—I have frequent wardrobe mishaps. For instance, I might swivel my head to look at you, and suddenly a lens from my sunglasses will fall away, leaving one eye freakishly staring out from an empty frame. Today, I did the thing with the extra long sweater I found at the thrift store: I once again shut it in the car door, so that a piece of my clothing was fluttering in the cold morning air while the rest of me was in the heated car. The first time this happened, I had to go in the bathroom and wash mud out of a section of the garment. Fortunately, today, no follow up was required. I should know now to check when I get in the car, but I never think of it.
—Colleagues at my new job want to friend me on Facebook. I am a passive FB friender, and I had no plans to blend my personal account with work. I’ve visualized myself explaining my reluctance to accept friendship requests, and the imaginary me comes off as petty, all explanations sounding like lame excuse-making. A request has already come through, so I hit on a plan to make everyone happy: I would create an FB account just for my work friends and post a few key pictures on it. Bad idea. FB discouraged me from creating a unique name, and what’s more, wrested a phone number and work e-mail from me. I’m sure this new account is going to bob up on friends’ suggested people list, and my new, pale FB silhouette is going to be bombarded with friend requests. I’d like to delete the account, but don’t see a way to do so. FB has already sent three messages to my work e-mail. Make it stop! And now I’m not any farther in my quest to not offend anyone at work.
—I am just getting over the flu. It wasn’t aches and pains and high fever—what I had was no fun, but that sounds worse. Mine followed the trajectory of my roommate’s, an older woman who got a special flu shot for senior citizens back in the fall, and then had this thing officially diagnosed as the flu. It started with fatigue and sinus pressure, three days of it for me. I tried to sleep in and not be in a rush for my flexible morning job. This strain makes you sleep: I did ten hours one night. Then last Saturday, the coughing started, and I had that “off” feeling I get when I might have a fever. I stayed home Sunday, and that evening coughed and sneezed my way through my weekly phone calls. Thankfully, I had only a few coughing fits at night, although when I lay down, there were noises in my chest that kept distracting me. I didn’t go in to my afternoon job until Thursday, when I had to make an appearance for CPR training. The underlying fatigue sticks around, although I feel more like myself today.
—Speaking of CPR, the new training course is much improved from the one I had in 1996 or so. The captioned video dramatizing repetition of the steps (I still can visualize the computer animated man checking for breathing) makes the instruction stick. This is so much more effective than a verbal presentation as the medium of instruction. There were three practice dummies for six of us, and these give feedback on speed and depth of compressions by means of color-coded lights on the shoulders. In the case of a real emergency, however, I do not see myself authoritatively clearing out the area and working tirelessly over a prone victim. What an intimidating responsibility that would be. I would like to have a card with the steps so I can review them now and then. I’m surprised the sponsoring organization didn’t arrange to leave us with one. Maybe they don’t like to leave a lot of literature lying around, to discouraged non-trained individuals from trying it.
—The training included what to do in different scenarios where first aid is needed. It’s interesting to see where protocol has been updated, or where there are new procedures to go with newer drugs. We practiced stabbing one another’s thighs with practice epi-pens. The video had a number of dramatized scenes for emergencies from broken bones to bee stings. I found myself imagining how these actors must have tried out for their parts, and wondered whether they were happy to get the gig. Some of them were convincing, like the mom yelling at her son to hold his hand the way she told him to because he had severed his finger. By the way, don’t put the severed limb directly on ice. The ice could damage it so it’s unsalvageable.
—My solution for loud music at coffee shops, which are otherwise great places for hanging around and writing: I listen to continuous rain sound on mynoise.net. The canned loudspeaker music is drowned out, as are the self-conscious conversations that might distract those of us who have a hard time filtering out such things. I’m wondering whether the sound of rain in my ears is going to become downright inspiring one of these days—I’ve produced reams of material by its rhythm. Typing when I hear it should be an automatic response. Unfortunately, I still seem to have to think to come up with material, and at times have so little to offer that I’ll type up a string of unrelated paragraphs and call them “Snippets.” Yes, I’ve actually done that.
—When I was finally able to get back to the grocery store after my illness, I grabbed up a large bag of discounted stir fry vegetables. I was hungry, and they looked fresh. And they were discounted. Yet, I was not sure how they would taste. I’m not a stir fry enthusiast, and the sauces provided tend to have weird ingredients (e.g., corn syrup, palm oil). There was a good chance this bag would go to waste. However, yesterday afternoon, I pleasantly surprised myself by opening the bag and sampling the snow peas. They were good. The carrots were good, too. The sauce had real soy sauce and vinegar and sugar. I ended up making up a kind of pad Thai: scrambling some eggs with garlic, then heating up cooked chicken and noodles and adding broth, the sauce, and vegetables. After stirring the eggs back in, if you top the mixture with crushed peanuts, lime, and hot pepper flakes, you can convince yourself that you are eating something tasty. The secret is to use chopsticks.
—During church this morning, the sun was shining gloriously outside. I thought it would be a great afternoon to take a walk. By the time I got to the park, however, the sky was gray. It didn’t matter that the temperature was close to forty: the wind felt cold, and I had to wear a cap. The park’s grass was a bleak brown, its ponds iced over. I managed to walk for about a quarter of an hour, then retreated to the car. I’m not sure that little excursion did anything to help my cough.
—Our taxes were done so efficiently this year. When I got to the appointment (a few minutes early) and waited in the reception area, it turns out my husband was already with the tax professional. When I went in there, various documents were already being handed forth. We were finished in under an hour, knowing what our refund would be and again signing up for error insurance that had come in extremely handy a few years ago. To cap it off, I got a link to gift cards through reference coupons we gave to the tax guy, so I am now the proud owner of $40 at Applebees and $20 at IHOP. IHOP has this wonderful bleu cheese chicken salad with those nice dark greens . . . Mmm. Although I always order the cheese on the side, because it’s a little strong.
—Speaking of salad, I got a call from a local McDonald’s manager the other week. She was pleased because I had reviewed their Southwestern chicken salad with highest praise. As she said in her message and on the phone, “We usually don’t get reviews like that. We usually get other kinds of reviews.” What happened was this: I’ve been ordering that salad for the last year or so. It’s usually tasty, and even for six dollars, it’s a good buy for a fresh meal that’s going to take time to eat. I would say that sometimes, even salads at pricey restaurants don’t hold up to that little offering. That salad I got the other week went beyond good—it was perfect. I felt compelled to go to the national website and write about it, to encourage that quality so that future me can continue to know exactly what I want to order at McDonald’s. Here’s what I wrote that delighted the manager:
The southwest salad is something I regularly order, but it was extra good today. The sliced crispy chicken on top was a good size. The greens were dark and very fresh. The corn, black beans, and tortilla strips complemented it well. It seems like there were a few extra tortilla strips and they were whole, not broken. Nothing tasted or looked like it had been sitting around. This is a wonderful salad for this price. It’s better than many pricier restaurant salads. I will keep coming back for that experience.
I seem to keep getting sidetracked by thoughts of food. Maybe it’s a sign that I need to go home and finish the vegetable stir fry I made yesterday. I still have disposable chopsticks, leftover crushed peanuts, and a couple fresh lime wedges I can scrounge up.