homo superior in my interior

Unrepentant Artfag

[sticky post]READ THIS FIRST
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RIP Harley Quinn
This morning our cat Harley Quinn died. She appears to have died peacefully in her sleep. She was curled up in her little cat hammock, her own special spot, and did not appear to have struggled or had any pain. She did seem to have thrown up a little undigested food, which is worrisome because she had not eaten since Saturday morning. But she had no symptoms of anything wrong with her at all.

Harley was only about 3 years old and her death is so shocking.

Harley showed up at our house in late 2012 or early 2013. I was in AZ but R told me about her: "There is a pretty kitten who sits in the pecan tree all the time." He or someone started calling her "Nugget" and for a long time that was what she was called. She was completely feral at first but eventually became friendly and tame. She ran off the other feral cats from our house and started trying to come inside. If R left the door open, she would walk in and make herself at home. She had several kittens, as I have mentioned before. In early 2014 she was pregnant and we brought her inside permanently, with the intention of getting her spayed. She had kittens before we could, but we did get her spayed afterward and all the kittens were homed.

In 2014 I started to think that her name was Harley, but we didn't officially change it until 2015, I think. She really blossomed with the new name, she got excited when we called it and came running.

Harley also got really excited when she knew someone was about to pet her, she would wiggle from nose to butt and B dubbed this "the Harley shake."

She tricked us by being a short-haired cat for the first 2-ish years she hung around, and suddenly growing long hair in the late summer of 2014. I am not a person who wants to adopt a long-haired cat but by then she was already ours! We always planned to get her a lion cut to help control the hair.

Harley loved to snuggle and to be petted. She liked balls with bells inside. She even chased the ribbon toy sometimes. She had extremely long tufts of fur on her feet, like no cat I've ever seen. They stuck out from under her feet when she walked.

She was not super-bright, but she was learning, and she was so loving. She was so happy to just be in my lap.

I startd writing this comment this morning but now I am very tired and I am sure there are things I am forgetting to write about sweet Harley Quinn.

Health Update
I think I'm finally done hemorrhaging. That was about 4 weeks of blood loss. No picnic. Mybe the new med is helping (Azulfidine) but it's really, really hard to take 1 pill 4 times a day. So hard. I am sure I am a bit anemic (my gums are pale) but I hope to be on the mend.

I'm down 6 pounds this year, which is nice. I'm shrinking in size much faster than I am shrinking in weight though. Today I found that my everyday pants are just too big to be decent in public anymore, so I tried on a bunch of pants I had that haven't fit me in years. The pants that are too big are size 16 Torrid. The pants that did not fit me before, but now fit are: a size 18 NYDJ, a size 16 NYDJ, and a size 16 no-brand jean. The size 18s from NYDJ are actually a bit loose at the waist.

(no subject)
I really miss making out with people at parties. It's fun. This is a reason I miss the HOD sometimes (another reason I miss the HOD is how easy it was to socialize there, it was so eady to meet people and be social.) I feel like most of my friends have become very settled down and I don't want to settle down. I want to keep partying.

Houston Flood 2015
We all made it through the flood okay. R and I spent Monday afternoon visiting friends and got home right before the flood rain started. The water came up and up and up the street. Around 4am I went out to the porch and saw that R's car (parked in the street) was about to take on water, so I woke him up. B was very sick so R moved both cars up the driveway.

By 5am our whole street was under water, from the bike trail to the end of the block. The water came up over the curb and over the sidewalks. Our back yard also flooded (which is a new thing that just started happening last year.) The house, though, is 2 feet off the ground in the main part and about 18" in the addition, so the house was fine. ASAP we are going to start adding topsoil to the back yard, gently sloped to direct water away from the house. The lot is higher than the street, but the back yard has settled a lot I guess.

R discovered yesterday that his car did take on a little water on the back floorboard. He said it smells terrible.

My family is ok, too. One of our friends' houses flooded. We've all been very lucky, really. Houston really invested in drainage after Allison.

Getting Organized
Yeah this is like my third post in the last couple of hours. I feel like I've been putting off recording these things and it's good to get them all down.

This week B came home from a month away. The month he was gone was very hard for me because I was the ONLY person doing anything to clean this house. R left messes everywhere he went and hardly did anything to clean. I couldn't even keep up, let alone get ahead on organizing and etc.

B is home now and that's helping us to get back on track. Last week I did put R to work in the rest of the house so I could finally do something about my horribly messy bedroom. Did you know that dust and lint smell? They do. And now that I have dusted for the first time since last summer and also cleaned the floor, the room smells a lot better. It's embarrassing how bad it was, but I was trying so hard to keep up with the rest of the house that I never had time/energy to clean my own room. It is much better now, but still needs work.

The studio was also getting worse and worse. I decided that for craft storage I wanted to get an inexpensive chest of drawers. I looked on CL and swa very few that I liked, and they were all way out in the suburbs. B suggested we hit a few thrift stores first. We did so and found NO tall chest of drawers! It was weird. There were many wide ones, but no tall ones. We did, however, find an armoire we really liked and B talked me into purchasing it. Our plan has always been to buy a cheap armoire to make into a future sewing armoire. So for now we bought this one, and will use it for craft storage. In a few months when we make it into a sewing armoire, we will pick up an inexpensive chest of drawers then.

Also in organizational news, R got an Amazon gift card from work and we used it to buy a tall cabinet for the kitchen. It's about 72x23x11. It will go next to the stove and provide some much-needed cabinet space so we can get more organized in the kitchen. As it is we are bursting out. The cabinet arrived today but we need to assemble it, which will probably happen tomorrow. Tonight was devoted instead to clearing out space for the craft armoire to arrive.

Overdid it
AS USUAL, I overdid it.

Sunday was our local OTO body's "Family Day" event. We met up with spouses and kids for a picnic in the park. R, though, had to go pick up CC during the same time. Traffic was crazy, so I told him to leave me at the corner of the park and I could pull the cooler to a table.

Well, I underestimated how far I would have to walk, and apparently the endurance of my arms, because on Monday, I was in a LOT of pain. It got worse as the day went on. My arms, shoulders, and neck were hurting so bad it kept me awake most of the night (I can't take my generic tramadol anymore because it has gluten, so I was stuck trying less predictable remedies.)

I'm very bad at knowing my limits, but part of it is that I hate being "fragile" and having to be delicate with myself. I just want to get things done.
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Double Ear Infections!
I've had very bad allergies for months now and about a month or so ago I started to wonder if they had led to ear infections. My ears felt constant pressure, they are itchy deep inside, I often feel stabby pains in them, and my ears are producing a lot of a clear, sticky fluid. Once my right ear was itching and I rubbed it and a bunch of this fluid came out.

I went to the redi-clinic yesterday and indeed, I do have double ear infections, probably caused by the allergies. The NP said that both ears are very inflamed, but the right one is worse.

She was initially going to prescribe a systemic antibiotic. I asked her if she thought I could recover without it, and she said that yes, adults usually can. So instead of treating the bacterial infection directly we are treating the symptoms that led to it: I am using Flonase to clear my sinuses (because apparently my ears are full of fluid), and Allegra to calm my allergies, and I am going to take lots of zinc and D and selenium to try to strengthen my immune system.

I can already say that the FLonase is like magick. When I had a generic version of this a few years ago, for flu, it was almost totally ineffective. The brand is OTC now so that is what I bought, and it's amazing! I had a spray yesterday as soon as I bought it, then a spray before bed, and I could breathe all night without any sudafed (for months, if I didn't take sudafed, I smothered a night, but I don't like it because it makes me jittery). I had another spray this morning even though I didn't feel congested, I just want to keep on top of it. I can breathe! My ears hurt less! Hooray!

I really hope I can get better soon. No wonder I've been so exhausted.

GF Update
So, this month marks one year since my Celiac dx, one year since I went completely, rigorously GF (and not just wheat-free, as I was before.)

As I have mentioned, the first, most drastic change I experienced was the end of FMS. One year later, I have seen even more improvement. For the first several months after going GF, my major aches from FMS were gone, but I would still have the sudden stabbing feelings and skin crawling feelings, and burning sensations. Those are gone now.

The only "FMS" symptom I have left is hypersensitivity, and that also happens to be a symptom of autism. Even it is much reduced, though.

What I have learned has led me to see FMS as a symptom, not a disease in itself.

Peripheral neuropathy is also gone. I haven't gone back to the neuro to get tested again, but I just don't have the problems I had before. No more numb feet, no more loss of foot control. And that happened relatively quickly.

What's amazing is that one year later I see even more improvement. Like, some things improved fast, some things take longer.

One thing I have noticed recently is that my immune system is calmer. Before going GF, my immune system had become very reactive. I had rashes almost every day. I had lots of skin irritation. My pso/dermatitis was very difficult to deal with, and it had been getting worse for years; at this time I have been free of flare-ups for months (I had a little flare about 3 months ago). These days I still get a small amount of irritation on my chest sometimes, but I am no longer covered in rashes. For several years I'd been getting rashes on my wrists, and those are gone. I'd always been "allergic" to my carpal tunnel braces; if they touched my skin, I got a rash on my hands and wrists. Now I can wear them without a rash.

I am the most even-tempered I've ever been. This may have to do with controlling my BG, too, but even aside from that, I feel different. I just feel so much less quick to anger than I have ever been. Most things, I feel now, just aren't worth getting upset over.

My digestion and related organs keep getting better. Late last summer I tested positive for ulcerative colitis, and although I haven't gone further with that (I haven't had a colonoscopy or gone to see a GI doc) I've noticed that my symptoms are less severe. I was tested because I was experiencing constant bloating, whenever I ate anything my abdomen would swell up. Now my abdomen is visibly smaller and softer. I do occasionally get bloat and etc, but for awhile last year it was every day. After I went totally GF, it actually got worse for awhile, but it has been getting better and better. (people with Celiac have IBD ten times the rate of people without Celiac disease, and anti-TTG antibodies are implicated in IBD. This SHOULD be more proof that Celiac does not only attack the small intestine, but doctors are not scientists.)

My dysautonomia is also improved. Now, when I am super-tired or sleep-deprived I will get episodes of dysautonomia, but otherwise I am mostly good! I am also much better at tolerating cold.

Unfortunately, I still have CFIDS. It isn't gone. I am intensely fatigued. But I am hoping that my improvement continues and that maybe someday I won't have CFIDS anymore.

Updates on Life
Cats: although the situation with CC had improved somewhat over the months, Opal and Serena went pee-crazy a few weeks ago and basically pissed everywhere. Over the course of a week, there was cat pee:

on the sofa
on my bed (on my side of the bed, btw, a clear message)
in a box oc B's clothes in the bedroom
on the bedroom floor
in a basket of clean laundry in the bedroom
in a bowl/on the floor in the studio

Add to this the fact that Opal had over the month bitten me on the hands, hard enough to break skin, three times. That's just not normal Opal. CC had to go.

In the meantime we got a Feliway diffuser to try to calm things down. It seemed to make Opal and Serena sleepy, and it actually made CC MORE bold toward them. CC was no longer playing; during her last few days here, she was clearly and deliberately trying to intimidate Opal and Serena. Even before that, though, she intimidated them both with her size and behavior.

I had been under the impression that R was communicating with CAP to take her into their program. I myself had already messaged several rescues. It turns out he HADN'T been in communication with CAP. HOPE and FFL had both turned CC down after saying they would take her into their program. So in desperation I turned to Merlin's Hope, a rescue in North Texas who helped us when my youngest sister abandoned a cat here a few years ago.

It was quite a long tale, but Merlin's Hope took her in. They may already have an adopter lined up. I took her to the vet last week to get her shots updated; it turns out she weighed 9.8 pounds. Compare that to Opal at 7.5 pounds. No wonder my tiny cat was intimidated!

R took CC up to the rescue on Saturday and O & S are much happier and more relaxed already. They've been playing together and happy. We were concerned that Nugget would be upset, but she isn't acting upset at all.

The rescue says that CC will be going to her new home on Friday! That's  great situation.

Opal also had an updated lung x-ray last month and it shows no change in the mass in her lung. Hooray! Her allergies have been a bit extreme this spring but otherwise she seems healthy. We really need to improve the air quality in this house, though.

Speaking of the house, it has reached the point where it needs a LOT of work. All the gradual home improvements that didn't get done over the last 4 years HAVE to be done this year. I've got my work cut out for me, I suppose.

B is in AZ right now for work. He's been gone almost two weeks and won't be back for at least two weeks more. This is hard. We've been apart like this before, of course, but life is a lot more stressful for me right now and my state is more fragile than it was then.

Health: my health continues to improve. This winter though my plantar fasciitis got way overboard, it was cripping, so went in and got a shot for it. This is the first heel shot since 2007, which is actually a great record! I hope that the shot, combined with Meloxicam and exercises, will keep it at bay for a good long time.

In other news, I am really into crochet these days. It feels very healing and that's about all I want to say about that part. But it quiets my mind, it gives me a chance to be still and listen to music or a podcast (I've finally gotten into WTNV and I love it). I find it very de-stressing, and it turns out that scienc agrees with me. I want to crochet all the things. I am really pleased to have a craft that I can carry with me to social occasions, and I'm actually pretty good at it, which doesn't hurt.

I've been spending about a weekend a month out at my stepmom's house in the burbs. We also went out to the lake one weekend, though it was cold so not as fun as usual. It's great to have such time with her and the kids and my sister JAL. A few weeks ago, my niece was on spring break, so I went over during the week and spent three days. It was really nice. My niece CL2 was actually dreading spring break, because, as she said "Last year my mom . . . Monday and Tuesday were bad days." Isn't that heartbreaking? I am glad that this year, she had a good spring break.


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