Sunday, September 30, 2007

My husband's new Samsung toy.

My hubby is up for an upgraded cell phone, and picked the Samsung Sync in red! We both love "cool tools" having an appreciation for the technology needed to make a user-friendly cell phone, table saw, or food processor. i mean, the more nicely made the tool, the easier it is to use.

Okay, so many (okay, most) of these goodies aren't neccessities--but nicely made tools do make our lives easier, not to mention more fun. It's supposed to arrive tomorrow, and we're both a little excited! Especially since with the upgrade online he got it for free.
Cool AND free--two of my favorites!

Spilling creative juices.

Melanie came over yesterday to play with my new cool tool, the Tag A Long. She already loves doing handmade cards, so introducing her to yet another way to decorate them, well, she was all a-quiver. (Is that a word??)

i had emailed Sizzix to ask them whether or not i could use the Cuttlebug dies in the Sizzix machine, and got the reply that, yes i could, but i might need to use a shim. (Not to be confused with a "shiv" though i expect you could use a shiv as a shim, if need be.) Cuttlebug has these cute 2 part dies that punch out a background shape and then the shape of a hand-drawn outline. They come in butterflies, hearts, flowers, etc. Being the good little consumer i am, i went to my local Michael's and bought the flower die set. So not only did Mel get to experience the Tag A Long for the first time, she got to share in the experience of the new 2 part flower die. It reminded us of 2 part rubber stamp sets by Stampin' Up! and Close To My Heart. ANYway, a good time was had by all!

At the top: Mel's 2 cards, which i love! and my first card. Below is the second one i did, which i ruined when i tried to use embossing powder on the petals. This is as close a look as i'm gonna let you get.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Come out and play!

Toward the end of a very long, very mentally/emotionally/physically achy day (yes, i'm pretty sure my emotions can be achy--) Cool Tool #3 came!! The Sizzix goodies!! i spent two hours trying every single bit of it out, each dollar die, each embosser, the sample papers. i still hurt, but i was distracted by the joy of creating.

What works for you? What takes your worries and aches away? Scrapbooking (creative) and knitting (creative) and reading help a lot. Often i like to organize something to keep my mind off of things--i once read that a person who is predominantly right brain (creative) can relax and de-stress their brain by doing something left brain (logical) and vice versa. i think that's where my enjoyment of organizing comes in, and my love of playing with Excel. i'm a predominantly creative person, things like math and organization not coming easily to me. Plus i'm left-handed, which is apparently also a right brain thing-- So, though it seems weird to me, both creating and organizing relax me.

Please share with me--i'm feeling lonely out here in blog-land!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Something Oliver forgot to tell me.

Okay, i should know this already--when you have fibromyalgia, just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD do something.

This morning i am being reminded of the early days of this fibro thing, where i felt each and every sore muscle and bit of skin with a new awareness. i'm guessing that 40 minutes walking a dog was overkill for me, and i should "just do it/i don't have to love it" for shorter periods, maybe more frequently. Maybe my "point of no return" needs to be around minute 7.

It's painful on many levels--the bathroom scale says something needs to change, desperately, i was somewhat inspired by, and getting extra calories for the ones i burned, well that all sounded magical! But today i can feel the ache in each finger, up my arms, and in every place else in my back/shoulders/legs/feet/you name it. i even dreamed i was stuck cleaning vinyl chairs in rows in an auditorium, and i was so tired and so sore but i couldn't get people to help, they were just sitting there talking and ignoring me. When i hurt even in my dreams, there's another lesson to be learned.

If you're at all curious about fibromyalgia, ProHealth has a good website. They also have information on quite a few other medical conditions, and a store with quite a variety of supplements, so check it out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Lessons learned from Oliver.

Oliver is my grandpuppy. We're watching him while daughter Cori is on vacation. He was a rescue doggy when she got him 4 years ago, and he still has some "issues." He's a bit skittish, he's a bit distrustful, but he is a small, fluffy delight nonetheless.

And he does love his walks! Corinne walks him regularly. They live in an apartment in a family neighborhood with tree lined streets and real sidewalks. We live in an unincorporated area, which translates to some concrete sidewalks, some dirt walks, some pebble covered walks. But Oliver doesn't care, he just loves his walks, whatever the surface.

He and i have gone for a couple of walks since he's been at our house--this morning was one of them. i pulled on some clothes and tennis shoes, did nothing to my hair (to be honest, at 6:30 a.m. i barely remember i have hair) and got out his leash. Our other dear left-behind dogs had a howling fit, but i was only taking Oliver. We were out the door around 7, a practically unheard of time for me. i don't really care for hours in the morning that start with 5's, 6's, or 7's. But i was awake, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

As we headed down the street toward the corner market, delivery men were busy with their trucks and coffees and conversations. One of them cheerfully waved and said, "So, he got you up for an early walk, eh?" He was obviously One Of Those. You know the type--probably opens the blinds and talks when he gets up in the morning. A Morning Person. i have a daughter like that. It just isn't right.

i tore my gaze from his cup of coffee and managed something to the effect of, "Yeh, he does love his walks..." We rounded the corner, the sound of their extremely animated morning conversation still in the air.

This is the way i figure it--in order for me to walk for at least 30 minutes, i have to walk so that i am at a point of no return by 15 minutes. That way there's no wimping out, once i'm 15 minutes away from home, it has to take me another 15 to return. No shortcuts, no, excuses.

So, on my way home (which by the way ended up taking me a full 40 minutes total) a thought occurred to me. When i was giving Oliver a bath, he didn't do like my dogs do and try to climb out of the tub, he didn't shake the soap all over the room, he just took on a resigned look. An "I will endure" look. And just did it. He doesn't love his baths, but he doesn't fight them. He just does it because otherwise nobody wants to be near "his stinky self" as my daughter puts it.

i don't have to love morning. i don't have to love 30 minute walks whatever time of day. i don't need to be one of those people i've never understood who just have to get into the great outdoors and stretch their legs and admire the neighbors' roses. i just happen to be one of those people who loves my computer and my crafts and my books and all those other sedentary pastimes. But do i want my stinky self to live longer and breathe better and loosen up this sore body of mine, and possibly burn a calorie or two in the bargain. Then i don't have to love it, i just need to do it. Like Oliver.

Somehow that makes it seem more manageable to me, because if i wait to love it, it's never gonna happen.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

OOH--Hey, if you're interested--

You can now add an RSS feed from this blog by selecting the link that says "subscribe to posts" at the bottom of my blog page, thus creating a handy-dandy little feature that keeps you informed of my blogs as they are added. You then merely need to select your Favorites Center on Internet Explorer, and pick the RSS feeds button there, and anything you have added to the feed will show up!

It's practically magic. This is how i finally scored a Nintendo Wii for my grandson by signing up for an RSS feed to a site that tracked any store that got them in. And i have a feed from the Amazon Gold Box deals, stuff like that. It's not as handy as simply receiving the new blogs in your email, as i get with my Xanga blogger friends, but it is, i must say, a very cute button.

Counting things.

My friend Frugalina is using a FREE online site for keeping track of what she eats and her exercise: "" and another friend was talking about "". So of course, being the masochist i am, i logged into both to compare my day's food and exercise. (i have thoughtfully logged out of both sites before adding the link, just in case it might take you to the unhappy place where i had to log in last night's ice cream. Chocolate peanut butter cup, in "mmmmany calories!!!!!!!")

Both have their strengths--My Fitness Pal is a bit more straight forward, easier to read for me. Less fussiness on the page. But Spark People has a better/easier food database. Both have ways to track most types of exercise and regular activity, and show you how that impacts your day's calories, since the additional activity earns you more calories.

In my perfect world, using my laptop computer for hours a day doing email, genealogy and blogging would earn me extra ice cream points, but alas, they expect you to get off your butt and move a little.

In the past i had used a free trial of a software called "Calorie King" that does pretty much the same thing, but for a price. Now, their food database was a thing of beauty--even more extensive. But it did cost something.

More differences between My Fitness Pal and Spark People: Spark People gives you the opportunity to track more than the basic nutritional bits like fat/carbs/protein. You can add a ton of different vitamins and such to track in your food choices (she said, carefully avoiding the word "diet.") Both give you many opportunities for Community support at their websites, but only My Fitness Pal gives you the banner at the top of the page with other weight loss sites amusingly titled things like "weightloss4idiots."

All in all, as Frugalina said, and like i've learned before in my 50+ years of battling the bulge (and losing TO the bulge,) "it makes me more aware." And that has to be a good thing.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

i was just over at Magistramater's Xanga site--she's a friend of my good friend Melanie. She does put my reading to shame, as she actually knows classics.

i've always loved books--grew up with books lining the huge shelves in my parents' house, my mother being the driving force behind the collection. As a small child i played with the books, using them to build houses like an oversized deck of cards, and later i used the inside for school projects. There was another smaller bookshelf at the foot of the stairs, and of course we each had our stacks of books to read/already read in our bedrooms. i'm still pretty bad about that, i always have books and magazines and notepads and pens by the bed. No photos to be taken for "House Beautiful" here. i love winter cuddled under the covers reading a novel, or summer sprawled out on the covers with a breeze coming in the window next to me, reading. Therefore there must be a readily accessible supply, am i right? And what could be more convenient than directly next to the bed?

But i have to say, i'm an ordinary reader. The youngest of my daughters just graduated from San Francisco State with a major in Literature. She's found a passion for Big Books, Notable Books. i am apparently not that deep. i just like a book that's well written with a good story line and great character development, whether written by Tolkien or Dean Koontz. i'm an ordinary soul. i once read a couple of different series by Bodie Thoene (pronounced "tay-nee") that compelled me to keep reading and keep reading till i finished. They're historical fiction, and i've never been a huge history buff, but i loved these! They were history BUT with PEOPLE. Not just dates to memorize. As they say, "i'm a people person."

My mother's mother was a book lover too, but she ran more to romance novels (back in the day while they contained more romance and less, uh, "busy-ness.") She always bought books for birthdays, which i loved. My mother read all kinds of stuff, and i'm not sure she ever got rid of a single book, unless it was to pass it on to someone else to read. So, the love of books and reading was passed down through the generations, and that's a good thing to pass down! i spent summers as a kid walking the sidewalks between home and the local library, reading somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 books over those couple of months. i married a reader, and all 4 children are readers (well, Shawn will read more as her kids get into school!) Today's her birthday, by the way, so think i'll close this and give her a call.

What kinds of books do you like to read?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Average day.

It's noon, i've spilled the same cup of coffee twice, and eaten half a chocolate covered 2 week old donut. So, it's pretty much an average day.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Cool Tool birthday!

i have to say, this was one fun birthday. i've been in the mood for "cool tools" for scrapbooking, after having done quite a lot of scrapbooking over the past 6 months. i'm a self-admitted Gadget Girl, having already said a fair amount about The Joy of Laundry, when we got our new Frigidaire front loader washer and dryer. But when Dean asked what i wanted for my birthday, and i answered my usual "i don't really know--" and my next usual, "how about money to shop?" (since i do love the shopping!) i figured that if i saw "it" i would know it.

So, after dear Dean took me to the Sushi House and to Beverly's craft store where i bought 2 strips of stickers, i took matters into my own hands. On that fateful day after my chronic pain management overview class, i went to the *Mega* huge Michael's, where the sound of angel choirs rang out as i walked through the door. It was there, as i wandered the aisles upon aisles of scrapbooking goodies that i saw "It." The Memory Makers Tag Maker. With this cool tool i would have the capability to coordinate my tags to my pages! Cool! Plus i had a 40% off coupon for any regular priced item--when that wad of mostly useless store ads comes in, i whip through it for my Michael's coupon-- Do i have something i need to buy at Michael's for which i should have that coupon? Not necessarily. But carrying it in my purse for the week it's valid, ahhh, what a sense of power!

One of the things i had looked for on my birthday shopping expeditions was a way to emboss paper and give it texture, thus giving me options for all my less expensive cardstocks. But the frustration was, designs could be embossed on an area of the paper, but i wanted an all-over background sort of texture on a full sheet. That didn't appear possible, at least not with my budget. My friend Melanie and i have discussed the pros and cons of die cut machines--mostly in the sense of "do you care about die cuts?" "Not really. Die cuts are sorta boring."

But me and my gadget lust, i had to at least look at them and read reviews and compare them. Starting at $50 for a Sizzix Sidekick (one of the manual crank type models) and working up to several hundred dollars for fully electronic ones, the price tag has been one of the hugest deterrents for me. Then when you add the cost of the dies themselves, with alphabets costing over a hundred on some systems, you're talking a sizable investment. And speaking of size, you have to have space to put all these tools and bits. My budget is small, but my space is smaller. And i wanted embossed patterns, not just cute little cut out letters and shapes. That didn't look like it was going to happen.

Did this stop me from perusing the cool tool websites? No way! And while cruising the Sizzix site, i found their most excellent "Online Specials" section! Many things for a dollar, and even the daintily sized Tag A Long machine for but a mere $11. Which came first, the Sidekick or the Tag A Long? i'm guessing they are the same thing, their dimensions and other specifications sound identical, the only difference appears to be the color and the name. But the Sidekick is 50 bucks, AND THE TAG A LONG IS $11! i am a *happy* Gadget Girl! i wander through the clearance, finding myself dies for a buck to enhance the Tag A Long, and even little embossing goodies for a buck! So, for just under $50, i end up with a tiny machine that will cut cute little letters and shapes and even emboss shapes into the paper, BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! i also get somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 more dies and embossed shapes, plus the necessary accessories to use the 12 inch long dies, AND a 12 inch long die! For the usual price of just the machine and its included sample of dies i end up with the machine, accessories, and even more dies and embossers.

But did my Cool Tool birthday end there? NO! Another tool i have looked at but thought "i can't spend the money on that" was The Fastenater byEK Success, with its cute and decorative staples, meant to be both a way to attach things to your pages AND be cute! The cost on Amazon was about $24, and maybe it's just me, but no matter how cute the staples, that seems spendy for a stapler. It does have a long reach, making it possible to attach anywhere in a 12 inch page. That's a bonus. And the staples come in metallics, and pastels, and primaries, and with designs on them. But $24 for a stapler? i just didn't know. BUT--the search also showed a pink one for $13. So, again! A deal. That became my sister's present to me, since she already knows me well enough to send me spending money for my birthday, and just skip that whole question, "what do you think you'd like?"
So, i have the tag maker in my possession, and have found it simple and fun to use, and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Tag A Long from Sizzix, and the Fastenater from Amazon. i got deals on all of them, something that should make even my friend Frugalina proud.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


i love this picture. Do i have to have a reason?

When Adina sent it to me i thought, "this looks like something one could write a great inspirational something about." But apparently i am not in an inspired mood.

i often dream of flying--whether it is my subconscious working out issues, or simply the effect my dizziness has on my sleep, i fly. Where once many years ago i had trouble getting off the ground and staying off the ground, now i soar freely, occasionally taking someone else along for the ride. This photo reminds me of flying, being free from the gravity of life.

It's simply a photo of Adina jumping on a trampoline at her parents' home in Canada, and snapped by sister Melissa. But it speaks to me of freedom, of flying, of soaring above the circumstances of life. And it makes me happy to see it. So it's here.

Julie & The Week Of Many Colors

Wow. It's been quite a week, and today is only Thursday. First there was my birthday on Sunday, with the Sushi House in Alameda, and Beverly's craft store, and cheesecake at my oldest daughter's house with the crazy-funny grandchildren.

Then Monday i lost my cell phone. Feeling somewhat philosophical, since i've done this before and found it before, i got on with my life.

Tuesday i went to part 2 of Chronic Pain Management Clinic's overview class. We discussed drugs of many shapes and sizes and how they work, and i think some of us tucked away some ideas for "dang, that one sounds like fun!" We received our Letters of Recommendation from the Clinic staff for which group they think we should be in. Mine is the intensive one--5 weeks of 4 hours 4 days a week, and a family support group meeting on Friday afternoons for those 5 weeks to which we bring a family or friend support person. They've found, in the 27 years this clinic has been running, that people with support tend to retain the positive results of the program much longer. i had mixed feelings about being put in the intensive program--do they think i really need straightening out? Do they think i'm that messed up? Or did i just exaggerate on the many-paged questionaire? Or are they just trying to kill me and get me out of the Kaiser health system? One thing was for sure--where many people got appointments with their letter because the staff felt they needed more information, mine came appointment free, because, you know me, there were words to spare on my questionaire!

At this point, still no phone. But i'm not too worried. It will show up.

That day, Tuesday, was also my 31st anniversary, not to mention the anniversary of the whole 9-11 awfulness. But we were there first--we had staked our claim on 9-11 many years before. And a side note, i know 4 other couples with anniversaries on 9-11, how weird is that? If it were a date in June i might expect it, but September? We celebrated by Dean going to work and me going to the pain clinic class. i was pretty tired by the end of all that, (plus the shopping at the HUGE Michael's craft store in Union City where the clinic is) so we ate leftover pizza for dinner and stayed home! Ah, the wild things we are, 31 years into this relationship. We'll celebrate on a weekend, we decided. Not this coming one, however, because one of those couples who share the date is having a 25th wedding anniversary party on Sunday, my good friend Julia and her hubby Greg.

Still no phone--we've called my daughter, asked the grandkids, checked under the furniture in the house, and the seats of the cars. i've even cleared out some stacks of papers on the kitchen counter in hopes of finding it buried in their depths. But no.

Wednesday night my good friend Melanie comes over to help me play with stuff for our friend Julia's anniversary photo album. We both love all the crafty gadgets and goodies, and agree that shopping for the stickers/papers/inks/pens/stamps etc for the project is just as much fun as actually using them. Therefore, we both have a mighty fine assortment to choose from at any given moment. Plus she is good for my cooking confidence--i've never thought of myself as a particularly good cook. i mean, nobody has ever starved to death on my watch, but they aren't exactly lined up on the front steps for my recipes and meals, either. But she tells me i am a fine cook, and eats what i make without complaint, but then we tend to like the same stuff--pasta, comfort food creaminess, chocolate. Anyway, we had eaten and were playing with the table full of scrapbooking goodies when my youngest daughter called from the train in Spain (falls mainly on the plain? No wait--that's the rain--.)

"We have a situation," she said somewhat calmly for someone calling at great expense from their cell phone in a foreign country. "We had bedbugs in the sleeper car on the train," pausing to let me absorb that bit of information. "And they're in everything. Do you have any idea how to get rid of them?" Well, if she was calling me for support and help, i may have not made the best choice of responses, as i immediately got very icked out. EEEEWWWW!!! BUGS!!!!! Apparently she had been unable to sleep, and turned on the light, and saw the little bugs all over their stuff and they had bites on them as well. EEEEEEEWWWW shudder.... i'm itching now just thinking about it.

"Let me go jump on the computer and look bedbugs up on the internet," i say. And jump i did. Nasty little buggers they are, bloodsuckers with an attitude. i read her what i'm finding, and most of it is descriptions of the little lovelies--who needs that, she has the actual bugs to study--HOW do you get RID of them?? While we're looking at that, hubby Luis goes off to find someone in the train to tell--they're in Spain, he speaks Spanish, it seems right. But apparently there aren't a lot of people up in the middle of the night Spain train time. i read what i can find about how to kill the little buggers (i'll never again be quite as casual about saying "the little buggers") in between shuddering and saying "Oh i'm so sorry! That is so gross and disturbing!" She promises to let me know what they find out. It is so bad that Luis picks up his jacket and the bugs sprinkle out. This is NOT how sleeper trains are on movies. Often someone is knifed to death or poisoned or some such thing, but there are never bedbugs.

All evening my dear hubby asks me questions about my phone at intervals: do i rememember picking it up Sunday night? Where else could it possibly be? Twenty minutes of silence. Did you check your pockets?

Melanie calls it a night, i stack our supplies for further use on Saturday. Hubby has already headed up to bed--he gets up at a time that i could much more easily stay up till.

i do all the usual light-turning-off and door locking and go upstairs where i flip the light on in our closet to find my jammies. Something catches my eye--a smallish dark object laying in the floor of the closet--"i just found my phone!!!" i exclaim happily. Even from where he is already trying to sleep Dean is happy.

i take that moment to plug the phone in (it's quite thoroughly dead) and text a message to Corinne on the night train in Spain: "Nighty night, and don't let the you-know-whats bite."

And it's only Thursday.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


i can eat donuts in bed and not floss my teeth--it's my birthday!!

i can watch movies all day with my computer in my lap--it's my birthday!

i can ignore the dishes, ignore the mess--yup, say it with me--it's my birthday!

i've always struggled against, for whatever complicated reasons, feeling like a victim. Like life happens to me, and i have little choice. As a part of this, i've always kept a wary eye on my upcoming birthdays, both dreading and desiring their arrival. "Maybe this time i'll be special! But probably not." And, wary eye or not, the Birthday Beast has often developed fangs and wicked claws, and shredded the heck out of me. My birthday has been one of the last holdouts against all those years of therapy, perhaps of the resistent birthday gene. While no longer waiting for others to make my life happen, i have still desired others to make my birthday happen.

My sister and i have talked about the fact that we both have hated our birthdays. Wanting to be special? Wanting to matter? OH the guilt! i've tried it every way possible--set up my own celebrations, waited for others, gone shopping and hoped someone bought me a cake while i was gone, spent the day doing crafts, spent the day in my room. But let me tell you, if you already feel guilty for wanting your birthday to be a special day, nothing is a good way to celebrate.

But weirdly, this year i am okay with my day. i thought it might be a problem since i'm 54 and i don't like even numbers as well as odd, and last year i turned 53 after having been born in '53, and that was too perfect, but then i realized that if i add the 5 and the 4, it equals 9!! And that is my perfect number! 9 for September, 9 for the 9th day of the month, and 5 plus 4 equals 9! So i can't help but be happy. Plus, i'm more settled into the Mentally Healthy fact--birthdays wait for no man, and i get to have a guilt free day!

My dear hubby has gone off to Rudy's, the local donut shop, for apple fritters. So i'll eat donuts and watch movies all day in my jammies if i want, i'll scrapbook or shop or whatever all day-- i know, i know, those of you who know me well will say, "And how is that different than EVERY day for you?" And i'll answer,


Thursday, September 06, 2007

The (i'm in) Chronic Pain Management Clinic.

Well, i went to my first Pain Management overview class on Tuesday morning, with little idea of what to expect. As my new doctor had pointed out to me, fibromyalgia patients tend to have trouble trusting their medical staff, and are "suspicious." (She said suspiciously.) So i showed up by 10 a.m. with my notebook in hand, and a (hopefully) open mind. i'm an avid note taker--it helps the information gel in my brain. i hear it, i write it with my left hand, i see it. And maybe, just maybe, with it surfing my brainwaves in three forms, i remember it.

i must say, i was pleasantly surprised. The tone was positive and affirming. Someone in the medical world who acted like they believed we were actually in pain! As i first walked into the room i thought, "Crap--everybody here is way older than me!" and trust me, i am no longer in the youthful category. But then i saw a woman with long hair the color of mine, but i think hers was that color naturally, probably mid 30's. And a mid 20's girl walked in, and i thought "wow, she REALLY thinks we are ALL a lot older than her." And she would be right.

The doctor who heads up the clinic spoke to us first. He helped put the program together back in 1979 at the Union City Kaiser here in California. He gave a great overview of the pain process, complete with a handout with drawings (a lovely addition to my notes.) He spoke of the pain gate, and what opens it and what closes it. They will help us close the gate. They do not promise to make the pain go away, but they will work with us in many ways physically, mentally, medicinally to manage the pain. Now, i'd agree that most of us in the room would prefer to just not HAVE the pain, but apparently the good doctor can't actually promise that. But they promise to believe we are experiencing the pain, and that helps me right there.

As he, Dr Frank, explained, "We doctors love numbers! We love diabetes--there are numbers, there are tests. Cholesterol--we can measure that. But chronic pain, only you can help us understand your pain. And your doctor has agreed as part of this program to do whatever we recommend. So, as of today, I am in charge of your pain medication."

Personally, i tend to be a "tough it out" person with the whole pain medication thing. i fear narcotics, especially having had a parent with some strong addiction history with pills. But when i am in the most pain physically, which then seems to affect me mentally, i will give in and take something. Apparently that isn't the most effective way to do it, but my fear overrules my need. i then do less so i am in less pain, and end up in that "deconditioned" state, where i become too tired to move. Then i feel guilty because it has become All My Fault that i am in this shape.

We had a ten minute break after the first hour, so i went walking. That sitting in an upright chair for extended periods is interesting at best. It being a pain management clinic, they at least have decent chairs, and made it clear we can walk or stand or whatever works the best for us during the meetings. That's a good thing.

Second hour we had a physical therapist talk to us. He took us through a very telling exercise. First we brain stormed words for what the pain feels like (sharp, shooting, aching, etc) then words for what thoughts and feelings we have about the pain (anxious, hopeless, depressed, angry and so on.) The third list was words for how the pain affects our relationships (more anxiety, anger, frustration and such.) "The first list," he said, "is the facts associated with the pain. The second and third lists," he said gesturing their direction, "are the suffering involved with the pain. The pain is a fact, but the suffering is optional. And we can help you with that."

Damn--and we all wanted them to just make the pain go away. i suppose i should have gotten a clue from that word "chronic" that it ain't goin' nowhere.

People dynamics were fascinating to me, as always. There were a couple of men who wanted to use the class as a vehicle to hear themselves talk about how awful their pain is and how hard it all is. i understand it's hard. We are all, HELLO, in a chronic pain program. The facilitator was good to bring them back into focus. As we were each sharing ONE goal we hoped to achieve as a result of the program, those particular guys would try to again go off into how hard their life is and how awful their pain is and pick a goal such as "getting rid of the pain." The facilitator said, flat out, "Pick another goal." Was the manly man with his painly pain not listening?? Some pain does not go away.

It appears i will enjoy the program, especially watching the people, seeing who "gets" it and who refuses to. i bet a couple of manly men will not return. The clinic does not promise them a magic pill and magic solution, so why should they bother.

One woman there has had MS for years, and is frustrated with other people not getting it. Her goal, simply put, is to be able to cook herself meals. i said my goal has always been to NOT cook meals, but realistically i do understand how frustrating that would be to not be able to stand long enough to prepare yourself food. i'm just a smart mouth and can't seem to control that. As in when physical-therapist-guy was making the lists of feelings etc and asking "who in here has felt this way about their pain?" and i said, "All of these things really do seem to apply to me, and i would keep my hand up, but it hurts too much." He smiled. A little chronic pain humor, who doesn't need that?

We'll see what next week brings, but at the moment my Hope Meter is up a few points.