Thursday, December 9, 2010

Health Drama

Hopefully this will serve as a kind of update for everybody who needs or wants information on what has been happening with me lately. Yes, another health drama has happened. Yes, I am as well as can be expected right now. I will tell the story as best I can.

For the past 3-6 months, I have been experiencing pretty constant nausea and occasional vomiting. Went to see my GP about it, who couldn't really tell me much and referred me to a Gastroenterologist (I think that's the name, at least). I put it on the back burner because I don't have insurance and am unemployed.

Enter Sunday. I'm sick all day. I figure I have the flu. It's pretty miserable. Then as the day goes on it gets worse and I begin to get a little concerned, so I drag some respectable clothing on and trudge downstairs and tell my parents I think I need to go to an urgent care or hospital. My dad takes me to urgent care, where they tell me they can give me medication for nausea and make sure I can keep some fluids down, but cannot star an IV because they close at 9:00 and they don't start IV's after 8:00 because they take too long to finish and we arrived at 8:30. They took my vitals and were concerned with my blood pressure being so low. My blood pressure is pretty low anyway, but with the dehydration of being sick, it was lower than usual, so they embarked on a adventure to take it in 3 different situations to see if they could get a better blood pressure. They kept on getting errors on the last situation and while they were trying to get that last blood pressure, they gave me the nausea medication and drew bloodwork. When the results of the bloodwork came back, my kidney functions were way out of whack and showed that I was basically in Acute Renal Failure, otherwise known as Kidney Failure. Off they sent me to the Hospital.

The hospital admitted me to the ER, pumped me full of IV fluids and started running multiple tests and reran the bloodwork to make sure there wasn't an error. The results came back worse than at the urgent care facility. I was admitted to the hospital because my kidneys are kaput.

Three days later, no real answers exist and we may never know what caused my kidneys to go into renal failure. The doctors are scratching their heads. Right now, their theories are that my blood pressure was so low that the kidneys didn't get enough blood, causing them to shut down. Another is that medication could have contributed to the shutdown, but that theory is lower down on their list of possibilities. The main theory is that it was a completely random occurrence aggravated by dehydration. At least, that's my understanding.

There is no magic pill they can use to fix this. The only thing they can do is try dialysis to get the toxins out of my body and hope that my kidneys will start working again. The doctor's say my kidneys are functioning at approximately 2-3% of normal. So, I have a temporary dialysis catheter in my neck and will be undergoing dialysis 3 days a week until hopefully the kidneys are functioning again. The doctors are very optimistic that after I'm fully re-hydrated and my blood pressure gets to a more "normal" range, my kidneys will return to normal and so will I.

Thank you to everybody for their concern and thoughts and prayers. They have been wonderful and they've been a wonderful buoy during a struggle. Though this is a hurdle, it's not insurmountable and something we can definitely deal with.

I want everybody to know that I feel fine. I don't feel sick, other than the ever-present nausea, which isn't anything new. The dialysis isn't pulling fluid off me, which I understand is the draining part.

So, that's the 411 on what happened. I'll keep you updated as news comes along.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nicholas suck.

Yeah, this post has absolutely nothing to do with anything. It's simply a rant. Over Labor Day weekend, the parental units went out of town and I had the house to myself (well, I was dog-sitting, so as to-myself as it gets with two dogs). I decided to Redbox the weekend away. It's cheap, fun and I like my own company enough for two (lucky for my single self!).

Now, my loathing of Nicholas Sparks is probably only known to my cousin Ashlee (we had a big fight about it because she really likes him as an author and I loathe him) and probably my hairstylist because I had refused to see any of his movies past either Message in a Bottle or A Walk to Remember. Whichever came out later. I actually have nothing against him as an author. He is an amazing writer. It's his subject matter that I loathe. I'm a happy book reader. I don't like it when people don't end up together and happy ever after. Hey, if I'm not getting my happy ever after, the people in books may as well be, okay! Also probably the reason I adore romance...there isn't any romance in my real life...may as well read about it. But I digress.

I hate that there is angst, strife, hurt, and basically, real life in all his stories. When I read his books or watch his movies, my heart hurts. You know, your feel so badly for the people, your heart turns over in sympathy...I call that my heart hurts for them because literally, my heart hurts and I hate that feeling. So I had ordered a personal boycott on Nicholas Spark's movies that had recently come out, of which two I really wanted to see. I got blackmailed into seeing The Notebook and it only further reinforced my resolve.

But this Labor Day Weekend, my resolve wavered and fell. I rented Dear John and The Last Song from Redbox and watched them. Good? Yes. Great? Maybe. Did I hate it because it did everything that I loathed about Nicholas Sparks and his movies? You better believe it. So the boycott is back on. Nicholas Sparks is back to sucking simply because he makes me feel bad for people in a book or movie.

Dirty little secret: I did have to go buy The Last Song because even though it hurt, it didn't hurt as bad and I really did like it. Maybe he doesn't suck as bad as I'm trying to make him suck. Boycott remains in effect.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Getting up at 6 a.m. is for the birds

I have a new temp job. I'm hoping it resolves into a permanent job because I like the work surprisingly enough. The only big bummer? I start work at 6 a.m.! And this isn't one of those roll into work in just anything jobs either! No, I have to be semi-professional and it would be preferable if I had makeup on and hair styled. I'm still working it out. Next week, the partners are going to be in the office (they live all over the west and mostly work from home offices), so we have to adhere to the dress code more strictly.

I think I'm going to shower at night and try to rewet and style my hair in the morning when I'm doing my makeup and brushing my teeth, etc..

On the up side, it is nice to get off work at 2:30 in the afternoon, but because I'm still getting used to getting up at 4 to get ready for work (takes me a while to get awake and get moving, people...sooooo not a morning person), I usually come home and crash for about a 3 hour nap. Yeah, it feels great, but I should probably get into a better sleep pattern, especially since I have plans to work out in those hours once we retrieve the treadmill from my sister's house.

I even have grand schemes to read after I'm off from work...nope. I've read a paragraph or two and I'm zonked. It's pretty comical, really. Hopefully I adjust before this assignment is over. Or hopefully they hire me on permanently.

Anyway, that's what's going on lately in my neck of the woods.

I did have a trip to Fresno that was loads of fun, but I've decided to keep that to myself. But it was fun and thanks to all the peoples involved in making it so much fun. I really needed it. And it turned into a very special weekend. Awww!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I Fought with the Rocks and the Rocks Won!

Ever have those places you go just to chill and think? I do. Mine is a place called Saltair. It's a once grand relic from my grandmother's days during World War II just off the Great Salt Lake. Lately, it's in a decline and mostly hosts concerts (usually punk bands or harder rock from what I understand) and raves. During the days, families go out there and hike the distance to finally reach the water. For those of you who may not know the Great Salt Lake is called America's Dead Sea. It's so salty, you just bob in the water (provided you actually get to water deep enough to bob in...the Great Salt Lake is notoriously shallow).

This is a very pretty picture of the Great Salt Lake. I believe it is a picture from Saltair. This is a look similar to what I saw yesterday.

This is a view of the Great Saltair in finer days. I did not take these pictures because I didn't realize I was going to Saltair when I started driving, I just wanted to get out in the sun and enjoy the mild (80-ish degree) weather we were enjoying for the holiday weekend.

The lake levels are wayyyyyy down because of the drought we've been in and despite epic rain and snowfall, the levels are still down. I was smart and decided to travel with flip-flops, so walking in sand in flip-flops are not advisable in Great Salt Lake sand. They tend to have little gross puddles of sand flies and icky stinky goo. Since I didn't want to trek through that to actually reach the water, I just decided to climb some boulders that used to be in the lake, but now border the Saltair land.

It was beautiful. The wind was blowing, so it was actually a little brisk. No bugs of any sort. The sun was shining, the sky was blue. It was a perfect relaxation, enjoying the bounties of nature, thinking spot. I sat on my rock for a long time and enjoyed. It was heaven!

Then I decided to get off and drive home (Saltair is about a 30-ish minute drive from my home). I scooted to the edge and though I found a better way to get off than I did to get on. Wrong-o. I fell off the rocks. About 6 feet. I fought with the rocks and the rocks won. Big time. People saw, of course, which was embarrassing, but I was laughing too hard at myself. I told them I was okay and eventually (due to the laughing) got myself up and out.

I'm slightly damaged. I have scrapes on my right forearm and scrapes, swelling and (according to my mother) bruising on the left side of my face. Don't ask me how I accomplished that. I'm talented...that's all I know. I'm stiff and sore and think I might have strained some ribs on my back. Is that possible? My parents are just laughing when they watch me walk around the house. I have an evil plan to get dressed (sort of) and try to go walk and see if that loosens up my muscles a bit. It seemed to work yesterday when my muscles started to tighten up.

So, my commune with nature went well, my return to the modern world...not so well. Oh, well. Life will go on, I guess! And no, I will not include pictures of the abused face.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I have a job! (Temporarily)

Miracle of miracles! I know, you're surprised! It's only temporary, but could work into permanent. I've only worked one day, but like it a lot. The people are super casual and very nice. It's through a temp agency, which I guess is the only way to go about getting a job in these times. The company is booming, so I hope to prove myself and be able to stay on permanently. They seem like an amazing company to work for. Bonus...I don't have to dress up to work there. First time in over 12 years. Only problem is that I don't have casual clothes to accomplish that. Bummer.

Keep your fingers, toes and anything else crossed for me and pray that this works out! Please let this work out!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Skin Issues

Somebody please help! I need help with my eczema! It's getting to the point where I have to take Prednisone weekly if not more often to keep the eczema on my hands under control. I'm not putting anything out of the ordinary on them and the side effects of Prednisone are heinous. I hate it. The prescription steroid creams don't touch the flare-ups. I can usually keep the flare-ups on the rest of my body under control with lotion and/or coconut oil application, but it just doesn't work on my hands. I've tried cotton gloves, latex gloves, pretty much everything. Now the flare-ups on my body are starting to get out of control, too.

I have discovered that I am allergic to Jojoba Oil, so I recently purged myself of all (I hope) products that contain that product. I lotion up nightly, but that doesn't seem to help. I have a patch of eczema on my neck that people seem to think is a hickey. In my wildest dreams, people. And if it were a hickey, it would be hidden by cover-up. Seriously.

People swear by Eucerin, but I cannot abide the sticky feel of it and it never rubs in, just sits on the skin because of the Mineral Oil/Petrolatum/Lanolin. And it doesn't help. My skin reacts very well to lanolin, which I realize is a very rare thing for people with eczema, but whenever I spin sheep wool that still has lanolin in it, my hands never have a problem. I just don't do that and it makes my hands ache to spin as much as it takes to keep them the way they need.

I'm trying to go a natural approach with products that will actually penetrate the skin and help heal it from the inside out, so I'm looking for products that do not have Petrolatum/Mineral Oil. Does anybody have any solutions that they have found that worked to keep the flare-ups down? I hate taking the Prednisone as it makes me a hag, ravenous and a total insomniac for days. Oh, and the hormones go completely out of control. I can be a raving lunatic one moment and in tears the next. Not something I enjoy. HELP!

Monday, May 24, 2010

What the frizzle?!

I thought Utah weather was all out of whack until I woke up this morning to witness it SNOWING! Snowing, people! On May 24th. What the heck is up with that? While I know this isn't the latest snow in history, it's gotta be darn close and I'm about done with the up and down swing with the weather. One day it's nice and sunny, then next, it's cold and rainy (or in this case, snowy).

Can't the weather make up it's mind?! No wonder my hair and skin has been going crazy. I have been making a concentrated effort to try and work on my poor abused eczema-ridden skin. It's showing slight signs of improvement, but the constant swings of the weather don't help. I'm extremely sensitive jojoba oil and don't like to use mineral oil and/or petrolatum if I don't have to because the latter don't really moisturize, they just coat the skin to prevent moisture loss. I don't have moisture in the first place, so loss is ridiculous. I also live in a VERY arid climate (except for the fluke weather system hovering over Utah lately), so regular "lotions" such as Lubriderm don't work because it has glycerin in it and all it does is pull what moisture I have in my skin out into the air.

So...with that all being said. Any suggestions on a lotion or cream that isn't too pricey that isn't scented since scents tend to make me want to vomit?

I know...I'm asking the world, but am hoping that someone might be able to help me. Because I'm at my wits end.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Walking Wounded

Literally. I am the walking wounded. Who would have guessed that a routine fishing expedition into my moving boxes would turn into a run to urgent care and stitches? Background story, you ask? Okay.

I woke up this morning craving homemade Chex Mix. So I took myself hence to Walmart and purchased the makings and after hemming and hawing, got around to actually making it. I gathered the fixin's and couldn't find seasoned salt anywhere in the kitchen. I just knew I had some in my boxes downstairs, so I trekked down to the basement and was digging through my boxes from the kitchen and happened to knock a favored coffee mug off the monster rack the boxes are stored on (the coffee mugs were just sitting there because I was going to bring them upstairs, but then I realized I really didn't drink herbal tea enough to warrant space they would take up). It shattered and hit my right foot. I muttered some choice words (not cuss words) and checked to see if it cut my foot because it felt like it, but saw no blood, so I continued looking without moving my foot so I wouldn't cut the bottom with all the shards of ceramic all over the place. I took a moment to shift the remaining coffee mugs over to what I thought was a safe distance and continued looking for the seasoned salt and consequently knocked off another favored mug, at such a time I gave up looking and went to go up stairs. I turned around, took two steps and felt a certain wetness on the bottom of my pajama bottoms and realized that I had been cut. So I lifted the leg of my pants and hobbled up the stairs where I grabbed a rag and wrapped it around the wound before going to the couch to survey the damage.

The wound wasn't bad, but it was relatively deep and right where the foot flexes at the toes. What with all the recent doctors visits, I was determined I could take care of this, so I sent my mom on a scavenger hunt for butterfly bandages, super glue, alcohol, bandaids and such. No good. The cut wouldn't stop bleeding. And whenever I flexed my big toe, it got worse. So I called my doctor. They don't do urgent care of any sort. Off I go to an urgent care facility. But not before finding the all important seasoned salt. Where, you ask? In the wrong cupboard, of course. Where else? Duh!

I wrap my foot, take apart a tennis shoe to get to the urgent care because of course it's raining here. We get right in. The doctor takes a look, tells me that it would eventually heal, but since it's right at the flex-point would break open often and would take months to heal fully, so he's going to stitch it closed and put me in a post-op sandal. I get the honor of receiving a tetanus shot because it's been just over 10 years since my last shot and set free with my super-stylish sandal and a prescription for antibiotics. Who knows what kind of stuff was on those mugs in the basement, right? Example of my stylish sandal I get to wear for 2 days:

The stitches come out in 2 weeks. Oh, yeah. On top of that, I had my Echo stress test follow-up scheduled for tomorrow. Had to reschedule that for two weeks down the road, too.

What's that you ask? Did I finally get my Chex Mix? Why yes...I did. And it was delicious! Yum!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Resumes, Cover Letters and such

As you probably know if you read my blog, I'm an unemployed bum and have been for quite some time. I've been sending out my resume, but haven't been getting a whole lot of responses, so I figured I would enlist the help of my Uncle, who was an Employment Specialist for our Church at one point. It didn't hurt that there was a very specific position that I wanted that I have previously held before, so I can make it very, very specific.

My problem? I suck at writing resumes and cover letters. I mean, I really suck. For the most part, I can bumble through the skills and experience part because...hey, you either have them or you don't, right? I mean, you can word them differently (which my Uncle totally helped me with, than you!), but the experience and skills are what they are. The objective is really all you have to catch their attention and it's really hard for me to do. My brain doesn't wrap around the concept of what an employer is looking for in an objective. Thankfully, I have people who have worked in the business of helping people get hired that are more than willing to look at it and help me out or I think I might be in serious trouble.

But the worst part is that I suck at writing a cover letter even more than I suck at writing an objective. I feel like I'm bragging too much about myself and the employer is going to snort and just chuck it in the garbage because there is just no way that I can possibly live up to what I'm claiming, even though everything I say in the letter is true. And I try to balance the professional distance with personality that gets me in the chair for an interview. This results in anxiety of the highest order for me. Really.

Again, luckily, I have a great team of family and friends on my side who are soooo patient and willing to help me. Especially when I do the exact opposite opposite of what they told me they wanted. So, to them...thank you. And now, I have a prettier resume, so hopefully I get more calls back for more jobs!

Does anybody else have this problem? Am I the only one who struggles with resumes and cover letters?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Random Musings

I thought ahead and purchased my mom's Mother's Day present. I'm quite proud of myself. And I'm pretty sure I some of it will be used. She and my Dad pretty much buy what they want when they want it, so it's an ugly mess of trying to find Mother's and Father's Day gifts.

I have a skin yeast infection. That has turned into a skin yeast and bacterial infection. It's so bad that a topical solution won't help, so I'm taking pills to resolve it. Except I have the prescription "deodorant" to prevent it from seeping. NOT RECOMMENDED, PEOPLE! I almost cussed. Well, maybe I did because it stung sooooooo bad! I did do some Lamaze breathing for sure. It was awful. Upside? I have unlimited refills and once my body gets used to it, I only have to use it once every few days. Bonus! No more wasting money on Deodorant!

I received my missing items from Neal from Fresno. Poor guy has been super busy at work. He has charged me with trying to get Ashlee out here to see us. I told him that hell would sooner freeze over than Ashlee would come visit us.

Tomorrow, I'm going to go get my hair cut. The girl did such a good job last time, I'm going to let her have at it again and see what I walk away with. I like sassy hairstyles.

I hennaed my hair again. I just couldn't stay away from the red. I think I secretly should have been born a redhead and now just have to correct it manually for the rest of my life.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vacation Recap

I am back from Malibu/Fresno and it was so much fun! We got to camp for over a week, sit by a campfire every night (for some strange reason, I wasn't into the S'mores this lame of me), go to the beach, see the waves on the beach at night (I missed the opportunity to see a sunset on the beach because I was sleeping...duh me), go shopping at thrift stores that reside in a ritzier part of town than I will probably ever see, eat some good home cooking and go to the Orange County Swap Meet. Fun was certainly had by this girl!

While it wasn't exactly relaxing due to the fact that there were a lot of kids camping this year and they were prone to get in trouble and we all had our eagle eyes out, my batteries are certainly recharged and I have a whole new outlook on life again.

There was kind of a revolving door in the camp because people were only staying a few days due to work and other commitments, but it was sooooo much fun meeting all those people. They were all so nice and happy and I found myself smiling more than I have in the past long while.

I had gone with a list of books I wanted to read, but didn't get much reading done (though more than Ashlee) because there was always a kid to keep track of, waterproofing of tents to be done (though I slept through most of that, I did help when I realized what was going on), dinner to be started, lunches to be made, breakfast to be cooked (I kind turned into the bacon girl while there if I woke up early enough) and more.

Naps were enjoyed by me and not so much for Ashlee, which I know she was really looking forward to.

I ended up doing 2 haircuts in camp for two semi-related little girls that turned out super-cute. I was supposed to cut and color my Aunt Gwen's hair, but that never happened...not quite sure why. I was also supposed to highlight another person's hair while I was in Fresno, but that never happened either. It would have been fun to be "back in the saddle."

An emergency burn and ensuing argument was had by burn victim to go to the emergency room. There is always one emergency per trip, I understand and it turned out to be bad, but okay.

I got to meet a family that is quite an inspiration and frankly changed my outlook and thought process permanently, I hope. Despite great challenges, they have banded together as a family and are making the best of a bad situation and everything else that seems to get thrown their way. Very moving and touching to someone looking in. They'll probably never read this, but someone will who knows who I'm talking about. Between this family and my extended family, my faith in my religion has been revived and strengthened. Much kudos because my family has been trying to do that for a very long time. Shows what living and leading by example and being in new circumstances can do.

I also went to go see Clash of the Titans...3D with Ashlee. I really liked it. Yeah, at times it was over the top and hokey, but come on...this is Greek mythology! Everything was over the top and extreme. Highly entertaining and quite informative, which I don't think the original Clash of the Titans movie had, even though I love that one, too.

My return trip was going to be a journey and I new it, but it turned out to be quite a journey! I had two layovers, one in Los Angeles for 4 hours and one in Las Vegas for what was supposed to be about 2 hours, but turned into more like 4 or 5. All told, my day from beginning flight to landing time in final destination turned out to be 13 hours. I could have driven home in that time, as my cousin Heidi pointed out, had I been able to drive.

All said and done, I'm very glad I went on this vacation, though technically, I couldn't afford it. It was very good for me and I got to see family much missed! It won't be so long next time and that's a threat and a promise!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Beware...this is kind of a happiness countdown again...

No, I didn't do anything special. There is a bar just behind our house called the Leprechaun Inn and even at noon, the parking lot was overflowing. They do a very good business on St. Patrick's Day.

The only thing I did was go for my final appointment for my permanent makeup. Some of you may and may not know that I decided to get permanent makeup done. Due to an increasing amount of allergies to eye makeup and a huge increase in laziness, I decided to get permanent makeup done, especially full lips (since mine are originally the color of my skin almost). I had my eyebrows, eyeliner, lash enhancement and full lips done and haven't regretted it for a moment. I will post before and after pics soon. I was not smart enough to document the process as it went by as it happened in 3 treatment sessions. Needless to say, I'm extremely happy and will go to Malibu and not ever have to worry about my "makeup" coming off as I play in the ocean or wake up in the morning and stagger out of the tent still half asleep. Not that I ever really cared before, but it's nice to not to have to worry about doing your makeup all the time (though I love makeup and will still play...the stuff I had done was just a base and I can always build and play with it, which I love even more).

The countdown is on for Malibu and seeing the California Greens! I'm so excited I can barely contain myself! Whenever I think about the trip, little butterflies arrive in my stomach I'm so excited! This is going to be such a good trip and I'm glad I found a way to make it. Plus, spending some quality time on a beach (which I've only really seen in passing up 'til now) will be a novel and fun adventure. I'm a mountain girl through and through because I grew up with them, but I think I could very easily be transformed into a beach girl. There is something about the wildness and wind and the saltiness in the air that I like. Meh, I'll get to explore it more and maybe be able to put it into better words later.

My brother and sister-in-law celebrated St. Patrick's Day in true form, which I find so adorable I can't even contain it. They had a whole green day which started with green milk for their cereal, a hunt for four leaf clovers and a leprechaun (seriously, why didn't we do this when we were kids, huh?), a trip to Austin for the nephew, which included the good news that he is now on the kidney transplant list (I cannot donate because I'm too fat first, but also because I have the wrong blood type and my heart condition, otherwise, I'd be first in line for testing), playing at a green park, dinner of green pancakes and green eggs and ham and finished out the night for the two oldest with a green bath. This family is so cute I cannot put it into words. They make sure to make every day special and do the cutest things to make sure days are memorable, especially after having spent so much time in a hospital. Reminds me to enjoy the days, not just the special days.

In otherwise unnotable news, I have changed up some medication and it's amazing the difference I feel. I no longer feel like just laying in bed all day and sleeping. I don't feel like crying all the time. I don't find myself watching sad Lifetime movies all day long. Heck, I even feel like getting up and showering, which is a huge leap for me, trust me. It's amazing how a little change can make such a difference in how you view things. I'm happy again...after many months of my pity party. Yeah, it was a pity party and I still fall into it, but at least it's passing kind of like a storm. I highly encourage someone who is taking medication that just doesn't seem to cut it to ask the doctor to change it. It can make the difference in how you view everything and make a huge difference. Small changes, I tell you.

And lastly...I purchased a Kindle. It's an electronic book notepad that has wireless connectivity. I'm a huge reader and wasn't looking forward to lugging a suitcase full of books for the vacation and stumbled across this Kindle. The initial price is steep at about $260 (thank you tax returns), but the cost of books are so much cheaper than physical books and there are tons of classics that are free. I'm glad I purchased it. Best luxury purchase ever. Highly recommended.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Let's do it the Redneck way!

So...what do you do when the weather takes an unexpected change from a balmy 54 degrees to freezing and rain mixed with heavy snow and your car needs new brakes and rotors and you're not willing to wait until the weather gets better? You do it the redneck way, of course! Observe. The following pictures display the redneck way. What is that strange white thing above the strange white car up on a jack, you ask? Why, it's a canopy that you usually see at farmers markets and/or swap meets. Why do we have one? Your guess is as good as mine. I think it's for family parties when the weather undoubtedly turns on us and there are just too many people to fit inside the house.

What's all this you're seeing, you ask? Well, there is a rougly 1,000 square foot garage that is full of tools, but no room to park a car to say...fix the brakes. There is an evaporative cooler that was supposed to replace our current one, but hasn't made it onto the roof yet. A white cadillac that is unregistered (I think it runs), a motor home that is unregistered (undecided if it still runs, it hasn't seen the road for years), a car that is unregistered and receiving TLC for new brakes and rotors (under said canopy), a truck that is registered and in working order, a house that though unfinished for years is in working order. The neighbors house which to my knowledge is completely finished and in working order and has a car parked in the garage. And another Cadillac which is registered and in working order. I think I covered everything.

I give you...the redneck way! And just for the record, I didn't do this, though I offered to help. My brother (the one borrowing it) and my father were the ones who fixed it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Bad news bears! All the brakes have to be replaced as well as the rotors on the back. The good news is that my dad is so handy, he's going to do it! The repair shop was going to charge $500 to do the work and my dad thinks it's highway robbery. Well, the parts turned out to be about $150 on their own.

I offered to help, but he prefers to do things on his own, so I let him go about his business. When it began to get dark outside, I went to check on him. He was having trouble getting the rotors off, saying somehow they're linked to the emergency brake. He had taken one side in the rear off and had moved to the other side to see if there was something magic. People, he had been working on getting the rotors off the rear for hours! He looked it up online and couldn't figure it out.

So me, being the helpful daughter I am, held the light for him because that's all I was pretty much allowed to do. After watching him logic his way through why the rotors wouldn't come off and how there seemed to be some magic answer he didn't have and muttering about how it seems to be connected to the parking brake, I finally asked him if the parking brake was on. He tells me no and I ask him if he's sure. He says he's sure, but sends me to go check...sure enough, the parking brake was on. Poor guy! Three to Four hours work trying to figure out why he couldn't just pull the rotors off and it turns out it's because his daughter actually uses the parking brake. He never does, so it didn't occur to him that it might be on.

We got the rotors off, but parts fell out of one side that has to do with the parking brake, so that's a riddle that has to be solved today. Hey, at least the front brakes will be a breeze now!

And the cutest part? He was out there for that long and I'm sure he was frustrated, but he just kept plugging at it, trying to figure out what the magic was! Then when we solved the riddle, he just finally removed the part and made some comment about how that was easy. My gotta love him!

Friday, March 12, 2010

There is such a thing as too comfortable!

I did not take pictures because I was simply too disgusted with myself at letting my car get into the state it was in.

Yesterday, my parents came home and asked if my brother could borrow my car because he got in an accident and totaled his. It's unregistered, but insured, so I said if we can get it registered, then he can certainly borrow it since I'm not supposed to be driving. My dad, ever so gently suggested I clean it out before doing anything else with it and now I realize why. My car is a 2 door coupe. When I finished cleaning out just the inside, I had a 13 gallon garbage bag full of garbage. Not to mention random articles of clothing, hair clips, new windshield wipers, etc. (I am happy to report that I replaced the windshield wipers all by myself!)

I vacuumed out the car, which was probably worse than cleaning out the garbage (I HATE to vacuum), then sprayed some air freshener. I might get ambitious and take a baby wipe (no Armor All) and wipe the dust off the dashboard, etc..

Next is the trunk, which I admit is completely and utterly full. Not looking forward to that!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Leavin' on a Jet Plane!

Yes, that's right...I'm leavin' on a jet plane and GETTING OUT OF UTAH! For 10 whole days! I'm so excited!

My cousin and her family and friends go the week before Easter to the Leo Carrillo State Park in/around (not sure) Malibu. Ready for a picture I found so you can be jealous? It probably won't look like this, but a girl can dream...

I really am excited about this trip, though it requires me being in a swimsuit, which I haven't done for about 8 years. Water and me are not great friends. But I don't much care about what I look like in a swimsuit because really there's nobody there to impress. It's all family and I've come to realize I am a big girl and I may as well embrace it until I'm ready to fix it.

The reason I'm so excited for this trip is because I get to see one of my favorite sides of the family! I love the Fresno Green's and being around them is always a good time to be had and I laugh like crazy. They're game freaks and it gets quite competitive, but it's a relaxing time when I can recharge my batteries. Plus, I never get to see them and they are just so different from my family. I cannot wait to attempt winning at Risk or Scrabble...I'm not very good so winning is always a victory for me!

Don't you worry...there will be pictures. Unflattering I'm sure, but we'll be having fun, so who cares? I leave 3-23 and will be enjoying every minute of being wireless! Correction. I leave on the 26th. I don't know where the 23rd came from. Duh.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

So, my cousin Ashlee tagged me to answer this list of questions. Truthfully, I had never seen such a list until I saw it on her blog, but who am I to stop the show? So, here you go...

4 shows i like to watch:
1. Ghost Hunters
2. Ghost Whisperer
3. Criminal Minds
4. Charmed

4 things i am passionate about:
1. Reading
2. Family
3. Spinning
4. History

4 words or phrases i say often:
1. Really? I mean, really. (said with sarcasm)
2. I wasn't sleeping, I was just in my bedroom.
3. "Can you take me ____?" Since I can't drive due to medical restrictions.
4. seriously!? (said with as much sarcasm as one can possibly muster) have to ditto this from Ashlee

4 things i have learned from the past:
1. i seriously lucked out in the parental department (ditto again from Ashlee).
2. If you can't laugh, then it's a sad, sad world.
3. Sometimes saying nothing is the best coarse of action out there. It prevents family feuds.
4. Smiling when you have a bad day can turn it into a good tend to meet the most interesting people through this method.

4 places i would love to go:
1. The UK
2. Germany
3. Italy
4. Egypt

4 things i did yesterday:
1. Walked to the store
2. Watched the Olympics
3. Took a shower, oh divine!
4. Started reading a new book

4 things i am looking forward to:
1. Being able to drive again
2. Walking to the store and buying gumballs...I love those things!
3. Nephew coming home from the hospital now that Niece is home. She's like holding a football.
4. Getting rid of the knot in my neck

4 things i love about winter:
1. How quiet the snow makes everything right after it's fallen.
2. Fire's in the wood-burning stove
3. A Homemade meal that warms you from the inside out
4. Seeing the beautiful landscape when the snow falls only in the mountains and not in the valleys.

4 things on my wish list:
1. Books. I'm compiling quite a list.
2. Longer hair. I was stupid to whack it all off.
3. A trip to California for Easter
4. a husband (is there an outlet somewhere?) copied from Ashlee again.

4 people i tag:
1. anyone who wants to.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I didn't do a single thing but read, suck down ginger ale and 7-up and watch a little Olympics. I must say, I'm quite interested in the Olympics, though downstairs (my parents TV) they're on during the entire waking hours and into the nighttime. Nothing else is played. Thank goodness I have my own TV in my room or I think I might shrivel up and die.

I must admit that I loathe Valentine's Day. I despise being alone, but this year wasn't so bad. My parents didn't even do anything for it. The night before Valentine's Day, my dad had been volunteering at the Salt Lake Olympic Oval for all those up-and-comings in Long-Track skating that did not go to the Olympics. My parents were some of the Volunteers for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and my Father is still very active in the skating activities and trials that happen here. Most of the skaters train in Salt Lake City and they've had the World Championships here numerous times. I'm quite impressed by these skaters, I must say. dad had been volunteering over at the Oval all day Saturday and called and asked if we (my mom and I) wanted to go out to dinner. I had been sorta nauseated all day and said no, but my mom got sick and my dad was planning on going out, so I went with him. I love those times. My dad really isn't a talker, but if you get him going, you can have a really good conversation with him. Granted, most of the conversation was about skating (we had watched Apollo Ohno, sorry if the spelling is wrong, get his silver medal before leaving to go eat), you know, long-track versus short-track, how busy he had been that day, etc.. That was a good Valentine's Day dinner for me, though that definitely isn't how it was meant.

I read through another book yesterday. Yes, I know...I need to get a different hobby, like maybe exercising or something, but since something has been making me sick the last little while, reading it is. This books was called I Was There by Hans Peter Richter. This book is no longer in print and I had to order it used. Though it's a very accurate portrayal of Nazi Germany from the German side, I have to say I found the book wanting. It was good for historical significance and the fact that it was a first-hand experience was interesting, but it ended so abruptly, I couldn't stand it. P.S., I did finish the Percy Jackson book 3...liked it. Nothing spectacular and life-changing, but definitely the happy book I needed.

This post made me happy today, too. I love my Fresno cousins...all of them, but Ashlee definitely holds a special place as a best friend, confidant and partner in crime on many occasions! She is also a very good partner in crime with my brother who now lives in Texas. One Thanksgiving, they were charged with making the rolls. They rolled out the dough, cut it into strips, then folded the strip over to make a folded roll. Usually, our rolls are different, but my mom relinquished hold on that duty for this particular Thanksgiving. Ashlee and Kim decided to leave "surprises" in some of the rolls for people. There was a wide array of "surprises" from a small floret or broccoli or cauliflower to a cheddar goldfish! Though I didn't actively participate, I was there during the fun prank and threw out some suggestions of some good surprises. It was hysterical when eating-time came and people broke open they rolls to butter them and found their "surprises." Good times! Anyway, that a brother-in-law would be so cute and caring is just too darling for words! Go Logan! Heidi surely can pick them. Maybe we should make her pick out a match for us, huh, Ash? Nah, I'm still holding out for that Castle and Highlander (inside joke people, sharing...Ashlee will get it and she'll be the only one).

This post also made me happy. This is one of my closest siblings and I love their family and how tight they are. They have a son that has some very special needs due to medical issues, but they have never let that slow them down and they make sure to take time out and spend equal amounts of time with their other children. They are a very balanced family and you can't help but smile and be happy around them, regardless of the day you've had. It's always a treat to see them and we get to keep current in their lives through phone calls and their blog. The blog is definitely a treat for our entire family! I'm glad you all had such a great Valentine's Day and how you encourage the giving nature you both have instilled in Conner! Well done...and those cookies look divine. We got a cupcake delivery from someone, I don't know who, but the one I ate sure was good!

So overall, it was a good Valentine's Day weekend. How was yours?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Finishing the Book

So, I finished The Book Thief. I still highly recommend it, but tears were shed toward the last 1/3 of the book and I was left with an ache in my heart for Holocaust victims, be them Jew or Gentile. I must say that I'm glad I read this book, but it leaves me aching for something happy and joyful (something my cousin Ashlee warned me to do when I asked her for Holocaust recommendations). So I'm moving on to book 3 of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I like them. Book one has just been released as a movie by one of the directors of Harry Potter, I believe. Though it's no Harry Potter, it is engaging and fun to get an education in Greek mythology while reading. I must say that I preferred the Fablehaven series to this one, but it's distracting enough and happy enough to serve my purposes.

Feel free to chuck any book recommendations my way. I'm always on the look-out. My favorite romance writers are Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, Kathleen Woodiwiss (first name might be wrong), Nora Roberts, Catherine Asaro (sci-fi romance), Johanna Lindsey and more, but those are the main listings. I cannot make my way through Harry Potter for some reason, but like the Percy Jackson Series and loved the Fablehaven series. I also really, really like the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. Okay...I think that's it. For the temporary list, at least.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Thoughts

I realize that my posts have been somewhat depressing lately, so I'm going to do a happy thoughts post. Ready? I'll try to make this happen more often.

I like to cook. I'm by no means a chef and often take the shortcuts, but whenever I cook, people really like it. And I really enjoy cooking. I just don't do it very often because I hate the clean up. I cook like my father. I usually end up dirtying every dish in the kitchen plus every appliance we own. I don't know how I do it, but it is very much possible, trust me. The dishwasher is my very best friend and I have been known to do multiple loads of dishes, just to take care of my preparation dishes! I'm not talking 2. I'm talking...I think my record was 5 loads. Seriously! Five. I would never make it as a restaurant cook. But I love it.

Yesterday, my parents volunteer for our church and my mom always cooks a lunch/dinner because she's there for 8 hours and my dad is there for 4, but goes there directly after work, so it's like a 12+ hour day for him. She made what we call Chicken Enchilada Casserole. It's good, it's easy and it's one of my favorite meals. But she took it all with her. I decided that I wanted some real enchiladas and decided I was going to make it happen Sunshine Style. I make some Mexican Red Rice (my sister-in-law makes this and it's killer, so I tried to replicate contest, she wins, I just can't compete, but it was good nonetheless), then drove ( was less than a block) up to the store to buy tortillas, sour cream, cheese and a rotisserie chicken, because I'm lazy like that and just shredded the rotisserie chicken. I made what turned out to be a HUGE casserole dish of chicken enchiladas, ended up pouring the excess chicken mixture and Red Rice over the top, then covered it in cheese and baked it. Yum. I'm impressed with myself. I don't eat leftovers and this is definitely leftover worthy.

So yesterday, cooking made me very happy. And it carried over to today because I ate them for lunch today. Yum. That's all I have to say about that. It was simply delicious.

Next. I love to read. Anybody who knows me well knows that. I'm particularly addicted to romance novels, but not just any romance novels. I have special authors I favor and I own I think every book written by those authors. I read them over and over again. I really like historical romance (pirates and regency are favorite, but medieval are also favorites), but have taken a step away to focus on another passion of mine. The holocaust.

Did you know that a very well known book store, who shall remain nameless, only stocked 10, count them, 10, fiction books regarding the holocaust? Well, according to their database. The books I wanted to read were not in stock and I had to order them online. Luckily, my cousin, Ashlee shares my passion for reading, though in different genres for the most part and recommended a relatively new book for me called The Book Thief. It's Youth Lit, set during World War II, written by death. It's a little disjointed, but obviously, I think and write that way, so it's no problem for me. It's the story of a girl growing up in World War II Germany and so far it tells the side of Germans who are kind of caught into the Nazi world, but not really part of it. Highly recommended reading on my part. I'm only about half way through, but it really gives you a different point of view and helps you understand the struggle and strife of those caught up in the World War II without asking for it.

Another book I picked up because I'm unemployed is calls What Color is Your Parachute? 2010. It's kind of a self-help books for those searching the job market. My awesome uncle recommended it as reading and it's really helpful. Also a very good must-read in my mind. I'm also working my way slowly through that because I'm so caught up in the other book. I'm soooo not one of those people who can read multiple books at a time.

Books make me happy and luckily, I have lots and lots of them!

Though sometimes I complain about them, my nieces and nephews make me happy. They're just so much fun and so unafraid and uninhibited. I love that. One niece in particular (note: our family is not demonstrative in the least) I love just because she is such a lover. She is unafraid to just run up and hug you. I love that because it's so unexpected to me (again, not a hugger), but feels so good. I love that about her. Another nephew, who lives far away in Texas is just so much fun and has so much enthusiasm for everything. He can't help but make you happy and laugh. I love that about him and I love that my brother and sister-in-law encourage that in him. And I love to see my parents around them. They're so different than I usually see them. Isn't it interesting how that happens?

And I'll make a last statement, though it certainly isn't the last thing that makes me happy, but this post is already a novel. My siblings make me happy. They all make such an effort to be there for everybody and are genuinely concerned for each other and want to know how the other is doing. We may not talk to each other a lot, but we all know what is going on in each others lives. I am exceptionally close to 2 of my siblings and still pretty close with the other 2. I think most of it has to do with age. The 2 that I'm extremely close with are ones that are closest to me in age and that I have the most in common with. I did a lot with them as an adult, so we have a more vested interest. I love that even though we're not demonstrative, we all still care and know it about each other and keep up on what's going on with each other and share in little triumphs and band together in times of struggle.

Wait. One more. My parents. They are truly wonderful people. They have helped me more lately in times of struggle and strife and help me whenever I need a boost. They make sure I get out of my room and socialize occasionally. They are there for all of my siblings during times of celebration and times of struggle. They have really raise 5 wonderful children who care and love about each other.

And there you have it. My happy thoughts.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sick and tired of being sick and tired!

Yes, that's right. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. As those of you close to me may know, the past 2 months have been a huge roller coaster of medical drama. I had a seizure in December and can't drive, lost my job (approximately one week before I had my seizure), and had an allergic reaction to the medication they put me on in the ER.

I took the pills, thinking these were just side effects that would go away, dealing with them the best I could. I finally got in to see a cardiologist (I was required to see him 1-2 days after my ER visit and finally was able to see him 5 weeks after my ER visit), was told I have a heart problem (see previous post for details) and was told it most likely was not the cause of my seizure and was told to go see a neurologist.

Did I mention I don't have insurance and am unemployed? Yes, the whole time. Luckily, Intermountain Health Care is a non-profit organization that has financial assistance, right? Not so much. While the Emergency Room and Cardiologist and even my Primary Care doctor seems to not be a problem...I cannot find a neurologist that accepts this financial assistance program. I've called everybody I can think of. A patient advocacy program, a physician referral number, individual neurologists. The best thing I was told was that without insurance, I would have to have a down payment of at least $50 and escalating up to $200 depending on the doctor's office you talk to. When asked about the financial assistance program, they simply say they don't accept it. When talking to the financial assistance people, they assert that anybody who is in the Intermountain Health Care system should accept it. Really? Call around.

On top of that, I realized the side effects I were experiencing were not only not going away, but were getting worse (probably in conjunction the increase in dosage after the cardiologist visit) and called the doctor to see what could be done. I was given a "tough, but keep taking it because it's a matter of life or death" routine from the cardiologist and no response from my primary care doctor. Duh. I realize I can't stop taking the medication. All I'm asking for is maybe a change to something else? I'm nothing if not stubborn. I refuse to believe that I have to live a life with these side effects.

I should sideline this by stating that I called my sister-in-law, a physician's assistant, on Sunday to see if the things I was experiencing were normal and if I could do anything to help relieve the symptoms myself. She's great. We thought up one solution that sort of solved one issue, but not really. It's gross and I really don't want to get into it. It's bad enough to have to describe it to a doctor or his staff, let alone family and/or blog readers. It's just not good conversation. Sorry.

After a slight tiff with the staff member at the cardiologists office, she said she would talk to the doctor again and see if there is anything that can be done. I heard nothing by the end of business. Frustrated, I ranted to my parents. My dad, genius that he is, suggested that I call the pharmacist and see if it's really true that there isn't anything else for me to take. While it is true that the medication I'm currently taking is the best to be taking for rhythm problems, which is what I have, there are other options. Slightly vindicated, I seethed the night away and waited for a response from the doctor the next day.

I did receive a call back the following day telling me that the cardiologist had approved a medication change, but that I would have to gradually increase it and be seen by him again. Really? Are people really stupid enough that they have to add disclaimers that I need to be seen again after a change in medication?

Finally, I received a call back from my primary care doctor with a "solution" to the side effects I was experiencing (only after the cardiologist approved the med change...I don't know if there was collaboration going on there or not, but I'm slightly miffed at the lack of response by both), which was to take an antihistamine, which I already take and to take a Zantac. I was assured this would cover the gamut of side effects and surprisingly, it almost has. I'm still waiting for some of the side effects to go away, but it's taken care of most of them. Score one for the primary care doc. And I didn't even have to have any prescriptions, just OTC meds. Nice.

BUT. I'm still trying to find a neurologist and it looks like I'm gonna have to shill out the mulah because 2 doctors in all of Intermountain Health Care that are neurologists are taking new patients and neither of them accept financial assistance! AND...until we find out whether or not I'm epileptic, I cannot drive. Could my world get any smaller? Really?

I know it can be worse, but not being mobile really bugs and the bus system around Utah sucks rotten eggs. Not to mention that their prices are exorbitant.

Anybody know of anybody in Utah hiring? I'm searching and really am qualified despite health issues!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Finally! Cardiologist results!

Please disregard all the labeling, it means nothing for this post.

The good news is that I have a totally rocking, healthy heart! No, it wasn't put in those words, but I was told that I have a very healthy heart. Good to know, since I have heart disease on boths sides and heart failure on one side of my family and I'm clinically obese.

The bad news is that my heart is...well...I guess broken could be an okay word for it. Remember the post I posted earlier regarding the Emergency Room diagnosis? That was a correct diagnosis, and it's not medication induced because it was still present at the stress test (which totally sucked by the way).

So the official diagnosis is Long Q-T Interval Syndrome. Basically, there is an electrical malfunction in my heart that causes it to take longer to expand and contract than normal hearts do. I hope that is a right description. It's too technical for me to put in good layman terms. And for any siblings out there reading, the doctor recommends that you get an ECG to make sure you don't have this issue as it is definitely genetic according to him.

But wait! It gets better! He's almost positive the seizure was not caused by this Q-T Syndrome. So I get to go see a Neurologist to see if I have a neurological disorder as well as all my other many issues. Will keep you posted on the neurologist results once I get in to see him.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I must admit it, I'm a paranormal freak. I love to watch me some Ghost Hunters on SYFY or (hysterically funny) Ghost Adventures. I've had some paranormal experiences of my own, so other people investigating it is especially fascinating to me. I must admit that I slightly freak out when they actually find stuff. It doesn't help that I'm usually watching it in the dark, alone in my bedroom at night. But that is not my point.

Is it just me or are there a bucketload of paranormal shows hitting the airwaves? Where Ghost Hunters used to be the only show I saw on TV, there is now Ghost Hunters (Still admittedly my favorite and I DVR them), Ghost Hunters Academy (teaching "students" how to investigate like said Ghost Hunters), Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Adventures, Psychic Kids, Celebrity Ghost Stories, Paranormal Cops and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head. And is it just me or have the commercials on SYFY gotten careeeeeeeepy?! Yes, I'm a wuss, but I end up changing the channel or just waiting to watch any show even on the SYFY channel until after it's been recorded so I can fast-forward through the scary commercials. I mean, I know I'm getting old, but I'm only freaking 30 years old here! Commercials should not ook me out like this! And oh, I wait to watch Psychic Kids until the morning because some of the subject content keeps me awake at night. I'm not kidding. Am I just getting more sensitive to dark material, is it actually darker than I remember it being? Just some thoughts to myself.

I've never been a scary movie watcher because it messes with me too much. I went to go see the Blair Witch Project and didn't sleep for 2 days, how incredibly lame is that? My friends dragged me (Literally and figuratively) to Amityville Horror (Probably spelled wrong, who cares) and didn't turn the lights off at night for a week and didn't technically "watch" most of the movie. Am I just becoming more of a wuss when it comes to this kind of material? Or is it legitimately getting darker and more frightening? This inquiring mind really wants to know!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blonde moments

I admit it. I have blonde moments. Lots of them. Especially lately. My memory is completely shot and it's really bugging.

I can't remember conversations I've had with people. That's the most prevalent problem I've noticed, but there are others. Like the fact that I cannot hold a thought process for more than a minute or two. My conversations are so fragmented I'm surprised people can keep up. I think I might need to be medicated for it (kidding!).

The one that is really bugging me is that I've had my discharge papers from the Emergency Room for weeks. They've been in my line of vision every day. I finally picked them up because I needed to find out when my Cardiologist appointment was and realized there was an actual diagnosis on the discharge papers!

First, I am seriously bugged that I cannot remember things I've made arrangements for, like said doctors appointment (p.s. Jan 19th at 2:00 in case I forget again). BUT...I can remember obscure factoids that I really don't need to remember. I blame the seizure.

Second, the diagnosis: Prolonged Q-T Interval Syndrome. I don't know what exactly it is yet as the internet is a bit scary and cryptic. Luckily, I have a rockin' brother and sister-in-law who are doing some research on it for me. And I'm writing down lots of questions for the Cardiologist since my primary care doctor wasn't very forthcoming. A message has been left for my primary care doctor as to whether or not I can start an exercise regimen (seriously needed) with this issue outstanding. According to the Mayo Clinic information, it's a racing heart syndrome that can be triggered by sudden startles such as a loud noise or such. Will keep you posted.

So...can I use this diagnosis as an explanation for a faulty memory?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Walking Wounded...Barely

I seriously cannot make this stuff up. We have another walking wounded in our family. This walking would would be of the furry variety, but somehow that makes it all the worse! Our temporary charge, Cougar (Kim and Leslie's dog), who is staying with our family until Kim and Leslie become permanent residents at another location after his recent graduation (happy late congrats on the graduation and baby, btw!) has become the walking wounded. We don't know what happened, we just know that somehow Cougar ended up with one huge (I mean, HUGE) gaping tear in his side measuring approximately 8 inches long. I have a theory of my own, but it only goes well if I explain some history, which will not be a surprise to some of my family and will be a huge shock to some other of my family. What can I say? I'm only human and as humans do, did something stupid and continued to do it as a twisted way of controlling my increasingly feeling out-of-control life.

Story line: I smoke. I have been a smoker for approximately...ohhh...5 months. It's not glamorous and I can't say I even particularly enjoy it, but I smoke. Of which, I have quickly decided to quit because, let's face's gross...has made a recent cold of mine much worse and it's stinking and I constantly taste smoke. Yes, this is my glamorous life! Before my very glamorous seizure, I hadn't smoked for about 3 weeks and hadn't truly missed it, but decided that I did about the time I realized I probably wouldn't be able to drive for some extended amount of time. You see, I don't like feeling out of control, which has probably kept my life from spiraling ridiculously out of control up until now, which is why I refuse to drink, which I have tried in the recent months, much to my chagrin.

Anyhow. Now you have a history. I go out on "smoke breaks" while living in my parents house. Cougar is determined to be my best buddy, so hence, he has accompanied me on these infrequent excursions out onto the back patio where I bundle up and insisted on smoking a stinky cigarette that I was convinced was "healthier" because it didn't have any additives. What can I say? I'm a master of denial. Whenever I went out, Cougar went out. He likes to chase cars, so I would keep him in the back area of the house, where I noticed his increasing fascination with the bushes back by the swing set. He's too big to get behind them and I just figured there were some rats that fascinated him that he couldn't get at. No harm, no foul.

Apparently not. Today, I was crashed out in my room due to this worsening cold that has whipped my hide and I kept hearing the phone ring and nobody was answering. I dragged myself to the phone and returned my dad's repeated calls where he asked for an old raggedy t-shirt to be brought to him. He said something about Cougar and I surmised that somehow Cougar had become injured and was far enough gone that I figured the t-shirt was for my dad. So much for me being the hero and answering the phone for this urgent phone call. Note to self: do not answer the phone groggy, it's just a pain and we have to fix it later!

I can't drive, of course, so mom is the designated driver, but luckily she calls to get a further story and figures out that the t-shirt is for Cougar to tie over a drain because this apparent accident has ripped a clean 2-3 inches of skin around said 8 inch wound away from his ribs. This is when my mind cleared up and I asked if it could have been a rat (not fully comprehending 8 inches in my mind, obviously) or a feral cat because he had had such a fascination with the bushes for a few days and he wasn't far from the garage door when my dad heard what sounded like a short fight (maybe) and a resulting yelp of pain. The doctor says no rodent can do this and after seeing the damage, I agree. The doctor can only say that somehow, Cougar must have impaled himself on something, then ran away in pain to cause such damage. Cougar, my friends, is not a stupid dog (despite his continual efforts to become BFF's with me)...rather, I think a feral cat tore into him than the theory that he impaled himself on something.

So, we have another walking wounded in this family. And I am attaching pictures, some of which are just heart-rending. Some of which are gruesome. I gave you fair warning. I give you: the walking wounded.