Traction leftovers

By now most of us living in the US have probably eaten our turkey leftovers. The excitement has worn off, the potatoes have been reheated, the dressing is gone and the turkey, well, we will be ready for some more in about a month. That’s how I’m feeling today about traction, but I had to indulge in a little today and will have to do some more tomorrow…..how to make traction taste new again? I’ve certainly had my fill of traction and the thought of more is not pleasing but I will have to dive in again tomorrow because this neck of my won’t quit its’ ways. I’ve been at this roadblock before and I’ve overcome it so I’ll just have to rely on the things I’ve learned. Unlike the Thanksgiving leftovers, traction is in my house to stay. I’m dealing, that’s why I’m back to typing. Sometimes I can routinely sit here and sometimes I need a little motivation.

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What do I look like?

That was my first thought today when a young man, appearing to be about 15 years old, sitting in the front passenger seat of the car that pulled up next to me at the gas station asked me a question. Another boy, looking 16 or 17 hopped out and started pumping gas and as he did the younger boy yelled over to me, “hey, do you have a cigarette?” I was flabbergasted and said no as I was shaking my head in amazement at the question. No one has asked me that question in many years. Before I sit here in traction and analyze why he asked me, what do I look like, somebody that smokes, was it my sunglasses, my youthful appearance, nope, I have a shitty spinal column, but I’m not delusional. I’ve already recognized he simply found himself in a convenient situation to ask. Yet, I do find myself focused on how sad the random experience left me feeling.

After I got over the shock of the question I wanted to ask him some questions, I wanted to preach to him, I wanted to tell him what a gift his health was, how fragile it will seem someday. I wanted to tell him, heck no I don’t have a cigarette, that stuff will kill you and you are too young, yada, yada, yada….but I felt like all he’d hear was the parental voice from the Charlie Brown animations and just see it as some crazy person at the gas station “yelling” at him.

All the things any reasonable person would want to say to a teenager about the dangers of smoking crossed my mind, but also came with it the bigger question, WHY! Why on earth in 2011 is a kid still asking to bum a cigarette and in a gas station where we could blow up no less!

I need to get out more, or maybe less.

Home Remedies

I was walking down a long corridor last week and an older gentleman came up next to me and said, “Excuse me Miss, mind if I ask why you’re limping, you seem like you’re in such pain.” The man had my immediate attention because he called me “Miss,” there could have been a time in my life where I wouldn’t have liked that term, but now I consider it a solid victory if someone doesn’t refer to me as “Mam.” He then quickly went on to add that he too has a limp and he wondered if my issues were related to my spine, he starts to tell me about his situation and then waits for me to answer. I briefly describe my problem, in part because I’m still a little thrown off by a complete stranger stopping me and asking me basically what feels like, “what’s wrong with you?,” but yet that has happened before, I’m really more interested in NOT standing in the hallway since standing is pretty much my least favorite thing on the planet. After I answer him he sympathizes and goes onto to describe his spinal surgery. As we end the conversation and I turn to head down the hall he wishes me well and says he’s sorry for my trouble. It sometimes feels weird to know what to say. I guess I do have “troubles” yet everyone does, mine just might be more obvious sometimes, but he was just trying to be kind or “help” in some way or at least that’s how I prefer to take our exchange.

Recently I’ve been encouraged to try a couple different home remedies. One is to prepare a cup of water like you would for tea but rather than adding your favorite flavor, add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a spot of honey. Another one is to pour GIN over a cup of golden raisins and count out 11 every day to eat. The recipes come from folks that want to “help” and although I’m not sure I’ll be downing gin soaked raisins anytime soon I do feel some healing by the great compassion I’m shown.

I’d rather think of that while I’m sitting here in traction than all the crap going on in this world, don’t you just want a break from all of it, I’m so tired of hearing bad stuff. I’m overwhelmed by the news of horrific natural disasters, misery, suffering and economic world woes; everyday it seems there’s some awful thing worse than the day before.

So I’m asking, just please dear world, take a freaking time out and be nice!

ENOUGH already, come on, give the planet a break for a minute, let it rain where the ground is so cracked and parched it’s causing severe droughts and famine, sprinkle some tolerance and peace over massive parts of the world. Please help everyone to suck on a Pollyanna pill, calm down and be kind to one another for a day or two. “Help” each other, stop and talk to someone, just let us have a moment where we can still believe there is more right with this place than it being one giant mess, give us a splash of hope, please. Who knows, maybe a simple home remedy will make a difference.

In the meantime I am going to go sip some hot apple cider vinegar honey “tea” and try to think of something besides the negative, and then I’ll wait for the good to come, because I still have to believe it’s bigger than the bad. Cheers!

Yours truly, Pollyanna

Hallelujah, Alleluia……really?

Listening to O filii et filiae sung by the choir of Notre Dame de Paris. Not a bad way to start this Holy Saturday, yeah, forget the traction part and just go with this music. Hope your weekend is everything you’d want it to be, the strife is over and even if it’s not, pretend.

As for my own Lenten challenge, I did ok, not great. I did read a heck of a lot and explored new topics that I previously knew nothing about, not sure how long I’ll remember any of it but I tried. I did dabble here and there in some of my other thoughts “to do more” but consistency is always an issue. Actually, the only thing I’m consistent at now is TRACTION! Anyhoo, even if the strife is far from over in your life celebrate what you can because if all you know is pain you’ll never know the opposite even if it hits you in the face.

Hang in there, that’s what I do and it works out ok. In the wise words of my friend Carl, “don’t ever, ever, ever give up.”

Well, that never happened before!

I almost did traction twice in one day! It may have been in part because I was tired and forgot I had done it earlier in the day BUT it was really because I WANTED to……yep, even harder for me to believe. I wasn’t feeling well and I found myself headed for traction because I thought it would help and also had the thought in my head, that’s not so bad, maybe it will help make me feel better. Woah, just the mere thought that traction and some sense of relief or comfort are in the same sentence just goes to show anything is possible…to go from something I dreaded, so hated to a “comfort” zone, crazy, absolutely crazy……..life is so unpredictable, just goes to show if you just “hang on” long enough anything really is possible! Not saying I’m going to start everyday of my life sitting here with a smile but wow, we’ve come a long way baby!

Addition

I was good at arithmetic when I was a kid, I was the champ of my fourth grade math class, even beat the boys, and that was tricky back in my elementary school days because there was a lot of favoritism and sexism and the boys ruled. But before I boast one more second and live on in the glory of my 10-year-old math brain I’ll let go of that tangent and instead share what I’ve been thinking about, a different kind of addition. It’s easy to hear people these days talk about “giving up” something, sacrificing or fasting, sort of subtracting something from the norm. I’ve decided I’m adding this season not subtracting. I’ve been thinking about my life and I think it needs to expand and if I believe the whole point of any season, especially the Lenten season is to grow closer to God I think I need to work on becoming more and I’ve decided this season I’m not going to do that thru less.

In certain phases and stages of my life I’ve felt “practicing” my faith an obligation, sort of like when you’re a child and your Mother makes you take something to the house of the old person down the street. Your first reaction is to say no, then whine about how their house smells funny and they talk too much. She insists you do it and when you go in the house and the woman greets you at the door sitting in her wheel chair you are creeped out, scared because you are alone with her. She’s so grateful that you have brought her the newspaper and her mail you think she’s faking her excitement because how could it be that big of a deal. Not until you are a grown woman dealing with your own physical challenges do you realize how complicated it can be some days to get your mail in or what a comfort it is to have someone bring you something that you can’t easily manage for yourself.
Your Mother made you visit that woman and run errands for her and it took a long time before it didn’t feel like an obligation, until you didn’t mind going, until you actually sat down in the lady’s home and ate a piece of candy that she offered every time you went. It took a long time to not notice the funny smells and to talk to her. Eventually it was easier and your relationship changed. You grew and it was no longer a burden, she had become your neighbor and by the time you were a teenager you never thought twice about stopping at her house to check on her. Your Mother knew what she was doing all along and it seems to me it’s sort of like that with faith. If you hang in there and do the routine, unpleasant, tedious stuff, the boring stuff, the creepy stuff you eventually get to know God and yourself a lot better than you did when it was only drudgery. God feels like your friend because you invested in the relationship. So it seems to me I’m going to add things this Lent, not deduct. My heart needs to grow wider, my attention needs to focus on more than me, my mind needs to expand. So everyday I’m going to research something I know nothing about and learn more about something new every day. I’m going to double up on some of my “practices” that bring me joy. I’m going to add more to my life, grow my mind and heart and hopefully deepen my faith. I’m spilling all of this to you because accountability is a big part of any new endeavor. You are going to keep me honest.

I’ll let you know in 40 days how I did. Happy Lent!

Hanging In

I’ve suddenly come up with a nasty cough, sort of sounds like a two packs a day kind of cough, but I swear that’s not me. I’ve had more colds this winter than I’ve had in the last five winters, what’s up with that?

Anyhoo, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, life marches on, March is on its way and I’m hanging in. That’s the absolute key to it all, don’t let it get you, you can moan and vent but perseverance is the answer. Courage, love and conviction will see you thru just about anything. Song of the day, Jimmy Durante’s ‘Make Someone Happy,’ not a bad way to live……on my third listen and haven’t found a reason to stop.