Tag Archives: fretting

The book, “WILD”, and then there was me


Cheryl Strayed walked a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Her new hiking boots, which were too small, ripped most of her toenails off. After her mother’s death, she had taken a look at her life, didn’t like what she saw, and said, “I’m going to walk myself back to the woman my mother thought I was.” So, she did. Her book about this journey is called WILD and it is FABULOUS. They made it into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon, which is also EXCELLENT – as raw and real as Cheryl’s life must have felt during that whole time.

Last Friday, I had my right knee replaced, which has been needing to happen for many years. At home now, EVERYTHING I try to do seems to take YEARS for me to do, and, then, I am exhausted. Parts of my body other than my knee now hurt, too – aching and throbbing from being called upon to get to work doing jobs I’ve never asked of them before, or, just from simply lying in bed for hours in weird positions just to get comfortable.

I emptied the dishwasher earlier, which seemed to take hours. Of course, then I was exhausted and grumpy. My leg was throbbing like a sump pump. I thought, as I often do, I’M SCREWED. Sometimes, I am right; other times, I am wrong about that. Then, without preamble, Cheryl Strayed and her journey wafted across my mind and then I thought: WELL, AT LEAST, YOU’VE STILL GOT ALL YOUR TOENAILS.

I hobbled in here to the living room, clicked on the TV, and there was Reese Witherspoon starring in WILD, right there for me to see. Again. Writers have a way of saving each other, even when they don’t know it; ESPECIALLY when they don’t know it. I hope words I have written over the years have offered hope or comfort or insight to someone right at a time when they were needed most, even if it just allows someone to think: WELL, AT LEAST MY LIFE ISN’T AS BIG A MESS AS HERS.

It is important, especially for those of us who tend to “awfulize,” to realize that pain, even in all its rawness and thrashing about, doesn’t last forever. Wounds heal. Movement returns. Things change, shift, and life goes on. Sometimes, Life, with arms spread wide and grinning at us like we just won the decathlon, even forgives us. Today, I needed reminding of that and Cheryl Strayed showed up. Right when I needed her most. Thanks, Cheryl. JS


Dang wrestling match with stockings


I really don’t want to wear those stupid stockings they make you wear after knee replacement. I used to have to wrestle those things onto my mother’s skinny legs and, still, it felt like torture.

They didn’t make me wear them when I had the other knee done, but they kept you in the hospital longer then, too. I understand why – to keep from throwing a blood clot – and I understand the difference between the 20% chance of throwing a clot if you don’t wear them and the less than 4% chance if you do wear them, but I still don’t like it.

I was talking to my friend Beth, a nurse, and bitching about that. She said, “So, what would you rather have – a wrestling match with those stockings, or a sword shoved through your lung? You choose. Idiot.” JS


Is Mercury in retrograde?


Mercury must be in retrograde. Or something. I’d like to be able to blame the series of SNAFUs that have happened to me since I’ve been in Tulsa on something other than just me and I’d want to know that if, indeed, Mercury is doing its double-cross dance across the sky and sending screw-ups raining down on us all that it will end soon. Before Thursday, is my hope, because I’ll be hopping into a car on that day and driving back across the nation to Oregon and I’d like to envision my trip as one of clear sailing and not dodging one crisis after another or careening from catastrophe to catastrophe along the interstate highway system of America. I’ve done that one before. Read my book, DEAD IN A DITCH – Growing Up in Texas & Other Near-Death Experiences, to find out just how all of that happened.

When I first arrived here last week, while extricating an avocado pit in the most stupid way imaginable, I stabbed the underside of my forefinger knuckle with a knife point. For someone who uses her hands in her work, this is not ideal. Liquid Bandage and peanut oil with arnica in it, however, has allowed me to work and it’s been okay. Thanks to my friend Kay Sheehan for that idea.

Two days ago, after an elderly client left, I noticed the rug in the room where I work was rucked up from the walker she uses to help her get around and I thought: OH, I REALLY NEED TO FIX THAT RUG SO NOBODY TRIPS ON IT. Well. Of course, I completely forgot about it until I went walking back into that room at full bore and tripped on the rug myself which sent me crashing onto a little table and into the wall. I didn’t hit my head – something I’m always terrified of doing now – but both shoulders and my right knee are pretty stove up and there’s a dark purple bruise the size of a Nerf football on my lower left side. So, now I am taking anti-inflammatories and smearing Arnica gel all over me and shuffling along like Tim Conway.

Then, of course, as I reported yesterday, I spent the first of my waking hours trapped behind a stuck door which wouldn’t open until my friend Lynda Jacobs came over and smacked it hard with both hands to pop it free and liberate me from doom and/or boredom.

On the good side, I’ve done some really good work on some really great people, which always makes my heart smile. And, I learned that every one of the clients I saw yesterday would have driven over here in the dark to save me if they had known I needed help. A couple were actually kind of disappointed that they didn’t get the call. Sweethearts.

So, I’m hoping this is just the messy shenanigans of Mercury doing his retrograde malarkey dance in the sky. And, I’m hoping he’s done with it by Thursday. Just in case, though, if you live between Tulsa and southern Oregon and you have access to a four-wheel drive vehicle, extra skis, a big inner tube, or a shotgun, you might send me a personal FB message with your phone #. If Mercury doesn’t get his act together and start behaving himself by Thursday, you’ll probably be hearing from me. JS


Odd conversations


Stef and I have the oddest conversations sometimes. For example, this afternoon she had her Nikon out with the giant, bazooka-shaped lens and was photographing a black spider on the post by the gate. He had funky-looking, sorta turquoise-neon eyeballs and fangs to match. Every so often, he’d rise up and bare his fangs at the lens, like that would frighten it away.

“Whoa,” she said, “I think I’m just really making him mad.”

“Is he the kind of spider who flings himself at you and bites?” I asked. I know very little about spiders except to give them their space.

“I’m not sure,” she said, “but, if he flings himself at me, I’m going to scream like a girl.”

I thought for a second. “You realize I won’t be saving you from this, if he attacks,” I said.

“Yes,” she said.

“If he attacks, you’re completely on your own,” I reminded her.

She let out a little sigh of exasperation. “I know,” she said.

I continued, “Because you might scream like a girl, but if that spider attacks, I will crash through the fence and race down the street, squealing like Tarzan’s girlfriend, just know that.”I saw her eyes start to glaze over, but that didn’t slow me down. “Now, if your spider bite gets infected, I will put ointment on it for you, and if your body goes septic because of a nasty spider bite, I’ll drive you to the hospital but, just remember, fighting off the spider is totally up to you and, if I were you, I’d quit doing whatever it is I was doing to piss him off. But, that’s just me.”

She lowered the camera for a moment and stared at me. “Jody,” she said.

“Hmmm?” I replied.

She pointed toward the door. “Go inside,” she said.

And, so, I did. JS


Hair on my legs ?


I have no hair on my legs. None. Menopause had rendered me down to 3 on my right leg only and zero on the left and now those 3 have disappeared, too. I’m thinking I must have dripped some of my home-made weed killer onto my pants leg the other day. Or, perhaps my eyesight is going. Or, aliens made off with me in the night, plucked out those 3 remaining hairs for research, looked at each other and said, “Nah, she’s a geezer – she’ll never even notice,” then carted me back home and into my bed before dawn when I awoke. At any rate, that’s the status for today.

Spooky, isn’t it? The thought that you could be double-crossed by your very own body 3 & 4 times in one lifetime is really kind of creepy, don’t you think? I mean, just when I finally get used to it being a particular way – WHAM! – there’s something new that’s arrived or disappeared and, suddenly, I have to spend twice as long to look half as good as I ever did, and even half of that time is spent plucking or tweeking somehow, or clipping or tucking in or cinching up or buffing or smearing with some sort of cream or ointment.

So, I hope you’re having a hey-day, you creepy, weird-O aliens, with my 3 leg hairs, and I hope my schizophrenic DNA sprays all over you when you crack those babies open. You won’t know what’s hit you. I certainly don’t. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. JS


My suitcase just arrived


Suitcase just arrived. My stuff.

You know how crazy people often button their shirts up to the tippy-top so it doesn’t feel so much like they are about to fly apart? That’s sort of how I feel until all my stuff shows up in the same place. Now I feel better. I guess I can unbutton the top button on my shirt now. Phew.


Where’s my stuff ??!??


I am one of those people in the world who has an almost screaming need to know where my stuff is. Today, I am missing a big chunk of some of my most important stuff since it is in a suitcase somewhere (I hope) between here and Dallas.

I am also a MAKE IT HAPPEN kind of person so, of course, I am now presented with the challenge of missing my stuff and knowing there is nothing I can do to speed up its return to me. I must wait. And be patient. And be silent. And be grateful that I even have stuff to fret over.

Lessons, lessons galore for this impatient girl who was born two months early and fretting from the get-go. I hope I don’t crack a tooth over this. JS


marathon days and crossword puzzles


A marathon day yesterday, starting @ 3am, when I awoke, terrified I’d oversleep and not get on the road in time.

Left by 7am and drove to Portland when I was suddenly besieged by papers and notary things and faxes that all needed to be handled IMMEDIATELY and sent back to Dallas.

Then, I did 3 rolfing sessions, hopped in my car and wrestled my way through rush hour and back onto I-5 South for the 3hour drive back to Roseburg. Made it home about 9:30pm.

I was BEYOND exhausted when I crashed onto my pillow last night. Stef has the flu, however, so I’m feeling better than she does today. There are little piles of Kleenex everywhere and half-consumed cups of various kinds of tea sitting around.

Tea always strikes me as a hopeful thing – something unrequited, for me, although the Brits and the Canadians see it as a cure-all for everything, I think. I always expect to feel better than I do when I drink it; maybe my expectations are too high. I always think I should feel FABULOUS when I drink it, or, at least, good enough to want to stand on the hood of my car and sing BORN FREE out loud with my arms outstretched and flailing in the air. But I don’t, which always makes it a little disappointing.

It’s rather like how I feel about elections and crossword puzzles: so very HOPEFUL that now, by golly, NOW, we’re going to get something good done. And then, we don’t. And I’m bummed.

With crossword puzzles, I sit there staring at all those little squares, inhaling the woodsy smell of a freshly sharpened pencil, the tip of my tongue sticking out of the corner of my mouth, devouring all the easy ones quickly. Then, I can feel myself slowing down, wrestling with the hard ones, getting madder and madder at the smarty-pants know-it-alls who think these things up and I start looking for an address so I can mail a scathing letter that will slap them so hard they’ll think twice about putting words like “parsimonious” in a local newspaper crossword puzzle ever again – EVER! I fling the paper across the room in disgust and rage.

Yep, they’ll be hearing from me, alright, those creeps. And, just so they’ll know I mean business, I’ll be sure to sign it, Your Sworn Enemy, Jody Seay. That’ll show them. Bastards. Okay, end of rant. I have to go now. My tea is cold. JS