Archive for June, 2011
The other day, Matthew went to Panda Express and I went to McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat. Side note: I can’t stand Panda Express because they are so inside my bubble with **FREE SAMPLES OMFGZ** that I can’t breathe. I digress. In the drive thru, I ordered a Fillet-o-Fish with extra cheese (meaning one full slice) and a sweet tea.
As we were driving away from ordering, I noticed the screen said Double Cheeseburger and water. I made Matthew confirm my order at the first window. The employee repeated the order perfectly before I handed over my card. I then checked and double-checked my receipt: perfect. Once we got the bag, I opened it and made sure I had a Fillet-o-Fish box. Even so, I then opened it to make sure it really was the right thing in the box.
It was then I realized how much faith I put into electronic information: sometimes more than informed humans or real life itself. It was interesting to me that even the Fillet-o-Fish box wasn’t enough for me to believe I had the right sandwich, all because the screen said Double Cheeseburger. Most likely, they processed an employee sale between us and the next car, but that’s all it took for me to mistrust all the evidence proving my order was right.
Have you ever felt disoriented after seeing incorrect information? Wrong hours on a website? Bad information on Wikipedia? What should we be doing to make sure human trust still has room in the future to trust humans?
Nearly a year ago, I began taking tizanidine to control neck tension that turns into ophthalmoplegic migraines. This week, I discovered my liver isn’t happy with that therapy as a long-term solution. I begin tapering off the medication tonight.
So, what’s in store? That’s a good question. When I first began the pills, I had mood swings, was more talkative than ever in my life, and was pretty darn annoying for a couple weeks. Also, I’ve now spent nearly a year with my sleep regulated for me as tizanidine lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. I have never slept better in my life than this past year. Will my mood change again? Will I be able to sleep appropriately and get up in the mornings? Will I lose all of these wonderful vivid adventures that live only in my dreams? We’ll see.
To increase the chances of success without the assistance of medication, I’m taking vacation, having an ergonomist assess my work area, and working on a sleep rhythm. I may just have to light candles and listen to nature music in a bubble bath. That should do just fine.
How do you relax and de-stress?
This April marked 10 years since the worst week in my life. Grandma lost her second battle with breast cancer. A week later, Memaw became suddenly ill and lost her life to pneumonia after years of Alzheimer’s-induced dementia. Compared to my peers, my parents met and married late in life, not meeting until they were 30 and 31. This meant that I had much older grandparents than my peers, and as a result both grandfathers were gone before I was even conceived. In one week, my parents, along with their brothers and sisters, became the oldest generation on both sides of my family, and I was only 17.Grandma was a solid rock. She held together a family of 8 kids with all the grandkids and great grandkids for many years after my grandfather died. Every Sunday her kids and their families would gather at her house for dinner (lunch). I don’t think she ever really learned to cook for 1. Her sense of humor would have her on the floor playing as an equal with grandkids. She’d have tea parties, play house or hide and seek, and teach us tricks like grass blade whistles so we could impress our families and friends. She was the kind of grandma that would tell you anything to make you behave as long as you would believe it. She had peonies by the well house, halfway between her house and the barn. The large, gorgeous flowers are tantalizing for young children, but the plants are also very fragile. With 14 grandkids running around, she had to be clever to make sure they didn’t get broken. “Don’t get too close to the well house; there’s peonies!” she’d always call out when a grandkid would get too close. Thanks to Southern pronunciation, “peony” is pronounced “pee on ye.” She had us convinced that getting too close meant they would “pee on ye.” Once we got old enough to know the truth, we were old enough to treat them properly, so it worked out mighty cleverly. Thanks to her love for flowers, I grew up with an acute curiosity for growing plants and for arranging and sharing them in full bloom. When I moved to Minnesota, I was absolutely delighted to learn the home we rent has 2 peony bushes on the side. Every year about this time, I get treated to gorgeous blooms that remind me of Grandma yelling at me from her chair in the corner of the porch, and my memories of her come flooding back.
Memaw was a true Southern Belle who never even got her driver’s license. Before I started school, I stayed with Memaw during the day while my mom worked, my sister went to school, and my dad slept (he worked 3rd shift). Sometimes she’d call a taxi to take us to Sky City, a delightful old-fashioned department store of sorts with a grill in the back. ”Two cheeseburgers, please” she’d say, and go on with small talk with the cook. It was always fun to go out for a treat, but it was even more fun to stay in and help Memaw cook. We would make fried chicken livers, green beans, and creamed potatoes, and I would always make her save 2 chicken livers for my mom to have when she got off work. Every week or two, we would make pies. Usually chocolate or sweet potato pies, and the crust was always from scratch. I never realized until I took cooking classes in high school how special it was to have made so much pastry dough already in my life. On weekends, I would often ask my parents to spend the night with Memaw. They (and she) almost always said yes. Sometimes it was me alone, and sometimes my sister came along too. When I started fifth grade, we moved to a bigger house and Memaw moved in with us. Despite keeping most of us awake at night with her snoring, it was a lot of fun to have her in the same house.Yesterday, I was thinking a lot about my grandmothers. I bought a brand new rolling pin and some other kitchen gadgets, which put me in the mood to cook. I decided to make quiche and share it with some of my friends. I made a crust exactly the way Memaw used to do it, and boy was it tasty. Sharing my love for cooking and gardening with my friends, the same loves my grandmothers shared with me, is the best way I know how to honor the lives of my grandmothers and of my friends. If I’ve cooked for you, know that Memaw guided me, and it’s not just my own love I poured into it. If you enjoy flowers that I’ve grown and tended, know that Grandma helped me pick the best ones and she is the one who figured out how to childproof them. With life as busy as it is, don’t forget to stop for a moment every now and then to consider the role of nurture in making you the person you are today. I for one would be a vastly different person if it had not been for the never-wavering unconditional love from both of my grandmothers.