July 30, 2005

The Sling: Day Three

[Note: No, I don't plan to do this for every day I have to wear it, just until I, umm...have something else to say!]

So as mentioned below, today I went to the San Jose Grand Prix and I was in full arm-protection mode. Silly as it may sound, I grabbed one of those little freebie fans on giant popsicle sticks and whenever I got into a crowd situation, I would hold it out in front of my sling like the flimsiest of shields. It either got peoples' attention because it was unusual, or it served to brush against people before they bumped me and they moved aside enough to avoid it...and thus me. It actually worked, and I had a convenient fan to wave around when it was needed.

But my little moment of ingenuity couldn't overcome one force: my own instinctive reaction. When I finally got near the track for the first time and a car went by at full speed, it produced a gust of wind that lifted up some leaves and debris from the area between me and the track, and it blew something right up into my face. And I reacted without thinking - I lifted my hands, both my hands, to protect my eyes. That move was an eye-opener, and I couldn't speak for a few minutes afterward for gasping with pain.

The day went by without additional incident, and suddenly it was time for dinner. (How's that for a transition?) I decided to try a new restaurant I'd read about in the local paper called Rio Adobe. It's a Southwestern/Mexican kind of place with a simple menu and, as it turns out, really good food. A friend went with me and we both chose burritos, mine a delicious concoction of plump, delicious, lime-marinated shrimp, tomatoes and rice. I took a few stabs at cutting it and eating it that way, but I soon tired of the cutting part and did what I often do when the tortilla part isn't working for me (usually when it tastes like cardboard, or is too thick or not cooked enough -- not the case here, it was completely a matter of circumstance), I dumped out the filling, scooped out the good stuff, and started mixing it up with the yummy black beans on the side.

As I'm in the process of slowly doing this one-handed, I overhear the pompous guy at the next table comment to the woman with him, "Oh, that's why I never order burritos, they just stuff them with rice to fill them up." I rolled my eyes but I didn't look over because if he had nothing better to do than make observations while watching me casually take the filling out of my burrito, it was his problem not mine.

But wait, there's more. He crosses his arms superciliously and goes on to query, "Do you know what burritos remind me of?" Now, my mind drifted in a totally different direction for a moment here because of my theory on how burritos got their name, so I didn't hear what the brain trust with him said, but it wasn't the "right" answer. He pauses for effect and announces: "Haggis." There is silence from the chick while she digests this (so to speak), but I drop my hand and fork to my plate and turn to gape at him with astonishment and disgust because this is MY dinner he's talking about. Turnabout is fair play, however, and he ignores me while he goes on to ask her, "Do you know what haggis is?" (If you don't know, go visit Keeme.) Of course she doesn't, so he starts to explain while I tune him out and go back to getting my very non-haggis-like meal ready for me to eat more easily.

When what I really wanted to do was throw the remaining guacamole at him, call him a sanctimonious prick and tell him to keep his eyes on his own damned table.

But the guacamole was really good and that would have been a waste.

July 29, 2005

The Sling: Day Two

Today was all about adapting and figuring things out. Exactly how far can I push the arm to give me some mobility before that snap of pain lets me know "too far"? How do I deal with a head of hair by myself? Which kinds of shirts work best with a sling wrapped around my neck?

Lessons learned:

1. Don't jostle me. Out in public, I find myself feeling a great deal of fear of someone bumping against my arm. That's when I'm glad that the sling isn't transparent. But I know it's only a matter of time. People are so oblivious so much of the time, and add to that how half the population can't seem to go anywhere without a cell phone pressed up against their ear, and eventually it's going to happen. And I'm going to scream. Loudly. Not because I want to, but because I won't be able to help it; it just hurts that much. I bumped my arm against the wall of the shower this morning and I involuntarily let out a scream that hurt my own eardrums.

Saturday and Sunday I'm off to attend the San Jose Grand Prix, so we'll see how it goes in an actual crowd. Please think nice thoughts about invisible force fields and a sudden epidemic of mental awareness on the part of my fellow citizens.

2. Eating is a chore. Goodness knows I enjoy food and it's rare that I don't look forward to a meal, but it's difficult to find things that are easy for me to eat when eating out. Sandwiches seem like an obvious choice, but pick it up one-handed and a lot of the filling falls out. And you can only have so many sandwiches. If I pick something that requires cutting, I'm going to be the last one at the table because it's a slooooow process. The upside is that eating slower = eating less and that's generally a good thing.

3. Hand over the pain meds every 4-6 hours and no one gets hurt. I've always been an Advil girl because it's the most effective at dealing with my frequent headaches. (Well, second-most effective, but Orudis KT has become so difficult for me to find that I was using it for only the worst ones 'til I ran out.) But now I worship at the altar of Tylenol. I take the Vicodin (which, as you probably know, has the same base ingredient as Tylenol) only at night because it makes me so sleepy and I have get myself around during the day, and the "regular" Extra Strength pills seem to do the trick the rest of the time, so long as I take them on schedule. I'd become a fan of the Rapid Relief kind but, well, I ran out of those, too.

So be nice to the next person you see strapped into a sling, and don't get between him/her and the drugstore, okay?

July 28, 2005

The Sling: Day One

I see that I neglected to mention that my left arm is in a sling, though you may have already assumed that. Well, I wish like hell that they had invented an invisible one because apparently seeing one sparks a Pavlovian response in people. "Maura! What haaaapened?"

This is followed by the Pit-Bullian response, wherein they aren't satisfied with the answer "I fractured my shoulder," (or, to break the monotony, "I broke my shoulder" -- couldn't decide which sounded less bad, so I alternated) or the answer to the inevitable follow-up question, "How?" which was "I fell." One person asked "Where?" and I don't think he was pleased by my answer of "On the ground."

Oh, no, they want the gory details or, as I think of it, the NOY(F)B details. So they start guessing. I got "Did you get into a fight?" (Seriously. Got that one twice.) "Did someone push you?" "Rock climbing?" "Did you fall down some stairs?" "A little too much [insert hand motion indicating drinking]...?" Sheesh.

I know they mean well and it's their way of expressing concern, but I also think they'd know by now that I'm only going to tell them as much as I want to tell them, and that they more they pry, the more I'm only going to stymie them. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that I can be contrary, and I especially get that way when I feel pushed. To me, prying = pushing.

But I got through the day, with only one invite to arm wrestle, and aside from all the questions the hardest part was working on the computer. Being on the keyboard so much, I've become a speedy typist, and being limited to only one hand was (and is) making me nuts. My hands work in concert like fine instruments so automatically that it is a huge effort to keep my left one from reaching up to play its part. And my right hand isn't exactly enjoying being a suddenly solo act.

Finally I took one of those squeeze balls, which the doctor had encouraged me to use once in a while so the arm doesn't get too weak, and just kept it clutched in my left hand so it couldn't touch the keys. But damned if I didn't look up once in a while and find it sitting on the desk, with no memory of having placed it there, and my left index finger manning the Shift button! Sneaky damned impulses.

Well, Mr. Vicodin is telling me that it's time to get some sleep, so I'll bid you goodnight. This weekend is the San Jose Grand Prix, some of which I'll be attending, so hopefully I'll have some interesting observations to share from there.

That is, if being shoulder-to-shoulder with a couple thousand people while nursing a broken shoulder doesn't prove to be a bad combination.

July 27, 2005

When I fall, I fall hard

Alas, it is not love to which I refer in this case. No, I mean literally.

Last night I took a tumble and (long story short) I fractured my shoulder. For at least the next two weeks, I can't use my left arm worth a damn. Thankfully, I am right-handed so I can type, albeit slowly. But, as I am discovering, there are a whole lot of things you really need two arms to accomplish. Getting ready in the mornings is going to be...interesting.

So, if posts are short for a little while, that's probably why. Doesn't mean I can't read all the comments you can throw at me, however!

July 20, 2005

Ticket for one on the road to Hell

Boy, best-laid plans and good intentions and all that, and no post after all. Not that anyone really seemed to notice. (Aside to those of you contemplating a blog hiatus: Be careful what you wish for.)

Yesterday I got home from work to find in the snail mail that I had won tickets to an advance screening of "The Bad News Bears." If you know me, you know that if there's something to be won, I'm a'gonna be entering. So yippee, yay, I won and all that, but the screening was last night. Advance screening? Yes. Advance notice? No.

There went the plans for the evening, because I did want to see the movie and see how well they did re-making it, as it is one I remember with a great deal of fondness from my youth. And, hey, it was free. No one else was available to go with, so off I raced back along the way I'd gone home, as the theater it was at is about five minutes away from work. Grrr.

Then, because I hadn't had enough sports for the evening, I went to cheer the softball team The Best Brother in the Whole Wide World plays on for their 10:10 game. That's right, the geniuses behind the scheduling have games that start after 10pm during the workweek. I would respectfully submit that they might want to re-think that, especially if the performance of their ump was anything to go by. But I digress.

By the time I got home, it was already what many of you (Rita) would consider late. But there was reality TV to watch and I really wanted to see what had happened on two shows in particular.

So, yes, I guess the upshot is that I stood you up for crap TV. I suppose I should feel bad about that, and maybe my fatigue during the day wasn't punishment enough, but damn, I did enjoy the entire evening.

Would now be a bad time to mention that I have also started watching "Rock Star: INXS," which is on three times a week? (My punishment for that is having "New Sensation" running on a continuous loop in my head whenever I'm not actively thinking about something. You try hearing "Live, baby, live/Now that the day is over" as sung by someone who ended up killing himself and see how much you like it after the first few dozen times.) Not all of the music is to my liking, but I'm hooked. (Aside to Mark Burnett: If you decide to do a reality show along the lines of "Paralegal by day, Blogger by night," please look me up. You make just about anything interesting.)

July 18, 2005


There are three entities responsible for the lack of a "real" post tonight:

1. Target
2. TiVo
3. GSN

Target - Man, do I love that store. I go in there and it's like a theme park for a thrill-shopper. By that I mean there was very little I actually needed, but I spent waaaay too much time in there anyway, walking around, checking things out, comparing prices and picking up nifty little things to buy. Like the really cool "silicone-coated lightbulb" that is now illuminating my room in a slightly eerie purple glow. Necessary? No, but it's the first time silicone has ever made me smile.

TiVo - Oh, I've gone on about this before so I won't elaborate, but there were so many goodies on it dying for me to watch them, and I couldn't say no. Case in point? See #3.

GSN - It's really all their fault. They've started showing The Amazing Race from season one, which I missed completely the first time around, and they have a "new" episode on every night. That makes for a bit of backlog with a one-hour show. And they're going to show all seven seasons. I guess that could count as a warning. Maybe I need a TiVo with a bigger hard drive...

Anyway, since I actually did have something to write about tonight, maybe tomorrow night's post will spill from my fingers like a waterfall of wonderment. Yeah, right.

July 15, 2005

Not Afraid

Do you remember Sorry Everybody, the site that caused a post-election stir with members of the "other" half of America apologizing for Bush's re-election? I know I felt a lot better knowing that many, many other people felt the same way I did and I checked out a lot of the submissions.

Well, inspired by that, post-7/7 we now have We're Not Afraid. It's a similar collection of message-laden photos and images, letting the world know that we are not afraid of terrorist attacks. Some are a little silly, some are cute, some are simple but effective, some are sweet, and some are inspirational.

This one I find particularly compelling. It doesn't tell you on the site, but the guy in it survived one of the subway attacks.

Will it change anything? No, likely not. But if it makes people feel better to express themselves in reaction to something so devastating, I say go for it. I'm a big believer in not letting fear rule you as a result of these kinds of attacks. I was supposed to get on a plane a handful of days after 9/11 and if they had let any flights leave by that time, I would have. I truly believe that our fear gives "them" the power, and I'm not willing to contribute to that.

To the right you'll see (hopefully!) a button they have available, which I have linked to the site. It will move down to the Bloggy Misc. area in a few days, in case you want to visit in the future. And if anyone has, or decides to, submit a picture, please let us know where in the gallery it ends up.

July 13, 2005

It's a Summer of Secrets!

I feel so guilty. Ever since the end of the last Amazing Race (a.k.a. the start of my sabbatical), I have neglected one of my favorite sites, TVgasm.

I don't watch any of the shows they were still covering after that point and, like so many blogs that I haven't been visiting like I used to, I let them fall a bit by the wayside.

But, oh, baby, they're back and better than ever! Yes, Big Brother has begun its sixth incarnation and the 'gasm recaps are hitting their stride. For Big Brother 6, CBS has abandoned any pretense of including "regular" people, like any who are older, or freakish, or who don't look killer in a swimsuit. (Don't believe me? Click on that last link and check out the cast photos at the top. Then wait for just a minute as the main photos rotate through 'til you get to the one with the huge title "How We Love Howie," and I think you'll see what we're dealing with this time around.) This year's theme is "Summer of Secrets" and you can bet they're going to beat that one into the ground. There are secret alliances, secret rooms, secret safes, secret videosscreens and (no doubt) Secret deodorant as a potential sponsor of a secret sweepstakes.

And, as if that weren't enough, there's a new feature on CBS's site for the show. Former houseguests are blogging about their experiences and observations on this season. Not sure how it qualifies as "Revenge of the Houseguests," but it's somewhat interesting.

But honestly, for every bit of eye-rolling goofiness on (or simply about) the show, there's a treasure-trove of gems about each moment in the recaps. Plus, there's always the Chenbot; there's a wonderfully Chenerific montage up right now. Having TVgasm's recaps truly makes watching the show so much more fun. Hope you'll tune in soon and then stop by to see how B-Side will crack you up with the best screen captures and commentary this side of...well...anywhere.

July 12, 2005

Piece of cake

Ah, inspiration, sweet inspiration. So elusive and so ephemeral, here one minute and gone the next. And, contrary to Liberty Bob's prediction, it wasn't someone pissing me off that finally gave me some inspiration. No, it was a Twinkie. Well, sort of.

It started with a purple cupcake, actually. In connection with the upcoming "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" movie, Hostess came out with Chocolicious Wonka Cakes, which they claim are "purplicious." How exactly was I supposed to resist that, can you tell me? Right, I couldn't.

So, one recent evening at our local 7-11, The Best Brother in the Whole Wide World generously sprang for a package of these violet wonders when I mentioned that I looked forward to trying them. I got them home and held off for as long as I could, but they were calling to me from the bag. I thought I heard them say, "Don't touch that squirrel's nuts!" but I could have been imagining that part.

Anyway, I finally unwrapped them with delight, took one out and admired the strange hue of the icing on top, which we all know is always the best part of Hostess cupcakes. At long last, it was time for that first bite. I made sure I took a big enough bite in order to reach into the cream center, to get the full flavor and experience.

And it was awful. All I could taste was the icky fakeness of the food coloring they'd used. I dipped my tongue into the center just to see if it was as bad as it seemed, and it was. Then I peeled off a bit of the top icing to check if it was as dull and lacking sweetness as I thought, and it was. I couldn't even enjoy the chocolate cake part. What a disappointment. I felt so let down by the promise of the purple. It was a sad moment.

Then today a banner ad caught my eye, which is a fairly unusual thing. Generally I ignore them almost completely, but this one finally pulled my eye upward enough times that I had to read it. It was for none other than the Wonka cakes, and even knowing that I hated them, it drew me in and I clicked on it just to make the orange curlicues stop rolling across my screen.

It took me to the Hostess site and I was completely sucked in. Did you know there are recipies for Twinkies?!? I think I would feel a mite cheated if someone actually served me a Twinkie wedding cake, but apparently not everyone feels that way. And how about some Twinkie sushi? I am seriously tempted to whip those up next time it's my turn to bring goodies in to work and see what the reaction is. Or the pink Sno Balls Caterpillar? (Does anyone else wonder why they displayed this one on what looks to be an actual bit of asphalt?)

But then it got even better, as I stumbled onto Planet Twinkie and my, oh my, talk about reliving one's childhood! You can send e-cards with the different Hostess cakes "retro characters" like Captain Cupcake, King Ding Dong, or Twinkie the Kid, play games, learn weird stuff about Hostess products, and even buy products like the Hostess Snack Oven, which has a much higher cuteness factor than a plain ol' Easy Bake oven.

All this had me wishing that I snagged a snack from the cupboard at home before I left for work, and I'm planning a trip to the nearby Hostess outlet to calm this sudden craving.

Which begs the question: Which, if any, is your favorite Hostess snack cake? If you're more a Little Debbie fan or Drake's Cakes afficionado, please substitute your favorite of those. I'll enjoy reviewing your answers over a couple Ho-Hos and a tall, cold glass of milk.

July 11, 2005

Rusty swing

For the last few days I've been saying to myself, "Tonight I'm going to post about...something." But something hasn't been working out.

I'm still getting settled back into work; the transition has been less painful than I had anticipated. But I'm not yet into the swing of "work, eat, blog, sleep" yet, so I have to ask for your continued indulgence.

I'm getting there, but I'm not there just yet.

July 05, 2005

A moment of silence

Please join me, if you would be so kind, in a brief period of mourning. My sabbatical is over. Kaput. Tomorrow it's back to the office for me. Grieving is expected to last for the remainder of the week.

Those of you who have been grumbling about my good fortune can now go back to grumbling about other things.

Thank you, that is all.