Karen

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Whoa, am I having a bit of an emotional day today. Bear with me, I'm trying to get the world framed right again. I think this particular time is the result of the prolonged bed rest (four weeks!) and a migraine last night followed by insomnia. I could ride it out silently, or I could write to you guys and maybe get a good process going.

I was in the middle of some paperwork I have to take care of once a year. This is the sixth year. It has to do with my work and health, so it's already a touchy subject. While looking through the massive pile of unfiled documents that is now my harddrive (thank you iTunes fiasco), I stumbled upon some emails I wrote to a very close female coworker, exactly 16 years ago today. We thought we were so clever and witty. We lovingly called each other bitch. I have to laugh. We were the youngest at Stanley Vidmar by 15 years in our respective departments, hers sales, mine engineering. I can't imagine what the others thought of us, and I'm so glad I didn't know.

But then I realized, 16 years ago today, I had a successful career, a very active lifestyle, a fiancé, an upcoming wedding, and had just returned from a trip to Jamaica. From where I stand right now, if I looked just right, it seemed like such a stark contrast to now.

I was looking out the bedroom window at another sunny day when the tears hit me. Lots of tears. So I wrote a long, private, journal entry to myself, outlining my woes today (thank you OPW), and then I went back and looked at more of the emails. And I discovered not a month later I was leaving Stanley during another sweep of layoffs.


And I remembered how stressed I was, with the axe dropping almost every Friday. And the three bosses, and the unending overtime, and the list of 21 open projects, each of them unironically labeled top priority. And the tears then, too. So many tears.

And that I started my housecleaning business not long after, and which then became my favorite job ever for the next ten years. A business that got me through a divorce, a health diagnosis, a lost beloved pet, and someone totaling my car. A business that found me a best friend, a bevy of new people in my life, amazing adventures, and eventually a wonderful man who loves me.


I've lived alone for 10 years, fiercely independent. I've had to give up the independence due to health, but I think I accidentally gave up the fierceness, too. And now I may or may not be on the cusp of giving up the alone part. (Or really, I already have and it scares the hell out of me.) On top of that, everything that's happened since last fall is still fairly recent. It really hasn't been that much time yet. I've since filled my time with a renewed relationship, a wonderful vacation, and more recently, back surgery that may improve my quality of life, yet here I sit suddenly reeling from the weight of loss and laughingly not knowing why. Oh, dear.

So, how do I keep my chin up? I'm prone to realism, not optimism. I can't change my stripes in that regard, so I have to work within the pattern. How do I frame this period of time so that I don't keep feeling so lost whenever I'm alone with myself, in this bed? Because I am definitely more than a little lost right now.

Thoughts on what the future might bring are great, but the days are long right here and now, and I'm pretty painfully chained to the right here and now. I've already made the first step by writing it all out and gathering my thoughts, but I could use some help, or just some connection from you guys, to ground me a little today. At the moment, it's difficult just getting up and making food, if that gives you an idea of my mobility levels. So, tell me anything, or tell me nothing at all. Just say hi.

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Did you know that tomato soup with popcorn is really tasty?
Like, in it? Considering that I have tomato almost every day of my life, I feel I've been missing out on something pretty important.
Karen 4/6
Yup. Like instead of crackers or bread or something. Sprinkled on top. Or, in my case, thrown in by the handful.
Good Christ, I must try this thing. Do you have anymore simple food hijacks like this? You played into my here and now very nicely. <3
Karen 4/6edited
Yeah, not going to lie. That sounds kinda wonderful.
It is stupidly delicious. Smartfood popcorn works well with it.
Well that makes sense. Smartfood Popcorn is my crack cocaine.
Karen 4/12
Okay. If you’re too tired to chop, don’t take this one on, unless you can get pre-chopped veggies or outsource the labor to a sturdy young lad/lass. Otherwise, add cheese and this is delicious.
https://www.thugkitchen.com/roasted_chickpea_broccoli_burrito
My favorite part: "Take it out of the oven, don’t fucking burn yourself..."
Karen 4/12
Mine too. :)
 

Three and a half weeks out from surgery, and I feel a little like I'm waking up from a coma (again? do I use this description a lot?). It's been nice to read up on OPW after a long day of washing my bedsheets. Yeah, it took all day. Still gotta stop and lay flat down quite a bit.

Now if only I could reach my legs to shave them. There is nothing like freshly shaved legs on freshly laundered sheets. Amirite, girls? Girls who shave?

I'm off the percocet which means my mobility is a little more limited now, and that means a lot more time on my back than even the week before, but it's worth it to be able to kiss that medication and it's side effects goodbye. I was on pretty heavy doses this time, so I'm still sweating like a fat man. And the insomnia is pretty full-on without the help of Benadryl. We're all (middle-age-ish) grownups here so I CAN say how nice it is to be able to poop again. The mood swings can go fuck right off, though. It's only been a week, but that's by far the worst part.

I do want to say that if you're hearing less from me, its usually (not always, but for right now, yes) a sign that things are pretty decent. *Sigh* even good, though I feel like I jinx myself when I say that. I am unfortunately one of those journalers who usually only writes when something bad is going down. It's a good release for bouts of depression, but I forget to come back and here and let folks know my life is more than just these journal entries.

So, let's see. I have a good thing going with a great guy, and we are already doing that thing where we have so much fun together we end up just not ending the date. Let's go do nothing together, it's amazing. These things don't come along every day, so I'm thoroughly enjoying it and hoping the newness feeling stretches out for a good long time. I feel like a lucky girl. :)

What else. Well, I am 3.5 weeks out of surgery, which means I'm 2.5 weeks closer to taking the back brace off. And driving. And maybe doing some light, light, liiiiiight gardening. (How does one garden without bending/lifting/twisting? I shall find out.) That time went by a lot faster than I was expecting. I expect the next 2.5 weeks to go pretty nicely too. Still too soon to know if the surgery worked, so I can't answer that, but I look forward to Spring yard stuff to distract me until I do.

I learned that laughing really does drop pain levels. This has caused me to ask everyone around me for their favorite jokes. There are too many to repeat here, but here are two favorites:

Q: "What is brown and sticky?"

A: "A stick".  (This one makes me laugh before I can even finish it, because I'm a dork for stupid jokes like this. I just made you think of poop!)

Q: "What is the difference between pink and purple?"

A: "The grip." (Buwahahahah, naughty. Thank you Roger and Harold.)

The best was Roger's 80-year-old mother telling me a joke that involved her saying the word "testicles" several times:

A man is lying in bed in a hospital with an oxygen mask over his mouth. A young nurse appears to sponge his face and hands.

"Nurse," he mumbles from behind the mask, "Are my testicles black?"

Embarrassed the young nurse replies, "I don't know, I'm only here to wash your face and hands."

He struggles again to ask, "Nurse, Are my testicles black?"

Again the nurse replies, "I can't tell. I'm only here to wash your face and hands."

The ward nurse passes by and sees the man getting a little distraught so she marches over to inquire what is wrong.

"Nurse," he mumbles, "Are my testicles black?"

Being a nurse she is undaunted. She whips back the bedclothes, pulls down his pajama trousers, moves his penis out of the way, has a good look, pulls up the pajamas, replaces the bedclothes and announces, "Nothing is wrong with them."

At this the man pulls off his oxygen mask and asks again,

"Are my test results back?"

I will never forget my shock and joy at hearing the words "Are my testicles black?" come from her mouth. Ha! That made my back feel better for a good while!

Anyway, where was I. So, yes, nice to come back to earth and catch up with you guys. Thanks for the lovely prose. <3


Much love,

Your Biggest Fan,

Karen


p.s. - I'm forgetting myself and commenting on old posts. Oops!

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Moar later, but for now:

(This joke is best when told by a small child.)

Child: "How do you catch a unique bird?"

Listener: "I don't know - how?"

Child: "Unique up on it!"

Child (again): "How do you catch a TAME bird?"

Listener: "I don't know - how?"

Child: "The TAME way - UNIQUE up on it!"

Thank you. Thank you. I won't be here all week.

(Glad you're on the mend.)
Thank you! This is just the kind of ridiculous joke I like to tell grown-ups. :) The more tough-guy they are, the better.
Karen 4/1
Also, I have to agree - when I shave my legs and have fresh, clean sheets...
Pics or GTFO.
Karen 4/3
I forgot about this joke. I've heard it as a tame/unique rabbit. Love it.
That works!
I can't wait to tell my mom the hospital joke.

My grandmother told me this one.
Two little old ladies (LOLs) run into each other at the supermarket. One LOL says to the other, "Ethel, you've got a suppository in your ear."
The other LOL says, "What?"
The first LOL says, "You have a suppository in your ear!"
"Speak up, I can't hear you!"
(this part of the joke goes on for as long as is necessary)
Finally, the second LOL sighs and says, "Oh. Now I know where my hearing aid is."
This is the perfect kind of response joke for Roger's mother. Thank you.
Karen 4/3
And yes, freshly shaved legs on clean sheets is wonderful.
I'm deciding between breaking out a brand new razor the day the brace comes off, or trying for a semi-romantic teach-the-bf-how-to-do-it moment in the bath. I keep thinking of the shins, though. Ouch ouch ouch.
Karen 4/3
"now I know where my hearing aid is. Speak up!"
As soon as you said it.
I want a game where you guess the joke by the punchline.
Karen 4/3
 

Can't sleep, monkeys will eat me.




It's 3:25am, I'm six days out from back surgery, tired of taking pills, tired of apple juice and crackers, tired of sleeping on my back, and yet not actually tired enough to sleep. Ha!


Okay, back at it. xoxo

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I'm sorry that it requires so much of you, but I am thrilled to see you making forward progress.
Hey, thanks babe! Today was better. :)
Karen 3/15
 

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

"Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm sitting here on the bench, I mean I'm sitting here on the Group W bench 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after being a litterbug."



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11/27 '14 3 Comments
I'm not proud. Or tired.
Sean M Puckett 11/27 '14
I know you don't want me to have any money to spend in the jail cell, but do you think I'm really going to kill myself for littering?
Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send your fingerprints off to Washington.
Kevin Niemi 11/28 '14
 

NaNoWriMo-ers (and drawers, poets, knitters, etc), you've got 5 days left! What's your status?

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11/26 '14 2 Comments
I posted the final interior pdf and final cover pdf to Ingram today and clicked "Commit" on Arden House Book 2.
(Started working on that in June 2013, though, which is probably cheating in the NaNoWriMo context, but there it is.)
Robert Bryan 11/26 '14
Oh, you "real novelists" with your "editorial schedules" and "completion dates". [Eyeroll]
Thomas Boutell 11/26 '14
 

Fellas, who's doing No Shave November/Movember? Show me your beards.

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11/24 '14 5 Comments
Um, by accident?
Thomas Boutell 11/24 '14
It was your pic that inspired it. ;) Show it off!
Karen 11/24 '14
Well, I wouldn't call it "NO" shave... (I couldn't handle the neck beard) but I'm not doing anything with the main portion...
http://i.imgur.com/RASS8PA.jpg

I kept the goatee only for a gig on the 14th so I just started the full beard. Trimmed back the rest to match. Everything's so short - my face feels naked!
Kevin Niemi 11/25 '14
Very nice!
Karen 11/26 '14
 

I loved Morgan the Unicorn so much I wanted to name a future daughter after her. I'm trying to remember how young I would have been to be into these.

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11/17 '14 12 Comments
I LOVED Morgan...all things unicorn, really. I still have some of those Serendipity books and still pick up ones when I see them. Been eyeing ones on Amazon for my best friend's daughter. I was just talking the other day to someone about my unicorn collection, specifically that I still have my My Little Pony unicorns. :) This post really makes me happy that someone else remembers Morgan.
Robyn 12/7 '14
I also collected Sue Dawe unicorn posters. Remember this one? http://i.imgur.com/rhfzeQh.jpg I had it on my bedroom door for years.
Karen 12/12 '14
I feel like an uneducated arse... I never even heard of these before. Must make up for lost childhood STAT!
No, really, this could be entirely buried under charm bracelets, Strawberry Shortcake, and all the other more common items from Way Back When. I just caught a thread of a memory when I heard the name Morgan last night. I was lucky to get a hit on the correct cover art to pick up the rest.

I am always for making up for a lost childhood. Still working on mine. (I haven't made it out of kindergarten, yet.)
Karen 11/18 '14
I actually have never heard of these either. I probably would have loved them as a kid, too. Now I have boys and unicorns are Right Out, but since even my toddler is a rabid, drooling Labyrinth fan, I really have nothing to complain about.
I remember getting this series for my daughter, born in 1990.
Sean M Puckett 11/18 '14
Unicorn Club Forever! (I made a unicorn club when I was 11. Your daughter is an automatic member.)
Karen 11/18 '14
I looked, just for fun. 1892 for Morgan and Yew! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serendipity_%28book_series%29
Thomas Boutell 11/18 '14
Wow, did not realize how old these were. I guess I should say I don't know how old I was when these particular printings were out. I recognized the covers instantly. Thanks for the link!
Karen 11/18 '14
...and now I know the Morgan books came out from 1975-1982, which lines up perfectly with me being 6 and under. Nice trip down memory lane. :)

Morgan and Me 1975 Treat others the way you would like them to treat you
Morgan and Yew 1982 Love is the most important possession we can have
Morgan Mine 1982 To have a friend you must be a friend
Morgan Morning 1982 Sometimes we must lose in order to gain
Karen 11/18 '14
my family went to nyc when i was 11.
my aunt lived around the corner from the cloisters.
seeing those unicorns locked in pens and stabbed
angrier and sadder than i had ever been before
the security guard helped me get outside like he understood
Robert Bryan 11/18 '14
Life is a curious tapestry of events.
 

There was a post here, but I lost it switching things around and being a general dingus. *salutes*

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11/16 '14
 

So this happened...

And they are giving me the worst headache. I was hoping to get less headaches, now I've got the funhouse effects, too.* What gives, glasses-wearing people?


*These are for astigmatism in my left eye, not age-related presbyopia. I'm supposed to wear them all day, yay!

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11/15 '14 5 Comments
Not sure. Is it possible that the prescription is wrong? Or perhaps the frame is too tight or something?
They told me to wait two weeks before coming in for any of that. So I don't have a point of reference until my brain and eyes can agree on things.
Karen 11/15 '14
my experience has been that every new pair of glasses comes with a FREE two-day headache.
on a positive note, it looks as if soon you will be able to confront your headache with hot toast and bagels!
Robert Bryan 11/15 '14
Two days? Really? I can handle that. Today would be Full Day #1 if I can stick it out. I could only do a few hours the first day, and half of yesterday. These are my first glasses ever, and I can see fine with my right eye, so I get cranky at the end of the day, like "Do I even really need these if I'm still getting headaches?"
Karen 11/15 '14
Do you know that it finally hit me now, at 2am, why you mentioned hot toast and bagels? D'oh.
Karen 11/16 '14
 

We all went through a beading phase once, right? Before or after the knitting phase, I can't remember. I really wanted this to be something I could make money off of.

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11/6 '14 8 Comments
I still do some beading, even if I'm more into making beauty products now (lotions, oils, lip balm). I have also started learning chainmaille. I made some modest money from the jewelry (mostly hemp and bead) when I was working the comic store and was allowed to have it on the counter. I have an Etsy set up, but can't get the pix right. These are very pretty and I totally think you should put them on Etsy.
Robyn 11/10 '14
Did you say lip balm?
Karen 11/15 '14
I love my lip balm. I'll give you some if you ever want to hang out again. ;)
Robyn 12/7 '14
Depending on Patch's schedule, you may be seeing us soon during the holidays! xoxo
Karen 12/12 '14
Very pretty! Open an etsy shop!
I wish Etsy had been around when I was doing this! All I had back then was an already-crappy eBay taking most of my profit.
Karen 11/15 '14
Nice work! I especially like the one with the big purple center.
You are my hero. I really like that one, too. I kept it for myself somewhere as a memento.
Karen 11/15 '14