Wednesday, July 30, 2014

these dreams: naked turtles and professor sagat

You guys should be well-versed by now in my irrational fears [Tangent: exhibit A and exhibit B.] and frankly, I need no fuel to the garbage fire of insanity that is my imagination...but lately I have been having the strangest dreams and wanted to share. Unless I have been misguided all my life, sharing is caring, right? After reading, feel free to tell me your most bizarre dreams of late so I feel some sense of camaraderie aboard the crazy train.

It all started a couple weeks ago, I had the following dream:

I was sitting on a big porch overlooking the beach as a storm rolled in. There were these tall, pretty mangrove trees...but oddly hanging from the branches were these huge turtle shells. As it started to storm, the wind blew and one by one....turtles fell from the trees. Turtles without shells. Naked turtles.  


[Tangent: Now I have never in real life beheld a shell-less turtle. I have only seen adorable turtles at the beach.  I wish I could say that the dream amphibian was demure and adorable like the  cartoon google images found above, however, this sight was chill-inducing. It was like gelatinous flubber, but with eyes and little rough turtle beaks.]



As if that image wasn't haunting enough, the little suckers were fast when not encumbered by a massive shell and as they fell, they began skittering up my legs. I awoke in a cold sweat kicking everywhere. I cannot stop thinking about this dream.  [Tangent: This was only slightly crazier than the waking/half-asleep dream I had the other day when I went to a college lecture class and turns out I was walking into the audience of America's Funniest Home Videos. I tried to look it up in Jamie's dream dictionary, but it's publishing date was 1975, when Sagat and Bergeron were just wee lads. Dang ]

After spending many nights contemplating shell-less turtles and possible horrifying scenarios involving them, I decided to see if anyone else shared this dream [Tangent: Seriously the pictures yielded by google images were crazy!! This was honestly  the least upsetting of the bunch....probably because it is an illustration and accompanied an article about the evolution of the turtle shell...so it was not intended to haunt your dreams.]

  Of course, the internet steered me in the right direction! Both yahoo answers and several other message boards were littered with people asking about their dreams involving shell-less turtle attacks! I AM NOT ALONE! I only wish the advice and interpretations came from mystics or psychologists...instead they came from assholes. Oh well.  Cest La Vie!



What have you been dreaming about? 
Will you be able to sleep tonight without seeing a naked turtle under your eyelids? Thought not! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Nerds and Nomsense- Call for contributors

Attention fellow bloggers, DIYers, foodies, dorky people and surveyors of useless pop culture knowledge, the site I write about on the side Nerds and Nomsense is doing a call for new monthly contributors. If you are a writer, it is great exposure and a great way to manifest your destiny and get published [Tangent: Not an easy feat!]

Click on the button below that takes you to the application! This weekend is your last weekend to do it! DON'T BLOW IT!

http://www.nerdsandnomsense.com/call-for-new-writers-summer-2014-edition/

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

my crazy obsession: 2 year old edition

Preamble: I know I have been a spotty poster, and this month, the majority of my posts have been guest posts [Tangent: Seriously thanks to Kristen and Sarah for being eloquent and classy only for me to go and reverse it with my shallow spiels.] . This inconsistency is a deadly mixture of being lazy and busy ....we'll call it "bazy," but life is simmering and getting dramatically more status quo boring, so it's back to hearing about that my ridiculous affairs. Yay for you!

So you know I watch a lot of crap TV, right? [Tangent: A friend of mine recently was appalled that I shrug off Game of Thrones in favor of fare like Little Women: LA. (I've shamelessly watched every episode.) I mean I love Peter Dinklage, but I guess I prefer my little people on the small screen to be catfighting instead of dragon slaying. Sorry.] So one show I love without shame is TLC's crazy train of programming My Crazy Obsession. [Tangent: Which is pretty much interchangable with My Strange Addiction on TLC.] There is one episode where they profile a couple head over butt crazy obsessed with Cabbage Patch Kids. They treat take them out in public and treat them like an actual child.


The above was pretty much my week last week...only the adorer of said child of the patch was not an unhinged 50 something, but rather my super cute two and a half year old niece. Because of this, her neurotic obsession was adorable and not bone-chilling. Long story short, once my sweet niece, Ellie, found the doll in my closet, they became inseparable besties. [Tangent: In the top of my closet, I keep some relics of my childhood...my original Cabbage Patch Doll...my tin Sesame Street lunchbox from preschool (that probably would be worth something had I not emblazoned my name all over Grover's face to keep some other rugrat from stealing it during nap time) and other things that I refuse to part ways with.] Here is photographic proof of their love affair!


the doll's FUPA is out of control.

she read her stories every night


she did this all by herself. I can't comment on my doll's level of diaper wedge, but Jamie calls this look "shit suspenders"

ok...so my niece wasn't quite understanding that you aren't supposed to sit on historic civil war soldier's headstones. Her sense of history has not yet kicked in. Don't worry, we told her to get off after we snapped this picture.
This morning, my niece went back to Cali and left the object of her week-long obsession behind. It's probably for the best...we don't want this to spiral out of control. It won't be as gosh-darn adorable when she is 50.

Who am I kidding? I am currently looking for a replacement to send her in the mail to fill that cabbage patch sized void in her life. However, it won't be with these things...they are horrifying... Am I a total dick for not just giving her mine? Probably...

Friday, July 11, 2014

A long overdue guest blog: A Brutally Honest Look at Diagnosis Day...One Year Later

For the last year, I have been begging my best friend to start her own blog. [Tangent: Yes...in addition to putting up with my grade-A brand of BS for the last 20 years,  she is a fantastic writer. ] Yesterday, she called me as she always does to tell me that she was feeling lots of feelings regarding a really huge milestone/anniversary and wanted to trap them all on paper and share them. Because she learned not to listen to me years ago, and doesn't have a blog, I decided to loan her mine for the day.  She's not promoting anything or trying to get you to shop at her etsy, she just needed a platform, and thankfully I have a little corner of the internet to share. Despite the fact that I am generally not huge on "mommy bloggery" (I'm not a mom and I can't relate on that level.), I think you'll appreciate her honesty (and plus there are some REALLY cute baby pictures near the end if you are a slow reader).  Take it away, Kristen...

One year ago today, I was 20 weeks pregnant. My husband and I were anxious to know what was growing in my bely...a little girl or a little boy? What would our lives become: football in the fall or pink tutus? Everything had been going well. From the moment I saw the second line on my home pregnancy test, I knew it was a boy. I had no doubts. I didn't care one way or the other, but I had the strongest gut feeling that we would be having a son.



Early in the pregnancy, my husband and I discussed whether or not to go through the early genetic testing. We decided against it. Neither one of us had any heredity anomalies between our families. Looking back, I wonder if our disinterest was due to fear. What if something was "wrong"? What would we do?  I don't think we were willing to risk being put in the position to make a decision like one that could potentially come from a frightening diagnosis.  So on the day we walked into our 20 week anatomy scan, all we were really concerned about was pink or blue?

I laid on the table and the ultrasound tech squeezed warm jelly all over my round stomach. We couldn't wait to know.  She started the scan and thoroughly examined every square centimeter of the tiny baby from head to toe. Unfortunately, the baby's position was less than ideal for a completely accurate gender reveal. The tech tried every trick up her sleeve and was finally able to get a little glimpse. She was 90% sure it was a girl.

She then wiped off m belly as she concluded the 45 minute detailed ultrasound. She exited the room to check with the doctor before we could leave as we had previously discussed before she began the exam.

We sat in shock. A little girl. I could not believe it. My mother's intuition was already faltering, but I was happy regardless.  My husband, however, was visibly disappointed. He had wanted a boy, a son to share his passion for sports with. I think a lot of men feel this way in the beginning. Girls are terrifying. Have you seen ow short the skirts and shorts these teen girls are wearing nowadays? We talked a little and absorbed our new information. A sweet girl on the way. Ok. We could do this.

We waited for the tech to return so we could leave. We had a mass of friends and family who were on pins and needles all day awaiting the baby's gender. We waited...and waited...and waited even more.

Finally, the door cracked letting in the bright light from the hallway into the tiny dark room we were in. A doctor entered, one that we had never met on prior visits. She introduced herself as a high risk pregnancy specialist and quickly got to the reason she was there. She began with explaining our baby had a congenital heart defect.

All I heard was: heart defect....heart failure...open heart surgery...and infancy. I immediately began weeping in fear. My baby has what?!? She explained it thoroughly and clearly, but I couldn't comprehend. I gripped my husband's hands tightly as if it would make this less real, like the strength of my grasp would make this news bearable. Tears poured down my cheeks, but she didn't stop there.

She then explained that the heart defect my tiny 20 week old fetus had was commonly associated with other genetic anomalies. It wasn't over, but I felt I couldn't take anything more. I was done. I heard: chromosome....disorder...and the words Down Syndrome. I couldn't breathe.

I cried even harder and now and lost my last shred of composure. I'm certain my cries were heard all throughout the long hallway of ultrasound rooms and waiting areas filled with other expectant mommies-to-be.

As the tears flowed, the doctor's explained that we could have close to a 100% confirmation of the chromosomal disorder she suspected within 24 hours via amniocentesis. We quickly agreed to the horrifying test. Now, we wanted to know. We HAD to know.

After the amnio was performed, we sat in the car in shock and disbelief. This can't be real. This isn't our lives, is it? But it was. We looked down at our phones, which were both full of alerts, messages and missed calls from our friends and family who had expected to hear from us already about the baby's gender.

Gender? I'm not even thinking about gender anymore. The previous day, it was all I thought of...only now, I didn't care anymore. I called my mother and could only get the words, "Something is wrong with the baby's heart and she might have something wrong with her chromosomes."  Even those few words were nearly impossible to say through hysterical crying. She immediately left work to meet us at home. We finished our car ride in complete silence, in shock, in fear and numb.

When my mother arrived, I explained it all. I cried.  I screamed. I wailed out in a way I've never cried before and hope to never cry again. She cried too, and stroked my hair as I laid across the chair I was in. I realized in that moment that like I cried for my baby, she was crying for hers. It was one of my first revelations about motherhood.

The next day, my mother and my husband's mother, who had driven up, as well as a group of friends that I've had for over a decade surrounded us as we digested the information. We feared for our daughter's tiny imperfect heart. We feared that if she had Down Syndrome, her life wouldn't be what we wanted for her. We feared that if she had Down Syndrome, our own lives wouldn't be what we wanted for ourselves. It feels embarrassing to admit that. I felt incredible overpowering guilt for the sadness and fear I had inside me. Was I already a terrible mother? Was I supposed to be taking this all in stride? To be cliche, all I had talked about when asked if I wanted a boy or girl was wanting a healthy baby. [I now hate that answer.] I don't have that now. I have a sick baby, who we already knew would at the very least require open-heart surgery during infancy to survive...and more issues were a mere 24 hours from potentially being revealed. The guilt was suffocating and the magnitude was excruciating. I phsically ached as we waited for the call that would determine our future.

With our friends and mothers in the next room, waiting patiently, the call came in and as expected, our little girl had a confirmed diagnosis of Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome.

The following weeks, I cried a lot. I found myself OK one moment, only to be overwhelmed with tears the next. What will she be like? Will people accept her? Will people love her? Will I love her the way I wanted to? Will people make jokes at her expense? Will people pity her? Will they pity us?

The guilt over my sadness grew and festered. I wanted to be that person who heard the diagnosis, accepted it and immediately became the strong mother/advocate for children with intellectual disabilities I see on human interest pieces on nightly news shows. I simply wasn't there.

Looking back a year later, I wish for three things:
  1.  I wish I could tell myself that I am strong enough for this. I had never felt more weak in those days of chaos. My strength came back and grew by leaps and bounds this past year. 
  2. I wish I would allow myself the sadness and fear without succumbing to the guilt. It's okay to feel sad. We call it grieving the child you thought you'd have (although realistically, do any of us really know what our tiny fetus will grow to be? )
  3. I wish more than anything I could tell myself that the moment I would look in er eyes after she was born 5 weeks early and only 3 lbs 14 oz that I immediately would be washed in an overwhelming calm. It will be okay. She is perfect. 
While this past year has been the absolute most difficult of my life, between the prenatal diagnosis of AVSD heart defect, bed rest at 27 weeks pregnant, preterm birth, 3 days of labor ending in a cesarean, 6 weeks in the NICU, heart failure, open heart surgery, failure to thrive and our newest bonus diagnosis of leukemia, I would not trade anything for my sweet and beautiful daughter.

She doesn't know it, but I have learned more from having her in my life than from anything else in the past 31 years. She is perfect . She will laugh. She will love. She will have successes and failures. All humans do. My job is to love her through them and when she aches because soemthing hurts so bad she can't breathe, my job will be to sit beside her and stroke her hair and cry with my baby, just like a mother should.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Running for the First Time: A Guest Blog by Sarah Mueller

You know how I tell you all regularly that blogging has brought some great people into my life? Well, allow me to introduce you to Sarah, who  I have actually met in real life...but who first contacted me via email because she thought like-minded wheelchair chicks should flock together. In addition to being a cool gal, she is a talented author, who has put out the book Elf Help: Ability Therapy. Her Ability Therapy Facebook page is always spilling over with interesting disability articles, if that is your thing. Also, she is only 27! [Tangent: Way to make this 31 year-old feel super unaccomplished!]


Enough shameless plugs, what am I getting at? Well, yesterday I noticed she had posted a video of herself trying out a zero-gravity treadmill  allowing her basically to be able to run for the first time ever. [Tangent: She is the Sandra Bullock of Spina Bifida. Get it...Gravity...anyone?!?] 



As you can see, for a 45 second video, the joy on her face was intense and contagious. It made me happy. Of course, immediately I wanted her to get on paper what it was like.[Tangent: Sarah is much more eloquent, less snarky and uses less four letter words. Enjoy something classy for a change!] 

Take it away Sarah...

At around 3:05 pm this afternoon, I experienced the most amazing, significant, positive (OK I get it, that’s probably sufficient!) and life-changing event to-date. Before I tell you what happened, let me provide you with a little backstory on who I am:


 I’m 27 years old, and I was born with a neural tube birth defect called spina bifida myelomeningocele. It’s the most common, permanent disabling birth defect known to medical science, but too few seem to know about it. There are several different kinds of spina bifida, as well as levels, but I won’t proceed to overwhelm you with all the details. If you’d like to learn more, please visit: sbaa.org (The National Spina Bifida Association)

For now, all you need to know is that spina bifida is a very fancy way of saying that a person’s spinal cord did not fully develop during fetal growth. Myelomeningocele happens to be the most severe form of spina bifida, but my level is one of the most mild levels—L5-S1, meaning my 5th Lumbar and 1st Sacral vertebrae are incompletely formed and therefore my neurological function is hindered at that level. The lower the “defect” (I am not really a fan of that word!) on your spine, the more function you are able to retain after birth.



While spina bifida is often referred to as a “snowflake” condition (meaning every single case is unique and different) there can be many similarities between cases—but these similarities typically do not affect each person in the same way. For me, this means that I am able to get around with the aid of a cane for short distances, and a wheelchair for longer ones. I cannot run or jump, and walking very short distances causes physical pain for me. So…that brings you right up to the magical moment I experienced this

 How did I accomplish this, you ask? 

I tried out an anti-gravity treadmill! [To be precise: The AlterG Anti Gravity Treadmill]  While the logistics of this machine are still a bit over my head, I’ll try to explain what I do understand.
per the AlterG site
First, you put on some really silly looking shorts that are a lot like scuba diving pants. Then, you step onto the treadmill into a tiny opening. Once you’re securely in the open spot, physical therapists will pull up what looks like a giant bag all around your body, up to about right under the chest line, and then proceed to zip it up all around you.

At this point (if you aren’t completely freaked out by the experience yet—just wait!) this giant bag around you then fills with air until you are lifted slightly above the running strip on the treadmill. It’s like you’re floating on air! Then, the device lowers you back down until your feet are again touching it.

From this point on you get to decide how much support the machine provides you—all based upon your individual needs as it relates to your muscle mass and overall strength. Once you have that plugged in, you can begin going as fast or as slow as you would like. The goal is to feel comfortable, and to feel absolutely no pain as you get an amazing cardio workout! It also happens to have a TV screen attached to it, so you can be entertained while you work out, or even have a camera directly on your feet and legs so you can see if you are running straight, or having any difficulties you may otherwise be unable to feel. In other words, this machine is amazing.

 My results:
 I went in with some serious lower back, shoulder, clavicle and knee pain (…let’s just say that everything hurt when I went in). And afterward? I had Zero pain, soreness, aching.

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. 

It took everything in me to keep from bawling my eyes out! There didn’t seem to be a dry eye in the room as all the physical therapists stopped what they were doing to watch me. Apparently, I was the first person to come in and ask to try the machine out, so they were mesmerized by the fact I was experiencing something so monumental --for the very first time--, in their clinic, on this machine that they were barely even used to using yet.


I managed to keep my emotions in check while there, but I’m not afraid to say once I was in the privacy of my own vehicle, I spent a good 10-15 minutes crying hysterically with joy. have spent my entire life dreaming of what it would feel like to go for a run. To be honest, I would have happily settled for knowing what it felt like to walk more than a few minutes without feeling excruciating lower back pain. But instead of “just” one wish, today I was granted two.

As I sat in my car reflecting on what had just taken place, all I could think of were two things:
  1. I am filled with so much gratitude, elation and awe I think I might burst.
  2. I would go through every bit of physical and emotional pain in life all over again if I knew it would bring me back to this moment in time 

Additionally, I couldn’t help but wonder

"What are all the doctors who have told me and my family that I would never be able to do anything with my life up to right now?"

 "How about the bullies and other various tormentors who colored the past nearly three decades of my existence?"

 But in the end, those final questions are so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I just had the most spectacular, memorable day…and my soul is overflowing with gratitude and happiness! When all is said and done, I can do some very incredible things, and my life is more fulfilling than words could ever convey. In short…my life is a never ending gift, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

I feel like the luckiest person on Earth.

Monday, July 7, 2014

survey says...

Guys, I gotta apologize and say a hearty I'm sorry for only really posting a teensy handful of blogs this month. I have been a little busy and uninspired but I am posting two in a row...so there. [Tangent: I even have some reviews and things that have been backburnered for later in July because I can't give them the attention they need.] For this reason, I am MAKING myself write this morning. What better way than to go all 2005 Myspace survey on you folks like I have done before! Enjoy. [Tangent: Also, I challenge all my blogger friends to repost when they are having a throwaway day.]

Currently:

Loving...

My mom has had a ton of work done on this house lately. She needed change. I have never been good with change especially things that hold memories considering I have lived in this house on and off since I was born. However, I am kind of in love with the new deck because it makes me feel like I live in a tree house or am at the beach everyday. Both are amazing options. It's been done for only a few days but I already am obsessed with it! 


Reading...

I wish I could say I was reading Infinite Jest or War and Peace, but I am not...I am mostly reading Entertainment Weekly and Buzzfeed. The last book I read was The Fault in Our Stars, which I plowed through in 2 days last month and I have started his other work An Abundance of Katherines so I guess I will claim that.


My bookshelves are spilling over with my "to read list" so I am determined that next year I am gonna do a 100 books a year challenge like Rae over at Say it Ain't So. I am nothing without goals and deadlines.



Watching...

Last week, we started the new HBO series The Leftovers. [Tangent: Since season one of Silicon Valley ended, I have a little HBO sized hole in my life. This came just in time.]


Not only is the show created by Damon Lindelof of Lost and Tom Perotta, who wrote Little Children and Election, but it has everything that fascinates me: cults, rapture...Justin Theroux's perfect eyebrows. After the first episode, I have absolutely no idea what is going on and I love it. [Tangent: I do know that Beyonce and Gary Busey are among those spirited away, so I guess that afterlife is filled with bootylicious crazynesss.]

Listening to...

I have been mostly listening to podcasts because they allow me to drown out background noise at work...when I am going to sleep...when I am driving...whenever.


My routine is pretty cut and dry: Who Charted? on the way to work [Tangent: I am obsessed with Howard Kremer and was thrilled to go see him perform at the High Watt earlier this summah. This old lady went to a 10:30 comedy show, so you know my love is real.] and Go Bayside on the way home. [Tangent: If have never listened before and you love Saved By the Bell...seriously...what is wrong with you??!??! They are deep into the Tori episodes, which means the pod cast series is coming to an end. Ugh. I am bummed. If only, April Richardson would next tackle BH 90210.]

Working on...

Planning a baby shower. My family from California are coming in town in a couple weeks so we can have a baby shower for my sister (and spend lots of time with my ridiculous niece.). We are all really excited! [Tangent: This is my fourth baby shower hostessing in the last year, so long story short- if you don't wanna be great with child, stay away from me. I am like a daggum Kokopelli. ] This is what the internet told my sister her son would look like.

How cute is my hypothetical nephew? (even with weird toddler five o'clock shadow).


Sunday, July 6, 2014

App Happy Chronicles- What Would I Say? (crazy stuff apparently)

The fourth came and went, and I completely failed to acknowledge my blogoversary! Four years! Thanks to those that supported me and made me feel like my then new hobby was worth while, and for those readers that have found me along the way. [Tangenet: I guess what I am trying to say is.
"Thanks for loving me Tangents and all."] 
To celebrate I decided to give you what you should come to expect from my site... random ballyhoo.

With all that sweetness out of the way, for someone that uses technology like I require it for breathing [Tangent: Which I kind of do...my lungs are shitty.], I have no ideas what makes the Internet and computers beep and boop. Daily I come across things online that make me wish I knew what an algorithm was [Tangent: or even how to spell algorithm without autocorrect intervention.] Alls I know is that the internet is getting WAY too intuitive, which probably means robots will soon take over the world. I've seen AI, I know what's up. I may not know the whys, but I do know that I am completely helpless in the presence of an Internet wormhole.[Tangent: You know when you're a kid and for some reason, against the better judgement of your parents,  your sibling spends his allowance money on a copy of The Enquirer at Kroger and for days you pour over the crazy stories of bat boys found in South America. It's strangely intriguing but completely lacking in substance or validity. You cannot look away. This is basically what happens to me every time a new bewildering site or app is presented to me. Kids don't know how good they've got it. They can indulge their curiosity without wasting their allowance or having the check out lady judge their purchases. ]

Because of this, I have to share what kept me rapt from about midnight- 2 AM the other night courtesy of my friend Laura, who is really good at enabling my bizarre pursuits. [Tangent: When I showed this site to Jamie today, he said it was years old and he had heard about it last year on Facebook, but oh well, I am going retro because it is new to me.]  The app and site  she introduced me to is What Would I Say?

how could i not be interested immediately?

 Basically, by allowing it access to your Facebook profile,  it Frankensteins together new statuses based on words and phrases you have used in past Facebook interactions. [Tangent: So it sounds like you if you were in the midst of a stroke.] Since it blew my ever-loving mind,  I knew it begged to be shared. [Tangent: ...not unlike the site that allows you to carry on a conversation with a chatbot and the site that translates websites into Ebonics.] They aren't always coherent, but when they work...they work! Here were some of the amazing statuses it came up with for me. Some are simple and to the point...others are troubling.







...and my two favorites...




Do it! NOW! Make sure you let me know what it comes up with. I can't wait.
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