Clark Griswold has nothing on me.

Western New York is a windy, windy place, especially in November.  The grocery stores have high wind warning signs in the parking lot asking customers to corral their shopping carts, it’s not unusual to find your garbage can in your neighbors yard, and some days, it feels like the whole house might pick up and blow away.
After a morning of finishing up a bunch of odds and ends, I’d finally settled into writing.  I had my coffee, water, and snacks lined up.  The ringer was off on my phone, and the perfect writing music was playing on iTunes.  Then I heard glass breaking in the garage.
I’d forgotten to close the back door to the garage when I let the dogs in after their morning outing.  The wind was blowing so hard that the storm door must have come unhooked and when it slammed shut, the bottom panel broke, throwing slivers of shattered glass at least five feet in either direction onto the garage floor and the back patio.  Since the wind was still blowing the broken glass around, and that’s the door the dogs use to go outside, there was no getting to it later.  I said goodbye to my perfect cup of steaming hot coffee, threw on my big old baggy yard work jeans and my old running shoes and went to work.  And it sucked.  Hard.
I got glass in my shoe.  I came face to face with a really big spider.  The shop vac smelled like something had died in it.  As I was gagging over the smell and trying to vacuum the glass out of the door frame, the storm door blew shut again and hit me in the head.  Hard.
My big old baggy yard work jeans weren’t staying up without a belt, but since my hands were covered in disgusting shop vac dust, I didn’t want to touch anything, let alone hoist them up, so I was just short of mooning the garage door.  I comforted myself with the thought that someone would actually have to be looking directly into our garage windows to see me, which I decided was highly unlikely . . . and then I heard the daily collection of bills and ad circulars fly through the mail slot (no pun intended) at the front of the garage.  So if the mail lady happened to peek in the window while she was delivering the mail, I’m pretty sure she got a show.  Then while I was making sure there weren’t any slivers of glass in the yard, I stepped in dog poop.  And I couldn’t help but think, I’ve seen this movie before.
I would like Chevy Chase to play me.  Or maybe Ben Stiller. . .

Don’t Look Back . . .

I don’t know if it’s a personality quirk, a survival mechanism, or a symptom of the fact that I spend so much time living in my head, but wherever I go, there I am and I just accept the parameters of it. I’m insensitive to being uncomfortable.

Sometimes, J comes home from work and complains that the house is freezing, and I suddenly realize I can barely feel my fingers and my teeth are actually chattering, but it hasn’t occurred to me to turn up the heat or put on an extra sweater.

When I’m sick, I have a hard time recognizing that I’m sick – I’ll carry on like everything is fine until I get completely frustrated with myself for being sluggish and spacey. Once I’ve recognized that I’m sick, I have a hard time remembering that sickness passes and I will feel better again someday in the not so distant future. I just accept it as my state of being, and for some reason, my default setting is to see my state of being as static.

Because of this, I have a tendency to be hesitant when it comes to change, but then completely able to embrace a new situation when it appears. I hate leaving home when I have to travel, but I love being away once I’m gone. I’ll stress to no end about getting everything together to go on a backpacking trip, but once we’re out in the middle of the woods, I can’t seem to remember why indoor plumbing ever seemed all that important, or why we bother with houses when tents work just fine.

Sometimes having a high tolerance for discomfort comes in super handy. It’s good to be adaptable. It’s good to be able to just accept what’s being thrown in my direction. It’s good to not always expect things to be easy or comfortable, and I think a lot of where I am now comes from the fact that I have the ability to put my head down and keep putting one foot in front of the other, regardless of the circumstances.

But sometimes, it’s just dumb. Like when an old Ithaca friend, who just-so-happens to be a physical therapist practicing in Rochester, notices my Facebook status update about having a migraine, suggests I come see her at her practice, and over the course of 3 visits we determine that I’ve had a major knot in my neck for YEARS, without even noticing that I had significant neck pain.

Years! And I’m not exaggerating. I had a herniated disk in my back several years ago, and in nursing that injury, apparently, I started going crooked. Even though my back is completely healed, my neck and shoulders were messed up from compensating. But in the healing process, I just got used to that being my default state, and adjusted to those parameters.

When my PT took my history, we discovered that the migraines started just after the back injury. I’ve never had good posture (it’s always helpful when your PT can go home and find old photos of you slouching around your dorm to prove her point), but the disk injury made it worse, and started some kind of encapsulated something in my neck that lead to me getting migraines A LOT.

After my first visit, I started making an effort to be more aware of my movement and how I feel in everyday situations. I even realized that I’d stopped parking in spaces I needed to back out of when I could avoid it – because I’d lost some range of motion in my neck and looking over my left shoulder was uncomfortable.

Three visits, and a few weeks of daily exercises and stretches, and I have full range of motion in my neck again. When a migraine starts, I can get it to fade away with a few stretches. And my posture has improved SO much that I actually feel taller.

Most importantly, I’ve learned to stop every once in awhile to take a beat and think about myself. I’m making a commitment to allow myself comfort. I’m determined to learn how to preserve my adaptability, while I become more conscious of my ability to change the things I want to change. I’m excited about this new luxury of self-awareness and the sense of empowerment it brings. Plus, my clothes look much better on me when I stand up straight. Bonus.

How about you? Do you notice when you’re uncomfortable, or are you more of a bite the bullet and get on with it kind of person? What do you want to change?

Did I forget to mention we live in the Arctic?


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Originally uploaded by AlliesAnswers

Oh, another week of meaning to blog and not quite getting to it, so here’s a pretty picture, and now I’m going to do one of my rundown lists on the events of the past week. :)

  • Last Sunday, J and I grabbed our very underused crampons, and went out to Chimney Bluffs on Lake Ontario to climb around on the ice and pretend to be Arctic explorers. We took tons of pictures on our phones, and if you click on the link above, it should take you to them — if, you know, you’re interested in seeing 60+ pictures of ice. I’ll have to steal J’s camera later and upload some of the ones of me in my sweet bright orange jacket (sale item, but super warm). It was the first time in a long time that we put aside our insane to do lists and just went out to play. It was much needed.
  • Stella was due for her shots and I suspected (correctly) that Argo had an ear infection, so I did what any dog owner who doesn’t think enough before she acts would do, and scheduled an appointment for both of them AT THE SAME TIME. The double lead leash works super well for walks when they are both going in the same direction. Not so much in waiting rooms when Stella wants to hide and Argo wants to cuddle with everyone. When the vet tech was weighing Stella, Argo taught himself how to open the exam room door and let himself back into the waiting room to, presumably, cuddle with everyone. And when the vet came in, Argo got super protective of Stella, so after he got his ears checked out, I had to run him out to the car. I have realized it is not, in fact, easier to take both dogs in at once. Separate appointments from now on, unless J can come and wrangle dogs with me.
  • I got J hooked on Friday Night Lights so I have an excuse to watch all the episodes again. As a result, I have been walking around singing, “Oh, Landry! Well you came and you gave without taking, but I sent you away, oh Landry,” because a. Barry Manilow is awesome, b. it totally fits, doesn’t it? c. Landry is awesome, and d. I’m weird.
  • I launched, Operation Please Stop Making Your Husband Look At You Wearing 15 Year Old Theatre Production T-shirts (or OPSMYHLAYWFYOPT) and bought myself some actual PJs that don’t have holes in them or advertise the most awful, un-diverse production of The Wiz that ever was performed.
  • I faced the fact that online to do list systems don’t work for me, no matter how much I love the idea of being all high tech about organization, and went back to writing things down.
  • I played phone tag with Lady.
  • I took a good, long bath, complete with bath salts, a mass market paperback, and a good glass of wine.
  • I started my days this week with 30 minutes of writing exercises.

What have you been up to this week?