04 October 2008

The debates, a little late

One of my dear readers (hi, Cyndi!) actually took the time to email me because she just KNEW I had a Vice Presidential Debate wrap-up in me and she noticed that I had not written it.

I went over to Santa Clarita to watch the debates at Queen of Spain's house with about 20 other people, many of them bloggers. Yes, I drove an hour to spend watch 90 minutes of debates, which seems nutty but these are mah peeple!

People who aren't addicted don't understand the pleasure that comes from hanging out with people who don't make a fuss when you twitter or post or put up a photo or an Utterz or whatever it is you simply must do right that moment in cyberspace.

So. Onto the debate, about which I have only ONE comment: While the rest of the world was sighing over Joe Biden's choking up about his family's tragic accident, I was busy having the debate completely reframed in my mind.

That one moment snapped everything back into reality for me.

Because, you see, a few days ago, I had heard Joe Biden on the radio talking with a reporter about how he had done the EXACT same thing at a campaign rally. He told the reporter how embarrassed he was and how he wouldn't go there again.

But he did, he did go there again AFTER he said he wouldn't. He went there because he knew the moment worked, that it connected with people. Seeing that reminded me of one thing: all these people are doing is trying to get elected, and they are using all the tools in their political toolboxes to do it.

There is no reality there. Or if there is, it is about as "real" as the fourth season of "Bret Michaels: Rock of Love."

It reminds me of when I was a reporter. I did what I had to to get the story. I used all my super Spidey senses to try and determine what would get people to spill the good stuff. If they needed concern, I gave them deep, furrowed-brow concern. If they wanted to show me their prized orchid collection before they showed me the documents I really wanted, by God, I exclaimed over their paphiopedalums like I had never seen a flower before.

I was not actually concerned. I was professionally concerned for as long as it took me to get the story. Yeah, people's stories touched my heart sometimes, but I couldn't let them touch me too much because those weren't my stories to live. They were just my stories to tell and move on. I knew I was using people - and often they were using me to get the word out about something that was important to them.

Sometimes it was a little sickening, but I did it in the service of a good story. I was doing my job. And that's all Sarah and Joe are doing.

All is fair in love and politics. If your wife and child are dead, drag it out and wave it around. If you have a Down Syndrome baby, bring him out in a building full of lights and screaming people.

I do think that Biden and Obama, by not stooping to truly sleazy tactics like McCain's ad lying about Obama wanting sex education for kindergarteners are behaving better than the McPalin team. But neither side is impeccable - see www.factcheck.org for an impartial analysis.

These are politicians, people, doing their job, and their job is to get elected. That is the one thing, the only thing, we can be sure of. Sorry to be so cynical.

I'll let my man Chuck D say it:

01 October 2008

Two helpful hints about pain

When I was about 35, I experienced an episode horrific pain due to the combination of a herniated disk and an unresponsive HMO.

When I say "horrific pain," I mean the kind of pain where you can't think of anything else. You can't function in any normal way. I did not drive more than a mile for six months. I did not sit down at work for six months (I stood up ALL DAY and lay on the floor to eat lunch). I did not leave my county for a year.

I herniated my disk while tying my shoes, which is pretty stupid, no? If I would have been thinking straight, I would have lied to everyone and said I was snowboarding or windsurfing, because "I was tying my shoes" sounds SO lame.

After six months, the HMO approved surgery, hallelujah, and in a few hours, I was fixed.

So here's my advice for when you are in horrible pain:

Do not close your eyes. Much of your brain power is used up by vision. Shutting your eyes will just give your brain more space to devote to PAIN! I use this when getting blood drawn, getting shots or having IVs inserted...look away, but look at something.

Do not project into the future. Examining my thoughts closely, I found that a lot of my pain came from imagining a future where I couldn't function correctly - "OMG I won't be able to work! I won't be able to walk more than a few feet! What am I going to DOOOOOOO!" Learning to just deal moment by moment and not freaking out over the future was so helpful.


See how I am? One day it is nail polish hints, and the next it is dealing with crushing pain. Count on the Red Stapler for ALL your life advice!

30 September 2008

Help for the hapless

Unpaid Product Review Time:

Odd fact: I paint my toenails but not my fingers. When I do my toes it doesn't bother me, but when I put fingernail polish on it feels like OMG MY NAILS CAN'T BREATHE. Weird, I know.

Not-so-odd fact: I have the hand-eye coordination of a four-year-old after two veinte frappucinos. When I do my nails, I often end up with more nail polish around me than on me.

Enter Nic's Sticks:

Why didn't someone think of this before? A nail polish PEN. It is just a little brush at the end of a pen-shaped dispenser, but having a big ol' magic marker-sized thing to grip makes all the difference.

This is OPI polish, but I think it is thinned a bit so it flows through the pen. One coat will do in a pinch, but you will need two to get really nice coverage.

Great for touch-ups, too. I got mine for $6.64 at Target. The color shown is Carpool Mama. Love those OPI names!

Suebob says thumbs up.

Bring on the fourth quarter

Dad has an ulcer in his cornea and an eye infection. I'm not sure what the prognosis is, but I'm too smart to Google it. Not "I'm so smart I don't have to look things up," but "I'm smart enough that I know that the internet is full of medical advice that will Freak Me the Hell Out," so I'm holding off.

He has to go to the doctor daily for a while and take eye drops every half hour. It helps keep his mind off of the financial bailout, so that's ONE good thing.

I feel for him, though. I can only imagine how terrifying it is to be blind and to have a wife who needs so much help. Not that he would ever admit that...

I don't know what it is going to mean for my life and how things get done around here, but some changes will have to take place.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks for all your support.


After all the comments on my post about my continuing grief over the death of my sister, I may launch a t-shirt line. One would say "Yes, I am STILL grieving. What's it to you?" and the other "Still not over it! But thanks for asking!"

The problem is that you would have to wear them all the time to ward off questioners, and it would get boring after a while. Perhaps I could do them in different colors and styles?

Or make them in threat level colors like that terrorist chart? Green for the days when it is fine to mention their name, yellow meaning "Have kleenex at hand," orange for silent hugs and chocolate, and red for Full Lockdown sob-your-eyes-bloodshot mode.


Go out there and kick ass (in a happy fun way). The world needs it!

28 September 2008

That was the day that was

If you haven't done this yet, please go and do it (no registration required - just ONE CLICK!): This man, a former firefighter needs help.

Please click on the link above and click "like it" next to the number of votes so that he can win a $5000 tech makeover to get some adaptive technology that will help him use the computer. I don't know him but I would love to see him get the help he needs.

And pass it on! Thanks.


No grocery shopping with Dad today. I got to the folks' house and trouble was in the air.

Dad was so upset he wasn't speaking to anyone. I got there and he immediately went over and began poking at buttons on the phone.

"What's up?" I asked Mom.

"He can't see," she whispered. "He's trying to get in touch with the doctor."

I could have told him that the doctor was not going to be in on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. , but he was already upset enough.

Dad is a veteran of five eye operations. It began in 1983 when he tore a retina and because we were on vacation 500 miles from home, opted not to tell anyone for four days while he piloted a 30 foot RV carrying his wife, two daughters and a baby granddaughter down country roads, peering out of just one eye.

(People, when your retina tears, time is of the essence. So if a dark curtain ever descends over one eye or part of one eye, head for the eye doc or ER. Do NOT continue camping).

At 90, he has one "good" eye (not very good) and one "bad" eye (f***ing blind) and when he awoke today, the good eye wasn't working.

After much prying and prodding and roundabout answering, the truth came out: he hadn't been using his eye drops since he ran out and was waiting for the to come in the mail. He could have gotten some from the local pharmacy but he had told them to shove it when their prices were higher than the mail-order and he couldn't understand why.

So, without the necessary meds, his body began trying to kick out one of his corneal implants.

(Insert sounds of screaming here).

$115, an hour at the pharmacy and a long, convoluted phone call to an on-call eye doctor (I got on and had to try to pry information out of him while talking to her - "Dad, when was your last eye operation?" "Oh, damn it, I can't remember..."), we had three prescriptions and his promise to see his regular eye doc asap Monday.

This aging parent stuff is scary, people. I am not quite sure I will survive. I mean, you hear phrases like "the problems of the elderly," and it sounds like Charlie Brown adult language - wah WAH wah wah" but then it is there right in your face - ailments, dementia, memory problems, Medicare, pharmacy benefits that are too complicated to understand - it all adds up to one big, scary mess.

Remind me to drive off a cliff when I turn 70. Ha ha! Just joking! Not.


I got home after church and made a cup of coffee. A while later, I began to notice a funny smell in the kitchen.

I walked in and the 1946 O'Keefe and Merritt gas stove seemed hot. None of the burners were on, not the oven, nor the griddle, not the warming oven were on. Dang, that is one complicated stove.

I vacuumed a little and went back in to get my coffee. Still smelly. Still hot.

I took the top off the stove and was greeted by a scary sight - fire where there should not be fire. The main gas line had a hole in it and a flame about 3 inches long was shooting out of the hole.

Ummmmmm....I pulled the stove out and found 3 years worth of fuzzy dog kibble and spiderwebs. I shut the gas off and called the landlord.

He can't fix it until tomorrow, so no cooking for me. Anyone want to go out for breakfast?

That was my day. It was redeemed by a dog walk on the beach and Vietnamese vegetarian food at the tiki bar with my friends for dinner. How was yours?
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