Monday, May 30, 2011

Soaring With The Eagles

How does that saying go about soaring with Eagles? Something about how going it alone is sometimes best instead of running around with chickens. I should look that up. Seriously, I don't remember how it goes but it's not really relevant I just like the wood carved Eagle. Whoever did this was most definitely soaring.

I spent the weekend with my friends. Most of them are Eagles, I promise, but we weren't soaring so much as just enjoying our time here. I caught three live bands. Three fabulous live bands. I think I lost about 5lbs in sweat from the humidity and put it back on from food, snacks and drinks! I danced all of Saturday night at three different events until 3:30am!! I sat out the dancing on Sun but still grooved with the band. I took pictures, laughed, ate, drank and was able to visit a couple of local spots I had never been too before. I had a great time. Today I slept. I'm going to be up a little later then I would like to prepare for work for tomorrow but I tell you it was all worth it...and there isn't a spoon left in the drawer. I'll worry about restocking tomorrow!

Laughin', Lovin', Livin'.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Still Here

Still Here

been scared and battered.
My hopes the wind done scattered.
Snow has friz me,
Sun has baked me,

Looks like between 'em they done
Tried to make me

Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'--
But I don't care!
I'm still here!

~Langston Hughes 

There is something about this poem that speaks to me. I'm still here!! Can't get rid of me that easily! I'm still here! Through the pain. Through the humidity and the rain. I'm still here! Still here, waiting to see what tomorrow has to bring.

As far as days go, I have had easier ones. If I thought I could have stayed in bed all day I would have. I dragged through the whole day. I'm not complaining, well with the exception of the fact that I couldn't skip work and stay in bed. I'm not, otherwise, complaining because 1. I had a pretty good - drag butt day and 2. I'm tired because I spent last night, talkin, laughin, and livin with my friends. If I'm going to feel miserable on Thurs I like knowing it's because I was kicking it out late on Wed!

The thing about Langston Hughes poems is that he points out the difficulties, while bringing hope and a strong sense of resilience.  I think my day might be a little bit like a Langston Hughes poem - difficult but hopeful.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Hope You Dance

 The Lee Ann Womack song I Hope You Dance is such a great song. Every line is filled with great life advice, stay hungry, stay humble, lose the fear, fall in love and most importantly whenever you have a chance ... dance!

I promise you I have no rhythm. I watched my Dad dancing a little bit the other day. Let me tell you what, I come by my bad dancing honestly! Most people would probably pay me not to dance.  Except for my dog. She loves my dancing. It means I'm in a great mood and feeling groovy.

I hope you dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance
(Where those years have gone)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

World AS Awareness Day

So today is World Ankylosing Spondylitis Awareness Day, we call it AS for short. AS is an autoimmune disorder. It mostly manifests as inflammation of the spine and joints and is a form of arthritis. The two words together mean fusion of the spine. It's a pain in the neck - literally.

AS is something that has been a part of my world and a part of my vocabulary for the last 20 something years. It has been both enabling and disabling through out the years. With time I have several joints that are completely fused. That means they don't move, twist, turn, or bend. There is no cure for AS. For years treatment only addressed the pain and not the progress of the disease. In the last decade treatment options have majority improved treating the progression of the disease by counteracting that over acting immune system. The progressive treatment does nothing for already fused joints. So there are things I can't do and will not ever be able to do again. There is constant pain and a fatigue that slows me down more then I would like. That's the disabling part.

The enabling part is harder to specifically state in a way folks can understand but let me see if I can give it a try. AS gives me a power and strength that I don't think I would otherwise have. The things I have survived and walked away from would have broken a weaker woman! Imagine all the stress of everyday life. The universal things that everyone deals with such as finances, relationships, work, school, etc. Add to that chronic pain, medications, doctors, crazy attitudes of people who don't understand, and constant self checks to see if I can physically do the little things everyday things we all have to do. There is a feeling of accomplishment I get to feel when I realized I pulled off a minor miracle! Getting through the work week, adding in a travel trip and juggling all the tasks of a multi task job by the way is in fact pulling off a minor miracle. In my spare time, by the way, I try to volunteer my time and/or money. I believe everyone has something to give.

AS has also enabled me to shift through the BS and find people in my life who are both open minded and supportive. I've found in life there are people that get caught up in the mundane content  of everyday life. I don't have a lot of time to stress about little things or time to worry about what others think. Having a disabling condition automatically puts you on the fringe in our society. Being on the fringe has a lot of freedom. If you think less of me or not at all I get to comfortably live my life without having to wait for your approval. I get to date the man who likes me for me not the shallow one only in it for what I can give him. My friends are true friends who recognize that love and friendship can't be bought or sold. Don't get me wrong I can and do believe in bringing the cuteness and I still whine when I have the flu. I know, however, it takes a hell of a lot more than a bad hair day or the sniffles to break me. How enabling is that?!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Going Through Changes

Putting all humility aside for a second, I've always thought of myself as cute. Not stunning or beautiful but cute. I could have never been a model but I could always hold my own amongst the pretty girls - at least in my mind. I've done alright, I think, with the opposite sex and gotten compliments here and there, now and again. Yes, I know how that sounds but bare with me because here's the problem. In 21 days I'm going to be middle aged! I have held out as long as I could on using the term 'middle-aged' because my family does live well into their 90's. Even with that 45 is half of 90!

At 45 I'm not the cute girl in the room anymore. I have to work, HARD, to maintain...well to maintain everything, really. I keep looking in the mirror asking myself what is that sparkling only to realize it's the light hitting my gray hair. The good thing about that one, however, is that my eyesight is just crazy bad. I can't really see the gray hair unless I put on my reading glasses and stand real close to the mirror.

My body keeps changing as well. I was the same size for several decades. It's only been in the last few years that I have had to buy the three completely different sizes of clothes. An entire wardrobe in three different sizes! I can go up a size in a matter of two weeks (if only I would lay off the cake, I know). With some serious work I'm still able to come back down in size but then I can't wear those cute blue pants because they are too big and that cute striped shirt cause it's too small.

Then there is the AS, kicking my AS! As I've gone through physical changes with this disease, I've still maintained my belief in my cuteness. I always figured it is why people stop and stare at me as I walk by them (side note: if you are one of those people, staring won't ever really answer the questions you have. It just makes us both uncomfortable when I catch you). There are days, however, where my belief in my cuteness starts to wane. It's hard to catch the eye of the cute young thing when you can't turn your head to bat your eyes and just the idea of flipping your (gray) hair hurts. Then there are the days when I want to give in and slouchy walk as my achy body would like, in order to relieve the pain. I know I can't do the slouchy walk if I even hope to maintain a decent posture, but man some days, cute isn't even on the radar.

Sometimes I sit and watch the cute girls of today and wonder if they realize how easy they have it? I admittedly have fond memories of those days when things happened just because you were a cute girl. A friend of mine refers to it as playing your 'girl card'. You know, when you needed something fixed or a tire changed, you go all out cute girl until some knight in shining ArmorAll comes and fixes it for you. At this point, with a stiff neck, a slight limp, gray hair, bad eyesight and my too big/too small outfit I think I'm just going to pay the automotive guy. It's so much easier, no flirting necessary, just a AAA card!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Come Hell or High Water

In my little town we are currently experiencing the great flood of 2011. It's been raining for days. We've had back to back thunderstorms and threats of tornadoes. Unlike other places the tornadoes have mostly passed over our area. There has been some wind damage and fallen trees, a few dark nights with no electricity and a whole lot of rain. A whole lot of rain. In this area we are surrounded by rivers so all the rain has raised the rivers up and out of their beds, flooding the area. 

Gone Fishin'
As a girl who loves a picture I've been driving over the bridges and around the closed roads, watching the water rise and thinking I needed photos. Today I finally got out with my camera. My heart goes out to the people hardest hit but I'm going to tell you people are resourceful. Churches shut down, houses sandbaged, roads and schools closed but I found this man fishing in the middle of what used to be an intersection. How's that for resourceful? We could all sit stagnant and worry and fret about our lot in life, or get out, sandbag the house, catch some fish, make some dinner and move on with our day.

This is probably one of the busiest periods for me at work. Everything I've done or have had to do since January culminates in the next couple of weeks. I've gone from being stressed to be being overwhelmed to just shutting down and vegging out on the sofa. None of these activities are getting the work done which makes me feel worse because now I'm overwhelmed, behind, and feeling stagnant! After going out and taking pictures my stagnation seems silly. My house is warm and dry and regardless of whether or not the reports get written life goes on.  I think the pictures helped. I need to remember there are worse things in life and better ways of handling it all. Life goes on come hell or high water.