Missing In Action

June 27, 2008

As Texas Peach pointed out, I’ve been pretty quiet lately. This last week of school has taken a lot out of me (proctoring exams for students with 504 accommodations is draining) and I’ve been too exhausted to even think about composing an entry. This weekend is going to be extremely hectic, too, so I’ll quickly try to catch you up to speed.

I had the second series of Epidural Steroid Injections last Friday. The anesthesia made such a difference. I felt pretty good after the procedure, and the surprisingly mild discomfort lasted through Saturday, so I thought I had dodged the pain bullet. But it caught up with me on Sunday, and was so bad I had to stay home from work on Monday. The pain has lessened since then, but I’m still in pain every damn day. I have an appointment with the pain management specialist for follow-up in six weeks.

Today is the last day of school. I can’t wait to walk out of that building, knowing I don’t have to go back until September 2nd. After we get out, I’m going to Albany with My Friend. She has a pre-surgical appointment, and asked me to go along for the ride. Her appointment is at 4:00, so we won’t be home until this evening.

Tomorrow morning, I’m scheduled for a massage followed by cut and color. (How convenient that my beauty salon offers both services.) Saturday evening, My Friend is taking me out to dinner because of all my help with the English 11 Anthology projects. On Sunday, we’re going to a graduation party for my nephew. Next week, I have at least two doctor appointments (maybe three). I can’t wait for a break in activity. I need some down time.

Song of the Day: M.I.A. by Avenged Sevenfold

Spinelli Salutations

June 15, 2008

I’m really down because of the return of the scary headaches (and, yes, Michael, I did think they were gone forever). However, my spirits were lifted a bit this morning thanks to an email from my Bradford buddy, Allison. She went to a meet and greet at the Manchester Animal Shelter in New Hampshire yesterday. Much to my surprise, Bradford asked about me, by name. I wasn’t expecting that at all. He is such a sweetheart.

There’s going to be another fan event in NYC next month, but, unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend because that’s the day I’ll be coming home from a vacation at the Jersey shore. Actually, I don’t know how much of a “vacation” that’s going to be. My daughter, Leigh, begged me to go because the presence of an adult is required for many of the rentals. Against my better judgment, I said yes. There will be five young people… and me. This should be interesting.

My aching head wants to bury itself into a pillow, so I think I’ll go back to bed for a while before I have to go visit my father.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Song of the Day: Father Figure by George Michael

Friday the 13th

June 14, 2008

Yesterday lived up to the hype and turned out to be a bad luck day, indeed.  The scary headaches are back after 9 or 10 months of blissful freedom from this particular pain.  These headaches are truly the bane of my existence.  They make my life an absolute misery.  They make me want to roll over and die.

To top things off, yesterday was my brothers’ birthday.

Enough wallowing in the mire.  If I’m going to get anything done today (and there’s lots to do), I need to start now.  It’s going to be slow going with this crippling headache.

Song of the Day:  Friday the 13th by Wardance

Heat Rave

June 10, 2008

A couple of you mentioned Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One in yesterday’s comments. That just happens to be the book I bought in the thrift shop a couple of weeks ago. I read the book when it first came out in hardcover (about 18 years ago), and loved it. So I agree with Sunshyn and Michael. And, Mary, thank you for your recommendations. I’ve added The Once and Future King to my list. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a great movie. Is the book even better? Does anyone else have any recommendations? (Other than Mad magazine, my dear LA!)

In other news, I saw the new pain management doctor yesterday. She prescribed Lidoderm patches, Cymbalta (anti-depressants taken in small doses have been found to be helpful for pain), and the anti-inflammatory, Naproxen. The pharmacy bill for these meds came to a staggering $65. That might not seem like a lot of money to some of you, but it sure is to me, especially considering that I won’t be earning a paycheck over the summer.  The potential side effects are pretty alarming, as well.

Besides the medication therapy, I also have to go back for trigger point injections.  Dr PM could have performed the procedure yesterday, but said she will only do the injections if someone is there with me.  I explained that I didn’t drive, and had taken the Dial-A-Ride bus, but that wasn’t good enough for her.  She insists that someone has to accompany me when I have the injections.

I don’t want to take any more time off from work (other than on the 20th, when I am scheduled for the second series of Epidural Steroid Injections), so I’ll go back for the trigger point injections after school gets out.  (June 27th is our last day.) However, the way my back feels (it took a turn for the worse yesterday), I don’t know if I’ll make it until then…

Speaking of work, school will be dismissed at 11:30 this morning because of the excessively high temps. I’m hoping to catch a ride home with My Friend so I don’t have to walk in this god-awful heat.

Song of the Day: Too Darn Hot from Kiss Me Kate

Saw this over at Hil’s place and couldn’t resist doing it myself, being the book lover that I am.

Meme: The top 100 or so books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. Bold the books you have read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish.

Note: I can’t remember which, if any, I read for school – The Catcher in the Rye, perhaps…

Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights

The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
(One of my favorites!)
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Iliad
Emma
The Blind Assassin

The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged (Eww – Ayn Rand!)
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex

Quicksilver
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West (This is on my “To-read” list.)
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World

The Fountainhead (My least favorite book. Honestly, I hated it.)
Foucault’s Pendulum
Middlemarch
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula

A Clockwork Orange (Loved the movie but never got around to reading the book.)
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
1984
Angels & Demons

Inferno
The Satanic Verses (It’s on my bookshelf, but I haven’t read it yet.)
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray

Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse (No, but I did read Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Dune
The Prince

The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things

A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
Cryptonomicon
Neverwhere (This one is also on my “To-read” list.)
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Beloved
Slaughterhouse-five
The Scarlet Letter

Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Lolita
Persuasion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel

I’m curious about how many of these books others have read. Leave a note in the comments, if you feel so inclined.

Currently Reading: The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman and The Awakening by Kate Chopin (The latter is a re-read)

Song of the Day: The Book I Read by Talking Heads

Garden Party

June 8, 2008

I got my camera back, so, as promised, here are the photos of the carrot cake (decorated with fresh flowers), and my new bed ensemble (It looks better in person, and you can’t see the bedskirt, which is striped):

I have some more pictures I want to post. These were taken at the Botanical Gardens yesterday. A little birdie joined us during our picnic lunch, and had the cheek to hop over and steal something from my plate..

Highlights of our visit included the rose garden:

the sculptures by Henry Moore,

and “Darwin’s Garden.” (The first shot is a recreation of Darwin’s window looking out on the garden.)

It would have been a wonderful day if not for the oppressive heat. It’s much too early for it to be so hot. According to the forecast, it’s supposed to be 97 tomorrow and 98 on Tuesday. I hate this weather.

Song of the Day: Octopus’s Garden by The Beatles

A Room of One’s Own

June 5, 2008

I haven’t had time to post entries lately, so I thought I’d squeeze one in this morning. Last week’s activities included two birthday celebrations – Daniel on Wednesday, and my aunt on Saturday. The celebration for Daniel’s birthday was intimate. We went to dinner with Rebecca and her boyfriend.

There was a big party for my aunt, who turned 75. It was nice to hang out with cousins (and an uncle from Miami) I don’t get to see very often. The highlight of the party (for me, at any rate) was the carrot cake my cousin’s wife made. She’s a pastry chef, and this cake is to die for. It was beautiful, as well as delicious. I took a picture, but left my camera behind when we left the party. I’ll get the camera back on Friday, so I’ll post the photo at a later date.

Yesterday, I had an appointment with the orthopedic guy to go over the results of my last MRI. It seems that I have quite a bit of arthritis in my cervical spine, along with nerve entrapment. This could be causing the pain in my shoulder blade. Dr. Bones referred me to pain management, and an appointment was scheduled for Monday.

There’s not much else to write about, but I did want to mention today’s Simple Abundance essay. The essay is titled, “Your Bedroom: Cradle of Civilization.” It starts with this quote from Mrs. Winston Guest: All one really needs is a divinely attractive bed.

Interestingly enough, I just changed the bed ensemble yesterday – bedskirt, sheets, pillow shams and quilt/comforter. The ensemble I removed was bringing me down. It was too big and heavy. I tripped over the edges of the comforter whenever I walked around the bed to make it. Consequently, I stopped making it, even though I hate an unmade bed.

Making the bed is among the quickest and easiest of chores, and it makes such a difference. Getting into an unmade bed is not only unappealing, but it also causes me physical pain when I have to wrench the sheets, blanket and comforter back into a position where they will cover me.

Sarah Ban Breathnach writes, “ Your bedding should be as inviting to look at as it is comfortable to lie on. I am convinced that a woman should love her bedcovers with a passion. This isn’t just aesthetics; it encourages you to keep your bedroom tidy because the bed looks so pretty when it’s all made up… You can see this leads to Sublime Order, at least in one room of your home.”

Sublime Order is sadly lacking in other rooms of my house (especially the kitchen) because I succumb to pain and fatigue by the time I get home from work, and it’s all I can do to make dinner. But a bedroom should be a sanctuary – a place where you can go to get away from the chaos of life. The new bedding has restored my bedroom to the oasis it should be. I’ll post a picture (along with the carrot cake) when I get my camera back.

Song of the Day: Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Muldaur