Saturday, October 22, 2005

it's about time!

YAY! In my last post, I mentioned my faith in alternative medicine. Well, I'm going to affirm it even more! For the last two months, I have felt like I was in limbo, waiting for something big to happen that would make my back feel better and working my butt of to get there in the meantime. Well, I'm finally out of limbo and I THINK I'M GETTING BETTER! My measure of "betterness" directly correlates to the number of narcotics I have to take daily just to get by. Today was substantially better!

A lot of credit to this sudden boost of health goes to my new doctor, a wonderful chiropractor/acupuncturist. I went to see him Thursday afternoon and he spent an hour evaluating and treating me. I had my first acupuncture treatment ever, an ultrasound (which relieves a lot of deep tension where a simple massage would not reach), and a chiropractic adjustment. Well, two days later and I'm starting to feel better! My new doctor had an interesting second opinion which is the bulk of the injury was done to my neck and it is possible that a pinched nerve in my cervical spine is what is causing the mid-upper back pain. After my treatment on Thursday which included a lot of therapy for the neck (which my physical therapist had worked on as well on Wednesday), the really harsh, stabbing pain I had been feeling in my back has diminished a great deal! I'd say that is a great sign! I may have to go in for a neck MRI to check for a pinched nerve but I wouldn't mind. It's just really exciting to get a second opinion. I could spend a lot of time wishing I had gone to an alternative medicine doctor sooner but I didn't have one I trusted until this week. So I'm not going to waste time!

Okay, on to some stuff not about my personal life, since I know a lot of my readers either already know about everything I just wrote or are not interested.

I just got back from my house managing job (Darling of the Day with Light Opera Works. See link to left...) and I'm feeling something that I think might just be inspiration. It is nothing from the actual show or even my house managing job. Rather, it is from a book I am rereading which is inspiring me as I think it did the first time I read it. I might have mentioned it in an earlier post. I'm reading a book by my favorite author, Robin McKinley, called The Blue Sword. She is the author I was talking about creating a world where she trusts the reader to accept the circumstances and thus completely envelopes the reader in the experience. The Blue Sword is definately one of my childhood/adolescent years favorites (Dad, I still love Wizard of Oz and Chronicles of Narnia and Mom, nothing can replace Swallows and Amazons...but that was a different kind of experience in reading since it was with my parents... Lord of the Rings doesn't even count since I didn't read them until I got to college, silly me....).

Robin McKinley is an author I read and never want the book to end. I always want more of the story and more of the writing. That is a huge strength in writing because it challenges the imagination to fill in that void that is left by finishing the last page of a good book. I don't know if I'm being clear or not. Maybe no one else has that same experience that I do of desperately wanting to draw out the experience of reading a good book but not being able to put it down, and then lying with your eyes closed when it is over, just letting it dwell in your imagination.

Anybody who knows me can attest to the fact that I am an avid reader which is perhaps an understatement. My mom literally had to make me and my siblings stop reading every now and then so we would get other work done (which is a lesson I still haven't learned....). People who read my blog can tell that I am also a rather verbose writer. But what I write is non-fiction and what I want more than anything right now is to sit down and write a book. I don't know how that makes sense even to myself but when I read someone like Robin McKinley, who seems to write with such ease and grace, I feel like it is possible for me to create an equally splendid wolrld in my head. Yet I have tried so many times and failed. Well, not necessarily failed but given up...When I go home for winter break this year, I'm going to look for my old "stories." I had quite a few novels in the works when I was younger. Much younger. I would sit and write for hours but I never had the patience to finish anything. Now when I try to write fiction, the language just sounds so forced and stunted.

But maybe it's time to try again. I read a wonderful book by another favorite author, Ann Patchett, about her own experience as a young writer and the experiences of a fellow author and friend. The book, Truth and Beauty, delves into the deep issues of artistic struggles as writers and the lives of two very different writers dealing with those demons. I guess what I can learn from that book is that it is not easy to get something you like. But without perseverence, what is the point of anything. The more patience exerted into a project and passion used, the greater the meaning in the outcome. Or somethign like that.

I also cannot be afraid of the editing process. Which I obviously ignore for blog writing. But perhaps if I can get by the strangeness of a first draft of fiction, the stories underneath the bad writing will come otu and I can make the writing match what I see and hear in my imagination.

Well, I'm off to try to write and then I will let myself go back to my very good book.

Here's wishing you a very inspired week!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

sleepy. very very sleepy

I have to perform in Acting at the crack of dawn (aka 8:30am...) so I'm going to keep this brief.

I just want to affirm how wonderful and amazing alternative medicine can be. Or I hope will be. I had a rough day because I accidently missed my physical therapy appointment. However, I got a name from someone I trust a great deal for a chiropractor who also does acupuncture. Just making an appointment with that doctor is making me feel like there is an end in sight. In addition, my dear condo-mate, Erica, told me to go to yoga tonight because it would make me feel better. And as always, she was absolutely right and I am feeling relaxed although still in a little pain. The more important part is that yoga doesn't just work on the body; yoga can affect your spirit and heart as well if you let it. Yoga has always been spiritual for me because I find peace in the movements and meditation. Tonight Joyce did an amazing walking meditation with us based on one she did with Thicht That Nan (probably misspelled that name...sorry!). Just the fact that she was in the same room with him is amazing (he wrote one of my favorite books, Living Buddha, Living Christ). But the meditation was very simple. We kept a soft focus and on the inhalations and exhalations, placed one foot slowly to the ground in front of us, heel first, and when it was fully connected to the ground, we moved the
next foot. On each step, she said to think of something simple to meditate on. Her examples were ""I am calm" and "I am smiling." For mine I chose "I am well." Even though it is not quite true, just meditating on the possibility of being well is amazing.
Anyways, I need to get to sleep but I highly recommend trying the walking mediation sometime. Just put on some relaxing music, clear an area in your room, turn the lights down, and just pick something to walk to. It's a great way to calm down after a long, hard, exhausting day.and

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I crack myself up...

So I realized tonight that I should have made the title for last night's entry "BACK!" because it would have been very punny....

Anyways, Segundo's in town this weekend and those of you who know who I"m talking about know that my punny sense is on because of his wonderful sense of humor...

Okay, there are so many things I want to talk about I don't know where to start. But sense I'm currently listening to the music of one of my new favorite movies, I think I can start there.

I love the movie Serenity. I've only seen it once so far but that will soon change because I have to see it multiple times in the theater to boost it's profit so they will make many more sequels! I can't talk about some of the more exciting/disturbing aspects of the movie without giving things away but I'll just say it was great.

What I can talk about is how it relates to all my grumblings about action movies this summer. I read something really interesting last night about the TV show it started from, Firefly, which discussed how the creator, Joss Whedon, wanted to make a sci-fi movie where it wasn't about the possibilities of the future and how things might be but rather the future as being history. In other words, it is not about a future but about a "then," which is what most movies and TV shows that are good relate to. Or at least a "now." I don't know if that makes any sense so I'll try to explain.

I love reading science fiction which creates entire worlds from the imagination and just assumes the reader will be able to learn to understand the intricacies of the made up reality. For example, Robin McKinley is an amazing writer who's books The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword take place in a kind of fantasy world that does not give in to "common" fantasy world archetypes or inhabitants like unicorns, damsels in distress, or knighthood. Instead, she does draw on some traditional fantasies like fighting dragons but also creates creatures who have their own unique personalities and names that come completely from her imagination! And you accept the terig because both the author and the characters accept them.

Those of you who remember my grumblings about action movies this summer are probably trying to figure out how in the world this relates to feminism. Well, I'm about to tell you.

In the world of Firefly and Serenity, there is an interesting combinations of cultures, historical periods, and customs. Some planets featured in the TV episodes are hopelessly patriarchial and sexist yet others demonstrate matriarchal societies or interesting mixes of equality of the sexes. On the ship Serenity, the crew is a delightful mixture of men and women and everyone has a very defined role and character! Yet the fact that the courtesan character is a woman doesn't bother me because she also kicks ass and her career as a highly trained "prostitute" is actually the most respected job in the universe in the world that Joss Whedon has created. The character of Kaylee, one of my favorites, is a sweet young girl who also happens to be naturally tuned in to the mechanical workings of space ships and therefore is the most skilled mechanic in the "verse."

The male roles are equally diverse and interesting. Mal, the captain, is a seemingly hard-edged war veteran who is actually quite emotional and a real softy at heart. He is a strong male character who does not hide behind the Hollywood norm of lacking emotions/stoicism. I find it hilarious that the muscle man of the crew, Mr. Cobb, who is the most stereotypically "male" in his snide remarks and slight sexist comments (notice I said stereotypically. I don't really think this is who males act but we're talking about TV and Hollywood) has a "girl's name," Jayne. (Side note: I love Jayne more than any of the other characters for some reason. I think it has to do with the fact he named his favorite gun "Vera" and has a town named after him for his accidental Robin Hood deeds...). It probably wasn't intentional but it is intriguing that the most "male" character has what is usually defined as a "female" name, Jayne...

When I actually was sitting watching Firefly and Serenity, the problem I usually see in movies relating to sexism never even occured to me. Those of you who know me know this is an amazing sign. The characters were so natural and rich that I accepted them as the people they are, just as I can accept the world they are placed in which is a figment of one man's imagination that has become a major motion picture.

So I recommend seeing Serenity and renting the TV series sometime. It is some of the best writing, acting, music, editing, filming, etc I have seen in a very long time.


My To Do List for the next few days for my Blog:
Write about Katie Holmes and her Scientologist choices...
Hurricane schtuf
The Asian Earthquake
Greek Tragedy.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

I'm back!

Hey y'all. Thanks for still reading! I would like to apologize for my absence. My computer was having some issues and had to go to Texas to have them sorted out and in the meantime, I didn't really do much online at all. Except check my email. And that was it.

But I'm back now and realizing how much I missed writing! I've felt isolated lately because of my injured back (yes, two months later, it is still injured!) which causes lots of pain but writing on my blog is one thing I can stand to do since I don't have to smile and pretend I'm fine around other people.

So I guess I'll talk about my back first (I have a long list of things to write about over the next couple of days). I have a new found respect for anyone who is able to diagnose back problems at all. They are having a little trouble with mine. I don't remember if I wrote about the initial injury or not so I'll just recap. Back in August when I was working on The Merry Widow, I picked up one of our cafe tables with a cast iron base and I apparently picked it up wrong because I started experiencing a lot of back pain. Then the next weekend my Mom was here and we were in a great used bookstore and I just kinda fell on my butt, causing more pain. Well, it took my doctor awhile to figure out just how much pain I was in (it's really a hard thing to guage by anything other than trial and error with drugs) and by that time I had compensated so much for the injury that I pretty much hurt all over my back. I started physical therapy and we were hoping that would fix the problem BUT it apparently wasn't enough.

In the last month or so I have been to the Evanston hospital numerous times. They have done x-rays of my upper and lower back (because the pain was all over to the extent we had no clue what might be the problem and where), which came back normal. Then there was more waiting and physical therapy, and when that still wasn't cutting it, I had an MRI. MRIs are not fun. They are painful. I wasn't bothered by the small enclosed space. It was the block of wood (or what felt like a block of wood) that they put under my neck that was hell, adding to the fact I was in pain anyways. They told me over the phone that the MRI came back fine. Then when I went to my doctor for a follow-up, he told me they actually had found a lesion near my spine and needed to do a bone scan in order to rule out more serious problems such as...cancer.

I went a week and a half until the bone scan and it was horrible. The scan came back fine (my doctor even called me the same day!) but that week, which included going home for a wedding, was emotionally and physically rough. The lesion is probably just a cluster of blood vessels or something harmless like that but who knows why it is there. Maybe this "injury" I had back in August just set off a chain of events to lead me to find this lesion. I don't know. But at least it's not cancer! I can thank God for that.

So that brings the "injury report" up to date. I'm in limbo again with no new tests ordered and still on lots and lots of pain meds and muscle relaxers. I'm still doing physical therapy which has been wonderful because my therapist works with me and my pain and I am getting stronger. However, I don't know if it's going to "fix" me...I'm going to see a rehabilitation back specialist sometime soon so maybe that will illuminate things some.

Well, that is all for tonight's entry. I needed to write about my back, which seems like an unusual and personal topic but it is important to me. I've been living with the pain and discomfort for almost two months and therefore it has become part of who I am this fall and how I look at the world. I even used my back trouble as an example in my Feminism and Fertility class about how physical pain greatly affects the emotions and the way a person lives (I think it was in a discussion of infertility and disabilities). I'm pretty open with people when they ask about my back because it has made me a different person. I'm trying not to complain to much and most of the time I make fun of myself in order to make the situation less depressing. I've had wonderful support from all of my family, friends, coworkers, bosses, professors, etc and I thank you all for that.

My back is telling me to go do my therapy exercises and they take a load off with a nice ice pack so I close this blog entry for tonight. On Monday I'm going to start researching new ways to help my back, perhaps chiropractics or acupuncture. And who knows, maybe it just needs time.