Tuesday, August 31, 2010
After weeks of staying away from work, I'm getting ready to head that way today. I knew this day was coming, but I just didn't know whether or not I'd be able to handle it. September 15th is a tax deadline, so they are requesting my help ASAP. Tax deadlines would definitely be one of the things that could motivate me to get my butt into the office. Nothing else has managed to do it. I'm feeling apprehensive, and I hope that I will be emotionally able to work at the office. They said that I could take it home if I needed to, but I would like to work there since it would be so much easier than carting a boatload of paperwork back home. Plus, my laptop is set up for the printer at the office and not the one at home.
Got butterflies? Who me?
(The image used today is a portion of an original contemporary mixed media painting by artist Diane Ackers, and it can be purchased in her Etsy shop DianeAckers. I love her use of color as well as the serene expressions on the subjects' faces. For more information, visit her at http://dianeackers.blogspot.com/ )
Thursday, August 26, 2010
While I've been dealing with my skyrocketing blood pressure, my dad decided to join the fun. He and I both have problems with something that none of our doctors have ever diagnosed. He deals with more reflux/indigestion while I have nothing but the excruciating pain in my gut. Feels like I've got knives sticking in me from the front and back and lasts for ten or more hours. Both Dad and I have had test after test, both have gone to the ER, etc. without any luck. My problem started when I was in college. Back then, I'd go to the infirmary and they would give me a sedative. Nice. Wake up twelve hours later with no pain. Unfortunately, the real world isn't so accommodating. About 15 years ago, I had an ultrasound on my gallbladder, but it showed nothing conclusive. Six years or so later, I started a battery of tests that my doctor said he could do to eliminate causes one-by-one. First, an ultrasound on the gall bladder, next an upper GI test, then a laparoscopy to look at the esophagus and stomach lining. I don't know what would have come next. The first two didn't indicate any problem, but the laparoscopy revealed several ulcers, and my doctor decided these were probably the cause of all the pain. I told him how much I doubted that since for years I had been taking massive doses of Ibuprofen to kill the pain, which had likely caused the ulcers. He refused to keep working through the tests until the ulcers cleared up. I have to confess that I was fairly disgusted with him since he wouldn't listen to me, so I never went back. And of course, my pain continued. Since then, I have been eating massive amounts of peppermint candy after reading that it helps with digestion, particularly the muscles used in the process. I can usually get some relief from the pain, but it's often after four or five hours of sheer misery. I had given up on finding a cause and had self-diagnosed myself with IBS. Plus, I have cut so many foods from my diet. Now get this--drinking too much caffeine and/or eating fatty foods cause the most pain. Aha, you say. That sounds like a gallbladder problem. Uh-uh, I say. I've had at least two ultrasounds showing nothing wrong with my gallbladder. I had given up trying to get help. Until now.
My dad has had the problem for as long as I can remember, and like mine, his pain has increased over the years. Last week, he went to the ER for the second time in a month, and once again, after load of tests on almost every organ in his body, he left knowing no more than when he arrived. However, after running a high fever over the weekend, he went back to his doctor on Monday, still in quite a bit of pain, and his doc said to go back to the hospital, that he would call ahead and get my dad admitted. The doc recommended a surgeon who began the testing again. Thankfully, this guy was willing to look carefully at the gallbladder rather than pass it by for lack of info. He decided to do surgery very late on Tuesday. Turns out, Dad's gallbladder was inflamed with infection, swollen and full of gallstones so tiny that the doctor said it was like sifting through sand. The infection could have caused worse problems had it gone unnoticed. Yesterday, I asked one of his nurses why there weren't any better tests for the gallbladder. She explained that it was like looking into a deflated balloon--it's has a thin wall, but without the air, the wall isn't stretched enough to see inside. She also told me about a test that measured the activity of the gallbladder instead of the organ itself. She was surprised neither of us had even heard of it.
So I've decided to see if I can get that test done. If I could be rid of this plaguing pain, I would be willing to undergo surgery even though I said I would never have it again (I react violently to the anesthesia).
No telling what they'd find...
(Image is entitled "Hollyhock Seeds" and can be purchased from FoundDays at Etsy.)
PS--My dad is back at home and doing just fine! Thanks for asking.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Now that I am into a more reflective time of self-examination, I'm much more aware of how seemingly unrelated events cause the most revealing thoughts to pop into my brain. Oh, it may take a few days, but it happens. For example, while getting an acupuncture treatment two weeks ago, I was telling my chiropractor--aka my acupuncturist--that I felt hyped up and couldn't relax. I had been feeling like that for several weeks, and I was erroneously thinking it was just an elevated mood. Apparently, a recently increased dosage in one of my medications was sending my blood pressure into dangerous territory. I freaked out when I got my BP reading and read about the numbers, especially the word "crisis." Yikes. Spent that day and the next four--including a weekend, which is why I couldn't get in to see my internist sooner--being extremely cautious, including making the stupid decision to stop taking most of my medications. I've been fighting taking the Hormone Replacement drugs due to the increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, and most of the other meds have some mention of the same side effects. I debated going to the Emergency Room, but part of me thought that was overreacting. As it turns out, my decision was serendipitous. One of the other meds was the one that was causing the problem. My internist, whom I saw ASAP, lectured me in no uncertain terms that I might have caused a worse situation by quitting my meds cold-turkey and that I was very fortunate indeed and to call her no matter the time, day or night, if something like that ever happened again. Phew, she chewed me out! Once it was all over and I felt calmer, I suddenly remembered something the chiropractor said about my hyperactive, manic feeling--"You jump into everything feet first, full tilt and give it 150%. You don't hold anything back, and it wears you out to do that." Of course, he had no way of knowing that it was the meds causing the problem, but I've been a patient of his for the past two+ years, so he knows me fairly well. I started going to him when I needed treatment for a pinched nerve in my neck. I forget the correct medical term, but there isn't really a nerve being pinched, although that's exactly what it feels like. Anyway, I had always viewed my initial energetic ventures into jobs and projects as stemming from a caring attitude. I always want to do everything perfectly (as if!), and I really care about the people involved. I was surprised to think that the physical aspect could have had as much of an impact as the emotional one. I've always thought that the emotional stress caused the physical problems. Maybe the combined results of both is what always pulled me down into a pit. The most unfortunate outcome, regardless of the cause, is the way others reacted to my decline, not to mention my own guilt for not meeting my own expectations. For that reason, I've been reluctant over the past year to get involved with anyone on any level to keep from feeling the pain and hurt when I don't meet their expectations.
The thought that I could get involved in something without launching myself into it is my pop-upped thought of the week.
(Image is entitled "Rocket to the Moon" and is available from Etsy shop loriontdorr. Do you see it?)
Friday, August 20, 2010
Change can be difficult.
Difficult times call for difficult measures.
Measures taken to an extreme.
Extreme means to an end.
End of life as we know it.
It doesn't have to be this way.
Way to go!
Go west, young man.
Man does not live by bread alone.
Alone in the dark.
Dark clouds raining down on me, drowning me, drowning...
Drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death.
Death of a Salesman.
Salesman of the Year.
Year after year I've tried to tell you.
You can't always get what you want.
Want is not the same thing as need.
Need to know.
How can you mend a broken heart?
Heart of Glass.
Glass of wine, a good friend, the kind of therapy that money can't buy.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack, I don't care if I never get back.
Back to the wall.
Wall of Fame.
Fame--I'm gonna live forever.
Forever and a day.
Day by day...three things that I pray...
Pray, Eat, Love.
Love of money is the root of all evil.
Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.
Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.
Could you speak up, please?
Please forgive me.
Me and You and a Dog named Boo.
Boo Hoo, I can't believe it's true.
True blue in everything we do.
Do you know the muffin man who lives on Drury Lane?
Lane with you in your embrace...
Obviously my brain took a break.
(Image is entitled "Thought Blockade" and is found at chicalookate at Etsy.)
Thursday, August 19, 2010
If not already obvious, here or in some other way, school is finally back in session!! When my other half is home, I never have any computer time. Maybe I shouldn't say never, but when I went online over the summer, more often than not he was here, and my time was very limited and not so private. The TV is usually on as well, and it's just too hard to listen to him commentate along with the sound in the background and try to make any kind of thoughtful entry. Thus, my three-in-a-row posts this week.
Today, I'm trying to talk myself into heading out to return some of those unnecessary purchases from two weeks ago. The monetary amount isn't large, but I'm determined to keep a lid on my spending habit. Having said that, yesterday I got a magazine in the mail, and H&M has an olive shirt/jacket that was shown. It's the color I've been after all summer. Having said that, it's a buy that I don't consider one of impulse, and it will be very wearable with the limited wardrobe I've been in for almost a year. And of course being H&M, the price isn't outrageous. When I called last night to check on the availability, they said they could hold it until closing tonight.
On a final note, since I had decided to venture out today, I called last night to see if my mom wanted to have lunch with me. Unfortunately she can't, but at least she seemed pleased that I asked. I haven't been the one to call for so long that she may have been stunned. Hopefully, she was sitting down.
I guess it is "possible, even for me, to change."
(Image is from Etsy shop lisachun and is entitled "Change." Yes, I did lift the text of her mixed media art, but it was so perfect! I have used another of her pieces in an earlier post. I love what her profile has to say:
Lisa Chun is a poet, photographer and mixed media artist..She is concerned with bringing the soul to the workplace, cultivating and maintaining an inner life which is the well that she believes art is drawn from, and endeavors to contribute to people's lives and wellbeing by being and teaching the principles of being true to oneself - even in the marketplace!
I may no longer have a workplace, but when it comes to one's soul and wellbeing as well as being true to oneself, I am a work-in-progress.)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
So I've concluded that I'm a shopaholic because obtaining my fix is just too easy, and I can satisfy my creative urges more quickly by buying instead of making my own. It would seem that I've endowed a piece of cloth with human characteristics. Given life to a thing that is, granted, a basic need, but still just a nonsentient thing. I've expected these things to make a difference on the inside when they are nothing more than beautiful adornments for the outside. And really, do they give any meaning to life other than to satisfy the wearer? Now that I realize what I've been doing, I feel shallow and stupid. When I think about the problems and desperate needs of our world, I realize it makes me shallow (and probably stupid). Now, don't get me wrong, the appreciation and acquiring of fashion isn't a bad thing unless it gets out-of-line like mine has. Everyone has their interests, and anything can go from interest to habit to obsession when it impinges on the important things in life. I've always believed that things don't just happen--there is a reason for everything that happens in our lives. Maybe we chose our path or maybe it was chosen for us. Nevertheless, that path has a purpose. Hopefully, we choose to give it meaning and thus fulfill that purpose. So in pondering this addiction of mine, I can't say that the past year has been in vain. I might not have understood it. I might keep traveling the same path over and over. But in previous trips, I haven't had the luxury of this much time for self-examination. Now that I do, how can I ignore what I've learned? How can I not make the changes? Why haven't I made these changes earlier? And have I ever really made a difference anywhere?
Thinking is not nearly as much fun as shopping.
To be continued...
(Image used is "Untitled" by artist Lauren Gray. Her shop is TheHauntedHollowTree found at Etsy. She does delicately textured figurative work in muted tones. More can be found at her blog thehauntedhollowtree.blogspot.com)
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Ah, the ways we choose to deal with problems that in turn become problems themselves. Hello, I am a severe shopaholic. No need to discuss the fact that I'm not working and don't need to get dressed up every day. No need to discuss the fact that I've always had ten times more clothing than I need or even wear. No need to discuss the fact that my credit card is maxed out. No need because my other half discusses these things with me quite often. Or more correctly, he lectures me. I know he's right. Sadly, I can't seem to help myself. Hence, the word shopaholic--my addiction. My usual retort relates to how I'm not addicted to anything like drugs or alcohol and isn't that a good thing. Afterwards, I go running to the computer to find something else to buy online. He lectures, I get anxious. Anxiety leads to feelings of sadness. Sadness makes me think I need something to make me feel better. Chi-ching. Not that this only recently happened. I've been doing it forever, which I guess means I've felt anxious and sad forever? Maybe, but not to the degree of the past year, although I think I have done most of the credit card damage during that time. My hubby also recently remarked that when I do leave the house these days I always shop. Hhhmmm, hadn't thought about it, but he's right again, drat the man. I guess I do it to help with my can't-leave-the-house phobia or to feel better while I'm out. The truly awful thing about the purchases I've made in the last six to ten months is that I haven't worn or used 90% of them. When we went to the theater recently, I wore a dress purchased right at a year ago. I have a huge amount of unique, awesome handmade clothing or accessories from Etsy or other online stores or recently acquired items from favorite nearby shops. A friend we met several weeks ago for breakfast asked if I was going to get back into creating and selling my own clothing since I wasn't working anymore. Well, I actually had thought that I would do that at the beginning of the year, but I can't seem to make it happen. I have pages and pages of design ideas complete with drawings and descriptions, and don't get me started on how much fabric and such are in the spare room. I recently came across a really awesome piece of clothing when I was doing the great refi cleaning, and I looked for a tag to see who had made it. I may have mentioned that I used to work in a fabulous boutique and purchased lots of unique things. Well, no label in this. I hung the vest on the outside of my closet door thinking that I would eventually remember where I had gotten it. I finally realized that I had made it. Duh. I love creating and would think that I would jump at the opportunity to do it. So what is my problem??? Don't know how many times I've asked myself that question over the last months. At first I thought that it was due to the fact that I was still recovering. Then I thought I was stalling because I am such a perfectionist. Can't get started because it would never be good enough, right? Finding that vest sends that argument out the window. So, what the heck is it? Well, I think I've figured it out. When I started making pieces 15 years ago, there were not many places to shop for the kind of look I liked. Now, there are a lot, especially online, and several more boutiques have opened here in town. I also know that if there is one thing I enjoy, it's the thrill of the hunt, the giddy pleasure of searching through the racks or pictures, choosing several over which to drool and then picking out the one that is "the piece I can't live without." And since the hunt has become easier than ever with so much more available, that next perfect thing is constantly in front of me. That's the problem in a nutshell--I'm not unhappy with my purchases, I just always find something else to purchase more often, something that is probably only slightly different from what I purchased last week. Searching for that elusive piece that will make my imperfect life perfect and I'll live happily ever after.
Is it any wonder why I have Alice and Dorothy in my head?
(Image is entitled "Searching For Fairy Tales" and can be found at thisyearsgirl, an Etsy shop with lots of beautiful and dreamy artwork by Melissa Nucera.)
**Please note that no offense is meant to the blogger(s) or Etsy shops that have tempted me beyond reason.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
No, don't fall over. Although sitting is probably not going to allow for that anyway! A post that isn't two weeks later than the last. Will miracles never cease?
I really don't have anything to say today except that I have gone so long without saying much of anything to anyone, and now I can't seem to keep my mouth shut. I talked on the phone Sunday evening with a friend for--hold on--not one but two HOURS. What?? My other half asked me afterwards if she said anything. Ha-ha. I sent extremely babbling convos to several Etsy artist-friends. Then last night, we watched crazy You-Tube videos from 7:00 until midnight, and it was so much fun to dance and laugh. I never look at You-Tube unless someone has something that they recommend. (Steff, I'll never be able to thank you enough for the "le singe..." video. I laugh so hard every single time I watch it. Just the ticket for a dull day.*) Anyway, hubby is a PE teacher and coach plus a major sports fanatic, so Sports Illustrated is his main page online. They have several "daily" videos, most of which I never am interested in. However, this one was of two guys who literally--truly--climbed buildings like Spiderman and jumped from one building roof to the next, running at high speed and never slowing down. It was a stomach clenching video to watch, like watching a roller coaster ride from the front seat. I don't know how we went from there, but we got into wedding reception videos with crazy dancing. We ended up at "The Evolution of Dance" videos and various take-offs of it. I started dancing at the tender age of one or two and have been at it ever since. It's such a creative expression and feels like flying or something. No, Mom wouldn't let me take dancing lessons because "they will never be useful." Like those seven years of piano lessons have done anything for me. Her reasoning came from a background of poverty and traditional beliefs about what women should/could do. She believed that dancing was frivolous and a waste of time. I don't think she and my dad ever even danced. Ah, what a loss. She also squashed my future as a potter the minute I brought my first astounding creation home. Lessons? Absolutely not. When did playing with mud serve any purpose? She never caught on to my artistic abilities, not even when I danced her wall-size mirror off the wall and broke it. Hhhmmm, that's how I probably brought on a lifetime of bad luck! I danced constantly around the house. I was always in motion. I think I am dancing in all of the home movies Dad took. I was a cheerleader throughout junior and senior high school, back in the olden days when it was more "dancey" than aerobatic. I can't sit still when I hear most music. I love so many different styles of music and dance, but give me a good beat and I'm there. I've lived long enough to have heard lots of music genres and have loved them all. Give me country, hip-hop or the Stones--I can dance to anything. I love the productions "Stomp" and "Riverdance" and any ballet. I love the opera "Madame Butterfly." Love to watch ballroom dancing or listen to jazz. I was a huge MTV fan when they just played videos. Bonus--music plus dancing! I don't even recognize MTV anymore. I think I might win the award for owning the most movie soundtracks. Yes, "Dirty Dancing" is a favorite along with any Fred Astaire movie. The Soggy Bottom Boys of "O Brother Where Art Thou," "Drumline," "Billy Elliott," "Fiddler on the Roof" or "The Sound of Music;" the Beatles, Lady Antebellum, Pat Benatar, Usher, ELO--I'm all over the board. I've recently been introduced to the music of Eluveitie (again, thanks to Steff), and they have become a big favorite. As for dance, I finally took some ballet lessons after I graduated from college, and planned to continue onto creative dancing (didn't), and the last ten or more years have been, sadly, dance-less for the most part. We did take shag lessons for one of hubby's PE classes. Uh, ya know, dancing to beach music, not the other thing. (Beach music is the one genre I do not care for at all. Must be bad memories of fraternities.) Hubby teaches a lot of line dancing, too. As for me, I danced when dancing wasn't exactly choreographed. It just flowed. Whatever felt like moving moved. Now, it has been so influenced by Michael Jackson and the hip-hop guys. Don't get me wrong, I can do most of the "Thriller" and "Beat It" moves in my sleep, and I've added the "Soulja Boy" routine to my repertoire even though I'm not a big fan of the song. I love the dance moves, though. Music and dancing--moving and grooving. After last night, I'm thinking I need to add it back as part of my daily exercise routine. And I guess I did have something to say after all.
Good thing we don't have any mirrors in the TV room. I just hope I don't step on any tails...
(Image is entitled "Dancing with Dogs" and can be found at the shop cathydarling on Etsy. I already know that Berra loves to dance with me. Maris stays away but watches. I don't know what Guidry will do, but I'm betting Jeeter won't hesitate to join in.)
*The video of Eddie Izzard "Learning French" can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1sQkEfAdfY
Sorry, I still haven't learned how to put up a "link." I'm not even sure if that is what to call that which I haven't learned.
Steff's awesome blog, kaKofonie Of si(gh)lens, can be found at:
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Okay, I'll admit, I'm getting really bad at keeping up this journal. I've always been really bad at keeping a journal, but I have done much better online. That's probably because it's actually easier to write a few sentences, look at a few blogs, write a few more sentences, shop for awhile on Etsy, go back to writing...Well, you get the picture. However, I also think that it reflects the changes in my health--physical, emotional, and mental. I have really come a long way, baby! At one time, I was linked to the outside world only by means of my computer. Well, not counting my other half. It was the only way I felt comfortable connecting with anyone, and I have made some awesome connections because of it. I really had to make myself work to start getting back out. When I first stuck my toes out the front door back a few months ago to go back to work, I didn't think I could do it for more than a week. But one week turned into two, then three, and I seemed to be doing alright. It's been almost three weeks since I've gone back to work due to a difficult day filled with the very things that made me leave in the first place. I am hoping that I can get that one last day over and done with soon. I actually had a busy week last week, full of planned events, and this week has been a little crazy because it's the last week of vacation for my hubby. He goes back to teaching next week, and we will finally be back on a schedule, which I desperately need!! We will start back on our daily walks with our dogs. He has been doing most of the dog-walking without me lately and has had two people stop him for his "business card." They think he is a dog-walker! I guess seeing someone walk four dogs isn't the usual!
Speaking of the dogs, Berra (the oldest) is showing some signs of slowing down during our walks. He has begun to leave some slack in the leash by the time we get back into our neighborhood. We've got him on a double-lead with Guidry, so he can't get too far behind. Jeeter and Maris have separate leashes. Jeeter has been with us now four or five months--is that possible? He was five-months-old when we got him, and he is looking to be mostly Golden Retriever. We think he may have some pit bull in him based not only on several physical factors but also because he isn't the typical Golden personality. That's not to say that he is bad, but he definitely is not the all-loving, want-to-lie-at-your-feet-and-stare-into-your-eyes kind of dog that the others are. He fits in well, and the other dogs get along with him and he does one funny thing after another. Mostly, he talks about everything! More to the point, he comments about everything. And his comments are in a high-pitched puppy-speak! He chases airplanes across the yard and bugs on the patio and is a connoisseur of pine cones. He is a hoot! I seriously think he is ADD. Nothing, not even eating, can keep his attention for longer than five seconds. He finishes eating about half of his food, then is off to find out what the others are doing. What they are doing is watching him eat because they gobbled their food down already and want a chance to eat his! Breakfast and dinner are not boring here! Once Jeeter gets distracted, there is no going back. We tried several tricks to make him eat more but figure when he is hungry, he won't walk away! Back to the thought that he might be part pit bull. That's kind of a shame because it may be the reason why he was dropped off at a kill-shelter. Someone may have been looking for less Golden and more Pit, and he looked just like a Golden puppy. It's terrible to think about the way those dogs in particular are used as fighting dogs. Anyway, Jeeter may look and act slightly less Golden, but he is 100% Golden at heart! We love him as much as the others and wouldn't trade him for anything.
Well, if I step on anymore prickly bits of pine cone that didn't get swept up, I might start thinking about it.
(Image is a print that can be purchased from gibspix at Etsy and is entitled "Golden Retriever." The dog looks just like Guidry instead of Jeeter, but I'd recognize that pine cone anywhere.)