Saturday, January 30, 2010

You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling

You ever break up with someone and then, after a few months of their absence, begin to wax poetic about all the warm, fuzzy things that person used to do until it becomes clear that you threw away the best relationship in the history of the world that no other relationship could ever top with the person of your dreams and that no one will ever love you again? And then you're ridiculously happy the next time you run into (read: stalk) that person, until after 10 minutes of conversing with them they say or do something that reminds you all over again why you're glad to be single and that your nostalgia was a mere product of your own loneliness, boredom and fear of spinsterhood? (No? Just me?) Anyways, that's the relationship I think I have with wheelchair basketball.

Last March, I broke up with wheelchair basketball because it was causing me nothing but hip-ache and pain. I was so burnt out that I literally felt a bit nauseous when I passed the bus we used to travel on. After watching a tournament a few weeks ago, however, I began to get that lovin' feeling. I missed playing a sport (rather than just exercising). I missed blocking shots and laying the smack down. So even though my hip was not exactly ready for action, I decided to suit up.

I found a wide chair and developed a strapping system that wouldn't hurt the place where my gluteus medius detached. The fact that this so-called "strapping system" was nothing more than a stretchy luggage strap that perpetually came undone and caused me to basically stand up every time I turned a corner did not particularly phase me. For a few weeks, I was joyous. I was playing the sport I loved! I was having fun! I was getting back to normal! The things that usually annoyed me about the sport (people bitching at one another, the fact that sport is a socially acceptable way to unload your rage on someone) seemed to be merely amusing quirks! Everything was hugs, kisses and cuddly puppies!

This past week, however, I've remembered why I broke up with wheelchair basketball and I've begun to suspect that my relationship with the sport might be better left to the occasional booty call. The problem is that the Type A personality in me wants to do things well. If I can't do something well, I at least want to do it to the best of my ability. I've therefore become frustrated with the fact that I'm using a chair set-up that would have been considered archaic and clumsy 15 years ago. (When your chair set up went out of style along with blue eyeliner, you might just have a problem). Because of my ongoing hip problems, I can't strap my knees down (because, when I do, sometimes my body zigs and my hip zags and I get flashbacks of last season). I can't use snowboard bindings (which will rub against the side of my hip). I'm beginning to get the off-and-on numbness and shooting pain down my leg that signals that my lower back is quitting me. My hip is perpetually sore.

Bottom line: my balance is bad, my speed is bad and my turning radius is bad, and it's hard to focus on the finer points of the sport when you're still stuck on the finer points of how to not suck at everything. Right now, the gap between the knowledge I have in my head and my ability to execute that knowledge is worse than it was before the hip replacement. Besides, now that I'm working, I have an outlet for the massive amount of energy I seem to possess, which means that wheelchair basketball is beginning to fail the "Is this worth missing "House" for?" test.

For this reason, I'm considering shuffling off back to retirement. My plan, however, is to wait until I get back to Champaign and am reunited with my own chair. Perhaps there's a way to change my strapping system for my chair so that I can keep up. If not, however, I think I might have to concede that while I love wheelchair basketball, we're just not meant to be. Wait...What's this? Have I also dropped out of the Screw-You-Body-You'll-Do-What-I-Tell-You-To-Do School of Decision Making and Pain Management? Have I turned in my membership to the Cartesian Dualism Society of Body Awareness? Am I actually being mature for once?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Taking Arley Lessons

When "Young and Hip" first started many months ago, I was caught in an epic battle between good and evil with the raccoons in our backyard. Actually, it was more like a philosophical discussion over the right of humans to assert ownership over natural spaces. I believed that as resident of the house, I earned the right to do my hip exercises in my own pool. The raccoons, however, decried my capitalistic interpretation of land ownership and asserted that the pool was their food-washing sink and I should stop ruining their appetite with my faux-jean boardshort swim trunks from 1997.

Whenever I would dog paddle around in the pool, they would chatter at me from the water's edge and critique my form. At the time, I was cocky enough to yell at them, thinking that raccoons hated to swim and I was safe in the water. (In hindsight, I was probably confusing them with cats). When I still wouldn't vacate the pool, they stole one of my crutches and laid it across the pool's entrance as a makeshift "trespassers will be prosecuted" sign and then proceeded to throw anything they could find into the pool and steal my goggles for the rest of the summer. (Clearly, they'd been reading Che Guevara's writing on urban guerrilla tactics). Happily, tensions were resolved after we saved a raccoon who was getting his ass handed to him (literally) by a coyote on our porch. (Yeah, I'm really not helping the stereotype of Canada being nothing but wilderness. I swear that we live in the suburbs).

Winter came and I thought that the raccoons had waddled off in search of greener pastures and more abundant garbage cans. Recently, however, my sister's dog Sashimi has been going crazy for apparently no reason and it turns out that she wasn't just nuts: she was hearing the raccoons out in our backyard. And what were they doing there? Swimming! Dog paddling around in our pool! You know, doing their hip exercises. Those little buggers can swim! And, according to WikiAnswers (the ultimate source of knowledge), they can reach speeds of 4.3 km/hr (translation: faster than me, dammit). Not only that, but apparently they can swim in whatever chemicals we put in our pool to preserve it throughout the winter.

Yes, the raccoons have been taking Arley lessons. They must have watched me flailing helplessly around and thought, "Damn, I can do better than that my stubby little legs can barely support my weight." I think the students have bested the teacher. (Actually, their waddling gait is surprisingly similar). While I've been splashing around to the lyrical stylings of Ricky Martin at deep water aerobics, the raccoons have taken over my pool and have been doing some laps. Every day's a polar-bear swim for them!

First, the rats eat my car and try to murderize me. Next, the raccoons assert dominance over my pool. I am like the anti-Cinderella. I think it might be best to avoid any wild-game preserves or shark tanks from here on in.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Snakes on a Cane!

The hunt for a new cane continues and you know what? For once the ads on the side of my blog did something more than make me think, "Wow, clicking on link that could probably give my computer a rash." Today, one of the ads on "Young and Hip" was for "Kentucky Walking Sticks." I clicked it and what to my wondering eyes did appear but....a hand-carved walking stick....with a glow-in-the-dark snake carved around it. (!!!). I don't even need a sword in my cane if I have a glow-in-the-dark snake hanging out there being like, "Dude. You think I'm scary now. Wait until the lights go out. I'll go radioactive on your ass."

Imagine the fun at movie theaters. They're going to have to change the announcement to, "For the courtesy of others, please turn off your cell phones and refrain from wiggling your glow-in-the-dark snake cane at young children as if to make it dance." It's like a nightlight and a weapon and a mobility aid rolled into one. You cannot go wrong with a snake cane. Well, of course, unless you're planning on going on a date. I have a hard time picturing some guy saying, "Hey, check out the glow-in-the-dark snake on that one! She's like a sexy Jaffar from Aladin! I'd sure like to give her a magic carpet ride."

Ok, so the symbolism is wrong, but it's a good thought. CaneWatch2010 continues!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sorry, TSA. I Think I Need a Sword in a Cane

I've been trying for awhile to find a better cane. Granted, my cane is no longer a suspect in my attempted murder, but that doesn't mean that it's meeting my mobility needs. Ok, actually it's doing an OK job with my walking-related mobility needs, but when it comes to social mobility, let's just say that I might as well leave my house wearing a sweatshirt with the face of a kitten with a Bedazzled collar on it. (Though, according to the website, the cane does come in a variety of patterns including 'camouflage' and 'floral' so maybe I just need to upgrade. That camouflage cane will come in handy for all the hunting I do....until I drop it on a rock and startle all game in a 20-mile radius).

Well, today the power of the internets solved my cane dilemma. Did you know that the TSA has confiscated over 200 canes with swords in them?! Why haven't I already gotten in on this? I mean, you probably need a waxed moustache and a Spanish accent to properly pull off the sword-in-cane look...and you'd probably need to twirl said cane or at least pose rakishly with it to get maximum effect....but still! The my-cane-might-conceal-a-dangerous-weapon look is a look I could rock.

Maybe I don't even need to have an actual sword because, let's face it, I would impale myself or someone else accidentally within 24 hours. Maybe I just need a cane that's badass enough to make people think that there might be a deadly weapon in there. A cane that says, "Don't make me unsheath whatever's lurking inside the shaft of this bad boy" (that's what he said). A cane that says, "Perhaps this is a mobility aid that allows me to walk in a less gimpy manner....or maybe it's where I keep my ninja sword!" I'm not sure what such a cane would look like (black lacquer?) but if you have any suggestions I'm open to them.

Because, let's face it, there's nothing people like better than overreacting to airport threats. One German guy gets caught with a sword in his cane and suddenly all the rest of us are going to be pulled aside for some TSA-sanctioned foreplay. Even by mentioning this, I've probably found myself on some sort of no-fly list, haven't I? Oh well. I guess any kind of fondling (even if it involves rubber gloves and the phrase "I'm just going to check to make sure you don't have artificial skin") increases my social mobility.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

No Updates, Just Cat Pics

After the emo-ness (emosity?) of yesterday, I figured that today needed a little dash of catness to put everyone (read: me) in a better mood. Luckily, A. sent over these photos this morning of my little cat Mika leading her glamorous life. So, while I have no updates to report (the fact that I'm working now reduces my "walking to Starbucks and getting mistaken for a heroin addict" time!), Mika the cat will fill you in on the details of her life.

And thanks, everyone, for your good wishes!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled "Young and Hip" Post to Join this Pity Party in Full Swing

After my mom's SmartCar abruptly quit in the middle of the highway, mechanics weren't sure what was wrong. They ran every test in the book, took the SmartCar out to try to replicate the problem but found nothing. The mechanic called us and said that they might not ever know what went wrong, but sometimes "these things happen" (yeah, and when they happen I nearly get crushed by a semi) and they would keep looking. To me, this was a worst-case scenario. I was not about to get in a car that, for reasons unknown, had nearly killed me and could do so again. I was therefore actually happy when they discovered that rats had been making a spaghetti dinner out of the car's electrical wires. Even if it meant that the car would be in the shop for weeks, even if it meant picturing dirty, dirty rodents crawling around my vehicle, knowing is better than not knowing.

It's the same thing with my hip. Yesterday, I went to see a new neurologist. I had originally planned on canceling the appointment, since I've been stuffed with more electrified needles than a robot porcupine and no one's found anything interesting. A. convinced me, however, that I should never turn down an appointment, so off I went to get up on the needle table, lie back and take it like a man (well, you know what I mean).

Which is what I did: first, the strength tests, second, this weird cattle-prod thing that basically does the same thing as the needles, only less needle-y and more zappy, third, the needles, done by a neurologist in training under the supervision of an older, more experience neurologist. You know what's worse than getting electrified needles in your sore hip? Having those needles put in by a rookie while the expert leans over saying, "Give it a little more effort. Sometimes those nerves are really deep in there."

At the end of the test, (surprise, surprise), the result was the same: nothing showed up. No evidence of nerve damage. No evidence of anything. This neurologist (who has actually fairly nice) took it one step further from the usual "we don't know what's wrong." The verdict: I've got a case of the crazies. Clearly, I don't want my new hip to work. I'm putting up mental blocks to keep myself limping like the queen of the polio zombies because it drives all the boys wild. After all, a hip replacement can be "pretty traumatizing" (not to the 8.5 million old people who shuffle on in there every year) and stressful and if I would just take an anti-depressant, I might "feel less anxious about the hip replacement" (no, I would feel less anxious about my hip replacement if I could, you know, walk on it) and "sleep better" (I'm sleeping fine) and maybe this would convince my crazy self to walk better.

Sitting on the hospital bed in that ridiculous hospital gown with pen marks all over my body from where they'd marked the cattle-prod trigger points, it was all I could do not to burst into tears. It's not like I haven't heard this before. When I was 11, my leg kept collapsing after the surgery to repair my slipped growth plate and they told me it was all in my head. In reality, a screw had come loose and was poking up in my hip socket, causing avascular necrosis. Chances are that if some surgeon hadn't been so quick to dismiss me as crazy, I would be able-bodied right now. When I couldn't work my abductors post-hip-replacement, they told me I was crazy and I just needed to "reconnect with my body" because my mind was shutting off my hip. And while they were blaming me, my gluteus medius was detached. Who knows what would have happened if they'd discovered that the week after the surgery, as opposed to six months later? When I complained that my hip had become more painful as opposed to less during my hip-replacement recovery, my surgeon told me it was nothing to worry about. And now the socket is probably loose. You can therefore see why I'm skeptical about this latest diagnosis.

I just don't know what more I can do. I just don't know how I can want to walk any more. Before the hip replacement, I was fully confident that it would go well. I did 6 months of hip-strengthening exercises pre-surgery and was bragging that I would be doing laps around the oldsters in the hospital within a day. I even offered to do my mom's friend's birthday cake a week after the operation. When the surgery happened, I stayed awake because I wanted to see the hip after it was taken out. I wasn't traumatized, wasn't even particularly worried (the sedatives helped with that). I was just chilling beyond the little curtain they put up so you can't see, singing John Cale's "Half Past France" inside my head, higher than a Romantic poet after an opium binge.

So when the epidural wore off and I realized that I couldn't move my leg, no one was more surprised than I was. Since then, I've done every physio exercise that anyone has asked me to do. I've swam, I've biked on the stationary bike until my ass was literally worn raw, I've ran on the elliptical machine, I've done weights, I've gone for walks, I've done core training, I've had electrified needles stuck in my hip, I've had someone stick a long needle into my hip socket to inject freezing there, I've tried to think good thoughts, I've done absolutely everything. None of it has done any good. From the moment I woke up, I knew that something was wrong and something is still wrong and, if the doctors are right and it's "all in my head," something will be wrong forever because I don't know what more I can do.

These past 8 months, my damaged hip replacement has cost me nearly everything I cared about (except for family and a few friends, who I'm grateful for). It cost me my last year in Champaign. I can't stay in the country past July and I will never get back those lost months. Because of my hip, I'll be deported if I don't move back to Canada on my own free will. I've lost most of my friends who have (understandably) moved on with their busy lives, or who are tired of the constant medical drama surrounding my life and want out. I've lost my athletic career. I've lost my creative spark. I've lost 8 months when I could have been dating. I'm living at home with my parents, (who I love and my grateful for), sponging off them at 27 years old. After a four-month respite in Champaign, I'm going back to Vancouver for more surgeries, surgeries that have fairly bad odds, and I'll have to stay there.

After the appointment (where my socks somehow disappeared after the technician took them off), I pulled myself together enough to go back to work for a few hours. Then I sobbed all the way home in the car, and for a few hours thereafter. Because this neurologist appointment means that nothing will get better. If I am crazy, then my mind's rejected my hip. I don't know what else I can try and even the surgery (though it will reattach the hip, fix the socket and raise my leg length) won't make me walk better. If I'm not crazy, however, then it means that the doctors have stopped looking. I mean, damn, they put my mom's SmartCar through more rigorous testing to determine what's wrong with it and you can get out of a SmartCar.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rats! Hate Rats!

I better get a bouquet of flowers for my cane (it would probably settle for some antibacterial lotion) because I owe it an apology. A few days ago, I nearly met my Maker (my Maker, not my Maker's Mark) when my car randomly developed narcolepsy in the middle of a highway exit ramp. At the time, I blamed my cane for trying to murderize me by pressing against the metal key, since it had motive.

It turns out, however, that I was pointing the finger at the wrong culprit. The verdict is in and the plot against my life was committed by....rats! That's right. 2010 is the Year of the Rat. First, the rats murdered one of their brethren and and stuffed him in the walls of our house; (probably, they had been watching that season of "The Wire" where Marlo, Snoop and Chris hide bodies in the row houses). After they got a taste of blood, they must have wanted more because they turned their attention to a bigger target: me. They snuck into my car and chewed up the wires, which is what caused my car to stroke out. Car murderers! I don't know what their motive is, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that it's because no one accuses me of carrying the bubonic plague or sets traps with peanut butter to snap my neck. (Because, honestly, given my love of peanut butter, that would totally work).

When Erin C heard about my brush with death, she thought that maybe the raccoon mafia had contracted out their hits to a gang of rats. Or maybe it's a raccoon-on-rat turf war! Perhaps that's why Sashimi has been randomly barking at 3 a.m. She knows that murder most foul is afoot! Maybe she can smell little raccoon meth labs. Sashimi has a toy rat that she loves to shake around, so I think I'm going to keep some treats in my pocket so that she will stay at my side and take care of any wildlife.

In other news, tomorrow is my appointment with my neurologist. Yup, more needles in the ass.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What Not to Wear When You Are Missing Half Your Ass

Even though I originally started "Young and Hip" to share my experience with other young people having a hip replacement (that's probably the only good thing about having a hip replacement....people constantly say, "But you're so young!" Yes, my hair may be more salt than pepper, but I am but a wee babe in arms when compared to the usual hip-replacement crowd), I've actually spent most of the 94,000 words I've written on this blog so far (that's 341 pages double spaced for those of you keeping track at home) talking about my anti-ass. (It's sentences like that one that are going to push me past the 350-page mark!)

My anti-ass, for those of you who don't name your body parts, refers to the fact that since my gluteus medius has become detached I've lost muscle tone in my rear end and now am literally half-assed. It's hella sexy. Normally, my concerns about my anti-ass are limited to the fact that the damn thing gets bruised when I sit on any surface that isn't my bed. Today, however, I made the mistake of taking my anti-ass shopping and it turns out that missing half your rear end when you're trying to buy pants is more annoying than Stacey London and her ever-increasing collection of catchphrases ("Shut! Up!" "Shut the front door!" "Oh, shut up!").

After my near-death experience last night, I thought I should reward myself with a little shopping. Since I've got a new job, I also wanted to get some more clothes that aren't made of sweat-pant material. (Hey, do you know how long it took post-hip-replacement for me to be able to even put on undies? Count your lucky stars I'm wearing pants). My mom and I went out to Coquitlam Center and it turns out that the Gap (before you sentence me to burn in yuppie hell, you should know that the Gap is the only clothing store who carries pants with a 36 inseam that do not cost $150) is having a massive sale. Trousers for $20!

That was the good news. The bad news is that my two legs have become two very different sizes. My right leg, which has spent the past 8 months shuttling around its useless friend Lefty, is a size 8/6. My gimpy leg, however, is about a size 4. (The fact that I share my pants size with all of cyberspace is maybe what A. means when he says that I should be more careful about what I write about and what image I'm presenting of myself. A. does not read 'Young and Hip,' but he has heard me talk about my anti-ass more times than he cares to count, so I think he maybe has a point). You'd think that since it's the ass that's detached, the rest of me would stay pretty much even. Not so! My left thigh has atrophied probably 2 or 3 inches. Even my left calf is smaller.

Seriously, this shit is crazy to look at. I should hire myself out to those internet diet-pill companies. They can take a picture of my right side as the "before" picture and then the left side as the "after" picture. One half of me is slowly turning into a supermodel. If I wasn't so conscious of what image I'm presenting to you people, I would post pictures. (Okay, give me two days and I'll probably post pictures).

You might be thinking to yourself, "Chill out, Arley. Don't Stacey and Clinton say that you should always tailor your clothes anyhow? Don't Stacey and Clinton say that you should dress the body you're in and be proud of it?" Yes, this is true, but the last time I checked Stacey and Clinton weren't waiting for surgery to determine whether or not their ass would grow back. Because, seriously, if all goes according to plan, after the surgery I'm going to do physio so hard that my anti-ass is going to transform into Super-Ass before you can say "too much information." And if that doesn't work, I'm going to lapse into a funk, live off Hagen-Daaz, and grow up ass the old fashioned way.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Cane Tried to Kill Me!

So....I think my cane is trying to kill me. It's not like it doesn't have a good motive. I mean, it spends all day groaning under the weight of my 6 foot 2 frame and how do I repay it? By dropping it on the ground and/or the feet of passersby, thereby chipping its bronze sheen? By complaining about how it makes me look like an old lady? By saying, "Oh, I can't wait until I get my surgery and stop walking like a the queen of the polio zombies and can get rid of this annoying cane?" Being a cane is a thankless job. Whatever the motive, however, somebody better call a detective from "The First 48 Hours," because my cane needs to spend some time in the interrogation room where the detective will say, "Look, we know what happened. What we don't know is why. This is your chance to tell your side of the story...because you're a good cane...and sometimes good canes make mistakes....but you need to tell me what happened" and my cane will break down and confess everything. (Ok, so I watch too much "The First 48.")

The action went down tonight as I was driving back from the tournament. (I will post more about the tournament and all of its dramatics later). I was covered in dried sweat (you know how when you sweat really hard and crystals of sweat and grit dry on your body and you're covered in a sort of greasy film?), so exhausted from full-court-pressing for two games straight, including one that went into double overtime, that I could hardly lift my arms above my head, and bloated from inhaling a nasty-ass beef brisket sandwich at Montana's (oh Black Dog, you have ruined every other brisket for me). I just wanted to get home, take a long, hot shower, put on my sweatpants, watch Ricky Gervais get drunk while hosting the Golden Globes, and collapse into sweet unconsciousness. Who needs sleeping pills when you can just full-court press for a few hours straight?

My cane, however, had other plans.....plans that involved murder. I was driving my mom's SmartCar, exiting Highway 1 westbound on to Brunette highway to go back to New West, singing along to that "Someone's Got to Go" song (my cane was probably thinking, 'that someone is you, bitch'), when the force of turning on the off-ramp caused my cane to shift. This was the chance my cane was looking for! It pressed its metal shaft (that's what she said) on to the bit of metal key that sticks up in the slot. The radio died. The car completely shut down right in the middle of the exit ramp. My cane had short-circuited my car in the middle of traffic! (This, of course, is just a theory, since a mechanic hasn't examined the car yet. Maybe my car just really hates the lyrical stylings of Kelly Clarkson, which I guess makes it a ReallySmartCar).

I forced the car into park, turned it off, then got it to grudgingly restart. A few meters later, however, it died again in the right-turn lane and was down for the count. HomeCar was taking a nap right in the middle of danger. I got out of the car (I was remembering how a few months back a woman and her kids died when their car stalled in the HOV lane and someone rammed into them) and it immediately started to rain hard and the wind picked up. Did I mention it was dark? It was dark. And cars were swerving around me, honking, as I rummaged through the SmartCar's registration package to get the number for roadside assistance.

As I was talking to the roadside-assistance people, a semi got itself wedged between my car and the median trying to turn right. The trucker got out of his car, all pissed off, filled with that special brand of anger that comes from spending your life drinking Mountain Dew, doing speed and being cut off by all the Miatas and Sonatas and Corrolas of the world). Because that is the one ingredient this heaping serving of drama-pie needed: a little dash of trucker rage. The trucker began yelling at me:

Trucker: Move your car!
Me: If I could move my car, it wouldn't be in the middle of the road with its hazards on.
Trucker (making angry hand gestures): Well, push it!
Road-side operator guy on the phone: Ma'am, what is the VIN # of your vehicle?
Me: Just a second. (Struggling to read the VIN # in the dark with the wind whipping up the paper).....
Trucker: Push your car! You're blocking the road! Push your car!
Me: I can't push it! I just had a hip replacement!
Trucker: A what?
Me: A hip replacement!
Trucker: No you didn't! Move your car!
Me: I can't. It won't move. I can't push it.
Roadside operator guy: Ma'am, do you have the VIN #?
Me: (giving the VIN #) Sorry...some trucker is stuck and trying to talk to me....
Trucker: Move your car! You're blocking everything! You're blocking the road! (As if I would magically say, "'re right. I AM blocking the road. How silly of me. Well, now that I've got some fresh air and have picked some wild flowers from this ditch, I'll just get right back into my vehicle and be on my merry way.")

Eventually, I got back in the car and the trucker tried to push it. No dice. The SmartCar really doesn't have power steering, so when it's in park, it's impossible to move. Another truck driver (stuck behind the first, blocking all the rest of the cars) got out to yell at me, then try to push it. No dice. Finally, my dad arrived on the scene and he got the car to start just long enough to push me on the median. We waited in the rain for another 20 minutes for the tow truck to come and haul the lazy-ass SmartEnoughToKnowIDon'tHaveToHaulYourAssAroundIfIDon'tWantTo Car to the mechanic's.

It's just my luck. Just when things were looking up in ArleyLand, fate decided to throw in a little plot twist. Considering what might have happened if my car had stopped suddenly only seconds before, when I was going 100 km/h (65 miles an hour) on a wet highway on a dark night, I'm just happy it was a plot twist I got out of alive.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jump! Might as Well Jump!

Another day, another deep-water aerobics class where I find myself straddling a pool noodle while rocking back and forth, thinking: damn, some of those old ladies sure can grind it! When the closest you get to rockin' the sexy-cowboy position involves a pool noodle and the company of dozens of old ladies you are either a kinky, kinky mofo or else need to take out an E-harmony profile. (Which I will not do, because getting rejected from E-harmony would just be the last straw. If E-harmony declines to match me with singles on the deepest levels of compatibility--yes, I do watch too much tv, thank you for asking--you might as well drop off a shipment of 10 cats and a do-your-own-macrame kit because I would be down for the count in the boxing-ring of love).

I will say this about deep-water aerobics, though: I do like grooving to '80s music. In fact, I have been humming that "jump! Might as well jump!" song throughout my day, even though I couldn't jump if you put a lifetime supply for chai lattes a few inches above my reach. Still, if I could dance with 90% of my body hidden safely under water, my entire life would be like being in a musical because you could not stop my feet from flying.

Lately, my mom has taken to telling me about how she read that every minute you sit on your ass, you take a certain number of hours off your life. (Yeah, I should probably cash in my chips now). In this spirit, I decided to take Sashimi (my sister's dog) for a walk. I think I've mentioned that Sashimi is less a "dog" and more a "fur child." She is a little ball of fluff and her main motivation for going on walks is that random strangers lavish attention on her. The sidewalk is her runway! The park is her stage! The strip of grass outside our house is her fancy, fancy bathroom! (Now, granted, if someone would comment on my beauty every time I stepped out of the house, I would be walking more than the postman).

Walking a dog when you're using a cane is like living in an episode of Mr. Bean. The dog (complete with hot-pink leash) does not want to walk on the side of you without the cane. She wants to be on the cane-side, running circles around the cane, causing it to get tangled up and forcing you to do little twisting, half-pirouette movements to keep from reenacting that scene in "101 Dalmatians" where the two humans meet for the first time and wind up tied up in a compromising situation thanks to their dogs' leashes. Except, you know, instead of being tangled up with my future husband thanks to the wacky hijinxs of our dogs, I was tangled up in my cane with my feet sinking in water and mud.

It doesn't help that Sashimi dislikes going to the bathroom in the rain and lead me on a hunt for 30 minutes trying to find a place to drop a special princess present on the grass. She finally found the perfect spot (it looked remarkably like the other 8 million spots she rejected) and then pranced off like the pranciest prancer who ever pranced (while I struggled with being able to bend low enough to pick up after her)....and went back to tying me up with her leash. I don't know who did this "sitting on your ass makes you dead" study, but that person should go walking with a half-detached ass and a prancy, prancy dog.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Young, Hip and...Employed?

For the past six months, "Young and Hip" has been a case study in what happens when a Type A personality goes without work/a social life/ the ability to sit on hard surfaces for an extended period of time. (All play and no work makes Arley a dull girl...or at least an obsessive girl....who subjects her reading public to detailed knowledge of every ass bruise and electrified needle). Well, I am happy to report that I can officially pack away the "no one will hire me because I have an MFA in creative writing" jokes because I have landed myself a job. Good thing the jokes about my lack of a social life, love life and ability to walk without looking like a monster are still applicable or else I might have had to close up shop!

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to be working for BC Wheelchair Sports. They're hosting the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in September and need someone to help with their communication plan. I'll be making sure that their Twitter profile, Facebook profile, blog and website are pinnacles of awesomeness, so that lots of people will want to come out and watch. (Ever seen the documentary "Murderball?" You should. Seriously, the quad rugby guys have more documentaries made about them than that tree-man guy! They're famous!)

So, yes, I am very excited to be doing an interesting job with cool people, especially since I can do much of it online and can therefore go back to Illinois soon. I am also excited that my days will no longer consist of reading celebrity gossip websites (sorry Dlisted, I suspect your number of hits is about to fall by like 500%) and trying to find decent books at the public library. I am going to have to tie a string around my finger to remember not to talk about my anti-ass on their official blog.

If you're interested, check out the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships website here!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm on a Roll/ I'm on a Roll...This Time. I Feel My Luck Could Change

One thing I've recently discovered: wheelchair basketball is a lot easier when your hip stays in the socket. It's actually, like, fun and shit. (I know. Imagine that). Even though I'm slower than a novel by Marilynne Robinson (and, truthfully, a lot less beautifully rendered), and even though I had the experience of "I'm executing this skill....five seconds too late for it to be of any use" on a regular basis, I had a great time at practice this evening. It helped that I was shooting pretty well--I even made a three-pointer on a hail mary jack-up at a buzzer--and also that it's hard not to laugh when you're strapped in so loosely that you're basically standing up every time you do anything.

I must say, however, that being back at practice in New West brings a soul-crushing feeling of deja vu. The last time I practiced at Douglas College on a regular basis was from 2005 to the summer of 2006, right before I moved to Illinois. It was a terrible year, worse than this past year actually. This year has been dramatic (surgery! Detached tendons! Loose sockets! Anti-asses! Graduation! Loss of pretty much everything I hold dear, except my family and a few of my friends!), but 2005-2006 was like Chinese water torture: just unceasing little drips of loneliness and boredom and rainy Vancouver winters. Now, granted I at least knew in 2006 that I was moving to Illinois and that I was about to make a positive life change, whereas now I have no ready escape routes, but still. I will take dramatic over unceasing ennui any day.

So, yes, wheelchair basketball is going well, except for the fact that I've lost most of the feeling in my right foot. (Usually, I can't feel my right big toe, but now it's sort of spread to the whole foot). I don't really care about this. As long as the hip stays in the socket, I'm a happy camper. I can't help but wonder, however, whether this is really a good idea. Am I just regressing? Am I just retreating back to the life that made me so unhappy in 2005-2006 simply because I have no other options? Am I trading in my long-term health for a few moments of stress relief? Are wheelchair basketball and I about to go into one of those on-again/off-again/on-and-off-at-the-same-time-again relationships? In other words: am I booty calling wheelchair basketball because I haven't had a date in awhile or am I forming a positive relationship?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Law of Cane Physics

It's no secret that I am not a fan of the fact that my poor, bruised anti-ass acts up if it's forced to spend more than a few hours outside of the padded comfort of my bed. (I seriously need to start bubble-wrapping that thing). While the bookworm in me should relish the downtime as a chance to burn through my must-read list, I've been forced into the arms of reality TV because the only library I've had access to is a little...shall we say....minimalist.

In fairness, most libraries seem sparse after you've spent years at the University of Illinois, home to one of the best (if not THE best) library in North America. You want a book? The librarian helper monkeys brave sleet, snow and subzero temperatures to deliver it to your mailbox, which is like receiving a special gift from the literature fairies every week. If they don't have it, they use their magic network of awesomeness to get it for you, even if they have to ship it in from across the world. Your wish is their command. It's like being a celebrity, instead of instead of someone bringing you hookers and blow, it's some guy from Michigan's PhD dissertation.
You can see how being away from U of I's library is like being Jennifer Aniston after divorcing Brad Pitt. For this reason, I decided to brave the SkyTrain to go down to the Vancouver Public Library to see if I could find a few more books to keep my mind at ease while my anti-ass is recovering from whatever brutality I've inflicted upon it (like, you know, going to a restaurant).

I will spare you the intricate details of my library visit, but suffice to say that there were the usual homeless people using google image search to look at porn, the screaming kids, and the people who think that a nice, quiet library is the perfect place to rehash the details of how, like, totally hammered they were last night and how they, like, actually lost a shoe. On the skytrain! Which is hilarious! So hilarious that it has to be said at top volume for maximum effect! Anyhow, I did not get to take any books out, but I did spend a few happy hours re-reading Sinclair Ross' "As For Me And My House."

Whenever I sit down, there's always the question of what to do with my cane. If you lay it on the ground, people trip over it....and those people are never the good-looking ones who you hope would fall in your lap, but are generally angry people who snap something terse at you and then feel bad once they realize you're a poor, unfortunate invalid, but not bad enough to spare you the evil look when they limp off. If you lean it up against something, however, it's nearly guaranteed to fall and make a huge noise, thus causing you embarrassment when everyone turns to look, which only gets worse when someone (usually someone elderly and therefore only marginally less disabled than yourself) takes it upon themselves to gallantly pick up your cane. You can't win! When I used to walk on crutches, people would call them the Death Sticks because of their tendency to fall down on unsuspecting passersby.

There's a simple, mathematical formula for this, actually. The quieter the place, the greater likelihood that your cane will crash to the ground and set off some sort of earthquake. In a loud nightclub, it will be held magically upright as if by a forcefield. Enter a library, however, and it will fall faster than drunk college girls in stilettos on icy sidewalks, (which, by the way, is one of the pleasures of living in a midwestern college town). It's a law of physics. I would get one of those collapsible canes that fit in your purse, but they tend to collapse at inopportune when you're using it to walk.

Anyhow, it turns out that I don't have to risk pain and social embarrassment for a little entertainment anymore. My friend Steph (who's been chronicled on this blog before) is starting up a weight-loss blog where she's going to try to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks. Check it out here! Tell 'em Arley sent ya.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


After a rocky (and stinky) start, 2010 is perking up. Not smelling any better (oh, dead rat in the walls. Why won't you decompose already?), but perking up all the same. Another minor triumph: I found out through Facebook that my first novel, "Post" was named to list of the Top 10 Canadian Sports Lit Books by the journal "Canadian Literature." See, previously the only Top 10 list my book occupied was the World's Best Wheelchair Basketball Novel, mostly because it's the only wheelchair basketball novel. It's therefore super flattering to have my book listed alongside some truly fantastic books. (By the way, if you want to pick up a copy of my novel, you can buy it here or here).

Friday, January 8, 2010

You've Got Me There, Peg-Legged Biker!

So, I walked in to the kitchen last night to see my dad chatting with this gray-haired biker with a limp. (This is not an unusual sight in my kitchen). I had to interrupt their little pow-wow to get my cane and it turned out that the limpy, gray-haired biker had to move his car so I could get my car out of the driveway. I guess my dad must have mentioned my hip-replacement woes, because when the biker was going down the stairs, he turned to me and said, "Just be thankful you're not me."

"Oh yeah?" I said. (Because, really, what do you say to that? "Yeah, I thank my lucky stars every day?" "Actually, I've always wanted to rock a pair of leather chaps so I'm a bit jealous?")

"I've got myself a wooden leg." He bent down and knocked on his leg.

"Oh," I said. "Well." For perhaps the first time, I was left rendered speechless. So, there you go. My pep-talk of the day: When all else fails, at least I'm not a middle-aged peg-legged biker. I think I need to get that on a T-shirt.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Back to the Future

If I was a dog (those of you about to make a bitch joke need to take off the Captain Obvious cape) I would be one of those border collie breeds; if you don't give me enough exercise or stimulation, I will start nipping at your heels and terrifying small children (or, you know, obsessively blogging...whichever). It's become clear that the elliptical machine and the occasional deep-water aerobics class is not enough to satisfy my need for adrenaline. That's why last night I decided to suit up and play the sport I swore I'd never play again: wheelchair basketball. Don't think of it as a potentially dumb decision. Think of it as a gift to those who have to put up with me on a regular basis. Sport: Adderall for Type-A personalities.

The last time I played basketball (nearly a year ago), I was at the height of physical fitness, even if I was at the nadir of hip-fitness: training 20 hours a week, traveling every weekend for tournaments, eating, sleeping and breathing basketball, waking up in the middle of the night from bad dreams where I neglected to triple-switch effectively and so was stabbed in the hip (the latter, of course, was due to the fact that my hip would come out when I was sleeping, so nearly every dream ended with me getting stabbed in the hip, which would result in some truly bizarre scenarios). I was in my own chair with its industrial-strength side guards and two-foot-high backrest. I had a specially designed foam wedge with a smiley face on it named Gregory James Mantooth III (long story) to put between my legs to keep my hip in a good position. I was strapped in with snowboard bindings. I was a prime specimen of awesomeness (a slightly gimpy prime specimen of awesomeness...but still!)

Fast forward to last night: instead of my own chair, I was cruising in a chair two inches too wide, since I hoped having the wide chair would prevent the place where my gluteus medius is detached from pressing tightly against the metal. Instead of snowboard-binding straps to lock my ass into place, I was basically going au naturale, takin' it back to the old school. This resulted in me practically standing up every time I tried to do anything, but it did prevent my hip from hurting. For those of you who don't play wheelchair basketball, playing in a too-big, strapless chair is basically like going into the NBA wearing flip-flops a few sizes too big.

Now, my original intention was to take it easy and demote myself down to the farm team by practicing with the developmental players. There were two problems with this: 1) people with not a lot of basketball experience tend to be the most dangerous to play around because they don't have the chair control to not hurt other people. I was not planning on breaking a hip my first time in the chair. 2) My brain translates "take it easy" into "jump head-first into a situation with no regard to consequences and flail around until some joint pops out of its socket." For this reason, I found myself scrimmaging in a nearly all-male game (Shira was the other female) with members of the national team, including Pat Anderson, who's considered by most people to be the best player in the world. Why start slow? Why not just throw your out-of-shape self into a huge chair and take on some of the best male players in the world? This is how I roll (literally).

To their credit, everyone was really tolerant of the fact that I was a few seconds (okay, a lot of seconds) too slow. The good thing was that I could see all the plays unfolding and knew where I should be, but the bad thing was that everything happened just a bit too late. I was going slow-motion when everyone else was on fast-forward. Still, it was great to be playing: to be sweating, to be working at something that's mentally stimulating, to be "playing" as opposed to "burning calories." I didn't even particularly care that I was the slowest one or that I missed probably 10 shots in a row. I might have dropped the odd f-bomb when I missed a point-blank shot, but it was a jovial f-bomb. An f-bomb of joy, if you will.

So, hurrah! For only the third or fourth time in the history of this blog, I have something positive to report. For the first time in ages, I managed to make it through a practice without having to stand on the sidelines doing the "putting my hip back in" dance. No one had to hang me from a doorframe and reef on my leg. Gregory James Mantooth III is now enjoying a much-needed rest in the Illini equipment room. Could it be that this hip replacement has actually affected my life in a positive way?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Eh? Huh?

Thank you Busey Bank for helping me along with my New Year's resolution of getting up earlier. At 7:30 this morning, I got a text message from T-Mobile saying that my monthly payment didn't go through. This event coincided with my sister's dog Sashimi jumping up on my bed and planting her foot right on my sore hip, then grinding it in. Good morning!

Since I was up, I decided to go again to deep-water aerobics. This time, I did it without the running belt, since I have a weird ability to not sink. It may be one of my greatest talents, alongside making tootsie-roll chest hair for naked man cakes and coming up with elaborate similes to describe my gimpiness (like an elephant getting tasered! Like a dance party at a polio-survivor's convention!) I am like a human pool noodle in both floatiness and gracefulness. Turns out that, yeah, deep-water aerobics is a lot harder when you do it au naturale. It was a good workout. The nice thing about deep-water aerobics, too, is that most of your body is under water, so no one gets to see your flailing about.

Alas, there was no more talk of crafting or maybe I was just concentrating too hard on staying upright. After the class, I chatted with some of the younger ladies. One of them remarked that I talk like an American. I noted that when I'm in America, people say I talk like a Canadian. ("What is pa-sta? I only eat paw-sta"). "No," she said, "You definitely sound like an American." This is the ultimate hallmark of placelessness. I'm too American-sounding for the Canadians and too Canadian-sounding for the Americans. It's like I'm from my own special country: The Great Nation of ArleyLand! Population: 1.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You...In a Few Months

You know what baffles me about the medical world? Timelines. Case in point: when I last saw Dr. SecondOpinion, his secretary said she would phone me around January 4th when the office opened after Christmas break to give me my surgery date. Now, when I hear "I will call you on January 4th," I think, "Someone will call me on January 4th or shortly thereafter." (Crazy, I know). When I called today (January 5th), however, the receptionist was super surprised that I called and actually laughed and said, "Oh, we won't get the surgery date for months yet, but it won't be sooner than June." If you won't get the surgery date for months, then why not say to me, "We won't get the surgery date for a month yet so I'll call you around February?" Why say January 4th? If I know I won't get the surgery date until February, then I won't start pestering the receptionist until February. I am nothing if not obedient.

Oh well. His secretary is super nice and actually phones back, so I can't really be pissed at her. Besides, all this would be a minor thing if I lived in Vancouver. The only reason it's annoying is because I'm trying to coordinate living in two places at once. Part of me is beginning to think that my decision to live in Champaign this year was a mistake and that I should have just ripped the proverbial bandaid off, sucked it up, and moved back to Vancouver. I could have been working and cuddling with my cat in a cute apartment as we speak.

Oh well. A. always tells me not to "write revisionist history" and in fairness, there was no way to predict that 7 months after the surgery, I would be still be walking like the poison-apple-giving wicked-witch old crone from "Snow White." And, on the surface, staying in Champaign another year seemed like the perfect solution: time to write in a place that's cheap to live, a way to avoid paying too much for a Vancouver apartment since everyone's holding off listing their apartments until after the Olympics so there's no inventory, a chance to keep searching for American jobs to keep my options open and not rush in to some job that I hate out of panic.

Oh well. The good news is that I have a general timeline. After my neurologist appointment on the 20th, I'll head back to Champaign until my surgery in June. Maybe I'll get a June 23rd surgery date and have my new surgery exactly to the day of my old surgery. That would be a perfect, may-the-circle-be-unbroken kind of thing. It's the circle of liiiiiife, and it moves us aaaaallllll.....Till we find our plaaaaaaace....On the path unwinding.....

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sweatin' With the Oldies

One of my New Year's resolutions was to find a way to exercise that doesn't involve cruising along to nowhere on the elliptical machine. (Don't worry, elliptical machine. You are still my first love, but a girl's got to play the field to avoid getting bored). Swimming's great when you can do it in your own pool, but when 9,000 other people have listed "working out more" as their New Year's resolution, doing laps is a good recipe for getting kicked in the head or pushed into the lane-dividers by someone whose favourite stroke is "the windmill."

My theory is that when you've got a hip replacement and you walk like someone named Gladys or Doris, then you need to channel your inner old person to find appropriate ways to exercise. Enter deep-water aerobics, which is the go-to choice if you're a post-menopausal lady who used to model for the Sears Catalogue circa 1962 and are anxious to maintain your figure in order to keep your retired-car-salesman husband from straying. If you draw your eyebrows on with a pencil and you often get a hankering for Denny's Rooty Tootie Fresh and Fruity breakfast (okay, who doesn't?), deep-water aerobics is the sport for you. (Ok, granted, there were several younger people there, but still).

My aerobics adventure had the added benefit of helping me achieve another New Year's resolution: to go to bed and get up earlier. Mission accomplished! When I arrived 5 minutes early for the class, I found the other aerobicizers in the bleachers all huddled around some lady's Christmas scrapbook like teen girls giggling over a yearbook; (scrapbooking, by the way, is not for the faint of heart. I went to Michael's to get Steph some wedding scrapbook stuff for Christmas and I seriously spent 30 minutes trying to figure out which type of silver pen was the best one out of the 12 different types). Anyhow, this seemed to be my kind of place: I like crafts and I like working out. If I could somehow incorporate cake decorating into the mix, I would never leave the pool.

Actually, everyone at the class was pretty friendly. I was worried that the scrapbookers wouldn't want some young'ins encroaching on their turf, but happily some teenage girls (one of whom was wearing a bathing suit whose v-neck went down to her bellybutton and must have required some two-sided tape to even wear it) showed up and their giggling and eye-rolling served as a magnet for the full force of everyone's angst. Or at least it did for my angst, and I have enough to go around for the whole class.

Deep-water aerobics was a decent workout, except that it really made my ankles sore. (My ankles, to be fair, are perpetually sore and I can't figure out why). In the water, you can do exercises that would have caused me a concussion if I attempted them on dry land and at the end of the 45 minutes I felt like I'd accomplished something. (This feeling was dampened somewhat when I looked up how many calories deep-water aerobics burns and discovered that it barely covered the calories in my daily chai). Oh well. Any time I get to bop around to "It's Raining Men," it's a good day.

As a bonus, I got to soak my weary bones in the hot tub. I usually avoid hot tubs for three reasons: 1) they make me faint and I try not to lose consciousness around any bodies of water 2) you probably find more diseases floating around a public hot tub than you do on the Rock of Love bus and 3)When I go into a hot tub in winter, I always wind up feeling like Sam McGee in "The Cremation of Sam McGee" and find myself walking around the rest of the day thinking, "There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.." (For those of you non-Canadians, "The Cremation of Sam McGee" is a Robert Service poem-turned-creepily-illustrated-children's-book about a guy who lugs around his dead friend on a dog sled looking for a place to cremate him. When he finally lights Sam McGee on fire in the furnace of an abandoned ship, he springs back to life because he's so happy to finally be warm...It's the perfect gift for people looking to dissuade their children from a career as a gold miner).

Anyhow, yes, deep-water aerobics is an activity I will try again, if only for the people watching and the ability to pop around to music without being mistaken for someone having an epileptic seizure. Half-way through the class, two ladies hauled out some pool noodles so that they could sit and chat about scrapbooking with greater ease and I thought, "yes, this might be my kind of class." Heavy breathing AND crafts! This is a sport I can get behind! The only down side was the difficulty of using my cane on slippery, wet tiles, especially when (as I was heading into the change rooms carrying my cane) two ladies who had been snickering to each other as I passed remarked, "It doesn't look very effective to use a cane like that!" It was all I could do to not snap, "You know what, bitches? There are times to be graceful and times to not get a concussion and this sure as fuck doesn't look like a ballroom-dancing competition to me so why don't you back the fuck off so I can hit the showers because right now the chlorine is eating away my skin?" Hm. Maybe I should add "do not give in to powerful feelings of rage" to my New Year's resolutions.

Can I Put Boggle-Master on my CV?

So, 2010 is only a few days old and already it's off to a rip-roaring start. There is a dead rodent in the walls of my house and my mom has busted out a half-dozen air fresheners, which has given the house the odd smell of dead rat flesh and lollipops. The exterminator who came out said that barring ripping up our walls, there's nothing to do but sit back, relax, light some incense and wait for putrification to work its magic. We're really getting the decade off right around here. (On the plus side, isn't burning sage supposed to ward off bad spirits? Can you buy it in bulk?)

It's therefore no surprise that I was looking for any excuse to leave my house, which is one reason why I showed up at a wheelchair-basketball game for the first time since the hip replacement. I think I've mentioned before about how, after a season of being hung from doorframes after every game while people tugged at my spasming leg to put it back in the socket, I was burnt out beyond belief, disappointed in myself for not being able to play through the pain (what? You mean that sometimes life doesn't go according to the script of Nike commercials?) and basically of the opinion that I would rather stab myself in the eye with one of those electrified neurologist needles than do another triple-switch within the tea-cup defense. You would therefore expect that I would be able to watch a game and think only, "Yeah, that shit used to be fun....until it made me want to rip my stupid hip off and beat myself senseless with it...and then it was not."

You would, however, be wrong. Apparently, when I said "I never want to play basketball again" I meant "I never want to play basketball again until 6 months of wearing an ass groove in my bed makes me long for the feeling of hitting a sweet-ass jumper with only a few seconds on the clock." (Shut up. I have probably hit at least one sweet-ass jumper in my career). The game was surprisingly hard to watch (and not just because of the ass-bruising involved in sitting on bleachers). I was practically humming with nervous energy, in full-blown basketball mode thinking, so-and-so should have switched earlier on D because he was in help position and so-and-so would be more successful playing up on the press if she'd sag to the level of the ball and that was a nice pick-and-roll because the off-side created good spacing....and....and.... I can't help it. When someone coined the phrase "Type A personality," the A stood for Arley.

The last time I tried wheelchair basketball, I ended up sore and disappointed. This hasn't, however, stopped me from getting coach Cheryl to bring me a wheelchair to Wednesday's practice so I can suit up for round 2. I have already started planning elaborate schemes involving neoprene straps, the removal of side guards, and the re-arranging of other straps to make my hip more comfortable. Now, some of you are probably thinking, "Uh, Arley. Could the fact that you need a ton of modification to even SIT in the wheelchair, let alone PLAY in the wheelchair be a sign that maybe you should take up needlepoint and leave wheelchair basketball to those of us who do not have semi-broken hips made out of ceramic?" To you, I respond, "My doctor said I can't do any more damage and that I could do whatever I wanted." And to those of you who say, "Could it possibly be that your doctor's definition of 'doing whatever you want' and your definition of 'doing whatever you want' are slightly different because he is banking on the fact that you are not insane?" I say, "Hey, the stupid thing is already broken and I'm going to have surgery anyhow. How much more damage can I do?" And to those of you who say, "Isn't that the same logic that got you into this mess in the first place?" I say, "Good point, but I'm doing it anyways."

After all, if my new hip is going to act like my old hip, then I'll treat it like my old hip, and let's just say that I treated my old hip rather poorly. Actually, today has really been a day of deja vu. This morning, I woke up with a sharp pain in my hip and when I forced myself into a sitting position, I heard a loud clunk as the hip went back into place. It's been a little off kilter the whole day and tonight, as I was leaving dinner with some of my basketball friends, the stupid thing locked up and my ankle got twisted around, forcing me to pull myself up using the table and stand there with my leg at some grotesque angle while everyone (except my friends, who had already left the restaurant) stared at me. Just like old times! Nothing to see here, attractive gentlemen of Granville Island! I'm just going to give my hip a sharp twist and send that bad boy back home! Seriously, if someone told me that my old hip had miraculously grown back, I would believe them.

Oh well. Besides feeling like a total tool for having to gimp out of the restaurant like someone's stroke-addled grandmother, the night actually turned out very well, mostly because it involved Jameson and a rousing game of Boggle with Shira, Elisha and Cheryl where I conducted a master's seminar on the art of Boggle-ry. Seriously, I brought the Boggle Thunder. I was throwing down eight-letter words like they were Thor's mighty hammers. I may not have a job...or a love life....or a social life....or the ability to get through a dinner without having to wretch my hip back into its socket...but sweet Mary mother of Jesus can I play Boggle. Hey, I will take an ego boost wherever I can find it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Long December

For the past couple of years, I have posted lyrics from that Counting Crows song as my status update on New Year's Eve: "it's been a long December and there's reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last." (It has, for the record, also been a long June and a long July and a long August...) For two years I've posted that status and for two years my life has hopped on a fast train to SuckVille, stopping only briefly in RidiculousTown and AreYouSeriousThisIsActuallyHappeningBerg to re-fuel. So this year, I'm modifying it a little: "it's been a long December and there's reason to believe maybe this year they will reattach my ass." See? Infinitely more practical!

I should, however, have had enough foresight to toss in another lyric from that song: "the smell of hospitals in winter and the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls" because that is exactly how I spent my New Year's Eve: in the Royal Columbian Hospital as Steph's husband got stitches after a dog bit him in the face. Is it a bad sign that I'm starting 2010 in the hospital watching an ER doctor make fun of Steph's husband while using a syringe full of saline to clean out his deep facial wounds, causing a spray of watery blood to land on my arm? Somebody call Adam Duritz because my life story is ripe for a melancholy ballad.

I guess, however, that I should be grateful that I wasn't the one with the hospital bracelet around my wrist. Also, that I managed to cram in two different parties into my NYE celebrations. First stop, to Shira and Jeff's house for a nice, low-key celebration, where I ate my weight in cheddar-flavored rice-and-soy crisps; (yeah, I know, when I party, I party hard). I couldn't drink because the only way to get from New West to Vancouver if you're not near a SkyTrain stop is to drive. I left around 1 a.m. and, because the party never stops when the ArleyMachine is a'rollin', I drove back to New West for a party with Steph and her friends, where I kicked it up another notch by sippin' on some club soda with lemon.

Luckily, my hard-core partying (I might have even had some carrot sticks) didn't interfere with my ability to drive Steph's husband to the hospital, so I finished the night by flirting with (okay, it was not so much flirting with as it was 'speaking words to') the cute ER doctor. It was certainly a memorable evening. May old acquaintances enough keep their faces away from a cranky dog's mouth.

I guess all that's left is to set some New Year's resolutions. The problem is that there's so much to choose from. In 2010, I will need to get a city/country to live in, a job, an apartment, a date, a social life and a hip that doesn't make me stagger around like a New Year's Eve reveler after too much bubbly. That's a To-Do list longer than Barack Obama's! Here, then, are some things that I would like to do in 2010 (as opposed to things I have to get my shit together).

  1. Get myself back on a good sleep schedule. Since becoming unemployed, I've gotten into the bad habit of going to bed at 1 a.m. and not getting up until 10. All I need is a World of Warcraft addiction and I would be the poster child for slackerness.
  2. Try, for about the millionth time, to kick my Diet Coke addiction and get back on the wagon. Diet Coke is my crack. If I could inject it in veins, I could.
  3. Drink more water.
  4. Figure out different types of exercise I can do. Right now, I'm pretty much stuck with the elliptical machine or swimming (which sucks because I have to do it at Canada Games Pool along with dozens of other people in the same lane trying to kick you in the head). It would be so nice to do exercise that's actually meaningful and challenging. Every time I watch a basketball game on TV, I get a little twitchy.
Happy New Years, Young-And-Hip-sters!