August 19, 2013

0 There is no better title for this than "words".

I was going to write a simple tweet, boiling down my whirling mental state, but I told Betsy I was trying to resume blogging, so here I am to pour too many words that collectively mean less than their individual worth onto your computer screen.

Lately my mind has been generally blank. No, not blank... but full of incoherent intangible matters. I have thoughts; I have feelings; I have ideas. But they don't form into sentences. I seem to be coming up with similes and metaphors for these thoughts, like "your blog post makes me feel like a carnival that's just been set up but hasn't opened yet; full of anticipation but a bit scared of what might come- or who many not." Does that even make sense? Doubtful. So I don't comment.

One of my favorite things about Paul is that, while he rarely understands my mind, he is okay to hear me process (or ignore me, if I'm processing disjointedly and in a more out loud-to-myself manner) and, despite my propensity towards superlatives "that article is THE MOST ATROCIOUS THING EVER", trains-of-thought so off their tracks it's a wonder the cars are even still attached, or descriptors that have nothing to do with the object of their ambition "my arm feels slate grey", he accepts my individual vernacular with only good-natured, smiling teases.  Sometimes this becomes a liability, as I am prone to cobble together phrases or bend a word to fit a part of speech not its own, and the slippery slope of this has, on occasion, led me to edit or delete a tweet or FB post because my biggest fear/paranoia/prison-of-insecurity is that someone who doesn't know my habits and ways might think me objectively stupid. If a person were to think me stupid because I have done something that warrants the label, fair enough- although I will do my best to sway them otherwise. But I have been known (only to my computer and myself) to google the definition of a word which I am normally quite comfortable using out of the singular fear I have misunderstood its meaning my entire life and I am about to expose my vocabulary's nether-bits for all the internet to see.

Like most people (or so I've been led to believe), I do my best thinking and processing when the venue least lends itself to creating outward proof of my hard mental work: in the shower and in the car. Once I am in front of a notebook or computer screen my fingers freeze, illiterate to all forms of expression. A blank piece of paper becomes a most banal to-do list and my open blog post becomes a series of new windows made up of Facebook, Twitter, the BBC, Buzzfeed, Mental Floss... all ways to distract myself from what's at hand.

What is at hand, though, is my near-crippling fear of failure. I know that a good amount of my personal frustrations and turmoil boil down to this basic character trait, but what I haven't found is a way to truly overcome it. I have ideas of things I could succeed at- probably not succeed to the point of having my own jet, but succeed in a way that lets me fall asleep soundly and wake up energized. But what I seem to be most successful at is finding and polishing up reasons and excuses of why I shouldn't, or why the risk is too great, or why it's just not a good fit for me. Scratch that- that's my second most successful ability- my first is my willingness to believe these gremlins of doubt.

But I want to be productive. I am not of the sort to be a housewife (and if you are, my deepest envy goes to you and your beautifully decorated and cleaned home) and I'm quite certain a large part of my malaise is my lack of contribution. I'm a great employee, in no small part to my pathological need-to-please authority, but I need to find a way to view myself as that authority and stop letting myself down out of sheer unwillingness to take a chance.

I know this post doesn't tell you much, or anything really. But it's what I've got right now, and I'm trying to be more up front with what I've got. Call it "Step One on the Road to Putting Myself Out There".

For your perseverance, here's a picture of cork trees lining a dusty, hot road in the middle of Portugal. Because if that's not a metaphor for something, I don't know what is.

August 13, 2013

0 Sloan's Cold Laser Therapy and Acupuncture

 I mentioned Sunday that we recently discovered Sloan's got some arthritis in her lower back.
She was diagnosed with mild hip dysplasia in her left hip in '06 and she tagged along on Max's orthopedic appointments every so often, but her hip was never seen as a candidate for surgery, for which we were thankful. Fast forward to this winter. When Sloan was under for her lumpectomies I had our vet take an x-ray of her hips just to check in on them, and sure enough, she'd developed a fairly nasty case of arthritis in that hip as well as an arthritic growth on her foot. As much as we don't want to admit it, she is getting older- she's ten this month- so arthritis basically comes with the territory.
Back to now.
In order to deal with the acute inflammation in her lower back (what caused her the more intense, sudden pain), she's on an anti-inflammatory and a sedative/pain reliever. She is allowed to take on-lead walks, but no swimming, since her cannonball  technique isn't the most gentle to her spine.
I also decided that she should start cold laser therapy and acupuncture with Dr. Whitley, which was a great idea- Sloan has responded brilliantly!
And, since she doesn't suffer from Max's fear of the camera stealing his soul or his determination to be as uncooperative as possible during treatment, Sloan was also a better model.

Cold laser therapy involves a laser placed on target points for a set amount of time to target inflammation and stimulate the immune system. Sloan visibly relaxes during the treatment, so we're pretty certain she's feeling the benefits!

Dr. Whitley was surprised at how camera-focused Sloan is, but she was raised in front of it!

See? She seems okay with it!

Acupuncture is a bit trickier, since the patient (dog) has to hold still for the needle placement. Sloan doesn't seem to mind much, but we take little pauses for rubs, kisses, and treats!

Cactus butt!
I stopped giving Sloan the pain reliever/sedative last Friday, and her energy is up and back to her version of normal. We even get to see her crazies take over a couple of times a day! Hopefully next week I'm able to take her off the anti-inflammatory as well.

Paul and I are very encouraged by how well she's doing, and we'd like to keep her as low-medicated as possible for as long as possible, since all anti-inflammatories come with side effects. Max also has positive responses, but the actual treatment for him is more of a struggle as he is nervous and uncooperative for standing still. We'll keep doing it with him, too, because he's not panicked or miserable during treatment and he is calmer, more social, and more relaxed at home for about three days after treatment. We're hoping he someday gets longer effects from it, though!

August 11, 2013

0 Sunday Currently

 I'm trying out this "Sunday Currently" as a sort of catch-up... so here goes.


Blueberries at Olde Carthage Farm.

eating all the fresh, organic fruit on which I can get my hands. We found a pick-your-own farm for blueberries and blackberries, and we ended up with six buckets of blueberries and one of blackberries. I baked a good bit and froze a ton, but I also ate pretty close to my weight in fresh ones. Now I'm on to peaches. Sadly, I haven't found a pick-your-own organic peach farm (orchard?) anywhere around us, but Whole Foods had a sale last week and I bought two big bags full. I've been eating several every day, and I just made some peach ice cream and it's so delicious I'm tempted to make a few more batches, but I'm always leery of freezer burn over time- any tips?

reading The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen. It's good so far, but is making me ache for the Western Isles of Scotland. We only got to a few of the Hebrides, the Treshnish Isles to be specific, but I'm still hoping to see as many as possible, and The National Trust Scotland's recent tweet isn't helping!

listening to audiobooks lately. I listen to a lot of NPR in the car, but the time of day that I'm driving the dogs to swimming/acupuncture/cold laser therapy often falls during a show of which I'm not fond... so I listen to audiobooks. I've checked out several from our local library, but those have been hit or miss. I decided to try Audible and I bought The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky which was on sale and used my free trial book token for Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham, which she actually reads for the audiobook. I wasn't as fond of Perks as I expected to be, but I really enjoyed S,S,M, although I did view it as more of an 'easy read' and was expecting Perks to be more soul-fulfilling or touching based on what I've heard, and it just wasn't.  Now I'm looking for another, but I really resent how costly audiobooks are and I hate spending any money on something that might suck. Any recommendations?

feeling hesitantly good about Sloan. She acted strangely over the first weekend of July, seeming very uncomfortable and limping. We thought it was her rear left leg, and our GP vet recommended we see an orthopedic surgeon for a consult. It took a while to get in to see him, but he found that she has arthritis in her lower back that was suffering an acute inflammation. She's been on medication and she's started doing cold laser therapy and acupuncture with Max's physio vet. She's been remarkably responsive, so we're hoping to get her off the medication soon. While we know arthritis will never truly go away, we're hoping we can control the pain through non-medicinal means as long as possible. Max's dependency on his NSAID is a constant quiet worry, since it will eventually compromise his kidney function, so I'm quite keen to pursue non-medicated pain relief.

ineffectively wondering about what's next. I hate living in the past or just waiting on the future, but I'm not really enjoying our life here, for various reasons, many of which are not blog-appropriate. I've been trying to ignore it, but that's not changing anything, so now I'm trying the "recognize it and fix the problem" route. It's not any one thing, more like it feels everything is the opposite of our life in England and I thought that one was pretty near perfect. So I'm trying.

I snapped this on my phone as we drove over an enormous lake last weekend, Jordan Lake. It's HUGE- we crossed three bridges, I think? But I thought the sky was pretty.

linking up with Lauren at Sidda Thornton
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