Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm moving

Yes, it's true.

No, not the move some of you are thinking about. At least not yet.

I've merged all my posts from The Pit Stops onto my main website, That Angela. Things will be different over there, with less emphasis on hockey and the Calgary Flames. And maybe I'll get around to explaining why some time this weekend.

Or next week. Or never.

In any case, please update your RSS feeds — all two of you —and follow along at That Angela. Just give me a few days to get things all updated for formatting pictures and stuff.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Most of you already know.

I'm in rehab.

No, not the Hollywood kind.

The physiotherapy kind.

The MRI of which I last wrote came back clear of any labrum tears, despite the suspicions of me, my general physician and my chiropractor.

That's good news.

It's infraspinatus tendinosis,which means that muscle gets inflamed, sore and weak. Rotational movement hurts and my shoulder girdle fatigues early.

It means I don't have to go under the knife. It means I won't be in a sling and unable to use my right and dominant hand for two months. It means I won't be completely incapable of athletic activity for six months.

It means I have to strictly obey the orders of my physiotherapist.

Because maybe if I'd done that six years ago when I first tore my infraspinatus, I might not be here today.

Yes, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. Let's not lie, physiotherapy is expensive and in 2004, my benefits sucked. Fast forward to today and living the corporate life, my benefits take care of my rehab 100 per cent.

So, I'm going to adhere to the two sheets of paper which dictate my theraband exercises for the next little while.

I'm going to avoid the dumbbells at the gym and stick to working on legs and core.

I'm going to make those trips to the physio centre when they tell me to.

And if it all means I never have to another MRI in my lifetime, I'll be thrilled.

Because I never want to do that again.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Closed spaces

I'm scared.


If you're a regular reader, you know how smashed up my shoulder is.

If you're a friend in real life, you know how painful some of my day-to-day activities are.

There's only one way out of this situation, my chiropractor says.


Dr. H suspects I'll be going under the knife fairly quickly. Of course, he can't tell how bad it is on the inside but he knows how bad my range of motion has been and he's heard the very audible clicks, the sound of the torn cartilage catching between the ball and socket of the joint.

The only way we'll know how bad it is? Take a look inside.

So after a long four-month wait, it's time for my MRI on Tuesday.

And that's what has me petrified.

Not surgery.

Been there, done that ... a couple of times.

See, I made a huge mistake earlier this week. I did some reading on MRIs and the material left me shaking, horrified at what I was getting myself into.

It isn't even my first MRI. I had one on my knee a few years ago. But for knees, you get pushed into the chamber feet first and I went only hips deep.

This one will be a little different.

First, there's this needle thing. The doctor has to inject ink into my arm to create contrast in the image. Some people posted their own thoughts on the needle and said it was quite painful.

For up to 24 hours later!

I'm a wuss when it comes to needles.

But I'm a bigger wuss when it comes to closed spaces.

I have been since I was 17 and he put a pillow over my face to keep the partiers in the other room from hearing me say no.

I lose my breath. I get dizzy.

I panic.

The material I read told me I would be going into the chamber head first. OK, that makes sense.

But it said I'm in there for possibly up to 45 minutes.

I felt that familiar catch in my throat, the tears start to well up and the feeling of terror.

Fear of not being able to escape if I need to.

With luck, the Xanax my doctor prescribed for me this morning will allay my fears.

With my history with prescription drugs, it will likely knock me on my ass for eight hours and my friend Dana will have to carry me out of the hospital.

You can imagine what I think my best-case scenario is.

I just hope Dana is feeling strong on Tuesday.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ephiphany No. 3: Hair today

There are several truths in the universe.

The sun rises in the east.

The sun sets in the west.

And I am a blond.

I'm a blond, dammit.

I was born a blond, I've lived a blond and, in my heart, I will always be a blond.

A few months ago, I went darker ... for a change. I needed something new, something different, a refreshing outlook on life.

Hair is an easy way to make that change.

My hairdresser and I agreed on brunette with blond highlights. It would make my hair healthier, she said, instead of stripping away all the colour that has attacked my golden locks as I've aged.

Yeah, there's red, a family affliction ... although I'm not sure my three red-headed brothers consider it so.

There's brown.

There's blond.

And there's gre ... er ... silv ... ah, never mind. There's just a bunch of different colours in there, OK?

The change received great reviews. People loved it.

I grew used to it.

Time came for a touchup but I didn't have the patience for foils and whatnot.

I went all one colour. Brown. Brunette. Lost in the crowd. Blah.

(Caveat: I am soooooooooo not calling all my brunette friends blah. That's just how I felt.)

I went on vacation. Pictures were taken. My friends would show me the pictures on the LCD screen of their cameras.

I had no idea who that brunette staring back at me.

I look in the mirror and I see a stranger.

"I can't wait to dye my hair back to blond. It's about time people saw the real Abi and stopped messing me about," said Abi Titmuss.

I have no clue who Abi Titmuss is. According to Wikipedia, she's some kind of model personality whatever out of the U.K.

But she nails it.

Anything other than blond and I don't know who I am.

So, it's time to get back to the real Angela.

The blond.

And the balance of the universe.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Epiphany No. 2: Don't be stupid

Being the centre of attention wigs me out.

You find this hard to believe, I know.
But it's true.

In a lot of cases, I'm happier being a wallflower.

It's not like I'm a stranger to it. I was a pretty reserved teenager ... at least I think so. If the brothers read this, they might have a different story.

I can remember standing at the edge of the crowd at high school dances, wondering what it would be like to be in the middle of the dance floor, whooping it up with everyone.

Sometimes I had the guts to go out there, even to ask that tall guy with the fantastic mullet to dance with me.

Even years later, fresh into my first job as a reporter, my stomach would do flip-flops before every phone interview I had to do.

Like a goalie before the big game, I'd head to the washroom, throw up, take a deep breath and then get the job done.

And every time I'd move to a new stop on the newspaper trail, I'd get back to that little place of nervous anxiety ... not to the extreme I initially had, but still my hands would shake as I reached for the phone receiver.

I suppose it comes from a fear of failure.

Failure, in fact, was not an option in our house.

Bring home an 85 and Dad would inquire 'where did the other 15 points go?'

Grounded for marks that some kids would have been happy to bring home.

It made us tough, driven to succeed, never satisfied.

But it's kept in me a need to stay reserved at times when I know I'm not very good at something.

Stand in a batter's box and swing for the fence? No problem.

Take the mic and thank 1,200 people for coming to our fundraiser? Easy peasy.

Head to the front of the bar and pound out a rendition of Ice Ice Baby? Pshaw.

Try to imitate dance moves in front of a room full of people who barely know me?

No. Thank. You.

I'll cower in the corner of the couch, make up lame excuses and duck my way out of it.

Wrap my mind around the intricacies of playing a hand of poker?

Oh hell to the no.

I'll be over there playing Solitaire.

It's not like this has stopped me from trying anything new but anything 'new' is always closely within the realm of things I've already done ... and done well.

Maybe it's time to loosen up some.

And not be afraid to look a little bit stupid on occasion.

But don't be surprised if I throw up on your shoes first.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Epiphany No. 1: Shit happens

It's OK to ask for help.

Remember a few weeks ago, when I came to that conclusion? That I'm not very good at it and I need to try doing it more often?

I got hit in the face with another good one a few days ago.

It's OK to let people help, even when you don't need it.

Let me backtrack for a moment.

I spent New Year's weekend in Middleofnowhere, Idaho, surrounded by giant, thin pines draped with freshly fallen snow and by an amazing group of friends.

We made merry, ringing in 2011 in fine style.

It was like a fancy camping trip. We grabbed all our booze and food and fixings from Spokane, Wash., and ensconced ourselves in the loveliest of cabins, a remote, wooded resort area.

And Shep went, too. Yay!

He was the beau of the ball at times. How hard is it to not love him after all?

Especially since he happily served as cabin garburetor when we cooked too much food.

Onto his bowl went the leftover bacon and eggs.

Nom nom nom, said Shep.

We left him to his afternoon nap and went across the path to Party Cabin. We ran out of beer and had to make a trip.

'Hey, the place still smells like bacon. Maybe we should open a window.'

'Um, hey, Ang, you might want to look at the floor.'

There I stood, mushing around a couple of piles of runny dog poo, not even noticing as I focused on my singular task of More Beer.

My heart sunk. I made my dog sick. I didn't even notice his distress when I burst into the cabin.

My singular task became Operation: Bacon Shit. I grabbed what materials I could find -- paper towels, water, Comet and a plastic bag into which I shoved each wad of poo-covered paper towels -- and cleaned up the mess, all the while my stomach lurching at the wonderful aroma of doggy diarrhea and bacon, two smells I loathe at the best of times.

'Let me get that for you.'

I looked up. My friend stood there with the cabin mop in his hands, offering to help.

No, I said. And I was adamant.

Shep is my dog. He is my responsibility.

Thus, his messes are my responsibility.

And as I've learned over these last 20 years of living alone and independence, if I don't take care of my responsibilities, no one else will.

My friend became pissed off. All he wanted to do was help out of the kindess of his heart.

I said no.

It took me a few minutes to recognize what I'd done and I felt horrible.

So, it isn't simply enough to realize I have to learn how to ask for help. I also have to learn how to accept it when it's offered.

Because people are kind. And they care. And they want to help ... without ulterior motives.

Just help.

Especially when shit happens.

Especially bacon shit.

Monday, January 3, 2011

After dark

Two things I absolutely had to do today: go to the gym and write.

Going dark was not easy but not difficult either. 

I gave myself permission to Tweet a few times. Oh come on, Darryl Sutter stepped down as general manager of the Calgary Flames.

You know I had to say something.

Then there was the guy next to our table on New Year's Day, talking about Viagra being a damn ripoff at 95 bucks a month.

"Just get two tongue depressors and a roll of duct tape," he said.

That's gold, Jerry. GOLD.

So, no. I couldn't completely remove myself from the internet for a week, but I gave it the old college try.

That's gotta be worth something, right?