Is the doctor in?

It was nipply out yesterday, but I defiantly sat in a sunny chair on the balcony for a while in my all-purpose jams, paw-print flip-flops, LFK bag-lady sweater and a field jacket. I know you have to get back on the bicycle at your first opportunity, but it isn’t the same without Miss Fireball.  She’s supposed to be out there with me, patrolling the perimeter and yipping at intruders, first and foremost all four-legged trespassers. Every balmy evening this spring and summer we’ll miss her dancing on two legs for cocktail hour treats and zipping around non-stop to see it ALL, while the warm evening hugged us and made the three of us oh so grateful to be in the world together. And Maddie gradually letting herself fall asleep on Kim’s chest or my lap, lulled by our voices and the after-sunset sounds of home. There’s a whole world to miss.

Wonder how long until I stop checking behind and under me before rolling back from my desk.  How long until I can unwrap a cheese stick or a chip bag without cringing that I pushed her feed-me button?  Or until I stop saving loud videos to watch later so as not to disturb her sweet sleep, always right here beside me. Maybe some fine evening me n’ Boo will be laughing over margaritas on Cielito’s patio and the stars will be out and the air will put its arms around us and we won’t cry, and we won’t look at each other and think “We should get back and check on the baby.”  Maybe some fine time that will happen.  Or not.

Thanks for listening, Doc, I’ll leave my 5¢ on the counter and show myself out …

 

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Maddie

 

 

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Make it shtahp!

Talk to me, friends, this is getting wackadoodle.  Ever since the recent ice capades on the balcony, my life has had a sound track!  That might make me happy except that it’s the lamest, most insipid music on the planet — somebody’s inside my head playing a big honkin’ Wurlitzer, an organ I didn’t even know was on my personal parts list.  It’s been droning on for weeks now, virtually nonstop until I fall asleep. A B3 would be fabulous, but no, this is old-school swirly-wurly all the way. The sedate tempo never varies, the glisses and runs are utterly predictable, the plummy bass notes swell and rumble, every ending abides by a schmaltzy-sounding template. It’s all tediously drama-infused, and just as I reach the edge of madness the tune changes, always transitioning directly from one song to the next, some of which I recognize but most of it painfully generic, although yesterday’s selection was Desperado on ‘ludes and endless loop.

It’s like I’m living in a mortuary or I wandered onto the soundstage of a Gaither Reunion in full-on veneration mode, and very little external input has the power to punch the mute button. This is new territory but it doesn’t feel creepy … yet.  My head did thump the ice and concrete fairly aggressively, so there’s that.  And there’s all this better living through chemistry that’s been going down for the past month, giving me reason to hope that once my friends morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, cyclobenzaprine, et.al. go back into the closet the music will find a hidey-hole of its own and go there to die.  Not all of it (!!), just this mawkish, never-ending recital of every trite melody ever devised. Bizarre, fascinating, and some of the chord progressions are precious, but I’m so over it — can’t I please go back to the sounds of silence up top now?  That would be nice.

Meanwhile I’m nothing if not pragmatic, so … ALLLL SKATE!!

 

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Maddie

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To the bone …

This morning I’m feeling inordinately proud of my skeleton.  I’ve had doubts about it in the past, but this time, when slip came to slide, my little boney bits marched right into formation and got busy.  They were treated to a photo shoot yesterday and the films are gorgeous — all the shattered pieces are in place and getting chummy with each other — what Dr. Pro calls *sticky.*  Sans cast or surgery those little guys shouldered (eh?) the job and did what had to be done.  Part of my personal staff:

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It’s been a sobering month at our house; therefore, good news is primo, and when is it not?  So on a sunny day in February it’s fun to know I’ve still got it, even if it’s on the inside where you can’t see it.  You know why old people are grouchy?  Because they hate getting old, end of story.  We try to grace it all up and pretend to be philosophical … mature, ha! … all the while feeling slightly bereft that not very many people can hear or see the eighteen, thirty, forty-five-ish, never-gonna-grow-up real soul that is us.  We’re having such a good time!  How could the ride be so far down the tracks already?

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That’s why we can’t have nice things and the reason we say shit like “Get off my lawn,” and “You’re one smartass comment away from being bitch-slapped so hard Google won’t be able to find you.”  We mean well.

I just realized today is Whinesday, which explains everything, sorry not sorry.  Enjoy the sunshine — it’s always out there somewhere.

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Write what you know, they said …

There was no doubt a time when you thought that just by becoming a grown-up you’d know shit, right?  Yeah, me too, and when you’re pocket-size there’s a lot to sort.  Turns out Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and adulthood are all fantasies spun to deer-in-the-headlights kiddos, thereby infusing every experience of childhood with a healthy layer of skepticism.  And hello, Home Skillet, the more life swoops in and slaps that grin off your face, the deeper the trust issues get.  Trust me.

Santa and the big magic bunny didn’t hurt much when I found out the truth about them, especially the rabbit, I mean really.  Adulthood, on the other hand, smacks the crap out of us and the only way we make it through for real is knowing somebody has our back. Sitting here this morning  trussed up like a Christmas goose I’m asking myself the hard questions, such as … what’s my trustworthiness quotient?  How closely do my actions match my words?  When people get to know me are they sick with disappointment over the contradictions that begin to show through?  All of that matters for every reason in the world.

I adore living, but it’s fairly cold and heartless out there for most of the human race, as you may have noticed, so it feels amazing every time we can change that even a little bit for someone, am I right?  Writing what I know and measuring it against what I do, because it would suck to be weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Oh, HEY, how ‘BOUT those Broncos?!

 

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Dear Diary …

This is one for the record books, my constant confidante — Sunday morning comin’ down, followed by all hell breaking loose.  So what’s new, I hear you thinking.  I guess when you put it that way, not much.

“On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there’s nothing short a’ dying
That’s half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.”

-Kris Kristofferson

Lately there’s nothing half as lonesome as the KIMN8R taking care of a one-armed wife and one sick puppy.  It doesn’t stop, and after this morning’s incredible sunrise and half a cup of coffee the day quickly morphed into a slippery slope to the bottom.  Kim’s like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, but the good news is he’s winning.

So, ya’ got your classic Sunday sunrise, great coffee, things are looking up, and before you can absorb all that artistry ya’ got your classic Colossal Sick-Puppy BM-Blowout on a large portion of the new rug, SHAZBOT! just like that.  Wow, we didn’t know she had it IN her.  Haha, turns out laughing at life is often the only honest response there is.

Maddie and I love and appreciate SuperKim (I understate) not least because we both know we’d be up Shit Creek (haha, right?) without him.  He single-handedly — sometimes I crack myself up — got rid of the evidence, wrestled the rug onto the balcony, hit it with the hose (oh my!), draped it out to dry, came inside and made omelets for breakfast.  I’m assuming he washed his hands between operations, but that’s barely worth caring about at this point.

The sick and walking wounded are once again tucked in clean and warm, the house restored to a semblance of order, and SuperKim is out foraging for Super Bowl noshes and libations because we are, after all, Americans.  There’s sunshine above the clouds and the day is cruising along once again, with the additional bonus of friends coming over later. Life is simple, it’s just not easy.

“But easy’s like, who cares? Easy’s like, how much is easy going to get you?”
Anne Lamott, Crooked Little Heart

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The Circus of Life

{For my tribe today at no extra cost — consider it gravy for the mashed potato balls.}

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THE CIRCUS OF LIFE

Freaks on parade! deck the halls!

let the Big Top glitter! the show must go on!

Be the dancing bear, bestow upon the rubes their money’s worth —

the IOU bears their autograph and a happy crowd is a cash cow —

But avoid the teeth, that tutu will not save you.

Provoked, lesser dancers lash out, abandoned they break.

~jsmithblogger 2016

 

 

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Potato Power

Let’s talk comfort food.  First of all, this German girl has no clue what the phrase “leftover mashed potatoes” even means — I suggest you simply whip up some spuds from scratch.  And on a far deeper level, if potatoes, cheese, and Panko crumbs do not say “WINNING” to you, how did we become friends?

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Prerequisites …

We need some givers to carry the grace

when it exits the stage.

We need a ringmaster who cries as clearly

as a canary’s warning, and a rooted cadre of

seraphs to pad the mist that fills the abyss,

and a spritz or two of a necessary thing

that heals and is not lethal. We need these things

between breaths, after infernos,

and, if we keep them, then someone someday,

emerging restored after a walk

and supper, lives on.  ~JSmith

(Composed on a template which was shared by my niece Krista.)

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Her beautiful version:

Prerequisites

We need some string to tether the moon
when it flees the sky.
We need a still slipknot that holds as loose
as a hand’s whisper, and a shadow shawl of
nightspill to pad the ache that fills the edges,
and a wisp or two of a wishful thing
that cries and is not answered. We need these things
between idlings, after dusk,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
wandering wild after a walk
and supper, gathers cold. ~Krista Elliott

***

Here is the template.  Please share YOUR take on it here in Comments — I want to read your poetry!

Prerequisites

We need some ___ to ___ the ___

when it ___ the ____.

we need a ____ ____ that ___ as _____

as a _____’s ___, and a ____ ____ of

_____ to pad the ___ that fills the ___,

and a ____ or two of a ____ thing

that ____ and is not ____. We need these things

between ____ , after _____,

and, if we keep them, then someone someday,

_____ _____ after a walk

and supper, _____.

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From the bottom, looking up …

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Tonight marks two weeks since it all went down, and by down I mean me.  It wasn’t pretty, there was never a shot at that, but it did prove something:  I am not a true attention whore.  I did the whole thing, curtain to curtain, without an audience.

To bring us up to speed since everything slows to a crawl from there, I stepped onto our 4th-floor balcony in the dark, unaware that the light layer of snow I saw was camouflaging a sheet of ice, and ended up doing a fairly incredible amount of damage in record time.   Caught a toe on the threshold, crashed onto a heavy metal patio chair with my shoulder, bounced onto the chair arm and introduced it to my rib cage, did a belly-flop onto the snow/ice/concrete, slid to the railing and knocked over a clay pot with my mouth.  It had to have been a show worth paying to see.

Making short work of a long, sad, boring tale, let’s just say that I sustained a nasty break to the top of my left humerus where it cradles the ball portion of the joint — it’s shattered into little pieces; rib #7 is cracked; mouth split open, top and bottom; and I’m peppered with various bruises and abrasions.  Could have been worse — I didn’t break teeth or jaw, and my glasses stuck the landing instead of free-diving to the parking lot.  Not a screw-up I like talking about, really, but some of you have hung in here over the past few years and it doesn’t feel right to leave you in the dark.  Luckily, one-handed typing is part of my resumé, so although it’s tiring I can communicate.

The all-girl crew in the ER was outstanding, leaving me to marvel at their skill and knowledge relative to their ages.  Who becomes a PA or RN or MD by their early teens?  Survey SAYS! — entire gangs of adorable and capable children.  They glued my mouth up with artificial skin (up, not shut, sorry not sorry), put my arm in a sling, shot me up with morphine, patted me on the butt and sent me home.  Saw an orthopod two mornings later — Dr. Pro, I love that! — and consensus was that surgery would entail plates and screws, would require a far longer recovery, and the shoulder would never feel normal again in this lifetime, so we’re going with time and TLC, taking periodic X-rays to monitor progress.  Last Friday’s films show the humerus starting to self-correct its wonky angle, thus cradling the ball closer to kosher, and the pieces at the top are nestled in proper puzzle fashion and starting to get sticky with each other.  So far, so good.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’m living in Kim’s recliner, reading my eyes out, and doing the maximum-allotted amount of crying and complaining while maintaining a sub-par state of Zen via chemistry.  Good shit, man.  Doesn’t stop the pain but you feel so much better once you no longer care.  Kim’s been with me for almost a dozen years, and on my part it’s been one medical issue after another.  He’s patiently (mostly) nursed me through all of it, but what’s especially grievous this time is that it was self-inflicted.  Nobody my age wants to feel this stupid.  My sense of balance is so compromised that I’ve been known to fall down from a standing-still position, so it would be easy after this mess to lose my nerve and give in to being strictly a spectator.  I refuse, however, to look back on 2016 as the year I got old and buried my confidence, so the only choice is to get through it and win, which day by day is seeming more do-able.

And that’s the way it is.

 

 

 

 

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Rollin’, rollin’, rollin … hello, February

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Happy Sweet ’16!!

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Wishing the world a bright shiny new year filled with pockets of peace and splashes of rainbow happiness!

#realist  #askingtoomuch

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It’s today …

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Christmas only gets better.

Happy Christmas Eve morning! Pretty sunrise, then cloud cover, now patches of blue sky. Madison is looking happy and definitely on the road to recovery, although she’s lost a quarter of her body weight and she has to go outside every hour & a half now because the steroids make her thirsty and the cycle is in full swing. The good is outweighing the not-so-good right now.  Merry Christmas!
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Kim made caramel-banana waffles for breakfast — he drenched his in pure Vermont maple syrup and I slathered mine in butter, organic peanut butter, and sandhill plum jelly. Don’t judge, it’s once a year.
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Our friend and neighbor Sharon brought Maddie a Bass & Co. fleece-lined hoodie and us a big bottle of Baileys, which will find its way into our coffee at spa-soak time. I plan to live in nothing but my new comfy lounge clothes today because other than walking Maddie we have NO ACTUAL PLANS!!
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If the weather holds, we’ll get Rita and go to Susan’s tomorrow.  (My sisters.) If not, Plan B will probably look much like today’s Plan A except for the waffles. It’s happy all up in here.
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Kim and I live like ever-so-slightly-reformed hippies and we like to think we aren’t tradition-minded. Since our first Christmas we’ve done only a wee minimum of decorating, we don’t send cards or letters, we don’t have a gift-opening ritual, or even gifts (as such). However, he makes The Kim Breakfast every Saturday and ranch-bean omelets every Sunday, always makes me a Bloody Mary with the sweet tender hearts when he puts a bunch of celery in anything, stands on the step directly in front of me on a Down escalator, the step behind on the Up trip … and there’s the waffle thing … so we may just be lazy.
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Oh look, I seem to have written a Christmas letter! So from all three of us, Maddie, Kimmers and me, a beautiful Christmas and holiday season full of real joy, and a 2016 that will knock your socks off in every good way!

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Thank you, Ben Franklin.

Marriage between humans is heavy-duty stuff.  We jump into it thinking we might know things, only to learn early on that we were ignorant beyond belief — and then the OTJ training either makes or breaks us.

This isn’t my maiden voyage — I was married for thirty-four years the first time, at least half of them happy.  Steepest learning curve was WHAT NOT TO DO and it did almost break us.  So second time feels a lot like this:

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It’s about the really important things.

Which is why I tried to take Benjamin Franklin’s advice from day one:  “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterward.”

And why it took me eleven years to catch on that Kimmers is OCD, not just “picky about certain things.”  I thought it was his upbringing and his white-glove education in the Navy showing up.  Or as our friend Seth says, he was potty-trained at gunpoint.

Seems instead to be the real thing and he got the memo the same day I did, not that I helped him out with hints and/or pantomime.  Fortunately, his version of the disorder presents not as repetitive behaviors like hand-washing and obsessive counting, but as vigilance against dust and … um … disorder.  We live in a loft with 14ft. ceilings, exposed ductwork, concrete, steel, glass, wood and tile.  It’s cozy, but there’s always something needing attention.  Enter Mr. Clean, who works his magic on at least one area every day, never letting it get ahead of him.  It’s excellent that we downsized to half the space we used to have.

He also, as you may know, handles all the grocery shopping, cooking and clean-up, and keeps his kitchen in shiny order.  So when he grabs a glass I just set down and rinses it in the sink even though I’d planned to refill it; or stashes something in a place I’d never think to look for it; or gets a little frantic about having a dirty windshield — it’s a no-brainer that I CAN’T LET IT MATTER, although I confess we were reaching Exasperation Level before the light came on.

My husband’s attention to detail and willingness to speak up has saved me countless times, and he’s helped other people who’ll never know that, because he did it by planning ahead, anticipating, juggling, understanding in advance where things were going.  If you’ve been on the receiving end of his thorough help and wanted to smack him before it was over, you can be sure it was because of how much he cares about you, loves you even.  It matters to him what our immediate environment feels like, and I matter to him most of all (he’s told me) and there’s a lot I need a surrogate for, so this “disorder” thing turns out to be fabulous for me.

If you’re curious about what it is *I* do here, that would be the laundry, bills and banking, a little writing, social media, and Maddie … also, I color pretty pictures in my free time, which is defined according to mood.  And I do what I can to help Kim preserve a semblance of order along with a large helping of peace and quiet.  Works for me, too — so sometimes it’s fine to be selfish.

I agree with the divine Babs …

“Why does a woman work ten years to change a man’s habits and then complain that he’s not the man she married?”

-Barbra Streisand 

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