Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tunnels Uphill Both Ways

I'm falling asleep at my keyboard. It's 2:12 in the afternoon and already it's dark out. Not really, but it feels like it. The chili was warm and the cheese melty. It's cool outside, but not quite cold and there isn't any snow. There isn't even any frost heave left. It melted. Maybe I should be glad about that, what with the climate change ice age that dropped on Buffalo, New York. I know those people are used to a lot of white weather, but eight feet of snow - that's just apocalyptic. Jesus, doesn't anyone else know where we're all headed when women are speaking of how the snow burst her front doors open and people had to dig tunnels so their dogs could poop. We're going to have to immigrate to Mexico to evade the cold. Won't that be a switch? What movie was that from? I know immigrating to Mexico to get out of the cold was in a movie, but I don't remember which one. Dennis Quaid.

Mike told me it was 'The Day After Tomorrow.' He remembers everything.

Will our weather continue to shift, to become more extreme? Will our children have a wildly different life that ours? Will they remember when, in stories for their children, they had to tunnel a mile in the snow to get to school and it was uphill, both ways?

I'm telling you.

By the way, they might need different tunnels for school than the ones they dig for their puppies. Just saying.

With even a tenth of the snow that Buffalo got, the folks here in the Pacific Northwest shut down schools, businesses, and roads. It's the hills, the inexperience, and the shortage of plows that does the job. In the meantime, it's dark and cozy here. Our cold weather broke and we finally had rain. The clouds fell out of the sky and laid down on the mountain ridges. I love when they do that. It gets dark so much earlier here than in the Midwest where I grew up and even though it's only late afternoon, I feel like snuggling down under four or five quilts. The only problem with this is that I don't actually sleep more. You'd think I would.

It's the life of an insomniac, using the TV and books for company while everyone else in the house is asleep. Actually, we have two insomniacs in our house, Mike and me both. You'd think that would end in cozy nights with each other and TV for company, but since we both work so hard not to wake the other and we wake at different times, we sneak into different rooms in a lame attempt not to wake the other and face the abyss of a long night that feels alone anyway. And then at 4:37 in the afternoon, I find myself falling asleep at my keyboard and feeling anxiety about people on the other coast.

Oh God, I was going to do something and now I can't remember what it was. 

Isn't it a bitch sometimes?

Thank you for listening, jules

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Walk of Shame

Today, I was walking on the trail with my friend, her dog, and my dog Teddy. We were having a good time, chatting, gossiping a little, looking up into the trees, and laughing at the dogs.

I hate when I'm having a perfectly good time with someone and gas creeps into my gut, changing the way I need to breathe to keep it from slipping out. It can change the timbre of a conversation, going from lightness and the nature of trees reaching for the sun to the way a particularly good looking man once refused to acknowledge my existence in a group conversation. It wasn't as though I wanted to sleep with the guy. I had just had an idea I thought the group might appreciate. This GQ type of guy, seemingly in charge, wouldn't even respond when I spoke, preferring instead to listen to the pretty woman in front of me or spouting his own better-looking ideas.

"People may not remember what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel." Carl W Buehner, 1971.

I had thought Maya Angelou said this, but I seem to have been wrong. That was what happened with this good-looking man and I have disliked him ever since. And, though the incident occurred a few years in the past, its stench hit me with fresh fervor.

And my gut began to hold a slight cramp as I tried to keep up with my friend on the trail. Open air could be my friend, I thought.

So, as I walked, I tried to let her take over the conversation for a bit so I could breathe a little more carefully and let a little gas go. I was grateful when she walked ahead of me.

Thinking I might be in the clear to let it slip quietly into the open air, I paused and let a little distance separate us. Silently, I let go a little of the pressure. Good. Silence is a virtue when it comes to unwanted gas. The breeze in my face was fresh, I then walked on more quickly, thinking I could outrun myself.

No such luck.

My friend paused to let her dog pee and I was forced to either come to an abrupt halt or slow down and still pass her by. I opted for looking sort of natural and passed her slowly.

Then, the breeze shifted and slapped me on the back, as if laughing at his own joke, and a waft of god-awful stench enveloped me. Being outdoors had not made it safe. I could not blame this on the dogs. I was forced to leave a neutral, if slightly awkward look on my face, and pretend that nothing had happened.

After that, even the conversation about how some good-looking guys can be seriously cruel, turned down a blind alley and we walked along in silence.

And I walked in shame.

Thank you for listening, jules

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sanctioned Nagging

I'm mad. I would tell you about the underhanded fat-shaming tactics used by my son's doctors, but I'm don't want to. What I intend to do is change doctors. I'm done with these people. I couldn't even stand to call them when Nick sprained his wrist because I knew they would make the whole session into a problem with his weight. The piss ants. Today, we arrived to get a shot, just a shot. Without my knowledge, the doctor scheduled a visit to 'check his blood pressure' and consult with her. The last few times his blood pressure has been high because he was nervous and was going to get a shot. Well, my blood pressure goes up when I'm scared and nervous too. They used that as an excuse to lecture us about his weight yet again. The last half dozen visits, no matter what they were intended to be about, a knee injury, a shot, a stomach ache, were focused primarily on his weight. Leave the poor kid alone, won't you?

Here's the thing that I shouldn't have to tell you. Nick doesn't drink soda. He doesn't even drink juice. He doesn't eat sugar except a small amount on Halloween and Easter. He eats salads every other day or so. He gets exercise nearly every day.  The poor kid has been struggling to eat healthy since he was in kindergarten. We took him to a nutritionist then and it became my job to nag him about his food. This woman had no children and wanted him to eat only salads, eggs, grilled chicken, and oatmeal made with flax seed oil. I couldn't even eat that shit. We quit with her and after a couple more years of nagging, these doctors convinced us to bring him to 'Wellness' sessions at Children's Hospital. The doctor there said, after six months of strenuous effort and no results, that he didn't keep track of his overall success, but that he had to admit that he didn't see improvement with most of his clients. In the meantime, another nutritionist had us at each others throats, blaming even Mike, for bad 'eating hygiene' even though he wasn't there to defend himself. When I realized that Nick was just feeling worse and worse about himself, I quit the program cold turkey. We could try to proceed with the recommendations we were given, but the nagging and finger-pointing had to stop. Still, Nick's primary doctors were still at it, weighing him at every turn and quizzing him about exercise and soda. The worst part is that these doctors have convinced me to nag him, to push him, and yes, to shame him into eating differently and getting more exercise.

One doctor rolled her eyes when I told her he didn't even drink soda. Plus, she made Nick, then only nine, feel really bad about himself. She was fired immediately after that appointment. The other doctors have been a little more subtle, but not much. Most of their consultations have consisted of coded conversations about his health, his exercise, and his blood pressure. It still left me feeling like I needed to nag and shame more rather than less. Well, shit. I'm sick of it.

Nick has been on steroids all his life for his asthma. Within two weeks of having pneumonia at the age of four, he's been on steroids almost constantly and sometimes oral as well as inhaled. He's had six bouts of pneumonia and countless other encounters with his asthma. The steroids have wrecked his metabolism. Oh sure, he could try to be perfect when it comes to carbohydrates and fat, but he does okay until he starts trying to eat the way his friends do. I'm convinced that he wouldn't be human if he tried any harder.

And after eight years of nagging sanctioned by his doctors, I'm finally convinced that nagging him, shaming him, and coercing him in any way is not helping. In fact, it has done more harm than good.

Thank you for listening, jules

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Voted

Well, I voted. I was too tired to run another load of dishes but I voted.

I was too lazy to walk the dog today but I voted.

I forgot to pick up the mail until I remembered that sometimes people along the road pick it up for themselves if I don't go out and get it. It was prematurely dark, cold, and pouring rain, but I walked out and got the mail.

And I voted.

It wasn't a glamorous election. No presidents were elected tonight. Sometimes I think more gets accomplished that specifically affects me in the local elections. Plus, when fewer people vote during these quieter elections, my vote has more power. There were some state representatives, some initiatives, and some judges. I voted to make class sizes smaller. I voted for Jay Rodne because he showed up at a Boy Scout event. He quietly talked to people and congratulated the Scouts who were participating that night. That's what it took to shift me toward his side - he showed up and he listened.

I'm not going to tell you anything else about the way I voted. It matters to me, but doesn't matter nearly as much to you except the fact that I voted. Tomorrow, my ballot will get postmarked and sent on it's way. It's a privilege and a responsibility at the same time, so I voted.

Did you?

Thank you for listening, jb