Friday, October 25, 2013

The DeLorean vs the Faggot

Recently, I was waiting at one of those forever lights to make a left into the local grocery store plaza. You know the kind. The ones where there are somehow ninety different ways people can come and go? The ones where when you get there with the green arrow in your favor, you feel like you’ve won the lottery? Yea. One of those.

I got there just as my arrow turned red. But, it was okay. It was an absolutely beautiful day. Temperatures were in the mid 60s, skies were as blue as all get out, that fall smell was in the air, leaves on surrounding trees were vibrant in the warm palette. There was nothing remotely bad about the day.

So, I was just sitting there. Enjoying it all. When, in the opposite lane, I saw a glimpse of stainless steel. Could it be? Really? Stainless steel? Yep. There it was, driving past me. The confirming DMC on the front grill. I gasped or ooh-ed or something I’m sure of it. And I turned my head to follow it as far as I could swivel, trying to take it all in.

“Sweet,” definitely came from my lips.

It was a DeLorean. A DeLorean! You know, the car from the movie, Back To The Future? With Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly? Who goes back in a DeLorean time machine and has to get his parents to meet so he can be born? The DeLorean with the flux capacitor? And the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity needed to start it in 1955? The one with, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads,” DeLorean? I happen to love DeLoreans. And, that movie.

I hope I never look that old when I get in and out of my DeLorean...

All that shiny, stainless steel. The clean lines of an Italian designed car. The gull-wing doors. It has gull-winged doors! Ooh, how I would love a car with those. You could squeeze into a parking spot with only a foot of clearance and get out with more room than you could with a “normal” door. And, I’d love to hear ‘psshhh’ every time I opened my door. Like I had been vacuum-sealed inside. Gosh, I hope that isn’t just a movie sound effect…

So, I’m still sitting at the forever light, windows half down, warm breeze blowing in, my mind buzzing about the DeLorean. Thinking back to how when I was a kid, the neighbor through the woods on the street way behind ours had one. Must have been brand new. It was the early 80s. The only time they were production made (totally brand new that is...they still make 'em!). I’d ride my bike over there often trying to catch glimpses of the car. I was mesmerized by it. Sure beat the giant “wood” paneled, gargantuan, behemoth of a station wagon we had in our driveway. Then, the movie came out in 1985…those were the days.

My dvd with sticker goop still on the cover. I'll have to scrape that off.

In my head I’m thinking how I can’t wait to tell Five Eleven about my spotting when I get home or even tweet about it. I’m honestly excited by it. Made my good day even better. But then, as I finally get the green arrow and the traffic beside me gets to go straight through, someone (in a non-descript, plain ol’ car) yells at me just as they are past me...


Really? Faggot? Directed at me? What? You wait until you are past me to call me that? Coward. Seriously still? Faggot? I’m blown away. Hurt actually. I guess coming out later in life and living in a progressive area, I was never exposed to such a derogatory remark. At least to my face (well, even this wasn’t that).

So, as I was waiting at the signal, thinking only good thoughts about one of my dream cars and playing movie quotes in my head, someone was behind me, focusing their energy on my rainbow peace sign, supportive gay marriage bumper sticker (which did pass and we do have legally in this state. Get over it), and thinking negative things. Really?

Obviously, they didn't read this one...

Were these what prompted the 'Faggot' slur?
Life is so short. And, as I know, your life and things you can do, can change in a moment. Why not focus on positives and world peace and treating all people nicely? You know, that fluffy bunny, happy rainbow stuff that I’m all about? Gosh, if only we could go back to the future and change things and perceptions. But, what would we use as a time machine?


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It’s All Fun & Games Until Someone Eats a Caterpillar

There is nothing quite like having your own garden. With only the initial cost of some seeds or a few 6-packs of plants and some TLC, you have an abundance of almost free food. Unfortunately, for our short growing season and really wet summer, it seems like everything ripened and was ready at once.

That’s not always a bad thing. Veggies are good for us after all. It just means having tomato sandwiches, Swiss chard patties, green smoothies and steamed veggies day after day. Meal after meal. I’m lucky that one of my favorites, steamed broccoli with cheese sauce on it was readily available.

How much more fresh of a meal can you get than throwing on a pot of salted water with a steamer basket in it, going outside your side door and cutting a few chunks of broccoli off a plant, rinsing it off, cooking it and plating it? Maybe ten minutes to Voila!

Seems like an ideal dinner or lunch, huh? Green. Healthy. Cancer-fighting properties in the cruciferous broccoli. I had this many, many times until I had gone back to the stove once for a second helping and noticed a special addition to the steamer basket. Let me present you with Exhibit A. Or, maybe I should call it Exhibit C for caterpillar.

Exhibit C for Caterpillar. Or, P for Extra protein.

Yea, that’s right. Ca-ter-pil-lar. I was just as ewwed out as you probably are right now thinking about it. But, I was there seeing it. Live. In the flesh. Well, it wasn’t live. It was steamed. But it was there. Plump as all get out. In front of me.

“Hmm…a steamed caterpillar? That’s gross,” I thought. And then, it hit me. How many caterpillars had stayed intertwined in the web of that dense greenery? And, if so, how many had I eaten?

These buggers ended up on my tomato plants when they ran out of broccoli and cauliflower to eat.

My stomach instantly flipped. Thank goodness I have no gag reflex, or there could have been a mess. I know that most of the world willingly eats insects and I know they are high in protein. They eat them on Survivor and provide sustenance in wilderness situations, as my guy, Bear Grylls does.

This one ended up in my veggie crisper drawer. Too many bugs in my kitchen for my taste.
This website offers all sorts of information on eating bugs if you want to try eating them.

Now, I’ll admit that I’ve often considered catching, roasting and then chocolate dipping June bugs but I just haven’t caught enough to bother. (They are supposed to be a delicacy and I haven’t had them once since living in New England). But, there is something different about a crunchy, toasted morsel vs a squishy ol’ worm sack to try to intentionally eat.

Okay, so I actually tried these. Pretty tasty if I do say so myself...It's that crispy vs squishy thing. Wanna try?

It mostly comes down to texture. And legs. All those little legs…so not appetizing in my book (I heard you pull off the June bug legs before chocolate dipping). Those legs are what I noticed one evening on Five Eleven’s plate. We had finished a candlelight dinner of grilled steak, seasoned French fries, fresh garden tomato slices and steamed broccoli, also directly out of the garden. Five Eleven had left several fries on her plate next to her bone and that’s when I saw it as I began clearing the table. I saw the legs. I nonchalantly reached down to grab that little critter off her place while she was still seated at the table.

“What was that?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I replied while holding the soft, little tube sack in my hand.

“Was that a bug?” She knew my steamer story.

“Gosh, no. I wouldn’t serve you those.”

And, yet, I did. It must have clung to the broccoli just until it got to her plate and fell off and camouflaged itself against the French fries. Thank goodness they were crinkle-cut fries or she may have spotted it sooner. And, instantly hurled. Seriously. She would have. And, that would have been a romantical evening killer. It’s all fun and games until somebody eats a caterpillar.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Totally No Recall

I experienced the Twilight Zone. Well, something that seemed equally sci-fi that I just couldn’t wrap my head around. Maybe it was because my mind just didn’t seem to be working. It was a bit frightening actually.

Imagine someone telling you that you did something or that something happened in your life for four days and you couldn’t recall it? Not one bit. It’s really quite freaky. Makes your brain hurt, literally, just trying to remember. Here’s how things went:

Little One and I got into the car to go somewhere (don’t ask me to remember that part either). As we sat in the driveway, I noticed a lot of what looked like critter hair between the front seats.

“That’s weird,” I said.

“What?” replied Little One.

“That looks like dog hair,” I said pointing.

“It is.”

“But, Five Eleven just vacuumed and detailed the car. It was spotless,” I said remembering that I knew she had definitely detailed my car. “When was a dog here?”

“Last week when you drove them to the beach to walk.”


“Jeep Girl and Delilah.”

“They were here?” I asked.

“Umm…for like four nights.”


At first it felt like a practical joke. Like Little One was teasing with me. Then it momentarily got scary.

“Did I take pictures while they were here?”

“Yea, especially of Delilah’s butt when she was eating ice cream in the car.”

I don't know if I'd recommend eating ice cream like this unless you are a little doggie.

I looked at my phone. Sure enough, there were pictures of a dog’s bun-hole. Oh, and us getting ice cream. I can now totally hear Jeep Girl’s laugh in my head. We were laughing about something. Must have been about Delilah’s (aka the lesbian rat-terrier’s) bun-hole. But, we also laugh about a lot of things when we are together. I looked in my day planner. Days of their visit were marked by a long, continuous arrow.

How could I possibly have forgotten this face? 

Now, my not remembering this should not in any way make you think that Jeep Girl and Delilah are so snoozy that I’d forget about their visit. On the contrary, Jeep Girl is a great, interesting, adventurous, outdoorsy person with the absolute, best laugh. (So, if you are an available, cute, sporty girl in the Central Massachusetts area…she is also available).

Yep. Proof of the puppy on the beach.

It’s now taken me several weeks to piece together more of their visit. Things are coming back. Sometimes those memories are triggered by something that just gets me thinking. At least I can remember their visit perhaps until I stop thinking about it and trying to remember it. Then, it’ll be like much of my current life with post-concussive syndrome…having memory losses.

So, if you come to visit me, make sure that I take lots of pictures on my phone and maybe make me jot things down in my day planner. But, if you don’t come to visit me, please don’t mess with me and tell me that you did.

I so know that you’re thinking about doing that…


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Not My Type: The New Reality Show

I’ll take the sporty blonde for 200, please.

As many of you may remember from The Baby Photo DatingStory, I started seeing someone who was “not my type.” I hemmed and hawed for a bit when we were just friends about taking things to the next level. Having mentioned that Five Eleven wasn’t my type while talking with My Sister the Pharmacist at the time, she gave me the best tidbit imaginable. She said, “Well, dating your type obviously isn’t working for you, is it?” Whoa. So true.

But, you know, Five Eleven is my type. She has all the characteristics of the perfect woman and perfect partner that I’ve always wanted. She’s caring and loving. Romantic, funny, sweet. She’s helpful, smart, sexy, creative, thoughtful, handy…and on and on. Plus, she’s absolutely crazy about me. What’s not to love and what’s not my type?

Kinda like Einstein's quote on the definition of insanity...doing the same thing
over and over and expecting a different outcome. Dating the same type can feel like Insanity.

Just because she didn’t fit into my typical physical what-I-was-attracted-to-before traits, I almost lost out on the best thing I’ve ever had. I used to tend towards the more sporty, feminine-edged lesbians. Not the girly, feminine girls either (those aren’t my type). Very rarely did I do a double take at a Boi or more Butchy-edged lesbian with the thought of perhaps dating. When we were “just friends,” I even told Five Eleven several times that she wasn’t my type. Dang, what a heartbreaker I was…

So, lately, I’ve been repeatedly giving this “not-my-type” advice to several friends. One of which is a straight friend who wasn’t having much luck dating in the last several years. I think she has finally got it! She’s dating a guy closer in her age range (though she doesn’t look her age). This weeded out the ones who don’t know what they want or the ones with young kids which she doesn’t want to do anymore. Responsible, working men who may not own their own companies and several houses will be there to lavish more attention on her which is her type. They also can spend time cuddling on the couch watching sporting events like she likes to do.

We are all so quick to judge people based on what they look like on the outside. That’s why shows like The Voice have come into play. You only initially judge the singer on their voice versus seeing who you’re listening to which may actually influence you.

I think that’s where I lucked out with Five Eleven. We started talking long-distance just as friends. I fell in love with her from the inside out. Now, when I see her, or when she sends a pic to my phone, my insides just melt. She is so physically my type.

So, I think there should be a new, reality dating show called “Not My Type.” Find out what people want in a partner. Find out what their type is…what are they looking for in a relationship? If it’s blue-eyed, blonde-haired movie star look, see what about that is absolutely necessary. If they’re looking for someone who is funny and who loves country music, cooking at home together and mountain biking, how is the blonde hair and chiseled jaw going to help that? Seriously?

Maybe start them off just talking on the phone for several “dates?” You can tell a lot by the sound of someone’s voice. Does their voice irritate the heck out of you? Intrigue you? Excite you? Calm you? (I told Five Eleven that she had a sexy voice the first time I heard her…even as friends).

And, hey, how about what they actually say? Do you connect with them? Have things in common? Do you like how they think? What do they want in a relationship? What have they had? How would they change things? What kind of future do they see for themselves? Does your conversation flow? Do you always have things to talk about? Are the quiet moments okay?

Those should be the things that really matter. Those connections and similarities make someone our type. Yes, physical traits and chemistry play a part. If you’re active and tend towards the athletic, you’ll hear how they run or hike in the stories they tell. And, if they aren’t in top physical shape, but would like to be more active again, you’ll have something to do together if that’s important to you. Just be honest.

Being truly honest is required. No cat-fishing allowed. (See that’s where the physical stuff comes into play more so than who they really are). You can’t lie and say you like something or you like to do something when you have no real interest in it. You need commonalities and knowledge up front. At least the realization of them. Don’t waste everyone’s time. You can have differences, of course, but some likes have to be there.

Are there things that Five Eleven and I don’t have in common? Yes. For one thing, I love the ocean and swimming. She doesn’t. At all. Will that work? Yes. She likes the beach and the outdoors. She can watch me boogie board or one day surf in the big waves and I can resuscitate her from her panic when I come back to shore. She can free-climb cliffs or repel down rock faces while it’s my turn to panic from down below (there’s no way I’m hanging off the top of a cliff to watch her). Important thing is we’ll be together in nature, which we both love. Thank goodness she is my type.

So, on this reality show, after the face-to-face date, when this “not-my-type” person turns out to be brown-haired and brown-eyed, is that really a deal breaker from everything you learned about them? What if they are the same height as you and you say your type is taller? Why do we have so many pre-conceived notions of what we want physically? Have those physical traits made a difference in your relationship before? Did it work out for you? Obviously not if you’re out looking again. What if this person who doesn’t fit your “type” turns out to be the most amazing partner, lover and friend? Would have been a shame to pass them up just because they weren’t blonde, huh? So, maybe it’s time to start making some real, life-lasting connections instead? Then, “Not My Type” just might become My Type.

Are you with someone who wasn’t your type? What makes for a good partner? Please share below!

Erica Harding finds someone who wasn’t her type in this novel, Unexpectations.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Vignettes of the Spring Garden

I've been trying to take in more of this spring. I feel like I missed last year with my head injury and all. I still keep a journal of my daily things so I can remember what I did when I can't. Since I'm not on the go as much either, I'm learning to try to look at even the smaller things. I've always liked looking at them but I think that I really haven't had much of a choice. It's good though. Taking a moment to take in the beauty that nature has to offer. Seeing it. Breathing it in and then capturing it on film. (Well, the digital sort). Here are some shots of my garden that I'd like to share with you.

This is a fruit tree of some sort. I'm not usually a pink girl, but the blooms are
quite stunning. Then, I love when it has dropped its petals like colorful snow.

These grape hyacinths were among the first flowers that bloomed this year.

These bearded iris are such a sunny yellow color. Their scent is beyond
sweet. Reminds me of a woman. I picked some to enjoy inside. In the background
is cranesbill which some people seem to call geranium around here.

The peony (I stress the accent on the first syllable) is so heavy that you
really do need to support it with a peony ring or stake. Those fabulous graphic
leaves behind it are lance corporal fleeceflower.

This poor butterfly was missing a chunk of his wing. Despite the "bite," he seemed
to be getting about okay. He was here visiting the chive flowers.

A bloom of the rhododendron. There is a giant round bush on the corner of my yard.
Soon, it will be entirely pink and open.

These are some of the upper blooms that have fully opened on that rhodie.

These tiny red lichens (I'm guessing) grow on a stump that was left in my yard.
The equally tinyblades of grass caught the sunlight just so
 yesterday. It looks so Seussian to me.

This was my yard this morning before my neighbor so graciously cut it. I honestly
wouldn't mind this look, but others probably think it looks like a weed field.

White Siberian Iris along the driveway. My gay Subaru in the background. I love that car.

The non-descript flowers of the Solomon's Seal hang down from its stem.
Iris leaves and an elephant ear also catch the sun.

I had always heard that ants and peonies had a symbiotic relationship.
They kinda help each other out though their survival doesn't rely on the other.

Poppies glow in the sunlight with Siberian Iris in the background. They are
more purple than my Retro Camera app captured them.

When I found this little guy, I always thought he looked like a Moomin.
Moomins are characters from books by Tove Jansson that I loved in my childhood.
I still have quite a collection of them.

My mom gave us her collection of skunks for the garden. This little baby
is tucked in by mint, oregano and butterfly weed. Neighbors have passed by and said
they just may take them for their yard when we aren't looking.

Do you have a garden? Do you take the time to look at it? What are your favorite flowers or plants? Do you have a favorite tchotchke (or garden decoration) that you like? Please share below!

Erica Harding in Unexpectations loved to work in her gardens

Thursday, May 30, 2013

When Leg Hair Takes on a Life of its Own

There I was, sitting on a stool at a friend’s, chatting before our beach walk. First time wearing shorts for the year. Yea, it’s been darned cold in Maine.

I had brushed my hand against my leg when I felt a tickle. It felt like a hair. Funny thing was that I couldn’t brush it off. Then I noticed that there was another one. Couldn’t brush that one off either.

What?! Are those two hairs really attached to the back of my leg?!

Are you freakin’ kidding me?

How can they be there? And, how could they be that friggin’ long? I shave my legs! I shaved them all winter. And, I shaved them all spring, which it technically still is. I do have a girlfriend, you know.

So, I’m trying to be nonchalant and figure out how to deal with those ungodly stragglers while balancing on a bar stool.

Okay, this might be a slight exaggeration of how big those suckers were, but they felt this big.

Nodding pleasantly during the conversation. Not really paying attention, I’m transfixed. Tattooed on the thought of my new appendages. How noticeable are they? Are they dark and thick? Would my friend notice them on our walk? My shorts are on the longer side, but not long enough. Anyone walking in the vicinity would probably see them. I think that anyone using Google Earth at that moment would be able to see them on me.

Again…how did I miss shaving them? They are like their own entities. Do I say something because I must look so uncomfortable and distracted? Do I discuss my sudden desire to braid and bead my leg hair? Maybe turn them into a dreadlock? No, he’s a guy.

“Just let it go, B. Let it go,” I said to myself.

Then I twisted the hairs around my finger and pulled them out. Vowing to never, ever let it happen again.

Have you ever run into a similar situation? How did you handle it? Please share below!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In Search of Forever Love

The idea of a love that lasts forever is one for us hopeful romantics. A theme for songs. For poems. For novels. And, for Hollywood movies (at least the chick flick variety).

Can one love in our life last forever? One love who is there through it all? Through thick and thin? Through ups and downs? As the Disney-theory goes, one would have to say “yes” to those questions. But, from life as I’ve seen it (and from what I’ve seen with so many others), I would say, “not exactly.”

As a friend once suggested, and as my life experiences have played out, there may be several loves in one’s lifetime. Several mates and partners that, each time, we think we are in love with them. The level of love may be different with each of those too. From first loves to lustful loves to this seems like I should make it work love. Maybe for each of those time periods in our life, those different loves worked?

Were we really sure that we were in love in each of those relationships? While we are in them we may think so. There’s the excitement. The butterflies. The passion. But is everything else there that should accompany those feelings? The sharing? The day to day rituals? The leaning on and being there for one another unconditionally? The dreaming of and working towards a future together? All of these things, along with the excitement, butterflies and passion should definitely be there.

Hindsight is 20/20. Looking back usually tells a different story. Initially we think we have those things. But careful or sometimes just obvious thought reveals that we didn’t have true love. It may have been young. It may have been forced. Or, it may have just been about sex and lust. Yea, good sex and lust can certainly feel like love.

Perhaps these different loves we thought we had are really just stepping stones for us? Steps that give us the background and knowledge for what we really want? Or, steps that give us the knowledge of what we don’t want? Steps that have given us experiences to compare what we’ve had to what we really need. Steps that show us how we treat others and how we should be treated.

I’d like to think that, now, as I am in my mid-40s that I have finally found my Forever Love. Funny thing is that I wasn’t even looking for it when it happened. I have been blown away by how right everything is with Five Eleven. How I have fallen in love with her from the inside out. By not looking, by not forcing a relationship, by starting out with a genuine friendship, I found someone who has matched up with all that I have ever wanted. Someone who totally gets me for me. And, who treats me the way I feel I have always deserved to be treated. And she loves the way that I treat her. It’s comfortable. We fit. How lucky am I?

So, from here on out, I figure I still have forever. Forever to experience and live life. And, now, I can do all that with my Forever Love.

How about you? Have you found your Forever Love? When did you find it? What makes it so special for you? Did you ever think you had it, but found out otherwise? Please share your thoughts below. Thanks!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Remember That One Time When You Were a Felon?

Life is never dull. That’s for sure. Either you find excitement or it comes to you. Well, it came to me. 

I’d like to think that I’m a fairly good judge of character and that I tend to gravitate towards people who are generally good…at least in the law-abiding sense. So imagine my response when I found out that I was dating a felon. Astonishment. Disbelief. What the heck? And, are you freakin’ kidding me?

Here I thought Five Eleven was a wonderful, sensitive woman. Caring, thoughtful, smart, funny, handy as all get out. A boi. Her own self. Great with kids. An incredible lover. Never did I think she was a watch-out-you-just-dropped-the-soap kind of lover.

I'm sorry that my life is so dull that I do not have actual pictures of friends in jail.
I had to resort to birds in cages. I do have a friend who works in a prison. Does that count?

How could a woman who has served in Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq end up as a felon? A woman who worked as a drill sergeant to help turn around severely troubled youth in our country? A woman who has been nothing but supportive for me through this whole head injury? The idea just blew my mind. And, hers actually.

It turns out that Five Eleven is not a felon. (You can breathe a sigh of relief Mom and Dad). But, she was called one for about two weeks. Five Eleven was trying to get a new job. She passed the interviews, drug screenings and physical tests (that other women just haven’t been able to) with flying colors. Then it came to having a background check.

Thank goodness the pet store had two kinds of birds in cages to
add visual interest to this post.
Actually, I know I have pics somewhere from when I
used to have a Blue & Gold Macaw...hmm...

It’s amazing how companies who do background checks don’t always look you up with your social security number. Scary actually. Why do we even have that number then? Where Five Eleven used to live, there were a dozen people in that same county with her first, middle and last name. So, is it any wonder that someone else with that same name would have a criminal record? And have spent three years in prison? If the background company actually verified her work history, they would have seen that she was busily employed then and not spending time in some jail for embezzlement. Or, a quick call to the State Police like she did would have clarified things immediately.

So, being a felon put Five Eleven’s hiring date back some which has been a bit of a nuisance, but the good news is she has a new job and she is no longer a felon. Phew! We will be talking about this for a good long time, I’m sure. Like, forever. Even telling our grandkids about it. I can tell them about my time at Band Camp (which we really just called Band in the summer). And, she can tell them about …that one time…when she was at felon camp. You go, good-bad Grandma!*

*Five Eleven does not want to be called Grandma in real life. We have many years (I hope) to contemplate what we’d like to be called by our future Grandbabies.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Boyfriend Died

Yep. He did. He was a cute little thing too. Thank you for your condolences. Now, before you get all crazy with a, “But I thought she was a lesbian and now she has a boyfriend,” attitude, let me clarify. My Boyfriend was a fish. A cute little corydoras catfish. RIP little fish.

No, My Boyfriend is not in this picture. Never did get a picture of him.
Fish do not pose.

And that was his name. My Boyfriend. My Oldest and I laughed like crazy when we came up with that name. And then we laughed every time we talked about him. It sounded better when she said it, because, well, I have a girlfriend. Even Five Eleven was thrown off a bit when I first mentioned My Boyfriend to her. I don’t think that’s something your girlfriend wants to hear.

So, when I had my drink first by the tank, the fish swam over to check out the straw.
As soon as I pulled out my camera to get a picture of them "drinking," they stayed away.

You probably also want the details on what happened. I’m thinking the pH got off and he couldn’t handle it like the other fish. My Boyfriend was delicate. Obviously too delicate.

So, when we get the pH back in line, I’d like to get another cory or two. We’ll have to name one My New Boyfriend for my Oldest. And the other one, we’ll name, My Boifriend With An I, just because we wouldn’t want it to sound weird or anything when I said it.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Making a Fashion Statement with Medical Tape

“Mom, your glasses don’t match your leather jacket,” says Little One.

“Thank you, honey. They really don’t match anything.”

Remember how I wrote about how everyone thought I looked fine? (Read about that here). Well, now, thanks to a Neuro-Opthamologist, I look like a certified goober. With my new glasses, it looks like there is actually something wrong with me.

Let me explain. I’m now wearing plain glasses with strips of medical tape running vertically by the nose piece. Stylish, huh? The tape is supposed to get a few parts of my brain that have to do with vision, to actually talk with each other. I guess my midline vision and my peripheral vision aren’t working together.

Snazzy, huh? How do you supposed they'd pair with a little black dress?

Picture if everything you looked at was constantly jumping around. So minutely that you don’t notice it (well, sometimes you do), but your brain notices it by scrambling your head and balance. The doctor told me that since I was in such good physical shape when I had the head injury, that I’ve been able to compensate quite well. Well, better than others perhaps, but not perfectly.

I can’t really see the tape while I’m wearing the glasses, but others can’t miss it. I can tell that people just stare. Some may say nothing while I’ve gotten other complete strangers asking about it. I even got a blunt, “What’s wrong with you?” The cashier followed up with a quick apology.

I can still see with them on, thank goodness.

Now, this can actually be a positive. Like, when I’m in the checkout line and I can’t remember the pin number for my debit card to save my life. Instead of staring blankly at the pin pad or guessing on several number combinations that sound vaguely familiar, I can point at my glasses and say, “Head injury. Can you run that as credit instead?”

I have some good friends who have tried to be positive about their comments to make me feel good.

“You can hardly even see the tape,” they say. But they saw it to tell me.

Or, “You look good in glasses.” While hinting that there are nicer frames available.

Or, “It looks like a new type of bifocal.” Uh huh. Not.

I had a really good friend say to me when she saw them for the first time, “What’s with the goggles?!” Because there is no hiding an elephant in the room. Thank goodness for true friends.

No matter what anyone thinks, I’m going to continue wearing them. And crossing my fingers that they work. It sure would be nice to have my balance back so I feel more sure-footed and perhaps can ride a bicycle again (or learn to surf). And, they are supposed to help with the constant headaches and nausea that accompany the swirling in my head.

Plus, if this works to the point where I don’t have to wear them anymore, I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to coordinate my outfits with medical tape, since obviously, nothing really matches it anyway.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Trippin’ Like Alice

I find that I like making analogies and comparing bits of my life to other things. A while back, I compared relationships to a ten-speedbike. As of late, I’ve been feeling like my life is like a fairy tale. I’ve got love in my life like a happy Disney movie. Yay. But, then, I’ve got JeffersonAirplane White Rabbit, swirly, non-sensical, 1865 Lewis Carroll, voodoo stuff going on too.

My inability to stay focused on any task at hand and the constant nausea and spinning in my brain has me feeling like I’m tripping like Alice in Wonderland. Not to mention the going from drug to drug to “help” with my post-concussive syndrome. I wish I could take a drug and just grow out of this or shrink out of it…either way…like Alice did. And, then, I’d be done with it all. But, no. I’m just so sensitive to meds. Most have made me feel more cloudy or foggy than I already am. And, I’m not really sure if they could cure it, but just lessen some side effects.

Teas sometimes help with headaches. I swear this one made with mushrooms
makes me have funky dreams. Look for them at your local Asian market.

Obviously, the whole story of Alice in Wonderland was like one big drug trip (though I’ve heard the author says otherwise). I’d like to say that I have personal college experience to compare it to, that I inhaled, but no, I’m your typical goody-two-shoes. A square. My closest comparison would be doctor-prescribed medicines. What I’ve experienced sounds like what friends have described at parties (at college or the like). I personally don’t like what I’ve experienced. My reaction is one of the reasons I fought so hard to have surgery without being put under.

I think, too, that I’m the type of person who experiences all those scary, horrible side effects that you hear on the commercials on TV. Who wants to have difficulty breathing, rashes, dizziness, seizures, bleeding, coma, heart attacks, stroke, urinary tract infections, thoughts of suicide, your bits falling off, death? Okay, I’m not sure about your bits falling off, but I’ve heard all the other ones mentioned and have experienced way too many side effects to be comfortable with. So, why would anyone in their right mind want to take something with those possible side effects? Death? Really? Good times. Neat.

I haven’t found that any of the drugs I took had benefits that outweighed the side effects I felt. Why would I choose to be groggy 18 hours after taking something to help me sleep? And, it didn’t even help me sleep, just kept me awake and groggy through the night. Thank goodness I have a sister who is a pharmacist. She’s been able to tell me that I’m having a reaction and how to stop (you can’t always go cold turkey). Are those allergic reactions what people like to experience? Is that the “high” that people talk about?

Oh, like carrying around little wax paper things of white powder doesn't look sketchy?
Five Eleven told me about this. I seriously thought she was doing something illegal.
It's a southern thing.

I used to be the person who would throw out their Advil and Tylenol because it would be outdated before I even came close to using a small bottle up. (Yes, my pharmacist sister is all about dates on meds). Now, I’ve used up those bottles trying to find relief for my headaches, but they have never actually taken the entire headache away.

Do you take meds for something? Do you find that they actually help you? Do you experience side effects? Do you like those side effects? Can you live with what you have without take any meds?

I’ve found myself having to live with new levels of headaches. What used to be a 4 or 5 (on the pain scale out of 10) when this whole thing happened, occasionally goes up to a 6 or 7 or even 8. Then, I have to wait until my body gets used to that new level and feels like a 4 or 5 again to me. Not fun, but what else do I do?

Generic Advil and Benadryl. Benadryl helps with nausea.
Just makes you sleepy unless you're one of the people it makes jittery.

I’m not all anti-drug, just so you know. I don’t mind some drugs. Allergy meds in the spring and Benadryl are my friends. When my doctor highly recommends something that may help me, I’ll now take her advice and try it. Even if I start with half of the most possible baby dose they make. And, one of these days, we might actually find something that works where I’m not trippin’ like Alice.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Snow and My Brain

All these pictures were taken on one recent winter’s day.

I’m driving through this period in my life…my time with what I have to call “living with a brain injury.” Hi, my name is Barbara. And, I have a brain injury. Who woulda knew?

Almost ten months now. No other way to describe it. I’m trying to accept it. I even go to a brain injury support group. Wouldn't have guessed I'd ever be doing that either.

My life is very different. Trying to figure out where I'm going. At times, it feels heavy. There’s an amount of grief involved.

It pulls…it weighs…

I know this is not who I was…it’s not who I want to be. Will I find a happy medium?

I try to use humor every day. Have to learn to make fun of myself even more than I do.

I still try to see the beauty in and around my life.

The lightness of my world.

And not dwell on the constant pain in my head or get wrapped up in the changes that have made me not feel like me. But, it’s hard.

I have to believe that time will heal my head. (Yes, B., more time. Be patient.)

And maybe someday, I can use what I’ve learned to help others? To give them hope that the cold and dark winter they think they always feel…will eventually warm and that their thoughts and bodies will once again…just flow.

That’s what I’m wishing for.

A story written by the old me…of loss, love, hope and new love…Unexpectations.