

I see my ortho doc on Monday, I am a bit anxious as to what he is going to tell me about my progress. I just don’t see this getting better at a acceptable rate. At least to me. He keeps telling me – as do most of the health professionals I see – that I have to keep in mind that I just had to major surgeries and that it takes time to recover. It seems a different song than the one sang before surgery… I remember him talking about being able to go back to work in four to six weeks post surgery. But here I am at that point, and I couldn’t imagine trying to be at work for eight hours a day, let alone the commute and getting ready. And I haven’t even been cleared to drive yet either.

I keep trying to be positive, but I am finding this the most difficult part of the recovery. I’ve never been one to have regrets, and not to be redundant, but this is one thing I would not do again if I actually had the chance. I hope I can be made to see that this thinking is wrong somewhere in the future. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

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Time Just Seems to Drag…Ahead of Myself Again!

I wrote in yesterday’s post that I had passed the five- and three-week mile posts following surgeries. Which in talking to The Kid this morning made me realize that I am, once again, ahead of myself. I am just about halfway between weeks four and five (for the left knee) and weeks two and three for the second knee. I have never known time to drag on so slowly for anything! Maybe it has to do with the fact that being essentially bed-ridden that makes time seem to just slow down to a crawl or that I have so many things that I want to get back to doing that I just can’t. God, I am going crazy confined to bed and television.

I keep searching the ‘net looking for information on bi-lateral knee replacement surgeries and recovery and I swear there are as many opinions, recoveries, options and paths as there are doctors and patients. It seems downright stupid to think that I should have done all of this investigation before the surgeries instead of after; nothing like closing that barn door after the horses are gone. I try to take comfort in the fact that all of my medical teams believe that I am mending nicely – if not ahead of the curve – but it sure doesn’t feel that way to me.

You know, now that I stop and really think about it, I really don’t know what I was expecting during the surgeries and during recovery… I suppose it has been like all the other times I ‘went under the knife’ and their respective recoveries. Let see, I have had tracheal surgery three times before I had the Nissen fundoplication surgery to correct the problem with the hiatal hernia and the GERD (which was causing the scaring in my trachea, just below my vocal chords). Then of course, I had my gall bladder removed, a kidney stone (too large to break up to pass) that was surgically removed. Those two operations were done laparoscopically so it seemed that the recovery was quick and easy. I think sometimes that I was doing the recovery and sparred the brunt of taking care of someone recovering that it was easier or quicker than I really recall. I can tell you this: I am quite done with any more surgical treatments and hospitals. I’ve had quite enough, thank you.

I can’t help but feel like I should have had these knee surgeries some decades ago… while I was still young and relatively healthy and I think recovery would have been so much quicker and easier. I have been counseled though that these joints aren’t infallible and won’t last forever, so having them replaced earlier may just have necessitated having them replaced again (probably about now!), so all in all, I think I am where I should be. I can tell you this, I won’t be having them replaced in fifteen or twenty years. No way!

Tomorrow I start on the second round of physical therapy – this time targeting the right knee, but that will include both knees. I know I should have started sooner, but the pain associated with the second surgery has been off-the-charts for me and I just couldn’t bear to even attempt it before this. It is actually quite the catch-22, as it has been explained, the sooner you begin therapy the quicker the pain is reduced… but it was too painful to start before this. I really don’t think of myself as a wimp when it comes to pain… keep in mind that I have been dealing with chronic headaches since my mid-twenties… but the pain from these surgeries (and especially the second/right knee) has been off-the-charts. Twenty-seven hours of labor with my son was a walk in the park compared to this.

I am so anxious to get back to doing ‘stuff’ that I have lists and lists of things I want to accomplish. I still have a few things to “finish up” from before surgeries and I surely have a ton of new ideas since I’ve been laid up. And it seems with nice spring weather just around the corner, I am so ready to get moving. And actually, after being off work for this past year… I am so ready to go back to the fast pace and excitement of the computer industry.

 

 

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Can I Really Be Getting Better?

So, just past the five- and three-week marks for the knee surgeries. I *think* that I am finally feeling a little better. I had a minor meltdown last week when the pharmacy decided that I’ve been getting just a few too many pain meds and so had to meet with two of my doctors to figure things out. I swear I was convinced that something was wrong with the right knee (the newer of the two) but doc number two did x-rays and his professional opinion was that they were “perfect”.

Still, I am reminded almost constantly that major stuff just happened. I will have that ever-so-brief moment when I wake up in the middle of the night having to go to the bathroom and finding that very first move to be excruciating. Like having a lighting bolt shoot from my knee down to my toes and from the knee up to my waist. I parked the walker in the living room though and have been getting by holding onto furniture and the walls though and taking tiny baby steps for the past week or so.

Monday I begin the second round of physical therapy. Here’s where the conflict between what the body is saying and what I am being told drastically differs. The PT is vital to recovery and if I want to walk without a limp. Babying these muscles is not the right answer. But holy crap in a basket does it hurt for hours and hours following a PT session. Pushing the muscles, even a degree, seems like the totally wrongest thing to do and I am pushing back with the strength of a hurricane. There is such a difference between what the heart says is the right thing and the pain receptors think.

Got the first surgical bill this past week. Nearly made me pass out. Even worse when I realized that it is only the first of two and of course there are a ton of other charges still coming – from the doctors, the physical therapists, the medicines etc.; somehow though I did get lucky with some real kick-ass health insurance and my portion is just a fraction. But a fraction is still a nice chunk of change, especially considering that I haven’t worked in more than a year now.

I’ve been getting to the point of boredom and frustration more quickly lately, which again, tells me that I must be healing. Still not up to the point of working on any projects, not even those I was sure I would be sailing through. I had set up a hand quilt frame to complete the quilting on an antique quilt I rescued from an abandoned farm house, but alas, I didn’t do it correctly and I don’t have the dexterity to undo the safety pin basting so that I can re-do it right. I’ve pretty much done only a bit of coloring as I watch television and fade in and out of wakefulness. There is this great new wave of “adult coloring” lately and I invested in this great set of gel pens that includes glitter, fading and just a huge selection of colors. Here are a couple of the canvases that I’ve completed lately:

Okay, that’s it for the update. Updates are slower as my laptop battery died and so I have to try to either write posts on my iPad or wobble into the office and use the desktop. Just one more thing sitting and waiting for future income to address, like the fact that I’ve broken two throatplates on two of my three sewing machines (making them unusable). The list continues to grow every day of the projects piling up that require income and I am still at least two or three good weeks away from even thinking about going back to work. Sigh.

 

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