I Don’t Mean To or a Difference Between Alone And Lonley

We get, or at least I get, so caught up in the mundane yet seemingly important minutiae of the day-to-day stuff.  And this getting caught up bit sometimes comes at a rather high price.  For me it means losing touch with people, dropping out of conversations and relationships without so much of a sideways glance.

The thing is, none of it is deliberate on my part.  I sometimes wonder if there is something broken in me beyond the usual brokenness.  I wonder if I’m too broken to be active and attentive to friends and such when something catches my attention or interest.  Perhaps I’m too shallow and self-absorbed to be present with the people that matter in my life.

I recognize it once it has happened, but while it is happening I’m too lost  in whatever to even realize I’ve pushed people away.  Or ignored people’s attempt at engaging me.  It is a singular focus and when required my ill-health helps to further this isolation.  The really wild thing I clearly don’t see how damaging this is in the long run.  I mean surely if I got how damaging this is I’d stop doing it, and I haven’t stopped doing it so there is that.

Do you suspect that some people just need that much personal time and space or is there something broken about this?

Woeful Wonton Surprise

You know those lovely cooking books and recipe pages in magazines, the ones that make things look so good you get hungry just glancing at the pages?  They are nothing but a lie, or a tease.  I’m serious friends.  If nothing else they omit steps or something because I swear I’ve yet to create anything even close to those pictures.  (How many of you are silently nodding your heads as you read that?  And if you can pull out that recipe to perfection then friends you are magicians!)

My latest disaster in the kitchen just happened to involve wonton wrappers (store-bought because let’s face it that’s not my skill) a muffin cup, some oil and spiced meat.  The picture looked invent and delightful.  The kind of food you could easily eat with your fingers with no fuss, no mess.

Determined to get at least close to the picture this time I very carefully followed every step.  Stirred the meat as directed and hoped the wild hope that I would be close.  What I was close to is creating a good relationship with the dry cleaner.  The wontons crisped then got a bit soggy.  They refused to be cute little cups to hold the spiced meat.  Instead they promised to dump their contents as soon as someone was bold enough to try one.

I’m not really blessed at kitchen skills, but I’m blessed with friends who gamely try each disaster and provide feedback in a gentle and encouraging way.  Then they head out and probably by some amazing food at a restaurant or takeaway.  Because sometimes you need to hit the dry cleaner sooner rather than later. Especially when crispy looking wonton cups fool you and play surprise with a meat filling.


Surprise Friend Gathering

A mouse rested in the corner, just there, by the kitchen.  A small bunny had made its way, unnoticed, into the kitchen and was now sitting silently and still in the middle of the floor.  There were more critters in various locations through the house.  A monkey was perched on the edge of a chair, his tail hanging down the back.  A duck had managed to make a safe landing by the flower-pot.

No, I don’t live in a zoo, nor is it a rescue house.  Yes I do adore animals  and wouldn’t put it past myself to have a myriad of them, but that isn’t in the cards right now.  What is in the cards right now is a four-footed companion with her own zoo of dog toys.

Now and then she decides she must set them all free and spread throughout the house.   Today was one of those days.  It started with a green frog being carried into the hallway. Then the pink elephant broke out of jail, also known as the toy box.  After that the great escape happened as a bear, Buffalo, owl and lamb were rushed to safe places.  I lost rack after that.

I found the bunny purely by accident, my foot made contact with something soft while I was doing something in the kitchen.  The something soft skittered  across the floor from my kick and that’s when I saw the mouse.  The four-footed one however was nowhere  to be found.  Perhaps rescuing all her friends was too much.  Maybe that’s why in found her fast asleep under the dinning room table all by herself.

Dying Of Embarassment On The Road To Hell’s Intentions

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, or so they say. I’ve personally never been on the road to hell, not even the one in Michigan so I can’t say for sure what the pavement is made of or even what it’s like.

Of course people also say they about died from embarrassment and I can assure you, I’ve been more than a tad embarrassed and never actually died from it. I may have wanted to die, or at least have the earth open up a hole to I could fall into it and then have the earth just close back over again.

I had intended to walk the entire distance of the path today. I knew I wanted to walk it the minute my friend told me about its existence. Taking a page from Beloved’s book, I started to check the forecast to ensure I would have optimum weather for the day I went down the path. Today, according to the weather experts, was supposed to be the most ideal day of the week for the trip.

With a soft, warm glow to the morning sky, I made my way to the entrance of the park where the path begins. I brought with me just a light sweater to deal with the early morning coolness; I packed water and made sure I was wearing my walking shoes. I stuck my phone in my pocket and chose to listen to the birds singing in the distance as I started down the path. It was, in fact, a very peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

Not even halfway down the path the sun dipped behind a cloud and the wind picked up a bit. I was grateful to have brought my sweater with me. To be honest I was feeling a bit smug about remembering to bring my sweater. The problem with feeling smug is that there is always something to bring you back to your humble senses. In my case it was an incredible downpour. From out of nowhere or so it seemed.

In less than a minute I was soaked and cold, no longer interested in walking the rest of the way. I just wanted to go home, get dried off and warm up with a nice drink. Naturally I turned to head back the way I came. And just as naturally my good walking shoes found a nice muddy puddle to go into. It was the kind of puddle that resulted in muddy water going more than half the way up my legs. And the rain didn’t seem to be doing a good job of removing the mud from my pants or shoes.

As luck would have it, or at least as luck goes in my world, when I got to where I parked, the sun was back out and shining as if nothing had happened. Except I was soaked, filthy and cold and there were more people in the parking lot preparing to go for a walk in their nice clean clothes, suitable footwear and water-repellent coats in hand.

No the earth did not open up to swallow me, I was probably too dirty. And yes I did want to die or at least hide right then especially because where I had parked meant I had to go past everyone looking like a disheveled drowned rat with squishy shoes.

Thrilling Heights

When I was a child I loved to stand on the edge of things, the higher up the thing was the happier I would be to get to the edge. There was something thrilling and daring about being right on the edge of adventure, but still grounded on the solid ledge.

My mother would inevitably discover me standing far too close to something and whisk me away or yell at me to get back to safety. Safety would be determined based on the distance of the potential drop as well as what I could strike on my way down. The further the drop, or the more pointy objects I might strike as I was following meant safety was that much further away from the edge.

The more my mother pulled me back from the edge of something, the more likely I was to get closer to teetering on the ledge of something else, typically much higher. This all would result in a cycle of her feeling a need to express the potential dangers I was putting myself in, and of course I would then have to find something else to drive her blood pressure up.

One of my favorite things to do was to flop down on the ground which just happened to be the spine of a steep hill. Down below would be a gurgling creek on one side and to the other side, another down slope covered in large, unyielding trees. I could be up  there watching the clouds move by or read a book for hours upon end for it was a place my mother came.

She was afraid of heights; basically anything over two feet off the ground was “high” and anything that had no safety rails was the work of the devil so she never came up onto the rolling hills. My father had taken me up there a few times, he even held me steady as I rushed down the hillside, marveling in the speed and the way gravity made the down portion of the trip so easy.

To this day I am thrilled to head up to higher ground and look around, study what lies below and marvel at how different things are when you are above them. Tree tops look different when you are peering down at them for example. I revel in the freedom being above provides me, and perhaps the knowledge that some people will simply not travel with me to high places. To this day I feel the need to push things closer to the edge, to see where the tipping point happens to be. I trust that I will find my balance as I hit these tipping points, but I don’t really know if that will be the case. A part of me accepts that I may not find the balance and actually fall while another part of me ignores the whole what-if factor. It’s easy to ignore the danger when you either do not understand it or get too caught up and simply forget that it is there.

Life, in some ways, is far too short to worry about things like breaking a bone or such. But at the same time, life is precious and many a person has had his/her life altered significantly by the fall. I guess it’s what you make of it.

A Good Ramble

Sometimes, if the weather and circumstances are just right I will let the four-footed one pick our entire walking route. If the weather is dirty I will direct her on a shorter course, the same if I am in a hurry. But if there isn’t anything pressing to do and the weather isn’t too bad, we have an adventure of her choosing.

We may start heading south through the neighborhood and then cut sharply to the east to take in the open spaces or she may decide to slowly follow her nose towards the west (a favorite bakery is ten blocks to the south-west of us). Still other times she will insist we head to the north first.

We never stay travelling in just a north or south direction. We roam across the terrain like a kite buffeted by winds heading here and then suddenly there. This normally happens when she has decided that her nose should lead the way. Her nose does not like to travel in straight paths; we range in a zig-zag pattern. Other times she will have caught sight of marking flags and we must follow their heading until we get distracted by something like a bird, or a leaf.

When she gets to pick the route, she forgets that one tiny, yet very important piece of information. You know the fact that you have to walk all that way back home too. She’s all too happy to head out on the adventure, but she will struggle to walk all those steps back to her comfortable bed. She will bounce up on hind legs demanded I carry her (she has an issue with her hips) or simply drop to the ground in protest to having to move even one more step. No matter how many times I remind her we have to walk all that way back, she ignores me. The pursuit of the adventure is too great and who wants to be bothered with something as silly as logic?

Today was one of those days where the weather was just right and there wasn’t anything pressing to do so we headed out for a ramble with her making the decisions. Yes I know, the owner should always be in command, and to an extent I am if I choose to enforce that. But she was happy, ears flopping as she bounced along and I had no particular place to visit so she led.

We ended up in an area she had never been to before, a place full of new sights, sounds and smells for her to investigate. We leisurely walked into an opening, then ran to a bush full of birds before slowly making our way back to the opening again. We pounced on an unsuspecting plant which happened to move in the gentle breeze and then found the most wondrous tall grass to hide in before we slowly made our way back home.

Both of us returned home happy. She found her bed and her stuffed dinosaur to flop down with. And I wondered back to when I was very young and would head out on adventures with my parents. I’m pretty sure I got to pick at least part of the journeys we went on if not the entire path. I’m also pretty certain that like my four-footed one, I would forget all about having to walk that whole way back home which would result in needing to be carried at times. I’m also pretty certain I would come home happy, probably tired and ready to just flop down while my parents would be able to marvel in the comforting silence which would settle over the house. That is until I was ready for the next adventure.

A Case For Chronic Illness or Travelling Lupus

In television land you can sit on your suitcase and get someone else to zip the thing up without any issue. In my world, if I were to sit on my suitcase to have someone help me zip it up, I’d just break the suitcase and everything would become some type of projectile. I keep this in mind when I pack because I don’t always have someone around who can assist with the whole sit-and-zip deal. Of course I also keep this in mind because going through security in airports with a bag that’s just about to burst open at the seams is a sure sign that you will be pulled over for someone to examine your bag more closely.

Yes my friends I have been that crazed woman, the one who is forced to open her bag at security and have everything come flying out in all directions just so some strange person can go through my stuff. The best is how they give you a short period of time to get your stuff back in your bag. Seriously by this point you just don’t care anymore how it gets in as long as it gets in and zipped so you can rush off to wherever you need to be before missing a plane.

If you are a perfect packer you have no idea what any of this is like. You probably glance at us with pity and perhaps amazement at what we all pack. Or you judge us for needing so much stuff and not following the packing rules of life. I get it. I’ve been there perfect packers, oh I have been there.

Life with a chronic illness like lupus is a bit like that over packed, need-to-sit-on-it-to-zip-it suitcase. You have to over pack because you never know exactly what you will need and of course the one time you don’t pack it will be the one time it’s desperately needed. So you stuff your suitcase full of what you need, you sit on it and find someone who’s got decent hand strength and coordination and you have them zip the case. You pray there will be a cart nearby because carrying around that luggage is just too much. And you hope that you won’t have to open it all up and have everything come tumbling out in public. Because it’s bad enough to know you are struggling and don’t’ have it all together, but to have an audience? No thanks.

Life with a chronic illness means debating if the trip is worth that kind of battle. It also means trying to find a suitcase that will work and will hide the worst of damage. And it means hoping you can find compassion and understanding when you need it most, like what comes with the stress of travelling.

I’d tell you more, but the 1400 flight out to Lupus Flare Reduction is now boarding and I have a feeling someone is going to want to go through my case before I get on the plane, so take care and take cover!