Music's Like a Snuggie for Your Soul

MUSIC'S LIKE A SNUGGIE FOR YOUR SOUL

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How it Went Down

ʻōhiʻa lehua, Metrosideros polymorpha
Photo credit: Jofus

My apologies for leaving you hangin. I was out of town this weekend playing hockey in Wenatchee, Washington and ended up with hardly a nook or a cranny of free time to even think about getting online. 

I meant to fill you in on the seizure-at-work aftermath before i posted more shiz about the Hawaii trip. God-willing i'll be able to tie up that loose end before too long also. Ha.

It was nothing short of overwhelming. Initially there was no acknowledgement. I didn't know who knew, or who saw. It seemed awkward, but it was more likely a self-contrived result of my anxiety, hypersensitivity and everyone just having a case of the Mondays. As the day progressed, though, maybe five or six people approached me and expressed their relief in knowing i was okay. A few went so far as to extend their willingness to help if there was anything they could do. 


More than once it was acknowledged that the bond among associates at the company was something akin to family- that i shouldn't worry. Nobody had that terror-stricken, darting-eyed look i've grown to know following a verbal or incidental i-have-seizures disclosure. One has a granddaughter with seizures, and another, a cousin. The latter, a young guy i might have mistaken otherwise as a Joe Cool, more-aloof-than-anything type. He looked me in the eyes when i expressed my remorse regarding the omission and subsequent, unnecessary fear i'd inspired and said, "Dude, don't even worry for a second about that. We were just concerned about you. Nobody blames you for not saying anything."

Then, as i'd anticipated, one of the HR managers appeared and asked if i had a free minute to talk about things. I followed him back to the office where we met a second company executive charged with the task of employee management.    I was still so exhausted emotionally, i had a hard time suppressing the warm, saline drops welling up at the corners of my eyes. (Hooray for stellar first impressions and for putting other people at ease in an already difficult discussion.) They didn't seem too phased though. Amazingly, somebody had already interceded on my behalf regarding Olive. (Turns out one of our customer service reps is an EMT who knows me fairly well, even though her face didn't ring so much as a pixie-sized tintinnabulum to me.) They agreed to give O-dog a shot, and so far, i'd say she's pretty much won everyone over heart and soul. 

I can't speak more highly of the human resource reps. My anxiety was almost crippling when i went in to speak with them, and i left feeling elevendy hundred and ten percent better. (Who can say that about any recent confabulation with the boss mans?!) I'd prepared a page of emergency contacts in advance so they could relinquish responsibility to my sister or another well-versed person on the list in the future. I was awe-stricken when they suggested i not hesitate to enlist the assistance of any coworker instead; that they'd be fine if there was somewhere on the premises i felt comfortable just staying. What's more, they said let them know if there was anything they could do to make a place more conducive to that sort of thing. I expressed my reluctance in derailing any more productivity in addition to my own and they reassured that they've intentionally established depth in their personnel to accommodate those sorts of things. (!) What's more, they said feel free to come back to work later that day if i felt up to it, but don't stress if i needed more time to recover. 


Whoa right? Holy smokes. My cup runneth over. My cupith fucking gushing. Like a beer stein overflowing with the finest grog, relief and gratitude. 


Thank you so much for all your petitions to the powers at be on my behalf. I definitely credit you to my unbelievable good fortune. Thanks for being patient with my glacial-paced updates. (That is retreating and advancing- they're certainly melting faster than i'm gettin shit written). 


Peace and love and wishing sweet relief for all of you facing your day's trials and tribulations. 



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Woops- Accidentally Hit Publish Last Night; Here's the First Half Anyhow...



Kalalau Valley
Another dreadful Kauai picture. I'll milk the trip for all it's worth i guess. 
Well, so far i still really like my job. I pretty much just haul shlonk around all day. I sometimes wonder if i wasn't a Sherpa in another lifetime. I'll try to sneak some pictures of the warehouse. I'm afraid i'll never be able to capture the enormity of it. I often find myself thinking, Oh, this is what a gajillion dollars worth of inventory looks like. It's neat knowing the company started in a garage in this little town here with an initial capital investment of $2,000. Now, the world leader in river supply sales, it nets millions of dollars annually.

So, i'm a cog in the corporate GDP monster, but a well-cared-for one, anyhow. It's definitely the consensus and my initial impression that they take very good care of their employees. The work isn't nearly as soul-less and mind-numbing as i feared. They've recently implemented a new inventory system, so there's a bit of detective work that comes into play every day, and there are few things i care to engage my mental faculties in more than a good mystery. My cohorts are an amiable, fun-loving bunch. Any less-than-friendly interaction i've encountered so far that has been compensated for in entertainment value. There are some characters for sure.

I kinda feel like a diabetic kid in a candy store though, which has been sort of a carry-over from the winter break. I'm already freaking out in a small recess of my brain. I was desperate for the job, so gah, foof, i verbally committed to work at the warehouse this summer. I had to pay for a new tooth unexpectedly a while ago so financially i was pretty hosed. Then again, a stupid tooth isn't going to do me much good when i die of river withdrawal. BUT, i do know a few buyers and sales reps that spend a good bit of time on the water on the company dime. One of them even started in the warehouse. It's a far fetch, but i can't go any longer on a dog-walker salary, so summer went on the table and got gobbled up. Fuck.

So i'm an insipid, 8-5, android for a while. But i get to fondle everybody else's smexy river stuff. The employee discount is bitching, so by the time i hit retirement and get a chance to use it, in theory, i'll have a bunch of good ish.

Which brings me back to my Hawaii trip and all the good goods i waxed not-so-poetically about in my last post. As you could see in all those pictures it was nothing short of magnificent. But emotionally it was a double-edged sword. I was whisked back to the same crusty tribulations of high school.

Even though the swells in the winter are typically on the North shore, there were a few Pacific storms that brought some good surf to the South side where my dad lives. If my slew of postcard-perfect paradise pictures weren't enough to convince you to hate me, let me just tell you what kind of person i am; i am selfish. Not to mention vicious; i'm a slave to more addictions than i can count. The foremost of which, were all of them presented to me simultaneously, is surfing. I used to skip so much school when the waves were good, my school counselor confided that i had the worst attendance of anybody who'd ever graduated from Kauai High with honors. By far, she said.

Anyhow, probably you've already anticipated my conundrum here being that surfing and seizures is an imprudent, potentially lethal combination. It was the bone of contention between my dad and me throughout high school. And understandably so. Every time i slipped into the water  surfboard, i unwittingly risked

Monday, February 18, 2013

No Pictures Lots of Words

Hm, feck, i tried to finish the post i've been threatening to finish for however long now about the second half of my Hawaii trip, but i guess it was eclipsed by some other galactic projectile in the foreground. Boosh. No casualties here in Moscow, Idaho though, fortunately. 

It was in my belated-as-usual fashion, i paid recognition to St. Valentine's, the patron saint of epilepsy. (Which isn't to say my usual recognition of Valentine's Day; i can't remember ever carpe-dieming on Valentine's specifically.) 4 pm ish on Friday, one hour before i was set to clock out for the weekend, my brain went and decided to do that very thing. One measly hour short of three weeks home-free. But considering that's 119 hours worth of fluorescent lights and fretting, i'll deem it not too shabby. Which isn't to say i'm not fairly wigged out about it, anyhow, though it could've been lots worse. Or maybe it was and nobody's told me yet.

I'm still scared as shit to face the music in the morning. But as far as i can tell i still have a job, and most importantly i didn't faceplant down stairs or hit my head on concrete on the way down. I don't know who all saw. The last i remember, nobody was in the immediate vicinity. Which sometimes bodes well as far as eating shit goes on account that from the point where i recognize i'm about to consume a  giant poopsicle, there's an overwhelming fight or flight response that takes over, leagues beyond panic-stricken terror, i swear. So, regardless of how much i try to convince myself i'm in a safe place, it's okay, la la la; especially if people are around, my legs just want to GO.  

Only, eventually one of my legs, moreover, one half of me entirely becomes incapacitated. (Geeze, we haven't even discussed any of this shiz yet, have we?) Well, some people (especially with the more common, temporal lobe epilepsy variety) have auras where they see, taste or smell things, have deja vous or religious experiences. My auras just start as a tingling in my hand and slowly progress to full loss of motor control (twitching and jerking on my right side). It turns out i can walk beyond the point where i can get myself safely down. So i try to bolt; i can go forward, but with one side not cooperating, i can no longer lower myself to the ground. Even though i know that when that ant-farm-in-my-arm sensation hits my shoulder (1 1/2- 3 minutes post initial "oh shit" moment) i'm going to fall like a tree. Boom. Lights out. I'm almost six feet, and it seems like a minor distance until you realize the next morning it's a goddamn doozie of a drop to absorb with your dome. 

Oh yeah, at some point my speech goes. I know what other people are saying, i know what i want to say, but i can't for the life of me say it. When i want nothing more in the world than to reassure someone that everything's gonna be okay, that this just happens sometimes and don't worry, no big deal, blah, blah, blah, my locution is rendered totally chop-sueyed, incomprehensible, gibberish. Which is convenient, really. 

So there was a lot of blood which i feel bad about, because that never helps to placate the situation, but as much as i hate biting my tongue, it's even more infuriating when i crack my head open. It's a wicked vicious cycle without further head trauma to exacerbate whatever wonky ass shit is going down. Not  to mention i feel so stupid. It's  not like i don't have a warning or anything. Gah. But some relief was enjoyed in realizing the blood was just coming from my mouth. Not lots of relief, but some. 

So it was a bit of a rug pulled out from under my feet. Almost magic carpet status, since it was all the way back in September i had my last full-blown seizure. Five months. I had mmm a handful of partial seizures; i knew i wasn't entirely out of the woods, but i'd hoped they'd decided generalizing (progressing to loss-of-consciousness) was not such a practical or perspicacious thing to do on a regular basis. Partial seizures are obnoxious, but they're more compatible with life and imminent survival than full-blown, tonic-clonic ones. And it wasn't really that long ago i was having full-blown seizures every other day, so it's honky-dory territory still we're treading in- i just have to pick up my head sometimes and remember it.

The ambulance was called, but it was a couple of my friends on duty whom i needed to catch up with anyhow, so that part of things was mellow. Bless it. Plus, i don't think the seizure itself was too bad. Sometimes i'm dunzo, konked-out worthless for the rest of the day. I was worthless, but after an hour and a half asleep on the couch, i was mostly-animate for the rest of the evening. I even had a friend over for spaghetti and a movie. (I ruined the spaghetti and my entire recollection of the flick was that Christopher Walken was in it.) I was even somewhere on the punchy-manic end of the spectrum, so that's more fun than feeling bull-dozered like i generally do afterwards. 

  I swim in my thoughts for about 48 hours post seizure, dog-paddling through a haze where words are elusive like darting, puckish sprites in a misty mire. Every step is a slog with an aching body. Even though i felt wrung out like a ratty dish rag, i dragged my arse to the rink and played a lot of hockey (horribly, but meh). Even prior to skating, my calves felt like i'd descended to hell and back via the stairs, my hips were two black and blue contusions that yelped when i grazed the counters or encountered pressure from the waist of my trousers, and my tongue is minorly hamburgered, but all-in-all i'm intact. My legs really hurt now, but the hockey therapy was just what my soul needed. 

At least i'm okay right now on the couch here. I have a lot of apprehension regarding the logistics of my future employment situation and more immediately, walking through the front doors in the morning not knowing who saw, what they saw and alla that self-conscious hullabaloo. (Ha, i still haven't even told you much about the job- i'm working on that post, too. Suffice it to say, i'll be sad to lose it if it comes to that.)

Well, sheesh, this is probably such a nonsensical rant, but i sure do appreciate you slogging through it. I hope it's somewhat intelligible because i have to go catch some z's so i have the mental fortitude to show my face in that warehouse again without having a total emotional meltdown.  

Cheerio, kiss kiss, lots-o-love and all the best to ya's! And as always, mongo heaps and piles of appreciation. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Stars, Garters and Ben Harper

Holy shit!!! Stars and garters! Hillary running for president?! Wow. A woman in the White House in our lifetimes; two whole 'X' chromosomes at the helm of this mind-blowing country. Can you imagine?...

I have a post mostly cooked up, but not quite finalized and i have to run to work. (Still more about Hawaii; i'm not entirely unpacked either, if that makes you feel any better.) But while everyone's still in the Valentine's mode, i wanted to share one of my favorite love songs by the brilliant, magnificent, and oh-so-handsome, Ben Harper.


Valentine's Day probably deserves most of the flack it gets, but at least we don't get inundated with mushy Valentine's songs about Cupid or slobbery romances, or other sappy shit on every radio station and department store like Christmas. Unless, of course, Ben Harper wrote all the music; i'd go door to door a belt it if i weren't so certain the neighbors would probably misconstrue the message as something far creepier than i intended.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Aaaaaaannnnnd two Months Later...



Opaekaa Falls Kauai
Photo credit: Hannah S.
Another awesome waterfall pic thanks to my little sister. She's a gem-dandy and a love bug, and day-um she takes some great pictures, eh? 



Polihale Beach, Kauai


I'm so bummed i don't have more pictures of my mom on the island!

Have i mentioned i love this boy?

I got to take my mom and the kids to some of my favorite places. 
The forecast included rain for most of their stay. I worried after the all the expense and the long flight, we'd wind up with a slew of dreary days, hard-pressed to find anything more awe-inspiring than shopping to keep ourselves occupied. (Of course, i might be the only one of us that hates shopping, but nonetheless, it isn't how anyone hopes to spend their tropical vacation. Or maybe some do?! Gah well, i can't entertain that thought much longer- wuf. Hurl. Gag me with a shopping mall.)

On our drive to the south side (immediately following our minor Christmas Miracle), the rain came down in torrents. We could've measured the flow  in cubic feet per second; there was surging, undulating current, i swear. It was impressive. I had flashbacks of 2006 when Kauai was inundated with 40 days and 40 nights of straight rain, rain, rain. It was biblical. A whole week of grey skies is totally feasible on "The Garden Island".

Despite the not-so-auspicious douching upon arrival, however, we totally lucked out. Somehow all our drizzley mornings morphed into bluebird, kick-ass, tropical days. (Of course, i must say, it helps to have a top-notch tour guide who knows where to find the sun!) We spent our first day at Polihale, a 17-mile-long stretch of silky white sand beach. It's at the very end of a jarring dirt road- as far as you can drive on Kauai's Northwest side. We learned it had rained all day just about everywhere else on island while we basically sun baked and ray-worshiped our vibrant-white aspects off.

We devoted the next few days to pursuing the sunniest beaches on the island and were rewarded handsomely for our efforts in golden mother lodes of sunshine.
At the price of looking like a dork in comparison, i'd squeeze between these faces any day!


Ever-present, yet ethereal mists of Kōkeʻe State Park








I never knew this shade of blue existed in the swamp before that day




 

Gosh, i guess i was sort of dainty for a change.
We were so insanely spoiled rotten, we even got sun on our hike into the Alaka'i Swamp which sits just adjacent to Mt. Wai'ale'ale, one of the wettest spots on earth. I'd made the hike somewhere near a dozen other times and only seen the view twice. (Really more like 1.2 times because once we saw it for a whole 30 seconds before a curtain of clouds dropped down and socked it all in.) 

The trail is infamous Kauai red dirt/clay for about half of the way. It was about as mucky as i'd seen it. Some portions are a literal slog. Fortunately, an incredible extent of it is actually a wooden-planked boardwalk; a mind-boggling feat (pun! <groan> sorry) given it's length and the extreme location.

We all got muddy. It was a great success. They were awesome sports. The whole week. I even took them outrigger canoe paddling (you can check out a video from one of my previous posts). The conditions were tough for learning- it was windy and choppy. I failed to prepare poor Jofus who thought we were just going merrily-merrily, la-la-la canoe paddling. Little did he know my former paddling coach would  be running the practice and whipping him into proper fo'reals kine timing and mechanics. 

I couldn't have been more proud of the three of them when they piled out of the boat with smiles on their faces after an hour of grueling wind and a fairly brutal bombardment of instructions and commands. My coach could be described as gruff, but she's bomb-diggity and i love her to death. It was so awesome to give them a genuine taste of the sport i loved so much in high school. I was floored to learn afterwards that they loved it. My family is bad-O's yalls. 

Every day was packed-full and magical. We visited the Hindu Monastary (where i used to play hookie in high school), went on a Christmas Eve sailboat ride and watched the largest mammals on earth propel themselves out of the water about six feet and belly flop most magnificently time and time again. (I've seen whales playing, but this pod was breaching like it was going out of style.) We went to my favorite sushi restaurant and our waiter recognized me from half a decade ago- we ate the best sushi on the planet for less than it cost us to buy taco fixings at the grocery store the night before. We got hooked up. 







My dad was re-modeling his kitchen so we hosted a dinner in our hotel kitchenette. Close quarters, yet again and WWIII did not commence. We laughed. My siblings got to know the infamous man of mystery and the not-so-evil step-mother who mean so much to me. They were low-key and easy-going moments that i'll always cherish. Natural yet momentous. 

The day my mom, brother and sister left was rainy. They had to check out of the hotel early so they took my dad up on his invitation to hang out at the house til their flight. I certainly never pictured the lot of us just kicking it in that living room together like it was how it's always been.

My step-mom's been making jewelry so my sexist ass suggested Hannah go scope out her handiwork. Joe immediately expressed his interest and joined them. (See how this kid melts my heart the way he does?) So enthusiastic were the both of them, before i knew it, my step-mom had them soldering, hammering and polishing bangles of their own. 

I regret not getting a picture of Jofus, but Hannah's excitement pretty much sums it up for the both of them. 




Santa woulda had a fuckin' coronary trying to haul the colossal, towering crag of blessings heaped on me and my family this Christmas. Had Dasher and company been charged with the task of towing that load, they would've shit themselves so badly, all but two would be blinded, and Santa would need a fresh suit and a shower. 

It was amazing, i tell you.






Ha, i still have more i want to say about this trip, but it's looking like it might take me til next Christmas to post it. God-willing and the water don't rise i'll get it out eventually. Bye-bye for now. Peace and love to you all and as always, thanks a bajillion for reading.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hindu temple gardens Kauai 2012
My little sister took this photo on our trip to Kauai's Hindu monastery. I think it's where i am in my head right now- many blessings, a calm pool at the center, some tumbling water, some rocks, and maybe a dead branch or two in the foreground.

Yesterday was a significant day in my mind, not because of any lamb tail shakes i give toward a prognosticating gopher (however remarkable that might be), but because it was one year ago exactly i did an awful, week-long stint in our local hospital. It seems so close yet so far away now. 

Psychologically, i think i'm still rattled, a glued-back-together china doll. Nervous. Fragile. My introspection leads me to believe i don't have the fortitude to survive anything like it again. Sooner or later i'll get around to telling you the few things i remember about the whole ordeal, but right now i'm only here to report that i spent the day playing hockey and for that i'm so, so grateful.
Hockey dogs
To boot, it was the first all-women's ice hockey jamboree hosted at our little rink, so that's pretty sweet if you ask me. Even more notable though, was that my sister proposed to Tami. They'd met there a few years ago, so my sister decided to pop the question right at the rink. 

I'm really happy for them. They're good for each other, but i guess the whole occasion has been sort of tainted for me on account that within about 12 hours, my sister told me she wants me to move out of the house. Ooooookay. Neat. 

Sometimes my sister gets riled and says things she doesn't mean. She was mad at me for telling her to stop acting like a hothead on the ice. (The irony there isn't lost on me.) She also called me ugly right about the same time, which being we're mistaken for one another on a daily basis, is fairly irrational (and also hilarious), so who knows.

It seems like it's kind of blown over- chances are it was a rage-induced bout of verbal diarrhea. Regardless, though, i think telling someone they need to move out of their home, at the slightest provocation is more hurtful than anyone really needs to be towards another person; even if it's your twin and being twins is pretty weird and complicated.
***
I'm still employed after a whole week of my new job, which i've been enjoying even more than i'd imagined. I got the whole disclosure deal out of the way and it went great. The manager and the HR guys were totally chill about it. Except... i totally choked about the Olive bit. 
So silly. I had every intention of addressing both the seizures and bringing Olive. No question it's in everybody's best interest to have her there with me. I don't understand myself sometimes. I guess i regressed to the days of 13 where pride and self-consciousness won out over most everything else; there are some cool people working there. I don't want to be that girl. I'm a dorkus. I just want to fit in with the cool kids for a while. 
So shucks, maybe i'll suck it up and muster up the courage to ask about Olive this week. 


Christmas Eve sail my mom took us on!

I still want to tell you a little more about our trip and post some more pictures, but sometimes i wonder if that calm pool in my mind's eye is made of molasses- slow, slow, slow.

Mwah, besos. Hope all your Mondays are most merciful.