What the...I don't even...

Thought I'd look at my blog stats because, um, I was bored or maybe hit the wrong button. Anyway, what the hell?
"Bobcat pooping?" Really?

I think I know why, but I don't remember mentioning pooping.

The Real Secret of the Holy Grail

The Indiana Jones movies were on TV today. Susan shut it off before it got to the Crystal Skull so I wouldn't throw things at her TV.

I realized something, though. The true power of the Holy Grail is that it turns everything into hydrogen peroxide.
Indy pours Grail juice onto his dad's wound, foaming ensues

Random dude on the internet pours hydrogen peroxide on a scrape, foaming ensues.
Thus endeth your archaeology lesson for the day.


Today is weird

Emmett BrownImage via WikipediaToday has been weird even for me.

I decided to browse Craigslist for possible jobs. Wow, scary.
Apparently there are some locally made "adult" films.
And there was one job posting that just said "Pregnant Lady."

Someone said something about "penny wise" and I made a crack about Pennywise from It. Then a few minutes later, the Bad Astronomer tweeted this scary ass t-shirt. Serendipity is disturbing. I'm avoiding drains for the rest of the day.

Fast forward a bit and Oreo and Brownie were sharing the couch peacefully.

Then I decided I needed a nap.

My phone rang and it was someone who had heard we moved down here wanting to know if I'd be interested in teaching in the spring.

I managed to babble something comprehensible that was not "Hells yes, woman!" but conveyed that general sentiment. After we move into the apartment I'll go actually chat about it.

Then I got up to see Tom had tweeted about D'Iberville telling the early French colonists to breed buffalo, only I thought it said "breed with the buffalo" and I was truly impressed by the ignorance of basic biology back then.

So, now I have things to figure out:
- How do I teach sitting down (this will be weird for me)?
- Better management of dry mouth while lecturing because, seriously, the croaking is not cool
- Can I wear my Vibram Five-Fingers with business casual clothing because I really, really love them.
- Which eccentric professor do I emulate?

I imagine that at some point I should figure out what I'm teaching...

This also nixes the idea I had floating in my head of dyeing the white parts of my hair purple...

And as I get ready to post this, Oreo and Brownie are sharing the couch again and sound asleep.


Big Changes for a Little Dog

I was just talking to Oreo (yes, of course I talk to him - anyone who thinks that's super weird has obviously not known me long) and realized he's still got a lot of big changes coming up. He's already gotten used to sharing (mostly) a house with 2 dogs who are much bigger. And he loves having a yard to trot around in and an extra person to wiggle for.

In a couple weeks we'll be moving into our own apartment though and we were talking about the changes to come.
There will be a whole new big apartment to explore. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Tom and I are wondering what he'll do with two bathrooms. Oreo prefers to be in the bathroom with us - there is much scrabbling and whining and head-thunking if he's outside, but until now, we've only had the one bathroom. I have no idea what he's going to do if we are occupying both bathrooms at the same time. It will be a major Oreo conundrum. Will he run back and forth between them? Sit in the middle and cry?

He'll be going back to walkies on a leash, but we'll have a whole complex to explore. Should be fascinating. So many new smells!

There will be a patio. Mmmm, sleeping in the sunshine is a favorite Oreo activity. He'll have container gardening to supervise too.

We'll eventually have a washer and dryer and I suspect there will be lots of head-tilting and inquiry grumbles at the noise.

We will also have a gas fireplace (the hilarity of having a gas fireplace AFTER moving from Chicago is epic). He's sort of been around them before, but I wonder how he'll react.


30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

Hashimoto Thyreoidits HistologieImage via Wikipedia

1. The illness I live with is: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Migraine, Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease, Functional Movement Disorder, Hashimoto's Thyroidits, Reynaud's Disease, Scoliosis, Depression, possibly Fibromyalgia
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2008-2010
3. But I had symptoms since: the mid 1990s
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Recognizing that pushing myself to work harder or do more is counterproductive.
5. Most people assume: If I just tried harder I could do more. That my fatigue is the same as having missed a few hours of sleep a night.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Deciding what needs to be done and can be done for the day.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: House
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My cane, with my rubber gloves a close second.
9. The hardest part about nights are: Insomnia, pain so severe that I can't sleep
10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please) 14
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: Am cautiously aware of and willing to try some
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I honestly don't know.
13. Regarding working and career: I enjoy working and I sometimes regret that my chosen career as a field archaeologist in Egypt and Sudan are not really possible right now. I've come to realize though that my own physical and emotional well-being are more important.
14. People would be surprised to know: I still have times I think I'm just not trying hard enough or think I'm just lazy.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: I really can't just push past my limits even for something I really want to do and would enjoy.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Drive again. I've been cautiously driving short distances with my husband now that we're no longer in the crazy busy environment of Chicago.
17. The commercials about my illness: Annoy the crap out of me and suggest that medications will be a miraculous cure when it's more likely that they will be an incremental improvement.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Riding a bike.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: My career plans.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Spinning with a drop spindle.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Dance
22. My illness has taught me: What is really important in life; that contentment is based on your own desires and needs and not on meeting the expectations of other people.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "oh, I'm tired/hurt too, it's just the weather or allergies."
24. But I love it when people: Try to keep in mind my limitations when planning things or ask for my input instead of assuming I can or can't do something.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: I just have to get through this minute, hour, day.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: It will be hard. There will be people - friends, doctors, random strangers who disbelieve you or dismiss you. But what you feel is real, your need to be treated is real. You don't have to prove yourself to anyone.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: How judgmental some people can be even when the illness has nothing to do with them.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Listen to me, believe me, help me.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: The way chronic illness, visible and invisible, is regarded in our society needs to change from an expectation that anything can be overcome if you just try hard enough or take the right medication, that accepting one's limitations is regarded by some people as defeat, that people with invisible illness are malingering or overly dramatic.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Hopeful.

Small Things

This week is Invisible Illness Awareness Week. My invisible illness has been smacking me around a bit, so I'm only today getting around to writing a post for it.

Oreo enjoying some sunshine and grass
Oreo (for new comers, Oreo is my 15 pound Shih Tzu/Lhasa Apso caretaker, companion, comforter, comedian, and partner in crime) was the inspiration for this post. At the moment we're staying with a friend until we move into our new place. Oreo is in the living room peering out the window and barking randomly while I'm in the bedroom nursing a migraine. Having a window he can see out of is a novelty for him, thus the barking. Usually he snuggles with me when I have headaches. He's a small thing and got me thinking about small things in a broader sense.

One of the popular tools to explain invisible, chronic illness is the Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino. I encourage people to read the essay when they have a chance but in summary, it's a way of demonstrating how little things add up over the course of a day, a week, a month to sap the energy and wellness of many people with chronic illness, especially illness that causes fatigue. Another analogy I like is lightweight backpacking. Individual items may not seem like they take up a lot of space or weigh a lot, but the full combination can be a lot to deal with.

The small things that so many "normal" people take for granted can have big effects on us. Here are some of the small things that I used to take for granted:
- Showering. It's now something that requires me to rest for at least 15 or 20 minutes afterwards even though I use a shower chair, have very short hair, and use 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner all in an effort to make it as efficient as possible.
- Washing dishes. Standing for extended periods often makes my lower back spasm and my neck knot up and seems to drain me of energy pretty quickly. Reynaud's disease interferes with the blood flow to my hands, fingers, feet and toes making water that is too hot or too cold physically painful. It can also make holding a cup with hot or cold beverage in it painful. Cup cozies are my new best friends.
- Doing laundry. Picking up and carrying a hamper makes my head pound and my back grumpy. Not being able to see the floor messes with my balance in a big way. Folding clothes is sometimes painful if my arthritis is flaring or I have migraine-related pain and stiffness in my neck.
- Shopping. The long walk around the store is tiring. The lighting and noise and motion is almost too much to deal with sometimes. Trying to remember what I need, even with a list is a challenge. Making a decision on which item to purchase can sometimes seem overwhelming.
- Watching TV. A migraine can sometimes make TV absolute torture. Days when my brain is foggy just makes it surreal and confusing.

But in the same way that little things can add up to make me feel worse, they can also add up to make me feel a bit better.
- Oreo is a little thing who can almost always make me smile, if only for a little bit.
- Hugs or commiseration or understanding from friends and family.
- A good book.
- Silly things on the internet
- Sweet, thoughtful things from my husband like a candy I particularly like or special snuggles.
- Meditation.
- Gentle stretching or yoga that helps keep me moving and helps with some pain.
- Satisfaction with small victories like showering or doing the dishes.
- Creature comfort things like a favorite body oil or a comfy hoody or a nice skein of yarn or wonderful fiber to spin.


Hanging Out

I've been trying to take it easy this week.  I've been pretty tired and arthritic, so I've been hanging out with the doggies and Susan during the day and trying to do a few little chores like laundry or looking in to renter's insurance (which is making me stabby).

Oreo is liking the yard.


Ferret Dance!

Woman's one-piece bathing suit, 1920s, USAImage via WikipediaTom begins his new job today.  Oreo and I got up early to see him off along with Susan and Brownie and Blue.
It's hard to believe we've only been here a little over a week.
Oreo is getting along pretty well with Brownie and Blue - Susan's two doggies that Tom and I actually rescued as dumped puppies waaaay back in 2002 just before (like just weeks) before I moved to Chicago.  Susan took Brownie and eventually wound up with Blue as well.
Last time all three dogs were together was right after Katrina and they did not get on well.  They're doing much, much better this time.  Oreo follows Blue around like an obnoxious little brother.
Susan has a big front window that goes almost to the floor.  The dogs like to peek out of it and bark as needed.  At first Oreo just barked because they were barking.  Then he figured out he should go to the window.  Then he was barking face first into the sheers.  He seems to have mostly figured out the window concept.
He also does a 360 bark routine when the others are barking and he doesn't know why.  Silly doggie.

Tom and I have found an apartment.  We're hoping to get the application, etc. done today.  Two bedrooms, two full baths, a full kitchen including a dishwasher, patio, washer/dryer hookups, central AC and, hilariously, a gas fireplace.  I will be sending photos of the gas fireplace to our Chicago friends in January because I'm a terrible person.  There is a pool.  A hot-tub.  A workout center.  It's set back from the beach, but the property in front is still vacant (very common around here).  Our patio looks onto a little patch of woodsy area in the complex.  I'm looking forward to restarting an herb garden.

I am already browsing inspiration on line for the second bedroom.  We want it to be a guest room.  I also want an office and crafting space.  And I want a quiet meditation spot.  I think we may go with a closet workspace in the guest room - there are some really cool ideas.  We are getting a queen bed from Tom's sister and I am wondering about pushing it against a corner to create a day-bed most of the time that can be centered in the room for guests.

For a quiet/meditation/retreat place, I think I may try part of our bedroom with a folding screen or maybe another closet.  I'm most likely to feel the need for a brief retreat when guests are visiting (nothing against guests, I just get over stimulated sometimes), so having the retreat in the guest room is probably not the best of ideas.

I experimented with driving last week and managed fairly well.  Hopefully that will continue and we can get another vehicle so I can run errands during the day.

I also found a great fitness bathing suit on clearance and a quarter-zip UPF 50 shirt.  I'm really looking forward to the pool.

We've done a bit of walking on the beach too.  Lots of jellyfish so I've been hesitant to go out far or actually swim. I have bad luck with things that sting.



I'm still recovering from the move.  Swelling has gone down but I've been running a low grade fever and the eczema on my hands has flared up.  I did manage a short grocery trip today.  Migraine responded to meds.  I've been able to sit up a bit longer without getting zombified.

It's cooled off wonderfully here and will be nice the rest of the week.

Hoping to start home-hunting tomorrow.  We have lots of decisions to make - apartment or house?  Where?  Can I drive or not and how will that affect our choice?

We want at least 2 bedrooms so we can have a guest room and I can have an office/studio space of some kind.  At least 1.5 baths or more.  Doggie friendly.  No or very few (like no more than three) stairs.  Fairly quiet and low-key.  A porch or sunroom or patio of some kind.



We're here.  The stupid-ass storm is still here.  I am exhausted.  We noticed my ankles had swollen up ridiculously huge last night, but they seem to have gotten a bit better with sleep.  Hoping that was just from so much time sitting in the truck.
Had a bit of a return on the involuntary trunk movements too, but again, probably just fatigue and truck.
My hands are swollen and hot and the skin hurts there too.  Sigh.

Oreo is being a bit of a punk with Brownie and Blue, but everyone is mostly okay.

We had fabulous dinner last night.  Restaurant on the Gulf.  Fried dill pickles the proper way - in chips instead of spears and omnomnomnom fried shrimp.   I loved watching the storm on the water.

Thunder only started up last night and it doesn't seem too bad today.


Justine and Tom Rebooted

After a few hours getting the wiring for towing fixed we are finally on our way. 
So expect Cylons that look human and random religious hallucinations and dark, tortured characters.
No, wait that's Battlestar Galactica and Batman.

Um, randomness, torture, and hallucinations then.