Saturday, April 15, 2017

Darn You, Scoliosis...

At my first chiropractic consultation, I saw my x-rays, showing a sharp turn just below my skull (instead of a gentle curve) and a curve to the left in my lower back. It's funny -- I didn't know I had scoliosis until my 40s, though I'd had the back pain symptomatic of it since my teens. (And no, nobody would take me to a doctor for it. I believe they just thought I was making it up, like my migraines. Ta da, they were for real, and likely due to malnourishment. So you tell me, is the person responsible the one who would proclaim “I'm tired of cooking, so we are having turnip greens for dinner.  Too bad you won't eat them”? Or maybe I'm being too harsh on the Saint? Or maybe I saw a side of the Saint those she actually loved never saw. Think it's possible a stepparent might play favorites against the stepchildren?)  All right, enough of that. Just understand that I had a much different treatment than the beloveds. It still hurts. So I have one affected leg, which burns with electrical fire or twangs with a physically irritating numbness on other occasions.  

The picture for all this pain has finally started to coalesce into visible conditions.  I'd stopped going to the chiropractor because of my husband’s iffy insurance, and now he's on mine, which I suspect was better anyway.  I couldn't go for treatment for my pain when he couldn't go for his.  It just didn't seem right to me.

I thought I was getting away with not going until my massage on Thursday. My massage therapist said she could tell I haven't been to the chiropractor in a long time because my back was all curved to the side and all the muscles on the right were knotted up together.  Sounds ooh la la and fancy to go for massages? Well, mine are pretty rough.  I'm not complaining.  Lol. I always feel bruised afterward.  Oh but there are some parts that feel great and never get tender, because they aren't injured to begin with, but even when you use a foam roller on yourself, the key is that you press into that fascia until it HURTS, and then you hold it there.  Yeeeouch.  

It's just another form of physical therapy, and I need it because I haven't been able to work those knots out myself, and I've tried a lot of things -- percussion massager, tennis ball, lacrosse ball, a Rumble Roller called a Beastie because of the barbs in it, resistance bands, foam rollers, stretching, and even a Marathon Stick.  She takes care of it for me, and I should probably be going more often, actually.  And I have to go back to the chiropractor too.  :(

Will this get better? I doubt it.  Given the arthritis in my spine, it's all degenerative. I guess I'll have to stick to weightlifting and just ignore the pain all day and night. At least I'm moving back towards where I used to be on weightlifting and doing a lot of exercises to strengthen my back.  I'm up to 95 pounds on deadlifts.  I know it isn't much, but it all helps. I'll let you know if I ever get to the spray-tan-look-at-me-on-stage day.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Falling Apart

After waiting as long as I could stand it, a couple of weeks ago I took a trip to the orthopedist.  I needed to have both my left shoulder and my left foot seen about.

A little history on them: in May 2015, I took my dog for a walk down the street and back.  We were about two houses away from home when I took one step forward, into the gutter, with my left foot.  It wasn't much of a dip - maybe an inch lower -- but suddenly my foot folded in and backwards, and with an audible crack from somewhere down there, I was thrown forward onto the ground.  I'm still not sure how that happened, unless there was an existing fault in my foot.

Something similar happened to my dentist recently as well -- he stepped off a curb, and WHAM, four metatarsals broke and spread apart.  His was pretty catastrophic -- he had surgery and a bunch of metal put in.  He had to keep his foot elevated while he was working, which was a bit of an odd position for me to be in.  Lol

I was lying there stunned, with tears just pouring down my face and afraid to breathe.  I was lucky I hadn't landed in the broken glass-filled gutter, but in the grass just beyond in my neighbor’s yard.  For a couple of minutes I lay there, wondering if I would have to drag myself through the grass to get back home. It was only a couple of lawns, to be sure, but I'd have to negotiate my way around a fence pretty soon.

I ended up hopping pretty horribly on the other foot, which has a rubbery ankle after too much damage, and wailed my way to my bed with several ice packs.  I felt absolutely nauseated from the pain.  Almost unable to walk the next day, I went for an X-Ray,  but I was told that the clinic’s machine was broken. After a quick once-over by a random nurse, I was pronounced unbroken and with a simple sprain, as there was no blood or swelling present. Maybe she should have compared to the other foot to see that it was swollen.  I do have small feet, and my ankle and foot were both swollen.

I've had trouble with painful walking ever since.  The chiropractor couldn't fix it by wrenching it around, but as it turns out, that was the wrong thing for it anyway. Because I will be going on a mostly walking tour of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland this year, I need to be able to walk with as little difficulty as possible.

My shoulder… well, trouble with that began on my last trip over there, on the Eurostar to Paris.  I had too many heavy souvenirs in my suitcase, and when I attempted to hoist it over my head into the luggage rack, my shoulder said NO.  The bag came back down, and something gave way in my shoulder.  It got a little better, stopped hurting constantly, and I started lifting weights again.

This fall, I was getting ready to bench press a whopping 70 pounds (my max) and didn't do a warm up set first.  When I lowered the bar, I couldn't push it back up the first time and something twanged in the shoulder again.  This time it really hurt.  So afterwards, I iced and babied it, took ibuprofen, and hoped it was ok.  But I kept rolling over and sleeping on that side.  Every morning it was worse.  Then I started feeling pain down in my deltoid all the time.  Anytime I reached backward, it hurt insanely.  The weight of my arm hanging down was too painful.  I started losing the use of my arm and could not lift it from the front.  So I went to the orthopedist to see what was going on.

After a little research, I had already figured the foot pain was a problem with my cuboid bone.  It turns out that I was right.  After looking at the X-rays of my foot, the doctor said, “Tell me if this hurts” and jabbed her finger right in the cuboid, which made me jump and yell.  She said that when I sprained my ankle that last time, and my foot inverted, my cuboid bone moved out of place, and now there are a bunch of arthritic spurs growing out of it, referring pain to nerves all over my foot.  Apparently, that's just a weird thing that happens.  Cuboid subluxation.

What it means for me is that I'm currently in a post-surgical boot and waiting to see if that helps, not knowing if I'll ever be able to run again.  So far, it isn't helping, and I suspect I'm going to have to learn how to tape my foot very well from here on out to keep that bone from moving.

My shoulder was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear, going by the weakness and pain she saw.   I got a cortisone shot for that, which seemed so much worse than the ones I'd previously gotten in my hip, but it was quicker, fortunately.  I honestly thought I was going to start babbling and crying in front of my husband, but then it was over.  (I almost cried during my shoulder x-ray too. I felt like such a wimp, but if there was no pain, that might mean I was imagining things.)

For about four days after the shot, I hurt worse and had more trouble using my arm, just like she said I would.  But then it suddenly felt like it did just before my bench pressing injury. Almost okay.  It still hurts badly when I try to reach backward, but I can tell there's some improvement.  Maybe I won't have to have rotator cuff surgery this summer.  Maybe it's just a small tear and it will last a while longer.  Maybe.  I'm back on Meloxicam, too.

So anyway, I have become the Biofreeze Queen, and we won't be going anywhere without it.  Fortunately, there are travel sized packets, but I'm not sure how many will fit in my 3-1-1 bag for the flights.  I may just have to force hubby to carry some for me, but chances are, he will need his own packets for his back, so…. We will both be carrying Biofreeze packets, and I'll be wagging KT Tape with me all over Great Britain and Ireland. Yay.  And still trying to travel light. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm not happy that I am so full of arthritis at my tender age, but I probably had it in my neck and back, before I was 20, due to the accident in my sister’s car.  I do wonder how long it will be before the rheumatoid arthritis starts making a nuisance of itself, since arthritis hit me early.

It seems I'm getting rather fragile.  I guess I'm going to have to drink more lattes, and boost my calcium levels.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

October Ruminations

I'm really irritated with the Blogger app.  It used to be completely reliable, but due to some apparently bad blood between Apple and Google, now they don't play fairly together anymore.  Which means… I'm just supposed to be okay with the complete loss of functionality for my blog?!?!  NO, I DON'T THINK SO! You guys suck!

I've been listening to my dog all weekend -- he can't stand to stay inside for long, and he runs to the end of his leash to get as far next door as possible.  I'm sure that the little female dog next door is in heat, and it's driving him (and us) crazy. I even caught him howling pitifully on the kitchen steps earlier.

I understand. He's feeling a loneliness he doesn't understand, and I'm feeling one myself.  It doesn't make sense.  I'm perfectly happy with my husband, and I'm having a much-needed day of solitude while he does his third shift sleeping.  But these thoughts come along unbidden.  I usually know the answers to the questions.  I just have to keep reminding myself that I already know the truth.

The kids that behave poorly in my class as a rule, and act like I'm horrible for trying to teach them typing -- a skill they will TRULY find useful and much easier to learn if they just do as I suggest -- well, I have to remind myself that they will take or leave what I teach them, and I just have to grade them fairly and without guilt when their efforts show that they just don't give a damn about learning the skill.  I've talked till I'm blue in the face about how much easier high school classes will be if they follow my directions, but what would I possibly know about high school?  I just did very well at it myself and taught there for several years.  *sigh* Remember that they need to fail sometimes in order to learn.  Don't take it so hard that they will never remember a thing you did for them, much less thank you, and they will likely give all credit to a teacher who let them run wild and learn nothing.  I still get to teach a class that is fun and sometimes stimulating for me.  I'm likely not seeing the best of them at this age.  I'll probably never see them at their best and most productive.  That's the sad truth of being a middle school teacher. That, and the fact that other teachers think I'm surplus, of lesser importance than them, subordinate to them, (uh nope -- check where my seniority, experience, and higher degrees place me) and supposed to be their secretary, and still expect me to help them in ways that aren't in my job description (I'd get in trouble for overreaching.). I mean, come on -- you demand after spitting in my face??  This is where I politely disregard entire groups of people who come demanding.  I simply don't notice them.

People who are adults and treat me horribly -- well, I have to remember that they will get their comeuppance and a hefty dose of karma rather than learning from youth’s folly.  After all, they are adults and completely responsible for themselves.  They choose to victimize others who have no time harmed them.  They have no one to blame but themselves for their actions, and that becomes a harsh and lonely place for them that can last indefinitely. They'll hurt for their meanness, and it's not on me when I was kind in the face of their cruelty.  I'm not sure exactly which sins those fall under, but as they say, God don't like ugly, and I'm sure that references an ugly heart rather than anything superficial on the outside. Some of the prettiest faces hide the ugliest hearts.  Sometimes you just have to be the adult and accept that you can't fix their flaws for them.

I try to remember them in my prayers, but I have to admit that my prayers are often taken up by those in need of protection or healing, and sometimes for me.  I don't have enough time in the day to pray for everyone who has been awful to me.  Lol. It would be a long list.

I have to remember that I started all this not because I expected thanks or recognition (which I've never gotten), but to help children, even children who try to use me as their scapegoat with no provocation whatsoever.  I get an almost daily spiritual black eye and bloody nose for trying, but I have to remember that they're children, and don't know what they're doing.  Some of them will never mature emotionally beyond the me-me-me! and will always act the same way.  I just have to remember that I gave pieces of myself for them, and there almost wasn't enough left for me.  That’s just the way it is, and it has to stop.  If I am assaulted again (literally and physically), it won't be swept under the rug. I will press charges.

Well, that became dark, and I'm dreading the winter because of the pall that will be cast upon my world.  By February this year, I was not my chipper self who should have been happily planning a wedding And happily making a lot of beautiful decorations.  I was feeling like an animal that had been kept chained in a dark closet all my life and I just felt like howling and biting all the time.  Nothing I tried to do worked.  Maaayyyybe I should have considered antidepressants again, but I was as afraid of them as I was afraid of the dark winter days.

And you know, most of my hair turned white right about then.  That's stress for ya.  I know, I've been mostly silver for a few years, but even my dad’s hair did not turn white until his 60s. And I obviously have his hair. But when it's time to have my hair color touched up, the white roots make me look like my hair is thinning. I'm almost ready to wash my hands of all the hair coloring business and just be a new me.  My hairdresser had noticed a few white strands a while back, but I can see that the loss of melanin has absolutely accelerated.  Eh, she does a great job with my color, making it look natural.  I'm ok with it.  One day I'll have a gorgeous white mane that I can infuse with all sorts of pretty colors.  A blank palette.

I will say it again: I NEED SOME SNOW TO BLANKET EVERYTHING IN A GLOWING WHITE CLOAK. That's how I get my happy mood back in the winter.  Bright white snow days.  I can't handle the grey skies.  I just sit at the window and grin like a fool at every crisp snowflake drifting down.  Yes.  I love them, each and every one.  Around here we go from lackluster fall color that ends after roughly two weeks right into 120 Days of Night, only without the insane foreign vampires to lighten the mood. So yes, I'm going to go overboard on lighting my house for Christmas.  And maybe even for just winter after that.  I've got Snowflake projectors. Yeah.

I do receive a great deal of satisfaction from the successful completion of a creative project.  Every time I look at the kitchen shelves I built and installed, I sigh with the accomplishment.  I've needed them for 16 years, and even now they are holding a ton of appliances that were always in my way.  I created a coffee station.  There's space for my cookbooks and large stoneware pieces.  There's finally a place to keep my huge enamel stockpots for making boiled custard and canning, and even my cake carrier. I even have a place to store my toolboxes, so working on projects will NOT be such a hassle anymore. I just take the big one out and have all my power tools right in one place. (my brother's genius, actually.  He suggested one carryall toolbox instead of trying to find individual cases for my saw, sander, drill, bits, clamps, etc.)

I need to have a few good projects lined up.  Portable projects and home projects.  I've got to finish painting the kitchen white.  That'll be mostly a winter project, I'm sure, though the cabinet doors need to be taken care of before it gets cold outside.  At least one wall is finished.  Knotty pine is a beast to paint.  Clean thoroughly, then dry, then fill the holes, then caulk between EVERY FREAKING PLANK.  And then caulk again.  Lol. Then paint with primer+paint.  Then paint again because there was a little discoloration from the old varnish.  Then paint again because two coats of good quality paint with primer don't make it opaque enough for me to be satisfied.  Ha ha. I guess I just need to schedule myself some painting days and be content to complete a section at a time. I can't afford to have the whole kitchen out of commission for three days straight to make it all happen.

I've also got a plan to install some framed pegboard on one wall for hanging things up.  I'd just nail stuff up there, buuuut that paneling surrounds the oven, and I don't want to take a chance on piercing that.  Besides, all the pots and pans are hanging all over one another, clanking every time they're touched and probably getting scratched.  I have great plans drawn.  1x4s and screws with stacked washers for spacers -- should give plenty of room behind for hooks to grab.  Mm hmm.  Should work fine and the pans should hang more flush afterward.  See?  Now that I've learned a few basics, I definitely have some good ideas. It's too bad I couldn't have taken a wood shop class. I have some great ideas. Now I'm getting the know-how to bring them to life. Only about 30 years late.

My knitting has improved greatly (and I'm a lot faster than when I started, so it feeds my need for instant gratification), and I'm finally understanding what I look at when I see a knitted sock, as well as how to make it happen.  It's like learning another language sometimes.  My hubby has asked me if I will knit him some sweaters.  :).  Yes I will.  It means so much that there's someone who wants to wear something I've made completely with my hands!  Until now, it was only my nephews, and they mostly just wanted hats.  Of course, I won't give him a sweater that isn't just right for him.  I do not want to be represented by poor handiwork. Maybe after I finish his first sweater I might knit a black one for myself as well.  I've never been able to find one that I liked - just a simple black crew neck that wasn't baggy in weird places, but still fits me just right.

Even just thinking and writing about these plans has improved my mood greatly.  :). Positive creativity is my mood booster.  Why would I want to kill my sparkle by dousing it in layers of antidepressants?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Marriage Tax on Women

Wow!  It's been a couple of months since I've written anything of note, but in my own defense, my last entry was the day before school started and things have been hectic.

I got married in June, and there has been quite an adjustment period, what with people trying to make things difficult, and only hurting the wrong people (kids) in the process. Kids grow up, gain understanding, and then find it hard to forgive the ones who created obstacles.  I won't be that person, because I've already lived through that and know what damage it does.  So...

Getting my name changed is still going on.  The SSA was fast to update it, but the state department of education is slow on updating my license, so my maiden name is confusing students from their printed schedules. It's funny because everyone is having trouble adjusting to my name change except for my husband.  He's wanted that name change since I we were teenagers, I understand.  :) 

I suppose my old name will eventually fade away.  My sister wasn't kidding when she said it takes forever to get it changed everywhere.  I'm wondering if my bank will require me to buy all new checks, rather than using up the ones I've already paid for.  

I had to pay for a new driver's license, complete with the worst picture to date.  If I'd known going in, I'd at least have kept my hair down and smiled.  But the clerk was one of those whose joy is giving people one shot to take the worst photo of them that she can, so I'm stuck with it.  It just shows me with Resting Bitch Face, so that's pretty normal.  I just look so grim.  Lol

Passport... I'll have to get a new passport to change my name on it, and that'll be $150.  Last I checked, a brand new one was only $110! So what's with the extra $40?

All the information I'd found online told me I would also have to pay a few hundred dollars to change my name, but that turned out to be incorrect in my county at least. 

Why does everybody get a kickback just because a woman gets married? Why not the men?  Changing a single name in a computer does not cost but a few cents of manpower time, after all.

Anyway, I'm excited about my next trip, and I've been looking around for new travel tips, but they're all the same old recycled ones.  I've seen several on how to take all your jewelry with you: put your earrings through a button, run your necklaces through a straw, press it between two layers of Press & Seal... Here's my tip to all of you:  leave the freaking jewelry at home!  Then you won't lose it, or get robbed for your impressive costume jewelry or engagement ring. Less to keep up with, and believe me, you're not going to impress the people in another country by being accessorized to the nines.  Be practical.

Here's another one I don't get - using a bunch of packing cubes inside your luggage to keep things organized and separated.  Oh yes, in a world where the weight of your baggage is an important consideration, you should add extra bags inside of your bags.  Maybe I'm missing something here, but wouldn't those extra zippers and fabric add weight?  If you want to compartmentalize because there would be a scandal if your clean panties touched your clean socks, use ziplock bags.  They don't weigh more than a breath, they're waterproof, and you can put all your undies in together in case the TSA decides to rummage through your suitcase - no strange dirty hands touching your underwear. You can also use a bigger zip bag as a portable washing machine, a car sick bag (happened twice in my tour group on the last trip), a place to put damp clothes to protect your dry ones, or even a compartment in your daypack to store your snacks. You can use them for travel cushions, a ball to entertain you and a friend, and a dry sack to protect your phone and camera in a sudden downpour.

Here's another thought: take some big garbage bags. They make emergency ponchos, a dry place to sit, a backpack cover in the rain, and even a trash bag.  Garbage bags travel very small and light.  Yes, the locals will have nice rain gear, but will you ever see them again?

Monday, July 18, 2016

I Wish...

I wish...
... I didn't have a stubborn sinus headache that reminds me what migraines are like.
... People would truly take care of their children before treating themselves.
... Kids whose parents give them the world would at least mow the yard.
... The world was filled with peace, love, and happiness.
... That my nice voice could be as effective as my harsh, angry voice. I don't ever want to use it.
... That my business was doing well enough to justify continuing.
... That today's beautiful sunshine accompanied 70 degree temps. :D
... That my dog would stop scratching himself bloody.
... That my weight loss wasn't stalled at the usual place.
... That I wasn't hungry so much.
... That I didn't completely mistrust the folks who do my nails.
... That people wouldn't blatantly steal my original designs and then sell them.
... That my house wasn't cluttered.
... That I could get lots of energy by eating healthy, and fix the above. :)
... That my kitchen was already painted and my new shelves were successfully up!
... That those shelf boards didn't have to come from an hour away and cost $20 each!
... That my dog hadn't been shivering in the house.
... That people understood it takes money to order materials for custom work. 
... That people would prepay custom orders so I don't have to fear being stiffed on materials that can't be reused, design time that can't be refunded, and work hours I could have spent resting, instead of working to be ripped off.  (It's happened so many times already...)
... That people understood the sizes beyond XL actually cost me a couple of dollars or more EXTRA to get and that I can't afford to just eat that cost without going up on the cost of all shirts.  HEY, my husband wears a 4X!  I already pay!
... That folks understood that ordering special shirt types and colors really adds to the cost of shirts when shipping is tacked on because you can't afford to guess popular sizes and colors ahead of time in order to get a shipping discount.  It jus about doubles the cost of the project.
... That I was a social media sales expert like my sister.  Lol. Seriously -- multiple times a day???
... That people didn't make me request payment from them for MONTHS after delivery.
... That people remembered there are teachers in the back hallway who are usually left out of all the nice things.
... That I wasn't snubbed simply because of the type of class I teach. I COULD be a college professor.  I have the degree and the experience.  
... That I was clueless about the extent to which I have been ghosted by "friends".  
... That I had more true friends that I could actually hang around with on shared terms, instead of always being there only to support them.
... That the days I loved my job enthusiastically were more frequent.
... I got kicked in the teeth much less frequently at work.
... I was understood.  My motives are positive.  But nobody wants to believe.
... I was better at self-promotion.  I'm an awesome person who loves so many!... Who apparently couldn't care less, but anyway... Lol
... That when I extended the hand of friendship, it wasn't viewed with suspicion, disdain, or scorn.  I guess I'll beat them down eventually, but meanwhile I'll just quickly retreat to my safe, warm, quiet place, dress my wounds, and maybe try again next year.
... That chocolate caused weight loss, but apparently it's only chocolate Ex-Lax that does that. Shout out to my sister at age six!
... That we had a take-your-small-dog-to-work day.  His cup would run over! And I could get in some extra needed kisses.
... That some of us back-hall teachers weren't ignored at Christmas.  :). The biggest classroom in the school gets mighty lonely.
... That I could innovate in my class.
... That I could get the system to provide some resources for my class.  It's hard to innovate with no books and just what you can imagine when you are tired and not thinking so freshly.
... That I had the networking contacts to glean some fresh and fun ideas for my class.  Where are those websites??
... That I could have had some training for the last four classes I've taught in my current room. Professional development is not available to me unless I pay for it. :(
... That there was a little patio area outside my room for a break.  I wonder if I could create one?  I have a couple of old plastic chairs! ...would I get in trouble? They have them all over the rest of the building... Just not in my area.  It could be a great sunny spot for teachers to eat lunch outside!  :)
... That my allergies weren't intensifying with my age. If I could take a cheap pill that stopped them and had no zombifying side effects, I'd gladly take it.  But there is no such critter.
... That I could write an engaging and inspiring blog.  But it seems I'm better at providing schadenfreude instead.  And I can't even draw cartoons. *sigh*
... That I could have continued oil painting, but I wasn't being taught, wasn't learning anything, and wasn't inspired.  I was just getting studio time while the teacher did her own painting.  I'd have loved to finish that painting of my dog.  I even won some fair ribbons. 
... That I could figure out how to do glitter mock-ups!
... That I had a better house in a better neighborhood.  But I've paid for this one all by myself all this time and I don't want to live beyond my means. 
... That I wasn't making less than I was five years ago.  I thought my salary would at least hold steady even if it didn't ever go up again, but no, it looks like there's a plan to take my meager earnings back from me. We're supposed to get a raise, but also a corresponding insurance increase.  First raise in six years and they take all that and then some.
... That lots of peeps would order shirts and decals to help me survive with my 13 year old vehicle and house in an awful neighborhood. :)
... I had a great friend at work.  My friend who made me laugh and accepted me moved on to better job opportunities and I miss hanging out with her.
... That it didn't feel like someone was trying to make look like the bad guy.  Yeah, I'm aware. It's pretty obvious. 
... That judgmental people didn't judge me because I think differently.
... That the self-righteous Christian posers would either stop, if become true Christians who don't cherry pick what parts of the Bible they will follow.
... That I didn't have to use Zzzquil tonight to fix my circadian rhythm.  
... That Zzzquil worked faster. It's been an hour and a half already.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Coffee Make You Manly!

I really don't understand the thoughts of people who act as if they way they drink their coffee is an indication of how tough they are. They believe that if they drink their coffee black, it means that they are superior in someway to other human beings. Sugar is for wimps. Creamer is for delicate people who are apparently disturbed by the genuine color of coffee.  Boiling hot espresso means that you are some sort of super human creature like Thor.  

A little honesty to begin with. I drink coffee as a means to an end. I didn't like drinking coffee in college, but I learned to drink it once I became a teacher, and I was staying up too late working at night and still having to go to work and be bright eyed and bushy tailed for my students in the morning.  

As my husband and I are fond of joking, we like a little coffee with our creamer.  If you take a look at the guy, you will easily understand that he is not lacking in the manliness department.  

I have seen him benchpress. I spot him sometimes, as if that would do any good --right?  He presses hundreds of pounds, while I am very proud that I'm currently pressing 60 pounds.  On the other hand, I can do assisted pull-ups with half my bodyweight, so my strength is improving. It's amazing what you can do when you have an actual trainer working with you all the time, although for a while my focus really has been just my arms, chest,  and back.   My feet and legs keep getting hurt in other exploits, so weight training on them has been held off a bit. (I threw out my hip dancing at a Duran Duran concert last week. Chic were onstage performing le Freak, so I had to dance!)

Anyway, I consider people that deride creamer-and-sugar drinking coffee people strange people who enjoy the taste of black coffee. If they really enjoyed the taste of coffee without anything to adulterate it, why don't they just go around eating spoonfuls of coffee grounds?  Now that would impress me.

What is it with them? The worse the coffee tastes, the more they like it? 

Still, the way I drink my coffee is not meant to impress anyone. I have taste buds that like to be entertained no matter what I'm eating or drinking. They are not so pedestrian is to demand "BLACK COFFEE ONLY."  I enjoy the different flavors of creamers. I don't have a problem with tasting caramel in my coffee. I don't even have a problem with chocolate or mint in my coffee. I'm an equal opportunity creamer taster. The different flavors are part of the reason why I can even stand to drink coffee.  I'm usually drinking it for the caffeine and if I can make it taste pleasant, so be it. 

I don't think of myself as less than a man just because I'm a woman, so I wouldn't think of myself as less tough just because I put creamer and sugar in my coffee. I would think the spinal arthritis I've been living with for three decades without relief would be proof of that. 😄

I don't feel the constant need to prove myself to random people.  I'm actually OK with myself.

I will drink coffee with sweetener and creamer whenever I like, and enjoy the actual flavors.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Long Fingernails and Torture

I have the ability to grow my own nails long and strong, given enough time and the right circumstances. I'd been doing it for months prior to the wedding, but for whatever reason, they all started breaking off by the week of the wedding.  

So I opted to get some artificial nail tips added on to mine, so they'd look nice (and not like a gardener's hands) in our wedding pictures.  

I've got to say that there is a distinct disadvantage in dealing with nail technicians that don't speak much English.  I've gone back for my first fill, to a lot of problems making me reconsider continuing this at all.

1.  The blobby toenail polish when I first went.   There is no excuse for that.  I can paint mine smoothly with a cheesy dollar bottle of polish.  
2.  He insisted on using a drill to rough up my natural nails even though I requested that he not do that.  Why?  It takes a little longer to do it properly with a file.  Though I was the first one in when the shop opened, it was obvious he wanted to rush through and do a quantity of jobs, but not quality.  
3.  Using said drill, the first guy sanded the sides and base of two fingers until they were raw and bleeding. The second guy held the drill tip under my nail until he had burned a raw spot into my fingertip.  
4.  The first set of nails started lifting on day 3, which can lead to a fungal infection with moisture between the acrylic and your nail bed.
5.  When I went back for the fill / repair, the second guy forcibly lifted the fake nails up to cut them away with clippers.  
6. And then he literally ripped four of the partially lifted nails off my nails with a fake nail tip as a pry bar. This caused two of my natural nails to rip off, one down in the quick.  His response when I winced? "Oh, sorry."  Artificial nails should never be ripped off.  They're supposed to be soaked off using acetone.... But I didn't realize what he was doing until too late.  Forcing things under your nails and ripping nails off forcefully is actually a method of torture, so why did I have pay for this guy to hurt me over and over?  Seems like he should have been paying me.
7.  He wouldn't listen to even the smallest request. He asked if I wanted squared off nails or round, and I said round.  So now I have some sharply square corners that feel awkward and don't flatter my hands.  He also asked if I wanted them shortened, and I said no.  Therefore he shortened them anyway.  
8.  They are trying to claim that acrylics are gels. They're not.  And you shouldn't try to sell acrylics for the gel price.  

I'm pretty sure that I can do my own acrylics and maybe even gels, IF I ever go this route again.  But I won't be letting those people put me through that again.  I would reaLily rather stay with my own nails. My fingers are still sore today, and I expect they will stay sore for at least another day.  Not good.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Thoughts on Arthritis and Pains in the Neck

I'm waiting to get my nails done (okay, to get a fill done on the nail tips I had put on for our wedding) and hearing a pedicure customer talk about how her arthritis disappears for days after a simple leg massage. 

Is that possible? Hmm. Hey, what if it is? What if it's the placebo effect? What does it matter if the pain goes bye bye?

I have arthritis in my neck and back. I've probably had it since I was 15, when I was in a car accident and injured my neck. 

My back and neck have hurt me all this time to some degree, and probably contributed to the frequency of my migraines. 

After being accused of whining and hypochondria for years, I finally stopped telling anyone I was in pain and learned to live with it.  As you do. Daily pain has become normal. I was surprised when my chiropractor showed me the extent of the damage in my X-rays. I suppose I felt vindicated. 

It even eased some of the nasty meanness directed my way once. (As in being accused of being a shameless attention seeker).  I'd told (who I thought was a friend) someone after 9/11 that I had met one of the men who brought down the plane in Pennsylvania.  Nothing in that other than how sad it was. He wouldn't have remembered me anyway. I think we said hi once in passing in the hallway. Anyway, this so-called friend  nastily responded "Well I guess that makes you famous, doesn't it!!!"

Um, where did that come from? Oh, just likely his true nature.  With a nasty attitude like that, I began to suspect that maybe there was something to his ending up in court over spousal abuse charges. I know he did a lot of self-aggrandizement over the course of our friendship, but who would make that up to sound impressive?  Maybe there was truth to it after all and once again, I got lucky through rejection. 

I guess my mind connected the neck and spinal arthritis to that memory of him because supposedly he's got it too. Not that we are kindred spirits. Just two humans whose path crossed and coincidence struck. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sometimes it goes up, sometimes it goes down...

Well, the last three weeks have been pretty rough for me. First the "yearly" stuff that I was about five years overdue on... Despite the fact that I have some really serious complaints, all the tests for them came back fortunately absolutely normal, so there's one very invasive test left to see if I have ovarian cysts, fibroids, or endometriosis, and probably a forthcoming decision for me about what to have cut out from my body.

On the good side, I've lost nearly 30 pounds in my weight loss program, and I'm looking much better.  I also feel better because of it.  As a matter of fact, I often feel like I'm walking in someone else's body, because the old friction points are gone.  My hips aren't rubbing my arms, and my thighs aren't rubbing each other much anymore.  I'm enjoying hearing how many inches I've lost at each weigh-in.  Also, my weight lifting is improving and chiropractic treatment seems to have taken care a lot of my constant pain.  Alas, it can't take the arthritis from my spine, but it can help with the two abnormal curvatures that are there.  

I hurt much less, and that's a wonderful thing.  I feel years younger.  :). 

Last week, my allergies hit hard.  They started with a scratchy throat, a few sniffles, and suddenly I had aches and chills and a fever of 101°.  I went to be tested for flu and strep.  Negative on both, but I had a raging infection in my throat that got treated as if it were strep, just in case.  I missed two days of work, and I'm glad I did.  My ears hurt for a couple of days and then they were stopped up and I lost most of my hearing.  I've been hearing impaired for a week now.  I guess it's someone's way of making me walk in my mother's nearly deaf shoes.  

This. Is. Miserable.  No wonder she was so unhappy so much of the time.  

Usually, my spring allergies turn into a nasty case of bronchitis.  This time, thy went up into my head.  I'm not sure which is worse.

I've got a raging double ear infection.  *sigh*. No wonder it hurts and I can't hear anything but a deafening ringing in my ears that keeps me from sleeping.  I hope my students are being good.  I really can't tell, so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and keeping them working quietly.  I tried teaching full lessons, but I wasn't sure I was speaking loudly enough, and I was so dizzy I had a hard time standing up and walking.  Not to mention I confused myself easily and had such brain fog I'm sure they all think I've been struck stupid.  They mostly gave me big eyes.  I'm sure they realize I'm still sick.  My voice is still pretty awful sounding.  

So now I'm on a new course of antibiotics, some steroids, Sudafed, and Zyrtec.  With progesterone messing with my tummy this week, I'm sure it's going to be an intestinal nightmare for me.  

Hey, on the bright side, I'll probably lose a little bit of extra weight...

All I want to do is sleep, but the tinnitus makes that difficult.  I have our wedding staring me in the face and too many details to tie up.  Our state tests have been cancelled due to a three-time-loser testing company.  But maybe.... by Monday I might be hearing more?

I went to a local businesswoman's expo and got a sample myofasicial release massage on my head.  I actually felt the places she was pressing grow warm, like something was radiating from her fingertips.  I wouldn't surprise me to hear she has a natural healing gift.  My ears weren't cured when I got up, but my depression had evaporated and I felt pounds lighter.  My sister and her friend said I looked much better than when they'd seen me before the massage.  Then I went to the bathroom and peed about twice as much as I though was in my body.  Lol. I know you didn't need to know that, but you know how it is --  you know when your bladder is empty and it's like mine emptied more than I knew it was holding.  

Final result: I feel better than early this afternoon. I might be well again in the next month. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Vanity in Chalk

Several years ago, I had my bathroom partially remodeled. I say partially, because it isn't big enough to move anything and I didn't see any need to replace a toilet and sink that worked fine.  

I did go shopping for a new vanity, however, nothing available would fit the bill.  I needed my vanity to have drawers, and nothing available in that small size had any drawers!  Ugh!  They all just had a door and it was suggested that I go with a trendy pedestal sink.  Um... The point was that I needed storage.  Not suddenly less storage, but at least as much.  More would be even better.

After the bathroom was finished (ok, it still lacks the crown molding I had before...) I discovered that the second mirrored medicine cabinet wasn't put back up.  I was told I didn't need it, by someone who didn't even live here.  Then I discovered that mysteriously, one of the doors had been broken since it was last hanging on the wall.  Hmmmm.... Now I had even less storage than before, and a salesman suggests a pedestal sink to eliminate almost ALL storage possibilities. 

Men.  I blame this on men who don't understand that ladies have stuff, and it needs to go somewhere.  Somewhere out of the way.  Somewhere hidden and uncluttered.  Like maybe in a drawer or medicine cabinet, you think?!?  (Yes, I'm still mad, and having the first medicine cabinet rehung off center from the light bar overhead and the sink does not help.) 

So I kept the crummy old vanity for lack of a better option.  Painted the bathroom "Twilight Mauve" (Valspar) because I love purple and that was a dusty, not-in-your-face option that matched my beloved shower curtain.  :D. I decoupaged the switch plate covers with a scan of the curtain fabric, and I painted the woodwork white.  

And when you walk in the bathroom, it feels small and crowded, all because of that horrid cheap oak stained builder's grade vanity with the brassy hardware.  Uuuuugly, even from my point of view, and I have ZERO talent for decorating.  

I accidentally came across chalk paint, the magical paint treatment, on Pinterest. Supposedly, it will stick to nearly every surface without prepping or priming.  Hmmmm!  So I chose my color, got a sample made at Lowes, and brought it home, ready to mix in the plaster and water.

And ready to make learning mistakes.

I cleaned the surfaces and mixed a few tablespoons of water into a bowl lined with aluminum foil. (Didn't want to ruin the bowl!). I poured in the cup of sample paint, mixed well, and put on that first coat of, appropriately enough, Tagsale Linen.  Sounds like my life.  

The first coat does look pretty awful.  That's okay.  After you put the third thin coat on, you can distress it, then seal, but I didn't want to distress.  It's a good thing, too, because after two coats, the paint scratched and chipped when it touched anything else.  

I went to bed, prepared to work on it the following afternoon.  That's when I discovered that the plaster in my chalk paint had set up.  Hahaha!  I should have known that.  The entire sample of paint was ruined.  Back to Lowes I went, for a new sample (it was only $4, after all). I waited my turn, and when it was my turn, this woman cut in front of me and the paint guy just gave her everything she wanted and I had to wait even longer.  Rude.  Poor customer service.  I suppose he thought he would make it all better and somehow boost my ego by calling me "Babe" when I asked for the sample.  

Wrong.  I feel demeaned by it.  Surely he didn't think I'm a high school girl or 20-something in need of an ego stroking from... him?  The boy with the unkempt and unattractive long beard? Yuck.  I do look younger than my age, I'm told, but a polite "ma'am" or even "miss" would have been appropriate.  Maybe I should've responded with, "Thanks, sonny boy."  Seems appropriate.

This is what I get for being quiet and polite, instead of being a pushy and obnoxious entitled bitch.


I decided to put on a light coat of Polycrylic to stop the scratching, then put on the third coat. It helped, but it wasn't perfectly durable.  One more coat of Polycrylic on everything, and I think I'll be finished.  

I didn't do any sanding, because of the fragility of the paint, so if there are any time bumps, they will stay.  I may add a little dark glaze to make it look antiqued, but for now, I'm satisfied that my vanity is a light color that makes it visually recede toward the wall and make the bathroom seem bigger. 

Of course, over the last two days as I have worked on this, rain rolled in and then the chilliness came back.  Aargh.  So that makes doing everything at once on the workbench outside impossible.  I haven't seen any temperature restrictions on Polycrylic, but you never know, right?

One last task.... What color to paint that awful brass hardware? Oil-rubbed bronze? It's pretty trendy these days.  But do I like it?

Note: I have discovered Unicorn Spit, and I think I'm in love.  I want some to play with!!!