Thursday, December 27, 2007

this is what my fortune cookie says

"On Friday your creative side will shine forth with exceptional skills."

Uh oh, watch out! I am shining forth on Friday!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

the hippy hippy shake

So, my mom is still in the hospital, where she has been since the 5th. Her hip did not heal the way it should and it was bruising more than usual and really swollen. After they took the sutures out and it still didn't heal correctly, they decided a second surgery was needed to see if she had a bleeder vessel. So yesterday I was there with her all day while we waited for them to fit her in. She was finally admitted to surgery at 5:20 pm or so, and they did not find a bleeder vessel but they did find a blood clot the size of the doctor's fist (I'd say about the size of a small grapefruit?). Crazy! And the had to put a drain in her hip for the blood...blech. But hopefully she will be allowed to go home by Sunday, and at the latest, Christmas Eve.

dripping faucet

I really don't appreciate it when someone comes to work wearing waaaay too much perfume (that floral-y, sweet, makes-me-want-to-dry-heave kind), causing my eyes to turn pink and burn, my nose to run, and my sinuses to hate me. grrrrrrrrr.

*aaaaCHOO!*


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

oh so true

YEAH she does!

six drunken flags

So, Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor have applied for liquor licenses. This seems to be one of the most idiotic things I have heard of recently, and I work for the news. Does their insurance company know about this? Isn't this a HUGE liability? Drunk swimming in the lazy river? Drunk roller coaster riding? Does Six Flags really need more assholes? I used to work there, and let me tell you, as a 17-year-old girl I got hit on by the most repulsive guys who will say the most offensive things to get your attention...and alcohol would just exacerbate this behavior. I mean, in the heat of the day, in July or August, the last thing we need is more dehydrated people in the park. I don't want to board the Titan worrying about getting splattered by projectile vomit.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

maintenent

My mom got a shiny new hip last week. It will last 900 years, they say. How do "they" even know that? Is it a guarantee? Like a money-back guarantee? She is in the rehab facility now and, after a few bumps in the road, seems to be doing well. My grandmother comes into town next week, so they will be in Granbury while I am in Dallas. But I have Christmas eve off, so I'll visit then. Mom wants me to bring her "granddog."

Ghetto Kitty got spayed last week, and they shaved her whole belly and that's how I found out she has a speckled belly - hahaha. Speckled Belly Ghetto Kitty. She's teething like CRAZY. Her adult teeth have erupted and are coming in alongside her kitten teeth so she is chew-crazy. I asked the vet if this is normal - for her kitten teeth to not have fallen out yet - and she said it's normal but they should fall out by 7 months. Aside from the teething she's such an affectionate thing...purrs like a motor and sleeps under my chin, licking my face when the alarm goes off (and every subsequent snooze alarm thereafter).

Sweetums is no longer wary of Maggie, but she still dislikes Ghetto. I can't really blame her, since every time she attempts to walk across the loft, Ghetto attacks her, putting an arm around her neck and pulling her to the ground. Hissing and growling ensues. Lather rinse repeat.

Tonight is Alyssa's annual Christmas cocktail bash, and I am looking forward to it greatly. It's so nice to have a reason to get dressed up and drink champagne other than a wedding. Hopefully I will get some good snapshots to post later....

Sorted out my vacation/comp days and after Christmas I will have 5.5 days to use before the end of March. I think I can handle that. Some of them will go toward a trip to NYC for Laura's 30th birthday so that should be a blast. The others I am hoping to use for camping or something along those lines...a little escape from the city. Anyone game?

she would make a great easter egg

speckled belly!


currently cracking me up

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

lovely hairdo, darling!

A co-worker brought this so me because it looks so much like my greyhound. I can't say that designer dog perfume is up my alley, but I do find the picture quite hilarious. Makes me want to try some wigs out on Maggie...hmmmm....



Tuesday, December 4, 2007

slightly slutty

Maggie the greyhound is, well, a little bit of a flirt. It's not her fault..she was used for breeding. She absolutely loves men (the human variety), and is quite forward with them. At the pet store, the dog park, or hanging out with my friends, she is most likely found cozying up to the nearest male, or two. Not that I blame her. And to her credit, they are constantly telling her how pretty she is. But who can resist a leggy blond with exceptionally soft ears?


Friday, November 30, 2007

lucky numbers 14, 15, 16, 17, 28, 38

Went to Pei Wei for dinner - fortune cookie informs me of the following:

"The love of your life will appear in front of you unexpectedly!"

Ok, so not to sound unappreciative (and don't get me wrong; I'm really glad to hear that he will be "appearing"), but unexpectedly? Could I at least get a general time frame and location, like "next week while you are pumping gas," so I don't mace the guy accidentally? Or "when you are 75 and hobbling across the street" so I don't wait around for this guy until it's too late to have some babies?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Maggie is famous! (a.k.a. using my dog pics for work to avoid image rights issues)

white noise

Sheesh, you pass out one time at physical therapy and then every session after that people are constantly saying things like "You look pale, are you doing ok? Gonna pass out?"

Seriously? How is it even possible to look MORE PALE that I already am?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

guess who's in the doghouse?

So, it's never a good thing when you open the front door and see a hallway covered in feathers
...and it wasn't that way when you left.

a few tips for Dallas drivers, based on observations over the past four days

- when the people in the lane next to you brake, it is not necessary to do any sympathy braking
- when it is dark outside and raining, it's a smart idea to turn on your headlights
- if you're in the "fast lane," a.k.a. the passing lane, and are pacing the person next to you for miles, therefor causing a backup of drivers behind you restlessly veering to the left or right and craning their necks to see if there is a reasonable explanation for this situation, please either speed up and get in front of the person next to you, or slow down and get behind them.
- when someone merges onto 30W from, oh, say, 1st Avenue, and has a mere five car lengths of lane to merge left, LET THEM OVER!
- I know that sometimes it is annoying to pay attention to all of the well-marked construction areas in Expo Park, but please remember that all four (or six or eight...) of your tires should be to the RIGHT of the yellow double striped line. If you see cars coming directly toward you, and the drivers are honking and flashing their lights at you, chances are you are on the wrong side of those pesky lines. Kindly MOVE OVER.
- Although I pity your clearly-tiny, well, member, I am not impressed with your Hummer/big shiny grill/Escalade/large white clean clearly-never-used-for-hauling-crap Ford 350/Landrover/make-your-car-shake bass/Expedition/over-sized rims. I am, however, jealous of your Honda Fit/VW Rabbit or GTI/Nissan Versa.
- Those white stripes in parking lots that are used to define parking slots are not just suggestions, YOUR VEHICLE IS ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO FIT BETWEEN THEM. I know, crazy right? So if you either can't drive your massive vehicle well enough to accomplish this feat, or if your vehicle simply doesn't fit, try downsizing and then get some therapy for your compensation issues. And please stop trying to fit in the compact spots - those are for me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

through the wall or take a fall

Yesterday was the twenty-eighth anniversary of by birth. And in my twenty-eight years I have done quite a few things that I am proud of. However, there are still items on my to-do list I want to check off.

things I have accomplished:
- I earned my first 4.o in college and made the dean's list more than once
- I have been to Europe and was fortunate enough to visit Paris, London, Sheffield, and Wakefield
- I have driven 1,500 miles across the country by myself...and back again
- I landed an internship in NYC when I was 20 and lived in Times Square for 3 months, and it remains my favorite city in the US so far
- I called off a wedding at the age of 23 because I knew I wasn't ready
- In college I made pumpkin crème brûlée from scratch and dammit, it was amazing
- I have lived in at least seven different cities in five different states and definitely do not think I am finished yet
- I switched careers at the age of 26, taking an unpaid internship and starting all over
- I was on the "jumbotron" at a Dallas Stars game
- I went white water rafting in West Virginia and made it through two rapids that were a level 5
- I have always been pretty good at intuitively knowing "when to bet and when to fold," as they say
- I can write an awesome essay or research paper, and definitely know the difference between when to use "good" and when to use "well"
- I have had training for disaster relief and am Red Cross certified for it
- My dog and I saved the life of a 4-week-old kitten this year and she has been a fantastic addition to our little family

Still on the to-do list:
- There are still several states I haven't been to yet, and I would like to spend some time visiting Seattle, Portland, Boston, San Francisco, and Denver.
- For many years I have wanted to visit Australia. I also want to see Portofino Italy, the South of France, and Tokyo
- I want to go hang gliding and bungee jumping
- I would like to buy a house in the next couple of years
- There are still a lot of records I need to find for my collection, and if you see Moon River on vinyl, let me know...I also want to get my records converted to MP3 files
- There are several computer programs I want to learn, including 3D Studio Max, Dreamweaver, Flash, and Final Cut
- I want to knit something of substance, like a sweater. Or a dining table.
- I'd like to restore a scooter or a vw bug at some point
- I want to check out Burning Man at least once
- I want to go to Marfa, TX to see the Marfa lights
- I hear Cedar Point is an awesome amusement park with some crazy roller coasters
- I want to hike part, if not all, of the Appalachian Trail
- There are several more National Parks I want to visit, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon

that's all I can think of for now, but I'm sure the list will continue to grow...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

feast of wire

currently reading: Emma by Jane Austin. And I am only slightly ashamed to say I was inspired to read it after seeing Becoming Jane. Oh shut your trap. I am allowed to indulge in a chick flick now and then, especially a period chick flick (historic period, people) where I can indulge my deep-rooted love for all things involving corsets, velvet, layers of silk, pantaloons, gloves, hats, muffs, ballroom dance, fans, leg-o-mutton sleeves, more corsets, empire waists, pale skin, and any other combination of the aforementioned items.

currently listening to: mostly my limited vinyl collection, focusing on Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline, some Ricky Nelson, and a sprinkle of Simon&Garfunkel thrown in for good measure. But I think it is truly impossible to grow tired of Patsy Cline...she is my guilty pleasure at the moment. Other than that I am slightly obsessed with some older Death Cab cds, but that has already been covered today.

on my mind: perhaps I shouldn't have eaten so many milk duds on a day when I chose to have homemade chocolate chunk cookies (ok, they were break-n-bake, but the people at work didn't need to know that) for breakfast along with two cups of fair trade coffee sweetened with gingerbread coffee syrup. too...much...refined...sugar...

you can't swim in a town this shallow

After seeing for myself what was already in our "J" drive at work, the music drive that "doesn't exist," (Hootie and the Blowfish, Hoobastank, Incubus, Lifehouse, Audioslave, and Tool, for example), I felt it quite necessary to bring one of my CD binders to work with me to dump some more music in it. So of course, this offered a nice chance to get reacquainted with music I hadn't listened to in some time. One of these cds was The Photo Album by Death Cab for Cutie, which I bought in 2001 or so. I always liked the fifth track, Why You'd Want to Live Here, but suddenly it had, as they say, a whole new meaning.

When I was living in Los Angeles, I have never missed or appreciated Dallas/Fort Worth so much. And I found it interesting that the same basic conversation repeated itself over and over with various people while I was there:

me: So do you like living in LA/Silverlake/Studio City/Burbank/Culver City/Pasadena/Hollywood/West Hollywood?

to which the person would reply with any various combination of the following:

- Well, the traffic is a nightmare/the pollution is awful/
my car just got towed/I'm constantly getting parking tickets/my rent is astronomical/the people here are always name dropping and fake/everyone is "in the business"/I'm barely scraping by/I miss my family/my job is crap...
but would always end with:
...but the ocean is close by and the weather is great..."


me: so when was the last time you went to the beach?

them:oh, months ago, it takes like, and hour to get out there with traffic. And it's so cold you can't really get in the water anyway. But I am going to San Diego/Las Vegas/San Francisco/Lake Tahoe/Palm Springs next week ; I just can't wait to get out of the city.


So when I came upon this song that I hadn't heard in years, I listened to it about 5 times in a row. They hit the nail on the head, really. I was always so stressed in LA about something...if I was driving I was worried about where I was going to park my car or how many left turns I was going to have to make without a left turn arrow (all of them usually) or if I was going to get lost... and then when my car finally was parked I was worried about getting a ticket or getting towed, and if friends were coming over I was worried about where they were going to park, I was worried about making money and paying bills, I was constantly scared my car would break down in the midst of rush hour, I was worried I'd get sick because I didn't have insurance, and on and on.

And yes, some of these are things I would worry about in any city. But in LA it was all somehow heightened to a frenzy. I was so tense and worried and stressed that I turned into another person. And the few times I left LA and went to, say, San Diego or Joshua Tree, I could feel my shoulders relax and my stomach stop churning as I left the city and saw the skyline in my rear view mirror. And I have to say that I spent three months in NYC when I was twenty and have been back many times to visit, and I never ever felt this way when I was there. I would move there in a heartbeat if the right situation presented itself. But I will never ever move back to Los Angeles. And I rarely use the word never.

Now, I don't want to leave this entry on a completely negative note. Yeah, there were moments in LA, driving down Sunset Blvd with the sun shining and my windows down, with rows of palm trees standing tall like wiry soldiers, when I thought "yeah, this is nice." And winding my way through Laurel Canyon to soak up a day of chilling by the pool in a beautiful house in the hills I could never afford with some cool, nice people I had met...that was fun. But these were the exceptions. And yeah, I think if perhaps I had been there under different circumstances, and if I hadn't been forced to play a losing game of dodge ball with the stresses that life hurled unrelentingly at me during that time, maybe I would have a more positive impression of Los Angeles. But, it was what it was, for me, at that time. And thank God Dallas welcomed me back with open arms. I may not be in Texas forever...there are other cities I want to explore and states I want to visit...but I will call it home for now.

(Unfortunately, I have no idea how to post a song on my blog. I really wish I did.)
So in lieu of the actual song, here are the lyrics:

Why You'd Want To Live Here

I'm in Los Angeles today: it smells like an airport runway,
jet fuel stenches in the cabin and lights flickering at random.
I'm in Los Angeles today: garbage cans comprise the medians
of freeways always creeping,
even when the population's sleeping.

And I can't see why you'd want to live here.

I'm in Los Angles today: asked a gas station employee
if he ever had trouble breathing
he said It varies from season to season, kid.

It's where our best are on display:
motion picture actor's houses maps are never ever current,
so save your film and fifteen dollars.

And I can't see why you'd want to live here.

Billboards reach past the tallest buildings
We are not perfect, but we sure try
As UV rays degrade our youth with time.

The vessel keeps pumping us through this entropic place
In the belly of the beast that is Californ-i-a
I drank from a faucet and I kept my receipt
for when they weigh me on the way out (here nothing is free)

The Greyhounds keep coming dumping locusts into the streets
until the gutters overflow,
and Los Angeles thinks
I might explode
someday soon.

It's a lovely summer's day and I can almost see the skyline
through a thickening shroud of egos
(is this the city of angels or demons?)
Here the names are what remain:
stars encapsulate the gold lane
and they need constant cleaning for when the tourists begin salivating,

you can't swim in a town this shallow
You will most assuredly drown tomorrow.

Friday, November 9, 2007

in an attempt to continue ignoring the bright pink elephant in the room...

...I am posting funny pics of Maggie and Ghetto Kitty. Why? Because they are hilarious. And because it's my blog. The first pic is my favorite, because it looks like I said "ok you guys, now give me a silly one!"

For those of you who don't know, I adopted Maggie the greyhound in June, and in September while we were on a walk, she found a tiny, emaciated, 4-week-old kitten in a parking lot behind Minc, who has grown into the rambunctious ball of fur you see in these images. She is teething on everything, including Maggie (as you can see in the third picture), but Maggie has, amazingly, never snapped at her or growled at her for this. (She has on occasion growled at her if she gets too close to her food, treats, or Kong, at which point I remind Ghetto that Maggie does not eat her food.) Maggie does occasionally give me that look (see pic two), at which time I remind her that she is the one who found Ghetto Kitty. And since Ghetto was never properly weaned from her mother, I have actually caught her trying to nurse on Maggie. Seriously. And still no reaction from Maggie, even with Ghetto's sharp little teeth (see pic 3).







Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Week 5

Two days ago I had my fifth weekly pelvic floor therapy appointment "Amy" at my doctor's office. The biofeedback showed no improvement in my spasms/minute. I met with the doctor afterward (I meet with her every fifth or sixth appointment to touch base on treatment). She could tell I was disappointed with seeing no improvement, especially since I am now doing the electronic stimulation/biofeedback at her office once a week and physical therapy three times a week. She reminded me that it took my body years and years to get to this point, and it will take a while for it to "unwind." I also expressed frustration on the limited amount of information available on Levator Ani Spasms online and told her that my friend Laura went to the NYU medical library to see what she could learn and only found one article about it. She reminded me that this problem also goes by several other names and that I might find more info under "pelvic floor tension myalgia." She then copied a recent article she had about the subject titled Physical Therapy for Pelvic Pain: Understanding the Musculoskeletal Connection. The article reiterated that ballet and gymnastics contribute to this (I took ballet from the ages of 3-13 and gymnastics for a few years in there too, along with tap, ballroom, jazz...), as well as prolonged sitting (ummm...I'm a graphic designer), and general stress, anxiety, and tension (well, just look at the past year I've had). And as a note, my physical therapist (we'll call her "T") said that for her patients who have the opposite problem as me, patients with a relaxed and loose pelvic floor caused by things such as natural aging and childbirth, she actually teaches balletic exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, such as pliés. Because my pelvic floor has been trained all of these years to contract through dance and everything I've already discussed, I have the opposite problem of these women.

At physical therapy today I asked T if having a large waist-to-hips ratio has impacted this in any way. The "average" woman has a 10 inch difference between her waist and hips, but mine is more than ten. I sleep on my side, but my hips hurt in the morning and it has been this way as far back as I can remember. T said yes. Because this causes a deeper curve at my waist and my spine cannot be straight while sleeping, and because I tend to sleep on my left side, this unevenness has contributed to my hip rotation.

So the four-copays-a-week continue for 6 more weeks and I remain optimistic and very very grateful for such amazing doctors, my physical therapist, and a relatively quick diagnosis.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bed Bath Busted

Remember when you were a kid and you would look through HighLights magazine at the dentist or doctor's office? Remember the front page with the illustration and you searched for the hidden objects? It's like that, except it's a mass marketing e-mail coupon, and instead of looking for objects you are looking for two large, staring-you-right-in-the-face typos.

Spell check, people!!


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Levator-Hater (a long one)

Some of you know this and some of you don't, but as of today I have officially been dealing with intense, chronic pelvic pain for exactly one year. It's a hell of an anniversary. Sometimes my life is halted by the pain - it literally stops me in my tracks - and sometimes it is mild, but it is always there. It's a pain that is hard to describe...a nagging, aching, gnawing pain that 80% of the time is dull, yet strong, and 20% of the time is extremely sharp. It is exacerbated by sitting, driving, laying down (the list goes on), and started on my right side but quickly spread to my left side.

Two months after it began I was able to see my doctor about it, and she thought perhaps it was endometriosis, so she put me on a new BC pill but nothing changed. I started doing a lot of research on endometriosis and drastically changed my diet and lifestyle. However, the pain always returned. We changed the pill again and still nothing, so after I moved back to Dallas and after my insurance kicked in, I saw her again and she referred me to a specialist who was so booked that they couldn't fit me in for another month. I was excited to see a great specialist, but was also terrified that she would find nothing unusual and tell me she had no idea what it was. You see, I had been dealing with the pain for so long that occasionally it seemed like it was "in my head." At times the pain was so penetrating that it sort of radiated to my lower back and my upper inner thigh. But I learned to cope with the lower levels of pain to the point where it felt normal...like my tolerance of pain increased and I wasn't as aware of it as I was when it began, and it had to be at higher registers to grab my attention. Eventually I felt it invading my life and almost changing me into a different person. I was fatigued from this pain that just wore me down, and I was constantly fighting off irritability and exhaustion. The happy, fun-loving, optimistic person I used to be was fading and I became moody, impatient, pessimistic, and it was all starting to seem hopeless. My life became consumed by pain. There was never an escape because even sleep hadn't been restful in months because the pain never stopped, not even at night. And I was constantly trying to put up a happy front to everyone around me (which was exhausting and frustrating in itself). At work I would go to the bathroom and cry on the bad days, just wishing I could call in sick every time I felt pain this intense but knew that I couldn't because then I would never be at work. So I felt I would just go mad if this doctor didn't know what it was...that was my biggest fear.

September 24th at 7:00am, I left my building and biked to Baylor for my 7:30 appointment. I didn't have time to be nervous because, well, I was half asleep, and also because I was the first appointment of the day so there was no patient backup yet. The doctor took my blood pressure (which surprisingly enough was 90/65), weight, height, etc., and then I went into her office and started telling her everything from the beginning. At times I got really choked up and my voice was quite shaky but thank goodness I held it together and didn't actually shed any tears. (My family doctor has seen me cry at least twice about this and I always feel stupid and silly but I suppose it's normal for emotions to run high when talking about chronic pain that has effected your life in as many ways as it has mine.) After the consultation she did the exam, and without hesitation, told me the news I had waited 10 months to hear...I do not have endometriosis. I have Levator Ani Spasms (also called Levator Spasms or Levator Syndrome), which is a type of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, or PFD. There is no known cause, but it can be triggered by stress, sex, injury, sitting for long periods of time, even something as simple as a routine pelvic exam. Basically, the levator ani muscle in the pelvic floor spasms out of control, causing pain. In a "normal" person, this muscle would spasm 0-5 times/minute; anything higher than 5 can cause pain. Someone with Levator Syndrome can have it spasm 10-20 times/minute. There is no "cure," but there are several treatment options, but unfortunately no controlled clinical trials have been done on the success rates of these treatments. They include electronic stimulation (coupled with biofeedback), sitz baths, massage, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, and sometimes Botox injections. It seems the most important thing is to try and figure out what exacerbates it and triggers it and to deal with the root of the problem, and not try to cover it up temporarily, such as with Botox or constant muscle relaxers. My doctor told me to start coming in once a week for 6 weeks for electrical stimulation/biofeedback, and prescribed Flexeril for my pain (which I take at night to help me sleep but it's so strong that I rarely take it during the day; even 1/2 dose makes me pass out at work).

Two weeks later I arrived for my first appointment. It involves probes (yes, that's plural, and yes, they go where you think they go), which send info back to a computer that the patient cannot see (it is important that the patient learn to feel and control the pain and not know by watching the screen when the pain is the worst). First the resting levels are checked - an average of spasms/minute before the treatment starts. The first week it was 16/minute. I asked if this was high in patients she sees with this disorder, and she looked at me and very seriously said "it's high." Next is a series of muscle contractions similar to Kegals, and then it ends with the actual electronic stimulation, which is an electrical current sent to the muscles in very rapid succession causing them to contract over and over with the purpose of wearing out the muscle so it relaxes. Then she printed out a sheet for me to take home with directions on watching what I eat to see if there was any correlation between diet and pain, and told me to do a certain amount of muscle contraction exercises/day. That week I felt a little better, and I went in to my appointment to find out that my beginning level was 11 spasms/minute - good news! Unfortunately, the week after that I had quite a bit of severe pain on Saturday and Sunday. I knew I was not stressed those days, and I followed the directions for trying to relax the muscles, but it didn't work. The Monday after all the pain my average resting rate was 18/minute. Bad. So, after talking more to my nurse who does the treatments (we'll call her Amy) about how for years my hips have hurt after I wake up in the morning, she said she would talk to the doctor about my trying physical therapy to see if something physiological about my body was also contributing to the pain. (My doctor works closely with two physical therapists in Dallas who specialize in pelvic pain.) So I made an appointment for this past Monday the 29th with the physical therapist in Carrollton for 2:30pm, after my morning doctor apt. That week the pain was also fairly bad, and that Monday (the 29th) my resting rate was 21/minute (ouch!). Amy said to see what the physical therapist said that afternoon. She was really nice with a thick Russian accent and again, I started from the beginning and told her the whole story. Then she explained more about Levator Syndrome and how she treats it, and then had me lay down on the table and she measured my flexibility, strength, and looked at the symmetry of my hips and legs. She basically told me that I am extremely flexible, but that my inner thighs are quite weak, and that my left hip bone was 1" higher than my right. She reiterated that this is not a bone problem but a musculature problem. My right leg is much stronger and more flexible than my left, and this unevenness is causing my hip bone to rotate down and forward on the right side. Then she did some manual massage, and put me on their electronic stimulation machine in combination with moist heat (yes, I used the word moist, one of my least favorite words ever). She scheduled me for 3X/week for at least the next two weeks. After my session yesterday and today, for about 2 or 3 hours after treatment I felt *almost* normal! The pain returned but she assures me that someone my age should be able to concur this, and that it won't be a quick fix. 4 copays a week are really hurting, but not as much as the pain, so thank goodness for insurance. I have learned exercises and other things I can do at home and at work to try and mimic some of the things I do in PT. This upcoming Monday is my 5th electrical stim/biofeedback apt with Amy, followed by a consult with the doctor, so I will find out if my resting rates are lower. Updates to follow....

It took me a while to gather as much info on it as I have, because even in the age of the internet, there is very little information online about this. I have just kept asking questions until I finally have my brain wrapped around it. Some pages quote that this affects 6% of the population, but my physical therapist says that is misleading because many many people are either misdiagnosed or never seek help. I couldn't understand how a muscle could spasm and I didn't actually feel the individual spasms, just the pain they caused. She compared it to the heart and lung muscles, and how they contract and expand all day and you aren't really aware of it. I also didn't see how spasms could cause this degree of pain, and she said to think of it like ab crunches. If you did 15 crunches/minute all day long that muscle would really burn and hurt, and that's what I am feeling but it has been continuous for a year. The pelvic floor muscles are kind of woven like a basket, and are suspended like a hammock. The "ends" of the hammock are attached to the lower abs, pelvis, and other places. Since my pelvis is rotated, it is pulling and stretching some of these muscles taut, which makes the spasms worse.

When she told me that I was very flexible, I asked if this is a bad thing, because I always thought it was good to be flexible. She said flexibility is good, but is bad when combined with weak support muscles. This causes the hip bone to wiggle around more on the hip socket, wearing out the cartilage faster, and that if I don't correct this in the next 5 years, I may end up like my mother who is getting a hip replaced this December and is only in her mid 50's (weight training in PT and the gym is helping me with this; specifically working on my hip socket).

I found out that taking ballet for 10 years basically "trained" these muscles to contract more than they should. In ballet, your core and lower abs are always pulled up and in, while your rear is contracted and pulled down. This constant posture pulls the pelvic floor up (since the pelvic floor muscles are attached to the lower abs) and trains it to be tight. PT is helping me to loosen the pelvic floor so it will relax back into place.

If you have a tendency to be able to hold your bladder for a long time, don't. I always thought I was rather gifted to be able to go sooooo long without going, and that it came in quite handy at work since we are so slammed that I sometimes don't have time to go for 4 hours at a time. When you have an urge to go and contract those muscles until the urge goes away, your body still needs to go, and you train those muscles to constantly contract and be tight which is baaaaad. I have orders so go every 2 hours whether I feel like I need to or not.

Many of us sit for long periods of time at work. Try and get up and walk around every 2 hours or so. Or do some squats at your desk to stretch out those muscles.

I was given a list of foods to help me to regulate my body...acidic foods, alkaline foods, foods with fiber, etc. Learned that caffeine will actually help relax my pelvic floor (coffee, tea, yay!), but everything in moderation, of course.


So, I am finally on my way back to normalcy. The pain has not gotten better yet, but just that hour or two after PT when the pain is lowest is like a little miracle; a glimpse into a pain-free life. I feel lucky and blessed to have wonderful doctors who correctly diagnosed this within a year of the onset of pain, as I have read about people who went 5, 10, 15 years living with this pain and were misdiagnosed or not properly treated. I find myself fascinated by what I've learned and am still learning, and am reminded of the mind/body connection and how everything we do and every muscle in our bodies is connected to other muscles and effects many things we never think about until we feel pain from something that tells us to stop. r e l a x. listen. Pay very close attention to your body and what it is telling you about your life, lifestyle, career, relationships, and diet.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

she's crafty (this is what I did with my sunday)

Every time the loft gets under 67 degrees, Maggie's ears get cold and she starts shivering a bit. Greyhounds have very little body fat - less than humans - so they need coats for the cooler weather. I found many sites online that do greyhound coats, but just a simple fleece was between $35 and $55, and waterproof coats are around $70. No way was I paying that much for a dog coat. JoAnn Fabrics had fleece on sale for $3.99 a yard that week so I hit the sale, and was able to make this custom coat for $11! It is grey fleece on the outside and black fleece on the inside, and is fully reversible with a drawstring around the top of the neck to keep it around her ears. I had some trouble sewing the neck to the body and then turning it right side out through the chest and then sewing the chest so that all of the seams still faced the inside, but sheer determination and stubbornness got me through it.

But it was all worth it when I took her to Stoneworks (rock climbing gym) with me to meet everyone in the climbing group on Monday. It kept her warm, and someone said it wort of looked like a grim reaper Halloween costume, so I guess she can be the "grim greyhound" this year.

p.s. this is not ALL I did with my Sunday; I also worked out for 2 hours in the morning. The gym was pretty empty...I guess everyone was hung over from Halloween parties, but not me, no siree.









Wednesday, October 10, 2007

pet peeve

Heard on Deal or No Deal:
"She loves to take pitchers; she's a pitcher fanatic!"

PITCHERS are used for liquids; cameras take PICTURES!

in the land of random

Today I got behind a Dodge pickup of some sort with a bumper sticker reading:

ASK FIRST!!!
Before HUNTING or FISHING on PRIVATE LAND

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Ocean Blue

This is what I have been working on ALL WEEK! Of course, it looks better in HD and has to be a much lower quality to post online.

So, what do you think?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

life's not Fair

When I open my window or walk down my hallway, all I can smell is fair food. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm...fair food.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

contain this

Somehow a picture of me from a theme party in college ended up in a retail display at Container Stores nationwide. I don't even own this picture, so it was a little bit bizarre when a friend who works at The Container Store called to tell me about it. Yes, that's me in a Paschal High School uniform that I bought at a thrift store for 55 cents.

Proof:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Inside The Living Body

"Osteoblast" is a cool word. It sounds like a verb for blowing up bones, but sadly it is not.


os·te·o·blast (ŏs'tē-ə-blāst')
n. A cell from which bone develops; a bone-forming cell.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

two words

conspicuous consumption


We all want nice things. A reliable car that gets us from A to B. A safe, attractive place to live. Stylish clothes we feel comfortable in that express who we are. Maybe you want a stainless steel trash can instead of your white plastic one, or an iPod, a new laptop, a couch that isn't a hand-me-down, an expensive new pair of jeans that fits like no other, some new camping equipment, or even a house. My point is, there is a difference between wanting nice things and conspicuous consumption, between "I have a nice comfortable car that efficiently gets me from A to B" and "look look LOOK at my EXPENSIVE car that cost me soooo much and shows off how much money I make and how much better I am than YOU."

In my opinion, conspicuous consumption is represented well by the Hummer. Most people who know me are well aware of my deep, deep, hatred of these vehicles. I despise, nay, loathe them. My blood pressure starts to rise and I actually start to sweat. Really, truly, sweat. There is absolutely, positively NO reason to have one of these vehicles in urban America other than to show off. Owning one shows a complete lack of respect for the earth you call home, the people you call neighbors and family, and your fellow drivers. PERIOD.

Another popular and perfect example of conspicuous consumption are logos. Oh you know what I'm talking about. That handbag or suitcase with an LV printed all over it. ("Look how much I spent on this handbag; I just have SO MUCH MONEY!! Don't you wish you were me?") Burberry plaid. The double C Chanel Logo. Gucci. Prada. Juicy Couture. Tommy Hilfiger. Even brands like Guess and some Target private labels are getting on the logo bandwagon. The thing is, these labels make many many styles of with a discreet logo. If you are really interested in the style or quality/craftsmanship of these items, they offer plenty of options without obnoxious all-over logos. But the people who choose the items plastered in logos are only interested in broadcasting their status and wealth; they are, above all, a status symbol. They say "I am chic, I have plenty disposable income, and I align myself with the marketing, lifestyle, and ideals that this company represents." Of course this logo-mania extends beyond leather goods to clothing, home decor, and as always, vehicles. (Just to reiterate this, I am not saying that having nice things is bad, just that there is a clear difference between having nice things, and having nice things with the sole purpose of showing off.) For example, we have seen the Eddie Bauer Explorer, for the person wanting to say "I am tough, I am outdoors-y, but I like leather seats embroidered with the Eddie Bauer logo and I never leave the safe pavement of my housing subdivision and suburban zip code...shhhhhh, don't tell!" I recently got behind this vehicle (see pic below) and shrieked "NO WAY!" With my right hand I fumbled inside my backpack and found my camera in time to grab a shot just as it turned a corner.


An H3 with a custom Burberry plaid spare tire cover, the red in the plaid matching the red Hummer. oh. my. gracious. Conspicuous consumption at its...worst.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

because I can't afford therapy

Do you ever have one of those bad dreams in which someone you know, or knew, very well treats you very very badly? I have them often...for about eight months now. It is usually the same person (last night it was actually two different people in two separate dreams). I wake up knowing that in real life they would never do whatever it is they just did in my dream, but the dreams are so vivid and real that I wake up feeling really hurt, and then for the next day or two I remain anxious and upset at them.

Even as a kid I usually had very violent and negative dreams. In general you hear that flying dreams are good and represent freedom. But my flying dreams were almost always about me flying away from someone who was trying to kill me. This person usually had a knife. Sometimes the "bad guy" (as it was always a man) could also fly. I also recall a dream from my childhood where a masked bad guy broke into my house and I was home alone. My sleeping self knew he was trying to kill me (again, he had a knife) but my dream self thought the whole thing was a game, laughing and racing around the house and furniture in a catch-me-if-you-can manner. So my sleeping self was freaking out trying to make my dream self see that he was serious and it wasn't a game.

I even had one dream in which I actually died, but this has only happened once. I still remember it very well. I was living in a country that, in my young mind, seemed like somewhere in the mid-east, desert-y and hot. The women were all being persecuted and living in these sort of stacked hammocks in this huge multi story building that just looked like a building looks before the sheet rock is put up, all open and unprotected. Anyway, I was posing as a man trying to fight for the rights of the women, and I was eventually caught and executed. The thing I don't remember is whether I was killed with a knife or a gun. But I do remember my sleeping self worrying very much about if it would hurt when I was killed since I was asleep.

________________________________________________________

On a lighter note, the weeks have been flying by since I got back. I woke up this morning, took the dog out, came back up to make breakfast, turned on the TV to see cartoons, and couldn't believe that it was Saturday again. I mean it was just Saturday. Seriously, like two days ago it was Saturday and i was making a feta and mushroom three-egg omelette watching this same animal show on Fox and getting ready for work, right? Wrong. It was SIX DAYS AGO. Geez. I blinked and August was gone. I blinked twice and summer was gone.

And I am fed up with restaurants continuing to use styrofoam and plastic to-go/take-home containers when there are affordable paper alternatives. So in a week when I get paid I am going to buy some Biopak 100% recycled take-out boxes to keep on hand and in my car. And when I run out of the staples I have on hand I am going to buy a staple-less stapler. Plastic freaks me out and I have banned it, as much as humanly possible, from my life (as far as eating is concerned). I heard that Whole Foods carries corn-based biodegradable straws and was very excited. So the next time I was there I looked but no luck. I asked one of the very helpful employees and they went off to find out about the mystery straws, but reported back that their location does not carry them but I could call around and see if maybe the other larger location have them.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

playing Uno at Fallout





It's fun.
You should try it sometime.
But would someone please tell me what is up with the colored cards that have no numbers on them?

rockin'



I went rock climbing at Exposure in Carrollton this morning. It's the second or third time I've been there, but I haven't been rock climbing in well over a year, so I was out of practice to say the least. But it was fun, and I met some really cool people. I would also like to try Summit Climbing Gym to see how it compares. I really wish there was something inside 635 though; I start getting hives when I get too far north into the 'burbs.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

shoe fetish X 2

I'm not sure there is room for two shoe fetishes in this 517sf loft. But I am not willing to give mine up. I really scored on this tax-free weekend at DSW. Big time.

2 words: Michael Kors
One discount: 80% off
Total price: $19.99

oh yeah.




Maggie the dog has her own fetish. With my sandals. On many mornings I wake up and look over to see that at some point during the night Maggie has dragged one of my flip flops into her bed. She never chews on it, and there is always just one. A friend told me that she does this because it smells like me. Um, excuse me? I do not smell like a sweaty flip flop. He said to sleep in an old tee shirt for several nights and then give her the tee to sleep with and she will stop the shoe-napping. I did, but she is too smart for this. But, since she is not chewing on the shoes I suppose I really don't mind. Plus it is partially my fault for being too lazy to put my sandals away every night.

evidence:




Saturday, August 18, 2007

Spiral Diner coming to Bishop Arts!

How excited am I that this small vegan restaurant in Fort Worth is expanding to Dallas? Words cannot express. I LOVE IT! Spiral Diner is consistently voted in the top 10 lists for vegan restaurants for the entire country (!) and it's hard to believe it's nestled inside "cow town." And now good news for Dallasites - Spiral Diner is coming to the Bishop Arts District in the OC in October. Hoorah! Rumor is that it might even be dog friendly. Yeah!

The menu is extensive, and even your hard core carnivore friends will find something delish to try. I have had the "Ate Layer Burrito," the "all day lunch plate," spaghetti, hummus appetizer, potato salad, and the McNut burger. They have all been delicious, and the price is oh-so-right. All of their ingredients are not only vegan but organic, and their mission extends beyond just the food.

Spiral Diner pledges to:
- Use only cruelty-free and environmentally friendly biodegradable cleaning products
- Only purchase recycled and un-bleached paper products (with the highest post-consumer content available)
- Always buy Certified Organic ingredients whenever possible with conventional only as a last resort
- Use environmentally friendly, biodegradable take-away containers and disposable cutlery (we also encourage our customers to bring their own reusable containers with them to help us reduce packaging waste)
- Recycle 100% of all the accepted materials that come through our kitchen
- Donate a portion of profit to local grassroots organizations that are fighting for human, animal, and environmental causes
- Reduce waste by purchasing in bulk as much as possible and donating excess food to local food banks and shelters

And their take on pricing:
"Spiral Diner's prices are set as low as they can possibly go. Our goal is not to make tons of profit; it is to provide the community with tasty vegan food at a reasonable cost. Our goal is also to pay everyone working at Spiral a decent wage. We will never charge more than we absolutely have to in order to pay the bills.
So when you eat at Spiral you know you are getting high quality food from happy employees.
Additionally, we will continually to adjust our prices to reflect food costs. As organic ingredients go down in price we adjust our menu prices accordingly. The more in demand organics become, the lower the price."

And if that wasn't enough, they also have vegan cooking classes, hip retro decor, and a bakery.

Who wants to go with me in October?

Sufferin' Succotash!




I recently happened upon a vegan food blog and saw a recipe for "late summer succotash" from the Vegetarian Times which looked delicious. For those of you who don't know, I have been inching my way towards being a vegetarian, but it's hard with the no-wheat and little-to-no-soy thing, which rules out quite a bit of wheat-based meat alternatives like seitan, and also tofu, soy sauce, and such. I eat at Spiral Diner whenever I get a chance (thank goodness they are coming to Dallas soon) and love the fact that they use all organic produce and recycle as much as they can and all that stuff. So right now I am an ovo-pescatarian, meaning that I am a vegetarian but eat eggs (cage-free and organic eggs) and fish. Basically I don't eat anything with legs and am not eating/drinking bovine fairy but I have not excluded goat dairy. It's complicated. Most vegetarians would laugh at me and say that I'm not really a vegetarian, which is true, but I have given up a lot since January and it feels like a huge step to me.

Anyway, I emailed the recipe to Carly and was like "we should make this sometime!" And on Monday I just happened to be at Target getting groceries and things before going to Whole Foods to complete the day's list, and lo and behold I get a text from Carly asking what I was up to, which surprised me considering she was supposed to be at work. Turns out she was home from work and I just happened to be at the SuperTarget just down the street from her place. So I ran over there and we decided to make the succotash that afternoon which was quite handy since I had to go to Whole Foods anyway. We were able to find everything there except for lima beans, which we substituted edamame for.

Everything in the kitchen went well, except that the onion won in the onion-vs-Hollis'-sensitive-eyes contest. (The next day I was watching Martha Stewart and she said to burn a candle close to an onion when you chop it and the candle will burn off the onion fumes. I tried it today and it works like magic.) Our Late Summer Succotash was divine if I do say so myself. The tomatoes really made it, and I don't normally like tomatoes.

Up next: Metaphysical Quandary Green Bean Salad

Recipe here

proof we really cooked and didn't steal the above pic:




So on Sunday and Monday I got to cross 2 things off my summer to-do list and one thing off my lifetime to-do list. Hoorah! Feels pretty awesome. Next up is learning how to change my own oil. I'll keep you posted on that one.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

At the Drive-In (a.k.a. Galaxy night)

Four friends and I finally stopped talking about it and went to the Galaxy Drive-In Theater in Ennis, TX this past Sunday. I got to cross "go to a drive-in" off my summer to-do list. It's only about 20/25 minutes South of me, which is closer than much worse options like Studio Movie Grill. It rocked my socks off. Well, I wasn't wearing socks to start with, but you get my drift. They have 4 screens, each showing a different double-feature, and it is always just $6 per person! AND they have Dippin' Dots, the "ice cream of the future" (but somehow available today)! Since the movie studios take most of their box office profits, they rely on the concession stand for their main profit, so don't eat before you go. It is very affordable (think cheesy fries and a coke for $3.50). This is my new favorite thing to do in DFW for sure, so let me know if you want to go on a Sunday or Monday! We saw the double feature Simpsons/Transformers.

During the ten minute "intermission" they show old fashioned ads and graphics and stuff, so it's cool that they have kept up the vintage flair and didn't try to modernize it. they still have the metal speakers that you can hang on your window, and you will probably need to use your car radio (the sound broadcasts over different frequencies for different screens) to hear well, but we didn't have a problem with this wearing down the car battery.

Here are some things to remember about the drive-in:
- CASH ONLY!
- Um, they have Dippin' Dots now - how awesome is that?
- Bring plenty of bugspray and chairs/blankets
- If you get there after dark don't forget basic drive-in etiquette, such as turning off your lights ASAP and driving slowly through the aisles.










After the movies were over we headed a bit further into Ennis on a small road and pulled into a field to watch the meteor shower, and I finally saw shooting stars (I had never seen one before...yes, really, never). I must've seen about 10 at least. i don't have any pics of this so you will have to take my word for it. This concluded our "Galaxy Night."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

whevever i start feeling alone in this world...

...i just remember the mosquitoes, and their never ending love (for my flesh and blood).




Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Commando much?

To Whom It May Concern:

Please remove your faded black Calvins from the stairwell.

Thank you,
#217




Thursday, June 14, 2007

What American accent do you have?

I have a Midland American accent, which isn't very surprising considering that I grew up in Indiana. I'm glad to find out that living in the South hasn't rubbed off on me too much and that I haven't developed a draaaawl.

Monday, June 11, 2007

everything's better in vinyl

So my friend Scott and I went to VooDoo Chile last night, a.k.a. "Jimmy's." If you are not familiar with VooDoo Chile, it's, well, amazing. It's this shop in Deep Ellum owned and run by Jimmy. Jimmy is this stick thin Japanese hippie who is always wearing skin tight bell bottoms and has long hair. He is super nice and always friendly and always serving wine. His shop is sort of a vintage shop but there is newer stuff too...everything from records and record players to VHS tapes to books to clothes to art to Halloween costumes. He told me last night that he's moving the shop to Lower Greenville in August, which is probably smart on his part because he will get a LOT more foot traffic, but stinks for me because he will no longer be right around the corner.

Last night I picked up some good vinyl:
Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings and Food produced by Brian Eno ($3)
Elvis Costello & The Attractions Armed Forces ($7)
Donovan's Greatest Hits ($1)
Jan & Dean Golden Hits Volume 2 ($3)
Ricky Nelson Ricky ($3)
The Beach Boys Surfin' Safari ($7)


Today is my Saturday so I am going to do laundry and swim! Hopefully also do some freelance work. Ok, now it's time for that swimming part....

Sunday, June 10, 2007

logo oh no



It seems there is some serious (and well-deserved) controversy over the recently approved logo for the 2012 Olympics in London. It has even made the front of a gossip mag with the headline "Olympics Logo Triggers Epilepsy" (this headline referenced the animated version of the logo). An online petition has even been started demanding its immediate withdrawal. It harks a bit of Keith Haring in my opinion, but not necessarily in a good way. I can't imagine how hideous it will be on all that merch they'll be selling...just picture it embroidered on hats and sweatshirts and printed on everything from pencils to pins to thermal mugs. Ouch...that's a headache.

self served

I loathe the self check-out line. And the place that irritates me the most as far as the self check-out line goes is Home Depot because 90% of the time they don't give you another option. Checking out at Home Depot would be about 5 times faster if someone did it for me in a regular old check out line. And I hate that the call it the "express lane." There is nothing express about some calm machine lady voice bitching at me that there is an "unknown item in bagging area" when she was the one who just told me to "place item in bagging area." Besides, it was a friggin shelf that wouldn't fit in the stupid bagging area to begin with. And the person watching over the self check-out just stares at you while you struggle instead of being helpful. I end up looking like a crazy person because I start talking back to the calm robot lady sayng "but you JUST TOLD me to place the item IN the bagging area - make up your mind!"

The same goes with those automated calling robot people who want me to tell them outloud what I need on the phone. Today I call Sprint to make an account change and I get "please say outloud what you would like to do today. You can say something like 'make payment' or 'billing question.'" So I say "upgrade my plan." And the machine says "did you say 'billing question? please say YES or NO." I say "NO." Robot lady says "our billing options have changed, please hold while I transfer you." CLICK. I call back and finally get it to understand "upgrade my plan" and she says "ok, I will transfer you to a representative." I hold for fifteen minutes. I can't take it anymore. I go clean my bathtub.

Hipster Bingo