Monday, May 24, 2010

If the Shoe Fits . . . For Goodness Sake, Keep it on!

We’ve all seen it a hundred times before: girls at their homecoming dance with their high heels tossed under the banquet table so they can dance with their friends without twisting an ankle, a chick who has had one too many Rum Runners and walks down the street holding her stilettos in her hand so she can keep her balance, or any number of reasons that women take off their shoes in public and parade around barefoot because their shoes hurt too much or restrict them in some way.

You will never EVER see me do this.

No offense to those of you who wish to toss those shoes off in public if you didn’t have the time to break them in or underestimated the height of those heels, but that happens to be one of those quirky little things that I simply cannot bring myself to do. It’s for a combination of reasons.

If you know me, as many of you who read this do, you will know that I have a slight germaphobia, so sauntering down the street barefoot is not high up on my list of sanitary activities. Mostly, though, I think it stems from my girly side of liking to look put together and being fully dressed up with no shoes just kind of ruins that effect. It just screams, “SOMETHING WENT WRONG HERE!” I love high heels, and even when I lived in New York City and had to walk up and down stairs to the subway, hop across subway grates and run through the pouring rain on the slick city streets, I never stopped wearing them. And I can assure you, I never took them off if they hurt and carried them with me while I trapsed around barefoot. If my foot was broken, bleeding and blistered, I would soldier on (and incidentally, I have).

In contrast, here in Singapore, I have found that not only are the locals completely comfortable being seen shoe-less, they like to take the opportunity where ever they happen to be sitting, to perform a full pedicure if the mood strikes them. I cannot explain how many times in seven months I have witnessed men clipping their toenails on the MRT.

The gentleman (the term “gentleman” used loosely here) pictured below was so enthralled with his own feet on the train ride that he had no idea I was just snapping picture after picture of him as he removed his shoes, itched and scratched his feet, rearranged his socks and massaging his toes.

Women, for the most part, keep their shoes on, which is a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. But seriously, the men just go at it with no inhibition. If there is a place to sit, Singaporean men seem to take that as the opportunity to tend to any and all foot irritants. And frankly, it doesn’t stop there. I was walking off set the other day as Betty Boop and a man was actually changing his pants next to a bench in the park as hundreds of people wandered the streets. He was just standing in his tighty whities changing his pants like it was the most natural place in the world to accomplish that.

Oh Singapore, if you are reading this, I just want you to know that there is at least one person in this country that would greatly appreciate if you kept your feet to yourself. By all means, when you get home, go to town on those bad boys, but on the MRT . . . keep your socks on. I promise you, I will return the favor, and I’ll be in some snazzy Betsy Johnson four-inch heels, so if I can do it, you can do it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Graduate

My big brother Rick is receiving his bachelors degree in computer science today and I'm so proud of him! He would be the first one to tell you, he took the long road but today is the day it all pays off! Ricky (as I have always called him) has always been incredibly smart though, and I'm so happy that he finally gets to hold this diploma in his hands after years and years of hard work.

Ever since I can remember Ricky would take things apart and put them back together with the greatest of ease. We must be yin and yang because I am completely clueless in all the ways that he is a genius. I'm constantly calling him with questions about my computer, internet, cable box, printer, phone, you name it. If it's anything technical, I call my brother because I am mentally stuck in the third-grade with an apple computer playing Oregon Trail; that's the level of my technical ability.

To be honest, my brother and I haven't always gotten along. We are each others only sibling and we are almost five years apart in age. I think that fact had a lot to do with our difficulties meshing well while we were growing up. He was the cool older brother and I was the dorky little sister. And yes, he tortured me. I remember vividly being handcuffed to the oven handle while my brother babysat me right after my mom gave him a "real pair of policeman handcuffs." Great gift idea, Mom.

There was also another time when my brother was babysitting me and we were watching TV. I wanted to watch cartoons and he wanted to watch Top Gun or something so instead of arguing, he just looked over my shoulder at the big windows surrounding our dining room table and said, "Oh my gosh! I just saw a man with a gun! Get under the table and hide! Quick!" Being an eight-year-old innocent little girl, I darted under the table and pulled me knees up to my chest, wrapped my arms around my legs and pulled my eyes shut. And I waited, and waited. My brother just watched TV, "on the look out" for the return of the shooter. When I would try to inch my way out from under the table and say, "Ricky . . . is he still there?" My brother would reply, "Oh gosh! Yes! There he is again! You better stay under there!" At least he was creative . . .
That kind of interaction is the sort that usually happened when we were kids. But there were a few shining moments where I got to see how much my brother really cared, between the bouts of torture.

My girl friend LeAnn Sheets and I would spend our afternoons rollerskating around the apartment complex, and pretending to be mermaids in the big complex pool. There was a mean little boy named Wesley who would torment us by following us around, calling us names and finally actually pushing us around physically. My brother would skateboard around the neighborhood with his friends, but our paths rarely crossed. One seemingly typical day Wesley had my friend LeAnn and I cornered next to one of the apartment buildings. Out of nowhere, my brother appeared and grabbed Wesley by the throat. He picked him up and held him up against the wall by his neck. He said, "If you ever go near my sister and her friends again, I'll beat the shit out of you." Wesley squirmed and yelped and said, "Okay! Okay! Let me go!" And Ricky let him go and walked away. It's one of the coolest things anyone has ever done for me.

As we have grown into adulthood, we have become closer. The men in my family are not as emotional and communicative as the women, but my brother definitely tells me what he thinks and gives me advice when it is needed. And I have also learned that even if he can't verbalize it, my pain and troubles are his pain and troubles. He's still just as protective of me as that day at Post Lake apartments and I'm forever grateful.

So, to my brother on his graduation day - You are a bad ass, and I love you.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Missing in Action

I have been MIA again, and I apologize. Life has been challenging to say the least. I have been stuck in bed for the past week and I have a myriad of tests to look forward to at the beginning of next week. Here's the scoop so we can get the unpleasant stuff out of the way.

My tummy has been in an uproar since getting to Singapore, but anyone who knows me well, knows that it's my Achilles heel. Over the counter medicine and my new favorite homeopathic remedy of ginger root have kept my stomach manageable for over five years now. Since arriving in a new country AND getting my heart broken I've been keeping the Ginger People (the brand of ginger candies I buy) in business, as a friend has brought to my attention recently. I really started to become concerned about two weeks ago. I was getting ready for work and tried on about six pairs of shorts and jeans from back home and realized that they were all so big on me that they would literally fall off. Hmmm . . . okay, I knew I had lost a couple of pounds, but it's just stress! Right? I'm eating as much as I normally do, even though I'm never actually hungry, but I force myself to eat, so everything is okay, right? Then I get to work and realize both of my Betty costumes feel awfully roomy. It's probably just the fabric expanding because of the heat, or something that happens since it's being dry-cleaned every day. I let my stage manager know that we need to take my costumes in a bit, but I had this bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. Fast forward one week later and I'm waking up feeling like I only slept a wink, when I've actually gotten about nine hours of sleep and feeling like I'm going to pass out when I'm out on set at work. My entire body is so exhausted I feel like I've been running marathons daily. In the middle of a work day I get taken to the clinic and the doctor tells me I'm probably just tired because of the heat and he gives me some electrolyte packets and sends me on my way. Days in bed go by and I still feel miserable. My chest is on fire with acid reflux, and lots of other tummy issues that don't need to be discussed.

I went to a specialist at Singapore General Hospital yesterday (Thursday) and while I'm waiting to see the doctor the triage nurse takes my blood pressure and weight. That's when my jaw drops. I have lost 13 pounds since I have been in Singapore. I'm already pretty slim so thirteen pounds is quite a lot of weight on my frame. And I pretty much only fluctuate maybe two to three pounds at any given time. It was quite a shock. The doctor sees me and tells me what I was absolutely dreading having to do while I'm out here. I have to get an endoscopy and colonoscopy which means I have to go under anesthesia, which means I'm going to make a total idiot of myself. More on that later.

So, here I am in another country on the other side of the world feeling miserable, scared, and alone. Being sick sucks especially when you aren't quite sure whats wrong and you are playing the waiting game. Now pile on the fact that you are in a different WORLD with a totally different system of medicine and the one person you thought was going to take care of you if anything happened while you were going through the constantly surprising experience of performing on a foreign contract isn't there anymore. Thankfully God put a savior of a friend here for me, whom I would have never expected would go as above and beyond in making me feel safe. And, don't get me wrong there are a lot of great people out here, but when it comes to the serious, scary stuff, it's not easy to run to someone you have only know a few months. I miss my family terribly and if there was any way my mother (who has an intense fear of flying) could endure the 24 hours of flying it takes to make the journey out here, she would. I just know that there is no way she could do it between her fear and how anxious she is about my health.

Trust me, no one here should have to be with me when I'm coming out of anesthesia. I know people are known to say silly and crazy things, but I'm just a wreck. It must be my need to feel like things are under control that makes me a total mess when it comes to a situation where you have no control. I basically throw on the boxing gloves and try to fight anesthesia until I have it pinned to the ground. It has never worked, of course, but apparently, my unconscious-self will never stop trying.

That's the update and the reason I have been missing in action. I hate writing "downer" blogs but I wanted to keep everyone updated that I don't get to see or talk to and it's always been hard for me to ignore the reality of what I'm going through when it's the main thing on my mind. It's been a decade since I've had symptoms like this (more on THAT in my next blog) and I was hoping that that was the last time I'd have to go through it, but here I am. All I know is that something is wrong and the only way to figure it out is for them to shove a camera down my throat and up my bum. (Hopefully not the same camera.) I'm just working on staying positive, and taking each day at a time. One of my big "lessons" is not to project or overreact so this is the ultimate test. WebMD and I are not allowed to see one another. It only leads me to think I have every horrible disease in the world. I mean, have you noticed that? I think every disease has the same symptoms!

I'll be hanging out in bed until Monday. Wish me luck!