Sunday, May 25, 2014

You Need A Hobby!

Today is another Sunday in which I do not wish to post about the woes and whoas of life with chronic illness, and I am now committing to doing more posts of this nature, simply because I need a break from it being such a centripetal focus on what I write...and frankly, because it isn't normal or healthy to focus on being sick all of the time. It's part of the reason I've been AWOL from Facebook land -- just really not feeling it at the moment, though apparently I've missed a lot in the whole ten days since I've logged in.

Today I'm going to share what I like to do when I am not writing here, answering email, on the phone, in clinic, in hospital, with my friends...

...maybe I should just say it like this: this is what fills up my time when I should be sleeping or when I'm really agitated/frustrated/angry or really weepy. Or mixing up my schedule, like as of late.

I tossed the book I'm reading right now as well as a few things from my game and craft drawer just to give you an idea of what people who never grew up like normal people in their mid twenties did.

Who am I kidding? I have yet to meet a "typical adult" that is my age or younger.

First we have a personal favorite, because it's impossible to actually have this mastered if you plan on living the rest of your life outside this puzzle/game hybrid.

The Tetris Cube

I'm not sure if this is still available for purchase, but it was available in my local Barnes and Noble in the spring of 2010 to the winter of 2011. I was living in a temporary behavioral health group living arrangement, and I must say that it was a good program (there were groups, chores, and other expectations). In an attempt to not lose my mind completely in my free time, this was one of several purchases I made. I love Tetris, and I love puzzles.

What could be better?

This is a poor quality photo of all of the pieces dumped out. If you are not a compulsive "type-A" personality and didn't read the print in the last photo, these are 3D models of genuine Tetis pieces.

 The goal is to get the parts back into the clear plastic box. Sounds like fun, right? There are almost 10,000 ways to put this together...almost too simple to be fun, right?

Here is what the game doesn't tell you: if you haven't figured out how to put this together, then you cannot put this thing away.

(ermegersh, I have no idea what I'm doing!)

So far I've only figured out ten really significant ways to assemble this, and in the beginning I was feeling pretty bummed out. Really, to be honest, I felt sort of sub par in my puzzle I cheated and went online to see how others were doing in trying to put this together. Perhaps I could figure out said algorithm on how to figure out the remaining 9,080 ways to nicely stack this.

After a brief scan, I admit that I felt better fairly quickly. Most I was seeing not only couldn't put it together more than ten ways...they couldn't even put it together once. These weren't stupid people -- these were people that actually went to the trouble to test out their own algorithm on how to piece it all together just so they could properly put this together.

Once. Just once.

So while this doesn't look menacing, this isn't for the easily frustrated.

(tip: there used to be YouTube videos of people putting this together. If no one can find them and they have this puzzle and just want to know how to put it away, I'll find a way to load a video here. I would hate for someone to have to end up more frustrated when trying to do something that's supposed to be pleasant).

(one of 10,000 solved puzzles)

Solitaire Chess

This is an interesting twist on an old favorite. It's for those times you really want to get in a good game of chess, but you live all by yourself and so there is no one to play with.

What? You don't get random desires to play chess? Well then you're in luck, because this game is almost nothing like real chess

Here's what's inside. You have a few key pieces. The cards show where you need to put each piece

(empty card)

Once you have all the pieces on the card, the objective is to clear your board of all chess pieces. The same rules apply here: all of the pieces still move in the same direction. In some instances you may end up with one random rook in the corner if you aren't paying attention. If that is the case, just lost. Against yourself.

There are three level, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Beginner is for someone who is looking for something low-key and don't want to think too hard, or even for someone who has never played chess before and want to start at a lower level before trying anything "fancy". This game is probably more attractive to a larger group of people, because you don't have to "win" in order to put it away and there is no need to test out algorithms in order to solve it.

Light-hearted reads

Each month I rotate the books on my bookshelf. Notice how I didn't say how I have my e-books categorized on my Kindle. I don't own a Kindle, though I do have a few e-books on my phone (no, I'm not kidding...) but that was out of desperation. There is only so much YouTube to watch and after awhile I just need to read something.

I'm an avid reader, and always have been. Lately I've been having whole days where I am nowhere near my laptop. For some reason some of my seizure activity has sprung up, so I need to do anything but be online...which is oddly the reason I'm doing this post.

Latest purchases for this month: Hyperbole and a Half arrangement authored by the one and only Allie Brosh and Dad is Fat by comedian Jim Gaffigan.

Hyperbole and a Half (Allie Brosh) The book is actually inspired by Brosh's blog, which is found here. It's a graphic novel, which means bright, colorful pages and the whole book smells like mustard. Really, it's delightful and sort of weird at the same time.

I had a grand time reading this...and I didn't savor. I read it all in a day, which ended being a binge of hysterical laughter! My home health aide was here during some of my laugh at loud moments while appreciating this, and my aide just started cracking up because I was laughing so hard (I'm one of those people who are easily amused. Couple that with Brosh's humor and the very perfect drawn pictures and there were moments where I was hoping to be able to breath soon...because I feared for fleeting moments that I would die laughing).

I shared some of the shorter segments with just about anyone that came into my apartment for the next two days. It was like reading a story book to a kid, except all of them are older than me...but you HAVE to see the drawings to really appreciate. All were in agreement...a nurse that visited badly needed the humor about as much as I did...and still do.

With that said

Dad is Fat (Jim Gaffigan) is an excellent book to chase after the former. There are a few photos, but no brightly colored pictures for those whose attention spans are fairly small. Don't fret though, because the chapters are short and easy to read. It's transcribed by his wife, who is undoubtedly extremely busy (they have six children!) and very stylistically "Gaffigan". There is no other way to put it.

In order to appreciate this, I think you need to watch or listen to his stand up. The reason is because when I am reading this, I can hear the parts where he speaks in his "soft and awkward" tone of voice. That particular voice is what makes some of the scenarios also simply hilarious. He just had a new routine debut on Comedy Central on the 22nd, but "Mr. Universe" and "In The Pale" are both available on Netflix as of 25 May 2014.

The title is credited to his eldest son, whose first complete sentence was "Dad is fat". Which fits with Gaffigan's style of comedy...which is "clean on accident". He's a family man, and most of his jokes are about food -- as if the title didn't say enough. He's famous for his "Hot Pocket" jokes, which make me feel better about not being able to eat. If I am unable to eat, I reduce my risk of being in a situation where I would have to eat something like a Hot Pocket.

Both are available on Amazon.


Why did I write this post?

No one should be mulling over their health or the health of others all the time. I missed another fall this year because I was so caught up in trying to stay well and out of the hospital that all I was doing was posting in chats and looking things up, such as whether or not to put what tube where, when ultimately it was a mute point because I ended up on TPN. I saw it coming and I didn't at the same time.

It was last month that I realized I had -- at some differing points -- been oblivious of my surroundings to the point of missing some true gifts that are no further than my window. I didn't miss the leaves change, but I did miss them bloom this spring (I was in hospital but that's beside the point). I missed opening the windows to let just a bit of the biting cold air in. I've always found something invigorating in doing this in the dead of winter.

Oh boy. What is wrong with me?

Well, nothing. I'd simply denied myself of things I really love while I was desperately trying to control the outcome of my medical plight by hyperfocus. I hate to break it to you, but dwelling on it isn't going to change the outcome at all. "Research" and document and compare and argue and agree all you want at various points in your internet journey be it solo or in a chat.  It's important to be informed and it's great to have support, but no one should be spending three and four and however more hours online on this.

Don't stop living for fear of condition worsening. If you choose to do so, you'll have died long before the end of your life.  

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