Monday, December 29, 2008

What a nice evening!

Ah, the perfect night. We met a couple of friends we don't see
often enough at a new place in Uptown, the Moto-i. It is an authentic
Izakaya (a Japanese pub - o.k. as authentic as you get in
Minnesota) and it's supposedly the first sake brewery restaurant
outside of Japan.

The sake is made by the owner and is quite good (and I don't really
like sake). The food is really wonderful, and the atmosphere lively
and fun. We had lots of little amazing dishes, the fried lotus root
with an incredible sauce was a standout!

We just were finishing up, and hoping to order the Okinawan
doughnuts, when all the power on the block went out. We stayed
around chatting in the dark, until they told us that a major
transformer had blown, and they were going to have to close. They
had no way of tallying the checks, so the food and drink was free!
We had easily eaten and drank $100 between the four of us.

It was a lovely windfall for us, but we loved the restaurant so much,
we will be sure to go back.

We came back to our house and the four of us totally geeked out,
talking about our favorite video games, anime, sci-fi shows, and
got caught up on what we've all been doing. Great way to spend a
vacation day.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Vacation report

Wow, 9 days into my time off from work, and the days are blazing
by. I've done NOTHING of merit at all. Literally just shopped,
ate, played video games, poked around on the web and went to
Jewbilee at Grumpys (a really fun way to spend Christmas Eve).
That's it! I'm going for the slug award.

I started feeling a little bit too sluggish today, and cleaned and
dusted my office and did a little low carb baking. I'm trying to
work all the way up to working out! Only 7 more vacation days left
and then back to work. It promises to be another totally nuts
spring and summer at work, so resting now is good!

I've been experimenting with Irvingia (from www.lef.org) to try to
lose some weight. Several others are trying it and reporting in at:
http://lowcarbconfidential.com/irvingia-field-reports/

The results are inconclusive, as we are all fighting holiday food
fests. However, I haven't gained any weight at all this holiday,
which is probably a first. It makes we want to see what happens
after the 1st of the year, when we all go back to normal eating.
I love the web, where we can all experiment together, and report in.

And the old dog is STILL alive; our vet just shakes her head in
amazement. I think he is the most successful treatment she has
seen with the VetMedin (the insanely expensive heart medicine - $100
a bottle). His enlarged heart should have killed him a year ago.
He will be 15 at the end of February - I'm hoping he makes it!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Frigid Shopping

Happy Solstice, everyone!

And who goes shopping at the Mall of America on the Sunday before
Christmas? Guilty! Actually we went in the morning, and it really
wasn't very crowded. Probably not a a good sign for the economy.

Our kitchen stove is giving up the ghost and it was time to replace
it. The sales were pretty good and got one for about 2/3 the price
of the last one I bought around 10 years ago.

There is the most wonderful shop there with tea sets you wouldn't
believe! But for around $300, I can drink my tea out of a mug....

I still haven't finished the Christmas shopping. Maybe by tomorrow.
It is supposed to be 13 below out tonight, but the plan is still
to go out for a friends birthday. Brrrrrrr.....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Unexpected illness

Well Cay had Pink Eye and a cold couple of weeks ago. I was sure
I had fought them both off until Thursday when I suddenly came
down with both. First time I've ever had Pink Eye, though. I'm
just finishing up the antibiotic eye drops - it looks like it
was bacterial, in spite of the cold implying it was viral.

The cold is still lingering on, not a bad one, but enough to make
one really tired. I have an expensive class that work is sending
me to for the next three days this week - so I'm going to load
up on Thera Flu for colds and forge ahead. It usually is enough
to keep me on my feet for most of a work day.

I love learning new things, and wish I felt better. My head already
hurts from the sinus pressure, and I need to be clear headed enough
to pack in all the new information.

Getting out of bed early tomorrow morning will be the real test
of will. It was 38 degrees F. today, and by tomorrow morning, it
will be -5 degrees with wind chills of -27. Ugh! The kind of weather
that makes you want to stay in bed until spring (and that is without
being sick....)

Otherwise the old dog is still alive, much to ours and the Vets'
surprise. He is getting kind of senile - he seems confused and
wanders around aimlessly a lot. Kind of sad to see the strong headed
dog we once knew be a doddering old fool. I'm going to work my
brain hard all the time to make sure I never get like that. I wonder
if that really works? The experts all say you should keep your brain
active to prevent Alzheimers and the like. As long as I'm working at
this job, that should not be a problem.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Unexpected Shopping

My household is trying to do its bit for the economy. In one day,
Cay's winter coat, the humidifier and the Xbox 360 all broke.
All were necessary to our winter well being, so they all got
replaced. I would rather have bought presents, or something new
and interesting.

I never mentioned how seeing the hormone specialist was going.
I'm certainly better, but not great. The constant joint and all
over body pain is gone due to the bio-indentical hormone
replacement. The fuzzy thinking, extreme exhaustion, and
irritability are gone due to the adrenal fatigue treatments.

I've had a little more energy to do little household tasks and to
do some shopping. I'm not so fried at my job. I was starting to
exercise more but the sudden onset of winter has sapped a bit of
that will back out of me. I'm still pretty tired when I get home.
The weight gain stopped, but hasn't gone back down, the blood
glucose readings are still a little high in the mornings.

I'm trying Irvingia and Acai to see if they have any effect on
the weight, only been a couple of days. I'm going to start a
very small dose of thyroid at the end of the month. Hopefully
something will turn the corner on my weight and energy levels.

I want to be well enough to have something left over for me, after
work. Life seems to be mostly work, winding down, and then bed -
and that is about it. I need the strength to do things that make
me happy. The company is shutting down for 2 whole weeks this year
at Christmas. I'm rather looking forward to the enforced vacation.
No plans, but maybe I'll finally have time to get stronger and do
more fun things.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Little Tree that Could

leftover picture from Birthday - wish at the lake

And into the holidays

Sunday already! This 4 day holiday isn't long enough. Thanksgiving
was quiet, we didn't get invited anywhere this year, so we make a
turkey breast and some stuffing at home and played some video games.

Friday was even quieter, just me and the pets - Cay was off at a live
Drinking With Ian shoot at First Avenue for most of the day. He got to
star in a sketch he wrote for them, and he we pretty excited. I tried
to pick up my dulcimer again, and didn't get far. So I did most of my
Christmas shopping on the internet. Lots easier than going out there
on Black Friday.

The deals were pretty amazing, I think I saved $200 in discounts.
It was a good day for the retailers but not much in the way of profits,
I think. So I suppose this x-mas season is still going to be tough
for them.

The economy worries me a lot, everyday I'm thankful I have a job and
hope it stays that way! I think I've been through 4 of these recessions
now and somehow survived them all. I can't tell if this one is
actually worse than the others, or if the media is just hyping it
more, and people are panicking more.

What is with America, and this panic driven society these days? Didn't
we used to be the tough individualists? Since the terrorist attacks in
2001, it seems we've become terrified of everything - running around
screaming "The sky is falling" at every little thing. The stock market
is the worst of the lot, causing more problems than it is worth.
I miss the "stoic" America of the past. Great, now I am getting old....

Yesterday was spent putting up Christmas lights in the yard. We
replaced about half the lights with the new LED lights, hoping that
it would drive down the electric costs a bit. Course they cost a lot
more, so it will be a few years to recoup the cost of the lights - if
they last that long! Well, it is another tiny effort on our part to
be more "green". We have already replaced most of the indoor
lighting with florescent.

Then we were off to a friends house to sample his cooking - (why are
most of our male friends really good cooks? Horrible for the diet!)
he made leftover Turkey Tacos. They were really good! I never would
have thought of doing that with turkey. (We threw ours in the freezer
because we couldn't think of anything interesting to do with it.)
We watched some old anime shows and had a lovely evening. We
really don't get out enough. We keep saying we will be more social,
but life kind of gets in the way.

Today we are getting a cord of wood delivered, so we'll be stacking
it in the shed. It snowed last night, about an inch - the 1st real
snow that might stick, so the wood stove will be running more from
now on. It's nice the snow held off until the end of November,
hopefully it will make winter seem shorter this year.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Out of the Closet

So the local T.V. show "Drinking With Ian" was filming a sketch
at my house last week while I was at work. Cay reached into our
bedroom closet to get one of my shirts for a costume he needed
to wear, and the entire closet came apart. The shelves came down,
the clothes rod and all the clothes, pulling out all the wall
anchors and parts of the walls.

Thus, the weekend project was "what to do about the closet".
It just didn't look like new wall anchors would hold, so after
a little research, I decided to build a nifty wardrobe rack that
could be rolled in and out of the space.

It took a $69 chrome wire rack from Menards, some casters and a
wardrobe rod and brackets from Storables, and voila! We made a
very nice free standing unit that fits perfectly in the closet
opening.

Of course the rest of the weekend was spent packing up old clothes
and reorganizing all things clothing. Not exciting, but a feeling
of accomplishment was had by all!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Burning pockets

No - not the fires in L.A. Though the fires remind me of why
I'm glad I'm not living there anymore. The Sylmar fires aren't
that far from where I used to live. I remember the smell of
the hills on fire, all too well.

No, the burning pockets refer to a small amount of cash I had
saved up that was burning hole in said pocket. So I did the
sensible thing and bought an Acer Aspire One laptop (the
6 cell battery one, $399!) ;-)

It's not that I totally needed it, though I really wanted it
for work, it is that it is a tiny laptop computer gadget thing.
What Geek could resist? (I know, I don't have an iphone -- yet,
maybe next Christmas...)

Anyways, totally love the little Acer laptop! It weighs 2 lbs
and is as cute as a button. Seems to work well. But you wouldn't
want to do any major work on it - the 8.9 inch screen is very
clear but very small for old eyes. Yes, I could make the fonts
larger, but then the pages won't fit and you're scrolling all
over the place.

I guess that would prepare me for that iphone, though.
I played with an iphone in the store - and while cool, trying
to read a web page on it drove me nuts. All the littles apps,
you can load up on it, are pretty neat. I was born in the right
time. For a woman who loves gadgets, this is the best!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

What a week that was!

Elections are over, and what a week it was. That is the most interest
I've seen anyone take in politics for a long time. I still find
myself thinking of the social implications of electing Obama, and
I'm pleased that America managed to surprise me by doing something
I never thought they would do in my lifetime. I hope racism fizzles
out of the American consciousness, and we all look at each other
with a new respect and hope.

But then, that is probably a Pollyanna attitude, and we'll still
have to fight and slug through the same amount of hate and anger
that have become so tiresome. And we have to fight for the Gays all
over again - I thought we were past that.

Liberty and freedom are wonderful ideals, but it is sad how fragile
it is, and how easy it is to loose it. It seems that it should just
"make sense" and be the natural order of things - instead of
something you have to fight for every day.

And then there is the economy... What a mess the new Pres. is
inheriting. I don't see a clear way out of that one. I just hope
that I keep my job, and we ride it out somehow. I haven't had to
think about Plans B and C (what I'm going to do if all the jobs dry
up - how my family will survive) since 2001. May our new President
somehow pull the world closer together, and fulfill the hopes we
have, against all odds. Godspeed Mr. Obama!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Voting Mania

There, I finally posted a few pictures from my week off "Vacation in
town". I don't have any pictures from the Mall of America and
Underwater Adventures, or various other small drives we took -
but you get the idea.

I started reading a huge pile of documents for my next project at
work, (ow! my head hurts!), and got a big haircut (about 4 inches
off!). The roommate came back from training and packed his stuff
up and moved to Miami. It is really quiet around here - we miss
him already.

I spent last night researching for the election. (About time....)
I knew the major candidates I was going to vote for, but there are
3 referendums, and six contested Judges that I knew nothing about.
Cayenne convinced me that judges were important.

And boy are they! In my reading up on them, a couple of the
challengers to the incumbents are real nutcases. Randomly voting
for one of those guys would be not a good thing to do!

So I feel totally ready for the election. I'm kind of excited about it.
I never cared a whit for politics, and try to ignore it whenever I can,
because the candidates were all so awful. This time I'm actually going
to vote "for" someone, instead of "against the other guy" like usual.

And we are having amazing weather for the election. It is normally
blustery and cold on election day, but we are having a spate of sunny,
warm days until next Friday. We have all the windows wide open in
November, right now. Glorious!

Pictures from my week off - Swedish Institute


Pictures from my week off - Arboritum



Pictures from my week off - Falconer Vineyard and Arts Fair in Red Wing, MN


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Still kicking (ouch!)

I survived the rest of my birthday. We worked out menus for the
dog's new kidney diet, and bought some insulation for around the
air conditioner. Not the most exciting birthday I've ever had,
but the weather was gorgeous, and it was fun to drive around.

I have decided to officially end my podcast show, but I suppose I
should put up a goodbye podcast, since I didn't exactly tell my
audience!

I have some great pictures from the week I took off. Note to self.
Remember to post the silly things!

Otherwise, finshed a project at work and taking a deep breath before
plunging into the next project. I actually have time to go to a
Halloween party, and get my haircut this weekend! I realized it's
been at least 6 months since I've gotten a haircut, and it is rather
a mess. The life of an engineer.... day to day stuff gets forgotten.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

B-day off to a bad start....

The dog doesn't know it's my birthday. He had a bad night, so it
was off to the vet this morning. He finally got the painkiller he
needs, Tramedol. That and re-balancing his diuretics should take
care of the bloating. But we find his BUN level is too high, so
I've spent the day researching how to cook a kidney failure diet
for dogs.

Hopefully the day will improve from here. It is a glorious fall day
out, so off to the lake to make my yearly ritual birthday wish.
They never come true, but it is fun to go to the lake on a day
like this!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blissful time off!

I took this week off from work, 1st vacation in a year and a half,
since I went to Japan.

After the insane amount of work this summer, and recovering from
the surgery, this is the first time I've sat down to think about
things.

I've been struggling with ending my Uncomfortable Questions show
for awhile, and finally took the plunge. I've done it for 3 years,
and it was a great ride. But I can't afford the 10 to 15 hours it
take to produce each show, and still have any time to do some things
I need to be doing.

I also am not going to nag myself to write in this blog everyday.
I've felt guilty for not posting much lately. But, you know, I
didn't have anything to say! (Other than "too-much-work-ugh!").

I feel like I'm changing again, positioning to start a new phase
in my life. Some of the old stuff has to move out of the way.

I keep talking about getting serious about my health, but always
do the minimum needed to get by. I need to really work out, not
just in 2 week bursts like I tend to do. I am feeling better from
the first steps taken with the new hormone doctor, but I think
a lot more needs to be done. I'm now feeling well enough to realize
how crappy I really feel!

Now that I have some time off, I've been going out and doing things
every day - and that has been wonderful. Time to experience more
things. Time to enjoy life more. Time to get stronger so I can
take those vacations, I always talk about. I really hope this
is just a new beginning and repositioning of my life.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Huh?

Wow, has it been 2 weeks since I posted? That has never happened.
The last 2 weeks were one big blur.

The final push on the project at work. Physical therapy on my foot.
Keeping the dog going. Cay had skin cancer on his face removed and
reconstructive surgery the next day. Watching the economy (and
whatever options and 401k money I had) become worthless. Watching
all the politics over the bailout and the V.P. debates.

Well, you can't say it isn't some *interesting* times!

So, where were we? The dog is still hanging in there, much to our
surprise. He does need to be pushed or carried up stairs about
half the time, though.

I've been on my new hormone balancing meds for a few weeks now.
Disappointingly it isn't helping the weight, but I do feel better
in general. I don't go back until December, so I guess I wont know
what else we can do until then. I am feeling better enough to
exercise more. A friend of mine got me into kettlebells of all
things. It is an invigorating workout, and I seem to be putting
on muscle more quickly than ususal.

I'm taking the week after next as a vacation week. Woo-hoo! No
plans, just rest and putter around. Maybe take some little drives
to look at fall colors, if there are any. They are either late
this year, or they wont be very colorful - not much color out
there yet.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A day off!

I took today off. Days off are glorious. I should do them more often.
The weather was lovely early fall-ish, with a glorious deep blue sky.
It was a great day for bumming around.

I started physical therapy for my plantar facitis. I go in twice a
week for the next few weeks and they do ultra-sound on my heel,
and a type of massage to stimulate the blood flow. I've had this
heel pain that makes it hard to walk for over a year now.
Cortisone shots only helped it temporarily, so now we try this.
I would love to walk without pain again - seeing as taking walks
used to be my favorite form of exercise.

Other than that all I really did was buy a curtain rod and do
some more reading. I'm currently reading about Wilsons Temperature
Syndrome. It might explain a lot that has been happening to me.
If the current round of hormone treatment doesn't work, that might
be something to pursue. It is often recognized by very low body
temperatures in spite of showing normal on Thyroid tests.

It seems if your average temperature is under 97.6, you probably
would benefit from this treatment. I've been checking mine through
the day, and it keeps coming up as 96.3 degrees. That seemed so
low I'm checking it on 2 different thermometers, but it is always
around that. I've heard of low metabolism, but that must be "no"
metabolism. Could explain the weight gain in spite of lots of
dieting and exercise. It seems easy enough to treat with some
T3 Thyroid stuff. I'll ask my new hormone doctor what he knows
of it when I go back in December.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Quick Update

Well, we made our 1st deadline at work. I'm fricken exhausted!
There is always a price to be payed for that kind of hectic
schedule. Usually payed in health and tired minds. But I think
it was worth it (or at least I'll think so when I recover!).

It is still summery out there on the 1st day of fall. I'm really
enjoying that. The forecast says it gets more "seasonal" at the
end of this month.

We are still trying to get our wood stove fixed before winter,
it is under warranty, but the part is taking forever to get here.
I spent the weekend in "getting ready for winter" mode. Shopping
for wool scarfs, insulated curtains, a new bedspread, etc.
If gas prices are going to be as high as they say for heat,
I want to be warm!

Also cleaned out the car. All that is really left is to lay in
some wood for the winter (if the stove gets fixed!)

Thought the dog was really going to buy it today, and then he
suddenly felt better and wanted to go for a walk. The most he has
moved in weeks! Waiting for your dog to die is totally exhausting.
How many times can you grieve? This has been going on for more
than 6 months. There had better be treats in doggie heaven, or
that guy is never going to go!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Waiting for everything

Bleah. I worked Saturday, and it made the weekend way too short!
I have to go back to work tomorrow, and I'm still feeling pretty
fried. I have 1 week to finish the main part of the project, and
that is going to take a flat out effort. This is when my job is
a little too exciting....

The old dog is filling up with fluids again and we increased his
diuretics - but it doesn't seem to be working as well. Poor thing.
He doesn't seem horribly uncomfortable, and he still looks forward
to food. What an existence! I hope I'm not like that at the end...

My prescriptions don't show up until next week, so I still have
no idea if the doctor's diagnosis will help me out or not.

I'm in a state of waiting for everything to happen, soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Out of my mind...

Exhausting. Bone crushingly tired! This is the final push on the
project, and of course everything that could go wrong, did.
I think I'll have to work the next 2 weekends. Details have to
be dealt with faster than I can comprehend them. Auuughhhhhh!

Trip to the doctor was interesting. Very comprehensive look at
all my levels. I was surprised at how healthy I was. Then why
do I feel like such crap? Only DHEA was at rock bottom. Cortisol
was not as low as I expected, but considering the stress, it
should have been a lot higher. Doc. figures that is all the
response my tired body could manage to come up with.

A few other hormones were low, but not horrible. We are going
to try to fix the low levels and see where that takes me.
I don't have the meds yet, probably wont get them 'til next
week. Ah, another medical adventure....

My doctor looks just like a young Nathan Lane. I told him that,
but he didn't know who the actor was. It made me feel old - I
thought everyone knew who Nathan Lane is.

Monday, September 08, 2008

M.I.A.

I have been frantically busy - the next month is going to be a *little*
stressful. Won't write much, and considering suspending my show for
a couple of months. I just can't take on any more.

Other news. Old dog is still alive and seems to be more stable on
his new drug regimin. Took him for a drive on Sunday, which he
used to love, and he didn't want to be there. Kind of sad. He loved
sticking his head out the window more than anything (except food).
But he is resting comfortably at home.

I go see the new doctor this week, and kind of worried it might
not work, but hopeful that it might. Will report on that as it
happens.

Back to work!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Little Miss Fix-it

I corrected that stupid 410 page manual for 10 hours today!
That was the major one, it's first review. I can't believe I did
that. But when faced with something that needs doing, I have to
do it. If I don't, there isn't anyone else who will. I have to
do my job to the best of my ability or why bother?

But I hate that feeling when I realize the mountain I am facing,
is a lot higher than I thought. And I have to go forward. I
still have 4 manuals to go through tomorrow. Those shouldn't
be as much work, I hope.

What a dumb way to spend the last real weekend of summer.
There I fairs and festivals going on I'd much rather be at.
But as it was, I only went outside for about 10 minutes.
I still believe I'm doing the right thing, but there are days....

Friday, August 29, 2008

Intense!

I am so exhausted! I am in the midst of a couple of intense months
at work. We have to be done with a project in a scary short amount
of time. It is *almost* do-able, if nothing goes wrong, and of
course, everything is going wrong. Critical hardware committing
suicide, bizarre bugs that take forever to track down, a million
unexpected requests and details.

Every day I walk into work and for the next 9 to 10 hours, I feel
like I am sprinting as fast as I can. It is a whirlwind of madness,
solving problems as I race down the hall. Then I crawl home, my
brain still going a million miles a minute. I think I've transcended
my own brain. I'm juggling so many details I must be forming dozens
of new neural pathways every day.

On the drives to and from work, I think sometimes, I am achieving
enlightenment. I'm thinking on a whole new level, that I've never
been to before. I wonder if you really can change your brain?

And this Labor Day weekend? I'm going to be correcting manuals for
the project and working, of course. (I have to get 5 of them done
by Tuesday - and some of them are over 400 pages! Gah!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

It was a party! And then some!

It was a spectacular Tiki Party! We started at 3 pm on Saturday in
totally beautiful weather. It was the most perfect of summer days.
Everyone showed up and most of them stayed until 1:30 am!

It was just so nice out, everyone just wanted to sit out and
celebrate the waning summer. (That and the massive amount of Tiki
drinks). Our bartender mixed up gallons of Hurricanes, Mai Tai's,
and Peg Leg Punch. The liquor flowed in large amounts, and we
were all veeerrrrrryyy happy puppies.

There was a bit of hangoveredness the next day, but it was a
party to remember. It is our personal end-of-summer blowout.
End of summer! How can that be? Summer was late coming this
year, and now it is winding down.

The old dog continues to be a little better. We didn't think
he would make it to the party, but he did, and enjoyed it very
much. He loves crowds of people and lots of food. I was quite
pleased he made it. Now if he goes soon, at least he had that.

waiting for Tiki Party



Saturday, August 23, 2008

Still Alive and Tiki-ing

Whew! What an intense week at work. I was going at about 2000%.
My mind was completely fried every night when I got home.
But headway is being made, and hopefully it will only go at
this pace for another month or so.

Had 2 medical tests done for the new doctor I'm going to see
next month. He is a super hormone specialist and looks at
everything including adrenal fatigue. I don't want to get my
hopes up, but if there a chance this could help with so many
of my problems, it would be worth any amount of money.

Against all odds, the old dog is still alive. And mysteriously
got a little better these last 3 days. He could barely move
last weekend, he couldn't breathe well, and his heart was way
too fast. But now he is more mobile, and looks like he
is in less pain. He is on double the heart medicine now,
and the antibiotics seem to have taken out the lung infection.
He is costing me about $500 a month now for vet and medicine.
I know most people wouldn't do that for a dog, but my dogs are
my children. I can't not do it.

When I was really poor in college, if I had little money, I
would buy food for the dog, before I would buy myself food. I can't
bear to see my dogs suffer. I understand pain or hunger and what
causes it, and that it will probably end. But you can't explain
that to your dog. I hate looking into their eyes when they are
hurting, and they don't understand what it happening. I want to
prevent that from happening to them.

So it is time to PARTY! Big Tiki barbeque at our house today -
a joint effort by the three of us, and our friends Joel and
Mike. It is a spectacular day - sunny and drop dead gorgeous
summery out. I hope everyone shows up and we have an amazing
party. I really need a fun day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

And the challenge of the hour is....

I think I have too much practice overcoming adversity.
I'm ready to practice being rich and traveling and having too
much fun.

The back took until today to heal up. And probably all the limping
around with the bad back has screwed up my leg. A huge painful
knot in it, making it hard to walk.

Battling a lot of stress. Work and health are getting to me.
(and no vacation for over a year....). Couple of big projects
in full swing at work, and trying to deal with why I feel so
rotten all the time in the health front.

I did a lot of reading about the hormone balances of cortisol,
thyroid, progesterone and such. It looks like a good bet for
the source of a lot of the problems - but you need a lot of
tests, and someone who knows what they are doing (read expensive).

I fretted all weekend about going to a local expert doctor, and
finally contacted them. I think I'm going to give it a try.
It caused me a lot of stress this weekend, making the decision
- if I should spend the money and go back in debt (which I just
got out of), because it might not work. However, living like I
am now isn't worth it.

Also I think we are on death watch again on the old dog. He is
declining, in spite of hundreds of dollars of meds and vet visits.
I beg the powers that be and the animal spirits, every hour, that
he will go comfortably in his sleep. He is sleeping all the time
now, but he still is eating and drinking - so I just have no idea
how long he has. I was sure he was going to die several times in
the last 6 months. It is a stressful and heartbreaking thing to
watch. It preys on my mind a lot.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Humming along... and then!

Had a good weekend, we went out with a friend and planned the
upcoming bi-annual Tiki barbeque. It was a beautiful Saturday
day, about as perfect as them come. To do the planning, we
appropriately went to our favorite Tiki bar, and sipped lush
coconut drinks.

Then off to another friends birthday party. I ate dinner late
so I didn't scarf down all the cake. I didn't even have any!
The diet isn't going so well. I was faithfully eating right
and exercising hard, and still the weight isn't budging.

In fact I'm still slowly gaining weight, as I have been for the
last 3 years. I'm convinced there is something not balanced
right in my body. How can you gain weight when eating less
than 1500 calories for years?

I did some research and found a perfect match in "adrenal fatigue".
Doctors aren't convinced it exists, but most alternative medicine
and holistic doctors are. I got a couple of supplements, and
am trying them. Nothing much to lose by trying!

Then, in spite of doing lots of abs and back strengthening
exercises the last 2 weeks, I hurt my back sitting up in bed
this morning. How unglamorous. I can't quite straighten up
fully when I walk. It hurt and swelled all day, so I came home
a bit early, and logged back into work with an ice pack on
my lower back. The ice feels really good, I usually hate icing.

So much for my big workout tonight....

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Abs and more Abs

Back humming along at work. I miss the weekend, already -
even if it did involve cleaning out the refrigerator :)

Still "Abs Diet-ing". Still no real weight loss, but I'm still
obviously putting on muscle. I should know, they all HURT!
Some of the workout days are pretty challenging, I'm really
out of shape after my foot surgery. And boy do my Abs hurt.
There are lots of Abs exercises, unsurprisingly enough.

But I love the diet, I really never am hungry, something pretty
rare for me. Even if it doesn't work, it is a good way to
eat. I hope it works, though. It is one I could stay on
pretty much forever.

The author really got into smoothies - something I've tried
a few times but never cared much about. Until I tried his.
He's got about 50 recipes for them, and they involve oatmeal,
peanut butter, and lots o' good and filling things. Yum!
I look forward to them in the morning.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Abs ahoy!

Yay, Friday, Friday, Yay!
It was quite the long week at work - lots to do.
I'm really looking forward to a quiet weekend.

Not much going on. I tried "The Abs Diet" this week, because
nothing else seems to be working. I love the food, and the
fact that I am very satisfied by it, and never hungry. There
are also a lot of weight lifting and abs exercises that go
with the diet.

They were nothing short of miraculous. I felt better and stronger
every day, until today. I think I pulled a major hamstring
muscle doing leg curls, and my leg kept giving out on me.
I think I'll skip the exercise tonight - it is a major leg
workout.

So I feel better, and stronger, but unfortunately I haven't
actually lost any weight... Well, I'll keep going on it for
a couple of weeks, because I like the food. I may also be
gaining muscle weight, masking any effects. If it doesn't
work, I'm clean out of ideas. I've tried everything at this
point, and they'd have to invent gene technology to help me
fight off this flab.

And now....weekend!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The rollercoaster comes to a stop...

The hell-on-wheels kitties that we were watching just returned
home. It seems so peaceful!

They were quite the handful. Every hour, it seemed there was a
huge crash and they had gotten into something else. They
tipped over a huge stack of pots, dropped the full water pitcher
off the counter - flooding the kitchen floor, tipped over pails
and brooms, kicked the baby-gate down the stairs, ripped up a
full roll of paper towels, pulled the bags of cat and dog treats
off the top shelf and ripped them open, etc, etc, etc.

This house must have been like a huge amusement park to them.
I bet they are sad that they had to leave Disneyland. We,
however, all breathed a little sigh of relief. The three of
us were no match for them.

If you want to feel better about your own rotten pets, take in
someone else's for a week!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fred! no, George! oh, whatever


The 2 visiting Cats - can't tell 'em apart.

Us = 0, the Animals = 100

The household has been quite lively with the addition of the 2
cats and a turtle. The kittys think they have gone to some kind
of kitty resort.

They came from a small apartment, and once they got comfortable,
they spend a lot of time rocketing around the house. Or sitting
on top of the refrigerator. Or hiding behind the spa. Or bouncing
off of the other pets. Or knocking lots of things over, or.....

Fred and George (the 2 cats - and we have no idea which is which -
they look a lot alike) are cute enough when they are sitting still,
but then there is all the rest of the time. It's been fun,
but only because we know they are going back to their owner in
a couple of days.

Otherwise, we finally finished up all the Doctor Who, Torchwood and
Sarah Jane episodes. They all dovetailed in the final Doctor Who
show. Woo-hoo. What a wiz-bang ending! It still was very sad, and
I was surprised it bothered me so much. Hats off to the creators.

Since we watched all of the above over the last 2 months or so, and
we are finally done - we have to find a new diversion.
What will it be?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A night at the zoo...

So we went to see our friend David in the hospital. And then drove
(or tried to drive) over to his place to pick up his 2 cats and
bring them home to take care of them for a couple of days. They
were getting mighty lonely.

And ran sprang into the Aquatenial parade dowtown. It took 45
minutes to battle our way through the insane traffic and crowds,
and dodging the parade, to get to his place. We grabbed the
cats fast and got out of there. Tomorrow we'll go back for the
turtle.

The cats were surprisingly good in the car, they've been on
some long car trips recently. We got them home to introduce them
to our brood. We were most worried about the hyper dog (who
hates other dogs.) He was super excited and followed them
around, licking their heads and drooling on them. He thinks
we brought him home two fuzzy toys.

The old dog is un-phased by the entire thing. The cats are
curious, but not upset. That went so well, they can be our
unruly pets! We were braced for lots of hissing and fighting.
Instead I think it is rather exciting for them all.

We might even get some sleep. (Unless they all go nova in the
middle of the night, when the novelty wears off).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Webbie things

Working during the summer seems more and more difficult. It is
so nice out, I wish I could go out and play more. But no, gotta
earn that paycheck. Darn. I would make such a great rich person
(the kind that doesn't have to work.)

I've found the usefulness of blogs. I found out a close friend of
mine was in the hospital, and then later that he was back in and
having surgery this morning, through his Live Journal page.
(He actually had told Cay the 1st time, but I saw the journal
before I got home). Such a weird method of communication, but
it actually works pretty well.

Another friend of mine feels like he is still in contact with
me because he reads this blog. Of course it is only a one way
communication - I have no idea what is happening to him!

All the things that have come about from the web are still so
strange and wonderful. I'm having a hard time remembering life
"before the web" B.W.?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

3 years!

I just posted a new Uncomfortable Questions show. This is
my 3rd anniversary show. It is hard to believe I started it
3 years ago. I was in such a different place in life. I was
pretty depressed, and wondering a lot about the meaning of love
and life and friendship. I'm amazed I've stuck with it, even
though I had to go to a monthly, rather than weekly show.

The guests were harder to come by the past year, but then again
I wasn't as active in looking for them. But every time I thought
about quitting the show, another guest would show up, just in
time. I still have 2 more in the pipe, so it seems it will still
go on a bit more.

A show takes about 10 or more hours to record and edit, and it is
hard to find the time to do it. But when I put up another one,
I am proud of the show, and want to continue.

This show is with a man from Finland, and really a fun one. He has
really pondered the philosophies of life, quite beyond most.
It must be somthing about Europe, the guys from England also were
pretty amazing. My theory is that they have pubs, where people
get a bit tipsy and discuss the meaning of life on a regular
basis.

That doesn't seem to happen in America. It seems our bars are a
different animal. We usually just get drunk and stupid. I want
my own neighborhood pub, where I while away the hours talking
deep thoughts with the regulars. But then, I wouldn't need the
show, would I?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dashing to the Grave

Whew! Life continues racing by. I'm running as fast as I can,
to do my daily life. Lots of work, took a new hire to the Mall
of America for dinner, some longer days at work, trying to edit
the show, do the daily tasks, and get enough sleep.

There doesn't seem to be enough time. I wonder what enough is?
If I had twice as much time in a day, would I just pack more in?
I would like to have a few more hours each day, just to do
something relaxing and entertaining. You know, "for fun", instead
of "have to do".

I guess I know there won't ever be time to stop and smell the
roses. It makes me a little sad. I'll just race until I die,
and I can't think of a different way to do it.

I wonder how other people solve this problem? I keep cutting
more time wasters out of my life, but it doesn't seem to help.
I haven't watched T.V. in 5 years, I try not to surf the web
too much, I keep errands to a minimum, and yet... there still is
no time. Weird.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yawn .... Sunday night already?

Never enough time. The weekend is nearly over. Where did it go?
I slept a lot, I was sleep deprived from last weekend, and
pretty much the whole week.

Not feeling my best, either. Everything in my body is
really stiff and hurts, I'm not sure why! I hate it when
you have random days of feeling like crap, for no particular
reason. Too bad, because the weather has been spectacular!

I spent most of today editing the next Uncomfortable
Questions show. I'm having to learn a lot more about dynamic
filters and compression, and finally got a program named
Levelator that fixed most of the problems I was struggling
with. I recorded this show through SIP instead of Skype and
ended up with a huge sound editing headache.

I'm about half done, which means the show will be late again.
Good thing I don't get paid for doing the show. (Course if I
did, it wouldn't be late!) Money is such a motivator for me....

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Work is really a lot of Work...

I was right. I don't like work as much as "fun".
Totally back to the grind. I was in training for an upcoming
product most of the day, and am back battling some system
installs that refuse to work. At least there is lots going
on. I am definitely not bored!

I finally got caught up on all the mail and bills and stuff
at home I just had to get done. Now it is time to think
about editing the next show already. This is another one
from Finland - should be a fun one, but there is a lot of
the interview. Another tough editing job!

Watching the road construction is interesting. They came in
with really big machines and pulled up all the pavement and
roadbed. They dug out the border area next to the road to
uncover the water pipes. We are hooked up to pipes running
down the sidewalks from the fire hydrants. Our street looks
more like a Moonscape than a street. They built big gravel
ramps so we could get to our driveways from the dirt road
that is now about 2 feet lower than our driveways.

It is noisy, inconvenient, and pretty ugly. It will be
interesting (and a relief) to see it when it is done.
And I'll be able to sleep in past 6:30 a.m. (that is the
time they drive in all the heavy machinery to start construction
at 7 a.m. sharp!)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Holy Cow, that was fun!

I'm finally home from 4 days of partying at the science fiction
convention. Dear me, that was an awfully good time. The convention
is huge, over 3000 people, but it was amazingly well run. I was
very impressed. The room parties were startling elaborate. Some
of those hotel rooms were converted into Willy Wonka Chocolate
Factories, Pirate Ships, and Federation Starships with transporters.

The love and energy the fans put into this convention was beyond
anything I've seen before. It was like returning home, except
someone rebuilt the house in a huge and elaborate manner.

Completely unexpectedly, I connected up with some old friends that
I haven't seen for years. Some of them I haven't seen for 12 to 16
years! One was an old roommate of mine, and we instantly rebonded.
It was just like the old days where we always stayed up half the
night talking. We kept holding hands and realizing how much we
missed each other. Cool! We'll be seeing a lot more of each other.

Overall the weekend was a wonderful time. However, I can't believe
I have to go back to work tomorrow. The time blazed by in a flash.
(And I'm hardly rested - there were some pretty late nights!)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Change of Plans

The holiday weekend is turning out differently than I thought.
Cay was going off to a Science Fiction convention he had been
wanting to check out that his friends are going to. I was
going sit blissfully on my butt at home, and have a little
time to myself.

But due to various things, I got roped into going, as of this
morning. Peace and harmony in the family and all that....

So I'm going to the convention, starting after work today.
I haven't been to one in 16 years, (I used to run one of
the big conventions here, in another life.)

Hmmm, it sounds way more ambitious than I am up for, with my
foot still a bit out of sorts. I'm too old, I'm too fat,
conventions are for the young, I'm not part of that community
anymore, oh pooh, I'm out of excuses.

Hopefully I can find some things I enjoy (like sitting around).
I'm really a total Dr.Who and Anime fan, but I don't enjoy talking
to others about it. I do it at home, in secret.
And wash my hands afterwards....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sum-Sum-Summertime

You know you are getting old when you enjoy NOT doing things,
as much as you enjoy doing things. It used to be that I always
had to be going somewhere, or actively meeting with people,
going to a party, catching a friend's band in a bar.

This summer, I really feel like I've slowed down. I enjoy
watching a video, playing a game, walking around my yard and
looking at the masses of flowers that seem to be everywhere.
The warm breezes and lush greenness gives everything a sleepy,
dreamy quality. Like it is all a picture book, and not quite
real, but I don't want to wake up from the dream.

One morning this week, I drank some Ethiopian coffee from
Caribou (super caffeinated!) and the whole world felt like it
snapped into focus. I was vividly aware of my surroundings
on my drive to work. It was weird. It is like I really am
asleep most of the time, and it takes a big dose of coffee
to make me see things are they really are.

I would drink more coffee, but after awhile it makes my heart
skip beats, which is rather uncomfortable. So I guess I'll
just drift along, in my sleepy world....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pooh, Pooh!

Yes, it is back to the work grind, after such a nice weekend.
I want the entire summer off to play! Not that I've actually
had a summer off in a very long time.

So little time to play as an adult. We work the bulk of our
lives away, never getting to really enjoy our hard earned money.
The whole system seems rather wrong. You have time off when you
are young and have no money, or when you are really, really old,
and are too tired and creaky to have adventures.

Summer breezes whisper into my mind, "Come out, come out!
Why are you in that office building, with all those machines?
Look at how decked out I am with trees and flowers, just for
you. Why are you working?"

Hush. I have 3 conference calls in a row, and then I have to
set up these Linux machines, and run these 100 testcases....
oh, bother! It is all passing me by.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Friend waters beer for party (hoping that it will grow!)

The Peonies finally make a showing

Spectacular

Yesterday was the perfect day. It was 80 degrees, sunny, breezy,
and a great day to enjoy the Solstice, longest day, and Cay's
birthday barbeque. We invited a small group of people to have
a lay back day to grill, talk and soak up the summer weather,
that has finally decided to come.

There were 10 of us, and we ate and talked and just enjoyed
being outside. It must have been fun, it went for 8 hours!
One of those days you are just glad to be alive, and being
with your friends. I would like a ton more of those days in
my life.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Good = Nothing to say

Nothing new, really. I haven't said much, because there is just
nothing to report. I guess that is a good thing!

Work has been fine, health has been fine, home is fine.
How dull! Actually I've been enjoying work and enjoying summer.
I still haven't managed to ride my bike, even though I pulled
it out of the basement and got it all ready. This weekend, for
sure? Gotta kick up that exercise....

Still working on improving Japanese reading and writing, having
a ball watching a pile of the new Doctor Who and Torchwood T.V.
shows from England. Practicing new songs for Karaoke. Not much
in the stress department.

Too much partying in store (for my waistline). A Birthday party
tonight for all the friends June birthdays (there is a passel of
them). Tomorrow a relaxed barbeque for Cay's Birthday, and to
enjoy the lovely weather.

Things are good (finally), I hope they stay that way all summer!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Me and my show are back online

Yes indeed, after a 2 month hiatus, I just put up a new (very
short) show. I had received a 10 minute piece from a listener,
so I put that up, and added 5 minutes of musings and thoughts
I've been having on fairness. Get it, as usual at:
www.uncomfortable-questions.com

Then I finally got inspired enough to continue and contacted the
guy in Finland I was supposed to interview. He agreed to do the
interview today, and we were off and running.

I used SIP (Gizmo) instead of Skype to do the call. The connection
was much better and faster than Skype, I always have problems with
overseas calls on Skype. However the recording feature was more
uneven. My voice was much louder and echo-y than with Call
Recorder. Nevertheless, it is a much better option for overseas
calls. There is someone I've wanted to interview in Australia
for quite awhile, this would make that more possible.

I also have a line on two more people to do interviews. July 15th
will be my 3 year Anniversary of doing Uncomfortable Questions.
Kind of neat that I've been doing it that long!

My healing proceeds, my doc says at the 3 month mark, my foot
should stop swelling and hurting. (That is about 3 more weeks).
I hope I can walk farther than I can now! 1 mile and I'm totally
done for. I'm not giving up on traveling overseas yet (that takes
huge amounts of walking, compared to a road trip in the states).
I'll give it a few more months to see where I'm at. With my luck
I'll be fine, but gas prices will be totally prohibitive!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hungry and tired, but pleased

I'm so hungry! It is another 900 calorie day. Some of those are
pretty rough. Tomorrow is 1200 calories. I want to go to bed,
just so I can wake up and eat breakfast! Is it working? I really
don't know. I've lost about 6 pounds, but it is the same weight
I keep losing over and over, because something happens (surgery,
winter, plain old hunger) and I put it right back on.

In other news, work is going spectacularly well. They really like
me! I guess if one can't be independently wealthy (my first choice),
this isn't bad. They have done extremely well by me this year,
and shown their appreciation in a myriad of means - way, way
beyond what I would have expected.

I really am going to bed. I'm very short on sleep - I keep staying
up too late, and then the trucks and tractors come rolling in
at 6:30 a.m. every morning for the huge road construction project
on the street out front. They are still putting in gas pipes, and
starting to run the temporary water pipes, before they remove the
whole road bed. This will probably go on all summer. I think they
should do it more quietly. Or at least not start until a more
civilized hour. Like 9 am or so...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Nice Day...Or Is It?

It was so beautiful out today, on the drive to work. The sky was
the most gorgeous shade of blue, the trees were the perfect shade
of thick green. The lakes were sparkling blue, the clouds were
white and billowy. The sun was warm and inviting, the temperature
perfect. I was suddenly taken with just how captivating it all
was.

My first reaction was to thank the Goddess, or whatever created
this world. My second reaction was to remember I didn't really
believe that. That even if the world was created, I think it
may have been a larger co-creation of which we are a part.
Something much bigger, stranger, wilder, and vibrant than the
typical visions of the Gods. Then I was amazed at how trivial
mankind could be, but how mighty and amazing and rich in dreams
and imagination. Could such passion and striving be for nothing?
So I didn't even know who to thank for such a lovely day...

Is being grateful a part of our nature, or is it drummed
into us from birth? Are we "supposed" to feel grateful or is
it a true thing? Then I was amused that I couldn't just enjoy
the beauty without going into my typical analyzing reverie.
Thats what it is like in my head, all the time.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Floating Along

Floating along. I am enjoying things, but can't get motivated to
do much. I should get back to doing my show, but I can't seem
to get started. I guess I needed a break after this tough winter
of sickness and medical procedures.

I'm hoping motivation will strike me on it's own, and I can
get back to creating and achieving. In the meantime, I'm studying
my Japanese writing, exercising, playing some video games and
watching too much Doctor Who, and enjoying having summer
weather again.

We looked up how to build a sound booth, and are making plans
to build one for Cayenne for his recording. Our street has
been closed for construction, and when they aren't digging it
up, we can't believe how quiet the neighborhood is! (We live on
a very busy street). We can hear birds, and the neighbor raking,
and sounds we've never heard here before, between the trucks
and the planes - it is kind of a constant din.

Neither one of us is terribly handy, so this should be really
entertaining to see if we really can build it. Could be a comedy
in itself!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Catching up on fantasy land!

Yikes, this week went by fast!
A friend gave us the 9th Doctor Who episodes, and we were lost.
I haven't seen Doctor Who since the Tom Baker years, and had
no idea what was going on with the series.

Watched the entire 13 episodes this week, and were completely
sucked in. What a fun show! I love the mad creativity of that
show, and totally loved the new Doctor. I was dubious that anyone
could take the place in my heart for the 4th Doctor, but
Christopher Eccleston completely did it!

He reminds me a lot of myself - (not necessarily a good thing!)
I am so sad he did only one season, I didn't want to let him go!

I don't care how old I get - I still love wonderful geeky Science
Fiction and Fantasy things. My imagination never becomes less.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Saturday was a nice day, and then a quick hailstorm

The spring flowers - really late! It's June, darn it!

This is some party

Do I appreciate being alive? After being scared about my heart test
last week, I thought a bit more about being alive. I don't want to
die, I can't imagine ever being ready for it. My body is already
failing in lots of small ways, I'm hoping it doesn't start failing
in big ways, anytime soon.

So unfair. So cruel, this process called life.

I wish we could choose how long we could stay. Like you choose
how long you can go on vacation, before you run out of money and
have to return to work.

I would overstay my welcome, like the last guest at a party,
unwilling to leave, because there may be nothing for me at home.
This isn't the funnest party ever, but it is an interesting one.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I seem to have survived

Well, I am quite surprised that I survived my medical tests.
They were scary, quite uncomfortable, and not a good time at all.
I don't know what the results are, other than I lived through
them. I take that as a good sign. I was so relieved they were
over, I didn't even ask how I would get the results.

I like a lot of things about living in the here and now -
especially the internet - but medical tests are still a bit
barbaric, on the whole. Even when they are using supposedly
high-tech equipment. It always involves needles, painful blood
pressure cuffs, and an amazing array of uncomfortable things
that can be done to your body.

The medical future can't get here soon enough for me.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stressed Out By My Stress Test

I have to have a stress test tomorrow at the hospital. I'm totally
freaked out about it. I had one of the traditional stress tests
about 7 years ago, (and failed). Because of my asthma, I couldn't
get my heart rate to anywhere near my target heart rate.

On my pre-op EKG, it showed an abnormality. A Right Bundle Branch
Block. Lots of research later on the web, it seems this isn't
horrible in itself, but my doc, thought it was high time to get
a stress test. Since I had such difficulty before, and I just
had the foot surgery, I'm having a "Pharmacologic Stress Test
with Nuclear Imaging".

They shoot you up with a drug that makes your heart go fast,
simulating exercise, and then they fill you full of some
radioactive dye and put you in this camera thing for a 1/2 hour.
Then they do it again after awhile to get resting images.

I've felt stressed out about this all week. If my heart doesn't
want to go that fast, I'm not sure it is a good idea to make it.
Maybe it is just being sensible, and knows it shouldn't
do that. All week I was convinced that they were going to
kill me for sure, with their drugs and IV's and nuclear stuff.

Maybe I'm just overwhelmed by too much medical tests and needles
this year. Wish me luck, and hope I pass my test! A guy at
work told me to "study hard" for my test! :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rites of Spring

In between getting everything ready for the party, we indulged
in Minnesota spring "rite of passage". We braved the crowds at
the garden nursery and got flowers and plants. We put most
of the flowers in pots, and set them around the yard, but this
got me in a gardening mood, and I felt well enough to weed 3
large areas along the borders of the yard.

I found that most of the perennials I put in last year made it
through the tough winter. The yard now looks very nice and all
is ready for the huge barbeque party tomorrow. I found all the
new muscles one finds in the spring from crawling around weeding
the gardens. Ow, ow OW!

My foot is holing up pretty well. I can go shopping and do things
around the house, just fine. I still don't think I could go for
a long walk, and my walking speed is really slow!

Here is to nice weather for the party! It looks good, but a little
on the cold side. A bunch of bad weather and tornadoes went
through the northern suburbs this afternoon, but we didn't even
get rain. So - on with the barbecuing madness!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Party Time!

Things are picking up around here. We have started all the cleaning,
shopping and trying to remember everything for the huge Memorial
Day Barbeque that we throw with our friend Joel every year. It
is quite the fun event, and probably the only time our yard and
house look good. Well, at least clean!

Joel and Chris are planning their fabulous food, they take it
far beyond barbeque fare. Chris does Korean barbeque, and Joel
has gotten a huge Wok and burner, and whips up the most amazing
things. There is usually home brew, and tables groaning with
food. Wait, wasn't I dieting?

I'm walking faster and better every day. My limp is pretty much
gone, and I can go at about 1/2 speed now. The pain is also
nearly gone - just a little residual soreness. I have to start
thinking about doing my show again. Maybe after the party. I
have my hands full!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fleeting Spring Weekend

Waah! How can it be Sunday night already?
I don't want to go back indoors to work!

It was a nice spring weekend, and just driving and doing errands
was quite pleasant. Green trees and flowers everywhere. It is
finally spring at it's finest. Now I'm in a gardening mood,
and almost able to walk around to get things done. Maybe I'll
be able to plant some flowers next week.

I think the foot turned a corner this weekend, after more than
5 weeks. I was able to walk through some stores, and it stopped
being so painful, I couldn't even touch it. The bones seems to
be doing some serious healing, I can feel them doing something
in there.

The diet is working very well again, now that I'm back on it.
I went through the 900 / 1200 calorie rotation week. Next
week it is 1500 whole lovely calories, before rotating back
to the tough week. The 6 1/4 pounds lost this week helped me
overcome the hungries! That and a friend at work who is on
the same diet. It really helps to whine "I'm so hungry, I'll
die!" - at someone who is going through the same thing.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Still Pondering

Happiness. I'm still thinking about that.
Being an American, we think we should be happy. We are guaranteed
the right to the Pursuit of Happiness. But we aren't guaranteed
that we will find it.

I keep thinking something is wrong in that I am rarely happy.
I'm not all that unhappy, most of the time, I'm just sort of going
along. Is that really the way most people are? Maybe that is the
norm, and being happy a lot is an ideal.

Still, I'd rather be happier, than not. I think I would be happier
if I were rich, healthy, and surrounded by friends. But maybe I
wouldn't be.

It would be nice to give it a try, though ;-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Where is Happy?

I realized this morning, that I'm just not happy anymore.
Where did it go? Yes it was a really tough year, with
way too much sickness, and surgery, cold weather, layoffs,
sick pets, and steadily mounting food and gas bills.

But was that enough to get me down? The job I loved so
much if full of stress, but I'm used to that. It seems no
one at work is happy. No one seems to be having fun, where
we used to have quite a bit. Why has that changed there too?
And can I fix it, or do anything about it?

My body is filled with tension and a vague unease.
I was driving along to work and I asked my body, "What
is wrong? What do you want?" I thought maybe it was unhappy
because I'm on the 3rd day of 900 calories. But that wasn't
it. It felt good to be losing weight.

I think it wants green trees, sunshine, and play.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bath from Heaven

I had a bath! The first one in 5 weeks! (no not the first time
I've cleaned up) but the first time I was allowed to soak in a
tub for that time. The pin holes in my toes finally healed up,
enough to put them in soaking water.

I really like baths over showers. Mostly because everything hurts
all the time, and nothing sets it right like a lot of hot water.
I am a happy woman. Or at least a more comfortable one. It made
my foot feel better too.

I'm getting around a little better every day, but there is still
some pain and soreness. I can do a very slow walk with a bit of
a limp, but I'm getting around work to go where I need to.

I started back on The Rotation Diet on Monday with a friend at
work. It was working well for me, when I suddenly had the surgery
and put back on the weight I had lost while sitting on my butt
for that month.

It is fun to do with someone at work because we are both doing
the 850 calorie phase at the same time, so when we run into each
other in the hall, we can whine about how hungry we are, and talk
incessantly about food. We compared lunches today. Trying to
figure out how to eat that little and not suffer is quite an art.

I HAVE to get some excess weight off of this foot, if I have any
hope of walking well. I hope that is enough impetus to keep me
at it. This time for sure!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Brief rest

Yay, weekend! I made it through one of those hair-raising days at
work where 2 critical projects collide on your schedule, and
everyone needs something RIGHT NOW! At one point I was on the
phone trying to get something worked out with a developer,
while my project manager was trying to call me and email me,
2 more emails came in, needing something and 2 people showed
up in my cube needing something else. I started laughing at that
point and just enjoyed the ride.

Being barely able to walk made it even funnier. I ended up
using the knee walker the last half of the day to race down the
halls and to the labs. I was far too sore to walk. Today my
plans definitely involve the couch, and putting my feet up.

The bad news. I think I am getting Cay's cold. I got up and
took every immune booster and vitamin I had in the house -
but I think it may be too late. I hope I don't get it - it seems
to be one of those that has a bad cough and chest congestion.
I prefer the kind that stays in your nose (if I had to pick).

The old dog is still doing pretty well after the scare a couple
of weeks back. He is getting around, fully hydrated, eating well.
He seems quite prepared to stay around longer. I wonder if he'll
make it to 15? I'm just amazed he is still going, with all the
heart and arthritis medicine he is on. What a trouper. (But
it still won't keep me from whining, if I get this blasted cold!)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

She walks, she talks, she crawls on her belly....

I drove to work and I walked today! (A little). I put
on a shoe and walked without crutches. I did have to
use the knee cart for all the meetings on the far side
of the building. Probably will for a few days.

My foot is pretty darn sore, and my leg muscles are really
weak from not being used for a month. But this is big
progress towards getting back to normal. I am tired but
pleased. Oh, and the shower this morning was awesome!
I feel so clean!

Cay is sick with a spring cold, but otherwise things are
looking up in these here lands.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Free at Last .... Ouch!

It is National Pin Out Day! Hallelujah! Yes indeed, the pins came
out of the foot this morning. It hurt a little, and bled a bit.
And continued to hurt. My foot knows "Something Was Disturbed"
down there. And it isn't sure it likes it.

There is a lessening of pressure where the pins came out, but
otherwise it's all pretty sore. So, I still couldn't put on a
shoe, I'm still in the surgical boot. I was able to walk a few
more steps without crutches, but continued to use the knee cart
around the halls at work.

Tomorrow is the next milestones. I can put on my shoe. I can
drive for the first time in a month! I can take a real shower!
I've been cleaning up by sitting in a lawn chair in the bathtub,
with my foot over the edge outside, and dumping water on myself.
Not the most efficient (or effective).

The doctor says I can walk without crutches, but warns that I
wont get very far. So now I do whatever my body lets me get away
with, before it hollers. My next goal - to soak my tired
muscles in the bath. No soaking for 1 more week :( The tub is
the final frontier! (Well that and actually walking more than
a few feet .....)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I am soooooo ready!

It is about 4 weeks after the foot operation now. The pins should
come out on Wednesday. I'm finally feeling really well enough to
be impatient with the whole thing. I've been chafing all weekend
over my lack of mobility. I'm missing a May Day party that I really
wanted to go to, because I can't walk far enough to get to it.

I really want to walk, and work out, and bike. My body hasn't
moved enough in the last few weeks, and it is starting to complain,
loudly. I want to be able to soak in the bathtub. I want my foot
back!

I always think I'll like the idea of an enforced rest, but the
reality is, it sucks after about a week! Well, happy late May day,
and stay tuned for my personal happy Pin Out day!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hazy blur

It took until yesterday to get over my exhaustion from the lack
of sleep from the weekend. Work has been awfully busy, and I'm
dashing from one meeting to another on my little knee cart.
I'm completely wiped by the end of every day. The week just
went by in a blur of tiredness.

Last night the garage door opener completely broke, and the
door release also didn't work. We have a really old garage,
and it doesn't have an access door. There was no way to get
the car out. Luckily Cay had his car out, and could come get
me at work. He had to smash the side window in the garage,
so the repairman could get in to fix the opener. $260 later,
it is all better.

Between the dog and the door breaking, I'm $1000 poorer this
week. It is a bit discouraging to have those kind of unplanned
expenses. The handyman also finished the basement today - another
$1000. I did have his fee saved up, though. And the house will
need painting next year, and we need a new sidewalk..... It
really never ends! Oh well, it keeps me from quitting my job
and becoming a beach bum.

I'm able to take a few more steps each day, and the foot looks
like it is healing up. It still is a little sore, but I think
it is just annoyed that the pins are still sticking out if it.
6 more days until the pins come out!
(I hope - it does depend on the x-ray being o.k., but I refuse
to admit that it will be anything other than great!)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Back At It!

So it is back to work, after a not-very-restful weekend.
I am still scooting around the halls on my knee walker, though
I can take a few steps while making lunch, or going to the
restroom. I am counting down the days until these *!#$%&!* pins
come out. If all goes well, I am 1 week and 2 days from pins out
day!

A day or two after that, I can probably take my first soak in
the tub. My body is so out of whack, every muscle in it hurts.
That first bath will be right next to heaven. I wonder if my
vision of heaven is a hot bath. (Well it is right now...)
I'll proceed to bigger and better things, after that is achieved.

The dog looked pretty good this morning. Alert, eating, and as
annoying and obnoxious as ever. It is good to have him back for
whatever little time is left. Be happy, my dog.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The dog made it...

The dog survived. They got him rehydrated, stabalized, and his
heart rate down at about 11 pm last night. We went and got him
today, and he is sleeping peacefully at home. The little creep
enjoyed his "outing". He loves going to the vet. He loves going
anywhere. We call him "adventure dog".

So this little bout cost me $666. I am telling people that Satan
saved my puppy. Of course since the major problem was colitis and
dehydration that aggravated his heart, I can say Satan is in my
dog's butt.

He is on antibiotics, in addition to his $200 a month pile
of heart medicine. We are supposed to take him back to our
vet next week, and maybe get a heart echo cardiogram on him
again. Why do my pets always have insanely expensive medical
problems in their later life?

I had a cat who cost me $1800 and then dropped dead 2 weeks
later. It is unclear how long the dog will last, but he is
still happy, alert, and interested in life. I just won't give
up on them, until they are really suffering, or ready to go.
I wish death was a lot quicker and easier for everyone.

Besides he gives me hope since I'm having lots of medical
problems. But watching him, he just keeps going, long after he
should have, in spite of all the medical problems. Maybe I will
be able to do the same.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

vs. the grind of not surviving?

Whoa! And things just got a little tougher. Cay had to go work on
the filming of the local T.V. show he is part of: "Drinking with Ian",
last night. He set food up for me, and put everything where I could
reach it, and went off before I got home from work.

When I got there, there were trails of diarrhea through the house.
The old dog was sick. For the next 4 hours I cleaned up dog body
fluids and had to let him out nearly every 5 minutes. Oh yeah, and
I'm supposed to stay off of the foot I just had surgery on. My
foot started to hurt something awful, and I just couldn't keep going.

I called Cay away from his filming. He stayed up the rest of the
night, taking care of the dog. The poor dog has an enlarged heart
and is on 4 kinds of medicine, and he didn't sleep either. He
had to go out every few minutes into the rain and snow. This
went on for 16 hours. He was looking pretty awful.

We got him cleaned up a bit this morning and the poor thing slept
a little. Then he started refusing food, I hadn't seen him drink,
and he started shaking all over. I felt his heart, and it was
really fast and irregular, and I was pretty sure he was dehydrated.
We took him too the emergency vet at 4 pm. He is still there,
and now they want to keep him overnight.

They are rehydrating him, but his heart rate is so elevated, if
they don't get it down, he'll only last a couple of days. They
want to use a beta blocker, but say that is pretty dangerous too.
It might slow things down too far, and put him into congestive
heart failure. So now we wait.

I knew he wasn't going to last a lot longer, but he's been with
us for over 14 years. The intrepid dog that traveled all over the
country with us, lived with us in 3 different houses, and always
kept going, through eye surgery, 2 knee surgeries, and a heart
problem for the last year and a half. He seems so indestructible.
It is hard to face that he is not.

I think he's had a pretty good run, and a very comfortable life,
I just want him to go easy, without pain and suffering. And then
it gets you thinking about death, in general, and how darned sad
and unfair it is.

Life is too goddamned short.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The grind of surviving

Every other day was pretty hard this week. I had one good day,
and the rest were exhausting. I get really tired at work, and
then come home and lay there, spent for 2 hours. Then I recover
a little, do something for an hour, then the difficulty of
getting washed up without getting my foot wet, and off to bed.
I just didn't expect this surgery to take so much out of me.

At work it is all I can do to keep going, keep moving. Trundling
around on my knee cart is a surprising amount of work! I was
happy to get my stitches out, now it is 2 more weeks of this
until the doctor will consider taking the pins out. I so can't
wait! It is still unclear If I'll be able to walk right away,
after the pins are out, or if there is more limited mobility.

There is nothing else to report, just getting by takes up all
my time and energy. Pretty basic stuff.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

As predicted...

I slept really hard, and everything seems to have healed up
and got stronger. As predicted, the exhausting moving about
yesterday did make me better. I was much stronger today. I
got about easier on the knee walker thing, I could feel my
muscles working as scooted through the halls. I didn't get
tired until about 1 pm, then recovered and made it through
the rest of the day.

I was tired when I got home, but not half dead, like yesterday.
I am a little encouraged. This is 2 weeks after the surgery,
and I hit a turning point for the good. Tomorrow I get my
stitches out. Another milestone. Then it is the 2 to 4 week
stretch after that until the pins come out. When that happens,
I can drive again!

I've been commuting almost every day with my friend Sharon,
who I work with. That turns out to be fun, we've always liked
to talk, and we can get a lot more of it in this way. With
gas at $3.45 a gallon, we are even talking about car pooling
even after I can drive again.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Phoenix my a**

I had an especially tough day, and I remembered why I named
this blog "Phoenix". It seems I am always rising from the
ashes, just to crash and burn again. I repeat many things in
my life, over and over.

This healing up from foot surgery is so much like 4 years
ago, when I had surgery on the same foot. Or just the long
climb to feeling better, is like the last 4 surgeries, or
recoveries from so many illnesses.

But I keep climbing out of the hole, returning to health and
a more normal life, only to fall back in. If I'm good at
anything, it is "recovering". What an annoying skill to have.

Today I used the knee walker at work. It was the first time
I've really been up and about, and it was exhausting! By
noon, I wanted to go home and sleep. I made it to 5:30,
just barely, and went home early. I spent the next 2 hours
sacked out on the couch, unable to move. I miss the electric
wheelchair!

But this will make me stronger, and get some strength and
muscle mass back on me. As always, what is "good" for you,
is not the same as what is fun....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Progress, of a sort

I turned in my wheelchair, and rented a knee walker thing.
It is like the roll-a-bout, but those are the premium model.
This one I got from my orthopedic center, and it definitely
a cheaper model. The pads are a lot thinner, it is much less
comfortable on the leg, and it doesn't fold flat.
How annoying. I hope I don't need it for the whole month
until my pins come out.

I am using the crutches around the house, and can even take
a few shuffling steps without them, (in my padded post-op shoe)
if my hands are full. However the crutches keep aggravating my
arm, which got sore from using them. The tiredness is also still
there, so I'm taking it super easy this weekend, hoping that
next week will be easier.

I'm reading super technical documents for work, interspersed
with raising Pokemon on my DS game system. It strikes a nice
balance in my boredom from limited mobility. It isn't worth
much, but my Starly and my Piplip can sure kick butt.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Totally Beat.

Totally. 3 days back at work, and I'm really sagging. I was getting
frustrated, and had to remind myself that I'm only 9 days out of
surgery. It is o.k. to feel like crap.

I was making such good headway on diet and exercise before the
operation, that I'm feeling overwhelmed about having to make that
uphill climb again. To say nothing about most of the weight I just
lost coming back quickly.

To combat it a little, I'm giving up the powered chair, and getting
a roll-a-bout. This will get me up and moving around a lot more.
I pushed back the strict diet to next week. I seem to need the
food for healing, right now.

Some days I have a good, hopeful attitude about all the trials
I've had to overcome. Other days, I'm just really, really tired.
This is one of those.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Not at 100%

Work went o.k., and the powered wheelchair was a big hit. I had to
fight of people who wanted to take it for a spin. I left it there
charging up - I expect it will get some illicit use before I get in.
It came in really handy to go zipping down some long straightways.
(and it picked up some real steam!)

The only problem was the big heavy doors to the bathrooms and the
labs. Darned hard to negotiate. My foot does feel much better today
for having had the rest of not using it much at all today.

I wasn't back up to full strength, however. At about 4 pm. I
started sagging, and by 5 pm, I had nothing left. Healing, even
a small area of your body takes a lot out of you. I also was
very hungry. I tried to get back to some semblance of the diet,
but no go. My body demanded to be fed, or it would come to
a complete halt.

Hopefully tomorrow will find me stronger.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Party is Over...

Well, I wouldn't call my week at home, a party, but it is back
to work tomorrow. I can't get far on my crutches, and it was
too late to send for a knee walker or roll-a-bout, and I should
have. Those hallways at work are really long! So I sent
Cay down to the rental place nearby, to see what they had.
He came home with a compact powered wheelchair, because he
thought it was fun. It was! We drove it around the sidewalks
and driveway and had a grand time.

I will use it for the next week or so, when I need to get
to a meeting on the other side of the building, until my
stitches and bones heal up a little more. They are still
pretty tentative, as I found out this morning when the
60 pound dog flopped over onto my foot - hitting all 3 pins
and all the stitches. Yow!

It will be 70 degrees tomorrow, and I am sorry to have to
stay inside. Maybe I'll take the chair out for a joy ride.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Better Late Than....

Whew! I finally posted the next Unfomfortable Questions show!
That one was a long time coming.... It is an interesting
conversation with a career military man, not a world view I
know anything about. But he was quite nice and had some
interesting insights on war, military and governments.
For something a little different, get it at:
www.uncomfortable-questions.com.

Today I am keeping my butt planted, and trying to stay off of my
feet. I don't think I did any damage to it yesterday, but won't
know until my next x-ray. Ugh. This is boring.

So I'll watch the snow melt (it is pretty much gone!) and look
forward to temperatures in the 60's next week! Is it finally
spring? No more teasing?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fretful healing?

I was browsing the web, and found the x-ray I posted below. It
looks just like what I saw in the doctor's office when he put
my x-ray up yesterday. You can see the 3 pins in the toes.
Kinda cool. Much better than the surgery pictures I found of the
arthrodesis process!

Everyone is off somewhere today, and I think I overused the foot.
One of the pins seems to have turned a little, and I was worried
I had ruined the bond of the bone. If it isn't touching, it can't
fuse. I still don't know, but it doesn't hurt or anything. I go
back to the doctor on Wednesday. I hope it is o.k.

Otherwise I sat by the fire (yes it was snowing a little more)
and played Pokeman Pearl on my DS. I it was a lot of fun,
and I became very fond of my team of creatures. I don't
want to "catch them all"! I just want to work on the 6 I can
carry. I'm already fretting about the ones I had to put in
storage.

I finished the first pass on editing the next show, and will
try to get it posted sometime tomorrow. Life really got in the
way of this show.

This is exactly what my x-ray looks like - Cooooooool!

Friday, April 11, 2008

That's enough excitement for today!

I actually went out of the house today (to my 1st post-op
appointment). There is about an inch of ice and slush everywhere,
so I had to put a plastic bag around my foot to protect the bandages.
(I felt like a kid again - when was the last time I put a plastic
bag on my foot, before sliding it into a leaky boot?)

By the time I got to the waiting room on my crutches, I was already
tired. I haven't been off the couch (except to go up and down
the stairs) for 3 days. I wonder if I can sneak in some weight-
lifting? I don't wanna be this tired...)

I was doing well until the nurse pulled the bloody dressings
off of my foot. They were stuck to the stitches. Yow!!!! I was
rather lightheaded from the pain for awhile. I saw the x-rays,
and I could see all 3 pins (and how far they went in! Those will
be fun coming out...)

But the doctor and the nurse both said how good it all looked.
No infections, healing already, the bone fuse sites are really,
tight (can't see even a seam). I have clearance to go back to
work on Tuesday, as long as I stay off the foot, and elevate it
as much as I can.

But considering how much that little trip took out of me, I'm
going to need another 3 days to heal, and get stronger.

I think I'll curl up by the fire, for the rest of the day. It is
33 degrees out, and raining and snowing. It is cold, wet, gray, and
no fun at all!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Waiting for the handyman, or someone like him...

Recovery goes well. Still not much pain, which is being handled by
some higher doses of Ibuprophen. I'm getting around a little better
on the crutches. I suppose you get stronger as you use them, out of
necessity.

I called into work for a 2 hour presentation, I just cant leave work
alone, and enjoy my enforced rest. I wish I could go back, but just
saw a report that it may snow 1/2 foot over the next 2 days. Then
I try to imagine myself cleaning off my car, on crutches, and I
am glad I don't have to go in. Oh yeah, and I'm not allowed to
drive until the pins come out. I keep forgetting that part....

I do have my first post-op appointment on Friday morning, so I'll
still get to experience crutches in the snow. But Cay will be there
to help me, and drop me off at the door.

I'm still trying to figure out bathing. I can't find my shower bag
that goes over a cast. I'm thinking a plastic lawn chair in the tub,
and a garbage bag taped around the foot bandages might work.
Everyday, simple actions become challenging. Keeps one humble,
or something.

Otherwise, I'm waiting for the handyman to show up. He is fixing
a bunch of sheetrock in our basement that got water damaged from
various things over the years. We are painting and putting a new
floor in, and when it is done, it will look pretty spiffy!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Post-surgical, not-so-crabby musings...

I am resting comfortably on my couch, after the surgery.
I was pretty stressed out when I got there, especially after noticing
this morning that a 3rd toe was also starting to curl under, and I
wondered if the doctor would have time to fuse all three of them.
I didn't want to have to go through the healing process again!

Got to the surgery center at 9 am, the doctor agreed to do throw in
the third toe, and I was whisked into the surgery room. I was only
supposed to be under light sedation, but I don't remember a thing.
They told me afterwards that the chair was hurting my back, and I
was wiggling all over, so they really amped up the sedation.

I was out of there by 12:30pm. They couldn't figure out what to do
about pain meds, since I can't keep them down. So they just put in
an extra long block, and I'll just take Ibuprophen when that wears
off. The doctor thinks that will be enough to handle the pain. He'd
better be right! I hate pain. None so far.....

So now my foot is all bandaged, so I can't see the pins sticking out
of the toes. They stay in for 4-6 weeks until the bones fuse.
I have a surgical shoe that I can walk in, a little bit, but I still
have to use crutches. I'm inventing interesting ways to get up and
down the stairs, to go to the bathroom. I love my house, but
someday, I want a bathroom on the 1st floor! (I suppose it is at
least a form of exercise.)

Anyways, the deed is done, and now it is the road to recovery. It is
a relief to have it behind me, and to see how fast I can heal, and get
back on my feet - (literally!).

Monday, April 07, 2008

Pre-surgical crabby musings

Bah! Foot surgery tomorrow morning. Kinda makes you not want to
get out of bed. This is really stressing me out. I know it will
be fine, but I've just been tense about it for 3 days.

They should give you a couple of days worth of mild tranquilizers
before any surgery. There is no way not to worry about it,
a little. There is nothing fun about surgery.

It hurts, it messes up your life while you recover, you can't
do most of the things you want to do.

On the good news side, I'm down 7 1/2 pounds on this new diet.
And I still think 1150 calories is a feast :)