Thursday, August 23, 2012

The End of the Tunnel... Or the Post with lots of Ellipses

When I finished college--it was 2002--post 9/11 and the world was not ready for a slew of new college graduates....

When I finished grad school--I found a nice teaching position--but it was just before the big ol' crash--you know... 2007.... Fun times.

So... long story short... despite all of my glorious experiences and lovely jobs from here to, well, there...

I have never had a salaried position...

Until now.

(and the clouds were parted and the sun did shine down and all the little duckies sang with joy!)

I got a job! And I have real benefits! And I make monies!

I am so excited to make a budget and pay my bills and go to the gym with my company paid for gym pass and visit the dentist with my dental coverage and and and and....

I am humbled, grateful, and really excited to get to work.

It's a nice job as a recruiter for a firm that matches physicians with hospitals and vice versa.

My goal is to maintain balance and to make sure I take care of myself so I can be the best employee possible.

I am so happy. I am so happy to be employed here in Salt Lake City. I love this town. So... life is particularly joyful right now.

Thanks for bearing with me through the more depressing posts. Y'all are peachy keen. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

An Indulgent Post Describing Pain

**Really not very interesting--You can read or not read, I'll still love you**

When I went to bed, the only pain I felt was the normal ache in the lower right quadrant of my back. Now that I have a new bed, I don't wake up with back pain--but throughout the day, tension builds and I commonly have severe pain by the end of the day. But it's tolerable and I don't mind.

But no tightness in the gall bladder.

I was smiling. I had been good. I had eaten properly throughout the day. Except for the ranch dressing. And looking back, the milk in the diet shake and the dairy in the Naked Protein drink... But no candy, no onion rings, no ice cream.

And only my regular bouts of stiffness that come from starting the day at 7am and ending it at midnight. I'm 34--aches and pains happen.

I crawled in bed, still smiling, but I noticed the stiffness was spreading. I had a hard time breathing, but I was still at peace and happy. I noticed that my CPAP mask didn't feel like it was providing much help.

At 4am, I woke up. I don't generally wake up in the middle of the night anymore with the CPAP machine. I was really bothered that I would have to go to the bathroom. The pain had not registered. It was there; it had woken me up--but it had not registered in my mind.

I went to the bathroom and distractedly began to push on my left side, then I massaged the center of the abdomen, then I began to push on the right side of my abdomen.

Suddenly, my mind connected what was happening in my body.

My arms went weak.
My fingers felt separated from the rest of me. The tightness pulled my in on myself. I stumbled from the toilet and ran for the pills that would relax my gall bladder so I could sleep. I struggled to grasp the bottle, but still my fingers felt so disconnected. I could barely lift the pitcher of water to pour. Walking was insanely hard. Holding still was impossible. My legs were shaking. I started to hyperventilate and moan softly.

I downed three pills and three ibuprofen.

The pain tightened.

I curled over and flopped on my bed face first, moaning into the mattress. I immediately felt I needed to go to the bathroom again. I ran to the toilet, but knew the best thing to do would be to throw up. I sighed as I realized I would lose the pills I had just taken--but I could not handle the pressure that was building up inside of me. I keened on my knees and begged my body over and over again--"Just pass, just pass, just pass". I imagined the stone and I pleaded with it to just go through. Finally, I stuck two fingers in my mouth and held them to the back of my throat. I began to gag. There wasn't a whole lot to throw up. The pills came up though--perfectly intact. I dry heaved several times after dispensing with all the contents of my stomach.

The body continued to clench.

I remembered a possible help--something called metphos--I dragged myself into the kitchen and filled up the glass of water and dripped in this super phosphorous concoction. I took the gall bladder pills--they're designed to relax you so that stones will pass easier.

I paced my room, swinging my arms, trying to distract myself.

I finally went into the living room and begin to watch late night/early morning television. Finally at 5:30am, I felt my body begin to relax. All the pain began to melt away. I fell asleep at 5:50am.

I am trying to put into words this pain. Mainly for myself to remember so that I can continue to strive to eat better and avoid this experience.

Pain is a funny thing. In the midst of it, it is the worst thing. But afterwards, the euphoria at it's passing makes it less memorable. I need to remember it in order to avoid it.

I am taking steps. I am doing all that I can. The fact is, I have stones. I can: take medicines to help clean out the stones--but they still have to pass, take medicines to help make the hole where the stones pass get bigger, avoid fat and sugar. This is difficult to do. There is fat and sugar in lots of different things. And I quite enjoy both.

If this continues, I may have to go to plan B and nuke this little gall bladder.

The pain is starting again. The tightness. Maybe it's just hunger. Drat. Now I have to eat. You'll forgive me if eating scares the piss out of me.

UPDATE: It wasn't gall stones. It's kidney stones. So that's a fun new development. Yay.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Do you know what I did this afternoon at work?

I looked up directions from Finland to Prince Patrick Island. Apparently Google doesn't know how to get there.

I am trying to wrap my mind around this whole "Globe" thing.

When I was a child, I thought America and "the world" were synonymous, as any good little patriot would.

And as a 34 year old woman, I somehow imagined that if you went north from Finland, you'd eventually end up in Argentina.

Not really sure how I came up with that.

I finally decided to look at a ball and try to figure it out and realized that Canada was on the other side of Finland! So now I imagine cruise ships taking off from Helsinki and ending up in Canada. Somewhere.
Of course there's the giant polar ice caps--but they're melting, right?

I have spent entirely too much time imagining Viking adventures and taking note of how much further north Sweden is from Utah.

I love maps.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Joys of Working in a Storage Unit

For the past 6 months, I've been working at a storage unit in down town Salt Lake City.

It has been eye-opening to say the least.

We have 5 floors of storage units.

One day a wealthier customer asked me what he should do with his barely used queen box springs and mattress.... I told him we'd find a nice place for it.... (in my bedroom!)

We have a group of homeless guys that share a 10x10 unit. They're usually dirty, but really polite.

There's a very nice man who comes in everyday to his little corner unit. His hair is always slicked back perfectly. He looks very nice. The only way you would guess that he was homeless is that he has a deep tan and he carries a heavy backpack. He looks to be in his 50s. Last night, I needed to find one of the carts that had gone missing. I figured he was using it for something. I came upon him sitting on clean utilitarian grey blankets spread neatly on the blue cart. He was using rubber cement to repair the holes in his shoes. It broke my heart that I had to ask him to give up his seat.

Today, a woman came in with her curly haired daughter. The child is almost 3 years old and autistic. The woman wore a dirty tank top, no bra and a smile. She was drenched in sweat. She is legally blind, so she wasn't able to read the receipt I handed her as she made her payment. She commented that she had just walked from the airport. (We're a good 6 miles away.)

Every day I meet people who are moving up in the world--buying houses, moving to Singapore for work, Boston for school, moving in with lovers, getting married. And everyday I meet people who happily survive within their less fortunate circumstances.

I am amazed at how many different lives occur in this city. Worlds within worlds.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Writing from 2006

I found this piece I had written while I was in graduate school. It was hidden in some random folder on my computer. Enjoy. 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Just in Time, Moon River, Dearly Beloved, etc etc. All my favorite songs played throughout the restaurant.

I opened the beer cooler with 30 minutes left to open and saw all the beer I needed to replace. Sighed and then Clinton followed me down to the big fridge and helped me bring up half of it.

No one came in until 11:30am, and so I happily sliced lemons.

When they did come in, they came in at lovely intervals, and I floated from one table to the next.

At noon Corey came in. Smile.

After five hours of work, I wiped down my tables and noticed that the usual aches and pains were missing. Smile.

I forgot my brother's diagnosis and learned how to make myself fried ice cream with caramel and chocolate. Before I bit into it, I remembered. Somehow it just tasted better. Ahhh the forbidden. . .

I walked out the front door of the restaurant into the brightness of the afternoon. All my obligations finished. I walked across the street and remembered my plan to pay my parking ticket at City Hall.

I looked up the street to see an ambulance blocking the street. The lights were off. The road was closed. A group of five or six people stood waiting in the street.

I looked up to see what they were looking at.

A woman hung by her arms from her windowsill on the fourth floor above the street. She wore a hot pink shirt and jean shorts. For a split second I thought--maybe she was trying to install her air conditioner. Somehow I didn't think that was the answer.

She was gripping the ledge. For a moment I felt hope. I felt like she would be able to pull herself up and into the open window. And then I thought that maybe she had decided to practice climbing up the side of the building, and this window sill was her last step. That image brought me even more hope. Surely if she could scale the side of the building, she would be able to pull herself up off the window sill.

And then she slipped. Or let go. I'll never know.

She fell down.

I never saw her land. Thank God.
I stood there with the others in the street. One man ran. Colleen stood on the opposite corner. A stranger asked what I had seen. I tried to be honest about what I had seen, not wanting to start any false rumors.
In the minutes that followed, the ambulance never left.
The hope and then the fall.
I came home.
Fell asleep watching tv.

Paid bills.

Drove to Lexington and watched a new singer play at a little vegetarian cafe.

I'm home now.

Perhaps I'll be more wary of hope in the future. The fall seemed further in light of the hope.

It Was Wonderful

This show is magic. 

When Tammy first asked me about being a part of things,
I thought--but this is a show about rent... and I pay my rent. 

In the above scene Mimi is trying to convince Roger to live. "No Day But Today!"

My favorite lines in the show are from the song "What You Own"
It is hard living in America right now. We earn little, we work hard, we value different things from our parents, and I doubt any of us will end up with much material wealth--but we have deeper connections with one another, with art, with ourselves. We are more honest with ourselves. We refuse to live the inauthentic lives that others before us embraced. We may not have much, but what we have is beautiful. 

Don't breathe too deep
Don't think all day
Dive into work
Drive the other way
That drip of hurt
That pint of shame
Goes away
Just play the game

You're living in America
At the end of the millenium

You're living in America
Leave your conscience at the tone

And when you're living in America
At the end of the millenium
You're what you own

The filmmaker cannot see

And the songwriter cannot hear

Yet I see Mimi everywhere

Angel's voice is in my ear

Just tighten those shoulders

Just clench your jaw til you frown

Just don't let go

Or you may drown

You're living in America
At the end of the millenium
You're living in America
Where it's like the twilight zone

And when you're living in America
At the end of the millenium
You're what you own

So I own not a notion
I escape an ape content
I don't own emotion- I rent

What was it about that night

What was it about that night

Connection- In an isolatiing age

For once the shadows gave way to light

For once the shadows gave way to light

For once I didn't disengage

[following two sung almost at the same time]

Angel- I hear you- I hear it
I see it- I see it my film!

Mimi-I see you- I hear it- 
I hear it- 
I hear it my song

[following two sung almost at same time]

MARK (On the phone)
Call me a hypocrite
I need to finish my
Own film
I quit!

One song glory
Mimi your eyes

Dying in America
At the end of the millenium
We're dying in America
To come into our own

And when you're dying in America
At the end of the millenium
You're not alone

I'm not alone
I'm not alone