Thursday, July 31, 2008

Am I a Luddite? Crap.

Ever since I first had access to a computer I was enthralled. Now granted that first access was somewhere in the dark ages of the early 1980s ... yes kids, we had to walk 5 miles to school through blizzards with no shoes and if we were lucky we had a hat... we were never lucky. Back then, when I was in college and took my first INTRO TO COMPUTERS class it was a brave new world of magic! It was about learning a new language (yes, I used to be fluent in No hablo. Damn you Windows... damn you.) It was about being in a room with machines that looked as if they had been pulled from a Sci-Fi movie set. COLOSSUS is that YOU? It was about HUGE air-conditioning units necessary to make sure the 'main frame' didn't overheat. It was about Diablo dot matrix printers - ooooooh so fast and you only had to pull off the perforated strips to get rid of the feeder holes that ran along both sides of the streams of paper. And the type didn't look that bad, really. They were about word processing huge documents that you didn't have to re-type and re-type if there were errors the way you did on a typewriter. Computers were about codes and breaking into people's accounts. Email, not really a big thing. Internet? What the net? But about those accounts . . .

I was in college. The computer folks all had accounts, where teachers (at least the computer teachers) stored their exams and such. I'm not going to go into details, but let's just say I had seen War Games and movies of its ilk a few too many times and figuring out people's passwords was not something that required Kreskin-like (sorry kids, let's use a more up-to-date reference Criss Angel-like) ability to figure people out. I passed computers, okay? Let's not pry into the hows and whys.

But right now I'm feeling a little nostalgic for the days before these wonderful monsters became the giant part of our lives that they are today. Don't get me wrong: I love the hell outta these things. I use the computer for so much it is almost scary. Almost. And I am consistently stunned when I hear people my own age (or younger!) saying things like "I just don't get how to use them" "I'm too old to figure computers out" and other such nonsense. Computers are so seriously stupid-resistant nowadays that it's just shocking that anyone would have trouble using them. And if you are having trouble, all you need to do is take a little time and you can work it out. I'm no computer genius, I'm math-challenged, and yet I have reinstalled 3 hard-drives and two cd/dvd drives on my own as well as multiple reformattings and repartitioning of said drives (Gate Way... don't ask). So if I can do it... well, you know the rest.

So when I start feeling nostalgic for the old days I know it's not a matter of frustration with how the world works today. 'Cos I kinda love it the way it is. Can't lie. I loves me some internet.

My nostalgia here is for the old library. The way the library used to be, specifically: I MISS THE CARD CATALOGUE!

If I could only have things one way: card catalogue or library-wide internet access, clearly I would have to choose the latter. But I so very much miss flipping through endless drawers of 3x5 cards filled with nothing but typed names, titles, topics and call numbers. I miss that feeling of being a thief when I'd take a whole drawer out and sit at a table with it - effectively keeping the location of everything listed in that drawer to myself. For those minutes every book that corresponded to a card in that drawer belonged to me and me alone. Okay, yeah, I needed a life ... let's face it, still do. BUT there was something about finding an intriguing title, or a book that sounded like something that would help with whatever you were researching... I was always researching something. God... What a geek.... oh yeah... still am... and then hunting it down on the shelves. Oooooh just call me Vasco da Gama! Okay no, don't call me that... Joy's okay. Let's stick with that for now. But you know what I mean! Discovery! Wheeee!

Of course now that libraries are computerized the card catalogues are no more. And of course it's infinitely more efficient to look it up on the computer and have it reserved for you. Unless you aren't really sure of the title, or the author's name. But you can usually find that with a little library googling, so no big. But what you do miss by not having that tactile little drawer of cards is the discovery-factor. That "ooooh what's this then" feeling of spotting a title you've never heard of, or just having a 'feeling' that this might be something you want to read. Sure you get that going through the stacks, but that's also based on a level of marketing. Pretty colors or fonts that catch our attention from the spines of books. With the card catalogue you had no such deceptions. It was all in the name. All in the cards, if you will.

So am I a Luddite? Do I wish we only the old days? No. Not a chance.

Do I wish we had a little of the old days available. Oh yeah. I really do.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Haven't we all been here?

I have so much stuff I should be doing right now, and yet here I am pulling clips from Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog to share. Know why? Because I can. Know why I can? ...Um... Yeah, me neither. But I can - so there!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

It may seem odd to be writing about New Year's Resolutions at the end of July, but I am pretty excited about this year's 'resolution'. In January I decided what I wanted to do was to very simply be able to run one-half mile, without stopping, without hurting my knee. Since then I have been running a minimum of three times a week - with months off for anemia and knee ouchiness.

For the last 7 weeks I have been following the Couch Potato to 5 K running plan, which is an 9 week program designed to take even the most novice runner into a smooth 30 minute 3 mile run. I have attempted this very effective and rational running program three times in the past and each time I have lost patience and overextended myself causing my knee to screw up and putting me on the special 'no running Joy' program for months. This time I held myself in check. I've followed the program diligently and with only overextending the teeniest little bit - but only in the last few weeks as I've felt stronger and stronger.

Just before I was diagnosed with anemia I had gone through the fourth week of the plan for FOUR weeks and simply could not complete it. It was demoralizing as hell. I was grateful to find out it was not that I'm just a big pussy, but that I really was lacking in oxygen which would have made running pretty damned impossible for anyone. You kinda need the air for the running. It's a thing.

So here I am on my last day of week 6. According to the plan we should be running 25 minutes or approximately 2.25 miles. It did not occur to me until today to note just how long it took me to do my 'resolution' 1/2 mile -- and to see if I in fact walked any of that distance. Well hola amigos! I am actually running non-stop for 2.95 miles! I am doing a slow, but steady and non-injurious 1/2 mile in 6.25 minutes. Not a racing pace by any means, but I'm not looking to race (yet). I just want to be able to DO it consistently. To be able to keep moving, at any sort of pace, for an extended time to cover a decent distance and NOT hurt my knee.

And I've done it!

I'm actually kind of delighted. It's funny that I set this small, but I hoped, achievable goal for the year and have not only met it but exceeded it and I wasn't even paying attention! I was just so happy to be able to run - especially after the exhaustion I was going through with the anemia - that no goals were of any consequence. Other than the simplest goal of just being able to keep moving and not ending up in bed for the rest of the day... and night... and day after.

I've always been a big all or nothing type. Moderation, not my thing. The trouble with that all or nothing mentality is that if you don't hit the 'all' you end up with nothing at all. And that can be disheartening, to put it mildly. This time, because I had been halted in my attempts to run by an illness I could not control, I accepted less than 'all' because I could not bear to accept 'nothing'. I wanted to run - and I stopped worrying about my own competitive (with myself here) nature. So I ran, and ran, and ran and stuck to the program and didn't try to push myself too hard (just a little) and I ended up actually doing more than I had originally hoped! I think that's a pretty good lesson for me to learn. I'm sure there are a lot of people just like me out there - the all or nothing types - I don't know that anyone could tell us 'slow and steady' and we'd believe it. I think it's one of those life lessons you just need to learn first hand. Maybe it takes an illness. . . maybe it doesn't. All I know is I can run a half mile, non-stop, and my knee feels TERRIFIC.

Now to work on speeding things up.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Slow and steady. I got it, I got it!!!

p.s. haven't had a cigarette in four months. Somebody high-five me already!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Call me!

I had what I like to refer to as a 'date' Tuesday morning. Hey, morning dates happen. I hear. Oh shush.

It was sort of a blind date actually. It's not typical to know, with perfect certainty, how a blind date will go, but I knew exactly how this one would turn out.

Oh all right. It wasn't a date so much as a sonogram. But you know, I like to see a silver lining if possible. And those of you who've known me through my black years know that of all the oddities I've written that last sentence is probably the oddest. Who am I again?

Don't worry, I'll sound a lot more familiar as you read on... if you read on that is.

As I've mentioned I've been hit with some bad-assed anemia of late. Caused by having some... oh, let's just put it out there and call it what it is: girly plumbing problems. Isn't that the medical term? Of course it is. (I know my friend Lori is laughing now). Psychic and a medical expert, that's me. So these plumbing problems mean I have been having a bunch of tests and procedures (Wheee!) Tuesday was the fabulous trans-vaginal sonogram. Oh let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've had one of these. (Sorry, fellas, but this is only for the ladies .)

I knew exactly what to expect because this is the fourth time I've had one of these fun little procedures. Yup. Apparently they went cheap with my plumbing to begin with - should have gone with the copper. It costs money. It costs money because it saves money. Apparently I have bronze... or maybe aluminum. (I could speak in Moonstruck quotes all day long.) So when my doctor said she wanted me to have this sonogram all I could think was: YESSSSSSSSSSS! Because then I would get to use one of my all-time favorite lines - my own, not a Moonstruck quote.

Let's back up. The first time I had this procedure I was a little nervous - as you are when you're having a test you are unfamiliar with. Luckily I wasn't scared, just slightly apprehensive. When I get like this I start gabbing away in an attempt, sometimes desperately, but usually successfully, to make the doctor or technician laugh. I figure if you make people laugh they appreciate it and then they'll be kinder to you. Trust me, you want them to be kind to you when they're inserting things into your body in a clinical setting.

The lowdown on the trans-v sono (hey, we're buds, I can use a nickname here) is that you strip from the waist down, put on a dandy little hospital johnny (usually a pretty color - Tuesday's was hot pink - to make you feel special and girly), then sit in a waiting room until someone comes to get you. You have nothing but a key to a locker where your clothes and belongings are (hopefully) safely ensconced and you feel a little awkward sitting around with an array of other women all wearing the same outfit. The urge to re-enact Lucy and Ethel singing Friendship while tearing flowers off their matching gowns is strong. But you resist. After all, you aren't wearing any undies... if that pink gown gets torn off things could get really awkward. So you restrain yourselves and try to ignore that you look like some absurdist version of The Supremes.

Then someone calls your name. Oh hurray! My turn! And you follow her to a dimly lit room (so the tech can see the sono screen more easily) where you lay on a table. The place I used to go to was just an ordinary table and very user-friendly. This new place my doctor is using has the traditional Gyn-table. Feet in the stirrups ladies. Giddy-up.

They drape you with the always comfy paper table cloth (for your privacy) and then the fun really begins. You lay there watching some strange woman dressing a sonogram probe that bears a suspicious resemblance to a dildo with a condom and then lubing it up with a pint of K-Y jelly. The fact that you are with a total stranger, in a small locked room, feet up, draped, the lights are dimmed and condoms are making appearances... well... you know it just has that air of a 'date' to it, don't you think?

So now you have the scene. It gets better. (it would have to, right?)

Once the electronic Mr. Happy is dressed and drippy the technician offers you a choice:
Would you like to insert this or would you like me to do it for you.
HELLO? The first time I was having the test my response to this question was exactly the same as it will always be:
If I wanted to do this myself, I could have stayed home with a glass of wine and the Barry White records playing. YOU insert it, it's what I'm paying you for!
Now the first couple of times I had this test done the technician had a wickedly good sense of humor and she laughed and laughed. I was very pleased with myself and the test went much more pleasantly for BOTH of us after that. When it was over she was leaving the room so I could change in privacy (hilarious given how 'close' we'd been only moments before) I sat up on the table, leaning seductively on one arm and called out in my sweetest, neediest, one-night standy-ish voice "Call ME??"

The tech lost it. I was very, very proud.

The next time I went for this test at the same facility my Tech was at the reception desk when I was signing in. I looked at her and deadpanned "What was I just a one-night stand to you?" She almost choked on her egg salad sandwich and roared with laughter. She nodded to the other women working with her and indicating me said, "that's her, that's the 'call me' girl!" Well, apparently I'd made their day and then some. Needless to say my experiences there were always funny, if not actually 'fun'.

But this new place. OY. Crack a freakin' grin ladies! GEEEEZ. The first time I tried the first line and it went over like a lead balloon with an anvil attached. The second time I didn't even try as Miss Stick-up-her-ass technician was too busy asking me cryptic questions about my periods to even attempt humor. Bee-otch. Just do the damned test and let me go home. If feel so ... dirty.

Clearly my last two 'dates' were bores. I can only hope that should I need this test done again that I will meet my 'Princess Charming' (as it were) who has a goddamned sense of humor. I mean seriously, people - how can you not?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

a case of the uglies

Oh my oh my I'm going through another one of these bouts of feeling mirror breakingly ugly. I'm so goddamned tired of my own ability to self-loathe I cannot even express it. It gets triggered by the stupidest things, just random things that I roll around in my head and watch as they blow out of all proportion to reality.

Intellectually I know I'm not the heinous thing I see when I look in a mirror (though I do my damnedest to avoid looking in them at all) but it is damned hard sometimes to convince myself emotionally that I'm letting other, less than positive, feelings cloud what I see in a mirror. Like when I'm having a bad day. Some people have a bad hair day - I have bad everything days. Yes, I like to up the ante. What can I say?

I see bad hair, old, ugly, wrinkled, fat, unlovable, unsexually appealing to everyone (except the exceptionally drunk) and just plain too ugly to be loose in public where small children and some adults could be scarred for life.

Ever have a day like that? Been having 'em as long as I can remember. Sucks a bit.

You might think that the eye opening experience of having found some (if I do say so myself) goddamned hot photos of myself from college when I thought I looked scary enough to crack mirrors should have cured me of my "I'm DISGUSTING!" dysmorphia. You'd be wrong. On many days, and especially on really good days, I can actually feel sorta passably human, and almost attractive. Sadly it takes a lot of emotional energy to boost myself to that point though outside opinions can much go much further, much faster, to convincing me (for a little while any way) that I'm maybe even... pretty.

Mostly I'm okay with my perceived level of ugly, meaning I can be rational and know that what I see is not what other people see. But sometimes it's just more than I can do to convince myself. Sometimes I wish for an Elephant-Man cover-up.

It's very possible that this self-perceived ugliness is part of why my love life (dare I even call it that) is so dismal. I see someone I find appealing and I simply know they will not feel the same about me. Now is it that they see the ugly thing I see, or is it just that I ... I dunno. That what I want is so rare? That keeps anyone from ... what shall we call it? Pursuing me? (i.e. even noticing me) I know 'love yourself first' is probably key... but honestly I thought I was pretty up there on the 'liking me' scale for the past few years. Still, there's clearly something wrong with me looks-wise or vibe-wise or something-wise that keeps me from attracting someone who actually wants me. I know that love and attraction are not things you can put a mathematical quantification on, but on the days I feel 'pretty' I have to wonder what is it about me that isn't ... enough?

I do know my parents made sure I knew just how unworthy of love I was; that I was never as good as anyone else or as attractive or 'right'. Lessons that got even more complicated when I finally did start dating and my mother told me endlessly 'he's not good enough for you' or 'you're too smart for him', etc. In direct contradiction to what she had told me my entire childhood and adolescence. Phew... you try to work through muck like that and feel like you're worth anyone's romantic or sexual attention. I wasn't good enough for anyone and no one was good enough for me. Uh... thanks for that mom.

Clearly I'm having a bad day. And feeling kinda sad and sorry for myself, and yeah, a little bit on the lonely and unlovable side. (shocking, huh?)

I'm going to sleep on it and hope to wake up pretty. If not, does anyone know where the Elephant Man shopped? I could use a new hoodie.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Does stupid run in your family or are you the black sheep?

Be warned: rant a-brewin'.

I've been running. I'm sure I mentioned. It's rare I don't mention my raging obsession of the moment. So I've been running. I actually have taken my former fear of running outdoors, i.e. in Central Park with its trees and grass and so forth, and turned it into an unbridled passion. You cannot keep me outta that damned park lately. Because I'm being very, very respectful of my knee and making absolutely sure I don't mess it up again and thus lose months of fun-fun-fun with my obsession I only run every other day. I hate the 'rest' day. Hate it I tell ya. But because I'm so insane about this whole running in the park thing I end up walking around aimlessly in the park on the rest days looking towards the running track and sighing like a mopey 13 year old.

But on the running days I make use of that most lovely of Central Park spaces, The Reservoir. I like it mostly because it's a measured distance that I can grasp. I know there are other routes in the park that are measured out, but ... look, I have difficulty with directions on the NYC street grids, you don't want to hear about how lost I can get on all those non-numbered park pathways. It's almost pathetic. Oh hell, not almost.

So I run on the running track at the Reservoir. This is a space reserved for people on foot. For people walking or jogging or running. No bikes, no strollers, no roller blades, not even doggies. It's a fairly narrow track, meant for a specific use. There are signs stating such as well as arrows telling people to 'go in this direction'. Which is not just some autocratic whim but meant to make everything run smoothly and keep people from getting in each other's way. And yet....

Aside: one of my biggest gripes with people is that they are rude - and that rudeness shows itself in its full glory walking on the streets of New York City. People stop abruptly for absolutely no reason - as if there isn't a soul behind them. They stand in the middle of the sidewalk in groups effectively blocking the way - but no matter as there isn't another soul in the world aside from themselves. They also have an uncanny knack of walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk. Now technically there isn't a right and wrong side, but if you use common sense and keep to the right everyone has plenty of room to walk on both sides. It astounds me how many people walk dead center on the sidewalk, or on the left and maybe I'm just magnetic or something but I have seen people actually veer out of their 'lane' and head right for me. WTF is that? I mean I have been literally brushing the wall of a building (walking on the right hand side mind you) and have had people veer over from the other side and try to get between me and the wall. I am NOT making this up. Is there a prize for being blatantly obnoxious for no reason whatsoever? did I miss the memo? What is wrong with people? These erratic walking habits have led me to my own personal mantra on the streets of "thank GOD they aren't behind the wheel of a car!" Because truly, if they walk like that, you know damned well they drive like that as well. Scary.

But back to the running track. Now on the city streets there are no signs suggesting a polite and organized system of keeping out of everyone's way for the good of EVERYONE, but at the track there actually are signs. AND YET.... I swear people simply do not believe ANYTHING applies to THEM! Even if you cannot read the signs because they are in English, there are icons and arrows which are, I believe, pretty universal no matter what language you speak. But even if you happen to miss seeing the signs how about if the majority are running, to the right, why would you think you should ride your bike, push your stroller and walk 4 abreast in high heels in the opposite direction? What could possibly make someone think they are so rarefied that no one else matters and that common courtesy is something they do not have to take in to consideration? I have actually had people walking right towards me while I'm running - in a GROUP that takes up the entire width of the track and STARING me in the eye and not budging an inch! Is this some sort of alpha dog territorial throw down? I say again: WTF?

The only explanation I can come up with is the stupidity. This level of in your face rudeness smacks of serious stupid. This is not to say all rudeness is born of stupidity. If it's towards someone you know it's likely done for a reason - I know a lot about passive aggression. It was part of my family's skill set. But general lack of common courtesy in public towards absolute strangers can only be a result of plain old lack of smarts.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Actually, I do have posts to post

Honest I do! I really lost track of time this past week. I have diddled around with writing a couple of blog posts and didn't post them because they weren't 'ready' and then with a mighty windy woosh the week was past! How does that happen?

So while I fuss with my mini-masterpieces, such as they are, I offer you a true mini-masterpiece:

Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog

Funny, funny thing this. It's a Mutant Enemy production. That'd be Joss Whedon. I'll say no more. Go watch!!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Why so hermit-like

I've been wondering why I've been so non-social lately. I would say anti-social but that's not really it, I mean I'm still chatty with the neighbors on the street and I'm pleasant and not any more cranky than usual with people in public, I still visit my favorite blogs - even if I don't always comment. But I haven't felt any burning desire to get together with friends or talk to anyone who actually knows me. I think I figured out why and if I'm right it's really weird.

I think I just don't feel like being entertaining.


It's really odd. And if my self-analysis is right, it's ... well... it's just really odd.

In an attempt to be visible, and accepted and good lord even liked I have spent the majority of my life being (for want of a better word) entertaining. Or at least trying to be entertaining. I work like hell to be funny, to be on, to be clever, witty and a good story teller. This is not to say that I'm breaking a sweat trying to do these things, after 40+ years it becomes reflex, just the way I am - not really work. But for the past couple of months, I guess since my bout of crazy-assed anemia-exhaustion all I've really craved is ... well ... this will sound kinda obnoxious but ... well: me.

I have always needed tons of solitary time - tons. But I have also needed reassurance and let's call it what it is: an audience. Whether one or a hundred, I needed response - needed to get a laugh. Even at my most depressed and despondent I would work for a laugh - because let's face it, who would listen to me if I didn't get them to laugh? Oh possibly lots of people, but I learned young that people only paid attention if you were funny... anything else and I became my usual: invisible.

Lately, I have taken to turning off my phone (the sound of an incoming call gives me the shakes) and not even carrying it with me. In fact in the last week I have taken to not even checking to see if anyone has called! Rude? Absolutely. But also perhaps some form of self-preservation.

Writing this blog was begun as a form of reaching out and hopefully helping someone who needed to see that you can come back healthy and happy from suicidal depression. But then to some degree it became a conduit for getting a laugh or attention. Which, I assume, is the deep-down reason I took a break from it. It's a new experience for me to pull back into hermit-mode when I'm not even the teeniest bit sad. In fact I feel quite well and possibly even better than ever. And all I really have wanted is to be on my own.

No one is more astounded than me.

Some of my very happiest times were during my solo trips to Mexico. (no offense Gary!) There was something so peaceful about not feeling the need to be 'on' or play my usual part. Sometimes when I see people, talk to people I start to feel a sort of competition - a feeling of my life is nowhere near what it should be. It can become stressful. Being solitary I feel better. I feel like this is just the beginning, my life is just as it should be and I'm exactly where I should be. I worry that my nearest and dearest will take some offense or not 'wait' for me to butterfly out of this cocoon, but then I fall back on that hokey '70's poster catch-phrase "if you love something set it free..." I mean if people begrudge me my self-exploratory hermit time, then ... welllllllll ... no.

Maybe I'm just learning how to be me, just me, without the feeling of being the entertainment for someone else so they'll like me. Maybe I'll come out of this still entertaining** but without feeling that I have to be. Wouldn't that be something?

**(it would really be something if I could sound less full of myself, huh?)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

moving along

This morning's adventures include waiting for a new air-conditioner to arrive (delivery time between 9:15am and 12:15pm). I have not actually wanted to use the a/c much despite our recent heat wave here in NYC. It may be a by-product of the anemia (I'm just coool baby, coooool) or it may simply be my earnest desire to be back in Mexico relishing the heat (if I'm sweating I can pretend better).

Though I haven't wanted to use the air-conditioner, I have had no choice lately: Basil wanted it. It's tough, he's an older boy now and I think he feels the heat far more than he used to, he certainly feels it more than I do, and when my puppy starts panting the air-conditioner goes on, even if I have to wear a sweater.

Basil: JUMP!!!
Joy: How high?

Yeah, I'm whipped. Is that a shock to anyone who reads this blog? I doubt it.

The air-conditioner I have now is approximately 13 years old. Older than my overheated doggie! It has never worked fabulously because the layout of my apartment it is odd and I am pretty sure this ol' thing never had anything close to the power it needed to cool this place off. It's also not the most energy efficient machine going and my electric bills in the summer prove that all too well. So I finally broke down, did the research on the most efficient, Energy Star approved machines and how many btus I'd need for my square footage (does a hamster cage sized apartment actually qualify as having 'square footage'? It should probably be more like 'square inch-age'.) Even after all the research it took me another month to actually order the things. But I finally did and they are on their way here!

I opted to get two. I've only ever had one, in the living room. But since they were so inexpensive - I got two new air-conditioners for $150 LESS than I paid for the old one 13 years ago - I decided to go for it. I think it might be nice not to have to sleep on the couch when it's crazy hot just to be able to breathe. Plus this way Basil can go any where in the apartment and feel comfortable. See above: whipped.

Since the delivery came as I was in the middle of writing this I stopped and actually installed the bedroom a/c. The installation was quick - it was cleaning the window before installing it that was time consuming. Oy. They looked clean... who knew. Of course my bedroom has a gorgeous view and I'm surprised I didn't notice sooner that it was in any way obstructed by soot. I mean gosh, the brick wall across the air shaft that the window opens onto looked just fine to me!!

So the windows are clear (for today at least) and the new a/c is chilling the bedroom (at least I hope it is, I'm giving it a few minutes before I walk - hopefully - into a refrigerator-like room) and now I have to remove the old a/c in the livingroom, clean that window and install the larger of the two air-conditioners. Piece of cake.

I swear when I was lifting and carrying the newly installed gem in the bedroom all I could think was thank GOD for strength training! Honestly. It really is the best thing (aside from running). Not only does it help you tone and look better - it has a non-vanity aspect in that you can actually DO things. Like lifting a 60 lbs. + air conditioner into a window on your own. I'm always astounded by the fact that it really does make you stronger. I know, I'm slow... but I'm also a merry idiot who is ever-thrilled by something so seemingly trivial. And that's on a half-dose of anti-depressants!

I'm sure I'll be back with an update on the second a/c installation. It's impossible that all this will continue on as smoothly as it has so far.... smooth simply isn't funny. Which means somethin's gotta happen that I can turn into a goofy story. Keep yer fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

You don't write, you don't call....

Welllll helllll-o there.

Yes, I'm back. Contain yourselves! Hush, you'll wake the babies!!!

That's better.

Yes, I missed you too. Now hush!

It's been so long since I blogged anything that I barely know where to begin. I'm not sure I remember how to put together a post! Let's go with my usual well-organized stream of consciousness and see where it takes us. C'mon Dorothy, buckle on the ruby reds and let's hit that yellow road.

My bout with hormonal nuttiness and anemia really knocked me for a loop. (Oh lookie, there's an original turn of phrase, eh?) I still have some issues with fatigue - though primarily in the evenings which has seriously curtailed any sort of socializing or even just attending the theater. Oftentimes by 8:30 my eyes are drooping and I'm ready for nappies. But at least I'm not sleeping the days away as well. So I consider that a huge improvement.

I've been recovering quite well however - haven't had my follow-up blood work to verify that but I've been running again and that tells me I'm definitely better. Just before I was diagnosed I was running and found that I was gasping for breath and exhausted to a degree that only marathoners should know - and trust me, I was barely covering a mile let alone 26.2. So now that I'm (slowly) covering 2 mile runs three times a week and not passing out in the middle of it, I'm pretty sure my hemoglobin is well on the way to normal again.

The running. Oh the running. I am nothing if not an addictive personality. As of yesterday I have been smoke free for two full months (hurray!!) but I have found a dandy substitute: running. I used to run and then light up as soon as my workout was done - healthy. I am extremely lucky in that 20+ years of smoking have not affected me health-wise in any way, meaning I was never out of breath from running (until the anemia).

Actually the running is not a substitute for the smoking so much as a substitute for my Zoloft. See I decided a couple of months ago that I was going to wean myself off my beloved blue pills. There are a couple of reasons for this decision. One is that I no longer have health insurance and even as a generic (sertraline), which is what I take, it's not a cheap medication. Surprise. The other is that I've been on it a longish time now (almost 4 years) and while it definitely served it's purpose - far exceeding any expectations I had for any medication - I am tired of feeling content.

Not that feeling content is a bad thing! Dear GOD no! Content is lovely and good and infinitely better than Depressed and suicidal! But I have noticed that while reveling in my feelings of happy to be alive and SANE that there has been a bit of a trade-off in drive, ambition. My feeling is that the content that comes with the Zoloft is hampering me in that one direction. So I thought I'd like to see how I do without it.

For the last month I have been s.l.o.w.l.y. coming off and will continue to do so for the next month or so. I've heard too many horror stories of people stopping too quickly to risk any sort of Depression backlash myself. Learning from others: go me! The slow reduction of my dosage seems to be working just fine - no feelings of anxiety, depression or OCD so far so I think I'm on the right track. There are some studies that indicate that Zoloft actually teaches your brain to utilize serotonin better so that you can stop taking it and continue to feel just as good. I'm going with that theory. The running is a big help there. The endorphins and exhilaration of running seem a great substitute for the good/calm that comes with the medication. Plus, you know, good for you.

I do have stories from my time away from the blog - and away from almost ALL my friends (sorry guys, I've just been all about me, me, me... it happens) - but I'll sift them in as we go along. For now I think this has been long enough to suffice. I don't want to bore anyone.

Clearly, too late.

OOH look up ahead: I think I see a scarecrow.