Friday, October 20, 2017

sleep - my safe space


I made up my bed yesterday with all of my new accoutrements.  It was way fluffier than usual and felt like sinking into a cartoon cloud.  Eight hours of sleep later, and I feel fantastic!

My dad took me to Thai lunch and then to shop at Costco.  My cupboards and fridge were still pretty bare from Hurricane Irma and the aftermath.  $273 later, and everything is full again (including my credit card bill).  My freezer is overflowing with food for both Kitten and me.

It had been so long since I went to Costco, that I might have gotten a teensy bit carried away.  I even bought a case of antioxidant water (wtf?) because he told me both of my brothers love it.



And I switched out my pack of pierogi because I fell for the slick pierogi salesman doling out free samples.  We had just come from a scrumptious lunch, and we ate even more food at the Costco buffet, although I drew the line at flavored yogurt. 

My dad's eyebrows kept raising as I added more and more food to my cart.  He was worried that I wouldn't have enough room in my kitchen.  I tried to tell him that it was really empty, but he didn't quite believe me until I managed to put everything away with room to spare, including the 2.5 liter container of coconut oil.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

puppies!!


One of my brother's mastiffs had puppies two days ago.

FIFTEEN PUPPIES!!

She started birthing at 2am and finished around 9pm. She cannot nurse all 15 at once, so my brother has been feeding some with an eyedropper.

Dad and Mom a few days before

Five born so far


d'awwww

Mom went outside for a bathroom break and had one on the front lawn
Mom getting tired


Monday, October 16, 2017

topper revealed, with gratuitous cat pics


What's all this?
What's in here?

I'll just jump in and look
Now what?
new fluffy topper
A cover is recommended.  Sigh


P.S. I ordered a new mattress protector today.  And bonus hair-care products because I have that addiction, too.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

mattress pads, protectors, and toppers?


My current mattress pad (protector? I'm still unsure of the distinction) is old and decrepit.  But it's under my sheets, so I see it only when I'm changing them.  Then I get busy and forget all about buying a new one.  Until the next time.

I realized I had a sheet addiction when I bought my seventh set.  Seven!  The old ones were starting to discolor, but they felt so soft.  And my favorite purple ones started to lose elasticity (don't we all), but I can't find any of that exact color to replace them.  I bought some new ones, but they turned out to be aubergine instead.  Completely different.

My brother recently got two new dogs, giant mastiffs of course, and was talking about how he tries to keep his furniture clean but he was running out of cover sheets.  I made the executive decision to donate my old, so soft, discolored, and stretched out sheets to his puppies.  It's a good cause, right?

Therefore, now I'm down to (only?) four sets of sheets.

But back to my mattress pad...

A friend highly recommended the Purple brand (sadly they aren't purple colored).  I started researching, reading reviews, and fell down a rabbit hole.

Ad that's how I ended up buying a topper.  WTF?  It arrived and looks like it needs more protection than my mattress.  Stay tuned.  I'll post pics later.

Yeah, I know I usually write about soul-searing anguish.  Isn't it nice that today's biggest problem (it's not) is only bedding?

Friday, October 6, 2017

pride goeth before a fall


I've been feeling better lately and thinking maybe I can get my life back on track finally.

Until I went to bed at 2:30pm with a migraine.  I took meds, but it kept getting worse.  I took more.  And still more.  Kitten came in and snuggled with me for part of the day.  I didn't realize until today that she wasn't feeling well either. 

I hope my pain didn't stress her out.  I wasn't able to feed her last night, but that's why I keep emergency kibble out for her.  She doesn't love it, but she ate it.  And then she got sick all over the carpet.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

meetup


I tried my first Meetup group.  I was a teensy bit nervous because I'm shy at first.  Or I have social anxiety.  Or I'm lazy.  Or something. 

This was a walking group.  How hard could it be?  

Four and a half miles in a little over an hour is how hard it could be.  I'm no longer deathly anemic anymore, but apparently I'm not fit as a fiddle either.  The gym is way easier.  I can rest as needed.  We were on a trail, so I needed to keep up. 

I got sweaty before we ever left the parking lot.
 
I felt the blisters form after two miles. 

By the time I got back to my car, I was soaked in sweat.   Ewww. 

I met some really nice people though, which was the whole point.  My local friend group has been shrinking over the years, and I'm feeling the need to expand it.  

One lady was a mountain climber from Munich.  Another man knew all about various fruit trees.  He was a wealth of knowledge about many places. 

My non-local friends warned me not to meet strangers in parks and go on a trail with them.  Because they might kill me.  I was wishing someone would at about mile three.  

I had plans to go grocery shopping after.  Nope.  I thought I might have a snack when I got home.  Nope.  I had two bites of fancy cheese and immediately soaked in a hot Epsom salt bath with peppermint oil.  That helped.  

Remember my tweaked knee from yesterday?  Yeah, I had forgotten, too.  Now I have two tweaked knees.  The stairs are fun today.

Monday, October 2, 2017

hurricane cleanup: round two


I was told by my city that I had been given misinformation earlier.  I now needed to move the remains of my tree 50 yards to a main road.  (I don't know distances.  I completely made that up.  Anyway, it was far.)  And the tree cuttings were heavy.  And large.  And heavy.  And it was hot out.  Until the rain started pouring down in buckets.  Then I felt like I took a shower in my clothes, but it was cooler to work in, and I wanted to finish the job. 

My friend came over to remove the come-a-long and chain still holding my tree to another tree.  And to add wood struts to brace the tree.  He graciously offered to help me move the giant pile of debris.   It took us both a couple of hours.

By then we were starving and went out for seafood.  Yay!  I had conch fritters, and we surveyed the hurricane damage at the beach.  Most of the cleanup was done.  The giant piles of sand were completely gone.  The shattered, impact-resistant glass was still in windows though.  Parts of signage and building decor were missing.  And of course, there were the ever-present piles of foliage debris.

I tweaked my knee at some point.  It's not bad, but it reminds me that I probably didn't use proper form the whole time. 

I slept nine hours that night.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

mssion creep


It started raining, so I moved one of my staghorn fern offshoots into the rain so it could get better nutrients. 

And as I was walking towards it, I realized how slippery the deck was because of mildew.  I didn't bust my ass.  Yay.  But I decided I needed to clean it.  And why not now because it's not hot out and it's already wet. 

I went inside to get a scrub brush and scrubbed most of the mildew in the closest part of the deck.  But it wasn't raining hard enough to rinse the dirt off.  So I got the hose out to clean it.  There I am, hosing off my deck.  In the rain.  Dumbass

And I noticed that I missed an area right by my door.  I couldn't have that.  It's the place I see the most.  I scrubbed some more.  Dislodged an old pool filter that I had put there after the hurricane.  Why there, Wendy?   It's ugly.  I started to move it (why not just throw it out?  But what if I need it later?  They aren't cheap), and it was full of dirt, making more of a mess. 

I moved it into the rain so it could get rinsed.  Scrubbed behind it.  And decided I was done for now. 

I came inside and dripped dirty water all over the sisal runner rug.  Sigh.  I dragged the rug into the rain to rinse it.  The rain wasn't enough.  I brought the hose back out.  

I left the rug in the rain for an hour, and then brought it inside to dry.  Yes, it did drip dirty water all over my freshly mopped floor.  Why is the water dirty?  I didn't care at this point. I put towels under it as it draped over a chair to dry overnight.

All because I wanted my fern to get some nutrition.

Friday, September 29, 2017

survivor's guilt


I am extremely fortunate (so far) with this hurricane season.

The situation in Puerto Rico makes me cry every day.  Every day.

And I get so angry that people are bitching and moaning about the NFL nonsense, which I understand is important, but it's life and death in PR right now.  And it will only get worse.  Desperate people will do more and more desperate acts for survival.

Our country is full of smart people and incredible technology, but we're letting bureaucratic bullshit get in the way of creative assistance.

I am so grateful that my home survived -- that I have electricity, hot showers, clean water, access to food, and the relative illusion of safety.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

popcorn for dinner


Yesterday was a blah day.  I felt fine, mostly.   

But I couldn't bring myself to eat nutritious food for dinner.  I snacked on cheesy popcorn while reading The Princess Bride.  I'd never read it before and had heard how fantastic it was.  It's good, but I think I built up my expectations too high.  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

so much debris


Some do-gooder asshole came up to me to ask me what I'm doing with my mango tree cuttings.  He tried to talk me into paying for removal.  It turns out that the city offers free removal.  In fact, so many cities need removal that they're saying it will take months to clear.  Cities are fighting over who pays more for debris removal trucks.

In a panicked desperation during hurricane preparation, I flipped my extremely heavy outdoor table upside down.  It's too heavy for me to lift and bring inside.  And I was worried that a wind-gust could get underneath and slam it into my windows.  I also did it last year before Hurricane Matthew.  Einstein helped me turn it over last year.  And we discovered several tiles had broken off.  He very kindly helped me to repair it.  And by helped me, I mean he did all of it, while I had a migraine.  FML.

This year, my tree-cutting friend flipped it back over for me.  And I decided I would fix it myself.  Go me!!  After some consultation with non-local friends, I used contact cement to glue the misplaced tiles down.  And heavy weights to hold them while they set.  I can still see which ones broke, but at least it's mostly intact.





Wednesday, September 20, 2017

good news and bad news


My eye is still the same.  I had to cancel my previous follow-up visit because of the hurricane.  Doc said see you in a year unless anything else happens.  Yay.

The bad news is he was looking at my face through a magnifying lens and decided I have skin cancer.  I don't think he's wrong.  Fuck.  I knew this pimple lasted too long.  But I'd rather deal with that than eye surgery.  So all in all, it's a win, I guess.

I still have to see my neurologist and get my meds.  They lost power and had to throw them out and order more.  I guess it's not just Amazon being late with deliveries.  The couriers are having issues, too.  I feel like I'm falling behind and can't catch up.  

I tried a different grocery store after my eye doc.  I wore sunglasses because of my dilated eye and apologized profusely when I bumped into people.  I managed to get enough food this time, although it still wasn't all my first choice of products.  They said they lost power and had to throw everything out, so I'm assuming the meat I bought is safe.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

eerily bare


I went grocery shopping a week after the hurricane hit.  The shelves were still very empty.  I barely got enough food to feed Kitten and me for the next few days.

Fortunately, the gas situation seems back to normal.  I filled up my car, even though I didn't need to.  I was panicking because of three more storms in the Atlantic.





Sunday, September 17, 2017

it's alive!


Maybe.  I hope.

My beloved mango tree went down.  Again.  Same as from Hurricane Wilma (which was much stronger if the initial estimates of Irma are to be believed).  I have considerably fewer resources available this time, so I decided not to fuck with it myself and called three different landscapers.  One immediately answered saying too busy.  One didn't answer.  And, one answered saying sure!  That one delayed me for four days and then told me no.

I was super upset.  Angry and sobbing.  I did wait until he left, so that was a bonus.  Why waste my time and emotional energy if he wasn't going to help?  A quick no would have sent me on to find someone else and get closer to the front of the line.

After I had cried myself out, I realized I needed to save the staghorn fern living on it.  It's one of the largest specimens I've ever seen.  It came from my dad's house when I was a kid.  When he moved, he brought it to my house.

I spent most of Friday afternoon hacking away at this fern and making extremely slow progress.  I cut six large sections out and barely made a dent.  I started to resign myself to losing all the rest.  I canceled my workout for Saturday, so I could save more fern.

My fantastic workout partner and good friend said he would come over instead and bring a handsaw.  He gave my tree quite the haircut, while I dragged branches away.  It had fallen on Marky-Mark, and I was concerned if the crown had broken.  As we worked and unburied it, it seemed intact.  Mostly.  It lost some of its booting and a few fronds, but I think it will live.  Yay!!

After a couple hours of trimming the hell out of the tree, we hooked up a chain and a come-a-long and started the slow process of raising it.  And by we, I mean he.  :)  I mostly cleared debris, took photos, fetched supplies, and kept the water coming.  That said, I am so sore and exhausted.  I took a two hour nap and then slept 8 hours last night.

Mango down (staghorn down, too)
Mango up! (staghorn looking frazzled but alive)

Marky-Mark

One section of staghorn

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

it wasn't all bad


I ate pretty well at my friend's house.  And I got to snuggle with big dogs.  And I laughed a fair amount, considering.  We were very well prepared, so once the power went out, we both had radios and lights.

When I got home, I moved the essential stuff, and then gave up after looking at the mountain of work ahead of me.

I took a mental health day, and Kitten and I sat around eating junk food.  I had chocolate, and she ate kibble. She had been glued to my side when we were there.  Now that we're home, I barely see her again.  I'm so happy this didn't seem to permanently traumatize her. 

Also, my migraine cleared up once the storm had passed.  Thank goodness because I took a LOT of meds before and during.  I didn't want to take any more.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

hurricane hangover


I think I'm suffering from a hurricane hangover or possibly Hurricane Fatigue Syndrome.

Why not both??

It's eerily quiet now.  Barely any street traffic.  No airplanes.  Thankfully no chainsaws yet.

I have so much work to do, getting my home back in order.  But I'm exhausted.  Emotionally and physically.  I'm still barely sleeping, although it does feel good to have insomnia in my own bed under an intact roof.

I may just fuck off today and read a book.  And snack on peanut butter pretzels.

I'm too tired to wash my hair, although it desperately needs some attention.  So much frizz!

I was able to drive home yesterday after much confusion about curfews and whatnot. I packed up my car with Kitten and got on the highway, after a few harrowing intersections with inoperative traffic lights. Everyone seemed dazed.  Including me.
 
I was driving fairly quickly on the empty highway when I saw a police vehicle way behind me with the lights on. No siren. I moved over and slowed down a smidge. They raced by, and I tucked in behind them all the way home. Signs saying no ingress to the Keys. I had heard they were hit hard.



A few more sketchy intersections, and then into my driveway.  Which I couldn't pull into because of tree limbs.

I parked and brought Kitten inside.  She was so happy to be out of the car, back home, and out of her harness finally.  We both explored the house, which seemed fine.  Until I looked in my backyard and saw my favorite tree downed.  I guess if that's the worst, I'll still count myself lucky.  I haven't been able to look at much media of other damages.  I feel like one of those kids talking about triggering.  I hope it wears off.

My cell phone was working intermittently.  I wasn't able to call people.  Texts weren't going through and then went through multiple times.  Or not at all.

I was one of the people who ordered extra supplies on Amazon last week just in case.  It never shipped.  Fortunately it was nothing I needed, just nice to have.  I tried to cancel the order first thing yesterday after the storm passed.  That's when they decided to ship it.  Assholes.


Monday, September 11, 2017

riding the storm out


That song has been stuck in my head.  It's REO Speedwagon if you aren't familiar.  It's not quite applicable, but good enough.  It's weird what goes through my mind when I can't distract myself with the usual methods.


Kitten and I decided not to ride out the storm by ourselves, so we went to visit a friend, where thankfully we had our own room.  I kept her locked in there because I was terrified she might run away to hide, and I'd never find her.  Plus now wasn't the time to see how well she could get along with others.  She kept her new pretty pink harness on for 3 days straight just in case I needed to grab her fast.  And because I wrote phone numbers on it in Sharpie.  Mostly she snuggled on the bed, glued to my side.

During the most intense part of the storm, after losing power, when tornado cells were popping up everywhere every few seconds according to the news on the portable radio, she ran into her new carrier all by herself to hide.  I locked it, grabbed my pillow, and rested my head on top of the crate, sitting on the floor, against an interior wall.

I turned off the radio because it was only amping up my anxiety.  So many tornadic cells, they could barely announce them all before a new one showed up.  My friend was in another room calming his pets.  I knew we had close to six hours of this before it lightened up a little.  I kept my ear tuned in for the roar of a tornado, ready to grab her and run, but fortunately didn't hear it.
 


Spoiler alert:  We survived.  :)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

rain and wind starting


I took more meds last night and slept pretty well finally.  The pain is a dull tapping.  Letting me know it's still there, but not really bad enough to impede last minute preparations.  Yes, there are still more things to do.  So fucking many.

Imagine your house might blow away tonight.  What would you do to try to prevent it?  Barricade all the doors and windows.  I can't lift that piece of furniture.  Should I push myself, throw out my back temporarily because it might save my home?  Wrap up valuables.  After the photo albums, other stuff starts looking less valuable.  Maybe I should throw this away.  Do I really need it?  Focus, Wendy.  That can wait. 

What would you take with you in your bugout bag, assuming you had limited space?   Don't forget to research best options of where to bugout.  A neighbor?  A shelter?  Did I download the app that tells me that?

Now imagine you had a few days.  The choices become more complex, mixed in with impending doom and fatalism.  And migraines always have a starring role because they love stress and drastic barometric pressure drops.

Wish me luck.  I'll update as I can, but I'm assuming I'll lose power tonight.

Friday, September 8, 2017

the waiting game


I slept about 3 hours last night.  In 15 minute increments.

I kept telling myself to enjoy sleeping in clean sheets, on my comfy bed, with my luxurious pillows, in relative safety, and most important, in air conditioning.  But my brain decided to short circuit instead.  It didn't help that I got an emergency phone alert telling me how fucked I am.





I'm doing last minute prep today.  Barricading doors from the inside.  Charging everything,  Unplugging everything else.  Making more ice.  Filling every possible clean container with filtered drinking water.

I took a wonderful long, hot shower this morning and washed my hair.  As I was shaving my legs, I discovered multiple contusions and scrapes on both of them.  I hadn't even noticed getting any.

Kitten is feeling the disruption with all of the outside stuff inside, but she's mostly managing her anxiety way better than I am.  She has been giving extra snuggles the past few days.  I'm not sure if she's doing it for my sake or hers or both.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

bacon and meds


I think I've finally finished all of my outside hurricane prep.  My mindset keeps going between anxiety and resignation, mixed with a smidge of adventure.  I remember the hurricanes of past years when we went outside, albeit somewhat sheltered from my home, to see mother nature in all her glory and ferocity. 

But I was a decade younger then.   And not flying solo.  Therefore, no plans for that this time around.

My out of state family keeps hounding me to leave.  But they don't understand that I'm in pain with a migraine.  I have no energy and no patience for other people.  Add in a nervous cat.  And bumper to bumper traffic for 500 miles. 

The hurricane started looking better, am I right?  

I cooked up a bunch of bacon before it goes bad, washed it down with imitrex, and went back to bed.  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

is there a maximum level of fear?


I haven't reached it yet.

I'd been having floaters in my good eye for the past few days.  I kept trying to ignore them, but I started to worry and then googled.  And worried even more.  So I called my doc, who said come in ASAP.  I didn't even get to finish lunch.  Although mostly I'd lost my appetite because of the adrenaline. 

I was awake at 3:30 am, wide awake by 5 am, and bringing in patio furniture by 7 am.  No alarm clocks or coffee required, only a 185 mph monster hurricane heading my way.

I called my manager at 8 am and rescheduled everything after today.

In between meetings, I rushed over to the pet store to buy a cat carrier, cat harness, cat leash, and cat sedatives.

Anyway, back to the floaters, which I'd been trying to ignore.  I dropped my bacon on the plate, brushed my teeth, and drove to the doc.  The good news is that it's merely a vitreous detachment and not a retinal detachment or tear.  The bad news is that I am high risk because of my previous one, and this could still cause one.

Six hours later, my eyes are still dilated, and I am medicated with a migraine.  I guess I'll finish the yard preparations tomorrow.






Monday, September 4, 2017

pep talk time


I gave myself a major pep talk his morning when I realized I probably won't escape Hurricane Irma unscathed.  I've been stocking up on food and water for the last few months, so I should be fine for that.  But somehow the fear and anxiety were incapacitating me.

Why though?

I put myself back into my memories of many previous storms.  Heard the sounds, felt the magnificent force of the winds.  And realized that while it sucked, I survived.  And I either will or won't this time.  Now, I'm more concerned with the Cat 5 migraine I expect to accompany this. 

Which will make evacuating impossible.  Because driving with a migraine isn't smart.  The pressure already started dropping today, and I felt the first twinges of one.  So, I have two designated safe rooms in my house in case I start losing windows and walls.

I made lists this morning of everything I need to do and what to pack in a bug-out bag.  I'll refine those as new things occur to me.

I took out the cat carrier, which Kitten hates and ran from after one sniff.  I'm not even sure she'll fit well in it anymore.  I may look for a larger one at the store tomorrow.

Yesterday, I photographed most of my belongings in case I need to make an insurance claim.  I have no idea how useful it will be.  Perhaps I can use those pics to remember this phase of my life.  Later this week, I will walk through my home and say goodbye to everything.  It's a good reminder to not get too attached to material things.

I've been trying to use up my perishable food in case I lose power for an extended time.

In a couple of days, when the path is more certain, I will start bringing in my patio furniture.

I can do this.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

lonelieness is literally killing you


A male friend sent me an article to read.  It's really long, so I read it in increments when I had time (and attention, but that's another story).  I may have missed some of the author's points, but the gist I got out of it is that loneliness is getting to be an epidemic, especially among young men.  My friend said he related very well to it.

I felt like the internet helped me so much to find the kind of people with whom I could more easily relate -- my tribe, so to speak.  But maybe everyone is substituting online (which isn't as strong) social interactions for in-person, when you connect with the right ones.

I've been feeling lonelier lately when my few real life friends get busy and don't have time for me.  Somehow I feel worse when they go dark and won't say what's going on.  I understand everyone needs time to deal with shit, but it feels as if I'm not trusted enough to be told why or what.  And of course, I get depressed and won't/can't reach out to say anything.

And I very much can relate to the man who said he doesn't feel like making himself vulnerable to 'friends' he's known for years.  Not everyone is the person I want to talk to when darkness swallows me up.  Fortunately for me, I always find one who I can turn to.

Moral of the story:
Hold on tightly to all of your friends.  They're harder than you think to replace, and your life may very well depend on it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

existential crisis


I am stuck wondering what's the point.  I have answered this question many times for other people.  But I can't seem to for myself. 

Why am I forcing myself to deal with health problems?  Why am I bothering with personal responsibilities?  Where is the joy?  The meaning?  The satisfaction?

Every time I feel like I've turned a corner, I end up circling back to my same fucked up place.  Or a similar one about ten feet over.

It's probably the migraine talking.  But if the migraines are that loud of a distraction, then what's the point?  

Also, I wrote some really great stuff in my head last night, but the bright screen of my phone (even turned all the way down with blue blockers on it) was not conducive to my emotional state.  So blah blah blah, fuck my life.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

gratitude?


I feel like an ungrateful asshole to complain about 5 days of migraine when I'm only being inflicted with a low pressure system and not a catastrophic category 4 hurricane.  At least I have a comfortable bed to cry in. And electricity to keep my ice pack cold.  And functional plumbing for all of my hurling needs.  Besides the fact that my home and belongings are intact.

I have a little mental clarity this morning after 4 doses of meds yesterday and a few hours of sleep.
 
But it's still there in the back.

Growling to be released.   Snapping at it's chain.  Spittle flying everywhere.  

I can close the door right now, and walk up a level.  I can barely hear it. Meds have temporarily tamped down the fear.

But that fucking monster is always lurking, waiting to strike.

Monday, August 21, 2017

where's the eclipse?


It wasn't as magical as I'd hoped.  I went to the local college to view the eclipse, which had been advertised as open to the public with telescopes, etc.

It was a clusterfuck -- crowded and insufficient planning.  They ran out of free cardboard glasses before it started.  They closed off the telescopes to all but about 20 people, out of the hundreds there.

I was able to borrow various people's glasses and view the sun's progress.  People were very friendly.  The clouds came out and rained on us for a few minutes, which should have cooled it off a little, but going from 90F (feels like 100F) down to 87F (feels like 96F) wasn't as cooling as one might hope.

On the plus side, I was super excited that so many people were interested in science.  All ages were there, from the very young to the elderly.

If I hadn't looked through the glasses and seen the sun being blocked out, I don't think I would have known anything different was happening.  It felt just as bright as usual.

Friday, August 18, 2017

crying is contagious


I had been trying to get in touch with a neighbor's contractor for damages done to my property by his crew.  I was getting nowhere and finally called the city inspector.  He didn't want to be put in the middle understandably but promised to have the contractor call me.

He knocked on my door, and I went outside, prepared to hear excuses.  He started with that, but then I threw a curve-ball and started crying.  I didn't mean to (I hate crying in front of people), but it's been a rough week/month/year/life.  He completely changed his tone and became more authentic.  And then he pitched that curve right back to me.  He started tearing up, too.  Life has been hard for many of us.

So there we were, standing on my front porch, sweating like animals, talking to each like compassionate people, and casually pushing away tears.

We are still negotiating a fair compromise, but I'm hopeful.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

the year is 17776 (not a typo)


A friend sent me this link to a quasi-space opera, or maybe it's merely science fiction once I read more.  I'm only partially through it, so no spoilers please.  Apparently it's updated frequently, but I'm not sure of the interval.

It's really weird and all over the place.  I'm still on the fence if I like it, but it's certainly different and interesting.  Plus I love that it comes out in installments.  And I always like to encourage reading other people's writing when it's well done.

Go read, and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

did he just put on an evening glove??


I watched my alternate mailman start to put my mail in the mailbox, stop himself, and start putting on what looked to be a glove.  At first I thought he was delivering biohazardous stuff (what did I order recently?), but those purple-blue nitrile gloves aren't that long.  It was blue and went way past his elbow.  Very long and elegant.

I watched him pulling it up for a good extended minute.  It seemed excessively tight and hard to maneuver.  I finally realized that it was some type of elbow compression sleeve.  Maybe to keep the sun off?  Maybe to prevent mailman's elbow? 

He finished with the cuff and eventually delivered my mail.  I'm way too nervous to see if it's a biohazard...

Sunday, July 9, 2017

it's not phantosmia


The last few times I ran my dishwasher I smelled something burning.  Which is never a good sign, especially if it's imaginary.  Yes, that is a migraine symptom to have olfactory hallucinations.  I don't typically have that, so I investigated further.

Recently I had cleaned out my dishwasher filter and apparently not snapped it firmly back into place.  That resulted in plastic parts sliding onto the heating element and melting.  Nice.

I attempted to correct the alignment and tested it again.  Nope.

Rather than berate myself for fucking up my dishwasher, I researched how to fix it properly.  I think I did finally, but I'll test it again a few more times to make sure.

As much as I'm mad at myself for damaging part of my dishwasher, I'm ecstatic that it's not me who is (further) damaged.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

eat, pray, and cry (not necessarily in that order)


I went to Totoro's memorial service, and I cried a lot.

I had debated whether to wear non-waterproof mascara.  I consulted one of my makeup expert friends, who tried to be supportive of an amateur such as myself.  It was much easier to concentrate on makeup choices beforehand than my grief.  I successfully distracted myself from backing out of going.  A friend offered to go with me, which was very sweet, but I decided to be strong and go alone.

I walked into the church, the same one where I had attended Totoro's husband's memorial service previously.  It had been their church, although she hadn't been a fan of going anymore.  I think she'd attended mostly because he'd wanted her to, and it was expected.

The Priest claimed her as his own, of course.  Fortunately, I didn't get smote down for my blasphemous thoughts.  I sat in the back, just in case a fire broke out on me.  The Priest went on and on about her piety and how saintly her church lady friend was who'd helped her.  Still no smoting, even when I recalled a different reality from what he'd named.  I know he was saying all that righteous stuff to comfort her family.  I hope it worked.  I'm always envious of people who find comfort in religion.

When he started reciting Psalm 23, all I could hear was Samuel Jackson from Pulp Fiction.  I know it's not the same, but I always think of that scene when I hear it.  "Say 'what' one more time!"  As an aside, still no smoting.  Perhaps God has a sense of humor.

There was a picture on an easel, of her smiling.  Every time I looked at it, I cried.  It was a fantastic picture of her happy nature.  She would have been pleased.  We sang some songs and said a few amens.  I mumbled along as appropriate.  Mostly, I cried into my tissue and tried not to smear my non-waterproof mascara.

I greeted her family and offered my condolences.  They thanked me for coming.  It was all very proper.  She'd have been proud of them.  They invited everyone to stay for food, but I'd had enough church and crying for one day.  I made my apologies and bailed.

Crying somehow builds up an appetite, so I came home and filled up my heart with Russian sour cream and ruffled potato chips.  And Milka Daim for dessert.  And then I went to bed to fend off a migraine.


Friday, July 7, 2017

can you hear me now?


How about now?  How about when my phone shuts off by itself?

My cell phone spontaneously shut off once or twice while I had it, but it restarted again, so I didn't bother calling Support.  Until it happened two times within a week.  Which happened to be the week after the warranty expired. 

I called in and spoke with a really nice woman, who patiently walked me through some troubleshooting steps.  I had already tried the obvious ones.  Obviously.  :)

She finally transferred me to Level 2 Tech Support, but as these things do, the call got stuck in limbo, and I hung up after 5 minutes of listening to a weird beeping.  I waited a few minutes to see if she would call back.  Nope.  So, I decided to call in again and ask nicely to be transferred like I was supposed to.  Nope.

My second call did not play out as nicely as the first.  To put it bluntly, the man was a jerk.  And I may have been a smidge irritated.  He wanted to go through all of the steps again.  And when I refused and asked to be transferred to Tech Support, he got his feathers ruffled and said he was Support.  His solution was to go nuclear and do a factory reset.  I wonder why I refused.  Dumbass.

What he didn't know is that while we were speaking, Kitten meowed to come inside, and I distractedly let her in.  In my defense, I hadn't had to deal with this in months, so I forgot.  She came running in with a live baby iguana in her mouth.  Which she promptly dropped in the dining room.  Below I have a blurry pic that I took whilst arguing with Mr. I Know What I'm Doing.

Just then, another call came in, which was Level 2 calling me back.  I tried to politely hang up with Mr. Ego, but he wouldn't let me get in a word edgewise, so I hung up on him.   Yes, it was rude, but I didn't want to miss Level 2.  She was also awesome and very helpful.  Mr. Dumbfuck didn't like being hung up on and tried calling me back several times.  He also sent a childish text message with grammar mistakes.

Ms. Level 2 Awesome was super nice and tried a few other things before suggesting the problem was my phone.

While talking to her, the fucking lizard came running at me.  I did the adult thing, and ran into my office and shut the door.  Because why would a lizard run under a door when it has a giant scary predator chasing it?  But I'm jumping ahead.

As I'm troubleshooting with Ms. Courteous Competence, I see Kitten's paws under my door trying to get in.  I assumed she wanted attention.

Because it was one week out of warranty, Ms. Amazing did an override to get me a free replacement.

I hung up happy and opened my door to see Kitten come rushing in and look behind my filing cabinet.  Uh oh.

And that's when I realized THE FUCKING LIZARD WAS LOST IN MY OFFICE!

Kitten is a bad-ass though and promptly found him and disposed of the evidence.  Mostly.


Kitten adding chaos to my already stressed day

Monday, July 3, 2017

B17 - Bingo!


I'm trying another science experiment on myself.  An acquaintance swears by this, so what could possibly go wrong?

I did some preliminary research years ago but never followed up on it.  Apparently Vitamin B17 (aka laetrile) from apricot kernels has the capability to kill cancer cells more readily than healthy cells.  There are lots of articles which argue both sides.  Obviously, I'm ignoring the naysayers for now.

Vitamin B17 is a natural cyanide-containing compound that gives up its cyanide content only in the presence of a particular enzyme group called beta glucosidase or glucuronidase. Miraculously, this enzyme group is found almost exclusively in cancer cells. If found elsewhere in the body, it is accompanied by greater quantities of another enzyme, rhodanese, which has the ability to disable the cyanide and convert it into completely harmless substances. Cancer tissues do not have this protecting enzyme.

I realize that sounds like bullshit, especially when accompanied by 'miraculously' but I've tried other medically-accepted treatments and been very dissatisfied.  I'm being careful about my consumption and hopeful that it becomes a successful part of my skin cancer prevention regimen. 

I'm assuming that my current depression is related to migraines and memories and not cyanide poisoning.  I guess we'll see...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

the heavens have been crying prolifically


Which is nice because I can't.  Crying is a migraine trigger.  Go fuck yourself, Universe.

It's been raining for days here.  It stopped for a day or two to let us catch our breath, but it started again.

Kitten is feeling flummoxed.  She goes out every morning for her yard time.  When it was pouring, she checked the front door, the back door, and again to the front door to weigh her options.  She would come back inside very damp but feeling better.  On the really stormy nights when tornadoes were a risk, she crawled into bed with me.

On drizzling days, she barely hesitated.  This cat needs her outdoor time.

Focusing on Nature helps me to grieve and put things into perspective.  I'm just one tiny story out of 7+ billion on one rock among countless others.



pictorial graph for non-scientists

pictorial graph for scientists

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

grief is an ocean


I'm borrowing an anonymous quote from the internet:

"I wish I could say you get used to people dying.  But I never did.  I don't want to.  It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances.  But I don't want it to "not matter".  I don't want it to be something that just passes.  My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person.  And if the scar is deep, so was the love.  So be it.

Scars are a testament to life.  Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love.  And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was.  Scars are a testament to life.  Scars are only ugly to people who can't see.

As for grief, you'll find it comes in waves.  When the ship is first wrecked, you're drowning, with wreckage all around you.  Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more.  And all you can do is float.  You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while.  Maybe it's some physical thing.  Maybe it's a happy memory or a photograph.  Maybe it's a person who is also floating.  For a while, all you can do is float.  Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy.  They come 10 seconds apart and don't even give you time to catch your breath.  All you can do is hang on and float.  After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you'll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart.  When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out.  But in between, you can breathe, you can function.  You never know what's going to trigger the grief.  It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee.  It can be just about anything ... and the wave comes crashing.  But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it's different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall.  Or 50 feet tall.  And while they still come, they come further apart.  You can see them coming.  An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O'Hare.  You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself.  And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side.  Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you'll come out.

Take it from an old guy.  The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don't really want them to.  But you learn that you'll survive them.  And other waves will come.  And you'll survive them too. 
If you're lucky, you'll have lots of scars from lots of loves.  And lots of shipwrecks."

 and one more anonymous quote:

"Losing someone is not about 'recovering' or 'healing' or being okay with the fact that they're gone; it's about learning how to exist in a new reality without them."

Friday, May 26, 2017

RIP Totoro


My neighbor Totoro died last night.

Her son told me in a text as I was driving to the gym on my lunch break.

I was already feeling like shit because I had slept poorly all night.  My bed was a wreck, with sheets askew, and pillows strewn everywhere.  I woke one of the times with a migraine.  I rolled over to the side and got an Excedrin from the nightstand.

About 20 minutes later, I rolled to the other side and got a triptan from that nightstand.  Yes, I do have meds and water on both sides.  Sometimes it hurts too much to make it ALL the way to the other side.

I managed to get the pain down to a dull roar and decided a light gym workout might do me good.

Up until I got the text telling me that my friend had died. I read it at a red-light.  And started crying as the light changed to green.

I know that she lived well into her 90s and had a long, full life.   But she was sweet and fun, and I liked being able to walk next door to visit with her.  She wasn't as happy towards the end.  She was miserable and in pain, with little hope of ever getting better.

Death is usually for the best by then, but it still hurts to know I'll never talk with her again.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

fucking mouth-breathers


I listened to a podcast at 5am when I found myself unable to fall back asleep (thanks, Kitten), and I learned why mouth-breathing is bad. 

I was barely awake and snuggling with Kitten, but it seems the gist is that breathing through the mouth causes all kinds of health concerns and even serious problems eventually.  The nose is perfectly evolved to give us the correct ratio of oxygen, blah blah blah, and breathing through the mouth screws up that ratio causing problems.

Of course there's a lot more science behind that and exercises to do.  And now that my anemia is gone (YIPPEE!!), my breathing should be functioning better.

Every time I've tried meditation by focusing on my breathing, it's made me tense because I focused on my breathing, and it became stressful.  Now that I have an idea of the science behind healthy breathing, maybe I will try again.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

bending my reality


I write so many fantastic posts in my head.

While I'm driving.
While I'm walking in nature.
While I'm daydreaming in a meeting.
As I'm falling asleep.
When I'm in the shower.
When I'm lying in misery with a migraine.

And then I get back to a place to write them down, and they're gone.  I sort of have the gist of it but lose the magical syntax.  Or I lose the nerve to say some of these things (out loud) in public.  Or I think who really gives a fuck what I have to say.  Some days I get discouraged and want to give up.  What's the point?

But then my hubris kicks in, and I think maybe I can be an inspiration for just one person.  So I keep going.  Because, let's be honest, the alternative sucks, too.

In my mind, I'm a fabulous conveyor of ideas and emotions.  In my mind, I'm a role model for resiliency.  In reality, I'm neither. 

Until I bend my reality to fit what I want.  In my reality, I'm the best version of me.  And you're the best version of you.  You're welcome!


Monday, May 8, 2017

maybe I can outrun it


If I tell myself enough times, I almost believe that I can live a normal life.

If I go enough days without a migraine, I almost believe that I can live a normal life.

And then (if I'm lucky), five days go by without a migraine.

Then one hits me hard like last night.  And I remind myself that I'll never live a normal life.

I was mostly having a regular day, and my head went from zero to 60mph in about 20 minutes while I wasn't paying attention.  Okay, so I kind of knew it was there, but it was later in the evening, so I thought I could outrun it by falling asleep before it got bad.  Sometimes sleep can abort a migraine.  I tell myself that lie so much, that I almost believe it.

I decided it was bad enough to suffer through an injection and get faster relief, rather than a pill and wait soooo long.  I hit a vein.  Blood everywhere.

It's morning, and I know I should medicate again.  It's been three hours, and it's still mild.

Maybe I can outrun it....

Thursday, May 4, 2017

self-editing is the sound of the future


It was much easier to write on my blog when I knew that only strangers (and I) read it.  I've been using it as a form of therapy, a place to organize my thoughts and emotions.

Lately, friends and family have told me that they read my writings, too.

Which makes me start second guessing myself and self-editing.  In fact, it took me days to decide to  publish this post.  I mentioned this to Einstein (my friend, not the dead physicist), who pronounced this very Gödelian.  Yes, I did need to look that up.  No, I'm still not entirely sure what I read.  See why I call him Einstein?

(Speaking of, did anyone start watching Genius on National Geographic?)

Anyway, now I'm hesitant to write about my deepest thoughts, like my intermittent depression and anxieties.  I'm not reaching out for help here.  If I had wanted to talk about it, I probably would have texted a "hey" because I'm descriptive like that.  :)

Feel free to talk to me about what I write, but I reserve the right to ignore you if I'm not in the mood.  Also, if you make a joke about my despair, I doubt I will find it humorous.  Tread lightly please.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

seasons greetings


I think I successfully seasoned my cast iron pan.  Over the years, it lost its seasoning, which I know isn't supposed to happen if taken care of properly.  I finally decided to remedy that.

I scrubbed it with salt, then soap and water, then salt again.  When it was finally clean, I baked it in the oven for almost an hour with coconut oil.  I used it this morning to cook a steak, and it worked perfectly.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

all in


My garbage collector picked up my trash can with the automated arm.  And threw everything in, can and all.

I was sure he was going to drive away with it, but he got in and fished it out.  Ewww.  Now, I'm hoping it will rain and wash off the goop.

Friday, April 28, 2017

counting down


Apparently I'm still alive.  Holy fuck, what a bad yesterday and night I've had.  I have enough meds in my body to stop a small rhino, and the pain is down to a 2 (on a scale of 1-10).  This monkey on my back turned rabid.

It's #NationalSuperheroDay today.  I think we all know my superpower at this point.  I'm a #MigraineWarrior, of which there are unfortunately too many.  I can fight through pain, deal with neurological oddities, and make it look easy or even invisible.

My office floor is soft.  And the ice-pack is cold.

One more day in this work week.  I can do it.

Seven more hours of pretending to be happy and positive.  I can do it.

Three more mandatory meetings before I can go back to bed.

I can do it.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

fight the Rebellion


As I walked into my neurologist's office, I wondered why they'd added a LOUD television in their waiting room.   I was as cranky as a disturbed hibernating bear.  And five minutes of that TV made me even crankier.  Who knew that was possible?

I think I've been having migraine prodrome symptoms for the past few days.  These are the signs that a migraine attack is coming soon.  Like a hurricane warning.  Lights seem too bright.  Noises are too loud.  Smells are too strong.  And I'm fatigued and cranky.  My gym session suffered yesterday because my muscles were noticeably weaker.  And my endurance was lessened.

I've been virtually attending the Migraine World Summit, and one of the speakers suggested taking an Aleve during prodrome.  There's no research on it yet, but the half-life of Aleve is one of the longest, so he suggested it might be helpful in staving off the pain.  I took an Aleve the next morning when I woke still feeling out of sorts.   And then half an Excedrin.  It's been a few days, and no excruciating head pain yet.  Yay!  But still prodroming...

Back to the doctor's office.  I inquired why the TV, and was told they would be programming it with their own ads.  I hate loud advertising.  I especially hate loud advertising when I have a migraine and can't switch it off. 



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

showing off


I hate when I'm showing off for absolutely no one by cracking my egg one-handed, and I drop some shell in.  I blame the chicken for laying a weak egg.  

Yes, I was making Wendycoffee.

I've modified the recipe somewhat.  Now, I put the cocoa powder and cinnamon in with the coffee grounds to brew for 5 minutes.  I've also stopped adding molasses and cardamom.  Because I'm lazy.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

my mango colada


Mango colada (my own creation), which is quite tasty:

mango
coconut cream
passion-fruit bitters
crushed ice
and rum, of course

mango colada

I like pina coladas & getting caught in the rain


It's been raining all night and all day, supposed to be about 5 inches.  [Obligatory "that's what she said"] 

I've gone on two walks in the rain so far today.  I adore walking in a drizzle when I don't care about my clothes or my hair getting wet.  It was nice and cool out, and the birds were out enjoying the weather, too.  I was surprised to see that the local park was crowded.  People are crazy.  

I'm ready for a pina colada now.  Sadly I have no pineapple.  Perhaps a mango colada might suffice.


 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

unhappy hour


I went out for Happy Hour last night and didn't love it.  I had been looking forward to it all week because a bunch of my martial arts classmates and gym buddies would be there.  Plus, after a REALLY horrible and anxiety-provoking week (yes I did have a sip of rum for breakfast one morning to calm my nerves), I had some great news Friday afternoon and wanted to celebrate.

I suppose my expectations were already too high at this point.

I drove across town in rush hour traffic to a place with very limited, metered street parking.  Yay, my favorite.  :\

After passing by the bar twice (without actually seeing it), I found a relatively safe parking spot where my abysmal parallel parking skills were put to the test.  Only 5 short corrections later, I was in.  Success.  Now, to get out without getting hit.  I then got to the meter and discover it took quarters only.  Welcome to 2002.  I got back into my car to figure out what to do when I remembered my emergency quarter roll stash for this reason.

I threw a bunch of quarters in the meter and went off in search of this hole in the wall.

Dark and LOUD.  Because I was driving and not having an anxiety attack, I wasn't drinking.  I greeted several people warmly, posed for photos, said WHAT? many, many times, and ended up watching the Bulls Celtics NBA Playoff game on the giant TV.

What's the point of going out to socialize if no one can hear each other?

I left after a couple hours of watching my friends deteriorate into drunken behavior and was so happy to get home and climb into bed. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

there is still kindness in strangers


I went for a walk yesterday, partly because I need the exercise ever since my martial arts dojo was closed, and partly because I wanted to play Pokemon Go.  I have a usual walk that I do, but I felt more energetic, and it was a gorgeous day, so I extended my route.  This took me along more roadways than I prefer.

I hadn't planned on seeing anyone, so I wasn't really looking my best.  My hair was pulled up and shoved into a massive lump on the back of my head, which was now windblown and messier.  And, I had no makeup on.  A woman waiting at a red-light yelled out of her car window and asked if I was okay.  Was I sure I didn't need help?

It was late afternoon.  I was sitting alone (battling Pokemon on my phone) and had no visible scars or blood.  Yet, something must have set off her inner watchdog.  At first I waved, signaling I was fine.  That's when she asked if I needed help.  I finally yelled back that I was okay and thanked her.

I can only imagine what a bedraggled mess I appeared.

My first reaction was embarrassment that she had called attention to my disheveled state in front of a line of cars, while I was engaging in nerd activity.  My second reaction was gratitude that there are still people out there willing to help strangers.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

feeling accomplished


I made my cranky mailman laugh this morning.  That wasn't an easy feat, no matter how funny and cheerful I am.  I could hear him swearing and muttering several houses away.   Poor guy.  No wonder he always takes aim at my garbage cans.  Maybe I should put them out every day to let him release some stress.  Or bring snacks next time I see him.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

fun being a tourist


We had gorgeous weather this weekend and decided to be tourists in our own town.

I joked when I went to a new (to me) gym that it had different gravity there, making the weights heavier.  Which led my workout partner and I to talking about the genius Latvian man who built his home out of multi-ton limestone bricks.  By himself.  And he was smaller than I am.  Or perhaps he had alien assistance.  There are so many entertaining theories that one can easily spend time sifting through them.  Or read straight from the man himself.  Personally, I can't wait for the Dan Brown novel!

Anyway, we made the trek down to Coral Castle, which I had wanted to see since I was a little kid.  I had fun and learned a thing or two, which is also enjoyable. 

Afterwards, we stopped at a Cuban restaurant, and I accidentally elbowed a cop.  The booths were small, and I have long arms.  He apologized to me first.  I was impressed how fast he tried to de-escalate.  Of course, I apologized right back.

I ended up getting a hellacious migraine on the return drive.  I did an Imitrex injection as soon as I got home.  Fun always has a price.  :\


Map of the grounds

Where he slept.  Did not look comfy

analemma (learned a new word) sundial





















African Redhead Agama (learned of a new exotic invasive species)










Friday, March 31, 2017

end of an era


My father decided he no longer wants to live here.  He left last week, and I miss him already.  I feel very alone now, with no safety net.  I went from having 10+ family members living nearby a few years ago to only one.  And he's too busy for me.  I saw him at Christmas.  I may see him again at Thanksgiving.

The good news is that Pop learned to text, so we can more easily keep in touch.  But it's not the same as having lunch with him every week. 

The even better news is that my health has improved, and the anemia has stayed at bay.  It's amazing how several pints of blood can make me feel so energized.

Now, I need to work on my laziness and social anxiety, so I can go out and meet people.

Baby steps to the elevator, Bob...





Sunday, March 12, 2017

mental illness monsters


I was talking to a young woman about her new tattoos, and she told me that she wanted to acknowledge her mental illnesses (she had a few diagnoses).  Therefore, she was getting the corresponding monsters tattooed on various parts of her body.

The original artist of these monsters created them to raise awareness and to manage his own illness better.

They say names are powerful.  Perhaps anthropomorphism is also powerful in letting us reign in our out-of-control thoughts.  In the spirit of that, meet my two monsters, Depression, who thankfully hasn't been haunting me much lately, and Anxiety, who has.  Go fuck yourself, Anxiety.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

may the bridges I burn light the way


I sort of made tentative plans to go out with a casual friend last night.  I wanted to hang out with her, but I wasn't that excited about the chosen activity.  Mostly because it was so far to drive, and it would end up being a late night. 

I've turned into quite a morning person the past few years.  I'm up bright and early around 5 or 6am, which means I'm tired by 9 or 10pm.  That said, I can stay up later, but I need a really great reason.  And I don't want to drive a long way home when I'm sleepy.

I felt like an asshole texting her back and saying no.  That said, I was so relieved to be asleep by 9:30pm.

Why is it so hard to make friends at this stage in my life?  I have more confidence than ever, so it should be much simpler for me to say "hey, you seem fun, let's hang out." 

And yet I don't.