Normal is as normal does

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Normal is in the eye of the beholder. ~ Whoopi Goldberg

Yesterday I learned my lab work came back normal / negative.  One of my friends on Facebook posted how nice it is to be normal sometimes.  I had to laugh, because using the word normal to describe me is such an oxymoron.  If  a tiny percentage of people are likely to be the exception to the rule, I can almost guarantee I’m that one in 1,000.  It’s become something I expect — the norm, so to speak.  So to hear that I’m actually “normal” is a pleasant surprise, and a relief.  Of course, that doesn’t tell me what’s going on with my health, but at least it rules out some of the biggies.  As for the diagnostic test results, I’m trying to be patient, but I think I was passed up when that particular virtue was handed out.  So I keep reminding myself that the findings will be the same no matter when I receive the call.  And until I hear otherwise, I’m going to enjoy this brief reprieve of normality.

Are you normal, or more like an exception to the rule?

A race against time

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[Image credit: renjith krishnan]

Sometimes I feel like our lives are an endless race.  For me, the alarm clock rings and I’m up and running (okay, walking slowly), “racing” to post my blog, get to the gym by 5:45, open the office at 8:00, and then tackle everything on my work task list before 4:00 rolls around and it’s time to race home to start dinner, eat at 6:00 and sit down by 8:00 to write for the evening before starting all over in the morning.  Whew!  Throw in my recent doctor’s appointments and social engagements, errands and a rare TV show and there’s always something.  And over the next few weeks, I feel like I’m racing against time to receive answers pertaining to my health before I travel.  Only now, I’m at the mercy of medical technicians and physicians, hospitals and labs.  It’s at times like these that we need to take a deep breath and know we’re doing all we can.  Watch out, though, because once I feel better, I’ll be doing an all-out sprint to the finish line.  Or maybe I’ll just drop back and enjoy the scenery.

Do you feel like you’re always racing against time?

Turning frowns up-side-down

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[Image credit: Salvatore Vuono]

Many years ago while conducting business, there was a retail store clerk I used to visit on a regular basis.  In the words of Nemo in the animated movie with the same name, she was a bona fide “grumpy gills.”  My goal quickly became trying to bring about a smile by the end of each transaction.  I can’t say I was always successful, but it provided me with a worthwhile challenge.  Fast forward to last Friday.  I needed lab work done, but decided to call first to confirm they perform the test my physician ordered.  When I couldn’t get through on the phone line, I drove to the lab during my lunch hour — admittedly, a bit hot under the collar.  Right away I came off a little feistier than I planned, but cooled down rather quickly thanks to the tech’s calming “bedside” manner.  In chatting with him during the course of my testing, I learned that for his frustrated patients, he regularly makes it his mission to turn their frowns upside-down by the end of their visit.  As for me, I walked out laughing.

Do you typically bring smiles or frowns to those around you?

Word-of-the-month in honor of Memorial Day: fealty

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[Image credit: Arvind Balaraman]

My contribution for May’s word-of-the-month comes by way of a friend of mine who ran across it in a book he was reading.  This Memorial Day seems to me the perfect day to feature the word fealty — a noun meaning faithfulness; allegiance (according to  Synonyms include loyalty, submission, devotion, fidelity and homage.  Used in a sentence, it may read: Today’s holiday encourages us to remember the men and women who pledged fealty to our country and sacrificed their lives in order that we may all sleep better at night.  It’s so easy to take our freedoms for granted.  But on days like today, we’re reminded that behind the Pledge of Allegiance and each American flag that proudly flies, are those who have served and been buried … brave and selfless souls who stood in my both my place and yours.  God Bless America.

Is there something you display a strong fealty for?

Don’t take my word for it

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[Image credit: jscreationzs]

How often do we read something or hear a piece of so-called “newsworthy” information, and it becomes Gospel truth?  Just because it’s published on the Internet, or came from an “expert,” doesn’t mean it should be taken at face value without conducting our own research.  This concept has hit home for me as I’ve been working through my health issues.  Once-upon-a-time, I easily would’ve repeated a doctor’s orders verbatim, no questions asked.  But isn’t it in our best interest to know what we’re doing to our bodies?  Shouldn’t we be armed with knowledge when we’re the ones who must live with ourselves and any short- or long-term ramifications of our choices?  This idea doesn’t apply to just medical situations, either.  I believe we need to look at life, as a whole, as one big test.  Most of the time we’re only given pop quizzes, but there’s always a final exam.  And unfortunately, there are no short-cuts — no CliffsNotes for life.  But don’t take my word for it.

Do you rely on someone else’s word, or do you conduct your own research for validation?

If at first you don’t succeed …


[Image credit: Salvatore Vuono]

If you’ve been following my posts over the past several weeks, you’ve read about my mission to get to the bottom of what’s been ailing me (health wise).  As much as I’ve tried to handle it on my own, once I started experiencing new and seemingly unrelated symptoms, I finally decided to consult a couple of professionals.  And while I’m undergoing diagnostic testing, I’ve also been continuing my research efforts.  For instance, I’ve learned which foods soothe, and those that result in the opposite.  After nearly two months of feeling like a shell of myself, a few days ago I wanted to shout, I’m back!  I thought I might have discovered the crux of one of my problems.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  But that just means I return to the drawing board and try, try again.  I really don’t have much choice if I’m going to win at both health and happiness — with a capital H.  And that’s my plan.

Do you give up easily, or keep trying until you succeed?

The road(s) to happiness

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[Image credit: bulldogza]

People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness.
Just because they’re not on your road
doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost. ~ H. Jackson Browne

I like this quote.  It serves to remind us that each individual is unique in his or her own way, and that there’s no one right road to getting where we’re going.  It’s easy to attribute someone’s downfall, or even their success, to this or that path on which they traveled — and oftentimes it’s true.  And sometimes it looks like we’ve gotten lost when it’s simply a detour, without which we may not know what we were missing or appreciate what we had.  Or maybe while we’re traveling, we find ourselves distracted by the roadside attractions along the way, making it difficult to stay between the lines.  I like to think of these memory markers as milestones: the moments in our lives which stand out as catalysts for change.  One or more of them might even prove to be a fork in our path that leads us on a completely different journey.  But somehow we all manage to reach the end of the road.

Do you prefer staying between the lines, or taking a few detours along the way?

The ache of longing

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[Image credit: Liz Noffsinger]

There is a space between man’s imagination and man’s attainment
that may only be traversed by his longing. ~ Khalil Gibran (Sand and Foam)

Two nights ago, I found myself daydreaming.  It’s a recurring dream in which I’m living the life I envision for myself … Someday.  In my imagination, my fantasies unfolded in Technicolor: the bluest water and silkiest sand as far as the eyes can see.  Success.  Passion.  The fruits of my labor.  It was — is — everything I’ve always wanted and everything I never knew I always wanted all rolled into a future of my own making.  On this side of Someday, however, I still reside in the space of yesterday, today and tomorrow, coveting a glimpse here and there of what to expect when I finally arrive at my destination.  But it’s still as if a void remains to be filled by the attainment of my dreams.  And the ache of longing — of something I’ve only hoped for — continues to remind me my efforts in the here and now are not in vain.  It’s simply a part of the journey that must be traversed.

What do you find yourself longing for?

Grammar lesson #9: a while or awhile?

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Someone recently asked me the difference between the words a while and awhile and how to use them correctly.  Admittedly, I had no idea there was a difference.  After a little research on my part, I learned that both can be used almost interchangeably in many cases; however, there are a few distinguishing factors to help remember how to keep them straight.

  • A while is a noun, meaning a length of time.  For example, I spent the afternoon writing for a while (versus two hours or 30 minutes).  A while is accompanied by a preposition, such as “for” or “ago” (I finished writing a while ago.)
  • Awhile is an adverb, meaning “for a time,” or, more accurately, “for a while.”  I wrote awhile before retiring this evening (versus wrote intently or wrote organically).

When you write, do you use these words interchangeably or is it easy to keep them straight?

Going green

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[Image credit: gameanna]

About a month ago, a local radio personality was talking about following a juice diet for 10 or 11 days.  Nothing but juice.  On one of the days, he said it was like everything bad that ever happened to him in high school.  I laughed about it then, but with my desire to take responsibility for my own health, this weekend I bought a juicer and all the “greens” to go with it.  Friday night I read the owner’s manual from cover to cover, then disassembled the unit and loaded the dishwasher-safe parts.  First thing Saturday, I proudly made my morning juice.  In went a half bunch each of kale, spinach and dandelion, a couple of sprigs of parsley, two Granny Smith apples, one peeled lemon, one-half cucumber and two celery stalks.  Out came 24 ounces of: green.  As I wrote this blog last night, I was gagging down my evening glass of greens and realized the DJ was right, only it’s like everything bad that ever happened to me in grades K-12.  There seriously has got to be a better way to get healthy from the inside out.  In the meantime, I wonder if I can trade in the juicer for a blender.

What is your favorite juice recipe that doesn’t cause bad feelings?

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