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Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Day Of Hope...

I really should be working on my blocking for Jane Eyre. The musical that I am directing now. (in case you were wondering or missed my blog entry) Or I need to go to one of my favorite places, Target, to get school supplies for my little one, Aydan, who starts school next Wed. He is staying at his big brother, Clayton's house, for a few days, after spending a few days with me, going to the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum in Boston. The Science Museum is one of his favorite places to go, and he has been so patient with me all summer, never complaining as I whisk him from one rehearsal/summer camp that I am doing to another or when he has to do errands with one parent or the other...constantly...

Did I mention that he is an amazing kid? He is.

But I wanted to write something for this special day. It has been declared Nie Nie Day by some amazing people in the blogging world and I just wanted to recognize it for what it was. A day of memory, love and yes....hope.

The story is tragic. Three people going for a ride in a small plane, something that they have done countless times, I'm sure, with no problems. But a week or so ago, a tragedy happened. Two of these wonderful people, Christian and Stephanie, found their lives changed forever, as the plane goes down and they end up in the hospital, fighting for their lives. The pilot didn't make it.

The story is better told by someone that has witnessed the aftermath firsthand. So, you can read about it from Stephanie's sister, who is now watching her four very young children. Or you can get in on the charity for the couples expenses by going to this site. It is another blogger who came up with the idea to have this day for Stephanie or Nie Nie as they call her.

Its a tragic story.

But hopefully, it will have a good ending.

I love good endings.

They make me feel alive inside.

It feels good.

So, if you pray, lend your prayers.

If you are rich, give some of your money.

If you are human, read about this amazing family and the wonderful miracle of friends that are keeping them going.

It will make you realize that there is hope...and it is for the best.

Friday, August 22, 2008

When The Mind Is Over The Matter

I have been suffering for about a year with problems in my right shoulder. I went to a massage therapist. She was amazing, and used pressure points to take away a ton of pain. She helped me to be able to lift my right arm without pain,...well, to the front, anyway, even though the side lift is still painful.

I went to the doctor finally, about 6 months ago, and they told me that it was a "frozen shoulder". They told me to go to a physical therapist and work on it to get it working properly again.

Ok. But I put it off and really didn't believe what they said.

I continued to go to the massage therapist, and worked on little exercises to help strengthen it. Heal thyself, anyone?

It seemed to get better by the beginning of summer, so I didn't worry much about it. I figured that it was on the mend and the 6 months that it would take for the "frozen shoulder" to mend was about up.

Well, then I started using it a lot again. That is the problem with these bodies that we have, we have to keep using them. So annoying.

I started doing my band gigs and as usual, the adrenalin gets going and I get wild and take my tambourine to new heights, and end up the next day with a ton of pain!

That is what happened, over the summer, in a nutshell.

So, this week the pain was unbearable. Even Ibuprofen wasn't working. (And now I get to reveal to the world that I take AT LEAST 4 of those beauties to numb me----sometimes 5----uh, oh----an addict, huh?)

My husband made a call to a doctor in our church---an ortheopedic surgeon. He had asked me to come see him months ago, but....well,....I thought that I could handle it. We don't really have any insurance right now, but that's another story, so this doctor deserves a medal for even seeing me.

I hate doctors, by the way. It goes way back to when I had rheumatic fever as a child. But that's another story.

So, after the doctor did some preliminary strength tests----hold your arms up this way, push up with your arms, keep your thumbs pointed down, etc. and he determined that yes, something was wrong with my right side, he ordered x-rays.

Well, I imagine you are guessing what was found. I had something that started with a "T",----that's what my cutie son says, since I always forget what it is.... Oh yeah, it was Tendonitis in the rotator. Sounds familiar, right? Thats what I have, and the doctor pronounced it "good", because there was something that he could do.

That something was having a shot of cortisone to the area. Now, I don't know about you, but cortisone sounds like something that is SERIOUS! My old mom-in-law used to have shots of it and her skin became like paper!

But, the doctor assured me that this was for the best, and since I used this particular muscle so much, and couldn't really let it rest too much, that this was my best bet. Ok, ok, so he convinced me.

Well, the doctor himself gave me the shot. I have a thing about shots also----right----you got it, that same rheumatic fever memory, but I tried to be a "big girl" about it, because my son was watching... (It would be a bit embarrassing to start to cry and blubber about shots in front of him.)

Don't you hate it how they say, "You'll feel a pinch"....

What? You mean, some pain? OOOwwww, I hate them!

Fast forward to the next day----I was still a bit sore.... But I had a gig to do that night, and I knew that I had to get it together. So, I took my ibuprofen and soldiered on...

I have tried to look at the whole situation as "mind over matter", which is what I suppose will start to be an everyday occurrence as one ages. You know, aches here and there, and you just have to keep on, no matter what you feel like.

Well, yesterday morning, I awoke to find that my right shoulder felt great! No pain, no strain----amazing!

The only problem is that now I have noticed that my left shoulder is hurting. I believe that I hadn't really noticed it, because my right shoulder was so much worse.
So, I have to decide what to do.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kindness Begins With Me, Part 2

I know that you have all been awaiting the tale of the return flight from my trip to see the G-babies. Ok, ok, so I have had to work! I got in from my flight at 7:00 in the morning, and had to leave to go to New York at noon, and after you read of my adventures, you will see why I needed two days to recover. The trouble was, I had my theatre class starting on Monday, when I had only gotten back from New York on Sunday morning early....

All right, all right. There is nothing worse than someone who doesn't tell the whole story. Then there is nothing more worse than someone that doesn't tell the whole story in sequence!

So, picture this if you will... Hailey, my daughter, drove me to the airport after a last day of hanging with the kids and me just dreading leaving. You see, I don't know when I will be able to see them again, and it kind of hurts my heart, you might say. They are the cutest things ever....

So, when we got to the airport, I made a nuisance of myself by getting very teary eyed, as I kissed everyone goodbye---I really hate it when I do that because my contacts fog up and I have to deal with not being able to see very well, and they get dried out anyway, on planes.

I was going on a red-eye (hey, now that is funny) flight, (with red eyes---sorry---couldn't resist the cheesiness) and knew that it would be a hard night, but was going to remain positive and use my kindness technique again. So, things started out pretty well. The first flight was a short one and was pretty uneventful, as I just had to fly to Phoenix. I had picked a window seat, and there was no one sitting by me in the middle seat, so I didn't have to even converse with anyone. I must admit that I was a bit irritated by the fact that on this particular airline, they CHARGE for their drinks now----$2.00! I was a bit thirsty and should have just paid the annoying flight attendant, but I thought that I would just SHOW that airline and purchase a drink when we landed. As I mentioned before, the male flight attendant was quite rude, but I wasn't about to let that deter me from my positive mental attitude. I just smiled at him and told him that I didn't want his #*!&* drink. (Not really, but I wanted to...---and why can't I ever make my bad words look right when I write them? I need to research that...)

So, at the Phoenix airport, I prepared to hustle to my next gate, thinking that I only had about 20 minutes to get there, when I discovered that the time had changed again and I had lost another hour, so therefore I had an hour and 20 minutes. Well, it didn't make me that happy, but I walked to the new terminal and counted myself lucky that I got a chance to exercise, walking, when it could have been jogging.

I found my new gate---got a drink---it cost me $2.79, so I ended up paying more, but it was the principle! The gate person announced that the flight was full, so I got myself ready to "put my happy face on" and prayed to be sitting by someone shy and pleasant. I knew that it was late in Boston, and since I had to leave the next day to go to a gig in New York, I had to have some rest, so I started to prepare for this. I took my contacts out. I took my hormone tablet---(now don't be shocked, its only herbal---and its starting to get to that scary hot flash time in my life---so just shut up!)---then I took my Valerian tablets. (They are also an herb, to help relax me so that I can sleep better----and by dang, they work!)

We boarded the plane, and I settled in to get comfortable. I had bought a great neck pillow last year, when I started taking red-eyes from Utah to Boston, and traveling a lot with the band, and I love it! I have even started to not feel so self-conscience about sleeping on planes. Oh, you know, the drooling and all.... Then,...I had actually found a great website where you can download white noise, and had put two hours of it on my Zune. I was ready for anything!
Relaxed and ready, you might say....

Then it happened. Someone sat next to me.

"What? Who?" You say, "What could possibly happen to shatter your positive, perfect set up?", you say.

Was it a baby? Nope.

Was it a small child? Nope.

A large body? Nope.

A man on cocaine? What...wait a minute....How did you guess?

Ok, so maybe he wasn't on cocaine, but you would have thought that he was, BECAUSE HE DIDN'T STOP MOVING AROUND THE ENTIRE FLIGHT!!! And to make matters worse, he and his "friend" decided that it would be fun to stay up the entire night----they turned their lights on, kept guffawing and trading loud, annoying stories about how rich they were and how many properties they had, and how much fun they have in Phoenix when they stay there, and what they like to invest their money in, and how cool they both are and get the picture.

Well, my dear readers----that kindness crap went right out of the window! I was P'O'd with a capital P! I tried to put my head phones on---my white noise was BLASTING my ears and I was trying to do deep breathing, and thinking calm thoughts, but then this guy would jump around and fidget, and wake me up over and over again... I kept thinking about how I NEEDED to get some rest, as I had to drive four and a half hours that next day and do a three hour gig, then drive home. I NEEDED SOME SLEEP!!!!!

At one point, I gave up and got up to use the restroom. They had to get up to let me by. I told them that I might as well go to the restroom since I wasn't GOING TO GET ANY SLEEP THAT NIGHT! They didn't even flinch----where do these people come from anyway?

I walked silently back to the restroom. The entire plane was dark and everyone was sleeping or quiet. I YEARNED to be sitting with ANY of them--I wanted to just curl up on one of these strangers laps and conk out--I just WANTED TO SLEEP! I must admit that I sat in the toilet for a bit, venting quietly about those stupid men and how I wished that I had my favorite pointy toe'd shoes on, so that I could kick them where the sun doesn't shine---or just anything pointy---something that I could poke them with to make them notice me and think twice about being such jerks...(did I really just say "poke"----oh dear...)

Well, I'd like to say that things got better, but they didn't. I watched the sun come up as we got closer to Boston and then had to listen to these guys talk about how one of them had his driver picking him up and then he was being DRIVEN to NY, and how the other one worked long hours all week long, so he and his wife liked to SLEEP on Saturdays. Yeah, I thought, have a nice sleep.

I survived, of course. I ended up taking a brief nap before leaving for NY, and slept for about an hour on the way down. One of my band mates drove my car.... I was exhausted and very bitter about the world in general, and the thought of being kind never once crossed my mind the rest of that day and then into the next. I was just trying to survive.

When I think back on that flight now, it makes me wonder why the flight attendant didn't ask these guys to turn out their lights and try to be a bit more quiet for the sake of the other passengers, or why they didn't have any empathy for anyone around them. I am actually amazed that there are people out there that REALLY don't care about anyone but themselves.
Its kind of annoying, but sad also.

I have to admit that I have taken huge strides backward in the kindness department. I need to reevaluate my theories. I need to rethink my strategy. I need to wear my favorite pointy shoes from now on.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Kindness Begins With Me

I thought that it was interesting that in church today, they talked about being kind.
You see, I really never think about being kind, but it had actually crossed my mind a few days ago when I was in yet another airport, in New York, no less, and there just happens to be the unkindest people in:
1. Airports
2. New York.

I had had a fairly uneventful trip from Boston to NY, even though I was functioning on about 3 hours of sleep and had just traveled/driven the night before from Long Island, NY, from a gig----I know, duh, why didn't I just fly out from there, you ask? Well, I am not that good at planning, and I had visions of not being able to get to the airport from who knows where on Long Island at whatever 8th rate motel that I could afford.

So, back to the airport.

I decided to be nice that day. I decided to be kind to people. I decided to smile at people and react nicely, no matter what others did. It was an interesting exercise.

So, this is what happened.

I smiled at the crew as I got off the plane, and they smiled back. Well, they had to, its their job. So, we can't count that.

I walked down to the terminal and made a bee-line for the bathroom. Of course, I had to stand in line to wait, but I tried to catch peoples eyes and smile or nod encouragement to those with annoying children. No one really noticed me. Oh, well.

I moved on to the food stations to grab me some much needed nourishment before my next flight. I decided on Chinese food---the food in this terminal is actually really good, so I was having a cheap thrill, and was a bit excited to eat one thing good on this uber long trip.
I ordered my food and asked, nicely, for chopsticks. The girl didn't speak English very well, but she smiled back all the same and seemed happy that I wished her a great day. Unlike the girl behind me that clearly wasn't having a good day. She complained that they didn't make the line very exact and she didn't know which side to enter in... Whatever, I thought, as I agreed with her, but smiled all the same.

I got my food, checked my schedule and realized that I had to go to another terminal, so I had to get on a shuttle to get there. No worries, I thought, I still had a half hour before my flight boarded.

I walked down to the bottom of the ramp to catch the shuttle. There was a line, and a woman getting on the bus was yelling for her husband to come---that the bus was leaving. Of course, the guy was behind me, and had to run down the ramp and go through everyone---well, you can imagine the woman at the bottom that worked there---getting people on and off the shuttle. She was annoyed and made a comment about stupid people that put other people out, because they can't stay together. I just smiled at her and commiserated with her----I understood how it felt. I don't think that she noticed me.

So, as our shuttle bus pulled up, I walked by her and got onto the bus---she pointed out to us that we could use the back entrance, as no one seemed to be doing that. She was clearly still annoyed.

When I got onto the bus, I smiled at the driver, a young African American guy, and said "Hey! How's it going?" He smiled back and nodded---then drove us to the new terminal.

I felt rather good about my exchanges so far, but it all finally paid off, when I started to exit the bus. The driver smiled at me when I was getting off, and said, "Hey, I really like the colors you are wearing...nice..." I smiled and said "Thanks!"

Well, it pretty much made my day better. I had proved to myself that if I just CHOSE to be nice to people, they would eventually reiterate in....well...kind...

I'm sure that you are wondering if I kept it up the rest of the day. After all, it had still been before noon---well, depending on which time zone you were in. All I can say is that I ended up sitting next to a woman on the next flight--the five hour one---that thought that gum chewing was supposed to sound like some kind of wild animal eating. It was disgusting and no matter how much I made small groaning sounds or annoying "ohhhh", she didn't get the idea that she NEEDED TO SHUT HER MOUTH WHILE SHE CHEWED!

So, I have to admit that she threw me off for the day, and I was seriously happy when she fell asleep and looked like a total dork with her mouth open---snorting like a pig. I just wish that she would have sucked that gum back on one of those snorts and sort of choked.

Oh, oh...did I really say that?
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