Friday, July 27, 2007

"Live" Blogging from the Couch

When I optimistically promised I'd be back blogging with a vengeance during my recuperation, what, exactly, did I think I'd blog about?
  • Gilmore Girls repeats at 10am and 4pm?
  • The joys of keeping my foot elevated around the clock?
  • What it feels like to go three days without washing my hair?
  • Getting a care package from my dad containing no less than 30 The Cat Who . . . mysteries. (Sweet that he thought I'd like them, since I have Siamese cats, but how long does he think I'm going to be laid up? And how many do I need to read to be polite? I read one the first day and it was actually a pretty fun read, though the protagonist/amateur detective is impossible to like.)
  • The virtues of frozen peas vs. frozen corn as non-melting ice packs?
  • Having to eat constantly, so that I don't get sick from my pain meds, and indulging in my worst, most shameful, least nutritious, most fattening, least in need of chewing, embarrassingly infantile food desires, including Chef Boyardee ravioli*, Swiss Miss chocolate pudding, and Uncrustables pb&j sandwiches (I always secretly coveted them when I saw my students eating them).
  • How excited I am for the next installment of Damages? How disappointing I, too, thought Saving Grace was?
  • How completely tired I am of reading articles about Mormonism/anything related to Mormons? (I gotta say, though, last month Bust had a pretty right-on article about Mormon feminists--I was ready to hate it and them, but it was solid and not afraid of explaining why this is such an impossible position to maintain for long.) But still, enough. Stop it. Doesn't anyone want to write about Jehovah's Witnesses?
  • How much I wish I was this blogger, spending the summer in Northern California with my beautiful son and fabulous artist spouse, going to glamorous art events and eating amazing, local food on a eucalyptus shaded patio? (I'm guessing about the trees, but it's a good California staple.)
Earlier this week I thought I was almost better and stopped taking my pain meds and started walking around a lot--thinking, "this wasn't such a big deal operation, and I don't want to get addicted, and motion is good so my joint doesn't freeze in place while it heals." But it turns out that that pounding, pulsing, feverish feeling that my foot is about to burst open IS pain! So I'm back on the couch, alternating reading The Cat Who . . . books with work-type books, listening to the radio for company**, and spending way too much time in my head.

* Did you know he was a real person?
**When did U2 start getting played on classic rock radio? Unforgettable Fire seems to be the album my station likes to pull from the most. I always loved its hot pink cover. I feel really old.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I think things went well with my surgery yesterday. The scariest part was getting hooked up to the iv. Do you ever get used to that? I had hoped to be put into a fog quickly--like, within minutes of entering the hospital. But as I was wheeled into the operating room--the brightest, coldest room I've ever seen--I felt way too awake. A nurse reached for my hand and asked if I could scoot off the gurney onto the operating table. I said "I could dance onto the table. I'm way too awake!" And that's the last thing I remember before waking up in recovery.

Now I'm home, with my foot propped up at what seems like a 45 degree angle, doped up on percocet, eating comfort foods (mostly squishy white bread and whole milk, which I never let myself have), and drifting in and out of sleep while I listen to "Deep Tracks Weekend" on my local classic rock station. Their idea of deep tracks isn't all that deep. Right now it's that super rare Elton John song "Where To Now, St. Peter?" Oh well. It's comforting and way better company than the tv, which makes me feel tawdry.

Speaking of which, thanks for the smart tv recommendations in the comments to my last post. I supervised an honors thesis on Wooster and Jeeves a couple of years ago, so that might be just the thing. My stepmother is sending me her beloved dvds of some Horatio Hornblower series. Not really my thing, but I'll watch enough to fake an enthusiastic response, since it is a very sweet gesture.

Back to sleep. Thank you all for the nice thoughts.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Worst. Blogger. Ever.

I feel that same sense of failure I felt when I tried to keep a diary as a kid. I hate starting every post with a "sorry I haven't posted," but, as Lucyrain once put it, "re-starting is the hardest part."

Thank you to Bess and Marleyfan for asking how things went with my father's visit. Things went fine. Totally, predictably, boringly fine. He and my stepmother seemed to like GF, even though they disapproved of her "hardware" (she has a nose ring. whatever. they had to find something to dislike). They liked our house, though once I mentioned that one of the cats has chronic diarrhea my father didn't want to come in again, and when he did he assiduously avoided the cat. (p.s. the cat has never gone outside of the litterbox--it's not like he'd have it all over my father's leg.) I would have told him about Manfred's little problem a lot earlier if I had known it would have had such an amazing, garlic-around-the-windows effect. But the visit was good. We took them to Mexican restaurants because that's all my father, a native Californian living in Pennsylvania, ever wants to eat, showed them where the highway started, so they could go visit their Mormon friends out in the suburbs, and drove them around our favorite Chicago neighborhoods. My dad's not much of a walker, but he loves Chicago-style architecture. They had such a nice time that they want to come visit again in the fall. Hmmm.

I just got back from three weeks in New England, the last week spent in my author's archive. For the most part it was an uneventful, even boring, trip to the archive. I'm sick of my author, sick of my book, and ready to be done. But I had summer research grants and I have a yummy fellowship for next year, so I needed to put in this time.

The last time I visited this archive I looked up all the literary celebrities my author had been in contact with. This time I was way past being star-struck, so I forced myself through hours and hours of letters with her editors and publishers. Important, but super tedious. My best find was an amazing tell-all manuscript by one of her secretaries, writing under a pseudonym, dishing dirt on her household. It read like the kind of thing that would come out of Madonna's house, with lots of stories about how poorly she treated her servants, dish about how many of the medicines she took were really sugar-coated placebos, and a whole lot of information about her bathroom habits. I don't know if it was ever published, though, because, really, how much do people want to know that a famous poet eschewed normal toilet paper in favor of oblong pieces of silk? But she did. Silk. On her butt. How decadent (and impractical) is that?

I saw that a long lost friend has a fellowship at this same library this year, and so each morning my stomach fluttered with nervousness and excitement as I scanned the room, looking for his curly mop of hair, not sure if I wanted to see it or not. I mean, I did want to see it, but was afraid my sorrow about losing this relationship would make me say foolish things. I didn't see him, though, and so all those conversations stayed safely in my head.

So now I'm back and tomorrow I have surgery for the first time in my life. I've had plenty of visits to the emergency room, but never anything planned. I'm having bunion surgery, which sounds like a vanity operation, or an old person's ailment. Apparently bunions aren't just ugly bumps on the side of your big toe. They indicate a crooked bone in the foot, and so what will happen tomorrow is that they'll go in, break the joint, and then reset it with screws. (Word to the wise: if you are having surgery, don't google image it. I'm just saying.) I'm not scared about the actual surgery--I think the train leaves the station and you just go along with it. I'm scared of a) the puffiness and swelling and yellow-iodineness and pain of the recuperation, and b) of getting really fat and losing all my good muscle tone from the past two years of working out really, really, really hard, and c) getting addicted to pain pills. I've read that this is a common fear and that most people, in fact, under-medicate when they really need it because they're so afraid of getting hooked. Since prescription drugs are the Mormon drug of choice (after sugar), I think I have every reason to be worried.

So look for live blogging from the couch for the next couple of weeks. I've got most of The Riches tivo-ed, and the first season of Maude, and the only season of Firefly on dvd. Any other convalescing tv suggestions? After carrying it around on my ipod for months, I finally succumbed to Ugly Betty--it made great watching while on the train in archive-city. I'm all caught up on Battlestar, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, and all the HBO/Showtime shows, though I'm struggling with John From Cincinnati, and have never even tried The Tudors. Don't say The Wire. I tried it the first season, but since I lived on a corner where plenty of drug-dealing went on, it felt a little too raw.

More soon about how much room there is in my closet now that I've had to throw out all my high heels.