Thursday, December 29, 2011

Surgery Has Been Scheduled

When "Doc" (the stomach/liver specialist) saw that my appointment was so far away (Jan. 25), he put in a different sort of consult. He called it a "fee consult," if I recall correctly. This means the consult went to a nearby civilian hospital, Scott and White, also located in Temple, Texas, but the VA will still pay the costs involved with the appointment(s) and the surgery. So, I got a call from the S&W OB/Gyn clinic and was scheduled for an appointment on Tuesday, December 27. Yes, that's right - the appointment was two days ago.

The doctor did a quick exam and talked to me about what's going on inside my abdomen. He said that it would require surgery (which I already knew), and explained what the surgery would do. He said he would make a vertical slit up my abdomen and remove the "growth" - the cystic mass. (I'll have to give up my beauty pageants.) He also said that they would definitely take out the one ovary that it's attached to, and most likely the other one as well, to avoid the same thing happening again. There's also a chance he could remove my uterus, but he won't know that until he actually gets inside to see what's going on in there.

The surgery will be on January 16th, and will require that I stay in the hospital for "four days." I put that in quotes because that's what the doctor said, but I'm not exactly sure what it means. Does it mean four days and three nights, or four days and four nights, or what? At this point I'm not sure. But whatever it means, I've already got everything covered. I have someone to take me there and stay for the surgery, and I have someone to pick me up and bring me home. I also have someone to take care of my pets while I'm gone, and someone to take care of me when I get back.

I'm not worried. Honest. I can't explain why. I guess deep down I know that it's in God's hands and whatever happens, happens. I do know that I'm going to lose a LOT of weight and that I'll be skinnier than I've been for a long time once this is over. Not the best weight-loss program, but I'll take it!! It's no more dangerous than, say, liposuction!

I'll take whatever electronics I can to the hospital with me - my cell phone and my Kindle, for sure. And with those I'll be able to communicate. So stay tuned. I'll keep you all updated. (All three of you.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Women's Clinic

I have an appointment for Jan. 25th. I think it should be sooner, but what do I know?!! More waiting. I ordered maternity underwear. I'm hoping it fits better than regular underwear! Too much information? Sorry. It's an issue.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Update on CT Scan

I just got a call from the specialist I saw on November 22. He said the CT scan shows that I have a cystic mass. He said it looks like it's on (or near) an ovary, so the next step is getting into the Women's Clinic (OB/Gyn) to have them get involved. There's no telling, yet, if this is benign or, gulp, not. I'm not worried! Honest! I've just never been a worrier.

Actually, the specialist said it looks like I have several of these cystic masses. I guess that means that I'm not just carrying one alien baby -- I'm having a litter!!

Of course I looked up "cystic mass" on the Internet and here's the one thing I found that sounds most like what the specialist explained to me:

"A cystic mass basically means there is a lump or swelling there with cysts (fluid-filled areas) in it. Pelvic cystic masses usually come from an ovary, but can grow in other parts of the pelvis. It might or might not be cancer - small ones are quite common and can be harmless."

He said that, if he's right, the mass(es) will have to be removed surgically and I'll lose a lot of weight all at once. YIPPEE!!! (For the weight loss -- not for the surgery!!)

CT Scan This Morning

My morning at the VA Hospital was fun, as always. The notice I received in the mail said I had a lab appointment at 8:30 a.m., but when I got there, there was no record of a lab appointment. So I went on over to the CT Scan area - one hour early - and told them what was going on. They didn't make me sit there too long.

First, I went in and enjoyed a lovely mocha/chocolate barium smoothie. Yum. What a great way to start your morning. Then I had to sit for an hour, to let the barium move around, I guess. I was then called back in to drink a second barium smoothie - banana flavored this time. (I strongly recommend you have the mocha/chocolate if you get a choice.) (I once got to have the barium inserted into my body a different way, and I have to say that I'd rather drink it. Also, I don't know if this other barium came in different flavors.)

After I drank the second smoothie, I had an IV needle stuck into my arm. Pain was no worse than when you donate blood, and once it was in I forgot about it.

Then the fun began. I went into the room with the CT scanner and laid down on the thing you lay down on. (Table?) They didn't ask me to take my clothes off, which surprised me. Instead, they just put a sheet over my bottom half and told me to push my jeans down to my knees. This should be easy to do, right? It's not so easy when you're laying down. Try it. All the way down to your knees. They then hooked up an iodine IV to my IV needle.

The procedure didn't take very long. It was just a matter of laying there and holding my breath a few times for about 10 seconds at a time. We did it once without the iodine IV and then again with the iodine IV.

When the scanner got going real fast, the sound played right into my alien baby story. I could imagine being in the alien's spaceship and having them examining me to gauge the progress of the fetus. Yes, I know I'm weird, or odd, or whatever you want to call me. (I prefer eccentric.) I don't care what you think! I'm going to have fun.

The procedure was finished and I came home. For a procedure that took only about 15 minutes, I was at the hospital for three hours! I'll have to wait for doctors to review the results before I hear any news. I've already sent an email to the liver specialist to give him a heads-up that the test was done today. I'll share whatever news I get, good or bad.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Big Belly - No Fat

I've come to realize that there's actually very little fat on my body anymore. There used to be a lot, granted, but probably, because of the ascites, I've been losing fat. I'm thinking it's because the pressure on my stomach made me eat less. Even so, because my abdomen is so large I'm forced to wear larger clothes, and the larger clothes make me look fat.

I was thinking that it would be nice if people knew that I wasn't fat - that, instead, I have a medical condition that only makes me look fat. One that is out of my control.

You know those shirts that pregnant women wear that say "baby" on front with the arrow pointing to her bump?

I thought about how nice it would be if I had one explaining my "condition."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Now I Know How A Beer Keg Feels

"Previously on the blog:" For those of you who haven't been paying attention, or with short memories: Recently I had an ultrasound exam that showed fluid in my abdomen (Ascites) and that my liver was shrunken and had spots. I was scheduled for an appointment with a stomach/liver specialist.

I skipped my Nov. 17 appointment. Dumb thing to do, I know, but that's typical for me. Not doing dumb things, necessarily, but missing appointments. I called the clinic and rescheduled. I was lucky enough to get an appointment the next day, because someone had called to cancel.

My appointment was with a "physician's assistant," rather than with a doctor, but I'll call him "Doc." He is a retired Army Major who was deployed with troops in the Gulf - Iraq and Afganistan.

Doc was very intrigued by my case. He said after reviewing my file and talking with me that I was just too healthy to be having the symptoms I'm having, i.e. ascites and liver issues. He said that the vast majority of people with my symptoms were very sick. He said he could usually recognize them, that they looked like they were "at death's door." We talked for awhile. He decided that I needed to have some blood drawn for testing, and I did, later. They took several vials of blood. Doc said he'd review the results of the blood tests and contact me if there was anything important to deal with - anything serious.

He had a look at my huge belly and we talked about draining the fluids in my abdomen. I'd seen on the Internet that that was possible. He agreed that it probably should be done, so he called a friend of his - also a retired Army medical person - and asked if I could get in the same day (yesterday, Nov. 22). He told "Doc 2" that I had "massive acites." Doc 2 said he'd set me up for a time and call back. Instead of calling, he showed up in Doc's office while I was still there and had a look for himself. He told me that he could "drain me" at 2:00 that afternoon. I suspected, and he later confirmed, that he had shown up to ensure that I really needed to be "drained" that day, and that Doc wasn't overreacting. (He wasn't.)

Doc also said that he was going to schedule me for a CT scan. He said this would help us to see what is going on with my liver. The CT scan should be soon, because Doc said he was doing whatever it is that makes it a higher than normal priority. He'll notify me when he finds out the date and time for that CT scan. I haven't heard yet.

So I finished with Doc and went to have all that blood drawn. I also had to pick up a prescription for medication that is supposed to keep the fluid that would be drained from being replaced with yet more fluid.

At 2:00 I went to have my fluid drained. (They also refer to this as "tapping," like tapping a keg of beer!)  I didn't really know what to expect as far as pain, but I knew that, even if there was some pain involved, I was ready to have this done. Doc 2 was real nice and explained everything, as well as answering questions I had about the procedure about acites in general.

There was really no pain. First he gave me a shot to numb the area where the needle (or tube, I'm not really sure what it was) would be inserted. I barely felt that shot. I also barely felt the tube/needle being inserted, except for while he was trying to "find the fluid." What I did feel was uncomfortable but not painful at all.

Doc 2 explained that he would be draining four liters of fluid (about one gallon). There was more fluid than that in my abdomen, but he said that draining any more would significantly increase the risks involved. He said that we might want to drain some fluid again at some time, but we'd wait and see.

It took only about five minutes for each liter of fluid, and he said the fluid looked very healthy. He said the fluid from sick people usually looks brown or milky. Healthy fluid looks "like beer" (his words), and that's what mine looked like. He said the fluid would be tested. I guess they can tell from that if there are some specific problems.

I felt a hell of a lot better even before I was finished. A lot of pressure was relieved from my lungs and other organs. I hadn't realized what affect the fluid was having on my breathing until some of it had been drained. To explain: I had to walk from the far reaches of the over crowded parking lot into the hospital and, of course, from the hospital back to my car after the appointments. When walking into the hospital, I was very short of breath by the time I got to the clinic. After having the fluid drained, I was not out of breath at all walking back to my car. Also, I think I slept better last night than I have for some time.

Doc 2 put a bandaid on my little puncture and warned me what to watch out for. He said that I might continue to drain a bit. He said it wasn't a concern and told me what to do about it. He also said I might begin to bleed. This would be a concern, and that I should get to the emergency room if that were to happen. Neither one has happened.

So that's where I stand today. Overall, Doc says that I'm quite healthy and that, right now, I shouldn't worry about anything. I'm taking the meds to prevent the fluid buildup, waiting to see if that will work and not having any side effects. I'm also waiting for notice of the CT scan appointment.

To all of you who care about what's going on with me, thank you. It's nice to know that you're out there. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The automated appointment line at the VA Hospital says I have an appointment on Nov. 17th. This must be my appointment with the stomach/liver specialist. I'll receive a confirmation in the mail soon.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Quick Update

I got a letter from my doctor today: "The ultrasound shows a shrunken liver with some possible growths in it, and there is also fluid in the abdomen. I have requested a consult with the stomach/liver specialist."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A New Shopping Experience

Had a horrible time shopping for groceries yesterday. I couldn't make it through the store without my shingles pain acting up. And I mean WAY up. I couldn't bend over or reach up to get things I needed off the shelves. I couldn't walk normally without extreme pain. I had to bend over. Several times I had to stop and rest until the pain subsided a little bit. I desperately needed to sit down for the pain to go away, but grocery stores don't have chairs for their customers. When the shopping was done, I knew I wasn't going to be able to get my groceries from the cart to the check out belt without help. Fortunately, on the way to the check out line I noticed a table and chairs set up for flu shots. (It was too early for the shots, but the table and chairs were there.) So I moved at a snails pace to a chair and sat. And sat and sat and sat. Several people were nice enough to ask me if I was okay. I said yes because, after all, there was nothing they could do. It was only time that would help with the pain. After about ten minutes I managed to make it to the check out line, and I was able to unload my cart and function normally for the rest of the trip.

I had taken a pain pill just before leaving the house, but it didn't work. They don't seem to be working well at all. They did at first. I think I know why they aren't working now. Maybe.

I have had, for several years, a problem with my right thigh going numb. It started by going just slightly numb whenever I laid on my back to sleep. In the past few years it has gotten worse. It now gets very numb to the point of pain if I don't change my position - I guess to one that lets the blood flow normally. (I think the lack of blood flow is what causes the numbness, but I'm really not sure.) One of the times that my thigh goes numb is when I'm on my feet for awhile - like when I go grocery shopping. It has been bearable, until now. Now it seems to double up with the shingles to cause the same excruciating pain that started with the shingles. And this is why I had so much trouble yesterday.

I talked to the doctor over a year ago about the numbness. Without a lot of discussion he said there was nothing that could be done about it. I plan to bring it up again at my next appointment, Nov. 9th. And I need to learn more about shingles. I thought that it eventually "goes away," which mean the pain goes away. I have taken all the anti-viral meds and the rash is almost gone, but the pain continues. Not as often as before, but it's still there, and still can immobilize me.

On another subject, tomorrow morning I'll have my ultrasound. Maybe I'll have an answer to what's causing my abdomen to grow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ultrasound: November 2nd

I finally got something in the mail notifying me of an ultrasound appointment. It will be on the morning of November 2nd. Hopefully this will give some insight into whatever is making my abdomen grow. I wish it could be sooner, but I guess this is soon enough.

The shingles are going away. The rash is clearing up. The pain is still with me, but as long as I keep taking the pain pills, it's not bad.

The constipation has cleared up thanks to a dose of fiber!

Thanks to everyone who is concerned.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Medical Update

The pain medicine is helping a lot, thank God. Unfortunately, I often experience some severe pain before I realize that I need to take another pill. And one pill only seems to last for a few hours. I don't know much about shingles, so I don't know how long the pain will last - how long I will need to take the pain pills (I mean days, weeks, etc.). I only hope it goes away soon because, damn it hurts!

I need to find an alarm that will go off every three or four hours so I'll know before the pain starts when it's time to take another pill.

I know I have another appointment on November 2nd, and it's probably for my ultrasound, but I haven't received notice in the mail yet. I called the hospital's automated phone system which will tell me when I have an appointment, but it won't tell me what the appointment is for. So the appointment on the 2nd could be for the ultrasound, or it could be for a different unrelated routine exam.

My brother warned me that the pain pills can cause constipation, and that may be happening. An explanation would probably be more than anyone wants to hear, so I won't explain!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One Diagnosis Down, One To Go

I went in to see the doctor today. I found out that the rash and severe pain are indeed Shingles. Someone commented as much on my last post, and he/she was right. Thanks, Anonymous. The doctor prescribed a pain pill and an anti-viral pill which I'm taking now.

The other problem - the distended abdomen - is still a mystery. The doctor did that thing where he tapped on my abdomen with his fingers and all he could say was that it didn't sound like it was gas. He didn't say "sound like." He used some more technical, medical term. He sent me for an X-ray, which I got today, and he's scheduling me for an ultrasound, to be done as soon as they can fit me in. Hopefully one or the other, or both, will let them know why I look like the octomom when she was pregnant. There are apparently several things that could be causing this. The doctor didn't like my suggestion that I've been knocked up by an alien (the space kind, not the immigrant kind). (I've decided to name it "Dave.")

I guess the pain pills are working, because I haven't felt any of the shingles-related burning pain. But other pain is present, like the pain I've recently started having in my lower back, right side. Wouldn't the pain pill work for that pain, too? The pain medication is Tramadol, in case you're reading this and think it might make a difference.

I will update the blog as information becomes available.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm Sick

I don't know what I have, yet, but I know I'm sick. I'm trying to get in ASAP to see a doctor, but right now I'm stuck with a November 9 appointment. I'd have gone in before now, but frankly, I just thought I was getting fat. My stomach/abdomen keeps getting bigger and bigger, and it's very hard to the touch. Anyone have any horror stories about a "hard, distended abdomen"? I'm starting to look very much like the "octomom," and I've referred to my extra girth as my alien baby. To my recollection I haven't had sex in many years, so if I am pregnant it's got to be an alien because I don't remember the conception. (Could it be immaculate? I don't really think I'm God's type.) It isn't causing any pain - just discomfort and tiredness, of course. And I can barely button the one pair of pants that still fit. (I am also experiencing some occasional severe - five out of five - pain, which I will also bring to the doctor's attention, but I don't think it's related.) This all started several months ago. As I said, I just thought I was getting fat. I frequently weighed myself but my cheap scale didn't show any weight gain. It seemed like all the fat in my body was migrating to my abdomen. Not long ago someone told me about a relative who had this same problem who turned out to have cirrhosis of the liver. That's when I got online and looked up "hard, distended abdomen." And that's when I decided I need to get in to see the doctor before whatever this is gets worse. No, I don't think I have cirrhosis of the liver, but I think I've got some medical condition that's causing my abdomen to grow.

Go ahead. Make your fat jokes. "What would cause my abdomen to get extremely big?" "Eating the Combo number 2 at Sonic." Ha ha. I don't think whatever this is will kill me, so you won't have to worry about burning in hell!

The other things that are probably not related: Around the beginning of October I was sitting here at my computer and I coughed, as I often do. But this time it felt like someone had taken a white-hot poker and stuck it in the fold between the bottom of my stomach and the top of my right thigh (the five out of five pain I mentioned). Now, this has been happening off and on since then, with varying degrees of pain from 1 to 5, on a scale of 1-5 (which is what the VA hospital likes to use). I also noticed a very serious rash near that area - on the lower part of my stomach a couple of inches above where the pain is centered. All I've been able to do about that is apply over-the-counter cortisone cream. I'm not feeling any pain or itching from the rash.

So, I don't think I'm going to die, but if I do this blog entry may provide some insight into what happened. Meanwhile, if anyone has any ideas, do let me know.

Oh, and if it turns out to be a basketball-size tumor and it gets covered by the press, I'll share that with you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Still Here, Feeling Better

I'm still here and feeling a little better. Just don't feel like writing much when the only things that are happening are not so good. Thanks for checking on me from time to time!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I want to be like other people.

I'm getting real tired of being like me. Understand, I'm not tired of being me, just tired of being the way I am. I want to be like other people. I want to be the way I used to be. I want to wake up in the morning somewhat refreshed. I used to do that. I didn't start waking up tired until a few years ago. I remember what it feels like. I could wake up and go willingly into the shower, then get ready for work, or whatever, feed the cats and dogs, and even make whatever breakfast for myself. I almost never felt like I was so utterly tired that I needed to go back to sleep for a few hours. Now that's all I ever feel.

I want to look forward to taking a shower and getting dressed - not like it's an unfortunate but necessary chore. I want to have someplace to go, something to do that I don't hate. The only "job" I've enjoyed since I retired from the Army was when I was a self-employed website designer after I graduated with a two-year degree in Advertising and Graphic Design. I networked and got actual work I enjoyed, but then I got a divorce and had to move to another state. I don't have the energy or frame of mind I need to be self-employed anymore. I've tried a couple of times, but I'd really have to be more proactive than I am anymore. Eventually I made up my mind that, whatever I think I might do to be self-employed and make some money will only end up as another abandoned idea, and so I've quit thinking about it.

I want to have a clean house. It's exhausting to keep a house clean. But you know, it's also exhausting to live in a messy house. Every time I clean I swear that I'll never let it get so bad again. Then I do. I want to have the energy to clean my house, to wash my dishes, to do what a normal person does to keep their house clean. I want to care. I don't care. It's just me and the cats and dogs. They don't care. And I want to be able to clean without pain. I can't stand and wash dishes without my hip hurting. Same for sweeping and mopping. It's hard enough to try to talk myself into cleaning without having to think about the hip pain. I want to have some energy again. I really want to clean and work around the house. I really do. But I have no energy, and I have this damned depression, and I have this damned hip and knee pain. So I have learned not to care. It's all I can do to survive. Don't care.

I want to have a nice house. I want people to come in and think, "What a nice house." I don't want a fancy house. I just want it to be comfortable. And I want everything to work. I'm tired of having plumbing problems and electrical problems and phone problems and roof problems and bug problems.  Problems, problems, problems.

Fatigue. Pain. Depression. That's my life. I don't want to be this person anymore.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Finished Lost

I should post more, but I found that most of what I have to say doesn't take much space, so I can say it on Facebook. And people actually comment when I post stuff on Facebook. The drawback, of course, is that you have to be my "friend" to read my Facebook posts. Anyone can read this blog.

I did finish watching Lost. I found it as enjoyable the second time around as I did the first.

I found three dead kittens near my house a few days ago. They looked like they were sleeping. Maybe the bitch next door poisoned them. I wouldn't put it past her. I wish I had some evidence, if that is the case, because I'd like to see her ass rot in jail, if not in hell!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TV, Satellites, and Lost

I've had the TV off for four days. After a very violent wind storm we had last week, my satellite TV reception got worse and worse, then disappeared completely. All I got was a "searching for satellite" message on an otherwise blank screen. So on Friday I called DirecTV and set up a service call.

I'm basically addicted to TV. I'm one of those people who keeps the TV on even when I'm not watching it. Like now, I'm creating this note on my computer, but the TV is on. I guess it's just noise. To feel a little less alone. I'm not the only person who does this. Thousands of us do. I know because I've read magazine articles about us.

So what does a TV addict do for four days without the TV? I could clean house. I could do some outdoor work. Or I could go grab season one of Lost off the shelf and watch it again, as I've been thinking of doing since the series ended last year.

Funny how things change over time. Maybe it's because I'm watching the episodes back-to-back that I've decided that Claire constantly whining about the "bye-bee" drives me nuts. (It didn't before.) And for some reason, Michael's screaming "WAAALLLLLLTTTTTTTTTT!!" over and over didn't bother me nearly as much as it did as the show was running.

By the end of the series I didn't like Jack at all. I'm not sure when I started my original dislike of him, but this time around I started disliking him quite early.

I got to season two, episode 15, when the DirecTV guy showed up today. For the first time in four days, I turned on the TV. Guess what? It worked. I had a satellite signal. I have my DVR set up to record several shows that I don't want to miss, and a few of them were scheduled during the outage. I noticed the DVR recorded even though there was no signal. I didn't stop it. I just figured I'd have an hour or so of nothing to erase when I got around to it. So, with the revelation that I, indeed, had a signal, I checked the recordings. They were there. Shows, not blank screen.

Wonderful! you're thinking. Yes. I'm sort of thinking that, too. Except that I'm now not only required to pay for a service call (nearly $50), I'm required to pay for a service call that I probably didn't need.

Still, the guy got up on the roof and fiddled around with the dish for a little while. And he said that something or other was loose. Then he came into my filthy house and "tested" the receiver. But who knows? Was anything really wrong? I would have enjoyed the opportunity to wait and see if the signal was indeed back and everything was working properly - the opportunity to postpone or cancel the service call. But I didn't bother to turn on the TV for four days. So now I sit, shaking my head that I didn't check the signal.

Will I keep watching Lost now that TV is back? Probably. It's just that good!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Hate Housework

And the housework I hate the most is washing dishes. I don't currently own an automatic dishwasher, and there are many times when I don't wash dishes until I don't have any more clean ones. They just pile up on the kitchen sink until I finally decide I can't avoid them any longer. I do rinse them pretty well before I ignore them, so it's not like there's mold overtaking my kitchen. (Although, if there was, I still might be inclined to ignore it until I needed a chisel to remove it.)

I hate all kinds of housework. In spite of the fact that I bought a fancy, new, bagless vacuum cleaner, I don't have dust bunnies -- I have dust beasts. Occasionally one of the cats will mistake one for a cat toy, they get so big.

Like with the dishes, I only clean house when I can no longer avoid it. Sometimes it takes a plumbing problem, or a problem with the air conditioner. Whenever I need a repair person, I have to clean up before they come. I've postponed repairs several times until I could get the dishes done, the carpet vacuumed, and the bathroom tidied up. I both dread and, at the same time, look forward to visits from relatives, because I know I'm going to have to get the house extremely clean before their visit.

I don't think my being a rotten housekeeper is a problem, since I live alone. Whenever I lived with someone, I cleaned up after myself appropriately. I was very considerate. But the cats and dogs just don't care too much about how the house looks. In fact a couple of my cats seem to have much more fun when the floor is covered with little bits of trash that they can play with!

I keep trying things that I think might make housekeeping easier. I bought some of those brand-name, disposable dusters. I still have a few of them. They're wonderful, but I don't dust very much, so they last a long time.

I think the only thing that will really make housekeeping easier is a maid. One day I'll be able to afford one. In the meantime, don't ever show up without calling first.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Satan is Laughing His Ass Off - Pole Dancing

A lot of people don't believe in Satan. I do. And I believe that he and his demons have manged to manipulate people so much that they can justify doing anything that God finds detestable in His name. When Satan convinces someone who believes he or she is religious (Christian or Jew) to embrace an ungodly thing as a godly thing, I believe Satan celebrates, and laughs his ass of at us and at God. Therefore, I have decided to start a category of postings called, "Satan is Laughing His Ass Off." This is the first of those posts.

This news article talks about taking something that is done as sexual enticement - Pole Dancing - and making it a Christian thing.

I refer you to this site which goes into the subject in detail.

Friday, March 18, 2011

But it's still winter!

Officially, it is still winter. That is, until Monday, when it will officially becomes Spring. (Or maybe Sunday. I'm not really sure.) I bring this up because today the temperature in my back yard is an unofficial 89 degrees! (I say unofficial because, as you can see, my thermometer is unofficial!)
Maybe Mother Nature is compensating for the stretch of below freezing days she gave us this winter. If so, I hope she reads this blog so she will know that that is absolutely not necessary! In fact, I'd even accept another stretch of below freezing days if she's got one to spare.

I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. Summer is hot enough in Texas when temperatures are "normal." We certainly don't need any "above normal."

For those of you still in cold climates, I really have nothing to say except, I wish I was there!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Productive Day

When I got out of bed today I made a conscious decision that this would be a "do nothing" day. One of those days where I just kick back, be lazy, and watch TV. For some reason, my plans changed. It was a beautiful day. Even though the temperature was about 80 degrees, there was still no humidity to speak of.  It is, after all, still winter! After eating breakfast and watching The View, I stepped out onto the deck and sat down for a very short time. I don't remember the sequence of events, but before I knew it, I'd gotten dressed and pulled the lawnmower out of the shed. I filled the tank with gas and tried to start it. No luck. I tried several times with no luck. Recalling that last year I had the same problem until I replaced the old gas with fresh gas, I actually grabbed an empty gas can and drove to the nearest gas station. This is very, very unusual for me. First of all, I'm an accomplished procrastinator. Second, I don't like to go out in public unless I've showered and am properly dressed. But I realized that I wouldn't actually have to interact with anyone, since I could fill the gas can and pay at the pump with my debit card, so off I went.

When I got back home, I emptied the old gas out of the lawnmower. I first tried to siphon the gas from the tank into the gas can. Don't you love the taste of gas fumes in your mouth and lungs? I was so concerned with not getting gas in my mouth that I had no luck with the siphoning. So I broke the law and tipped the lawnmower over until all the gas ran out into the dirt. I put the fresh gas into the mower and, voilĂ , it started right up!

I mowed a very small part of the backyard, and then the hard stuff started. I put up a screen house! In case you have no idea what a screen house is, let me explain. A screen house is a sort of tent with a regular tent-type top and walls made of screen. This allows someone who lives in bug-infested central Texas to enjoy her backyard in the summer without having to slather herself with a bug repellent, probable-carcinogenic, toxic substance.

I was going to include a picture of said screen house, but the lighting and my camera phone were not agreeable to doing so this evening. Here, instead, is a photo from the website where I ordered it.

I got the screen house up with little trouble. The biggest problem I had was that the people/person who packed the screen house in the box folded the actual screen house (fabric) inside out, so the first time I put it on the frame it was inside out. That was easily fixed. I didn't notice the time when I started, nor when I finished, so I can't tell you how long it took. It didn't seem like more than an hour.

When I finished the screen house I mowed a little more of the backyard. I didn't mow the whole thing because, hey, I did enough work for one day! Once again I forgot that I have a self-propelled lawnmower, so I pushed and pushed the mower through the tall grass and weeds! When I remembered the self-propelled part, the mowing went faster, but I looked quite silly at times when I got to the end of a row of mowing and forgot to release the speed lever!

Now I'll be able to go out and sit in the backyard and read, or just relax, without having to battle the bugs. That is, until the first strong wind blows my new screen house into Oklahoma.

Tomorrow I plan to finish mowing the backyard and then mow the front yard, as well. The front yard isn't as overgrown as the backyard, but there are quite a lot of dandelions that need to be dead! Of course, just because I'm planning to mow doesn't mean it will actually happen. As I said, I'm an accomplished procrastinator.

By the way, my brother, who lives in Oregon, sent me pictures of the snow that fell at his home yesterday. He's shoveling snow. I'm mowing lawns.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'll let you in on a little secret.

I got another dog.
Buddy is a deer-leg chihuahua, born on May 18, 2004, which makes him almost seven years old.

Buddy belonged to the grandmother of a friend of mine. When grandma had to go into a home, Buddy got left behind. After awhile my friend decided that, with a new baby in the house, she didn't really have the time to commit to Buddy. She decided to find him a home.

I'd been thinking for some time about getting a chihuahua. I used to have one - Corky - that was at least ten years old when I got her. She passed away a few years ago and I really miss her. That's why I thought about getting another chihuahua. But not just any chihuahua. I wanted to adopt a senior chihuahua. And voilĂ , Buddy came along!

He got along with the dogs right away, and they with him. The cats took a little longer. He had to learn which one was friendly, which one was unfriendly, and which ones were somewhere in between. He's got them mostly figured out. Sometimes if one of them is in a bad mood and Buddy gets too close, the cat will smack him. Sometimes Buddy will bark and chase one of the cats, for which he gets a stern warning not to do that!

Buddy came completely housebroken, but he doesn't know how to use the doggy door. We're working on that.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Guest Post: All You Need to Know about Pet Allergies

All You Need to Know about Pet Allergies

Allergies are our immune system’s way of saying – I don’t like what you’ve been touching or sniffing – and punishing us with runny noses, puffy eyes, powerful sneezes, itchy skin, breathing difficulties, and other adverse reactions that make us look and feel miserable. Some people are allergic to pollen from flowers and dust mites, others flare up when in close contact with pet animals, and yet others suffer from all the possible allergies in the world. If you’re an animal lover who enjoys pets, a pet allergy could be a wet blanket on your desire to own a pet. However, if you know all about pet allergies and are prepared to do what it takes to reduce them, you could bring home your cat or dog.
  • They’re caused by your immune system’s reaction to pet hair, dander (used body cells), urine and feces. A pet’s dander is the biggest cause of allergies, and not its hair as commonly believed. 
  • Allergic reactions vary from serious to mild, based on your body condition and immune system response. You could get off lightly with just a few sneezes or you could be prone to asthmatic wheezing if you already suffer from asthma or any other breathing difficulty. 
  • Allergic reactions may not set in immediately – some people would know instantly that they’re allergic while for others, the reaction may kick in hours after they’ve been in contact with an animal. 
  • Cats cause more allergies than dogs, ironically, because they’re clean creatures – their saliva is the main culprit. Cats lick themselves often to clean their bodies, and when the dried saliva falls off their hair, it sticks easily to furniture, clothes and other objects, thus causing your allergies to act up. 
  • Pets with short hair too cause allergies because they shed dander which is the leading cause of allergies. So don’t assume that you’re going to be safe with a hairless dog or cat. 
  • Longer-haired pets shed more dander because of their long hair and cause more allergies because their hair easily picks up dust, pollen and mould which also cause allergies to act up. 
  • While cats and dogs cause the most allergies, other pets like birds, mice, hamsters, and even horses can affect your immune system through airborne feces and mould. 
  • You can reduce the allergens in your home if you give your pet a bath every now and then and rub them down with distilled water. 
  • Vacuum your home regularly to get rid of dust and dander. 
  • Restrict your pet’s activities to certain rooms in the house and prevent them from climbing on your bed, sofa and chairs. If possible, keep your pet outdoors. 
  • Don’t invest in plush upholstery for your furniture or buy a carpet that is a magnet for pet hair and dander. 
  • Keep your pet’s things – toys, bedclothes, dishes – clean. 
  • Clean up pet urine and feces immediately. 
  • Talk to your doctor and consider anti-allergen shots to help desensitize your body.
This guest post is contributed by Tina Marconi, she writes on the topic of online vet tech programs. She welcomes your comments at her email id: tinamarconi85[@]gmail[.]com.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A New Website

I'm hoping that this will take off once people find out about it.

I Used To Be Hotter

I got my inspiration from I Used To Be Younger.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy New Year!

I've had ideas about things to post on this blog. But depression and chronic fatigue are determined foes. One day I'll actually post something. Meanwhile, why not check out my newest website, I Used To Be Hotter. Maybe you've got pictures to upload!