Yesterday I cleaned a lot of my downstairs and had a relatively good work out at Apex. I haven’t felt incredibly strong lately, but my IUD must be working because I’m not in pain.
I had a good week at work, so cleaning, working on Parisian Phoenix projects and watching Cobra Kai suited me just fine yesterday.
I even found two of the dog’s Kong balls under the couch which made for a very happy dog.
Today, I was supposed to have my annual physical but my doctor’s office called yesterday and rescheduled for next week— which also means another week without answers from my CT scan and physiatrist referral. Neither the neurologist nor the physiatrist’s office has called me back.
And I need a doctor that can help me understand the motion and mechanics of my body, and not just its individual parts.
Today I scrubbed the exterior of the stove and did dishes. Then I went to help my blind friend Nan with some errands and grocery shopping.
We made plans to pick up some pizza at Little Caesars so Nan could try the Batman Calzony. No matter how I tried I couldn’t explain what it was to the blind lady. So we bought one.
But we had time to kill before the teenager got out of school even after we put groceries away. We grabbed the dog and got drinks and hash browns (for the dog) at Dunkin.
And then we surprised the teenager with the dog at school.
Then Joan stopper by to drop off some hand-me-down magazines and erotica, cupcakes and photos that Joan needed us to sort.
Now, I’m cuddling with Louise, watching Gotham Garage and enjoying kitten photos.
This new work week is certainly moving quickly although each day I come home more exhausted. I’m hurting more once I get home, but I’m fine for the first 9+ hours of my shift. If you don’t know what I’m talking about read these:
The teenager kept my car as the last two of our fosters who needed to be spayed went to Canyon River Run today. That would be Mama Danu and her tabby kitten Baile from the Celtic Pride.
She hoped to bake cookies for the platters Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab plans to distribute to the many vets who assist the organization. Her eighth grade boyfriend came over to lend a helping hand so she also taught him to make bread.
Meanwhile I just kept dreaming of an iced cold Coke Zero. And an interesting thing happened — I got to work and there was a 4-pack of 20-ounce Coke Zero bottles with a post-it note declaring them free.
I brought them home. My guess is someone didn’t realize Coke Zero had been relabeled in the same red as classic Coke.
Which my metrics tanked by the end of the day which had me chugging this at 3 p.m. break.
My 4 p.m., I was trembling and about to cry. Do. Not. Repeat.
I treated the teenager to dinner at Tic Toc so she could get her last pay check. We both ate too much.
I did my physical therapy exercises and took a hot shower. By the end of the shower my right leg was very uncomfortable so I took a low dose muscle relaxer and covered my leg, knee and back with CBD Medic’s Arthritis Cream.
One more day.
So now, as promised, let me offer some thoughts on podcasts. The teenager and I compared notes on our Spotify end-of-year wrap up and she thought she was impressive with 17,000 minutes since we started using the service in mid-year. I have 88,000+.
MY FAVORITE PODCASTS I LISTENED TO SO FAR THIS WEEK:
This one surprises me. The Ellen Fisher Podcast. She’s a very interesting person with her journey to raise her own food in Hawaii with her brood of plant-based kids and interest in all things calm and positive. I don’t really don’t know how I feel about her podcast — but I recently listened to her episode on Mind Change. It was an interesting discussion of neuroscience facts blended with alternative healing techniques to deal with personal trauma to heal the body of disease and mental illness. The guests on the show discuss their experience that illness, whether physical or mental, is the body manifesting trauma that the person has refused to acknowledge and heal.
The Daily. I often force myself to listen to the Daily even when the topics don’t interest me. This week I found myself pleasantly surprised by their coverage of Stephen Sondheim’s death.
Snacks Daily. Snacks Daily is a brief podcast from Robin Hood, yes the investment folks. It’s an economic summary of course, but it also provides humor and the business side of the news.
I finished Sh**hole Countries by Radiotopia. The American host on that show grapples with the possibility that her Ghanaian parents want her to move to Ghana. Enjoyable but also not what I expected. The host uses much of her platform to talk about her queerness and human rights.
The Shit No One Tells You About Writing. Very useful and broad tips about writing, critiquing and publishing.
Africa Daily just did a good episode on fistula. I found that a surprising topic. I’m impressed. (Though they did not mention the prevalence of female genital cutting and its impact on the rate of fistula.)
Other notables: Power Hugh Hefner, American Scandal The Lewinsky Affair, Operator, Against the Odds Rock Climbers Abducted.
I hope this weekend to partake in some fun activities and lighthearted blog posts, but I also need to do some administrative work for my publishing company, Parisian Phoenix Publishing.
My second novel in the Fashion and Fiends series, Courting Apparitions, releases officially November 29 (my co-founder’s birthday) and could possibly be available Black Friday. Like, damn, when did that happen?
On everyday life and health front, I went to the chiropractor yesterday and like my doctor she approved of my new technique of changing work tables to try and even out my sides. I stopped at the pharmacy and picked up my prescription for muscle relaxer. I also made my last Purple Carrot meal in the fridge: mango glazed roasted vegetables with tahini butter.
Worked went mediocre/well. The night seemed long and boring and I felt like I was getting used to my body again after the chiropractor. I QCed at about 83%.
I came home and several cats were waiting for me— including Minerva, a sweet foster who started in our second foster litter of kittens, The Roman Pride.
I took a muscle relaxer to see how it impacted my pain and my morning stiffness. It didn’t make me loopy and I think it helped with my tossing and turning.
I only got six and a half hours of sleep last night, but still managed to meet up with the teenager my trainer Dan at Apex Training to lift some weights. I felt so much more limber after. The teenager easily did 105 on the barbell deadlift and 95 on the squat. I could lift the 105 but not execute the lift. My squat form is still adjusted for my limited range of motion in my lower body so I maxed out at 85 while the teen hardly had to put any effort into it.
I am in my 40s, and struggling with the effects of a life of always walking crooked thanks to cerebral palsy, a disability I have but, until recently, have known nothing about.
And issues in my spine, while not serious, are affecting my mobility and causing me pain.
But today— in part because we only worked until 7:30 pm at the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy— I woke up well rested, only minimally stiff and only minimally hurting. At 8 am no less.
Our charming mutt F. Bean Barker refused to go to bed in the teenager’s room last night because one of our fosters, a former community cat named Georgie, intimidated her. Bean expected me to let her sleep in my room and when I said no she retreated to her crate in the living room. So I let her spend the night. I have spent a lot of time with this dog in the last 24 hours.
I tied a rope around her tire toy gifted to her by my trainer, Dan, at Apex Training and now it’s the best toy ever. See video here.
I was the first one out of bed which meant a swarm of hungry cats outside my door, and I couldn’t keep them all at bay. It was easier to let them in. But our foster Mars totally knows how to knock over the birdcage. Which he did. While I was on the phone with my blind friend Nan and consuming my first cup of coffee.
Nan recently started physical therapy for an issue in her shoulder causing pain and finger numbness. The physical therapist had never worked with a blind client before and was a quick study. He even discovered that some of Nan’s issue might be mobility issues in her neck— because when you’re blind you don’t have many reasons to turn your head or look up and down.
Finally, things settle down and while the parakeet is out he is safe. The teenager and I head to Apex where she gets that barbell and deadlifts 135 lbs. I still felt good at that point.
And then the matriarch from laFamilia Velez stopped by and brought me chili which I had for a late breakfast and we talked about marketing for my Fashion and Fiends books. And my goals for Parisian Phoenix in general.
She left, and I finished proofing Darrell Parry’s soon-to-be released poetry book. I placed a few more essays in the nonfiction identity anthology.
And the poor teenager has had a hectic and exhausting couple days— so I cooked.
She has options for dinner when she returns from the diner. She’s given notice at the diner as she has accepted employment with a local pet care company.
First I made sausage and peppers to put over spaghetti.
Then I also made the Purple Carrot Peanut Tofu Stir Fry which I jazzed up with some edamame and sesame sticks.
Mostly I am just sitting around marveling at how pain free I feel. I miss that.
This is another in a series of posts about trying to learn about my cerebral palsy and improve life in my body in general.
As sometimes happen, I woke in pain. I took two Tylenol PM last night so the pain didn’t keep me awake though my cat kept trying to intimidate one of my fosters so that made the six hours of sleep I got rather restless.
I woke to an alarm at shortly after 8 a.m. as I had to be at a doctor’s appointment at 10:05ish and the office is 20 minutes away.
Today was the rescheduled appointment to get my Mirena IUD that will hopefully reduce my heavy menstrual bleeding and my back pain from menstrual cramps. I had another new-to-me doctor today, and this one had an amazing sense of humor.
She was also the first doctor to ask me, upon hearing I had cerebral palsy, if there was anything she needed to do or be aware of to help me. In my case, the answer is no. But if I had worse issues with my flexibility and lower limbs, this would be a good question.
This is my third IUD, although my first Mirena. So nothing unexpected happened during insertion.
There was a pinch here and there and the doctor told me to take ibuprofen for the initial cramping. And to be prepared for a period that might be weird for the next few months. Every woman reacts differently but I may see my periods lighten or even skip cycles.
I did experience some light cramping and spotting but nothing to require OTC painkillers.
But, once I got to work, my right leg seemed to be impossible to control with my quad and knee burning. My ankles also started to burn. My lower back just throbbed, regardless of whether I was twisting or standing still.
By the end of the night I struggled to reach forward or to lift the pile of clothes.
I only QCed 92 fixes. That’s almost 71% of goal. Now granted tonight we were in the men’s Hizzy for the first time ever. It took me 4.5 minutes to do fixes that in women’s takes less than 3.
And they have such nicely organized work stations with drawers.
While listening to my first podcast of the night— 60 songs that explain the 90s— i discovered that Weird Al donated the profits from “Achy Breaky Song” to the cerebral palsy foundation.
My British colleague asked why I’m not on disability. That made me wonder how bad I must look if she says that to me.
In good news, let me regale you as I drink my last pins colada lemonade gin cocktail, the teenager is very excited about the new soap dispenser she bought.
I did a thing and did a soft launch on a Parisian Phoenix podcast on Spotify. I thought my blind friend, Nancy, would like it.
I don’t know whether I should apologize, explain my absence or dive right into this messy, stream of consciousness blog entry. Nothing new is happening but so many little things have brought joy to my life.
I had a great week at the Bizzy Hizzy. I spent most of my week in QC, and I hit 80% of the daily production metric except for one day when I hit 90 percent. But I just can’t seem to replicate that success. Last night I was in receiving inbound processing where I unboxed and received a pallet which included Democracy Jeans and Market and Spruce shirts. I caught a mix-up in tags. And I met a young man whose name is an abbreviated form of Jesus’ Angel because he was born three months premature as I was.
A few nights ago, I was listening to a podcast, probably Mayim Bailik’s Breakdown. They were discussing the ACE Childhood Trauma Test. So I took it. That was a mistake. It made me think about a lot of things— my past, my mental health, my relationships. I didn’t expect the results and I suppose in a way it was profound.
But as much as life may have had some dark spots, the foster cats sure bring joy. Hermes of the Greek Pride is already starting to bound with his new dad. (And even broke something expensive.) Louise the Tripod had a meet and greet with someone interested in adding a new cat to their household. And Parker and Extra Crunchy of ten little kittens are now playing and acting cat-like. Even Touch of Grey seems cheerful.
I picked up my new glasses, replacing my previous pair. I have abandoned my sexy librarian look and regained depth perception.
On another podcast, I heard a host discuss someone who wrote a memoir from her 20 journals. What a joke! He said 20 as if that number is impressive. I have been journaling for 30 years! I lost count after 100 volumes.
Speaking of journals, I splurged on a Silk and Sonder self-care planner/journal. It’s a monthly subscription and I am already anxious that it will stress me out. My regular journal is more or less a bullet journal now. I think another book that requires a daily check in might not be worth the pressure. And it’s $20/month. That seems expensive. More to come. Including unboxing and review.
Speaking of unboxing, I bought myself a Lite Brite in a moment of nostalgia. #NoRegrets
I live in an urban setting but in a small town. I love everything about my town— but no town is ever fully prepared for a three-day snowstorm.
I have a garage that fronts a quaint alley, as many people in our borough do. In a big snowstorm I typically move my car to the street. Because the street very quickly looks like this after a storm:
But I didn’t. Not this time. Even with a foot or a foot and a half of snow I can shovel my end of the alley if need be.
Not this time. We got 2.5 feet of snow and this is what my garage is facing:
And that is the street there.
So much snow fell that they can’t get the plows down the narrow alleys. Despite five plows and the whole crew, they need to go in with smaller equipment and move the snow with dump trucks.
It’s now 3:30 and we still haven’t seen any of our snow go, but we were fortunate to have our favorite little dog stop by and visit. Her mom started a new job just a few hours a day where she is learning great secrets— like how to make chocolate bombs.
I had to call out from work at my warehouse— the Bizzy Hizzy— so this week may end up an unpaid and stoic vacation with a shovel in hand.
Teenager #1 made the best of conditions and took the cats out to the snow.
Her quote was, “Mom, this is why I need a dog.”
And in exciting news, I got to talk shop with a newspaper editor today. Not going to say anything more other than it was a good conversation and I hope I have the chance to continue the talk.
The other day I asked myself— what would happen if we approached our everyday lives like a writer taking notes for a travelogue?
Interesting that I thought of this now, as Facebook reminded me that 5 years ago I was in Somalia eating fruit so succulent it was like ice cream. I remember the dark wood of the built-in wardrobe of our hotel room, the way the guard at the top of the stairs would chit-chat with me as he rocked his plastic lawn chair with his gun across his lap.
That was also the week I decided to overhaul my marriage— because as I was traveling the streets of Mogadishu trying to interpret the paintings that adorned the shops and watched a women make coffee on the side of the road amidst traffic, I realized I had my laptop in Somalia with all of our household information. If anything had happened to me, I didn’t know if my husband knew how to log into our bank account or when to pay the mortgage (or how much it was or who receives the payment).
I suddenly realized my own mortality. And that my control of everything needed to change.
To return this ramble to the idea of a quotidienne travelogue, I always blog while we travel, even to places more mundane than Africa, and M, my traveling companion, would always sit down with his phone and his cigarette about to read the link I sent him.
“Oh good,” he would say, “Let’s see what I did today.”
Life at the Aviary
The colors in the room— vivid pink (almost a fuchsia) walls in semi-gloss, teal swirly floral-paisley curtains and a yellow patterned duvet color with pink sheets adorned with white polka dots— created a cheery environment that brightened exponentially with every ray of sunshine that crept in through the three windows facing south.
The birds grew more animated as the sun intensified, three adult parakeets and three freshly hatched chicks under three weeks old and a Goffin’s cockatoo, a mini-parrot who expressed her nervousness by barbering and plucking her own feathers. Even bird teenagers are prone to rituals of self-harm.
Once awake, I strolled down to the living area, also decorated boldly but simply with sky blue walls with a hint of turquoise and a chalkboard wall under the stairs with a variety of notes. The furniture included a cushioned bench, cozy teal chairs, and an emerald green loveseat that sat oddly low to the ground.
I sipped a very hot cup of coffee with cream not brewed but steamed for me as if it were espresso. Cats swirled at my feet, including one with a gruff, tired face. He wore a Captain America collar. When he moved, his gait revealed his amputee status— having lost his front left leg to kitty cat cancer.
After this, I traveled back to the aviary chamber to help care for the birds. I handled these tiny chicks!
My companion and I departed shortly after our “chores” to have breakfast at Tic Toc Diner. My companion has a love of chocolate milk and pancakes. She insists that both always tastes better at a diner.
I discover what might be my new all time favorite breakfast: Eggs Benedict Florentine with garlic and tomato. As a poached egg is one of my favorite things on Earth, it only gets better when we add some nutritionally dense spinach smothered in hollandais sauce.
The pleasures here and simple and the environment chaotic.
While three out of my four cats were cuddly and cute.
Then I headed out to work for the first day since Covid. I stopped at Dunkin for a coffee and discovered there were no more good deals. So I didn’t get my coffee.
No one explained the protocol for my return so I don’t have the proper paperwork from my doctor. I’ll try and get that started— already called the doctor— but am waiting on their end of the paperwork.
I’m annoyed— mostly because I was ready to go back but also because I don’t know if this lack of communication will mean I lose income. With it being the holiday week, I probably won’t get rapid cooperation from the medical folks. And part of that is because there are people sicker and needier than I am.
After everything I’ve been through this year, I won’t complain.
It gave me time to do some grocery shopping and cook for the other teenager.