Why Don’t you Build Me Up, Butercup

I am a Geek, and what is more geeky and wonderful than Legos! I have tubs of them and I love to create towns, vehicles and mosaics, no Kragle here, but sometimes I just want to build by instruction. I also find Lego are great to share because I can thoroughly sanitize them between patients.

So I was so excited to see an ad on the back of my http://brickmag.com/ for a way to rent new sets.

I just have to share, if any of you are brick crazy like me, or have kids that are brick crazy, https://www.pley.com/ is a HUGE disappointment. I love Lego’s so I signed up at the lowest level for three months. $9.99 per month, first month free from a coupon on the back of Brick magazine (whole other nightmare).
Got my first set right away and it was fun doing all the builds. It was a 14.95 retail price Creator set and I had a ton of fun. Sent it back near the end of the month because this entry level plan only sends one set a month.

I packaged it up per instructions, verified it was received and happily sat back to wait for my next set, and waited, and waited, and waited and waited.
I called, thinking maybe their was a glitch, new company and all. The next day I was notified it shipped.

I got my second set, also a 14.95 creator set missing a major piece. I couldn’t build any of the three builds it made. So per their instructions I packed it up and mailed it back the next day for my March replacement set.

So it is now April 16, I have not recieved my next Lego set, Not a replacement for March or my April one.

I have emailed, called. So Done.

I cancelled, clearly this company has a better idea than execution.

Final Review: Save the money and just buy your own sets. Or Maybe try BrickLoot.

Next MONTH we will have our unboxing!
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You walked into the party, like you were walking onto a yacht..

A gavotte, in case you are interested, is a 18th century commoner’s dance in 4/4 time where feet are raised instead of slid. Rarely, I would suppose has anyone danced a true gavotte on a yacht, except perhaps the illusive David who watched the 1970 eclipse and bet on the winning horse at Saratoga, I’ve always kind of voted for the guitar repairman or Warren Beatty since Carly Simon dated both and both actually thought the song was about them.

However, that really isn’t what I want to blog about today, yes, all that was just my mental subtext of the universe starting my soundtrack with that song the last few days.

I may have mentioned before that all my titles (at least for awhile) are lyrics, because I do live to a soundtrack, but before I go on to what’s new, a follow-up to the last post. I really hadn’t meant the last post to be a request for money but a few of you incredibly generous readers again filled my heart with gratitude. Some went to bills, some went as directed to replacing my copy of Fiddler on the Roof and helping me make some magic for others.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. My actual medical bills are about $2000 away from being paid off again, just using essiac tea and the usual organic foods, positive attitude and long range goals and this time. It will all come together in the end, I have faith, but more importantly I also have a plan. If you want donated funds to go to something specific (medical bills, my charitable works, my trip thru the Appalachians please add the note.)

And to those who donated, I will follow my amazing friends Ann Videan (check out this amazing Author at http://anvidean.com/ )and Laurie Evans (share and support this funny woman through life’s many challenges at razzzberries.blogspot.com) example and write real “Thank You’s,” which does relate to the subject of my blog.

(But first, and very tangentially related, my new favorite word, encountered in my Botany for Appalachia studies is “peregrination,” now on to the real blog.)

Words Versus Communication, or at least that’s how it feels sometimes, like there is a war of words in progress. Not the trolling memes and name calling kind, although there are also too many of those, but a word fueled breakdown in human connection.

In my title song “Your So Vain,” Carly Simon had a crush (brief affair?) on an arrogant and magnetic man of common roots and new money and is a little bitter. Her meta self-referential lyrics not only demonstrate all the wonderful subtleties of meaning words can convey but were kind of a precursor to modern modes of meaning.

I am old enough to remember when the concept of communicating in most of the ways I currently communicate were just science fiction. I could talk to someone on the phone if I could confine my activities to the length of the cord and no one else needed the phone. I could write a letter, or go for a visit. The effort it took to tell someone something added gravitas to the words and to the relationship.

The receiver was part of the message and the purpose. Tone of voice, or posture, or even the ways the letters looked on the page; hurried and slanted or carefully crafted bits of spider web, illuminated the inner soul of the words.

If we wanted to talk to ourselves we addressed journals, diaries or our children and spouses.

Now more of my words are poured into empty space. I say thank-you with cyber cards where all the letters look the same. I instant message and email and tweet and post and like and blog.

Perhaps it is my age that makes me think that the more ways I have to share my thoughts and feelings, the more confused I am on what it means to communicate.

So I am going to go for a visit, write a couple thank-you’s and remember again that a story is only a story when it has an audience, love only love when it has a recipient, and ))U(( feels nothing like a warm pair of arms around your waist.

How can I hope to make you understand, why I do, what I do..

“Fiddler on the Roof” is a much better Passover/Easter movie for me than “Ten Commandments”, “The Robe”, or even “Hop” and we all know how much I love kids movies. The youngest daughter sings a song to her Father when they wait at the train station that is my song of exile.

I wanted to watch Fiddler this week. First excitedly, then more slowly, then finally somewhat resentfully I unpacked the rest of my stored DVD’s to realize that ALL of my classic musicals were missing. Now, I realize that this loss is just one more price exacted from my giving up and me almost giving in this summer. But somehow all this loss make me angry and I add it to $4000 the apartments are trying to collect, the money I still owe friends, and the friendships forever altered by their betrayal and I am too sad to cry.

No more “Man of La Mancha” or “Fiddler on the Roof” or “Mary Poppins” or “Sound of Music” left in my collection to cheer me up on the dark or hard days. And Friday was a very dark day, out of the past came a reminder of the time one of my “friends” copied my journals and shared them around, not to mention suddenly making me homeless. I was sharing his home, paying rent, at his request and he became violent and ordered me to move. I forgave him finally this year and was forgettting, then this a letter from the court about the evidence came to the place I first landed those many years ago, abrading all the healing. The echoes into my current situation became strong voices, and I bled profusely from the keen edge of friendships forever changed.

So instead of meditating, getting perspective, maybe walking or swimming to dissipate the overflow of emotions, or even journal and properly grieve, I felt sorry for myself.

I slipped back off into the “Poor Me” mire and mud. It is easy to justify self pity when one has a chronic life-altering condition. There are a multitude of slights and bad choices one can self flagellate with in any life, but add in disease and making a pit of self pity is a picnic in the park. So I did.

Ate poorly, marathoned old TV shows, drank alcohol, ignored the gym and exercise, thought about how unfair everything was.

OK, so my ate poorly is miles above “ate poorly” before I learned to love myself and nutrition. A typical day started with a cup of coffee, or two with Coffee-Mate Italian Sweet Cream creamer, three bads here for my body – not organic coffee, animal product in the creamer and all kinds of chemical as well. But then I would do a Vega One shake or Greens/Hemp/berry shake. For lunch, because I worked all week, I would have a Svelte Protein Cappuccino and a Luna Protein Bar. Not awesome either, piling on more synthetic processed food, even if it is organic, but I ate lunch and it was what passes in modern life for nutritious.

It was when I got home that the eating monster was its worst. Carbs, carbs and carbs, (popcorn, bread sandwiches, pasta) with a beer or a bottle of wine, the tiny single serving ones by the way and one good serving or microwave bag and only one carb a night but that is not an excuse but a way to see that even on my worst days, this move towards active goals, becoming a SOFT (Slow Old Fat Try-athlete) has changed me for the better.

I am, in all things these days, a light weight. I couldn’t see that positive this week, that at least now I am a light weight. Once upon a time, if I was food binging, I could eat an entire package of pasta cooked, and more, and I have memory of a time when one bottle of wine (the real size) was not enough. Seeing anything good about me or my life was not on the agenda.

Last night was the dark night, the bottom for this not pretty pity episode. I came home with a deep and burning anger at whatever runs the universe because of the patients I see and the parents I support in my job. Hit the front door of the place I live which is NOT my home and found no golden head to rest on my lap and look in my eyes and remind me that I only see the pixels, unshed tears and grief deepened the mire and I sunk into the couch.

I marathoned a respectably funny series (Garfunkle and Oates) that was, of course, cancelled after less than a season. Ate bread and chicken (free ranged organic but still, ME eating ANIMAL anything is always a sign I am NOT Ok), And got drunk on two chardonnays because I wanted to not feel, to disappear into a place where I am “normal” or how I perceive normal. I even pretty much ignored my boyfriend, because the fact a truly kind, handsome and charming geek loves me does not belong at a pity party.

Except for the part where I don’t think he gets me, or reads my blogs, or….. Yup, in the mood I was in last night, alone was the only place to be.


That is the root of most dark nights, disconnection from the rest of the human race. Sometimes I sincerely want to be able to be normal and just sleepwalk through life, consuming what pleases me without thinking of the long chain of events that make it possible and the infinite set of consequences moving forward if I make that choice. I don’t want to see music or emotions or in any way at all be “special” or “different” or “amazing.” I try to eat it away, to drink it away, this “me” ness that so offends.

Every coin comes with two sides, but to my family, my sons and my DIL and those I will be celebrating my grandsons birthday with today, heads or tails my coinage has no commerce. And that is the full eclipse. My light is dark. I go to bed.

This morning I wake to April in Arizona and a dog, the yellow lab who is still with me, that came as part of the package of the quiet solid Golden I am mourning, needs to pee. Yeager is dorky and clumsy and licks and wiggles relentlessly, has no idea how to cuddle and as his eyes and nose have gone, he barks more and has become somewhat unpredictable around strangers. However, this morning, he is exactly what I need. He depends on me, and loves me unconditionally, and needs me to get up NOW!

Yesterday, I watched the moon grow dark as I traveled to work with a little girl whose very Mitochondria are not her friend. I spent the day cheerfully holding her elbows or moving her arms, singing and talking about when she was “little” and I was her nurse, and her feet still worked. We discussed music and toys as I monitored the machines that do for her what her body no longer can. But the moon stayed dark, the sunlight never again moving from behind the dark muddy ball of “Life is not Fair.”

Today I wake to birdsong and the colors of sunrise only Arizona in spring can provide. Irregardless of me or anyone’s actions, a mockingbird perches in a blossom heavy tree whistles for dogs, imitates a woodpecker hitting metal, and then chortles before flying away again. More birds join the chorus and when I go inside to have my coffee on the couch, a hummingbird hovers by the screen, observing the human in her cage.

Life is not fair, I have done nothing to deserve this beauty, this breeze, this new day.

The eclipse over, I move forward, so I open my computer to write.
I am the middle daughter in Fiddler, following my bliss to Siberias my family never understands.

But there in my quests, I am home.

Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…

However one must still take the medicine. That is one of many bits of wisdom that I have accumulated in my lifetime of adventures and books, a bit of wisdom from childhood complements Disney’s Mary Poppins.

I am happy to be known as the Mary Poppins Nurse, I knew she was a Time Lord long before Pop Culture acknowledged her origins. I knew she was a Time Lord when PBS was in its infancy and Oscar the Grouch was orange. However, I am not here today to discuss Time Lords, or Mary Poppins or other purportedly fictional bits of sugar that helped my wisdom grow and flourish, I am here to talk about the medicine.

Medicine is the tough stuff we have to swallow to become better: better health, better writer, better informed, better person. Medicine is often bitter with wide ranging side effects, not all of them pleasant.

I remember just how disappointed I was as a child when I read a biographer’s portrayal of Jack London (how I loved, loved, loved his books) as a soft, overweight man willing to trade his name to grape juice manufacturers for ten silver pieces, and as much likely to survive an adventure as a spoiled persian cat. It was a tough pill to swallow.

I was still too young to realize that sometimes more motivates a biographer than love and facts; yet old enough to know that not everything in books is real; I somehow expected much more of Jack. I vowed then, I was not going to be like Jack, I would be a lifetime adventurer.

I now have great empathy for that armchair traveling Jack I so despised as a child.

AlThough it is also good to know that one opinion was mostly false, more scholarly biographies have reinforced my original perception of Mr. London without ignoring his faults, the facts are that he did slow down as he aged due to renal insufficiency of unknown origin and he was one of the first to trade his name and image to a product for money.

I am still am an adventurer.

I still have to take my medicine, including the aches, pains and infirmities of age, disease, and a few bad choices.

But there is so much sugar in my life, from roses blooming outside my door, to smiles from babies and the triumph of met goals.

Today at Physical Therapy my exercise assistant (who is a mere 22 years old and cute as a button) said with awe, “You’ve done so much!”

My first response was, “I’m old, more time to do things.”

But the truth is, if my life had run smoothly would I have had so many adventures? I don’t think so.

Today I salute all the hard parts, the things that made me better, more interesting, the things that led me to realize there really are only three important questions when contemplating an action.

1. Is it compassionate?

2. Is it ethical?

3. Does it support my long term goals?

Now all of you go out and take your medicine and say a thank you for the sugar that helps it go down….