Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Blood Red Nails on her Fingertips

Through various channels, I know some folk who receive public assistance. I know "the system" has its critics - I even believe some of those criticisms are valid some of the time. But that's not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to talk about acrylic nails.

Now I am a big fan of a nice mani/pedi. It is nice - perhaps even necessary - to feel pampered and pretty sometimes. I wouldn't begrudge it to anyone. I also know that when you're down and out, finding something - whatever that thing is - that helps you to feel good about yourself can be invaluable. A mani and/or a pedi can be a nice treat. In the grand scheme of beauty treatments, it can be a rather affordable treat, too. Acrylics, however, are something else.

Acrylics are more expensive to get, they require vigilant upkeep, and should one decide at some point to opt out, they leave the natural nails a hot buttered mess that takes several months (at least) from which to recover.

So why do so many gals who are "in the system" opt for them? A couple days ago I ran into a young lady I know who is "in the system" (man, I sure hope you're using air quotes, at least mentally if not actually physically, when you read that...). She was proudly showing off her "new nails" - not only acrylics, but acrylics with a hand-painted (not air-brushed) detail added. They were - quite the thing. In the course of her workday, she broke one rather painfully. She went back to the shop and got a new one, then had the whole set repainted. Now, I've read enough service menus to know that this was no cheap undertaking. This young lady lives with her boyfriend's parents and doesn't have a car. But she has some hella expensive nails.

When my girls were younger, I got regular manicures. It was well earned, relatively inexpensive pampering. An hour of "me-time" every other week, when the rest of the hours in my week were anything but. There was a woman whose appointments more often than not coincided with mine. It was not at all unusual to hear her say, "yeah, they're turning my electricity off this week" followed quickly by "go ahead and put the little rhinestones on - them are cute".

I suppose - I'm told, at least - that the mentality is that the bills and the debt are overwhelming. "I don't have the hundreds (or thousands) it would take to pay folks what they're asking. But I DO have $40-50 for my nails." Somehow I don't think that's exactly what Rick Nelson had in mind when he said, "you can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself".

Is it wrong that all this writing about foolish, indulgent spending has left me craving a caramel macchiato and a vanilla cupcake from Starbucks?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stronger Every Day

I find that I'm able to do a little more every day, and I appreciate each little new accomplishment, but none so much as this: this week I was able to crochet a little bit. Now, just to clarify, I am fully aware of how ridiculous this sounds, but I have missed yarn so. much. I can't knit yet, too much bilateral involvement there, but I can crochet. It's slow, and I can't go forever, but dammit, yarn is passing through my fingers again, and I feel a lot more like myself.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Walk This Way

My attention has turned, in the last couple days, to getting myself back in shape. My doc wants me to be moving my arm more, and doing so has made me concentrate on what I can do, as opposed to what I can't. And I can do a little more each day. I appreciate every little step to a degree that is probably unreasonable.

As far as fitness, one thing I can do is walk. Yesterday was a big walking day for me. Amy (my trainer and friend) offered to take me to Blacklick Park to walk. This is absolutely my favorite place to walk, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity. Amy was teaching a "Boot Camp" type class and I was free to walk for 2 hours. I was very slow and I took a few breaks, but I was able to get 3 miles in. Before you scoff at that, remember that one short week ago it was a big feat to dry my hair and sit in a restaurant for a couple hours. So, as far as minor accomplishments go, this was major.

It was a perfect evening in the park. It was warm and sunny (but not hot). Two deer crossed my path. Not unusual, but it doesn't happen every day. The honeysuckle was in full bloom, lightly fragrancing the night air. Many early wildflowers were beginning to bloom. It was truly, truly lovely.

I wish I could've walked further, but the edema in my hand had gotten so bad that I thought my skin was going to burst. (hey - it can't ALL read like a Disney movie) Also my back and feet were hurting. I've spent the last month basically in a chair! This is not a huge surprise! When I start bringing in money again, first purchase is a couple new pairs of walking shoes.

In keeping with the walking theme of the day, I registered yesterday for the New Albany Walking Classic in September. This is a really lovely 10K that I've participated in for the past 2 years. This year they've added a half-marathon. I'm just going to do the 10K again this year, but I'm hoping that with some training I can be prepared for the half-marathon in a year or two. My original goal had been a marathon by the time I was 50, but that's only 5 (4 1/2) years away and I'm still significantly overweight. So I'm gonna alter that goal a little and say half-marathon in a year or two and take it from there. We shall see.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Loooking Gooood!

Well, I don't know how clear this pic is, but this is the basic set-up. I think you can see how swollen my hand is, too. I'm wearing my basic uniform - a super large men's muscle shirt (thank you, Johnna!) cut down the side and pinned back together. Very chic. Hey, at least this week we've managed to add a bra to the ensemble (thank you, Mom).

I'm actually feeling a lot better, for the most part. Today I got a shower, then Tom took me out to lunch and to Barnes & Noble. This little outing wore me right out! I went home and crashed hard for about 2 hours. Earlier in the week, Wendy took me out for Cinco de Mayo, with a similar result. It's just been nice to escape the confines of this house (that gets a little messier ever day) for a little while.

I'm feeling so much better in general, that the pain catches me by surprise, now. I'm very uncomfortable getting in and out of the car, for example. But much worse than that are the showers - more specifically - getting dressed after the showers. Because the brace is hard plastic, I am allowed to shower in it - so up till then, it's good. But after my shower we have to remove the brace, take off the "sleeve", dry my arm, put on a new "sleeve", and replace the brace. This sounds so simple, but it's still really quite painful. Then while it's still hurting, we commence with the process of getting clothing between the brace and my torso. It's a lot harder than it sounds. I will never take these things for granted again. Except, I totally will, right? Because that's how we do.

Monday, May 5, 2008

It's Like Rain on Your Wedding Day

I'm starting to feel a little like that guy in the old Twilight Zone sketch who just wanted time to read - then got infinite time and infinite books and broke his glasses. Before my accident I was so stressed my hair was falling out. I was - as I mentioned in a previous post - trying to do everything and not doing anything well. Then everything came to a sudden, jarring stop. Now I find myself with no obligations, responsible for nothing. The catch is, I can't actually DO anything that would lead me to enjoy or even appreciate this newfound leisure. Isn't it ironic?