Blame it on the rain…

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So under deeply dark gray skies and a relentless rain, I drove this morning down highway 101.

I had on the local country station because that’s the kind of music I’m listening to these days.

That fairly dated song by Tim McGraw “Live Like You Were Dying” came on.

You know the one, goes something like this:

“I went sky diving/I went rocky mountain climbing/I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter/And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying
Some day, I hope you get the chance/To live like you were dyin’.”

This song always did bug me. Dunno, I’m not the hugest Tim McGraw fan anyway.

But back in 2004, I really got a whole other view. I can’t hear the song without remembering.

I have this very dear friend, let’s call her Jane (it’s her Nom de Bebida).

Jane is about 90 pounds soaking wet and bouncy like a golden retriever. She is intensely athletic, too. I mean, despite being tiny, her body is finely hewn with long muscles and power. In other words, the exact opposite of my own rig. Which may be why we get along so well.

I once quipped that she has spin class for breakfast, power yoga for lunch and windsurfing for dinner.

And it’s true. That’s an actual day from her life.

Back in 2004 she went on a windsurfing trip to an island with a name I can’t recall. I believe it is part of the Canary Islands.

While there, she caught a particularly nasty parasite.

The side effects of this hitchhiker looked an awful lot like meningitis, meaning very painful headaches as the lining of the brain swells, utter fatigue, and more.

She went into the hospital and the doctors could not figure out what the heck was wrong with her.

For weeks she suffered. Huge doses of painkillers, doctors trying everything and still she didn’t improve.

At one point, they were unsure if they were going to be able to help her. Meaning…they weren’t sure if she would survive. They had a long talk with her boyfriend about options.

Finally after what must have felt like forever to our Janie girl, someone figured out the problem. With some meds and her own body’s immune system, everything kicked into gear and she started to improve, but recovery was very slow.

Once she came home from the hospital, she was told to rest. Rest, ha! You tell a golden retriever to rest? Are you kidding?

But she did rest as much as she could.

When she started to go a little stir crazy, I’d go get her and we’d go for short trips out to lunch or something. She’d fatigue so fast it was frightening to see.

Toward the end of summer of that year, Tim McGraw came to the Shoreline for a concert. Jane wanted to go, so I piled a lot of blankets and her tiny body into the Jeep and took her to the show. We sat on the lawn.

When the big finale came on and McGraw sang his top of the charts song, the crowd stood swaying and sang along. Janie and I sat on the ground and listened.

The first chorus rang out into the night air and my very down to earth, very blunt friend looked at me and said, “I don’t like that song.”

“Yeah, I don’t like it much either,” I replied. Then Jane startled me.

“I don’t want to live like I am dying. I want to live like I am living,” Jane said, pretty emphatically. “I’ve tried dying. I don’t like it.”

And I hugged her real tight that night, because she was right. I didn’t like her living so close to dying either.

So now whenever I hear that damn song, I remember my Janie girl demanding that she wanted to live like she was living!

By the way, just this year, at the age of 43, that girl got pregnant (naturally) with her first child and gave birth to the most delicate and beautiful baby girl.

Now if that ain’t livin’ like you wanna live, I don’t know what is.

And I smiled to remember my girl. She’s a ray of light on a rainy day.
_____

I believe this sudden serious turn on the blog is probably a surprise after the past several posts.

It came as sort of a surprise to me, too, when I wrote it in my head this morning.

Blame it on my melancholy mood and the relentless winter rain.

(iPhone photo taken moments ago)

Just how "natural" are we talkin’ here?

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The other day, while out and about, The Good Man bought himself a bag of cough drops to try to quell the dry cough the endless exposure to indoor heating provides.

Plus, we gave the house a good cleaning over the weekend and kicked up a bunch of dust that has us both sneezing and coughing.

After purchase and back in the car, he opened up the package and popped one in the ol’ cake hole.

After a cough or two myself, I said, “may I have one?” to which he readily agreed.

I grabbed the package and flipped it over to review the ingredients.

Yep. I’ve become one of those people.

Anyhow, I try to avoid corn syrup. It’s just my own thang. Doesn’t have to be yours.

So I read off the ingredients list aloud and got to “natural flavors.”

Now, what in the sam hell are “natural flavors?”

This is the part where I make it hard for The Good Man to share a life with me.

I turn and say to him, “I hate when they list ‘natural flavors,’ I mean, what is that? It could be anything! Are these cough drops poop flavored? Poop is a natural flavor!”

The Good Man turned slowly and gave me a look and a slow head nod.

This is a look that in going on five years together I’ve come to understand means, essentially, “While you are technically correct, it’s going to be better for me in the long run if I don’t dignify what just came out of that sideways mind of yours with a response. So I’ll just nod.”

We nodded at each other for a long moment, and since my “poop is a natural flavor” just hung there in the air, so to speak, there really was no good segue.

I chose then to open the pack of cherry and whatever-the-hell-other-natural flavored cough drops and fired one into the ol’ cake hole.

It tasted nasty. I spit it back out after a minute.

“Natural flavors” are gross. And possibly poop.

I’m just sayin’.

(these are the offenders in question)

An Open Letter to my Head Cold

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Dear Insidious Little Pinche Bug that has chosen to infest my body:

So, I see you’ve decided to set up camp in my head.

My, how kind of you.

Oh, and you came with your usual matching set of baggage. Stuffed up nose. Sore throat. Plugged ears. And that hacking cough.

How fun it is when you give me a housewarming present as I hack up a yellow globule from my lungs. Such a lovely color!

And the body aches! Oh the body aches, I think those are my favorite! Knees, hips, shoulders, neck. Ow. Makes it almost impossible to sleep!

But you like that, eh? I mean, sleep only strengthens my immune system and THAT’s not what you are about, are you little evil cold germs?

Nope. You like to keep me up late at night, not sleeping, heck, not even breathing!

You know those two funny tubes they call nostrils? Yeah? Those are so I can breathe! When you plug BOTH of them, well, sure, I can result to mouth breathing.

But I sort of resemble a punch-drunk boxer when I do.

Makes my husband that much more enamored of me!

Not that I’m a shining star anyway, with my puffy face and red-rimmed nose.

What I most want to know, Dear Cold Bug, is how in the hell do you get my hair to look like that? I mean, ostensibly, your reach only extends to my upper respiratory system, and yet my hair responds to your brand of illness by standing up at odd angles?

I never knew you were a hairstylist too!

And now, my ears are throbbing. How fun! Since childhood I’ve been prone to ear infections.

But you probably knew that already, didn’t you?

I’ve tried to be nice to you, but nice doesn’t register in your little cell dividing nucleus, does it?

You know what I did this morning? I drank a biiiig glass of orange juice. Oh yes, a blast of vitamin C. As I drank, I imagined thousands of tiny “noooooo’s!” in chorus as many of your offspring were attacked by my newly strengthened white blood cells.

Then you know what I did when I was done with that glass?

I poured another.

I’m done with you.

No, seriously.

You can go now.

And by go, I don’t mean hop from me to The Good Man. He doesn’t need any of your shenanigans either!

My week, at a glance.

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Husband, on the couch, coughing, coughing, coughing…*sniffle*

Feline, on the couch tossing head ferociously flap, flap, flapping her ears and occasionally digging in there with a back toe.

Me, on the couch, blowing my nose repeatedly, in between coughing and sneezing.

Diagnosis:

Husband: severe bronchitis, bordering on pneumonia
Cat: ear infection
Me: bad cold, trying desperately not to let it become bronchitis

Mood: Crappy

Is this a joke? Am I on candid camera?

Am at work today and my coworkers have unceremoniously shut my office door. They mumbled something like “you are being quarantined”.

Nice.

ah-choo!