I finally know what I am going to write. Well, not really. Just the beginning of an idea is floating around in my brain. I haven’t put a single word to paper, yet.
I got the beginning idea from an Episode of StarTalk with Neil De Grasse Tyson and his faithful sidekick Chuck when they talked about the possibility of time travel and how it would work. Tyson posited that time travel was only possible in 1 year increments, having to do with the rotation of the Earth. The earth had to be in the precise spot for landing as it was when you took off or you could end up in space where the earth was a few days or weeks previously.
I was separated from my husband in 1987 and we were divorced in 1991. I never remarried. Needless to say, I got somewhat used to doing things for myself. Independence runs deep within me. The idea that I can do it myself without help from anyone.
My brother moved in with me 14 years ago and he was a jack-of-all-trades, able to fix, repair or create just about anything needed around a house. His presence delayed the idea that my independence was slipping away as rapidly as my body’s ability to perform everyday tasks. I could lie to myself and convince myself that I didn’t need any help for ordinary things.
Then, my brother died and left me alone with my disabilities. My body has violently betrayed me in so many ways recently. That betrayal is rheumatoid arthritis, which is uncontrolled. I cannot walk very far, and I have trouble getting dressed, doing laundry, dishes, dusting, or vacuuming. Any big things, like mowing the grass, fixing the broken dryer, or replacing the kitchen faucet doesn’t happen unless I ask for help.
I cannot turn to my family because no one lives near me, so I have to rely on friends. Fortunately, I have some excellent friends who help me. One mows my grass and trims my trees. One drives me to doctor’s appointments and to grocery stores. All that is required is for me to ask.
And that is the hard part. Maybe this will get easier with practice because my arthritis will not go away.
The number of songs on my iPhone is ever-increasing. Many of the songs are OSTs from various movies that struck a chord with me at some point. I will think about a movie I saw and then go in search of the soundtrack. Many times, just hearing the music will bring back pleasant memories of the movie: my favorite scenes, my favorite character, my favorite quote. You get the picture.
Music can tell stories. How many people can listen to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and not think about Mickey Mouse trying to sweep thousands of bucketfuls of water out of the castle? This tone poem was written to bring about memories, although Mickey Mouse didn’t exist when the song was written in 1897.
This morning, I listened to John Barry’s High Road to Chinascore and recalled many of my favorite scenes from that classic movie just by listening to the music. It was a nice trip to an exotic world of high adventure, romance, and intrigue. High Road to China has always been on my list of the top ten movies to watch.
My list of movies that I can watch over and over and never tire of is:
Nate and Hayes
High Road to China
Sahara (Brook Shield’s version)
Memoirs of a Geisha
The Magic of Belle Isle
The Princess Bride
Dances with Wolves
All of these movies have memorable soundtracks and just hearing one of the songs brings the entire movie to mind.
Today is my birthday. I normally just acknowledge that I have ticked off another year. There is no fanfare, no parties, no birthday cake. I don’t celebrate the event because a birthday is just the beginning. It is just the day I was born. I didn’t accomplish anything that day other than crying when the doctor smacked my bottom. Like everyone else, it was not an auspicious beginning.
I was not my mother’s precious gift from heaven that was delivered personally by God and several jealous angels. I was just another person who screeched into a parking spot on June 1st and stayed there for the past 68 years.
Every June 1st, I wonder why I get a ton of emails offering me 20% off because I happened to open my eyes and take a breath 68 years ago. I would rather someone celebrate the fact that I bought a house, or the fact that I was baptized, or the fact that I completed writing another novel, or the fact I received a Master’s Degree. Those things matter. Never, crying from shock and pain in those first tender moments of life outside the womb.
My accomplishments have nothing to do with June 1, 1954. I refuse to celebrate that day.
I was getting ready to start working on my story this morning and I found myself listening to music instead of writing. Listening to music often happens around here. Today’s playlist is Hiroshima. This band was named after the city in Japan that was mostly destroyed by an atomic bomb at the end of World War II. The band’s leader, Dan Kuramoto, wanted to create a band that represented and celebrated Asian Americans.
I have been listening to Hiroshima for many years because these people are GOOD. I love the way they have combined more traditional Japanese instruments, like the koto with Western instruments.
I frequently default to the Hiroshima playlist on my iPhone while I am writing. I put them in a smooth jazz category, but whatever their genre, they are fun to listen to.
This week sped by at high speed and I am not sure why. I didn’t do anything special or anticipate anything upcoming. I have been writing, and working on a story that may or may not ever be shown to the public.
When I start writing, the world slips by me reasonably quickly. I get a good thought going and all of sudden I realize that I have been typing for four hours straight and my arthritic knees and hips are screaming for movement.
The first thing to do is create a well-thought-out strategy for getting out of my chair. Once I am verticle, I wait a few seconds to make sure my knees and hips will actually hold me up. Then, cane in hand, I make a few tottering steps toward the bathroom, usually.
It never fails to amaze me that I can get so into what I am writing that I am able to ignore basic bodily needs, such as a bathroom break or getting something to drink. For a time, I can ignore sore hips and aching knees.
But, this week I wrote nearly 20,000 words. *Pats self on the back.*
I get distracted very easily. Every shiny thing that comes my way captures my attention. For example, a pop-up on my PC, a notification on my watch, a text message from an advertiser.
I have a ton of distracting things on my desk like a calendar with pretty pictures, a wooden doll, a cobalt glass elephant, an iron wood duck, a magnifying glass, ever changing pictures on my PC background, journals for various reasons.
The journals are each specific to a task:
One for random thoughts
One for Bible Verses that catch my eye
One for Korean words and phrases to increase my knowledge of the language that I currently learning to speak
An old Journal that is filled with random lists
Getting distracted by a journal is never a problem, however. I sometimes find myself writing pages and pages of interesting thoughts.
But, because I am retired, what am I distracting myself from? Boredom? Vacuuming the carpets? Folding the clean laundry? Unloading the dishwasher? Are these tasks really so relevant that they must be completed on a particular timetable?
You would think that with all of these fascinating task to complete that I would never be bored and always have something to blog about. Today, the air is cool and fresh, the flowers of spring are just starting to bloom, the sky is dotted with fluffy clouds. Maybe I need to forget everything and just go outside and let the wind play with my hair.
I went to a doctor yesterday to find out why my hip is hurting. I have been dealing with this for a couple of months and I finally decided that maybe I needed some professional help because people are getting tired of hearing my involuntary pterodactyl screech every time I stand up or sit down. Plus, I have finally gotten really grouchy about this whole my-life-would-be-great-if-I-didn’t-have-hips routine I go through every day.
I have been dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis for quite sometime and I assumed that the hippy pain was because of that. Exercise makes my joints feel better, but exercise is a delicate balancing act of doing just enough to feel better. One leg lift too many and I am in more agony for 3-4 days. Therefore, off to a doctor to find out what can be done.
Meanwhile, back in the gym… I have been “babying” my hip and now my knees have started to hurt. Somehow, I find it difficult to see how my situation has improved.
Hence, my visit to the doctor–Dr. Eye-Candy if you are interested, because I firmly believe if one must visit a doctor, then visit a very pretty one and Dr. Eye-Candy is so very pretty. Dr. Candy tells me my knees hurting is because of normal wear and tear. Okay. But what about my hip?
Dr. Candy says, “You have arthritis, but what you don’t have is any cartilage left. Your bones are scraping together. However, we can’t do a hip replacement until you have lost about 5000 pounds. Just sayin'”
Me: What has caused this unfortunate cartilage losing episode?
Dr. Candy: Normal wear and tear. Your hip pain is normal.
Me: You have got to be kidding me. It is not normal for someone to scream in agony when they sit and normal to scream in agony again when they stand up? I mean, I have been waiting to see you for nearly forty-five minutes and plenty of people stood up and sat down and there was barely any screaming at all.
Me: So, how is this normal?
Dr: It is normal for someone with RA (rheumatoid arthritis).
Me: So, what do we do?
Dr: Eventually, hip replacement, but not until you lose 50,000 pounds.
Me: It went from 5000 pounds to 50,000? That’ll take more than a minute. What do I do in the meantime? Screech in agony on a regular basis?
Dr: No. We can give you cortisone injections. But cortisone injections will make you gain weight.
Me: Kinda going in the wrong direction there, Doc.
Dr: Really, it will make you feel better… we think.
Dr: All we have to do it stick a big needle in your hip…
Me: Now wait just a cotton picking minute. How can sticking a big needle in my hip make it feel better?
Dr: It just will.
OK. Maybe he isn’t big on explanations, but he certainly is pretty to look at. Also, he is fun to argue with. These young pretty doctors have no clue and are totally lost when they encounter a fully mature adult female. So, instead of sticking a big needle in my hip, and after much debate and forced explanations, I opted for a change in oral medication.
This is the funniest thing I have read recently and it is extremely valuable information, as in, I wish I had known about this when I was a teenager. Or even better, I wish I had known this when my kids were teenagers.
How to argue effectively By Dave Barry And not by Stuart J. Williams, Attorney at Law I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me. You too can win arguments. Simply follow these rules:
Drink liquor. Suppose you are at a party and some hotshot intellectual is expounding on the economy of Peru, a subject you know nothing about. If you’re drinking some health-fanatic drink like grapefruit juice, you’ll hang back, afraid to display your ignorance, while the hotshot enthralls your date. But if you drink several large martinis, you’ll discover you have STRONG VIEWS about the Peruvian economy. You’ll be a WEALTH of information. You’ll argue forcefully, offering searing insights and possibly upsetting furniture. People will be impressed. Some may leave the room.
Make things up. Suppose, in the Peruvian economy argument, you are trying to prove that Peruvians are underpaid, a position you base solely on the fact that YOU are underpaid, and you’ll be damned if you’re going to let a bunch of Peruvians be better off. DON’T say: “I think Peruvians are underpaid.” Say instead: “The average Peruvian’s salary in 1981 dollars adjusted for the revised tax base is $1,452.81 per annum, which is $836.07 before the mean gross poverty level.”
NOTE: Always make up exact figures. If an opponent asks you where you got your information, make THAT up too. Say: “This information comes from Dr. Hovel T. Moon’s study for the Buford Commission published on May 9, 1982. Didn’t you read it?” Say this in the same tone of voice you would use to say, “You left your soiled underwear in my bathroom.”
Use meaningless but weighty-sounding words and phrases. Memorize this list:
Let me put it this way In terms of Vis-a-vis Per se As it were Qua Ipso facto Ergo So to speak
You should also memorize some Latin abbreviations such as “Q.E.D.”, “e.g.”, and “i.e.” These are all short for “I speak Latin, and you don’t.” Here’s how to use these words and phrases. Suppose you want to say, “Peruvians would like to order appetizers more often, but they don’t have enough money.”
You never win arguments talking like that. But you WILL win if you say, “Let me put it this way. In terms of appetizers vis-a-vis Peruvians qua Peruvians, they would like to order them more often, so to speak, but they do not have enough money per se, as it were. Ergo, ipso facto, case closed. Q.E.D.”
Only a fool would challenge that statement.
Use snappy and irrelevant comebacks. You need an arsenal of all-purpose irrelevant phrases to fire back at your opponents when they make valid points. The best are:
You’re begging the question. You’re being defensive. Don’t compare apples to oranges. What are your parameters?
This last one is especially valuable. Nobody (other than engineers and policy wonks) has the vaguest idea what “parameters” means.
Don’t forget the classic: YOU’RE SO LINEAR.
Here’s how to use your comebacks:
You say: As Abraham Lincoln said in 1873… Your opponent says: Lincoln died in 1865. You say: You’re begging the question. You say: Liberians, like most Asians… Your opponent says: Liberia is in Africa. You say: You’re being defensive. You say: Since the discovery of the incandescent light bulb… Your opponent says: The light bulb is an invention. You say: Well DUH!
Compare your opponent to Adolf Hitler. This is your heavy artillery, for when your opponent is obviously right and you are spectacularly wrong. Bring Hitler up subtly. Say, “That sounds suspiciously like something Adolf Hitler might say,” or “You certainly do remind me of Adolf Hitler.”