Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thank You

I have rejoined the land of the freely moving!  My back has decided to cooperate again, thanks to a trip to the chiropractor, a really great massage, and icepacks. 
Thank you all so much for all of your kind comments and well wishes on my pain post.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say I again: there are a lot of nice people in Blogger Land .  It’s a privilege to interact with you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pain, Lots and Lots of Pain

What a pleasant topic, huh?  Well, sorry folks, it seems to be the only thing I can think about right now.  I’m having a very bad time with my back at the moment.   I pretty much lost the genetic lottery when it came to back and neck stuff (thanks Dad) and it wasn’t helped by a very nasty tumble down the stairs as a child, or a car accident in my early 20s. 
I periodically have episodes in which my back refuses to cooperate and the pain becomes unbearable and unbearably distracting.  This is one of those times.  All of the muscles from my neck to my hips seem to be in a competition to see which one can form the tightest knot, and they’re all tied for first place.  Pain is very much on my mind at the moment.
So, I thought I’d ask about the most physically painful things you’ve endured.  I know it’s a weird (slightly sick and twisted?) topic, but like I said, it’s really on my mind right now.  For me, the most painful things I’ve experienced have mostly been back and neck problems.  I’ve had three episodes that rate as much worse than this current one.  I’ve also had one really bad burn. Touching the heating element in your oven is NOT a good way to find out if it’s working.  Trust me on that one.  Rounding out the list would be gall stones.  Your gall bladder ceasing to work and filling up with stones feels very much like I would imagine being stabbed would.  The pain is so intense, you can’t breathe or think, and it cuts right through you.  You just want it to stop. 
What about you?  What are the most physically painful things that have happened to you?   

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lefthanders Day

Today is Lefthanders day!  As a lefty this makes me very happy.  According to this site, we have the right to declare the area around us to be a left-handed zone today.  Yippee!  Fortunately for me, my husband is also a lefty, so our house is already a left-handed zone.  I just wish the rest of the world was a little more lefty friendly.  So here’s to all of the lefties in my life:

My paternal grandfather:  He seems to be the one who got the whole left-handed thing started.  He’s the first lefty in the family anyone is aware of. 

My dad:  He kept the left-handedness going.  He also adamantly refused to allow anyone to try to turn me into a right-hander.  He put a stop to it when he caught my mom switching my toys, bottles, etc to my right hand when I was a baby.  Because of this he ended up being the person to teach me how to write, hold silverware, and tie my shoes.  No good deed goes unpunished, right?

He also went to my school at the beginning of every year and told all of my teachers that I was left-handed, and that my being left-handed wasn’t something that needed to be changed.  He said if they had a problem with that they could take it up with him. Since my dad sort of looks like an extra from The Godfather no one ever seemed to have a problem with it, except one very foolish P.E. teacher, but that’s another story for another time.

My husband:  They always say girls marry men like their fathers, so I guess it comes as no surprise that I married a lefty.  There is some debate as to whether or not my husband actually started off as a lefty.  There aren’t many lefties at all in his family, and he has an impressive scar on his right hand from getting it slammed in a car door when he was a toddler.  So there’s a theory that he became a lefty while his right hand was healing. 

I choose to believe that he’s probably a true lefty, and just did things right-handed in very early childhood because he was surrounded by right-handers.  The right-hand injury just gave him the chance to become the lefty he truly is. 

Either way, I’m glad he’s a lefty, and that we can arrange things in our house to suit both of us being left-handed.  It’s also fun to find each other left-handed gifts.  We’re also in good company, since some very interesting historical figures were also left-handed

So what about you?  Are you a lefty?  Are there any lefties in your life?  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Brave Heart

I am borrowing this topic from Carrie at The Slow Dripped Life.  It was part of her hammock give-away series of questions.  I let time get away from me and didn’t answer many of the questions to participate in the give-away (which I did not win), but I thought this question was too interesting not to write about myself.   She asked when you’ve been brave.

I don’t consider myself to be a very brave person.  I’m afraid of the dark.  I’m nervous going new places alone.  I’m terrified of snakes.  I refuse to watch creepy movies.  I don’t think I’m brave at all, but I have the privilege to know people who I consider to be brave.

I’m not talking about the throw yourself into oncoming traffic to save a child kind of brave.  I’m talking about what Wikipedia defines as “the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation”.  I think I know quite a few people who are brave in one or more ways that fall under that definition.  To name a few:

My maternal grandmother:  She grew up in what many of us might be inclined to describe as hell on earth.  Her father was a pedophile.  He repeatedly sexually abused and assaulted my grandmother and her sisters.  To make matters worse (at least to my way of thinking) her mother and grandparents knew what was going on, yet they did nothing to stop it.  She escaped when she bought a bus ticket for as far away as she could afford when she was 17 years old. 

She met and married my grandfather and brought her two younger siblings to live with them because she wanted them to escape the abuse as well.  Furthermore, she never once allowed my mother to be around her father.  She broke the cycle, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to happen very often.  In a time when sexual abuse was a very taboo subject and there was really no help available, she escaped, went back for her siblings, and kept her abuser away from her child. 

My mom:  My mom quit work when she found out she was pregnant with me and became a stay at home mom.  She also never lost the baby weight from me, or my sister, and added more to it over the years.  Just under four years ago, my mom had gastric by-pass surgery and has since lost over 200 pounds.  She also went back to school (she had never finished high school) and obtained an Associate’s Degree.

She went to the same technical school that my sister and I had graduated from years earlier, and was older (she was already in her 50s) than most of the people in her classes.  Many of her classmates were actually younger than my sister or me.  She was even older than one of her teachers. She said it was odd and uncomfortable at times, but she stuck it out, and now has a job she loves. 

My husband:  He’s a volunteer firefighter.  Enough said, right?  Except before I met him I didn’t realize how much they do.  Going into burning buildings is enough, but they also go to medical calls, which can include going to some pretty rough places in the middle of the night, or going to tend to the victims of violent crimes.  They don’t know who or what kind of situation is going to be waiting for them.  Yet still he goes.

I think they’re all brave.  They’re brave in different ways, but they’ve all (successfully) confronted fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, and intimidation.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Aural Hematoma, Unfashionable Hat, and Hardboiled Eggs

Emma in her "hat"

Emma had to go to the vet for an aural hematoma yesterday.  You can read more about what that is here, if you’re so inclined, but the very short version is that it’s kind of like a blood blister.  She had one on her left ear about seven weeks ago and we took her to have it drained, but it has reappeared. 

We took her back to the vet yesterday and he drained it again and put a small hole in as well, in hopes of allowing more drainage.  The goal is to get rid of it without surgery.  We have to drain it three times a day and put Neosporin on it.  Fortunately, my husband is going to be handling all, or at least most, of the draining (stuff like that really gets to me).  

Emma has to wear this odd little hat contraption to keep her ear pressed close to her head, so it doesn’t flop around and bleed all over the place.  She managed to take the hat off shortly after we got home yesterday and it wasn’t a pretty sight. 

Emma in the hated no-bite collar
Emma is very good at removing contraptions meant to keep her from hurting a surgical site.  We can’t use a regular E-Collar on her because she knows how to take them off.  Fortunately we held onto the no-bite collar we acquired when we first learned that E-Collars don’t work.  It has come in very handy over the years.  She managed to remove the hat about every five minutes last night, which the cats found very interesting.  So in addition to Emma being able to scratch her ear and it flopping around, the cats were trying to play with her ears.  Who knew that dog ears were fun cat toys?

So we opted to add the no-bite collar to her get up.  It keeps the new hat in place and prevents her, and the cats, from getting to her ear.  She hates the no-bite collar.  It looks pretty uncomfortable and it’s the one thing she can’t finagle her way out of.  I think it also offends her sense of style.  When I took her out this morning she seemed to be in a hurry to go back inside once she realized the neighbor’s dog was out.  Poor thing, I think she didn’t want the other dogs to see what her parents were making her wear. 

 Emma is also on antibiotics, since she has an open wound.  For most dogs this doesn’t present much of a challenge, you just put the pills in some Velveeta cheese and they scarf it down, or with some dogs you just hand them the pill.  It doesn’t work that way with Emma.  She isn’t very food motivated.  She only eats things she likes, and only when she’s hungry.  She also doesn’t trust Velveeta cheese.  Not at all.  She understands that humans are devious and like to hide things dogs don’t like in it.  She also doesn’t trust soft dog treats, peanut butter, or hot dogs.  I (the pills are my job, since my husband is doing the draining) am currently hiding the pills in hardboiled eggs.  I’m not sure why they work, maybe it’s because the smell is so strong, but they work, at least for the time being.  I think getting a hard boiled egg also offers some small consolation for her unfashionable hat. 

I think she looks cute, in a kind of pitiful can you believe my mom made me wear this sort of way, but she doesn’t seem to agree with me.  With any luck, her unfashionable hat will pay off and she won’t have to have surgery.  That is the ultimate goal of our current aural hematoma regimen of hard boiled eggs and an unfashionable hat

Monday, August 6, 2012

Great Times & Good Food

I realized today that it has been over a week since my last blog post.  I’m not entirely sure how I let that happen!  I guess things have just been a little busier than normal.  I’m back now, and promise to catch up on commenting and responding to comments as soon as possible.

So here’s part of what I’ve been doing while I haven’t been blogging:

At the beginning of the year my husband and I decided that this year we would do better about having people over to our house for dinner, games, snacks, movies, etc.  We’re both homebodies, so are much happier at home, and in this economy no one seems to be able to go out and do much any way.

We vowed to keep the house cleaner (it’s not that we’re slobs, it’s just that there’s a little bit of a difference between “clean” and “company clean”, at least at out house), and invite more people over.  We started off well and had a few people over during the early part of year.  Then things just kind of fizzled.  The house wasn’t perfect, people’s schedules didn’t match up well, someone could only come during the week which meant I wouldn’t be able to make an elaborate dinner, etc, etc. 

We talked about it again and realized those were all just excuses, and not even very good ones.  It seemed that we were constantly talking about inviting people over, or talking with other people about how we needed to get together, but never actually doing it.  We decided enough was enough.  Actions speak louder than words.

So we invited some very good friends (they’re actually more like family) over for dinner.  Because none of the five of us who are still working work exactly the same schedule, we had to plan it about a month in advance to find an evening when everyone was free.  We ended up having them over to dinner on a Wednesday night.  Instead of panicking that I’d have to make something relatively simple since I wouldn’t be getting off until 5:00 and they were coming at 6:00, we just went with it, and were glad we’d get to spend time with our friends.

I ended up making meatloaf, cheesy potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, and green beans.  I put the meatloaf and casserole together the night before and my husband put them in the oven before I came home.  The macaroni and cheese was homemade, but we had frozen it earlier and just had to defrost it and warm it up.  The green beans were simple.  My husband made a delicious carrot cake since he was off that day. 

It wasn’t a gourmet meal, but the food was good.  At least everyone said it was.  And the company was great; we were able to sit around and talk for hours.  We caught up with our friends.  It was just like old times with them, when we all did a little better at making time to see each other more often.  It was heaven.

So what about you?  Do you invite people over for meals often?  Do you have any good ideas for helping things go smoothly?  Any tips on how to keep the house “company clean”?