In case you do not feel well

http://www.alcat.com/

Hi.   Earlier in the year I had a neurological, um, thing. It was scary.

Since that time, I have had a headache every single day. I changed my diet to all clean uber healthy fare. Exercise. All that.

Still. Headache. Every single day. Since June.  It wasn’t fun.  I tried everything.

My acupuncturist suggested I take this ALCAT allergy test.

I did it.

I turns out I am allergic to a lot of healthy food I’d been eating. I am also allergic to potassium nitrate… something that is in my toothpaste.

Seven days ago I stopped using the toothpaste. Two days later,  I woke up without a headache. The first time in 6 months.

Unbelievable. I have not had a headache since.

It is like the first time I put on corrective glasses – I can see the leaves in the trees.

Suddenly.   Life is clear.  The clarity I have without the fog of my noggin splitting is just … well… I’m happy, let’s just say.

I’m still grammatically incorrect – and happy.

I no longer eat cashews, avocados, watermelon, flax seed, cardamon or brewers yeast.   All that hippie stuff was making me ill.   I feel better than I have felt in a long time.

I offer just in case you want to try it.

Not cheap. Worth it so far.

PS:  I can still drink wine and gluten.  yay.

Esalen

http://www.esalen.org/

Go.  Really.  Stop what you are doing, call them, make a reservation and go.

The best (exponent 10) massage I have ever had.  I filled the woman in on my neurological episode and she did the most soothing work on me.  Go with a partner.. romantic as heck… yummy yummy.

Staying there is a wee bit pricey… instead drive a few miles south on hwy 1 and you’ll find these super cute cabins looking out over the ocean in Lucia.   Big deck chairs, crashing surf, sunset YUM.   Gorge yourself in their restaurant and stumble back to the cabin.    Beach access is a little tricky but possible.

Are you still reading…  make the reservation.  blah blah blah

Bar Won

A little frivolous, this post.  I spent much of my youth at a roller rink.   It was the first (and only) thing I could physically do better than my sister.  Seriously.  I will never forget that night- sorry Lita.  (See, I even spell your name the way I want to!)

I had a huge identity around by ability to race around backwards, forwards and fly through the air.  Often, the flying ended with a hemoglobin or two and I didn’t care.  Roller skating created my confidence after being a very shy special-ed student who couldn’t get words out of my mouth.  I basically was a rock star on skates.  My best friends happened at that rink, Chris $, Tracy, Debbie… the list goes on.   I have such fond memories.

Last week a bar in San Francisco cleared the place and set up a Roller Disco.   Costumes required.  Unbelievable fun.  Seriously.  I am surprised by how poorly I skate now, how much my fear of broken bones might mess with the boogie oogie ability.   There we were in our sparkle disco pants, Michelle in her pink Studio 54 jumpsuit and our hair in side head pony tails.   Going round and round.  I had forgotten entirely about striped tube socks.  Every single person in costume remembering some trend I had forgot.

Hilarious.

A friend, Jack Daly, asked me once if my best days were ahead of me or behind me.  Behind me I could physically do things that astounded me.  I could live on Top Ramen and Diet Coke (I’d add ketchup to the Top Ramen when I felt like having spaghetti) and live on 2 hours of sleep. I remember a moment when Holly pointed out to me that I never ate… I had really never noticed.

After an All Night Skate at Fantasia when I was 13, I could roller skate home at 7am (5 miles) with NO problem… put on my swimsuit and go play on the diving board all day.   (I am sad that my son has never been to a swimming pool with a diving board – a sad view on bumper padding kids- diving boards are awesome!  Bring back the diving boards!)

I digress.  Ahead of me I hear news of brittle bones, being tired, sagging eyelids…well, and sagging other things.  I’m going for a mammogram today… I had an eye appointment this week to adjust my glasses to (Gulp) bifocals.   Stuff is sliding.

Last week with my arms in the air and my boogie ON … I lost control and nearly fell on the floor…. out of the corner of my eye I watched as 80% of the people on that floor did the same thing.  “I’ve got it.. look at me.. I can dance and skate… WHOA!”  A sudden loss of balance, arms flung in the air to avoid the crash,  in the midst of a pelvic maneuver to a downbeat.   Am I out of practice or do I believe all the hype out what happens as we age.   Both.

The roller floor truly was the happiest place on earth.  Although there were rollers who clearly had never been on skates… those of us who used to live on them and forgot how… and also these freakishly talented humans who can do things on skates I can’t even do on my feet… it worked.   (yes, I do use ellipses a little too much, I know.  I like them.)  There was this song.. this sound.. beneath all the arms flailing in the air to stay vertical, the sound of ball bearings, the loudest bass I think I’ve ever heard, the ever present Fender Jazz Bass keeping us all in tune…. I heard… over and over…’sorry’.   We bumped, nearly tripped each other, crashed… and everyone would mutter with such relief  ‘sorry’.   Sorry meant, “whoa, I almost went down and since I’m older my bones will absolutely break because that is what I have been told and you just kept me from that by me bumping into you … thank you and I’m so glad you didn’t crash and I’m sorry.”   When I was younger that little bump would have likely ended up with a Riedell between the wheels and some sort of fisticuffs.

Do I even have a point?  No.  I’m just in bliss thinking of this month.. of going again.   I’ve started taking the steps two at a time of late as I increase my level of exercise.  Last night I actually CRAVED steamed broccoli.    This morning I skated in my house.  Yes, you heard that right.  I put on my roller blades and tried to do a past maneuver in the kitchen.  Sitting on a swelling bruise on my butt in the middle of a knocked over cat food dish, I laughed harder than the night I saw the )@($*@)( Matt Damon video.  Life is good.  (PS: totally unsuccessful in my skating maneuver… it’s okay, I have about 29,501 9at least more mornings to practice it until I die.  My nursing home will have a rink rather than a pool… unless of course there is a diving board-then I will take both.)

Ahead of me Jack.  Absolutely ahead of me.

New Jersey

it is weird
80% of the people I have met here answer my question the same way.
“Born and Raised”

New Jersey is different. Folks I have met here can’t tell me what it is. Why do so many people stay here? Born and raised is rare where I am from and in most cities I visit.  Born and Raised in New Jersey seems to be common.

I’m at a local bar. It is fun. Lots of great conversation about family and the real stuff. Folks seem to swim in the deep end here fairly quickly.
Like it.
I am in a huge bar. Two levels of people.
I have a small bladder. Not over sharing with you, just setting you up for a later musing.
I expect a line. I walk toward the back of the venue before I need to, just sure I will have to wait.
I find a door with a picture of a stick figure in a skirt.
I go in. Beautiful bathroom. Sink, stone, clean nice.
I’m happy in my own little private, um, space. No one to see my feet or hear my, um, tinkling.
I then realize as i wash my hands in my own private potty nirvana… OMG.
This is a huge venue. wtf? I can’t believe they don’t have more bathrooms. This is CRAZY with a capital urinary tract infection.  With this many women drinking there must be some unhappy girls come 2nd beer time.

I begrudgingly leave my amber lighted sanctuary and see some women in the hall. “Wow, ladies, I can’t believe there is only one bathroom.”
They give me a nice look and then direct my eyes toward the 6 or 7 private little stall rooms.  Complete with their own individual sinks.    Um. Whoa.

Did I just discover it? Is this why New Jersians stay in New Jersey? Is it a person’s own private space to pee, wash their hands and pretend that by applying more lipstick they will lose those  post-40 tiny little upper lip verticals?

I’m on a mission. I meet Ed, and Joe, and Kim and Dan etc etc.
I ask each of them “where are you from?”
“Born and Raised in New Jersey.”
I ask a weird question that most people do not hesitate to answer.
“This is a weird question. Random. How many bathrooms in your house?”

I’m from the Bay area in San Francisco area. Most of my friends have a 3/1 ratio. If they are lucky: 2/1.
Every person I asked had as many bathrooms as bedrooms. Everyone.

Is this why no one leaves New Jersey? Elimination real estate?

Whatever it is.  I noticed and I like it.  Most of the questions I received after my ‘speech’ were directed toward family.    Definitely going back for more time.

Latoya

Have you read my last post?   My life is weird.   I ask questions (as in that post) and the answers come.

I wrote the post sitting in the Dallas airport watching soldiers walking by.  There was something wrong with the plane and I was sitting there hoping and praying I didn’t have to drive to Houston. I had a zero g flight to do after all, I needed to GET THERE, get some sleep etc.  I made a pact with a young woman next to me, that we would drive the 5 hours together if we had to. We’d be in Houston by dawn.
My IPod played Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now.  I wrote a post, watching the soldiers.  Feeling misty. 

 The plane was fixed! YAY! I sat in the tiny commuter plane and buckled my seat belt.  I crammed my backpack under the seat.  I’ll be in Houston late… no matter.. I’ll get there.

Latoya Jxxx (only fair to protect her privacy)  sat next to me. A gorgeous, very tall, woman. I didn’t notice the dog tags. We started chatting as women often do on airplanes.

It seems Latoya ran from another airplane to catch this one. She is on her last night before shipping off to Iraq for one year. Her last flight was an hour late. THANK GOODNESS we had maintenance problems – or she’d miss a last night with her friends who are waiting to send her off.
She showed me some pictures.  She is leaving a four year old and a twelve year old to serve her country.  She has been in the military for 10 years. She is a soldier, she says.

I couldn’t help but ask, as I watched her eyes tear up as she introduced me to Cxx and Jxx. “Can’t you get a pass or something so you don’t have to go?”

“Yes.  As an only child I am automatically (some military term here).”  She didn’t have to go.   “Well?”

“I thought long and hard about that.  I joined the military as a career.  What am I teaching my children, if when it is time for me to do what I was hired to do, I don’t do it?  I am a soldier.  This is what we do.”

“Lxx, they’d understand.  I’m sure they’d…”

“It is the solider in me.  I must go.  What makes me proud is I am going to dismantle two camps.  I am going so that others can be sent home.  They have families too.”

I couldn’t help but sob like a baby.  It turns out, the kids in fatigues at the airport, are going home.  She mentioned those on the way to Iraq wear their normal clothes.  I sobbed some more.

I told her, “The weakest parts of you are stronger than the strongest parts of me.  Thank you for what you are doing for us. ”

We talked about her motorcycle club.  Her past marriage.  She told me so many beautiful stories about her children, the 4-year old boy and the 12-year old girl.  She saved the best moments for stories about her mom and dad.  (Step Dad, also a soldier.)  She shared stories that indicated a deep love and affection for her family.

One year away from them.  One year.  Sure, she will have Skype, mail, e-mail and still. 

She turned to me as the flight landed.  “Thank you.  This would have been a really hard flight.. thank you for talking.”   Her phone kept singing.  (some club song I just am not hip enough to know.)  She ignored it as we finished our stories and moments with each other. 

I have heard people describe courage, grace, honor and integrity before.  I watched the true definition of those words walk off the plane on August 11th, 2009.  My only regret is that I was so touched and emotional I forgot to give her a way to keep in touch.

Latoya- thank you.