What Would YOU Do, If You Were Not Afraid?*

Norway

*Reminder, this is a game, it’s not taking into account that I would be leaving my family. More hypothetical than actual. What would YOU do if you were not afraid…..share your answers in the comment section.

I think about things that appeal to me yet also scare me at the same time. My first answer is that I would travel all over the world, alone. I would also want to live in a foreign country for a year and not worry about the language barriers, not worry about anything. I’ve always said I wanted to live in different places and that would be something I would do.

I wouldn’t have a time-table, just an open return flight and tons of money to spend (now you can say it’s really a fantasy). I would go to places I’ve never been, or at least not been since I was a child and flying with my parents on free airline tickets.  I would visit Sweden and Copenhagen and Norway, Italy, the South of France in the springtime, Japan but only if I didn’t have to eat sushi. (oh right, I’m not supposed to worry about ANYTHING) okay, I’d eat steaming rice and tasty noodles in a fragrant broth.

I’d go to the islands of Greece and go to Israel after that. I would return to the US and stay home in the spring. Then, I would travel to places in the US : Atlanta, Chicago, Maine, Vermont, I’d spend time in Rhode Island too, California…..that’s just a start. I would want to visit the North and South Carolina; I’d stop in Las Vegas too.

Traveling alone is first on my list, my only companion would be my laptop and my camera and perhaps a stuffed animal to cozy up to at night…..I would need a lot of money, of course, because I’m too old to backpack my way through Europe (actually I don’t think I was ever that type.) Find me a nice hotel and a soft bed with a down comforter and fluffy pillows, white lace curtains on open windows, my own bathroom and a vase of wildflowers at my bedside.

The Verdict Has Been Rendered – “The Danny Defense”

This is the internationally recognized symbol ...

Pursuant to the blog “Pleading What?” See attached:

http://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/pleading-what/

The pleading “stupid” defense, now affectionately known as “Danny’s Defense” has been revealed on this day the 13th of November. The judge dismissed the stupidity case and dropped all charges. ALL charges. Not half, which is what I guessed, not even a reduction for “failure to remember you were handicapped.” Nothing. Case Dismissed. Hey, sometimes the truth wins. My husband ruled, for once.  His stupidity defense on forgetting to LEAVE the handicapped sticker on the windshield wiper (even though he did have it in his glove compartment) was true. He took a picture of his crutches, the walking boot, his diagnosis (ruptured Achilles Tendon) and a photo copy of his red temporary handicapped sticker and pleaded stupid.

Who knew?

So, next time you do a stupid thing, and you get ticketed for it? Try pleading “stupid.” It worked for him. The judge, obviously was kind and had a marvelous sense of humor. Truth prevailed. The Danny Defense, is IN!

Congratulations to the Defendant and all future stupid defendants.

Where The Sun Rises

Galilee

Image by Florian Seiffert (F*) via Flickr

Right now as I am about to go to sleep there are people waking up all over the world starting their day. The earth continues to spin, bringing me soft cotton blankets and images of sleeping baby lambs. On the other side of the world, in Israel, people are waking up with the energy of a newly performed puppet show for grinning children.

There, old women with white hair put red and blue carpets outside their apartment windows and beat the rugs rhythmically with a broom. That same sound would wake me up in the morning when we visited. Plumes of dust would escape the beaten rugs and disappear into the blue sky like magic.  Once awake, I would tiptoe to the living room window to see the stray kittens and cats on the ground floor crying out, begging for food. I would slip behind my step-grandmother’s back and throw bits of chicken or bread out the window every day. I knew I wasn’t supposed to do that but that was not going to stop me. I would do the same thing today.

There is a main street in the city, Dizengoff Street, that is filled with shops of all kinds and numerous outdoor café houses all in a row. It was a tradition after an afternoon nap to pick a place and have coffee and cake, or in my case, iced chocolate and cake. There was never a question if we would go, but rather where we should go. The one that had the deep chocolate fudge cake or the one that had lemon meringue tarts? Where could we get orchestra seats, a front row table, to watch other people go by. Everyone knew each other back then and it always felt like we were being welcomed back home. My mother was the star, the queen from America; often, people would recognize my mother and come over to say hello and join us as they smoked cigarettes, one after the other.

I felt safest here, walking alone at night with yellow globes of lit lamps along the street and a steady stream of people cheerfully talking near me. I did not fear missiles or bombs or terrorism. I had little more to do than try to avoid eating some of my step-grandmother’s moldy cheese. She would keep little squares of cheese and cut the mold off and say the rest was fine; she did this with all her food. She would hold on to tiny bits and pieces of food in her refrigerator and never throw them away. I tried to stay away from the her home-made dark tuna salad that reminded me of cat food.

During the early morning we would go to a beautiful pool club that was next to the ocean. The pool water was bright, glimmering blue, sunlight crystals sparkling on top of the water like freshly polished diamonds. People would play beach tennis on the beach; the hot sand only a few seconds away. The tide was strong, pulling, pulling, like repetitive pain. The current could go from challenging to dangerous in a split second. Lifeguards blew their whistles here too.

My mother would hold my hand as a child and take me from store to store to find American Cheese and Nestle’s Quik for my milk, I was always a fussy eater. Once we found corn flakes in a tiny store no bigger than a closet and that was a major triumph. On every street corner there were at least one or two vendors selling freshly squeezed orange juice or grapefruit juice. We always stopped for a glass as we walked on the steaming pavement under the blazing sun. I can almost taste the fresh orange essence dancing on my tongue.

In three days my friend’s son is getting married in a forest in Israel. Two interwoven trees, black and white, were beautifully hand drawn on the invitation. I wish my whole family could have been there but it is a long way from home and very expensive. I imagine the happy couple, friends and family, dancing joyfully. I imagine endless platters of food: vegetarian only: hummus with pita, salad, platters of eggplant drizzled with olive oil, home-baked goods and people cheering and celebrating into the wee hours of the morning. Dogs and children playing on the forest floor making happy sounds, babies gurgling with delight.

I need to go back with my husband for a visit. I would like to return to a place where I have a lot of colorful memories from. I would also like to take my mother back to her home. She wouldn’t need to find me chocolate milk or cheese; it’s my turn, this time I would take care of her.

Congratulations Daniel and Nora!

Dedicated to my Mom.

Living in Other Countries

Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA

Image by Piano Piano! via Flickr

I had the proud distinction when I was little of being the “only born American” and I wore that honor with pride. My parents and my older sister were all born in different countries and even though my parents and sister came to the United States when my sister was 9 months old, I still felt special.

At this point in my life, with my husband and our two almost grown children, I would love to live in another country for a few years. Italy, Spain, England, Holland? Greece, Israel, Japan? I love to visit different countries when we can afford it. The only place I wouldn’t want to live? Paris. I would be such an American outcast, wearing my blue jeans and long-sleeved gray GAP shirt, sneakers and clogs. There’s no way I’m wearing high-heeled stilettos and expensive outfits for any city. However, the French countryside is breathtakingly beautiful and I wouldn’t mind learning how to make cheese. For now, I think I’ll stay right here in the USA where I can wear what I want and still drink strong coffee and pastries. If, however, the opportunity came up…..I can pack quickly.

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On Public Speaking

Sweet

Image by dyobmit via Flickr

Mr. Bluestone’s Class, seventh grade

The first time I had to speak publicly was in seventh grade in front of my science teacher, Mr. Bluestone and the class. I remember I did it on the TWA 747 and I practiced for hours and hours, for days, weeks. My dad, who worked at TWA at the time, brought home a 747 model jet for me to use. I practiced my speech on my dad endlessly and he was patient and kind.

I remember being in the class, Mr. Bluestone first asked for volunteers and he said, if no one wanted to volunteer he would just pick randomly. The classroom was absolutely quiet, albeit the sound of us all breathing nervously.

All of a sudden, my hand shot up and I decided to volunteer and “get it over with” basically my philosophy in life now as a grown-up.

I went to the front of the class and to the podium, I had practiced so much that the information was like that of a soothing lullaby sung by a mother to her newborn. I finished my presentation, showed my TWA model and finished speaking. There was silence in the room until Mr. Bluestone stood up and said to the class:” well, well, well.” Now, I was frightened. He continued to say that “by being first I had set the bar really high and that other presentations would be compared to mine.” I got an A plus and it gave me the confidence throughout my life to know I can do it; know your material really, really well, find your confidence and strength and speak. Jump at the chance to go first,  you can do it and you can do it really, really well.

Dedicated to Mr. Stuart or Stewart Bluestone, wherever you are.

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Independence (PFAM Blog Carnival)I

Fireworks #1

Image by Camera Slayer via Flickr

I don’t remember what complete “independence” is anymore. I used to know how it felt, before my illness. I remember quickly dashing through crowded city streets, staying out late, going to the Village after a movie before I headed home via taxi to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. I was young, admittedly, but there was little fear and so much to do.

FIbromyalglia and Chronic Pain took away my spontaneity and instant fun and robbed me of joy. While I can still do many things, I need to wait until the same day to see how I feel. That hurts, not only physically, but emotionally. I can drive my car, if I have enough energy. I can go shopping for food, when I feel I am up to it. Last week my husband and I went to the first movie we have seen outside our home in years. I felt free, we had a bite to eat, and we went to see the new Woody Allen movie and I was happy. It was one day, one joyful day out of many.

I plan on going to my son’s college orientation this summer; I do not want him to be the only student without a parent there but still I worry. How much will I be able to do? Can I get a taxi from the hotel to the campus? Will I be able to walk a few blocks? I know there’s a tour but I will have to sit it out. I am the sick mom.  I will smile sweetly and tell my son to report back every single detail while I sit on some bench, shaking my head back and forth, holding back the tears.

I am not that old but I feel old. Even the new medication I was on to give me energy has failed me. I was happy for a few weeks and I told my chronic pain friends that “Yes, There Was Hope for Fibromyalgia” and now I don’t know anymore. I feel bad for the people who thought I had found relief; I feel more sorry for myself wondering what happened and why this medication failed me, like so many others.

I rely on my husband, I am dependent on him; he knows the look in my eyes when I feel tired and depleted and when I hurt. He supports me, takes my arm. Part of me wants to pull away and say “I’m not a grandmother” yet part of me holds on and appreciates his love and help. My teenagers’ friends have seen me more in my pajamas than not. They have seen me lying in bed, with a book or the computer and even though I shout out a happy and cheerful “hello” I am embarrassed and I feel like I have let my children down.

Thankfully, my mind is still independent, I can think and emote and write and my imagination is not limited by my body. At the same time, I weigh myself down because the joy of spontaneity is lost forever. If I make a plan, even at the last-minute, I always have to think steps ahead, the amount of walking, sitting, standing, driving. If I decide I will push myself to go to the city and do something fun, I worry about if I will find a taxi because my ability to walk is limited. It usually keeps me home.

Independence Day is tomorrow, I would love to see fireworks, they make me so happy. I love the excitement and the blasts of color  and the screaming and the thrill. But, I won’t be going, because there are too many variables that stand in my way. So, on Independence Day, I will not be celebrating with throngs of other people. I  know that I can’t walk miles to see the show, I know that if I had to go to the bathroom there are none in suitable walking distance,  I cannot sit on the hard grass for the hours it takes  for the show and I will miss that dearly. On Independence Day, and many other days, I am dependent.

A Discontinued Product That I Want Back (FOR HIM)

Chocolate hills in Bohol, Philippines
  • A Discontinued Product that I Want Back (FOR HIM)
  • Bring Back His Chocolate Bar None Candy Bar
    I am psychic because just yesterday I asked my friends if they had heard of a product, a candy bar that my husband dearly misses. It’s called BAR NONE and life for my husband, has not been the same since it disappeared in chocolate heaven. My friends also found an on-line petition to bring back, Bar None candy bar. Hon, I’m doing all that I can. This is my gift to you.

I Didn’t Need To Know Mrs. Brady Had Crabs

The Brady Bunch opening grid, season one

Image via Wikipedia

Really? Does everything in the media need to be mentioned and discussed? Couldn’t I have continued picturing Florence Henderson as the sweet mom on The Brady Bunch without her releasing this IMPORTANT info that she actually got crabs from sleeping with some political dude? I know she has a book to sell but does she really think that image is going to make me EVER go out and buy the book? I have no interest in it anyway but now I wouldn’t read if it was free. Even then, I wouldn’t read it because I don’t want to know and I don’t care and because I think it’s so distasteful, I wouldn’t read it out of spite.  Gross factor: Very High. Advertising technique? Epic Fail.

I want to remember Florence Henderson just like the picture to your right. The sweet, simple, home-maker making sure that all her children and hubby were happy, healthy and safe and NOT picture someone scratching their private parts. I could gag. I may gag. Easily. Hopefully.

It’s bad enough when you see those photos that TMZ puts on (and believe me I am not complaining) about “Where are they now” or “Before and After” because the shock value is fabulous but can’t we draw a line somewhere, anywhere like “crabs.” Yo Flo, major image disaster. I don’t even think I could watch reruns now even if I wanted to.

At least leave Alice alone. We all loved Alice and I don’t want to hear a word about her. I don’t want to see articles written about her or photos that she doesn’t approve of. Mrs. Brady, you have ruined your reputation for generations of people. Please, Alice, don’t do the same thing. We love you. Keep Alice clean.

Hope For Fibromyalgia-Medication (Follow-Up)

Various pills

Image via Wikipedia

For those of you who asked what drug regimen I am on I am happy to answer. However, I AM NOT A DOCTOR just a Fibro patient who has been going through this for over five years. You should have a Doctor, a Rheumatologist for Fibromyalgia. I also have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and sometimes doctors just look at thyroid levels. My thyroid levels were fine but I was still having the intense pain, so I went for different opinions. Don’t just go to an Endocrinologist if your Thyroid levels are fine and you are still experiencing ongoing pain, lethargy etc. Sometimes diseases can be linked together.

At the moment I am on Savella (drug for FIBROMYALGIA) and Nuvigil (was once used for late-night workers for narcolepsy). I also use Alleve at times (2) twice a day if needed but I mostly use that because I have foot problems, however, it may help Fibro problems also, too soon to tell. I also take Synthroid for my thyroid.

One of my friends asked which drugs I have tried. The list is so long it’s on my husband’s computer but I will post this now so you won’t have to wait for the other meds.  A partial list included:

Cymbalta, Plaquannel, Methotrexate, Arava, and Tramadol.

Good luck, let me know what is working for you and what is not.

Recent Adventures in Splurging

Logo of Kohl's Department Stores for use as il...

Image via Wikipedia

Sale: Today, Tomorrow, And Every Day Thereafter

I’m not a big shopper, never was. I’ve always hated trying on clothes even when I was a child. Nothing has changed. It was pure and true love that made me take my daughter to any mall when she was younger because she is a fabulous shopper and adores being in malls. Luckily, she can drive now. The last time I shopped, other than groceries (which I actually love shopping for) I was at Kohl’s. I bought a cheap pair of sneakers, two cards and a dark blue tank top for my daughter. I went because they were having a sale (wait a day, they will have another one) and I had two coupons, ten dollars off each. Was it fun? Not really? Did I have to stand in line? Groan, yes. Did I make it out of there in less than an hour? Sure thing. Will I do it again soon? Probably not. I’m sorry, I’ve never liked shopping (except for books and food) I don’t think I am ever going to start loving it anytime soon.

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