Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Zen of French Press

Quick Puppy Update: good news and bad news. Good news is he no longer needs a bandage. Bad news is he is cone-bound for the next week until the stitches come out. Damn! So close!

So. I do not like waiting. Patience is not something I have an abundance of. Near the end of deployment I always had a book in my back pocket so I could read while I had to stand in line for x, y, and z. However, I feel like if I "play on my phone" while I wait, I'm just wasting time. There's so much better things that I could be doing instead. So much productive time wasted.

Lately I hopped on the "adult coloring book" craze. I still haven't finished a whole page, but I've started a few. I didn't want to "make time" for coloring, because that seems a little extreme... but I never knew quite when to do it. Enter the French Press.

It's quite a process for someone like me. I have to wait for the water to boil. I have to wait for the coffee to brew. That's like at least ten whole minutes! I can load or unload the dishwasher while I wait, but there's only so much to clean sometimes. So I've started keeping one of these coloring books and a set of markers in the kitchen for those long drawn out moments during brewing coffee [and cooking, too]. Coloring while coffee brews is nice. Yesterday, for some reason, a particular anecdote popped into my head while I was coloring for coffee. Now, the validity of this certainly can be disputed, because considering the source it may be exaggerated.

But once upon a time, I was a strange child. [no way! go figure!] When I was in pre-school, I guess they called my mom and said there was a problem. My mom went in to talk to the teacher. The teacher pulled out a page I had colored and sat it on her desk. The assignment had been to "color the farm animals." The rest of the exchange went something like this:

Mom: "I don't see the problem. She colored the chicken."
Teach: "Yes, but she colored the chicken blue."
M: "Okay, so what?"
T: "I told her there was no such thing as blue chickens. Chickens aren't blue. She said yes there was... 'that's a chicken, and I colored it blue. So there are blue chickens.'"
M: "Are you serious right now?"

So yeah, this teacher lady was practically distraught that I colored a chicken blue and then called her out on it. It's not like the assignment said to only use real colors; and besides, it's pre-school!The rest of the story, as I was told, goes on that my mom took me home laughing, told me to color animals whatever color I wanted, and proceeded to tell this story to her mom [my grandma, a psych nurse] who went on to tell a doctor friend, who theoretically included "The Blue Chicken" as a chapter or section in his book on child psychology.

I checked today, and haven't been able to find such a book by the doctor in question.

But. Here is a Blue Chicken for you all. You can tell he's a badass because of the shades and cigarette.

Moral of the story? Life is short. Color the chicken whatever damn color you want, and if someone tells you "it's wrong" or "that doesn't exist," then you laugh in their face.  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Bittersweet Pill

Before I start: Genius managed to actually wear a hole in his bandage [which he was supposed to wear til Tuesday] soooooo it ended up ripping pretty bad and then I had to cut it off. How is he so destructive?! He's been in a cone the whole time!


So, when I visit my folks, I usually manage to find all the old photos, and start taking photos of them. I've been fighting for about two days with Flickr to do minor edits on them [just a little cropping and light balance] to no avail. I got pretty irritated and might just bail on Flickr. But then I still need a way to group and organize my photos, so I turned to the built-in Google option. Now, this is where my phone auto-backups to. Yeah. So. There's a TON of crap. At least... there was.

I was able to clean out a lot of crap. And I started two albums. Still, there's a lot of work to do. I wish my phone didn't upload automatically, but if I try to do it manually, I end up forgetting and losing damn near everything. I still have a ton of albums in my head--I categorize obsessively. Anyways, so, I get to looking at all these pictures from about two years ago. Right after I came home from the hospital. The time that I had weigh-in's dropped in my lap unexpectedly and actually managed to pass--including the fitness portion too [thank god for the alternate cardio option!]. It reminded me of when I first got out of bootcamp. So then I went on facebook and looked at those pictures.

Wow. Seriously, wow.

Now granted... Since then I have hit two deployments, gone through a divorce, been diagnosed with a handful of wonderful syndromes, left the military, and been on a terrible medication regimen. But wow. I'm not going to give numbers or after-pics, just know that I'm not healthy. To say I'm not happy with my current weight is an understatement--but if you've known me for any length of time, you know this is generally normal. But to rub my own nose in it... to see what I am capable of... I can't tell if I'm frustrated or inspired.

Trying to stay positive: I have been home from vacation for about two weeks now [I think]. Rather than ruin vacation, I decided to start my journey once I got home. So far, I can at least boast this:

...in two weeks.

--Step one was to get off the medication. Check.
--Step two was to stop eating out. Semi-check. I still have to hit the deli now and then, but it's not too hard to get semi-healthy choices from a couple places around town. Sushi now and then, or a sandwich on a high pain day, things like that. But the concept is, cook at home and control ingredients. Now if I could just get portion control down!
--Step three is the hydration step. I've never been big on sodas, but I generally avoid water like the plague. I tend to drink too much coffee throughout the day--and I'm talking like a 24 oz latte. Instead, I've switched to a French Press at home, which is good for about two cups a day. I;m also doing better about water in general. Semi-check.
--Step four is the one I hate the most... exercise. Chalk it up to the depression/dysthymia issue, but on a logic level, I know that once I'm finished working out I'll feel better. But it's everything that leads up to that point that makes me drag my feet and avoid it. We now have a weight set at home, so I need to be hitting that twice a week. Ideally, I want to do hot yoga twice a week, but the puppy can't be unsupervised yet so that's out. I could do regular yoga at home... *effort*. The one thing I can't avoid, though, is walking to class. So instead of taking a full courseload while I try to get my health in order, I am auditing a class at my old college. It's free, but I get no credit. But. Class is walking distance from my house. But so far I have only been to one class. Hopefully this works. Not-Quite-Check-at-All.
--Step five is another really easy one that I've been avoiding. There are a handful of supplements that I know work for me, both for pain and weight loss. I should be taking them. I have I think all of them. Why don't I take them? I hate pills. And I haven't established my routine yet. [that's just an excuse].

Anyways, thanks for bearing with me. I needed to vent, if you could call it that. I don't want to be a health food gym rat. But at the same time... I kind of need to be. At least for right now.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Conehead of Doom

Or: Reason #87,482 why we can't have nice things.

By now if you haven't seen pictures of my pup, you live under a rock [I assume]. However, you may or may not be familiar with his issue of histiocytomas--beware, some pics get gross. Anyways, it's supposed to be no big deal really, kind of a cross between doggie warts and puppy chicken pox: Once they get one, your dog is supposed to develop an immunity and not grow them again. But some breeds have a tendency or predisposition to keep getting them... and guess what? Cash's genetics are 2 out of 3! Generally they should stop growing around age 2. He'll be two in July, so fingers crossed.

Normally these little wart lookin' thingies will pop up out of nowhere, grow kind of quick, and then disappear. Unless they get irritated. When we first got Cash, they told us that one of his foster-mates had been licking the histio on his back. Even though it was the size of a silver dollar, they said their vet thought it would go away. After about three months of not enough progress, we chose to have it removed. Cash healed fine and dandy. He got one or two small ones [back leg, shoulder, etc] but they all resolved themselves.

Until December. It started out the size of a pencil eraser... but it was on the top of his front paw.  Great. Easy access for puppy spit. It's insanely hard to keep him from licking or chewing things, and his foot was no exception. We went on vacation to see the folks... and by the time we came back the histio was red, irritated, and at least the size of a quarter--probably bigger. The vet agreed we needed to remove it sooner rather than later, because there's not as much saggy stretchy puppy skin on the paws, and he needed to be able to close the incision.

If you aren't familiar with our luck, you'll be surprised to hear that this is actually where the story begins--yeah, seriously.

This is why it's called the Floppy Cone.
Day One, Cash remains doped out of his head and behaves pretty well.
Day Two, Cash starts to be kind of a hassle.
Day Three, Cash chews the bandage completely off while in his crate at night. It was a Saturday morning, so I called the vet and they said to re-bandage it myself since they didn't have any techs or vets available, only office staff. Hindsight, THIS is when I should have stopped in to the Emergency Vet. Halfway through the day, Cash tears my bandage off.
Day Four, Cash tore through another bandage. Day Four and a Half... put booger to bed with a floppy cone. He managed to not only get around it and rip his bandage off in under an hour, but he also began stress licking, and licked out most of his stitches, resulting in a lovely GIANT OPEN WOUND. Thanks buddy!!

So around 11 pm, we take Mr. Genius to the Emergency Vet. Apparently part of the problem is that since I was basically wrapping his foot on my own, I applied too much pressure--which may have caused him irritation which made him want to tear the bandage off. Additionally, his original vet only did one row of sutures--no internal ones. That didn't help. Luckily he only had small traces of infection, understandable since it's on his foot and he's been licking. I felt like a terrible puppy parent.

Still not sure if they used a dollar sign
because his name is Cash or
because he's spending Mama's money.
The Emergency Vet was able to stitch him back together, and sent us home with a giant cone and a prescription for antibiotics. When I picked him up, they asked to see him back in 12 hours, so around 8 pm. The doc was a little concerned, but wanted to leave his foot uncovered so it could heal up faster. He also sent us home with Trazadone... yeah, the anti-anxiety med. Apparently dogs tolerate it really well, and since Genius here can't tell that he is hurt, he needed something to knock him down a peg or two.

So, the Cone of Shame. 24/7. Dear Lord. Where do I even begin? Well, Cash has T-rex arms for one, so the Cone that fits his neck... almost drags the floor. He was never a graceful dog to begin with--but now he gets his face stuck on the door, the wall, the floor, the bed, pretty much everything. Including MY LEG. Repeatedly. And being a) a bully and b) a mama's boy, he has to follow me literally everywhere. No joke, I take two steps to the left, he follows. I get off the bed, he gets off the bed. I turn around, he thinks he still needs to stand in front of me, so he tries to walk around me but jams the cone into my leg instead.

And lucky little jerk that he is... Since he has to be coned 24/7, he can't sleep in his crate. Awesome. That means the dog with ZERO personal space boundaries gets to sleep in the bed with us. And he wasn't trained to sleep at the foot of the bed, no, of course not, because the bed is for cuddles not for sleeping. Nooooope. He has to sleep at least chest high, preferably between Mama and Dada. No joke. The worst part is when he gets uncomfortable and starts to wiggle around... Flopping the giant painful cone in everyone's face. While we're trying to sleep. Yeah.

Honestly though, I am thankful that we are able to afford pet care. It's inconvenient, but at least we are able to take good care of him--and we're starting to think maybe he was put up for adoption because they knew he was going to have reoccurring health problems. So, like always, adopting the broken things, feeding them, giving them love. I'm also extremely thankful that we are in a position to completely supervise him right now... I don't know what other people do when they have problems like this, and both people work? It's like having a baby, I swear... guess we'll be putting off date night and gym time for another week or two until we can trust this goofball on his own again.

But really... how can you stay mad at that doped up face?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What a Year!

Well ladies and gents, it's been over eight months since I last wrote here.
That's almost a baby.

So many things have changed in the past year. So much has happened. Not sure how much of it I want to make public knowledge, but whatevs. Here goes.

I finally retired out of the military! It was a long and hard fight with many tears, a letter to my Senator, and a trip to DC to appeal a three officer board... I may have lost a couple battles, but in the end I won the war. I was awarded a VA disability stipend and health care. I mean, the VA sucks but at least I have somewhere to go.

During my last few months in the military, I was able to start attending my local community college to work on a BSEE. I learned that I suck at Chemistry! I also have to work at Math. This is all new to me, because when I was getting my "useless" fun degree, everything came easy to me. Between that and my health and some other situations, I have decided to take spring quarter off of school. I'll probably start up again in the fall, and/or transfer to a 4 year program if/when we move--although that probably won't be this year.

My position in life has finally afforded me the chance to do what I have always wanted to--freelance. I spent today applying to projects, so we'll see how that goes. But, having absolutely zero structure and absolutely 100% freedom in life is actually a huge struggle for me. I have so much I want to do, and so much available to do, and boy it's overwhelming. For example, I have two baby blankets for friends due in March, I have an entire album of photos to edit from old family photos, I have other artistic photos to edit, I have ungodly amounts of piles of paper to file, I want to do yoga, study math, walk the pooch, clean the house, explore my spirituality and metaphysical brain/spirit stuff, etc etc etc. But. Here's a teaser pic from one of my projects.

That is my granddad with a literal monkey on his back. Ha. Ha....... he'd appreciate the joke, trust me.

This has been a year for new starts. I hate resolutions--I don't believe in them, not really. But. So far this year I've made a lot of goals for myself. Maintaining this blog is one more goal I'd like to put on my plate. I can't always guarantee it will be super interesting, but I can guarantee that it will be unique, diverse, and... I don't know. Stuff. [this is what happens when my brain starts clicking off]. Time to go eat homemade turkey-crock-chilli and do some mindless photo editing so I can feel accomplished!