Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Michael Jackson Moment

I'm still surprised and saddened by the death of Michael Jackson on Thursday.  I feel for his family and children but hope that he is at least free now of the lifelong issues brought on by the pressure of finding fame at such a young age and not having the childhood he craved.  He definitely paid a high price for sharing his gifts with us all.

It goes without say what an influential performer he was.  In the days after his death, the tributes abound and it seems practically everyone has a Michael Jackson story. I used to play some of the Jackson 5 songs when I was a DJ back in the 90s.  And I'm pretty sure Aunt Cathy and her son Michael got to see him in concert in the 80s.  But my real Jackson story is more substantial than that.  At least to me.

As a kid, we were sent back and forth during the summers from our home in Tennessee to my grandmother's house in Connecticut.  I suffered from horrible anxiety growing up and flying didn't help any. My runaway imagination envisioned every flight ending in a fiery explosion.  After a horrific 30,000 foot plunge that went in slow motion, of course.  

After years of therapy and better living through pharmacology, I love flying.  It signifies adventure and excitement.  And seriously, the odds of crashing are quite slim (though try and tell that to the recent Air France plane crash victims). As a kid, though, I think I would have rather walked to Connecticut than flown.

In summer of 1983, we went on another trip to see Grandma.  I was 15.  I can't remember if we were coming or going, but we were between Philly and Hartford and the weather was awful.  If you have a fear of flying on a clear day, add a lightning storm to the mix and then see how you feel!  I made my brother shut the window shade so I couldn't see the lightning, striking dangerously close to the wing.  My eyes were clenched shut, my hands were white-knuckle clutching the arm rests.  And the song Thriller was playing through my head over and over again.

I don't know why I found it soothing--maybe because it was a song like nothing else I'd ever heard.  Or I could see the video playing in my head and that was able to distract me for the storm.  I don't remember the details.  But I do remember that song by Michael Jackson kept me from flipping out completely, and running up and down the aisles, shrieking in fear.  I've never forgotten that flight and how that song got me through it.

God bless you, Michael Jackson, may you rest in peace.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It is Music City, after all

Do you make up songs for your dogs? I do.

Most of the time they're nonsense, or something sung to a popular tune. Perhaps sung to the theme of Spider-Man, which is my ubiquitous musical theme. But a dog song can be pretty much anything from an original piece (Mappo Mappo Mappo MAAAP!) to a spoof.

Today I was working out on my elliptical while The Ladies, Tuesday and Map, were lounging bedside. The song I ended my workout with was London Bridge by Fergie. What got me started on dogifying the song was the repetition of Oh, SNAP! I looked at Map and started laughing: Ohhhh, MAP!

I was further inspired by the fact that the girls are fighting these days (instigated by Millie, aka The Duppy) and have to be separated. Nothing says fun like breaking up a dog fight. The chorus of the regular lyrics go

How come every time you come around,
my London, London bridge wanna go down
like London, London, LonDON! wanna go down
like London, London, LonDON! we're goin' down

My lyrics go:

How come every time I turn around,
My Tuesday, Map and Dup are throwin' down?
My Dup-py, Dup-py, Dup-PY is throwin' down?
My Dup-py, Dup-py, Dup-PY, she's throwin' down!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: it does not take much to entertain me.

Oh, MAP!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pretty sure I was born with a tail

One of my favorite Family Guy scenes is with Lois and Meg rummaging through stuff in the attic.  Lois says to Meg in her nasal, New England accent, "Oh, look, Meg, it's your little baby booties.  Oh, and your little bronze hat.  And your tail."

My WHAT?  

I am pretty sure that I was born with a tail.  Just call me Meg.  

One day I was standing in the kitchen, scratching my butt.  You know that upper butt dimple region* just above the crack proper.  I shifted my weight and all of a sudden I felt this pointy thing--what the??  My butt was also sore and I immediately jumped to the conclusion that I had a pineal cyst, which had been the topic of discussion a day earlier on my favorite weight loss surgery message board.

Of course I am immediately intrigued by anything gross and pineal cyst certainly fell into that category.  You're welcome.  I did not put a link to the pineal cyst entry in Wikipedia, which has a lovely color picture. Yeah, no one warned me, thank you very much.  Do not Google this and look at images.  If you do, you get what you deserve.

Anyway, the pineal cyst discussion lead to a delightful and energetic series of PMs on dermatoid cysts with a gal named Karan, who might actually have one!  I'm sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear if a.) it is indeed a dermoid cyst and b.) if it has hair and teeth!  YIKES!! But I digress.

Initially, a sore butt in the upper butt crack dimple region (UPCDR) made me suspect a pineal cyst.  But after a day or two, I decided it was not the case and my bum was sore from riding the recumbent bike at the gym, instead.  Whew.

So if my sore behind was due to the bike rides, what was the pointy thing?  The end of my tail???  I wish I were friends with an x-ray tech. Psst.  Can you get me in there for an upper butt x-ray?  Oooh, maybe we can sneak into the fluoroscopy suite tomorrow after the support group meeting.  Do you think you need a key to fire that thing up?  Oh the quandry!  Why does this weirdness always happen to me?!?

The issue is there is no way I would have survived childhood without being reminded constantly about my tail, had I had one.  We love picking on each other about stuff like that.  My mother can say once in passing, "That water is as green as green can be," and BAM!  It haunts her for life.  So it goes without saying that if I had a tail, I would have been reminded of it with great frequency.  My brother would have had a field day with that knowledge!

So now I have ruled out pineal cysts and am left with two options.  #1: I had a tail.  #2: Losing almost 60 pounds makes your ass bony. Relatively speaking, that is.  Losing my posterior padding is doing a number on me.  I can feel the bones in my behind and sitting on them for hours on end is not comfy.  Freaky!  Do skinny people writhe in pain constantly from this?  Do fat people on the downslide always go through this fanny transition?  I prefer to sit on my hips now, legs crossed at the knee.  It takes the pressure off the butt bones.

Perhaps I should take a moment to review hiney anatomy.

Huh.  Maybe that thing I felt is one of those ridges at the top of the tailbone, which seems to correspond with the UBCDR.


*  I don't even know if the upper butt dimple region is normal--this could be where my tail was removed!  I need to borrow Angela's kid and inspect his baby butt to see if he has one.  An upper butt dimple region, I mean.  Not a tail.  She SO would have told me about that!

If it smells bad, you're not doing it right

My backyard smells like rotting intestines and I really hope the neighbors do not notice. Gulp.

The problem is my grass. Back when I had my surgery, I wasn't physically able to go mow the grass. My friend Jane came by and did it for me one week, but it was probably another 2 weeks before I could handle it myself. At that point it had gotten quite tall and I couldn't do the mulching option because the tall and wet grass (wouldn't dry out!) kept clogging the blades.

The first mowing, I used the side chute (salad shooter), but I didn't like it because the long clippings got everywhere. As in on top of the grass, blocking it from the sun, creating dead patches. My grass was finally looking good after a year and a half with our lawn service. I didn't want to ruin it with this.

The second mowing, I decided to use the catcher thingie. Probably a bad idea because the catcher thingie full of wet grass weighed about 1000 pounds. Can you say surgical incision hernias? But I did it anyway.

However, I didn't know what to do with those clippings. I could sneak to a corner of the subdivision in the middle of the night with the clippings in a wheelbarrow and dump them. I could put a bit in each week with the garbage until it was all gone. Or I could add it to my compost heap.

I decided to add it to my compost heap. When I felt well enough post operatively to deal with it. I thought I was smart covering the grass filled wheelbarrow with a plastic tarp. It'll be fine. And dry! Yeah, right.

So over the last several weeks, rain seeped in and the grass started rotting. Rotting, not composting. Definitely rotting because it smelled like a squashed armadillo baking in the hot sun. Ugh.

The tarp kept some of the smell contained, but not all of it. Finally, I realized I had to get it composting or the smell was never going to go away and I'd have cops knocking on my door wanting to search for the bodies.

I managed to get about half of it into my compost bin. After some handy-dandy internet research, I also realized that I needed a lot more brown stuff in there to offset the rotting, slimy grass. So I shredded newspaper and got my pile of coffee grounds and tossed in there with it. I still have about 1/3 of my wheelbarrow harboring a slime wad. But hopefully things will start composting, the bacteria will be happy and my back yard won't smell like an overflowing septic tank much longer.

Otherwise, I will have to sneak to the far corner of the neighborhood and dump that stuff in the middle of the night. I'll let you know if I need help posting bail, because Lord knows I'll get caught!

Millie scared herself!

I was sitting at the computer yesterday morning, minding my own business goofing off on the internet. Millie was lying nearby, all stretched out while Jack was off doing God knows what.

All of a sudden I hear this high pitched PFFFFFFFFT! Millie's head shot up, startled! Then she spun around, nipping at her backside.

My dog startled herself by farting--I guess you could call it fartled, or fartling! As in: Yikes! Where the hell did THAT come from?

I laughed and laughed and was very grateful I didn't spew coffee all over my computer screen. And I shook a fist at God--WHY do we not have implantable DVR/video camera forehead chips?!? WHY??? There is no way you can capture a moment like that, no matter how prepared. Unless you have an implantable forehead chip, that is.

The sound followed by that expression on her face was priceless.

Millie, still reeling from the anal scare, got to snuggle in my arms while I buried my face in her neck and laughed. Yeah, you had to be there, but trust me when I tell you it was hilarious! 'Cause it was.

Edited to add: just last night Jack burped and he sounded like a college kid at a frat party! I don't know what he did to do that, but it too was hysterical! And it reminded me of that episode of Seinfeld where that golden retriever had a human cough. OMG! Toooooo funny!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sweating Bullets

Summer starts this weekend and it is not wasting any time manifesting in the weather! Between the late spring storms, the sunny weather and my crazy schedule, I hadn't gotten around to mowing the grass in about 2 weeks. It was time, so I opted to swap my gym routine tonight for 45 minutes worth of lawn mowing. I waited until after the sun dropped behind the hills before going out there, though. Too freaking hot in direct sunlight.

There is a reason you shouldn't go too long between mowing. The reason is when the weeds around your flower bed grow higher than your edging, you just might be susceptible to tripping over said edging!

I had mowed most of the front and side yards and had detoured into the back yard. God forbid I could turn off the mower after moving it inside the fenced area to shut the gate. Nooooo, that would require restarting it. I backed it in and tried to maneuver a 3 point turn with the mower still running. Mid-turn, the back of my calves hit the edging and threw me off balance.

There was this amusing slow motion moment where I pinwheeled with one arm, the other holding on to the mower. The mower was like a counterweight, keeping me from falling. I really didn't want to fall. But I also really didn't want my lower legs chewed off by rusty mower blades.

I finally let go of the mower handle and fell back into the bed, squishing a hosta and smacking my arm on the fencing. Sigh. If it's not the dogs killing hostas, it's me!

As long as I didn't dislodge my pork with all the flailing, I'll survive, bruised ego, squished hosta and all.

Here's me and my lovely bruise!