If I Could Put Time in that Bottle…

And smash it against a brick wall!

All good things must come to any end and these past few months, as I look ahead to some improvements in lifestyle, and some successes and projects that take less time than in the past, I’m doing pretty well.

There is that matter of my computer club. After about four(?) years, there has been no improvement or time-saving progress whatsoever.

When I first joined the club, it was for a purpose. I had begun to work as a computer instructor, a totally inexperienced teacher, but a very experienced administrator and office technology user. So it was a logical step. For support, advice, mentoring and keeping abreast of the latest developments in technology as it related to workers and also to personal needs.

At that time, I was fighting a spinal issue, and as time moved on it became harder and harder to stand to give my lessons, until I discovered I had breast cancer in 2008 and my 11-year teaching career began to come to a screeching halt. It was a little like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

A few pounds of flesh lighter, and a painful back condition later, I found myself unable to work, and retired in 2009, after a respectable length of time for a career in mid-life. So what now about the computer users group?

Being a loyal to a fault person, I remained a member of the club, but in addition, became more involved in some of the duties of membership. I ran a couple of workshops, I ran a monthly workshop in word processing, I became the programs chair for a couple of years, wildly surpassing any past efforts and raising the bar on using my connections network to help that along.

Being that this is a short history of my efforts to retain my loyalty, I’ll put it this way. I became active in a couple of interest groups, especially the graphics group, which soon revealed itself to be a monthly sales pitch for some video software, and some irrelevant technologies such as 3-D printing and virtual reality software. Enough was enough.

I realized what I needed was to narrow my “causes” down to just a few essentials. So I picked and chose – my faith community; gardening; photography, and digital art. I redefined myself as a digital artist, and began to take day trips and network among some very creative people.

Albeit I found myself among younger, more vibrant, and actually people who used technology to create art. People who weren’t asking the same questions every month from the same seats in the same place. This was the opposite of the evening I presented a workshop in said video program, and nobody admitted to owning or using the program. That night was the last straw.

So, all this being said, it is the end of some things, time has been put in a bottle, stopped up with a used cork stopper, put on a shelf, and is already collecting the dust of ages.

Stanching the urge to crush and smash, I shall dust myself off and move on.

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Another Day of Amazing Rudeness

Ever open up your #FaceBook page and hearken to Gen Xer relatives posting curses and rants against “federal government” and presidential hopefuls they don’t support, and oh, yes. #Muslims. Well, I have.

Gen Xers apparently have a mindset that they can say, do or post anything they want and then post things like “if you don’t like it…” or “too bad if you are so stupid…” (my para’s). Well, time to rethink what a “friend” with whom you “share” is, really.

Not that I’m looking for a way to have a world of bytes agree with me 100% of the time, but it seems it is not expedient, wise or even worth the time of day to again and again tell the world who you are. Who you identify as, with, or to.

This is apparently not popular, and let’s face it. Very few people of my advanced age even use FaceBook.

I thought it would be a great way to see pics and see people with whom I’m related, as they grow and participate in their own little, closed, now I realized, insular reality. This is not the case. My first to rebel niece, #Susan E. Fagan, jumped the shark many years ago when she would not accept my plea to watch out for cancer. My other two nieces don’t use their real names, and they are not little cute kids any more.

Well, neither am I. But I’ll try to stay clean and neat, at least inside, and let the rest of the world seek that within themselves before turning to my sometimes broken, heart. Be rude, but be rude without me.

Bracing for Impact – Just a Few More Daze to Go

Fate had the grace to grant me the privilege of reconnecting with those people I did not choose to connect with in the first place. If there is a lesson in this Thanksgiving holiday, it’s that you have to unburn those bridges at some point or it is not even worthwhile. It will make you compound the ills and mistakes made not by you, oh, no, but by the others.

And that was what they were to me. They have flitted in and out of my life, one flitting taking her daughter with her to end that line of thought with utter hatred, and others making up time when they can, and being very honest about that.

I was once a person who had no truck with the elders. But time has taught me the value of cherishing the nearness, the corporal experience, of one who will not be here forever. And I have the best of motives to be aware of that –

my thyroid surgery is in just a few days. I am quite ready; having read all the materials, incentive spirometer in one hand, advance directive in the other, TV remote in arm’s reach, and pets underfoot. It’s my understanding that the operation itself is quite routine. What is not routine, is the identification and staging of the cancer, and the fact that there will be many repercussions afterwards. I’m just biding my time to handle the complications that may occur – the appointments, the specialist advice, the treatments. All done before with my breast cancer. The goal is complete healing, and my goal is not looking like I just had a head transplant.

Of course, this all comes to a head! The excitement, the confusion, the endless talking and explanations, the overeating and excessive drinking, this will all end tonight, and serious thought begins to go into making my one-night stay in a hospital bed as bearable as possible.

So, looking forward to the landing. Bracing for impact – may it be a soft one, surprisingly easy and one that will allow liftoff once again.

My Inside-Out Selfie – or a Spaghetti-like Assault

How many of us can say they had a camera shoved down their throat with little notice, and with no huge anticipation? While I have been diligent in researching the procedures coming up during my bout with Thyroid Cancer, I did not expect this one coming.

Being a photographer, there is nothing as fascinating to me as the technology behind digital images, and the clarity and usefulness they have in medicine, especially. But who knew one of these tiny little suckers was heading for my left nostril?

This was a routine pre-op office visit. Answers to questions, processing information with my husband along to add interest. The surgeon, while a really nice, reassuring professional, a member of all the right societies, suddenly got up it seemed and produced a long, thin what looked like a q-tip, and all I thought was how can a piece of cotton on a rigid little dowel possibly be stuck so far into my face.

Turned out, when I thought is was going to be only a sample or something of the inside of my nose, it just kept going. Turned out, a digital laryngoscopy included a preliminary probe, which felt like a towel being dragged along the back of my throat. Well, that’s how it felt, anyway.

rigid-endoscope1

Next, the chrome and silver object of interest. A long tube, flexible with the tiniest camera I ever can imagine, on the end of it, slide its way down my nose. All this time, I’m watching it on a monitor. Was that a hair I saw? OMG. I need a wax. All I could think of was America’s Got Talent, a TV show that actually has occasional performers whose act is to pull spaghetti or string through their nose after swallowing it. Disgusting!

This little camera got pushed past the point of resistance, wherever that was, and my windpipe and vocal cords were right there. Right there, I tell you. I never saw such a sight. And hope never to again.

This was a reverse selfie! This was a trip through my insides to make sure the stuff was where it was supposed to be, and along with an MRI and bloodwork, and reassurance that everything would be all right just added to the experience of my thyroid surgery. I can’t wait to really say Ahhhhhhhhhh.

My Magnetic Persona – Enduring a Non-Metallic Experience

So the instructions were don’t wear anything metallic. Even a grommet on your workout pants is forbidden. Arriving at the imaging center, a euphemism for you are here there is no return. Not sure yet just where they are going to stick the “contrast” another euphemism for opaque substance that will flow through your veins, hit your heart and light up your organs like a candle, when you get there. I had eaten something beforehand, to make sure my stomach didn’t sound louder than that machine in there.

The MRI is a highly technical, amazing machine. But, it is based on some sort of echoing, and the computer works with the pulses to put together a detailed explanation of foreign growths, and invaders to the system, in my case, my thyroid. Both lobes have hosted a number of invaders, and it is time to identify, quantify and remove their asses from the field. They are not playing nice, and we have to call in the team to battle.

My tech was a nice enough fellow, who was all business. I find it funny that I, an older woman, suddenly is the center of a young man’s world. All his professionalism fell away when I would feel that reassuring hand on my arm as I slide into the tube for my MRI. They know, they know, I’m nervous as a cat. No, a squirrel. This is my magnetic personality.

This is the next step in my process of removing a small cancer from my body. It will be the next part I’m leaving in some incinerator. May it have a good journey to wherever parts go. Perhaps in a celestial warehouse to be reunited once again. Who knows?