Monday, February 23, 2009

An apple a day....


I'm not really much for hypochondriasis. The sniffles are not a sinus infection. Nausea happens to everyone. And the common cold is probably employed with such a name as common because that's exactly what it is: common. I am starting to get a little concerned though. In the past year, my health has been severely annoying and expensive! I have done the whole healthy eating and exercise thing, the quitting smoking thing, the sleeping well thing... and I still manage to get really, really ill.

To sum up the laundry list of symptoms we'll just go with diagnoses from the many doctors I have had the unfortunate chance of meeting... ready?

In the past year I have had:

*Pneumonia THREE times (something most people get maybe once in their lifetime if at all)

*Sinus infections

*The flu in conjunction with a sinus infection and pneumonia

*More "common colds" than most people get in their lifetime

*Appendicitis that meant I was great one day and had emergency surgery the next.

*Dizzy spells accompanied by nausea and severe stomach pain

*Back pain that averages a 5 and will sometimes twinge to a 7 or 8 if I move in the wrong direction

*UTIs and yeast infections (was tested for STDs and came back clean... no worries there!)

*Daily headaches that range from a dull ache to migranes that make my eyeballs hurt.

Something most people don't know about me is that I hate doctors. They make too much money by giving people prescriptions that are too expensive. I don't take pain medication unless I can not bear it any longer. Case in point, I went in for my appendicitis without taking anything but Gas-X thinking that it must have been gas. The girl that came in behind me had the same thing and was doubled over in pain after taking whatever she could to dull it. I was treated last of everyone in the emergency room and ended up being the one with an almost bursting appendicitis. Hers was barely inflamed. I didn't take any pain meds until after the surgery and only so I could walk because I was being rushed out of my room. So to say I have a high tolerance for pain might be an understatement but whatever the case.... this is what worries me.

I waited until the last minute for a severe condition to go to the ER to get checked out for something I thought was nothing more than a really bad stomach ache. I worry that I am doing the same thing now. Waiting until the last minute that could be something serious. The symptoms are somewhat manageable for me, but maybe I am just building up a tolerance for always being in pain and always being sick? Treating symptoms but not the cause?

What's bringing all this on is mostly the dizzy spells. They're getting worse. Sometimes I'll be driving and the whole world kind of turns to the right and then back to the left and then it's normal. Followed by a nasty case of nausea. I've noticed that my depth perception is way off. I'll go to put something down at work on what I think is the counter and then realize I have misjudged and almost drop it on the floor. I do this all the time. Sometimes I'll be sitting in bed and not moving and all of a sudden I'm dizzy. It's ridiculous. I know I can't keep on living like all of this is normal. Somewhere deep down I know you're not supposed to get pneumonia three times in one year and consider yourself a healthy person. But what kind of doctor would I go to? Without being treated like a hypochondriac? Because I'm not one. I'm not even scared by all of these things. The dizziness concerns me but I'm not really freaked out by any of it. I just toss it off as stress and maybe I just need a good back massage, where most people would be running to a doctor.

But what if my pride is getting me in trouble this time? What if there is something wrong and I'm just too stubborn to do anything about it? Questions that are immediately answered in my head: "You're fine, quit worrying about it."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day: My Funny Valentine

He gives me the giggles. He is the BEST cuddler. He lets me sleep in! He's REALLY cute. He's protective and man enough to know when he did something wrong. He waits until I eat to eat and never leaves me alone. He's friendly and loves all of my friends and my friends love him. He's kind of lazy but he prefers the term "laid back". He's SO smart! He greets me with a smile every time I walk in the door and would open all of my doors if he could. He gives good kisses and he loves me unconditionally. My Valentine.

My Hercules.

My dog. :)

But I'm starting to wonder if he's really a dog. He kind of um... pounces? Like a cat? And prances when he gets excited... sort of like a horse. He also really enjoys vegetables. Especially peppers because they squirt in his mouth which is absolutely the most hilarious thing to watch. Because afterward... he smiles and it almost looks like he's giggling. He loves to give hugs but refuses to learn the command for shake, we almost have high five down though. He can sit, stay, come, lay down, and knows what no means. He also knows if he looks you in the eye he has to obey which is becoming more and more prevalent when he doesn't feel like doing something.

This dog's personal ad would not include the following:
"enjoys long walks on the beach"
"working out is a priority of mine"
"my health is important so i eat 3 square meals per day and go light on the snacks"
"i hate naps"
"i don't like cats"
"affection is for the birds"

I love him like no one else in this world. He's been through a lot with me. We're best friends. My four-legged shadow, he follows me everywhere. When, on the very rare occasion, we go for a walk and he is off the leash he won't go more than 20 feet away from me and if he does he always looks back to make sure I'm following behind. He redefines loyal and if there were an IQ test for dogs he would score in the above average quadrant of the pie.

I couldn't ask for a better valentine. He can't give me a card or flowers or chocolate, because he would no doubt eat them all before he could deliver them to me. His gift is better than all of those things. The way he greets me at the door with his tail wagging in a giant circle. The sound of him eating or drinking water makes me giggle. His protection and unconditional love are more than I could ever ask. He's an amazing dog. The only thing that can make me smile on a good day gone terribly wrong.

All of these things are gifts. The best gifts that no money could ever buy.

I was truly blessed when this dog galloped into my life.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day: The Silver Box

My favorite holiday... Valentine's Day.

When I was a little girl, I used to love decorating my Valentine's Day box for school. Carefully cutting out the hole in the top where mean boys and nice boys alike would jam their cards into my perfectly decorated box. (get your MIND out of the gutter... this is a family story) I used to have so much fun writing out my valentines for my friends at school putting extra candy into my crush's envelope, of course. I even put aside my grudges on this day and gave the mean girls their undeserved candy hearts. Somehow I knew very young that love was a powerful thing.

As I grew up, my love for this day continued celebrating Valentine's Day with this boyfriend and that one too. Receiving flowers and chocolate, jewelry and other gifts. But it was never about that. I just loved the world on this day. People seemed more cheerful. Men marched out of card shops SO proud of themselves for choosing the perfect card for their loves and because I am hopelessly romantic from a young age, this made me swoon. I knew someday I would have someone that would be excited to run home to me with that perfect card and the ambition to make sure I had a perfect day. Even as a single woman, I love this day. It's romantic and happy and there's kind of a LOT of pink!

I'm not blind to the fact that I could tell people I love any other day why I love them so much but I like having a day completely dedicated to it. It's just FUN! Some people call it a Hallmark holiday but I'm pretty sure Hallmark wasn't around in the 1400s which is supposedly when the first valentines were sent. Some people think it's cool to hate Valentine's Day because they're single and they feel it's a great day to let the world know how much they hate this one day where love abounds... and then wonder why they're single. If you can't love, well, love, then how will you ever be able to fall into it?

So, today, on my favorite day... I share a piece of my heart with you in hopes that your view of the day of love will change.

When Fred died, a piece of my heart went with him but I still have the most precious gift... my memories. Here is one of my favorites...

When Fred moved to Las Vegas to pursue his career in the FBI he started a new tradition. Every Christmas I would receive a silver box with real silver and turquoise jewelry. He'll never know how much it meant to me, but every Christmas I would look for that box because I knew it would be there. It was like he was there, for that moment, and it was everything to me. So when he died that December I knew my silver box would not be under the tree. When my family went to Vegas a few days later for his funeral I was given what was to be my last silver box. To this day it is my most treasured possession, among all of his t-shirts and things that I have... this is what I would miss the most if it were lost. It's a silent reminder that he thought of me as much as I thought of him. He was my daddy for all intents and purposes and it's like having a piece of him with me always. I have never worn the jewelry in the box in the 12 years since he's been gone. I just can't bring myself to do it. But it's there and it's a gift I can reopen over and over again.

Little did I know, someone would restart the tradition a few years later. My high school sweetheart and first husband started giving me a silver box every Christmas. They were all special and so meaningful because in those boxes, Fred was able to live on in my memories. Now, so many years later, we are divorced and I have not received a silver box. Until this year....

I've shared this story with very few people. Only people who would "get it". When my roommate, who is also my best friend and as we've recently decided long lost sister, heard this story around Christmas time she began her search. She was bound and determined to find the perfect box. Of course, I had no idea. So as I'm lying here nauseous yesterday, feeling miserable from being sick, she calls. "You are going to LOVE your gift." In my head I was trying to figure out what kind of pink token she found because I L-O-V-E anything pink... So I started guessing all kinds of random things that could be found at Hallmark (which was my only clue). Then she pops out with "It's tiny." So I knew it wasn't a boy. I gave up guessing and went back to my tear-jerker Oprah episode and in she walks. "Okay. Are you ready?" I was, so I asked.. "What do you want me to do? Close my eyes?" She said "Hold out your hands and close your eyes." I did. And in plopped what felt like a price tag and a teeny little token. I was so confused. And then I opened my eyes...

And then I couldn't see because my eyes were flooding. It was the smallest most adorable little silver heart shaped box. The price tag was in fact NOT a price tag, but a card with an inscription that reads...

"May you find a love that's
affectionate and true
by someone special
who understands you.

With passion and joy
to fill your days
and a companion who
compliments all your ways."

I'm unsure whether or not she will ever know what this means to me. But this Valentine's Day, even though I am single, I am NOT alone. Because he is with me. After recently coming to grips with this whole being single thing, I am now more determined than ever to never give my heart away again. It is not a possession to be bought or a thieve's gold to be stolen... it's an award to be earned by the one who works the hardest, who "compliments all my ways", who loves me and not some girl he wants me to be. It's the lesson every great father wants their daughter to learn, it's what Fred would have wanted me to learn. So this Valentine's Day, I spent in memory of him with my favorite man... my dog. :)

Love isn't always about romantic grand gestures and a vase of flowers as they would have you believe... sometimes it's about the simple things. A small silver box that holds more memories and more emotion than it could ever hold if written. An inscription to finalize a decision of persistence. A friend who cared enough to make this day so filled with love for her friend who loves the day of love. But simple is sometimes also grand and today was grand.

Thank you Teresa for making this day one of love and happiness beyond measure. I couldn't have asked for a more meaningful gift. My Valentine's Day has been exactly what it should have been because you kinda sorta rock at being my friend.

to be continued....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

a side effect of single... nesting?

there must be some process of being single that i am unaware of. someone should warn you about the stages of one-ness. it's kind of like grieving.

phase 1. SINGLE AGAIN!!

newly single is fun. usually because you just subtracted some major loser asshole from your life and your friends are poring over you willing you to stop crying over said asshole. the drinking and dancing commences, you sing "i'm single again... back on the prowl..." at the top of your lungs and you meet your first rebound. so. much. fun.

and then he doesn't call and you replay the drinking hoe-down for a few months until you finally meet someone you actually *want* to call you back. and he doesn't.

phase 2. Eeyore

enter lonely. she's kind of a bitch. your friends have depleted their pick me up budgets and are now reduced to "wanna watch a movie with me and my boyfriend?" knowing you really don't want to but they feel guilty for leaving you alone. you eat a lot during this phase or not at all depending on your emotional eating habits. you date here and there resorting even to lame internet dating sites hoping "the one" happens to be on the site too. what you get in return are guys who are fat, short, ugly, mean, weird, scary or old. internet dating gets old so you move onto phase 3.

phase 3. Dating Other People's Friends (DANGER!!!)

blind dates and set-ups. this is the phase where you start getting picky. your friend says she knows a really great guy and instead of asking his name, you ask "what color car does he drive?" "how tall is he?" "does he have a job?" "does he have straight teeth?" "does he like college football?" you meet him. and then this scenario goes one of three ways... (one) he likes you, you like him, voila! a match. this is rare... moving on. (two) he likes you... you think he's repulsive. (three) you like him, he likes you, but he's not ready to commit, he just got out of a relationship, he doesn't have the financial stability for a relationship and other bullshit lines that actually mean "i thought you were hot and wanted to sleep with you, so i poured it on like ganache." your friend gets mad at him, he gets mad at your friend... just avoid this phase ok? if at all possible... don't date your best friend's boyfriend's best friend. ever. ever. ever. this phase sucks. mostly because you get your hopes up thinking your friends know you well enough to set you up with a great guy, but instead he fools everyone with that poker face and everyone ends up hurt in the end, including you. PLUS, you're still single and you get to move on to phase 4. (side note: neighbors are included in this phase because awkward cannot begin to describe the blasphemy of this type of relationship fallout. take it from me... don't go there. i know he's hot. but trust me... he's prettier to look at and wonder about than he is to get to know.)

phase 4. Suck Fest (enter year here) or Denial

i hate phase 4. phase 4 is boring. you don't date. you flirt. you have crushes like a 5th grade girl. you wear a lot of makeup and do your hair every day. you get asked out. but you turn them all down. you're like a giant tease in this phase. attracting men but you're so pissed you rebel. you convince yourself that being alone is so much easier then being in a couple. and then one day.. you break down.

phase 5. Green With Envy, Blue

sometime at the end of phase 4, you open your fucking eyes and see nothing but couples. and so phase 5 begins. oh, the rage!!! as the outsider you see how happy these people could be if they just... you get angry because they don't realize what they have. you get mad because your friends are engaged. people you knew from high school are getting married to each other and having babies. you are jealous. like. WOH. you want to be a we instead of a just me. you want this so bad that your jealousy becomes pain. this is usually the phase where you get over dating the assholes and start meeting the "nice" guys. the nice guys you get attached to quickly, start to really like and then something just isn't right and you stop dating. you even date guys that your friends like and THEY get disappointed when it doesn't work out. you take risks and date people out of your comfort zone. you get desperate. it's pathetic. eventually the jealousy subsides. you can hang around couples again. and you know you have entered phase 6.

phase 6. Nesting... And You Thought Only Preggos Did This!?

by this phase, you have weeded out the good, the bad, and the seriously ugly. you know what you want (sort of) but you are open to anything. not out of desperation, but out of curiosity. you are comfortable in your own skin. you feel content at home alone watching movies, reading books, and drinking wine. you also love hanging around your coupled friends that are no longer couples in your eyes, but just friends you can hang out with. you still want a relationship but you are more patient. you might date more than one person during this time. you might notice your friendships growing stronger because you are more concerned with yourself than with the obsession of singlehood. you want people who love you to be around because you miss the companionship. your work ethic improves. your health improves. you make important life changes. good things are happening everywhere you turn, and optimism is your middle name. true love is inevitable in this phase and only in this phase.

i am happily, finally, thank the lord jesus, in this phase. i'm no longer cynical or depressed. i am, however, turning into a living, breathing june fucking cleaver. i'm nesting, damn it. my roommate and i have jokingly coined me as "the wife". i cook, i clean, i wash laundry and fold it. if you know me... you know my laundry usually ends up in two piles... clean laundry basket and dirty laundry basket. i'm not a messy person, i just hate folding laundry. now try to stop me, and you might lose an arm or an eye... which ever is closest to the flicking towel i am currently folding. i just can't help myself. messes annoy me right now. i just want my world to be neat and tidy. i want the smell of freshly baked cookies and muffins wafting through the air and laundry detergent in my life. i want real food. i want my friends. i want real honest to goodness companionship. it's the strangest feeling. contentment like this a year ago seemed impossible. i felt like i would forever be damned to the depths of single hell.

the everyday stresses are still looming precariously in the background, but my patience for these things has drastically improved. i'm back to my old self. diving into books, brainstorming new ideas, laughing and cavorting around like a child without worry. church seems possible again. change of the positive variety is about to jump out and smack me in the forehead. sex isn't something i need to feel good about myself, but something i want to share with someone special. i just want the pleasure of it, not the self indulgent "i've still got it" feeling that it was before. i don't have to prove to myself or to anyone else that i am great. i just know it now. not in an egotistical way, but in a self confident, high self esteem way. i love who i am and i don't feel like i need to flaunt it to get attention anymore. i'm not going to lie to myself and say that i *love* being single, but single sure beats not knowing who i am and being with someone who doesn't love me. i still want all of the things i did before, but i'm not as impatient.

this nesting thing really has me thrown for a loop though. who knew? accepting single = june cleaver. huh.