In which I do even less than usual

Well, last night was exciting.  Somebody broke into the house Tom has been house-sitting.   Fortunately, there was very little damage and there doesn't seem to be anything missing and no one was hurt, though, based on the size of the window they broke to get in, I think the perpetrators were midgets.  So, that's okay.

Last night I discovered my gauge swatch was not making gauge for my knitting project, so I went up a needle size, which seems to be working, but is putting me even further behind as I haven't even finished the stupid gauge swatch yet, let alone started working on the actual project.  :P

Today I spent most of the day in bed feeling generally unwilling to face the world (well, the living room) and randomly surfing the internet.  I also have a sucktastic headache.  Stupid drugs.

Also, my heels have started to go all slightly numb and very tingly if there's pressure on them for very long, which is weird, but not terribly unexpected.  The rest of my feet and my hands are frequently slightly numb or tingly.  Today, though, my kneecaps started doing that after I got out of bed to help with dinner.  Not really an issue with walking but it felt very, very weird.  The weird sensations are called paresthesia, but I hate using the term because I think it sounds funny when I say it.  It's sort of like when your arm or foot "falls asleep" but the sensations can be really painful or peculiar for some people and can sometimes be a constant thing.   In my case, they're frequent, usually just mildly annoying and either related to my Hashimoto's thyroiditis, to some other as yet undiagnosed by suspected autoimmune problem, or part of the package deal with the neurological junk (which itself may be autoimmune related).   Anyway though, new word - if any of you are young enough to be taking the SAT I suppose I'm helping you study.

However, there was Tom and Oreo cuddling today.  And silly phone calls from the grocery store about "Baconnaise."  And Doctor Who and more knitting on the stupid gauge swatch.


Thanksgiving hang-over

So, the turkey Tom wound up making (because I slept all day) was fantabulous.  So was everything that went with it.
Oreo got his little share of turkey and mashed potatoes and cranberry jelly.  No gravy for him this year because it had garlic and shallots.  I wasn't sure about the stuffing so none of that either.  He seemed very pleased nonetheless.

I'm trying to reset my sleep schedule again.  Despite getting up at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, I couldn't sleep for more than an hour or two without being wide awake again until 5 AM Thursday.  Sigh.  If this doesn't settle by Tuesday, I may have to reschedule cognitive testing yet again, as I'm pretty sure the results will be skewed a bit if I'm about to pass out or throw up from sleep deprivation.  "Regular" tired = fine for testing.  Sleep deprivation = not so fine.  Trying really hard to stave off that "dementia" diagnosis as long as possible.  Or at least until we have several more small dogs and I acquire a wardrobe of muumuus so I can be the crazy dog lady.

After dinner last night we watched The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which is one of my favorites and I played with polymer clay.  Tonight I think there may be some Doctor Who watching and knitting on my baby nephew's Xmas present.

My dislike of the acetazolamide is increasing.  I've mostly gotten used to the excessive peeing and the resultant need to consume large quantities of water.  Unfortunately, the headaches that come within a few hours are not so fun and don't seem to be going away as my body gets used to the med.  Neither is the intestinal disturbance.  And I don't think it's helping much on the involuntary movement front - at least not enough to make it worth it as far as I'm concerned.  Definitely not helping enough for me to up the dose to twice daily.
On top of that, I can't take my preferred headache/significant joint pain remedy, Excedrin (or the generic equivalent) because it has asprin (a salicylate) in it, which is contraindicated.
I also can't take Pepto for my stomach because it has salicylate because ALL salicylates are contraindicated.    This blows goats.  I'm trying acetaminophen (Tylenol) at the moment because ibuprofen will irritate my stomach and intestines even more.  It's working a bit better than it used to, but not nearly as well as it would mixed with caffeine and asprin.  Dammit.
So, my head hurts, I have to pee a lot, and poot a lot, and poop a lot, and the rest of me hurts too, BUT I have polymer clay, yarn, movies, and books, plus Tom and Oreo to keep me company, so I guess I'll survive and even be fairly happy.  Grumbly, but happy.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Ordinarily I would post a clip of WKRP in Cincinnati, ("As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!") but I thought I'd mix it up a bit this year.

Best line:  "That's not necessarily a deal breaker."



I managed to get up at 9:30 this morning, which is a nice step toward getting back on a non-vampire schedule.  I'm also exhausted, though, and my arms and legs are achy and weak.  Fun times.
I took Oreo for a short walk today, which was nice.
Besides that I've mostly been peeing (thanks, acetazolamide) and trying to keep myself awake.  Truly, I'm living the dream.


And I've missed a day again

Forgot to post yesterday.  Whoops.  I have a bunch of polymer clay to play with though, which is very exciting. I'm not sure if I want to share what I'm planning to do with it.  Partly I'm not sure if it will work.  Partly I'm hoping if it does work that I can start production for sale on Etsy.  And combined with that, I'm slightly worried that if I discuss or feature it broadly before I have the shop up and going someone will take my idea and run with it.  Not very generous of me, I know, but after the time I've spent in academia I'm ever so slightly paranoid.

I've started a gauge swatch for one of the Xmas gifts I'm making.
Oh, and I achieved all of last week's goals last week!

I've also managed to have technical difficulties with Blogger (I was trying to schedule my Thanksgiving post for, you know, Thanksgiving and it kept posting it right now.  Stupid.)

Today, however, I don't feel like doing much of anything but reading.  I'm on another Wikipedia marathon about the USSR, spies, human intelligence gathering, and numbers stations, among other things.  Numbers stations are essentially dedicated shortwave radio stations that broadcast Morse code, numbers sequences, and/or spoken alphabet strings (as in A=Alpha, B=Baker, etc).  Some of them have music at the beginning or end of broadcast sequences.  They are almost certainly a communication method for spies of various agencies, in many cases probably sending coded messages that can be decoded with a one-time pad.  They also give me a serious case of the creeps for some reason.  Just the idea and the recordings of some of them.  No idea why that is.  Maybe the disembodied voice(s) speaking random numbers and letters.  One of them features a child's voice as the recording as well, which is extra creepy to me.
Anyone who cares to have a listen can go to the dedicated page for The Conet Project on archive.org


Mommy mouse and Baby mouse Amigurumi Crochet Pattern.

I love this cute little mousey momma and baby in sling. The little bow on the tail is adorable too. Nice Christmas-y colors, too - for those who celebrate these could be great little decorations or gifts.

Pattern available in Handmadekitty's Etsy shop (check out some other adorable patterns there, too).


Adopt a Pompeian Dog: Discovery News

Adopt a Pompeian Dog: Discovery News
This is a great story about the solution to the problem of stray dogs wandering around the site of Pompeii.  The local authorities along with 3 animal welfare groups have rounded up the dogs, treated them for disease, sterilized them, microchipped them, and given them names (drawn from ancient residents of Pompeii) and name tags.  They've also set up a website to seek people to adopt the dogs.  Very nice.  You can learn more at the link above.

I'd really like to see Egypt do something similar.  Stray dogs are a fairly significant problem, especially as dogs are often regarded as ritually unclean, and they can be dangerous in packs or even singly depending on the situation.  Finding a  reasonably humane solution would be nice.  It probably wouldn't hurt PR either.

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This would actually explain a lot...

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures"



Overdid it yesterday between the pulmonary test and shopping and am thus tired and very, very achy today.
But, we did have a lovely dinner with a friend and watched Cat Ballou, which, despite my deep hatred of Jane Fonda, was pretty good.
And I managed to do all the dishes earlier today, clean the bathroom, and sweep the floors, so go me!
The Diamox/acetazolamide doesn't seem to be doing much for my movements. I'm still taking only a half pill because it does make me sleepy, spacey, and gives me a headache later in the day no matter how much water I drink. I started a potassium supplement today to see if that will help any. I'm not planning on upping my dose until the side-effects wane, especially the headache. It does no good at all to solve one major issue by creating another even more crippling one.


Pulmonary Test

I did it without puking! Go me!
Also, the tech this time was a dominatrix. She had really, really high stiletto heels. And the heels were all chrome and junk. And she kept yelling at me to breathe in and out. I was scared. So was Tom.

Also, I think I died a few times during the 6 minute walk. At least the oximeter thing started freaking out because I had my finger facing down.

Then they gave me albuterol I guess just to see what it would do. I kept telling myself I'd be an idiot to panic considering the way worse things I deliberately inhaled when I was smoking. Especially when I bought some of the cheaper brands of the local cigarettes in Egypt or Sudan. Or shared a homemade shisha pipe with unflavored tobacco with my Gufti (sort of a foreman for the local workmen in Egypt).
Anyway, that made me twitch like the worst caffeine jitters I've ever had x10 but without the nausea, so that's fine.

Anyway, we did some household shopping tonight - groceries and other stuff like water filters and TP. I was fine until we got to the grocery store and then started to get so tired and hurt so bad I started to feel sick. It seems like the acetazolamide really takes the piss out of me. Heh.


I could have sworn I posted yesterday...

...but apparently I did not.  Yesterday's achievements were:
- Fighting with Oreo over the husband pillow on the couch.
- Peeing.  A lot.  Yay, Diamox.  Also, it makes me light-headed and a wee-bit spacey and sleepy and gives me a slight headache, but so far I can deal.  Although that whole almost falling asleep on the couch and then jerking awake because I have to pee has been tons of fun.
- Drinking.  A lot.  (Of water, sadly, I haven't had much alcohol besides heavily watered wine in the past 20 months or so.)  Gotta make up for all that peeing.
- Making it to therapy, courtesy of a ride from a friend since I just didn't feel up to catching the bus.
- Acquisition of used books.
- Eating out.
- Giggling.

Also, while my right ring-finger continues to do its constant little dance, I haven't had much in the way of pelvic/trunk spasms (Elvis-pelvis) since Monday.  Not sure if it's the new med, since I didn't start taking it until Tuesday, but if it is, that's pretty awesome.  I have noticed that when I stretch or extend my back I don't get the quiver or shimmy I usually have almost all the time, so that's also pretty cool.

Tomorrow I have the rest of my pulmonary exam.  I know it involves a 6-minute walk, but I'm not sure what else.  I'm hoping no lung-volume test, because I'm not sure I can deal with being sealed in the little chamber.
Anyway, let's hope I don't barf.  That is so last week.



I ate solid food for dinner.  Worked on some crocheting until I got frustrated.  Almost got a a temp job, but medical appointments interfered.  :(
Went and filled my script for acetazolamide. Starting it tomorrow morning.  Hoping that it will help or at least not cause any really wiggy side-effects.  Because, really, I don't need that crap.
Still trying to take it slow getting over this stomach bug.  Just the short trip to Walgreens and the grocery tired me out and made me light-headed.
Oh, and we tried some spray-on no-rinse shampoo stuff on Oreo.  It smells like cheap old-lady cologne.  And now so does Oreo.  Bleh.  I think it gave me a headache.  Awesome.
Also, I've been having a remarkably good day walking.  Very little weird hip-sway or staggering.  Kind of cool.  Wish I knew what (if anything) makes that happen.

Cambyses' Lost Army: Found at Last? : Discovery News

Cambyses' Lost Army: Found at Last? : Discovery News
There's been a lot of buzz the past week or so regarding the possible location of at least part of the lost army of Cambyses.  Personally, I think it's far too early to make a definite statement for or against and, like so many others, I was intrigued to note that the initial press release was not organized through Egyptian channels as is standard for "big finds" in Egypt.
The slide-show from Discovery News is pretty nifty - I especially like the water pots.  Also interesting to note is that the skeletal remains are described as (and appear in the photos) to be bleached.  Until you work with skeletonized human remains from a variety of contexts, I don't think a lot of people realize the variation in color of bones that can occur based on funeral traditions, soil conditions, later disturbance, etc. etc.  Kind of cool.
There are a few explanations for that.  One is that they were left unburied after death for some time and allowed to bleach out in the sun, heat, and wind before being covered over either by humans or by natural processes.  Another is that they were buried at some point by human or natural agency and then re-exposed at a later point.  Whether they're part of the lost army, well, that's still in question.

There's a good summary of sources and basic info about the find, as well as a discussion of the possible ethical and legal ramifications of the Castaglioni find and whether their work was or was not sanctioned by the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) over at Egyptology News.

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Sorry I've been AWOL the past week or so.  I've been down with some sort of stomach bug that is still bothering me.  I'm still working on being able to eat solid food and I have pretty much no appetite to speak of.  Tom kindly mixed up some oral rehydration drink for me last night and that seems to be helping.  I've managed soup and yogurt and crackers and last night had some baba ghanoush and pita, but today am back to having to force myself to eat anything.  I'm also light-headed and tired (though having trouble sleeping) and a bit feverish.  In general, I feel like ass, which I guess is a good way to remind me that while I might not feel wonderful most of the time, I can definitely feel waaaay worse.  Bleh.
This week's goals are:
- keeping food down/in
- making it to the appointment I have Tuesday afternoon
- making it to the rest of my pulmonary exam which I think is on Thursday and hopefully not getting sick during it
- finishing a crochet project
- keeping up with the housework
- starting my new med that may (hopefully) help with the involuntary movements


Monday's Great Medical Adventure

So.  Monday.  I had a pulmonary function test.  And a neurology appointment with the new doctor.
Had trouble sleeping Sunday night and couldn't manage to sleep in Monday morning so I felt like crap.  Then my stomach decided to get in on the act and I spent most of the morning running back and forth to the bathroom and trying every method I know to get my stomach to quit being queasy.  Seriously.  Sipped water.  Took some Pepto.  Ate a ginger chew.  Ate something else, just in case it was because I was really hungry but didn't realize it.  Took more Pepto.  More water.  Finally gave in and went for the big gun - a single diphenhydramine (Benadryl) since it works as an anti-emetic in addition to its various other properties and is closely related to the active ingredient in a lot of motion-sickness meds.

Perhaps not surprisingly, mid-way through the pulmonary testing I barfed.  It was awesome.  Courtesy of the PeptoBismal tablets I'd taken and the anti-nausea liquid (essentially a syrup) I had also taken it was bright freakin' pink.  I made it to the trashcan in the room, thank goodness.  I still shudder to think how awful it would have been if I'd ralphed all over the mouthpiece.  I also managed to nail the edges of my pants, my shoes and my hair.
Anyway, I had, up to the point I projectile vomited Barbie's Malibu Dream Corvette paint, felt increasingly like I was having a panic attack.  Shaky, broke out in a sweat, got really dizzy, thought I might pass out, etc.    I'm guessing a combination of fatigue, existing stomach ick, anxiety about the upcoming neurology appointment (gee, why on earth would I be anxious about neurologists?) and hyperventilating on command is what did it.  Fortunately Tom was there to help clean me up and make me feel better and not make too much fun of me for barfing on my shoes.
I get to finish it next week (the pulmonary test, hopefully not the barfing).  Yay.

So.  On to the new neurologist.  She's awesome.  She talked to us.  Like we were human and have mostly functional brains.  She believed me when I told her about my symptoms.  There was no uncomfortable cross-examination.  There was no "well, but you're not doing that now" as though that somehow means that I never do that.  She paid attention when we talked.  She asked sensible questions and explained what she was doing. She noted that I've had to quit school and can't work or drive.  She immediately went and got a colleague to consult with regarding my symptoms and to have a look at me.  I didn't have to prompt her.   It was amazing.  So much of the stress of being sick has been caught up in that my previous neurologists (aka the Douchetastic Duo) behaved as though they either thought I was lying or that what I was saying just didn't matter.

I don't know if people realize how insidiously devastating it can be to have the people who are supposed to be helping you seem (and I say seem because, to be as fair as possible, I don't know for certain that the Douchetastic Duo didn't believe me, though that certainly seemed to be the case early on and I think it colored every later appointment) to doubt you, especially if you already have an unfortunate past history of being treated as though you were "malingering" or simply weak.  You start to doubt everything.  You doubt if your symptoms are really real, if you are as sick as you think you are.  You wonder if you're just lazy or cowardly.  You wonder if it's all in your head.  You treat every appointment as a battle to be geared up for.  You look at your symptoms and try to track them and document them as best as possible, to martial evidence, to anticipate questions and doubts so that you can answer them and then second guess yourself and worry that if you seem too prepared, too knowledgeable then that will itself give them more evidence that you're simply a "hypochondriac" or  "a hysterical woman" or  simply"crazy." And after you repeat to yourself over and over that this is real, this is how things are, then you have to deal with the doubt and the fear that the doctors you are supposed to trust, the people who are supposed to be taking care of you aren't to be trusted.   Aren't really looking for answers.  Don't really care.  And then you have to worry that eventually everyone around you will decide "oh, the experts didn't find anything.  You can't really be sick, then.  Suck it up and get on with life."  It's awful.  It's one of the most horrible things in the world.

But, things are looking up, I think.  I have a lot of hope invested in this new doctor, that she will be someone we can work with, who will be of help and some comfort.  Things are still unclear and frightening and uncertain.  But I think that at least more of that insidious doubt will leave me and make it easier to cope with daily life.

We are running some more tests and we will see her again next month.

In the meantime, I seem to be in another cycle of intestinal distress along with a return of genuine insomnia as opposed to simple (hah!) delayed sleep phase disorder.  Joy.  This may mean some upcoming appointments get rescheduled because, strangely, I'm not at my best when I've only had a few hours of sleep and constantly feel as though one or both ends is going to explode.

Despite all of that, though, I remain immensely grateful to have Tom with me to help bear all this nonsense.  And our friends to help us.  And Oreo to be, well, Oreo.


Ho Hum

Another day of tiredness and day two of rather dramatic muscle spasms in my trunk.  I'm starting to get sore, which is especially annoying.
So, I'm still taking it easy.  Did a bit of crocheting while we watched another episode from the first season of Lost (yes, I know, we're several years behind the times), but my hands started to hurt again, so I've left off.
I've been re-reading The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott for the first time since 2007 and enjoying it immensely. I haven't even been excessively bothered by some not-so-pleasant memories I was worried would be stirred up in association (fingers-crossed that remains the case).  I'm about to start on book two now, we'll see if I get bored and have to switch gears for a while.



Already rejected by the place to which I sent the CV yesterday.  Probably shouldn't be surprised, I've been rejected every time I apply to that particular institution (uh, think Arizona and the particular college rhymes with "ataxia" which I though particularly appropriate for me) regardless of what I do to my CV.  Meh.

Sleep schedule is now messed up courtesy of a migraine last night (I typically can't sleep through them, but am exhausted afterward).

And my arms hurt just from the effort of pulling on a pair of lounge pants after a shower.  Awesome.

Anyway, if anyone has any leads on online teaching gigs in anthropology, archaeology, history, or general humanities, let me know.  I have a ton of search agents set up and manage to submit at least one application a week, but it's not doing me a hell of a lot of good.  Part of that is timing, except for some of the primarily on-line colleges, most places only hire around quarter or semester beginnings, so right now is bound to be a dry spell.  I strongly suspect that my degree in "Near Eastern Art and Archaeology' is mildly confusing to some people as it isn't a simple "History" or "Anthropology" and it's also possible that being a U of C grad is also somewhat off-putting as they may expect me to demand premium pay.  And I only have one prior "official" teaching position (even if it was as an instructor at Tulane) and no official TA jobs to list because TA positions were very difficult to come by for my particular generation of U of C grad students due to the weird way funding and fellowships and assistantships were/are set up.

Maybe I should figure out a way to discreetly describe the times I covered for professors who were too absent minded, lazy, or hung-over to show up for class...


'Bout time

La. justice quits after interracial flap - msnbc.com

Did we ever hear from his supposed "pile" of black friends?


So, I got a call today rescheduling my cognitive testing for next week.  I guess that means more time to, uh, study?
I figure at some point I'll start having nightmares that I'm retaking my grad school comprehensive exams.  And they're all in hieratic instead of just part of one.

Also, I feel like ass and am staying in bed today at least until my general itchiness wins out and I'm forced to shower, or my laptop battery runs out and I fail to retrieve the powercord.

I also managed to swallow an enormous amount of air from my CPAP.  The results have not been pleasant.

I sent out another CV for an online teaching position today. Everybody do whatever superstitious luck-making thing you do for me.  Maybe for once they won't run screaming from a degree in "Near Eastern Art and Archaeology."  (Dude, it works for history, it works for anthro/archaeology, it works for general humanities.  Just give me a job!!!!)

Also, tweeting for hugs is remarkably and wonderfully successful.  That is definitely cool.


Research shows chronically ill might be happier if they gave up hope | University of Michigan Health System

Research shows chronically ill might be happier if they gave up hope | University of Michigan Health System

AKA "Take your Pollyana BS and shove it!"
(Why yes, I'm a bit grouchy today, why do you ask?)

I found this interesting and, though I'm probably prone to confirmation bias here, it does make perfect sense to me.  I've done much, much better since I quit waiting to be "better" and have gotten on with things as best I can.
There is a huge difference between self-pity and accepting reality (something I've gone on at length about before) though it often seems in modern American society that many people cannot grasp that difference.  I am not, by recognizing my limitations and learning to cope with them and by making plans on the basis of how I feel now as opposed to how I might feel in the future, wallowing in self-pity and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of chronic illness and doom.
It would be far, far less healthy to sit around waiting for a "cure" or to feel "better" and to be utterly devastated every morning I wake up and feel like ass and every time I go to the doctor and they have no clue.  (Well, that does upset me, but that's different...)

On another note - I think someone(s) deserve "Asshole of the Year" awards for letting some people think their bowels could be re-sectioned and letting others think the colostomy bag was permanent.

Napkin Stamping

These were made as a wedding gift for some friends and I just finally finished and delivered them last week. They didn't turn out exactly as planned - stamping with textile paint on dark fabric is much, much harder than I had anticipated.
I made the napkins myself from a dark brown twill. I also carved the stamps - the ones you can see here are papyrus and lotus columns drawn from ancient Egyptian motifs. I also had adorable golden flies, but didn't get a photo.
For the green metallic paint I would up sponge-brushing the paint onto the stamp, which is why they're a bit blobby.
For the blue, which was not metallic, I cobbled together a stamp pad with some papertowels. This used quite a lot of paint and wasn't really saveable for future use, but worked resonably well.
Using a brayer didn't work at all. I'm not sure if that's because I have a cheap-ass brayer, if it wasn't suited to working with acrylic paint, or if I just suck.
For the golden flies (no photo) I sponge-brushed again.
I did discover that re-carving some lines helped with the blobbiness.
In the future I don't know that I'll do long, thin motifs, especially with long straight lines.
I will probably also stick to lighter colored fabrics in the immediate future as I've had much better results with them.
I also plan to get some screenprinting ink to experiment with to see if I can get a better result on a variety of colors.
The battery in our digital camera died, so unfortunately the only half-way decent picture we were able to get was with my phone. :P

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How I Spent My Saturday Night

Shopping with a buddy at WalMart. We saw these awesome vinyl combat boots in eye-searing colors and had to try them on. I had high hopes they would work as rain-boots, but they weren't very comfy and I have trouble with forcing my feet into boots and laces now.

That would be me on the left in the skull t-shirt and stripy socks.
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One couple’s experience coping with the insidious thief, Alzheimer’s disease, may help others - The Dispatch - Columbus, Starkville & The Golden Trian

Joe Seger was one of my mentors as a student and has remained a wonderful friend.  I knew that his wife had early-onset Alzheimer's, but a mutual friend passed on this article about them in their local paper.

One couple’s experience coping with the insidious thief, Alzheimer’s disease, may help others - The Dispatch - Columbus, Starkville & The Golden Triangle