call for entries: PFAM blog carnival

In January, I mused

[W]hat if Apple took the mood ring a few steps further and created an ipod that sensed your mood, and then selected the appropriate songs. In other words, if Apple morphed its ipod nano with a mood ring: an mp3 player that intuitively knew what songs to play by how you are feeling! Today, I needed a soothing, soaring string-based piece to calm me down. But I also needed something a little more edgy that matched my mood and impressions of the afternoon. My little steel blue nano came through [when I put it on general shuffle]; wonder what it has in mind for tomorrow’s song selections?

Having spent so much time in Canada over the last year and half, and with the assistance of a friend with an incredible music collection, I have compiled a new-to-me list of musicians, songwriters, performers. Having several meltdowns during this period, I havebecome even more keenly aware of the role that music plays in my mood, my energy levels, my chronicness. Like the stimulus of smell, music acts as a cue to my past. Lyrics bring tears of joy as well as tears of loss. The rhythm and the beat infectious; I can be distracted from my chronic pain. Use the lyrics and music to embrace the pain and my chronicness.

So, your assignment, should you choose to accept it (which I hope you will) is to think about a personal playlist (while Apple works on the imoodpod): what songs inspire, elevate mood, give a shot of energy? And, why these songs – what about those lyrics, that singer/songwriter, band – speaks to you? By sharing – your songs of inspiration, mood improvement (or reflection), anthem(s) to your chronic illness(es), get-you-moving-beats – with other folks dealing with chronic illness(es) and chronic pain, you can open up new worlds of lyrics, musicians, musical styles.

Your playlist can be a list of the music and why you choose it. For those who are tech savvy, please feel free to embed videos, an “active” playlist, or the songs into your post. Work to your strengths. I’m still struggling with embedding you tube videos into my blog; links to websites are more my speed!DSCN1362 And, if there are special lyrics you wish to share, by all means please include them!

When you’ve posted your playlist (you can determine the number of songs that are the “right” amount for you) and the reasons for your choices, please email with the following information:

your name (as you would like it to appear)

your blog’s title

your post’s title

your post’s url

and a one or two sentence synopsis of your playlist/rationales.

Your entries are due by midnight eastern time (sorry, not good on time zone translation — my apologies!) on September 4, 2011 with the PFAM blog carnival going “live” on Wednesday, September 7th. I’m looking forward to our musical PFAM blog carnival and expanding my personal playlist.

And, please visit the current PFAM blog carnival so graciously and well-hosted by Rachel of Tales of Rachel.

on friendship, affirmations, and happy places

on dragonfly wings and buttercup tea writes poetry of the first order; haikus are her specialty. The one she wrote recently on friendship, “shelters from the storms” really resonates. And, as she wonderfully points out, Sunday, August 7 was international and national friendship day in her post: happy friendship day!

I managed to sleep thru it, so a belated happy friendship day to all! (Becca and I think it really should be friendship week so we can have time to say hello to all our friends in the universe and the cyberverse. Chronics can take a bit longer to do what normals achieve in a flash!)

purple persuasion’s  amazing list of the 10 supportive things I’m glad someone said to me and the incredibly emotive and evocative comments the post generated (88 and counting!) are fantastic. Although the author is dealing with depression, I think you’ll find that the words/phrases she found most affirming apply to chronics of all sorts. We are often struggling to find ways our friends, colleagues, and family can express/communicate their care, compassion and concern. This list will be of assistance!

Kathy’s wonderful PFAM blog carnival on finding/achieving/embracing your happy place. Folks’ happy places range from beaches to simple pleasures; from places yet to be defined to the old and familiar. You can’t read these blogs without smiling, and finding yourself traveling to your own special happy place. She has set the bar high; I’m nervous about my hosting PFAM on September 7. Look for a call for submissions around August 25; in the meantime, the next PFAM blog carnival will be hosted by tales of rachel.

everything turns inside out: observations of the laws of dysfunctionality, part I

In no particular order, and following no specific logic, the following are my observations on the laws of dysfunctionality, and how these effect the obvious and cause frustration whether a chronic or no.

I’ve split the post in two as the hand-written to typed version seems much longer. Perhaps I am doing too much embellishing as I go along. I’m not known for being short-winded.

1. When I take any item of clothing off, especially over my head, or socks off my feet, these inevitably turn inside out. Which means, of course, that at some point, I have to turn them right side out – usually when I’m sorting the wash. A similar law is in effect with jackets, coats and sweaters; the sleeves hold on with determination to what has been shoved inside them – namely whatever I have on underneath – and tying everything in inside-out knots. (Watching me take things off is not a pretty sight.)

2. I can no longer put a screw cap, especially the small ones on tubes, back on correctly; I just can get the 2 sets of threads to meet up, and the cap, if it goes on at all, is crooked and on a slant. If it’s one of those days, I saw “s***w you,” and leave the offending screw cap and bottle/tube on the counter, put it in the drawer, return it to the fridge.

I won’t even mention the law of dysfuncationality and child-proof lids/caps/packaging. (I think a child could open these easier than I can!)

3. What I’m looking for/want/need is always at the very back of the fridge, the drawer, the closet; meaning I have either contort myself into strange, Cirque de Soliel positions, or have to remove practically EVERYTHING ELSE to retrieve the item I’m searching for.

I wonder how the item KNOWS to creep to the farthest reaches, darkest, most-contorted-to-find spot seconds BEFORE I even knew I wanted it. (This may be part of the knotted-up-mess-can’t-find-the-proper-end string theory.)

Also related is the way in which any small item dropped on the floor either a) disappears forever b) rolls to the other end of the room or c) hides under the heaviest, deepest, most cumbersome to move piece of furniture you have, and usually seconds before you absolutely need to be ready for something.

4. Nothing is ever in the spot where I’m sure I left it. Not sure if its gnomes (who roam) fairies, trolls, or lately, ghosts who regularly slip in a night or when I’m out and shuffle all my stuff around. I imagine the little imps rofl as they picture my puzzled face as I reach for X it isn’t there. In fact, I’m sure they have installed several of those “spy” cameras I get endless spam messages about (probably for those d****d elves!). In some secret room, they are watching me wander from room to room in search of the pen, receipt, book, document, file folder, box (that I often forget I am looking for) that I was sure I knew where it was.

5. I never can remember where I put something that I put somewhere to remember where I put it. (Follow me?) You might know the scenario: you have something you don’t want to lose, want to have easy access to, but don’t want to leave out on the counter, dresser or desk top. So, you put it somewhere; somewhere you say to yourself smugly at the time, you’ll remember where it is. Ha! Good luck finding it again. (Sometimes I find it, forget that I put it there for a reason, and do something else with it) This may or may not be the work of gnomes who roam (you might have remembered correctly) or another law of dysfunctionality.

Coupled with this law is the “changed the usual place I keep something” component. Here, I go to the routine spot, the item isn’t there, and I get that heart drops to your ankles feeling, until I remember I changed the routine spot. (Believe me, this happens more than I’d like to admit.)

Stay tuned – same bat channel, same bat time – for the next installment on my observations on the laws of the obvious and the dysfunctional.

he’s my best friend

Mince pie consisting of a sweet pastry case an...
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he’s my best friend

People let me tell you ‘bout my best friend,
He’s a warm hearted person who’ll love me till the end.
People let me tell you bout my best friend

People let me tell you ‘bout him he’s so much fun . . . Yes, he’s my best friend. My best friend

(“Best Friend” by Harry Nilsson; theme song to the tv show “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father;” sorry, it’s not embedded. I even signed up for Youtube, but still no luck getting the video to “appear” in the blog. And apologies if I give you the same earworm I now have!)’s blog carnival current question: “who’s your best friend? . . . share how important these friendships are in being incredible ChronicBabes!”

Well, let me tell ya ‘bout my b(m)f: been friends for almost 36 years; met at a new year’s eve party. (Picture tacky furniture and ‘70s hair!). All because he eats peanut butter and mincemeat* sandwiches heated in the microwave. A factiod his partner told me when I refused the bowl of peanuts. My most evil allergy and least favourite food nuked! A happenchance convergence; coincidence or synchronicity? From the first odd exchange when introduced “Do you really eat . . .” (and I had no odd food combo to contribute), I sensed best friend material. A strange and wonderful feeling; I tend not to make friends easily, lightly, or lastingly.** Yet, like some wild bumper car carnival ride, no matter how far and fast we go in different directions, we still keep careening back into each other’s lives.

We drift apart; we come back together. We keep in touch; we have long silences. Our life paths are so different (when we met and now) yet we can still relate to each other. Conversations where we never said a word out loud; shared darkest secrets, lowest points, highest joys. Not always honest (I’ve self-censured as I’m sure he has), but always sincere. I’ll send a crazy card or email; he’ll make a phone call. We have relied on each other in the past; I’m relying on him again.

Now we have something more in common: chronic pain and chronic illness. He has a rare form of arthritis that eats at his knees and knuckles. We limp, we shuffle, we groan. We try different diets, rounds of meds and alternative therapies. Tentative at first after years of my pushing away, this chronicness deepened our friendship in strange and unexpected ways.

The closeness that meant we could communicate with just thoughts is gone; lost in the exuberance of youth. Still there is warmth like candle-glow, connectedness, a shy and sly smile at antics past. When we may not be able to forgive ourselves, we have always forgiven each other. From first excruciating pun 36 years ago to last night’s phone call, he’s been my best friend, “a warm-hearted person who’ll love me to the end.”

L & the disco ball (2)

On our 35th anniversary, we danced to ‘70s music; I think we’re both glad we lost the ‘70s hair! ***

Just Phylor

*Mincemeat is a mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits and spices, and sometimes beef suet, beef, or venison. Originally, mincemeat always contained meat.[1] Many modern recipes contain beef suet, though vegetable shortening is sometimes used in its place. Variants of mincemeat are found in Australia, Brittany, Canada, northern Europe, Ireland, the UK and the United States. In some countries the term mincemeat refers to minced or ground meat. (via wikipedia; I’m providing the definition b/c when I mentioned mince meat in a comment, folks wondered what it was.)

** . . . in the real world; I’ve found some special friends in the cyberverse.

*** If only I had a scanner here! I could include some mid-‘70s pix that would embarrass us both even more!