Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hello darkness, my old friend...

Dear migraine,

You suck! Three weekends in a row??? Why? What did I ever do to you to have you treat me this way?

The last two weeks, it was Sunday morning. At least this weekend, you were polite enough to wait until after I got home from a long day.

You had been actually rather kind to me this summer until now. The stress that is my life doesn't help things.

But you truly are the bane of my existence......

Chip off!!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

You've Come A Long Way, Baby!

Six months ago, right about this time, I was waking up in my hospital room, having been admitted after a rough go in Recovery following foot surgery. Today, my brother came home after a week-long hospital stay, following an emergency appendectomy. As you might guess, it's been a rather momentous year for us and our insurance companies.
In the six months since my bunionectomy, I've learned a lot about the foot, the toes, the delicate nature of the human body intertwined with its resiliency, and my own capabilities. I am still hoping to be able to participate in this year's Jingle Bell Jog 5K in December but I may have to face the reality that I may not. I walked Maddox the other day for a relatively short distance, and realized I still have foot pain. All new shoes will be on the agenda, because none of my old ones fit anymore. Hello wide width everything.

And I really decided that should I ever entertain the notion of going to law school, I want to specialize in disability law. I'd never paid much attention to ADA requirements, etc. until I found myself the beneficiary of such regulations. The thing I wanted to say most was, "Hey, that blue striped section in the parking lot is part of the handicapped parking space, NOT an extra place to park ....."

And would I do it again? You betcha. To not have a muscle spasm in my foot, yes. To be able to walk more than 10 minutes without being in such excruciating pain that you have to stop, yes. To experience even a little of the dirty stares and assholish behavior of others while shopping, something that the permanently disabled face every day and more, sure .... It built character and compassion in me. It made me appreciative.

So yes, it was worth it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Learn to write well.

Dear young people of the world..... you may not believe me now. And you certainly may think of me as an old fogey, but trust me on this.


Social media has created its own lexicon, and its own rules of grammar and syntax. However, these do not apply to the real world and to your first job outside of retail and/or fast food. Once you are out on your first adult job, communication will be very important. You will need to be clear, concise,

"y u mad, bro? #LOL" is cute on social media, or with your friends. In business correspondence, it won't be. Customers are far more likely to work with you and respond to, "Dear (Customer), it has come to my attention that there was a problem with your recent transaction. I'd be very happy to work with you to rectify the situation. Please contact me at (phone or e-mail address) so that a mutual resolution can be reached."  Or even with your first love, "y u mad #LOL" isn't nearly as cute as "I'm sensing that we need to work this out. Please talk with me and work to make things better going forward." (Trust me, if a former BF had said "u mad at me? #wazzup" he would have been an ex-BF even faster.....)

It does not matter if you are a game creator/designer, or if you own a cupcake shop, you will need to communicate well. So while you are young, run out now and buy a copy of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. It is still an all-time classic. It is still relevant. It is still worthy. Learn the rules of punctuation, subject-verb agreement, and for God's sake, use the Oxford comma (as it, too, is still relevant).

It also wouldn't hurt to learn a variety of citation guidelines. It also wouldn't hurt to learn what a citation is: crediting work you borrowed from another published source. And you'd best cite anything from any other published source. You do not want a hint of plagiarism hanging over your head at any point in time. It quite simply is not worth it. While quite a number of teachers prefer the APA Citation Guidelines, you had best learn the other styles as well, primarily the MLA, Turabian and Chicago styles. If you don't know which kind a teacher requires, ask; do not assume. Oh, and cite your sources.


How might you do this?

Read. There's a good start. The more you read, the more likely you'll encounter correct grammar and punctuation -- across a variety of authors, genres, and styles. Read. Read the newspaper, read the classics, read the newest bestseller, read legal briefs, or read medical journals. The important thing is that you just read.

Write. Sure you'll make mistakes. Run your work through a spell-checker, a grammar-checker, and a citation-checker (to ensure you haven't plagiarized by accident). Have an older person read it to provide some insight, or run it by another teacher. They'll help you find any glaring errors, whether with your grammar or with the flow of your writing. They'll check for redundancy, for ideas that stop cold, or for paragraphs that don't work with each other.

Never stop learning. I still make mistakes on occasion. Usually, I notice them first, after the fact, and I cringe. While it's true that some will never notice the error -- or at best, simply will choose to ignore it -- I appreciate the ones who have corrected me. By their correction, they have reminded me that my learning is lifelong, and that sometimes the rules that I knew years ago may have changed to reflect new knowledge. However, I will never give up my Oxford comma; they will pry it from my cold, dead hands.


You never know where it may take you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Breathing, breathing

Tomorrow is my foot surgery. I am a jumble of emotions, but mostly ready for this to happen and for the pain in my feet to be relieved. A little nervous, a little scattered, a little anxious but overall more ready to be one step closer to better.

On the left foot, it's a bunionectomy and realignment of toes 2 & 3 to help relieve toes 4 & 5. On the right foot, as long ad I'm out cold, they'll do a cortisone injection in my heel, to work on a calcification that's developing there. If they wanted to build a perma-arch in both feet, I wouldn't object either.... Small things to keep me off my feet a while for healing and rest. Rest. Ha..... I have to work, I don't have an alternative. So I'm hoping to be back at work with assistance on Monday. That's the plan anyway. But like so many of my plans, I'm prepared for God to laugh heartily and say, "you're so cute when you plan...." So I'm also gearing up for all those baby steps that have to happen first.

Baby steps..... Essential but sooooo very hard to tolerate, especially when you've gone zero to seventy in 1.5 most of your life. But baby steps it will have to be. Literally, in this case. I have a knee walker for assistance and great advice from those who've had this and other foot surgeries (mostly consisting of, "slow your roll, luv...."). So here we go, going through a major thunderstorm so to reach the rainbow. Slow, halting, teensy steps until the storm passes..... all for a less painful, more colorful view.

In some ways, that's all any of us can ask for in any situation: to just be even one baby step closer to better.