Friday, July 29, 2011


Well, my test results were supposed to be in yesterday, so I called the office only to find my doctor is on vacation!  For heaven's sake, who approved that, when I am waiting for my results?

Anyway, the nurse could tell I was kind of anxious, and basically told me without telling me that my blood test showed that I do not have a thyroid problem.  That's kind of a relief, but that means I still don't know why my hair is falling out all over the place.

The doctor had told me that if it turned out not to be a thyroid issue I should start taking Biotin, which I'd never heard of before but apparently is a type of vitamin B.  I started taking that yesterday, and I also got around 4" cut off my hair; it's shoulder-length now and the shorter length makes it look a lot less thin.

Next week I'll talk to the doctor and get all the official test results, including whether or not I have arthritis.

In the meantime, it's Friday (yay!) and this weekend we plan to:  take several big bags of old clothes to Goodwill, take aluminum cans to the recycling center, go have lunch at the Cheesecake Factory using a gift card a lovely friend gave Greg for his birthday, and go see Captain America.

Last weekend I redesigned my blog a bit, while keeping the same header because, if I do say so myself, it's super.  I added several pages, let me know how you like it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Things Rattling Around Inside My Head (Ow, They're Pointy)

  • I use three main computer programs at my job every day.  All day, every day.  All three of them are being replaced within the next two months.  The only thing not being changed is that we will still use Microsoft Windows, so emails will still be Outlook, etc.  But that's probably 10% of my day, most of what I do is using specialized, fairly complicated software that has taken years to fully learn and get used to.   But now it's aaaall changing.  I know I am smart enough to learn the new programs (at least eventually) but I kind of hate new stuff just in general, and having all three change completely and at the same time is going to be stressful for all of us.
  • The lease is up soon at the office building where my company is located, and apparently there is at least a very solid chance that we will either move, or the company will try to downsize the area that we are renting and we will be reorganized within the same building.  Either way, things will change, and it's certainly possible that my department's isolation in a back room will end.  Anyone who knows me at all know that I am a BIG FAN of being isolated...  
  • At home we have an iMac, and we were delighted when the new OS was released last week.  It was only $29!  That's surprisingly inexpensive.  We immediately downloaded it and were horrified to see that our very old version of Photoshop no longer works.  We have CCS2 and it's so old it's not compatible with the new OS.  Oh, this is a huge bummer.  It'll cost $199 to upgrade to the newest version, CCS5.  If we don't upgrade now, the new version of Photoshop (CCS6) will be released (there's no official date yet but it could literally be any day now) and it'll be so far ahead of our poor old CCS2 that we won't even be able to upgrade it, we'd have to purchase the whole full program for $699.  We both love Photoshop, I had been trying to get back into digital fine art and Greg uses it all the time to make the graphics for his site.  This is sickening, we would have been happy with the old one forever.  I guess we will have to pay $199, which will make it even that much longer before we can afford to buy the laptop we've been saving for.
  • I had planned to go visit Mom next month, but my brother and sister want to have a birthday party for her;  Mom will be 90 on September 30th.  That's great, and I am excited for her to have a nice gathering, but that means I'll have to wait another month and a half before I can see her.  My wedding anniversary is the very next day, October 1st, so my plan now is to drive up to GA on Wednesday the 27th, spend three nights in the retirement home guest room visiting with Mom, then have breakfast with her on Saturday morning October 1st and drive home that day.  Greg and I took two vacation days on Monday October 3rd and Tuesday the 4th, so we'll have a little three day weekend together to celebrate our anniversary.
  • I have to admit, I am slightly anxious to get my blood test results back.  What will they show?  Is my cholesterol too high, do I have the beginnings of arthritis, do I have a thyroid problem?  Gads.  I am trying not to worry about it, because it could be all good news.  I should hear on Thursday.  I mean, the giant bloody purple bruise in the crook of my elbow has almost entirely gone away, so that should mean the results are ready, right?  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Doctor Visit

I went to the doctor for a check-up today.

I know everyone hates (or at least somewhat dislikes) going to the doctor.  Sometimes being an adult and taking care of myself maturely is no fun at all.  I would much rather eat fried chicken and lay on the couch all day than go to a doctor's office.

The earliest appointment I could get was 11am, which was later than I'd have liked because I had to fast for the blood tests.  I took a granola bar with me to munch on the minute the terrible, terrible blood tests were over.

This was my first visit to this doctor, and I liked her.  She was very kind and easy to talk to, she didn't rush me and she seemed to take me seriously.  Being old middle-aged and broken down, I had a list of complaints, many of which seem so weird I had to resist a powerful urge to not mention them at all.

First on the list was my migraines and the shoulder/back pain that's been causing them.  She thinks that particular bit of self-diagnosis was wrong, and that I just have regular old menstrual migraines that may aggravate/be aggravated by my back/shoulder problems.  She gave me four samples of a new migraine medication to try (I love free samples, win!), and hopefully I won't need them for a very long time.

She felt around on my back and my shoulder and said that my vertebrae seemed out of line.  She laid me down and pushed around on my back and twisted my neck just like chiropractors do on tv (I've never been to one) and several very dramatic pops later my back actually did feel better.

That was like a miracle!  Man, I was not expecting that at all.

She gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxer and said I could come back for more popping if my muscles manage to pull my back out of line again.

Next on the list was my hair loss.  I haven't mentioned it here because, frankly, it scares the bloody hell out of me, but my hair has been falling out.  I used to have very thick hair and I swear at least half of it is gone. She said several things can cause that, we'll see what the results of my blood tests show, and until then I'm going to try not to think about it.

Next on my list was what I have assumed was adult onset acne, but after having it a year and not being able to find anything to clear it up, I thought I might as well mention it.  She thinks it might be rosacea!  She gave me a prescription for a cream to try, but it'll take six weeks before we know if it is helping.

Next on my list was sporadic joint pain, particularly in my thumb and elbow.  My mother has rheumatoid arthritis, and though my pain is only occasional and not bad at all really, I am afraid I might be heading down the same road.  The doctor said the blood test will show if I have it.

Then the blood test.  The little old man who draws blood was very nice and very apologetic, but nothing can help the fact that I am apparently a bloodless, veinless freak of nature.  After sticking me four times he finally managed to get a little blood.  I will have lovely inside-of-the-elbow bruises for a week now, but at least it's over.  I always fear one day, amidst the vials and the syringes and the biohazard containers, I will just faint dead away.  Having to go through all that while fasting certainly doesn't help, but today there was no fainting.

Blood taker guy did give me very helpful advice for next time: make the appointment very early in the morning because the longer I've been fasting the lower my blood pressure is and the harder it is to take blood, and also to drink an extra lot of water the day before.  I will totally remember that for next time.

My test results will be in in a week, hopefully everything will look okay.  I am relieved that it's over, that I didn't faint, and I'm proud of myself for going.

On the way home I drove through Chick Fil A and got a chicken sandwich, waffle fries and a peach milkshake.  I deserve a high calorie unhealthy treat, right?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Screw You, Someday

"Bucket list" is a term I've been hearing a lot for the past few years. I like the idea of identifying the things that are important to do before kicking the ol' metaphorical bucket, but for some reason that I can't really put my finger on, I'm annoyed by the recent trendiness of it.

Maybe because a good number of these bucket bloggers seem to be in their 20's and have lists titled 30 Things To Before I'm 30 that include visits to half the world, SCUBA diving, betting a giant pile of cash on one hand in a Vegas casino, attending Oktoberfest, climbing Mount Everest, etc.  A quick googling overview shows a big pile of bucket list blogs by young (FYI, "young" = anyone who is not as old as I am) people talking about Setting Priorities and Documenting Experiences and Having Goals, and a much smaller number of very sad blucket list blogs written by people who are actually dying and are trying to make the most of their remaining time.

Maybe because for the last several years I have been confronting my middle-age status and dealing with the knowledge of my own inescapable death. I don't think I've had anything that could be considered a mid-life crisis, not really, but I have had moments of very bitter awareness that my time is running out, I've already passed the half-way mark.  For basically my whole life I filed away things in an I'll Do It Someday file in the back of my head: going to Barbados, learning to speak Spanish, riding a gondola in Venice, floating in a hot-air balloon, etc.  When it hit me a few years ago that my time to do things is limited I realized I can't possibly do all the things in my Someday file.  The day I stopped putting things in my Someday file was a sad day.

After thinking about it for a few years, I'm starting to have a different perspective.  Indiscriminately sticking things in an imaginary Someday file really wasn't worth very much.  I didn't stop to think about how reasonable the things would be, how much they would cost me in time and money, and whether I would be likely to get anything much out of them.  It was the mental equivalent of hoarding.

I was forced to throw out the whole moldy pile of half-assed Someday plans, and decide which few were worth saving.  Which VERY few.

The first and most important thing, the one has been yelling at me and waving desperately from the depths of my stupid head for decades, was writing.  So I made that my top priority, and I did it.  I wrote a whole novel!  Now I'm writing another one!  *whew*

The next thing is to go to Paris.  I want to go to Paris so badly.  Greg and I had planned to go once before, near the end of 2007 we decided to start planning a trip, and I was compiling information and buying guidebooks and doing internet investigation when The Year Of Hell hit us.  After Greg lost his job I gave up on planning the trip at least temporarily, and when he was forced to take a job making a lot less money I gave up for good.

But now things are getting better, our financial horrors are easing somewhat, so the idea of Paris has been creeping back into my head.  My last defenses were knocked down the day I gave in and looked at Paris vacation apartment rentals online.  Some of them have little balconies!  Oh, man.

We have decided to loosely plan to celebrate my 50th birthday in Paris.  That'll be March 17, 2016.  Next year we will have a chunk of our debt paid off and will be able to begin saving, and even if we can only save a little every month, we still have plenty of time to save up enough for at least a modest vacation.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Last Harry Potter Movie, Ever

The tickets were for the 12:20am show, so we got to the theatre a little after 11pm, expecting to wait in a long line.  Walking up to the theatre we saw very long lines of people waiting outside, and when we went in we saw people sitting along every wall in the lobby and in the hallways, waiting.  We walked up to the ticket taker guy and gave him our printouts, and he said our theatre was already open and seating.  Woo hoo!

The theatre was around 80% full when we walked in, but we managed to find two aisle seats near the back, and had a great view.  The one thing we were worried about was ending up in the front row, there's just no way to watch a movie from under the screen without ending up in pain.  We got some popcorn and a coke and settled in, and the hour+ wait seemed to go by pretty quickly.

The crowd seemed to be mainly college students, which makes sense because we live near UCF.  There were a couple of people in costume and many people in Harry Potter t-shirts, but the majority just wore the Florida college student uniform: t-shirt, shorts, flip flops.  While we waited I quizzed Greg about what horcruxes had already been found, which had been destroyed, and what the Deathly Hallows are.

I wore my Death Eater logo t-shirt, which I did feel slightly guilty about.  I am clearly not rooting for Voldemort, but you have to admit the Death Eaters have a very cool logo.  To counteract any appearance of Dark Lord sympathy, I also wore lavender nail polish with a thin layer of pink glitter, in honor of Luna.

At only two hours and five minutes long, the movie is one of the shortest (taken by itself), but I thought it did a pretty good job of including everything.  I knew there would be things they would leave out, it's happened every movie and I am numb to the injustice of what they choose to cut, but overall I really, really liked it.

Also, great googly moogly, when did the kid who plays Neville grow up and become suave and handsome?  Behold little Neville and his pet toad Trevor:

How is that kid now this guy?

Also, Greg and I discussed briefly going to see the movie at Citywalk at Universal, just because I knew it would be bigger and more awesome in general.  We decided not to, because it's a lot farther away from us and we knew we wouldn't want to walk a mile back to our car and then drive 30 minutes to get home at 3am, because we are old and lame.

Wow, that was a mistake.  When the movie ended at Citywalk, the moviegoers got to go to a special event: Universal opened up the Wizarding World until 5am!  Free!  Everything was open, all the rides were running, it was a celebration of the final movie!

Here is the video of the event on YouTube.  Well, no point in beating myself up for not being there, but holy crapmuffins that looks like it was amazing.

Still, the movie itself was very good, I wasn't disappointed.  I can't wait to see it again, actually.  :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm Pretty Sure Casey Anthony Caused My Migraine

Another migraine!  Gads.  When I was younger I'd get migraines more frequently, but they only lasted one day.  I get them less often now -- it's been about seven months since my last one -- but they seem to take forever to go away.

This one started last Saturday, and was held at bay somewhat through use of pain pills/frozen washcloths/sleeping in a cool dark quiet room/massage.   It never completely got its hooks into me (by which I mean I never puked and was able to move about for at least a little every day) but it was bad enough to basically ruin a perfectly good weekend.  I went back to work on Monday, and probably shouldn't have.  
I did have to go a few days without writing, and I broke my streak.  That's okay, I'll just have to start a whole new streak now that it's finally gone.
Despite the migraine setback, I have still managed to re-watch all of the Harry Potter movies, from the Sorcerer's Stone through the Deathly Hallows part 1, and I also re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
I've never done the midnight movie release thing, but since this is the last one ever I decided to go for it, and I bought my tickets weeks ago for the 12:20am show tonight/tomorrow morning.  Woo hoo!   I'm hoping to see a lot of kids (maybe some adults?) dressed up in costumes.  I'm ridiculously excited about it.  I've already warned Greg that I will need at least a half an hour immediately after the movie to explain to him everything they left out or screwed up in the movie.

If the movie starts at ~12:30 and runs for 2 hours and 5 minutes, it'll be nearly 3:00am by the time we get home.  I am so going to take a nap this afternoon...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Such a tremendous amount of emotion and publicity over the whole Casey Anthony trial.

It feels a tiny bit more personal to me because of the proximity, this has all taken place within just a few miles of my home.  Cindy and George Anthony's house is in the same general part of Orlando as we are, and back in the early days when Caylee was missing, Greg stopped and talked to George at his roadside stand over on Goldenrod Road.  They chatted for 10 minutes or so, and Greg took a flyer.  George seemed very nice, Greg said.  The Anthony's house is actually just two blocks away from where my co-worker lives; she's had to go home a different way the past few days because of the news crews and the people who just drive past the Anthony house like it's a tourist attraction.  She can hear the helicopters circling from her house.

It's been weird having international news crews camped out in downtown Orlando.  It was weird the afternoon we had a bad thunderstorm; Greg and I sat on the couch watching the storm outside our living room windows and, at the same time, on CNN.  Dozens of reporters were in the same storm, on multiple different channels, all reporting live from outside the Orlando courthouse.

What could be worse than a parent not only failing to protect their baby, but actually causing the baby harm?  It might be the very worst thing.  To any person not broken, it's heartbreakingly upsetting to hear about it happening.

My heart breaks for little Caylee, and for anyone who loved her, too.

I wish things were different.  I wish Caylee had lived the long life she surely deserved.  I wish her little body had been found in time for a cause of death to be determined.  I wish, assuming Casey caused Caylee's death, that she had been proven guilty.

But her body wasn't found in time, and the medical examiners couldn't determine whether or not she'd been murdered, and prosecutors couldn't prove that Casey killed her.  Maybe she did, she certainly did a lot of bad and suspicious things.  She probably did, but probably's not good enough.

I admire the jurors for being able to separate the emotions from the rational thought, and for having the courage to make what they knew would be an unpopular verdict.  One of the female jurors was apparently crying as the verdict was read.  I probably would've cried, too, I just hope I would have had the bravery to vote the way they did.

Good for them.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Update: Writing!

Today marks one month since I started on Novel #2, and it is my 30th consecutive day of writing.
Of course, when I say "writing" that can mean anything from sitting at my computer working steadily for two hours to grabbing a quick five minutes at the end of a long busy day.  I've just been determined to write EVERY DAY, even if it's just for a few minutes. 
The good news is that it seems to be going good so far, I am really enjoying reconnecting with my characters and my plot every single day.  I feel like every day that I went without working on Novel #1 made me slip farther and farther away from it, and I really don't want that to happen again.
The bad news is that, after one month, I have written exactly eleven pages.  That's kind of not good.
I want to be nice to myself and not get all stressy, but I also want to get somewhere.  At 11 pages a month, it'll literally take years to get finished.  I know some writers spend years working on one novel, but I would really, really, really prefer not to be one of those writers.
Having a very specific goal during NaNoWriMo worked great for me, it kicked my lazy butt just like it was supposed to.  I've heard that a lot of writers have daily goals, and they write a certain number of pages or words per day.  There's just no way that's going to work for me, because of my weird work schedule I may have a ton of writing time one day and then practically none for the next few days.  I'm going to try having a weekly goal, so that if I go a few days writing very little I can theoretically make up for lost time on the days when I have more.
According to my internet research, a Young Adult novel can range anywhere from 50,000 words to over 150,000.  How helpful.  It looks like average might be more like 75,000, probably less, so I'm going with that.  If an average page has 250 words, that comes out to a 300 page novel. 
If I want to write the novel in, say, six months (which still seems like a long time, but I am trying to take it easy on myself) that would mean writing approx. 50 pages/12500 words a month, which would be 12.5 pages/3125 words per week.
Yikes.  Well, I really do want to pick up the pace, so that'll be my goal.  I don't even have any real idea how long this novel needs to be.  I suppose there is a chance it might not even turn out to be a YA novel, who knows.
And speaking of my dear little Novel #2, I have no idea if I should share much about it here or not. I love my main character so much, she's so interesting.  To me, anyway.  Is it appropriate?  Is anyone interested?