By the time you read this, I’ll be gone.

It’s not you! It’s me. I’ve moved on, and you just don’t fit my life anymore.

But don’t be sad. You’re going to a better place. For real!

There’s this awesome organization called “Mobile Loaves and Fishes” that provides services for the homeless, and they’re going to take you, get you all fixed up, and find someone who needs for you to be their new home.

As for me, I’m still Trailer Trash and Proud. I am taking this act down the road a bit, and I think my friends and readers are going to like the new shtick.

But I’ll never forget you. Thanks for the shelter, for the memories, and for two years of inexpensive housing with my sweet girl. It’s been amazing.

And now… on to the new place… (Click the picture to be transported!)

IMG_0131

It’s been interesting how opinionated my friends are about my choices in how to deal with my bulged disc. I appreciate the care and concern, and I listen to everyone’s input.

Now that the acupuncture month is over (it did a lot of good, but I can’t justify $1000 every month until this is over, since I have no idea when that will be), I am looking for other means of coping.

I’m convinced that time is what is needed, but I also know that if I don’t “do” something, it will make me crazy.

To that end, I e-mailed the Volunteer Health Clinic to ask them about alternatives. I explained that it’s been 2 months since I visited, and that I wasn’t trying to be ungrateful, but that given my emotional/chemical make-up (which I know better than anyone else), their original suggestion of a corticosteroid was likely going to do me as much harm as good. We’ll see if they respond.

Additionally, when I was up in the wee hours researching how to sleep with sciatica, I came across this.

1-12This morning, I did these for the first time. I had to modify and/or just skip a few things. This is totally against my “push through it to do it” philosophy, but I know I’m dealing with that is tantamount to an injury here, so I only did what didn’t make me want to cry.

For instance, the second one? I can’t do that with my left leg AT ALL. Basically, I can’t straighten both my left leg and my back if they are to be at a 90-degree angle with one another.

Also, I could do the cow, but arching my back to the “cat” position was a definite “run away!”

The wide-leg dog is doable if I give myself permission to bend my knees quite a bit. The full out downward-facing dog is impossible right now.

The warrior stretches felt great. I am really excited about them. Same with the pigeon, cowface, and cobbler.

I was kind of happy about the locust, because when I first started going to the chiropractor in January, she asked me to try Supermans, and I could NOT do them. I could not lift my left leg off of the ground when I was on my stomach AT ALL. But today, after I did the locusts, I tried the Superman and was able to do it. For a few moments.

I also sweat a LOT.

Getting down and up was a chore, but only when I was lying on my back. There is a certain finesse to that, a “lie on the side then roll onto back” thing initially, then “roll to the side” before trying to get up. Oh, and my head has to be on the ground for that. If I try rolling to the side with my head elevated, pain shoots down my leg in a most excruciating manner. So I will avoid that.

The fish twist felt good, but when I did my right leg, I had to just curl my left leg toward my back, similar to the mermaid position. Like I said: I can’t straighten it.

I’m going to try to do these every morning and every evening and see if it helps strengthen anything. I’m also trying to remember to “crunch” my abs when I stand up just to strengthen those and take some pressure off of my back. I’ve been unable to do sit-ups of any kind for months, and that’s ironic because it would really help the healing if I could re-muscle those.

Last night, I went to bed at 11 PM and woke up this morning at about 5:30. I lay in bed until 6ish and got up. This is so much less discouraging to me than going to bed at 10 and waking up at 4. I’m not sure why, but it is. So I’m going to try to stay awake like I used to, even though my body is screaming at me by about 9 o’clock on a typical day.

I’ll keep you all updated. :)

 

Here’s the official version:

___________________________________

Hello Friends and Family,

This June, I will be on a team with New City Church heading to Haiti.  We’re partnering with Help One Now and local Haitian leaders to love and serve the people of Haiti.

As most of you know, Haiti suffered a severe earthquake in January of 2010.  Haiti is considered a 4th world country, or what’s called a “least developed country.”  Extreme poverty has created a massive orphan crisis.  The sex-trafficking industry is exploding, hunger and disease runs rampant and many people are suffering!  However, there’s also much hope and God is moving in Haiti through local Haitian churches and leaders.  We want to come along side of these brave men and women and help serve Haiti together.  We want to co-partner in the work God is already doing!

Part of Help One Now’s mission is to build 100 homes and drill 25 water wells.  On this trip, we will actually help fulfill part of this vision.  Every team member has to raise an additional $500 that goes towards a key project, which will help our Haitian friends long-term.  It will also help create jobs for our Haitian friends.  So by going to Haiti, we will help a family move into a new home or help a community receive clean water, and we will also create jobs in the process. Our ultimate goal is to help restore Haiti while Haitians lead the way!

Here’s where we need your help:

1. We need you to pray for us.

2. We need your help financially.  The trip cost is $2100, which includes $500 for the project.

Would you be willing be to support me financially? If so, you can go here and donate.  You will get an automatic receipt emailed to you as soon as you donate.

Or, you can send a check made out to: Help One Now – in the memo please put Laura Hattaway and “Haiti June Trip”.   Help One Now will send you a receipt for your end of the year taxes, via mail.

Help One Now
PO Box 26716
Raleigh, NC 27611

To learn more about Help One Now, please visit their site: Help One Now

To learn more about New City Church please visit their site: New City Church

If you have any questions, please let me know.

___________________________________

Here’s my personal version:

We’re going to Haiti to meet orphans, to experience their culture, and to help build a house for someone who needs it.

My heart has been for short-term missions for years, but there was never a window of opportunity I was able to take until now. It would bless me incredibly to be able to take part in this thing, and I consider it an honor to be able to do anything at all for the people of Haiti.

I said I’d go on this trip knowing that there’s no way I can afford it. I firmly believe that if I’m supposed to go, the funds will show up. If you can help me, in any way, I’ll be extremely grateful.

And you really can ask me any questions you might have! :) Thanks!

Laura

acupuncture-7That’s exactly what the needles they stick in me look like. There is a springy end, and a needle-y end. The needle is thinner than a (healthy) human hair, but it gets the job done.

Last Friday, the wife had me take off my pants (second partial disrobing! score!) and ran a line down the inside of my right leg. It was pretty icky feeling, none more so than when she came to take them out, and my leg did not want to release one, especially. (The polar opposite of my ear rejecting the needles altogether.)

Today was my next-to-last treatment and I almost skived off on it because yesterday, I rode in the car down to San Antonio (ouch), sat in the theater watching “Spamalot” for the better part of two hours (ouchie), sat at dinner in a cushy booth for almost an hour (but at least I could move around a little), then drove back to Austin (tear come to eye ouch).

The last half hour of the trip, I found myself praying, “God, please let lying down be a respite. I need a break from this pain or I’m going to lose it.”

Fortunately, I slept pretty soundly until my normal 4:00 AM thing, and after that, though I was still pretty uncomfortable, at least I was able to snooze somewhat.

(By the way, remembering the days when going to bed was a great relief and I didn’t want to get up in the mornings because of the hurt to come are now painful nostalgic memories. I can’t WAIT to get out of bed now. Lying down past 4 AM is exhausting. But we’re not dwelling on that, remember?)

So, anyway, when I got out of bed at 7:30 this morning, the last thing I wanted to do was to sit in the car again for even 10 minutes. However, my appointment was later than usual, and by 8:40, when I needed to leave, I was feeling okay.

I made it to the center without writhing in the car much at all, but getting up onto the bed was a challenge. Any time my spine is suspended like that, it yells at me. The pain was very intense still.

Now, here’s the good part. Well, wait. Not quite.

He didn’t use too many needles today. Except for the ones on my scalp, they all hurt like the Dickens! When he put the ones in my feet, I flinched. When he put the ones in the crook of my right elbow, I felt a fire in my thumb. They were extremely painful in a way they’ve never been before. He said that was probably because I was in so much pain already. He also apologized, and said he goes somewhere else (the “Spanish Inquisition” from “History of the World, Part 1, specifically) when he’s hurting people, because he doesn’t want to be hurting people.

Fast-forward 10 minutes. No pain in my backside. None. It was gone.

When he came back in and the session was to be over, I told him how great I felt. He asked if I could hang out 5 more minutes just to get the full benefit.

Here’s the deal: I still don’t get why this stuff works, but it does something.

He acknowledged that my pain is “stubborn,” and I don’t anticipate my last session will heal it… but it’s made management SO much better.

spamalot-wallpaper-grailYesterday, James, Daphne, and I drove down to San Antonio to see Monty Python’s Spamalot.

It’s pretty much what you’d expect, but it was fun to see how they keep the silliness relevant, including a reference to a recently-popular Korean dance song (no more details because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has yet to see it).

I’m wondering, too, how long Eponine has been in the show, since that musical has been around a lot longer than Spamalot. Anyone?

One of the highlights of the show for me was actually the Playbill and the extremely thorough liner notes for the barely-existent Finland musical.

MajesticTheatreI MajestictheaterOh, also… for a moment, allow me to say that the Majestic Theater is gorgeous. It’s such an interesting venue, and the seats are practically stacked, so except for when the kid in front of Daphne was leaning way forward, none of us had a view obscured by much next-row-hair.

Also, the seats were rather firm, which is definitely a recommendation from someone with sciatica who has just spent an hour and a half sitting in the car.

The only complaint I have is that the sound system was focused somewhere slightly lower than we were seated, so I lost some of the lyrics in the volume. I’m someone who desperately needs to understand the words.

Speaking of the words. To borrow some from Al Yankovic: “I’ve memorized ‘Holy Grail’ really well; I can recite right now and have you ROTFLOL.”

Guess what, fellow geeks/nerds/dorks? Most of us have.

And, you know what? When you engage in a self-appointed quote-along, you know for whom that is fun? You. ONLY you. We’re not impressed by your thorough knowledge of clever (and notoriously memorable) scripting that you did not write.

When I paid for our tickets, and you might not believe this, but when I paid for tickets to the show, when I spent money on food and gas to drive to another town to see a show, I actually was not laying out my time and cash to hear another audience member amuse herself by creating a stereo effect behind my head. Or over there in the corner.

Riding a coconut “horse” up the stairs during intermission? Acceptable.

Talking during the show? Not okay. Have some respect for the rest of us.

As an actor, I wonder if it’s fun or a lot of pressure to deliver lines that most of your audience knows. Most of the performers delivered the lines in pretty much the same cadence and even with the same “voices” as in the movie.

I adored that the French guard made the taunting his own by blowing raspberries along the outline of the top of the castle. It was  a great physical bit.

A final observation: The women in the show aren’t funny. They’re stage dressing. Even the Lady of the Lake, who has the only substantial, non-company female role, was only amusing as she was being a diva. And making fun of female pop singers’ butchering of songs with their obnoxious riffs.

Pretty much every character in the show is stupid, so it’s no big insult, I suppose, that the women don’t get to act like idiots. I’d almost rather not have had women in it at all, though. But maybe women are like Jews: you can’t do a Broadway show without them. (Do we scantily clad the Jews, though? I’m guessing only if they’re women.)

I did really enjoy the performance. There were a few surprises that tickled me, and then beyond that, it was what I’d imagined, which is silly fun. Pretty much signature Monty Python.

Dancing

Dancing is really the only form of exercise that I enjoy. That’s why Zumba was so perfect for me. I knew I was tired, but I didn’t care. I was happy. I knew I’d be sore later, and that only made it better.

In fact, Zumba was better than club dancing on many levels: First of all, you’re wearing appropriate shoes. Secondly, there aren’t a lot of creepy dudes coming up to you and being weirdos.

When I hear a song that moves me, I can’t help it: I get down with my bad self. The other day, at my sister’s, I started to hit it and Daphne forbade me even to start. Hopefully, some of that had to do with the fact that their neighbor David was over and sitting right beside her as she played Minecraft (although now that I’ve seen his and TJ’s movie trailer, I don’t think that boy would judge me at all).

I don’t know that I have any skills, but I certainly feel it.

When I was taking D to camp last summer, we found a dance station on the road and I loved it. Their play list was pretty limited, and in the two hours we had the channel, I heard the same songs 3 or 4 times.

Now that we live down here, we get the channel. And I want to like the music so much, because it’s fun and conducive to the rhythmic gyrations I so adore.

But here’s the deal: The LYRICS! Good gravy, it’s the worst. Here’s a sampling of the songs we’re hearing right now:

“I only came here for 2 Reasons,
I-IIII can’t lie (Whatcha came for)
I only came for the ladies and the drinks (Uh-huh),
Ladies and the drinks,Ladies and the drinks (That Right)
For the la-la, Ca-Came for the ladies and the drinks (Uh-huh)
Ladies and the drinks,Ladies and the drinks
(Alright) (Baby Whatcha Came For)
(Aahh) Baby get ya glass up (Get Ya Glass Up)
I only came for the ladies and the drinks
Baby get ya ass up (Get Ya Ass Up)
That’s what I came for (Yeahhh)”

Brilliant, right?

At least that’s better than “Tonight I’m Lovin’ You,” which I learned recently is the edited version. Yeah. Some guy meets a lady in the club (I mean, yeah, he’s Enrique Iglesias, but still…) and his opening line is, “Please excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude but tonight I’m effing you.”

Ohhhh, no. You’re getting a knee to the groin and a bunch of keys in the stomach, and if you don’t run off, there’s more where that came from. AND some pepper spray- no, wait. That’s my inhaler. But after I take a hit off of THAT, you’re going to be sorry.

I won’t type the lyrics to “Did It On ‘Em” by Nicki Minaj. Feel free to look it up. Even if you’re not easily offended by “colorful” language, you should be offended that this is the subject matter of songs. A comedian recently said that if someone was bragging about how much money they had and how awesome they were, we’d hate them for being jerks, but if you lay it down over a beat box and some 80s sample, we eat it up.

Well, I don’t. This is arrogant and insipid, it objectifies women (both men and women do this), and I don’t understand why they can’t write meaningful lyrics.

I was going to say “anymore,” but it’s not a “these days” thing. I heard a song last night that I guessed to be much older than it was because of the rich lyric picture painted by the writer. I just looked, and the song came out this millennium.

The chorus goes:

“But you got that special kind of sadness
you got that tragic set of charms
that only comes from time spent in Los Angeles
makes me wanna wrap you in my arms”

Thing is, the song is really folksy. It’s pretty, but why can’t people who write secular dance music make it about more than getting down and dirty in the bathroom at a disco or flaunting your superiority (or feces)?

Anyone have any good hip-hop or dance suggestions that aren’t complete brain cell killers?

Meanwhile, enjoy this.

 

Well, dang it, I was hopeful.

The first three days of acupuncture, my body systems took notice. I was able to stand from a sitting position without hurting, get up out of the car and walk without a limp, and sleep gloriously through the night. For two nights.

After the second night, I woke up in a some discomfort, and that has regressed back to the whole “me crying out to God, begging him to heal me and asking why” wakefulness in which no position is free of excruciating pain. In fact, last night (this morning, actually, at 4ish AM), I iced my back for the first time. It didn’t help. It made it hurt worse.

So, once again, I’m finishing out this pre-paid month’s worth of treatments pretty hopeless about their long-term efficacy. During the first week, I felt so much better, I was cautiously optimistic that by Easter, I’d be nearly back to normal. This does not appear to be the case.

A weird thing happened on Monday: The acupuncture practitioner put a needle in the back of my right hand and it HURT. Not like acupuncture-needle-entering-skin hurt, but “that ain’t right” hurt. He noticed me wince and apologized, pulling it right back out and putting it in a different place. What’s weird is that it left a hole in my hand, and usually the needles enter and exit without a mark (except for some redness if one of them uses rubbing alcohol).

Also, the difference in this gentleman and his wife are interesting: She is much more, “Does that hurt yet? No? What about NOW?” than he is.

It’s an interesting system, and I did get relief at the front end. I just think I need to accept that this pain is too big for relief until it’s healed, and I can’t anticipate when that will be. Wanting “better” is driving me crazy, and I have to stop trying to worry about the fact that I can’t touch my toes or lean to the left and grab my left foot when I do the splits, that I can’t dash across a crosswalk at the last minute unless I’ve been standing and walking for a long time, that I want desperately to sit on the couch beside my man and I just can’t swing that. I have to stop thinking about what I’ve lost and celebrate what I do have.

Because I think I’m in this for the long haul.

right_whatwedo This picture is from the Tigerlily website, and I’m trying to decide whether or not to be offended because in every picture I see of people having acupuncture, they’re beautiful women who aren’t wearing clothes. I have not been asked to disrobe, nor have I turned into a commercial model yet, but we can hope, right?

I went back on Saturday morning, when I was treated by the wife of the gentleman who’d done my first two treatments. She had a very different approach than he did. She reminded me very much of my favorite college professor, musical theater instructor Amy Herzberg. She asked me a lot of personal (female-related) questions that her husband had not. (The acupuncture practitioner, not Amy… though she pried into my life a lot, too, to get a good performance.) She also was more aggressive in her positioning of the needles. She did not do any facial or head points, but went down the outside of both of my arms. When she’d hit on a particularly painful spot, she’d say, “That was a big one!” almost before my body had had a chance to register that, “Yeow! That smarts!” I wonder how she did it, but, as I’ve mentioned, I am not too curious about the “how” as long as we get results.

I had to replenish two of the three supplements on Saturday, and it was the better part of $100. Gosh, how I hope this works.

Monday, it was back to the scalp, and with more points on my feet this time.

By the time I went in on Monday, when he asked me what my pain level was now as opposed to when I started, I told him it was 7.5-8 compared to 10.

The thing is, Monday and Tuesday after my first visit, my body reacted quickly and noticeably. Wednesday night, I almost cried when I was at dinner with my small group and was able to sit and then stand over and over again with almost no “transitional” pain.

Then, it was like my body got used to the new input, absorbed it, and kind of went back to business as usual. I awake once a night and find it difficult to position myself in such a way that resumed sleep comes easily. It hasn’t been frustrating enough to make me cry yet, though, so that is an improvement.

Also, right now, I’m at McDonald’s working, and I’m sitting in a cushioned bench. I keep getting up and down, and am only mildly sore. There’s not a catch, stop, and then deliberate limp/walk to move out of the pain and into “normal.”

So, intermittent pain relief is still better than unremitting pain, but I have an “all or nothing” tendency to want it to be better, or to be discouraged that I’m going to hurt until I’m dead and never be able to jump or do a backbend or sprint across the street again.

Which just means I need more therapy than just of the physical sort, right?

Things are crazy here in Austin, but that’s all because of SXSW, not because of any withholding of the new flavor of Taco Bell chip-based taco.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 001

Obtaining one of these babies was as easy as wading through three levels of employees carefully repeating my order to make sure that it was correct. I don’t even know how much it is to order these “all the way” or whatever they call Taco Bell-izing with sour cream. James says it’s “supreme,” but my description is more memorable.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 002

The cradle is now two-sided, with the Nacho Cheese on one side and Cool Ranch on the opposite side.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 004

Here is a close-up of the spiced goodness on the shell.

Now, in “normal life,” I’m not a huge corn chip fan, but if Doritos are on sale and I buy a bag, it’s probably going to be the Nacho Cheese. That said, my opinion is that the Cool Ranch flavor works a lot more interestingly with the taco fillings than the Nacho Cheese flavor did.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 005

 

Also, like the Nacho Cheese shell, this thing splinters into 40,000 pieces when you bite into it, so I don’t recommend eating it in the car (as I did) unless you just like getting tomatoes in your floorboard and shredded cheese all over your jeans and your purse.

I don’t know how much this costs “plain,” but it’s $1.79 Supremed up, and I’d eat it again tomorrow. For breakfast.

 

 

earmsI just realized that this picture includes a very freaky-looking human body. Well. Just have nightmares about that for a while.

Anyway, second acupuncture visit yesterday.

The biggest news I have so far is that the first night after my first treatment, I was able to sleep so much better. I was uncomfortable, but not in severe pain. I was in moderate pain. I was in pain that might have kept me awake six months ago but that, now, felt doable.

Last night, I was able to lie in almost any position I wanted to without gasps of pain and/or involuntary whining rising up from my soul and out my pie hole.

This is a vast improvement from Saturday night, after which I reached out to my small group for prayers for extreme discouragement and the feeling of losing myself to the pain, and then the following night when, at 4:30 AM, I woke Daphne up because I was sobbing inconsolably as I could not rest without pain shooting down my leg.

Chronic pain is bad. But at least at first, I could escape it in sleep. Losing that small oasis has been a huge blow, so the last two nights of solid rest have been amazing. I thank God every time I wake up naturally and can tell I am about to fall back to sleep like a “normal” person.

I am still not in full-out comfort. I still feel extremely deep, but more dull, aches and stabs. But at least I can sleep. And that is a huge blessing.

Today, the acupuncturist was going to do some electro-shock therapy, but his machine hadn’t been plugged in and had dropped its charge (for the first time in the 7 years he’s had it), so he decided to add my ear into the hand/foot/arm mix.

First of all, my left arm still does not like the needles. It is sore as soon as he puts them in, and now my skin is treating the needle punctures like mosquito bites. I guess histamine habits die hard.

My ear, though… it was the weirdest. He put somewhere between 4 and 6 needles in that area. I believe that there were 2 near the outside of my earlobe, it felt like 2 being inserted in the little weird sticky-out part, and then a couple that were not in my ear canal, but it felt like it. It’s difficult to tell when you can’t see.

He also put one where my third eye would be if I thought that I had one. So for one hour, I was a beautiful if unimpressively-endowed unicorn! (Then there were the three in my scalp as earlier.)

I can barely feel him putting the needles in my feet and legs; those don’t bother me at all.

This time, he did not come back in to “stimulate” me. Knowing that was supposed to happen, I occasionally moved my hands and arm to “remind” my body that I had needles poked into myself.

After a while, it felt like a tiny butterfly was flying into my ear, and I realized that one of the ear needles, one of the inside ones, had probably fallen over, like a mini-tree in a teeny-tiny forest.

This is where the mind games start: Oh my gosh, it’s going to fall into my ear canal and punch my eardrum open! I realized this was dumb, the tiny ear hairs were probably stronger than this needle, and I just needed to lie there and wait for him to come back to “stimulate,” which, of course, he didn’t do this time.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering why they don’t have the equivalent to a nurse’s button by the beds, so I could contact someone in case of an acupuncture emergency (though I can’t imagine what that might be).

In time, I felt another needle moving and eventually falling out.

Then I have this very ridiculous mental fantasy in which my body is healing itself and rejecting the needles placed in my ears specifically for pain relief because my body is trying to tell the needles, “I got this, bitches.”

Which I know is stupid, but when a third one fell out, I was picturing the needles shooting out of my ear and hitting the wall, like in a science fiction movie.

Finally, when the hour was up and the guy came back in, I mentioned what had happened. He looked and said, “Yep. You’re right. I don’t put them in very deep, but this is the first time this has ever happened. You must be special; but you probably already knew that, didn’t you?”

What had started it was that one of the interior-most needles had drawn some blood. The needles had been so shallowly inserted that the blood knocked the needle over, which knocked down a second, which eventually pushed on and knocked out a third.

He invited me to use the restroom to “reconstitute” the blood so I could remove it from my earhole. It might have been fun to keep it there just as a talking point today.

He thinks that the Circulation herbal complex is what’s helping me sleep. He said that everything slows down in sleep, and that’s why the pain is so much more intense then. He reasons that the Circulation formula is helping that.

Maybe. But it hurts when I lie down, not just when I am asleep. Regardless, I feel better and I’m not going to criticize explanations. I don’t even care to understand, as long as it works.

Now I need to go take the next 10 pills for the day, so I’m signing off for now.

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