Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Strange Things Humans Seem to Love

1. Being the victim of something. Not something terrible, just something they can really milk for sympathy, or special treatment, etc.

2. Being Disenfranchised (why would you like that?)

3. Feeling like they stuck it to someone (we suck)

4. Something terrible happening that they can blame on someone else

5. Catching someone else in a lie

6. Gruesome murder stories, especially if true

7. Protesting stuff. Just in general.

8. Having a posse

9. Being Morally Superior (but NEVER judgmental!)

10. Cheese

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Idiot Doctors and the Patients who Apologize to Them

Last night I was having trouble falling asleep despite being totally exhausted. As I was tossing and turning and cracking fingers and toes to the background noise of Aaron's sleepy admonishments I realized I was clenching my teeth. Really, really hard. My jaw was immovable. Because I was thinking about this maxi skirt I saw at the grocery store yesterday afternoon. She was in front of me in line. So, so skinny. So skinny so skinny so skinny. She was buying french bread.

A couple of weeks ago I had an introductory appointment with yet ANOTHER primary care doctor, my third in about six months. I have not been having luck with primary care doctors. I was more nervous for this appointment than was reasonable. Sweaty palms, the whole nine. But in I went! Hi! I'm Maria! My stomach hurts sometimes. Will you give me my prescription?

He was a strange little dude, pretty old, and with lots of snide, meant-to-be-witty comments about his 'battle-ax' wife. (I'm never sure how to take those.) But he listened to me. For a whole hour, he sat there entranced by my medical history, making lots of notes, lots of sympathetic little noises, predicting symptoms before I told him about them, etc. I was encouraged. This dude lived and died for my colon!

When we got to the gall bladder part of my family medical history (seriously, the Fishers are a circus, starring Mom, hi Mom, love you) he said ohhhhhh, the gallllll bladderrrrrr. Just like that, very romantically. He said "well, doctors refer to the "F's" of gall bladder disease risk: Forty, female, family, and fat."

Then he said, "and you've got three out of the four, so." (Disappointed clicky sound of mouth.)

I literally had to bring out my fingers to count. "...but I'm not forty?" I reminded him.

He said, "Yep, that's the fourth one."


A few months ago, I went to see a nutritionist named Brina. She is just many kinds of wonderful and her office smells like lilacs, which should be a rule for medical professionals. She used all kinds of contraptions on me. A scale, and then several small metal instruments that pinched and measured me in several questionable areas, leaving behind awkward red marks looking like an angry father had dragged me by the arm to the car, but I forgave them for the job they had to do.

After her measurements she gave me the gist: my BMI is 19. That means I have 19% body fat. The "normal range" is 18 - 25 for women. Above 25 is overweight. Under 18 is underweight. She was very proud of me, judging by her tone. Immediately I tunnel-visioned the number 18, feeling chastised and a little embarrassed to be above it, but Aaron was there so he offered a quick reality check. Then she told me that I was in the 90th percentile for muscle mass for women my height. (But I don't want to be Serena Williams, my mind said. Then: Aaron's face. Exhale.)

I told this to the doctor. "My nutritionist says I'm right where I should be, maybe could stand to gain a little more." He did that really horrible little shrug thing people do, where they lift up their shoulders just slightly and lean their head to the side, eyebrows raised, non-verbally saying "sorry, don't know what to tell you!"

But he did know what to tell me, and here's what he said: "Well, if you can pinch it, it really shouldn't be there."

1. Have you ever met a female human before?
2. Can I please see the medical journal from which you are surely referencing that brilliant diagnosis?
3. Do you do a lot of pinching?
4. Is there a medical term for "girl got some extra cushion, if ya know what I mean"
5. .........(this is me walking out the door)

1. Oh, I'm sorry.


Honestly, I should be the subject of a medical study, regarding the psychological effects on the human confidence by white coated primary care doctors. I am not shy and I am not meek. I have a hard enough time in real life apologizing for things I SHOULD apologize for. But when I get in a room, with a licensed professional who presumably knows more than me, about important things, I am a wide-eyed doe. A frightened, guilty little girl. Who knows nothing and has ruined everything and feels really sorry for it.

It's been about a month now and while I'm still apparently clenching my teeth, and frantically trying to fit at least one vegetable into every single meal I can think of (a worthy cause, but neurotic nonetheless) I have come to terms with the ridiculousness of this strange, little man. I am still going to keep him on file as my primary care doctor for now because I DO NOT HAVE THE ENERGY TO TRY AGAIN. But he is an idiot, and I can say that with confidence now. Telling me I was fat was borderline malpractice, and just because he is a doctor doesn't mean he knows what he's talking about.

So for now please raise a can of Diet Sunkist with me, and let's eat a big dinner, and let's NOT do tai chi "with at least 3 or 4 friends to create a good energy;" in other words let's bask in our absolute refusal to abide by any of his recommendations. SODA FOR DAYS, GARY.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Handling Life (Poorly)

Today as I was walking into the library, a nice gentleman sitting outside asked if I'd like him to "read my cards." He had a big carton of tarot cards next to him. I said no thank you and then I went inside and spent my lunch break wandering around the mystery section. I left with the more Tana French (surprise) and a mild feeling of defeat after the guy at the information desk told me they didn't have Season 2 of Scandal yet. On my way out, the guy saw me again and yelled out, "when's you're birthday?" I told him "Twelve twelve!" and he started yelling something, I didn't catch every word, but I heard "oh, the hangman!" and then he also told me that 12/12 is Marisa Tomei's birthday too.

So it was that kind of day! And now we all know a little more about Marisa Tomei.

One of the most frustrating things about being an adult in an adult world and doing adult things like working and, I don't know, taking the trash out, is that you really have to keep your frustrations to yourself, for the most part.

Days of feeling 'treated unjustly' in high school were like, the very best days. Pages and pages of angry, righteous journal entries; handing out cold shoulders like Halloween candy; feeling more and more justified with every locker slam. Good stuff! There's nothing quite like being "unjustly wronged" and totally superior for it.

Now, I can't really do any of that stuff. Not just because it would make me a bad employee or a bad friend or a bad wife or a bad daughter but because a strong woman doesn't do that. And that's one of the very best parts about being an adult; the fact that you get to decide the kind of person you want to be and then you can go be her. I want to be a strong woman, and I want to be a kind woman. I don't want to give cold shoulders or wear my frustration on my sleeve anymore, or believe I'm entitled to everyone's best graces all the time. So I don't (or at least I try not to).

The secret is I'm still 16 between the ears and behind the ribs, and life still pisses me off.

I have a very, very hard time dealing with nasty people. Not just people who are nasty to me, but just gross people. People who lie. People who use their kids as props. Innocuous, seemingly harmless people who exhibit some of the most selfish habits we've ever been creative enough to invent. People who steal your lunch from the break room. People who abuse my sister's loyalty and friendship and brains and make her get up at 6:30 am for stupid things. People who take advantage of my friends. People who leave their dogs in their cars when it's 119 degrees. Lazy people who take advantage of my non-laziness.

Mostly though, it's people who treat me like I'm an idiot.

Because I'm just, so very not an idiot!

The thing is, we're all generally pretty nasty. I've talked about this before. I'm nasty too. I know how to manipulate Aaron to make him feel bad for me, or to make him feel guilty. And I do it sometimes. I beep my horn prematurely when people in front of me don't notice the green light fast enough. Yesterday I made a big show about how annoyed I was that it took 15 minutes to make Aaron's sandwich that I was picking up for him at Paradise Bakery. I'm a bit insufferable like that sometimes. A lot of times.

Our flags in Phoenix are at half mast today - I think it might be the first time I've ever noticed an entire city's flags being at half mast. It's pretty arresting, actually. They're at half mast for the firefighters that died. These are the strange, inexplicable parts of being human - that we have 19 firefighters who died in the line of duty at the same time as we have someone pretending to be a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing to get some money. Not only did those firefighters die, but more firefighters are still fighting that fire. They are leaving their wives and kids and pet goldfish at home to go fight that fire, that killed 19 of their colleagues! And there's also people in Texas sending e-mails to pro-life legislators telling them they hope their daughters are raped.

What kind of place is this? Are there two kinds of people, or are well all terrible? And are we all a bit good as well? Would the fire fighters have claimed false victimhood? Would they have cut me off on the highway?

Currently, I am in the market for an effective, respectable way to deal with these things. I pray for peace and wisdom and will continue to do that, but it doesn't always come, and I find this all very confusing and a bit overwhelming. (Tarot cards need not apply.)

I made cupcakes for the firefighters at the station down the street from our house and I felt like such a huge idiot giving them to them. They had white icing and then I wrote "Thx" on them with that blue writing-icing stuff. Is it common knowledge that "Thx" means "thanks"? What in the world did I write "thx" on there for?

I gave them to the guy and said Hi, we don't thank you enough, I'm on my way to the gym, thanks for everything, sorry you've had a rough week, I made some cupcakes, wow it's cloudy, hi, bye.

He offered for me to bring my kids to the station to see the fire trucks. I don't have kids, though. When we do have kids, I wonder if they'll be the good or the bad kind, or if you can be both at the same time?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Things to Talk About

1. Are you guys aware of how hot it is in Phoenix? It apparently was on the news this weekend, because I got texts from both of my best friends on Saturday, Ohioans the both of them, asking me if I was melting and/or staying indoors and shotgunning water jugs. Amy also asked if I was going to buy special asphalt-safe booties for Jet as she saw advertised on the news. (I'm not.)* It has been hovering between 113 - 119 degrees. I don't know how to describe this other than going outside feels like standing directly behind a running car's exhaust pipe. It is absolutely disgusting. The NERVE of this city to be this hot, I am telling you. Yesterday I had to park about a football field away from the Starbucks I was going into and I almost didn't make it all the way to the door. My sight started swimming and I saw a mirage of a giant waterfall in the parking lot of the Pei Wei next door.

However, after I made it into the Starbucks and after I was finished with some writing, I was walking back to the car and this sky greeted me.

It proceeded to get real windy and it might have actually sprinkled a few drops, so I did what any sane person would do, and I put on wool socks, turned the air conditioning down low enough to be cold, covered myself in blankets and pretended it was autumn. It kinda worked.

2. DEXTER HAPPENED LAST NIGHT. After it was over I had to write some radio news copy  and I spent a genuine moment wondering if I could work Dexter into the news. I couldn't. But that probably just makes me a terrible reporter.

Because OH MY, Dexter Morgan! It was kind of thrilling to see all the parts of the set we'd been too... and to imagine all of the behind the scenes stuff that goes into making each scene. And very cool to see Scott's name pop up as "Supervising Producer," Mr. Big Stuff. That show is just too much. Debra always looks like she is about to throw up and that is absolutely brilliant. THAT SHOW!

Dex's Lab, BLOOD!
 Four more episodes til my big debut, you won't even believe it. I'm the new love interest (I am not.)

ALSO - make sure you're downloading the Dexter wrap-up podcasts with Scott. They're on itunes. This week he interviews Jennifer Carpenter. Next week he'll be talking to Michael C Hall. Woo woo!

3. Last night, 19 of the most dedicated firefighters in the country died fighting a wildfire near Prescott. It's one of those things I don't know how to carry. Please help me pray for peace and comfort for their families, and the families of firefighters who are still going at it, can you imagine? It takes a certain kind of wild courage and selflessness to be a police officer or a firefighter and I never know how to thank them. This is a clumsy attempt. Maybe I will make cupcakes for our local department. Cupcakes say thank you for guarding my life with yours, yes? Oh geesh.

Help me out of this spiral. Tell me your things.

*I'm not buying those stupid things for Jet because we have a backyard covered in (dying) grass so we don't have to worry about the asphalt. I did see a tweet of one of my AZ friends frying an egg on top of his car yesterday though, and I read a news story about another guy's running shoe melting on the pavement. If your pity violin isn't out yet we aren't friends.