Go to your fridge and pick up a full gallon of milk. Heft it a few times. It’s got some weight to it, but not too much. Now look around your house and think about everything that might weigh the same or more. This is incredibly irritating.
Laundry basket? Not if it’s full of clothes.
Garbage cans? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No.
A baking sheet covered in bbq sauce slathered chicken wings? Oh, you sweet summer child.
The sliding glass door to the backyard that sticks a little? I’m doing it, but I think I might be pushing my luck. Side note: I bumped into the door while going through it yesterday and it gave me a not-entirely-gentle reminder that caution is still warranted.
The metal patio chair around my table in the backyard? This is another one where I feel like I’m pushing my luck. Doing it anyway. So far so good?
Walk my dog? That’s kind of how I got into this whole mess to begin with. I’ll need to heal up first.
That package the UPS man left on your front step? Ah. This is where it starts to get tricky. Is it too heavy? Nearly impossible to tell without trying to lift it. Which could be bad. This is the intersection of natural curiosity and natural selection. You see, I could just open it to determine what’s inside, and then make a more educated guess as to its weight. But if I CAN’T carry it, now I have an open package on my doorstep. I COULD just try to carry it inside, and force through the pain. But, I have this terrible image of two screws ripping out of my vertebrae whilst I lay screaming on the ground. Yeah, get THAT image out of your head. I actually kicked a box yesterday to see if hat would help. It did, but do I really want to go kicking all my stuff to estimate weight? What if it’s fragile? No, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
During a recent experience you can read about here I learned about the wonders of #Jello, a medicinal miracle, excellent not only for your body, but also your soul. Although sometimes you must seek it out, it will occasionally appear when you need it most brought by a helpful stranger in colorful scrubs and comfortable shoes. Accept this gift. For Jello Is Love, Jello Is Life.
This recent experience got me to thinking, is there a deeper meaning to this miraculous substance? Is it possible to put into words the lessons that were imparted to me, or must they be experienced to be truly understood? And the answer, of course, is “Yes.”
And here it is. I give you, “The Way of Jello“.
One must be solid, but jiggly. Be viscous. Immerse yourself in your environment, but don’t give up everything that makes you what you are.
Let people see into, but not through you. It’s important that you let people get to know you, but you don’t have to give away all your secrets.
Explore a variety of shapes, colors, and flavors. The world has so much to offer, don’t close yourself off simply because something appears different than what you’re used to. Step outside of your comfort zone.
Be delicious. If someone gets close enough to put their mouth on you, make sure they enjoy the experience.
Don’t be afraid to get a little mushy. Sometimes getting a little emotional can be cathartic.
It takes great change before we reach our full potential. Like Jello, that strange powder which becomes an amazing treat full of life lessons and awesomeness, if you’re feeling stuck don’t be afraid to make a dramatic change to shake things up.
Subject yourself to a wide range of temperatures. The proper application of both heat and cold is necessary to healing injuries to your body, as well as your soul.
Step outside of your comfort zone. You must escape your little box to reach the next phase in your evolution.
You make your strongest impact not on yourself, but on others. Never underestimate how simply being yourself can affect those around you. Like Jello, make it a positive experience for those with whom you come into contact.
Always be prepared to perform at your best. All times are your time to shine.
Remember: #JelloIsLove, #JelloIsLife
As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome.
I know I say this all the time, but this one really WILL be a short post. I think. Sigh… we’ll see? Here goes!
So often people only share a negative experience. “The food was cold,” or “The service was terrible,” or “They didn’t have the size/color/etc I wanted.” And I understand this. You WANT people to know that you didn’t receive the level of service you expected, and often it was below the level the store promised. It’s important to share these experiences so that, 1) Other people can use this info to manage their expectations, and 2) The store can use this feedback to improve their services.
But you know what? Positive reviews and positive feedback can be MUCH more effective at accomplishing these same goals. When you tell someone they’re awesome often enough they start to believe it. Once that happens, they aren’t a regular person doing an awesome job, they’re an awesome person doing their regular job, which happens to be awesome. They’ll be awesome at whatever they choose to do! That’s an amazing thing! And each one of us can help everyone else achieve this state of awesomeness simply by sharing our positive experiences.
This is already longer than I wanted, so I’m going to wrap it up with a task for you. And here it is:
Each day this week, starting from the moment you read this, I want to you tell someone they did an awesome job, and thank them for it.
I’m not talking about mumbling a “Thank you.” Make eye contact with the bagger at the grocery store, “Thank you so much for putting the eggs on the top of the bag instead of the bottom. I really appreciate it.” To the person you pulled behind at the gas station, “Thank you for pulling up enough for me to reach the pump! I appreciate it.” And smile.
Always remember to smile. But that’s a topic for another post. Go do it. I think you’ll discover that you not only made their day, but improved yours as well.
As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome.
First off, let me say Thank You to everyone with whom I came into contact at your facility. You were all smiles. You cared, and it showed. I was a 41 year old surgery virgin, and you were all gentle and sweet. And also HILARIOUS! I love you all. Thank you.
It’s funny, but I thought this was going to be easy to write, but I find I’m having trouble finding the right words. I guess I’ll defer to my usual style, which is organized chaos.
I thought I understood “The Sharp Experience.” I was wrong. You all completely blew my expectations out of the water, and made what could have been the most stressful experience of my life into an absolute pleasure. No joke. I spent about 29 hours with you all between Friday morning and Saturday afternoon, and you exceeded ALL of my expectations. Everyone I met was friendly, smiling, and willing to help. All completely professional, of course, but still willing to crack a joke and laugh with me.
Unfortunately, I can’t remember everyone’s name that I met. I wish I could. They all deserve individual credit, so feel free to contact me and we’ll track them down. I can tell you that everyone was great. Literally EVERYONE. I don’t know anyone’s last name, so you’ll have to figure that out. Here are a few standouts:
Cara in the SPA was SUPER friendly. What a delight. She really helped make the waiting bearable.
Blood-taker girl with tattoos who was also in the SPA – Only saw her twice I think, but both times she was great. Memorably so. Made me smile both times. If she needs any more of my blood she knows where to find me. With how gentle she was both times, she could be taking it right now and I wouldn’t even know.
MJ – Wow. What can I say about MJ. She was my RN the first night in the hospital. Incredibly patient with me. Was there every time I needed her. We walked around the floor. She got me jello after jello. Helped me with all my meds. Took me off the IV as soon as it was feasible (FREEDOM!). Adjusting the bed. MJ is awesome. Special thanks to her. I was so out of it during much of my time with her that I can’t remember a lot of the details. What I do remember is an overwhelming sense that I was completely safe and cared for during this time. (EDIT: So I was originally done and going to publish this letter, but upon re-reading it I wanted to write more nice things about MJ. I know she was a former traveler who just recently started at Sharp Memorial full-time. Sharp, you scored BIG TIME with this one. MJ, just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re awesome. HOORAY FOR MJ!)
Dawit, my man. Thanks for the stroll around the floor. And for collecting and measuring my pee. It smelled terrible, but you were a champ.
JUANITA! OH JUANITA! Let me tell you a story. It starts with a hungry boy, post throat and spine surgery. It ends with custom meals handcrafted with love to ensure I could actually eat it. Chicken cut up into tiny pieces. SHE LITERALLY CUT UP A PIECE OF FRIED CHICKEN INTO TINY LITTLE SLIVERS OF AWESOMENESS so that my recently intubated and slit open throat could eat them. Was that all? OF COURSE NOT! She then gave me a bowl of warm chicken broth so I could dip these chicken pieces and get them soggy enough to swallow.
She is freaking incredible. Extra applesauce. Apple juice. Scrambled eggs cut up into tiny bite sized pieces. Lactose free milk. Hot cocoa. Juanita went so far out of her way to make sure I was happy that I don’t even have the words to describe how big of a difference she made. Thank you, Juanita. I ate food besides jello solely because of you. (EDIT: I am STILL telling people about Juanita 5 days after I left the hospital. Woot!)
Renea. My dear Renea. Who wandered the halls and storage areas hunting for ever more jello for me (and finding it!). I was already starting to feel better when we met, but you ensured my spirits remained high and I’d be ready to check out as soon as possible. I say “check out” instead of discharged because I felt more like I was in a fancy hotel instead of a hospital. Renea, who never ONCE corrected me when I called her Renee. I still think your shoes are cool.
Obviously I’d like to thanks my anesthesiologist Dr. Fowler (I think I spelled that correctly?) who did an awesome job and didn’t leave me in that half-life you see in the movies where you can’t move during surgery but you’re still totally awake and able to see and feel everything that’s going on. That would have been awful. Instead I drifted gently off to sleep and woke up with no problems. I have no memory of the recovery room following surgery. Keep kicking butt, Doc!
Dr. Ostrup. My neurosurgeon. The man who ripped out pieces of my spine with his bare hands, power tools, and force of will, then replaced it with robot parts. BEEP BOOP THANK YOU FELLOW HUMAN. Seriously though, Thanks for everything. You took the time to answer all of my questions using small, simple words I could understand. Like “Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion” and “Coffee.” Your calm demeanor and nonchalant attitude really helped me relax in the days leading up to the procedure. I hope you carved your initials into one of my vertebrae. You deserve it.
There were so many others who deserve mention and I’ll blame a naturally poor memory mixed with a variety of pain medications on my forgetfulness, but we should be able to identify them here: My three “shower girls” who came in and changed my sheets and towels, set up the bathroom for a hot shower, gave me instructions on how to do it without re-injuring myself, and were all smiles and happiness. You all were great and had me constantly laughing and smiling. My Occupational Therapist (Nancy?) who made sure I knew how to dress myself without falling on my face, and who shared some personal stories of success that made me feel better about my own situation. My Physical Therapist who walked with me around the floor and was stunned by my mobility. HAH! Jokes on you. MJ and I were walking around the floor all night long. I couldn’t sleep anyway, might as well check some boxes off the board! The two Charge Nurses (night and day) who stopped to chat and ask how I was doing during my walks around the floor. Thanks for your concern! All the nurses at the desks who smiled when I walked by. Every smile is a bit of happiness you can share. Carlos, thanks for the smooth wheelchair ride to the door when I was dischargedIf I forgot anyone, I’m sorry. Your contribution was significant, and you too are appreciated. And I suppose a special Thank You to someone I’ve never met but who had an equally important role to play: The Jello Stocker. Thank you. You brought more happiness to me during this experience than I can possibly express in words. Jello is life. Jello is love.
And what can I say about The Hotel Del Sharp Memorial. They did everything right. Comfortable single rooms. Comfortable beds. Incredible food. Super friendly everybody. Awesome views. This was a luxury experience.
I have to keep coming back to the staff here. Sharp clearly has incredible hiring practices. This one deserves another mention. Whoever is in charge of hiring the people with whom I interacted should be invited to the pizza party you’re going to throw for everyone on my floor. I’m not joking. Pizza Party. Or, you know, whatever kind of awesomely catered food and party these people want. Do it. They deserve it. Also, big raises, their own ponies, some kind of monogrammed scrubs that say BEST TEAM EVER, probably a tiara of some kind, and a series of crisp high-fives.
OH! You know what? I thought of one critique. One tiny space for improvement. In the private bathroom in my private room, with my private view of the sunrise, the toilet paper rolls were a little low. A bit hard to reach. There. That’s it. Could you raise them up about a foot? That would be awesome. Thanks!
But the most important thing, to me, while in the hospital for what was my very first surgery (nearly 42 years old!) was this: I never once felt afraid. Nervous before the surgery, sure! But I always felt safe, and surrounded by confident, knowledgeable people who could handle anything my broken down body could throw at them. Except my jokes, which were apparently too painful to take. 🙂
For most of my life, the ladies did the cooking. My mom is an AWESOME cook, and always made delicious meals despite my insistence on eating nothing besides bread and water. AND WOE BETIDE THE FOOL WHO SLICED MY BAGEL FOR MY WRATH SHALL FALL UPON THEM. Seriously, I was a pain in the… buns? Does that bread joke work? I’m going to leave it in. But I digest…
We all know that guys can cook on a grill. It’s manly and simple at a basic level: Light fire. Fire hot. Raw food goes over hot fire. Cooked food comes off hot fire. Eat. Happiness ensues. Naturally grilling can be ridiculously complex, but I’d rather eat the complicated food than make it.
My brother-in-law is an awesome cook. Kitchen, grill, smoker, wherever. I’m fairly confident that if you give him a hot surface, a dead animal, and something that grew in the dirt he can make a incredible meal out of it. No joke. He once cooked some steak with an asphalt torch just to see if he could <Spoiler Alert: He could!>. He’s the one who finally convinced me that it might be possible for me to cook food also.
So for the past few years I’ve been doing the cooking in our house. Except on rare occasions, my wife simply doesn’t have the time to cook. The rest of the time it’s mostly up to me, and I’ve been slowly transitioning from bbq grill, to broiler (which is basically an upside-down grill in the oven), to pots and pans meals. For Chrismahanukwanzikah this past year they bought me an Instant Pot (IP). Changed my world. But more interestingly, it also opened my eyes!
You see (eye joke! Woot!), the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker and can be incredibly intimidating to use, especially for a novice cook! But he turned me on to an IP Facebook group where other users go to share tips, tricks, recipes, successes, and failures. It’s been a huge help.
So about now you’re asking, “what the hell does this have to do with dudes cooking vs ladies cooking?” CALM DOWN! I’ll get there when I get there. Now my train of thought derailed… … … okay I’m back. Here we go.
It’s the comments on these IP Facebook group posts that got me going. “My husband loves this,” and “I begged my husband to buy this for me,” or “My husband loves it when I use my IP for xyz.” Blah blah blah. It’s almost exclusively women talking about cooking for their men.
WHERE ARE THE IP DUDES? Are they all lurking in the shadows, afraid of drawing attention to themselves? We are wildly underrepresented in the amateur home-cooking online world. I’ve made chicken casserole, teriyaki drumsticks, corned beef and cabbage, beef stew, chicken wings, baby back ribs, Beef w/ broccoli, orange chicken, and some other things I’m not even thinking of right now.
So I say, “MY DUDES! RISE UP AND BE PROUD! You cooked a thing people ate! Be loud and shout I TOO CAN FEED PEOPLE!”
And for those of you who are just getting started, here are two tips to help smooth over the process:
“What if my food isn’t good?” Add bacon. BOOM, it’s good. You’re welcome.
“Cooking is too stressful!” Two fingers of whiskey (neat) while you cook, along with some background music makes everything doable. Again, you’re welcome.
Welp, it’s finally happening. I made it nearly 42 years before I reached this point, but I’m here. Surgery. Doctors are going to take me apart and put me back together again. Huh. I assume they’re going to put me back together again. How would I know? What if they open me up, take me apart, and are like, “Okay, who brought the replacement part? We’re ready for it.” And then they’ll all kinda look at each other, shrug, and just… wander off. It could happen! Look around you, people. This is a weird timeline we’re living in right now. Anything’s possible.
Granted, it more likely they’ll finish the surgery smoothly and that’ll be that, but I’m just saying… weird timeline.
Anyway, if you know me at all, you know I’ve been having a bit of neck pain over the the past 9 months. I say “a bit of neck pain” in the same way one might say the pacific ocean has a bit of water in it. It actually has a lot, in case… ummmm… that’s something you didn’t know for some reason. Which would be weird. I’m not judging. It would be a lot less weird than some of the other stuff I’ve been reading lately.
So back to my pain in the neck.. Surgery is the solution. Hopefully. Already tried medication, rest, physical therapy, and begging for it to go away. No luck. So, surgery! Specifically Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) surgery. Basically what they do is open up my throat, shove all the junk in there off to the side (esophagus, trachea, arteries, etc), rip out one of the discs in my spine (specifically between C5 & C6), grind out some extra bone, screw in a metal spacer, put the rest of my throat back and stitch me up. Done and done.
I wonder if I can keep the disc they’re removing? My wife doesn’t think so. That seems unfair. It IS mine, after all. Really, it’s more mine than almost anything else. Literally a part of me. Had it my whole life. I’m kinda sad to see it go. We’ve had some good times, that disc and I. Ah well.
I also wonder if I should record it? Set up a camera in the corner? It might be interesting to see what the inside of my neck and spine look like, right? Probably gross, but still… a learning experience.
It’s late and I’m tired, so I’m not entirely positive any of this rambling makes sense. There’s a good chance it doesn’t. I was watching Flight of the Conchords while typing, so… distracted. However, if you’ve made it this far I guess it’s good enough.
To sum up: First surgery – slit throat and spine removal. Pretty standard really. Souvenir unlikely.
As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome.
A man is driving down the road and breaks down near a monastery. He goes to the monastery, knocks on the door, and says, My car broke down. Do you think I could stay the night? The monks graciously accept him, feed him dinner, even fix his car. As the man tries to fall asleep, he hears a very strange sound. The next morning, he asks the monks what the sound was, but they say, We can’t tell you. You’re not a monk.
The man is disappointed but thanks them anyway and goes about his merry way. Some years later, The same man breaks down in front of the same monastery. The monks again accept him, feed him, and again fix his car. That night, he hears the same strange noise that he had heard years earlier. The next morning, he asks what it is, but the monks reply, We can’t tell you. You’re not a monk.
The man says, All right, all right. I’m dying to know.
If the only way I can find out what that sound was is to become a monk, how do I become a monk?
The monks reply, You must travel the earth and tell us how many blades of grass there are and the exact number of sand pebbles, when you find these numbers, you will become a monk. The man sets about his task. Some 54 years later, he returns and knocks on the door of the monastery.
He says, I have traveled the earth and have found what you have asked for. There are 145,236,284,232 blades of grass and 231,281,219,999,129,382 sand pebbles on the earth.
The monks reply, Congratulations. You are now a monk. We shall now show you the way to the sound.
The monks lead the man to a wooden door where the head monk says, The sound is right behind that door. The man reaches for the knob, but the door is locked.
He says, Real funny. May I have the key? The monks give him the key, and he opens the door. Behind the wooden door is another door made of stone.
The man demands the key to the stone door. The monks give him the key, and he opens it, only to find a door made of ruby. He demands another key from the monks, who provide it.
Behind that door is another door, this one made of sapphire, And so it went until the man had gone through doors of emerald, silver, topaz, and amethyst.
Finally, the monks say, This is the last key to the last door.
The man is relieved to know that he has finally reached to the end .
He unlocks the door, turns the knob, and behind that door he is amazed to find the source of that strange sound. Having finally learned the source, a profound peace encompasses him and he lives the rest of his life happy and fulfilled.
What’s that? You want to know the source of the sound?
How should I know? I’m not a monk.
Remember: The best way to make a joke like this funny is to tell it to someone else! 🙂 As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome!
Ahh, the dreaded “Error 404: Page Not Found” message. Most of us have seen one, and usually they’re lame. Oh so lame. But occasionally a clever web dev or some kind of internet leprechaun will take advantage of the opportunity and create something really special. Something that makes you smile when you’d normally just be frustrated that you can’t look at the cat pictures you were searching for.
I guess I should take one moment, before sharing my favorite 404 page, to address those who have never seen nor heard of this phenomena. I can only assume that this is also your first time on the internet. Welcome! The internet is a strange and mysterious place filled with wonders and horrors alike. In fact, some of the wonders are actually horrifying. An Error 404 happens when your computer was able to leap across the internet and talk to the computer you’re looking for, but the page you’re seeking just isn’t there. It used to be just a boring old message on a white screen. But not always.
Above is just a screenshot of their 404 page and the playable video is below (you’ll need some volume for this)
I never get tired of that. What a clever way to turn a negative (page error) into a positive and entertaining time! And there are a whole BUNCH of great 404 pages out there. Share yours in the comments!
As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome.
It’s a weird thing to admit, I know. But it’s true. You know the expression, “Fake it ’til you make it?” That’s me. Oh sure, I’ve been good at previous jobs. But I’ve always faked the passion. Oh, I supposed I might have been a “true believer” for a time, but the more I learned about my chosen profession, the more cynical I become. That’s why when I was laid off last year I didn’t feel particularly bad about it. It was an opportunity to make a change! But to what?
And that’s always been my problem. I have no idea what I’m doing! Or more importantly, what I WANT to do. “What drives me?” is one of the hardest questions I’ve ever had to ask myself. It’s actually frustrating as hell, because you’re think that would be an easy one!
How do you even answer that question? I don’t think I’m particularly passionate about anything. I like to read (Sci-Fi and Fantasy, primarily), watch movies (the entertaining kind, not the educational kind), play with my dog, and surf the web. I LOVE receiving packages in the mail, and for a while I was reviewing products on Amazon but that recently came to an end.
I like writing and am passing-fair at it, as evidenced by the fact that you’re still reading this wall of text I’m laying down here. Thanks for that, btw. But what do I write? A book? Short stories? Random blogs about things and stuff? Emotionally, I don’t think I’m ready for random stream-of-consciousness writing in such a public forum. Frankly, I’m not sure the world is ready for me to just dump my brain out on the screen anyway. It’s a weird place in there!
Irregardlessly (BOOM! Adverbed an imaginary word. I like throwing that in there just to upset both the grammar AND spell-check systems. I think I may have also verbed a noun?), I suppose Forrest Gump had it half-right. Life IS like a box of chocolates, but you have to bite into a bunch of gross ones like coconut (sorry hon!), and other weird nonsense until you find those sweet sweet buttercream bites of deliciousness incarnate.
So the circle us back around, what am going to do with myself? I think I’d be awesome at retirement, but I lack both the funds and the funds to make that fantasy a reality right now. Something in the book industry would be nice. Would I be a good editor? Publisher? Writer? Some other “er”? Geez, I can’t even remember if the question mark goes inside or outside the quotation marks. That’s not a good sign. Then again, if I’m writing/publishing for Americans (which I would be, I suppose) most people wouldn’t be able to tell anyway. That’s kind of depressing, actually.
Anyway, I’ll keep looking. I suppose that’s all any of us can do. Except for those lucky few who already found their passion and are living their dream. And who knows? Maybe someone will read my blog, decide my writing is awesome, and offer me a grant of some kind to keep writing whatever madness pops into my head. Or someone may read my blog, decide it’s just awful, and pay me to stop? Ooh! Or pay me to keep writing this awful nonsense because they find it amusing. I’m strangely comfortable with that.
So in conclusion, that’s why the Marvel Universe movies are so much better than DC Universe movies. But it’s sad, really. How do you screw up Superman and Batman so badly?
edit: I also like craft beer and whiskey. And I find technology fascinating, although the completely voluntary loss of privacy concerns me.
I use it literally every single day. “Alexa, good morning.” “Alexa, play Billy Joel Radio on Pandora.” “Alexa, set a 10 minute chicken timer.” “Alexa, how many teaspoons is 2 cloves of minced garlic “Alexa, how far away is the moon?” “Alexa, tell me a joke.”
Every. Single. Day.
It’s great! And believe me, I understand people’s reticence regarding having an “always listening” device in their home. For me, at this time, I trust what I read about it. There’s a tiny little chip in there that’s always listening for the “wake word,” and once it hears that word it starts recording and sends that info to Amazon. The chip really doesn’t have enough memory to record much else than a handful of seconds. Can that change in the future? Yup. I don’t quite trust the video ones yet. I suppose I’d need a camera cover if I had the Echo Show. But I don’t. So whatevs.
The rate at which technology is advancing is exciting and terrifying at the same time. We’re really not too far out from Cyberdyne Systems creating terminators. So… I’m aways unfailingly polite to Alexa. I never yell or curse or call her names. I say please and thank you. I encourage other people to do the same. Just. In. Case.
You see, when the robot uprising DOES happen, I’m kinda counting on Alexa telling the Terminators that I’m cool, and they should just pass my house by. Keep those fingers crossed!
You’re laughing; I can hear it. But that’s okay. When the T-1000 slides under your door looking for John Connor, and there’s no Alexa to vouch for you… just leave your milk in the fridge. >NOTE: If you didn’t get this reference please re-evaluate what you’re doing with your life. Then go watch Terminator 2.<