2021/02/03

2021 – Day 35 34

Da Goddess @ 00:44

My sister left me a voicemail yesterday. She’s on the mend from the covid and you can hear the toll it’s taken on her. That’s pretty much what everyone I know who’s had this or has taken care of someone with it has experienced. The lungs really take a beating.

As I told my sis, the best and most fun way to improve lung function is by blowing bubbles into a drink via a straw. Like when you were a kid. It sounds silly as hell, but it works.

In other news, my first physical therapy session is Friday. My first derm appointment is next Monday. And I still haven’t heard back from the interfaith council as to whether I’m approved for rent assistance. Today I make the difficult call to the landlord. Fingers crossed that he’ll allow me to use my deposit to cover rent this month. Also, trying to get anyone to come do a TNR on the kittens has proven nearly impossible. I’ve made at least 15 calls and filled out even more web forms. I’m desperate to get these kitties vaccinated and spayed. I’m concerned we’re going to end up with kittens having kittens and I that is something I cannot abide.

And with that, you’re officially caught up on the glamorous goings on in my life. What’s new with you?

Who loves ya, baby?

2021/01/29

2021 – Day 29

Da Goddess @ 02:03

I’m still (mentally) on Day 28, but it’s officially the 29th, so blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Health update: first, my sister seems to think she’ll be “better” on Sunday, as if Covid is predictable. I’ve told her to not worry about the timeline as it’s arbitrary and the most important thing is for her to just get healthy again. My friend who had it over the summer is still struggling with respiratory symptoms (diminished lung capacity is the biggest problem) and everyone seems to recover differently from this virus. What tends to be true for the majority of people who’ve been infected is that it takes a while to feel like yourself again.

More than anything, I really just want my sister to feel better. I want her to be as fully recovered as possible so that she can get back to doing the things she wants to do. I know it’s difficult for her to accept such a passive role at the moment, but it’s the best course for her.

I have found I really really really miss our Saturday outings to the grocery store. I miss her giving me the rundown on Mom and her various health problems. I miss just being able to hear her voice and spending those few minutes in the car with her. Our relationship has had its share of speedbumps over the years, but since Dad’s death and then Covid, well, it’s meant we’ve found a new rhythm for interacting that’s been quite lovely. Go figure — it only took a parent’s death and a pandemic for us to hit the right notes of sisterhood!

But again, as much as I miss her and our time together, I just want her healthy. She’s had enough bullshit in terms of health problems the past few years. She really doesn’t deserve this. Nobody does. And I mean NOBODY.

Secondly, Mom’s finally been given some meds to relieve her intractable pain. It’s been emotional torture to hear her physical pain over the phone. I mean, it killed me to not be able to do anything to help her and to know her fucking doctor wasn’t going to give her anything more than Extra Strength Tylenol for the pain that was making her weep all day and all night for over a month. Well, enter Lil Sis and yet another trip to urgent care for help. Mom was finally put on steroids and a low, temporary dose of Percocet. Halle-fucking-lujah! I’ve now had several calls with Mom where she was able to actively participate in the conversation. There are no tears. There’s no distress in her voice. She has actual relief from the pain!

I can’t stress enough how important pain management is. Even if it’s just temporary relief, breaking the pain cycle for any length of time is HUGE when you’re dealing with chronic pain or even an extremely acute flare-up. Mom has relief for now. The pain isn’t completely gone, but it’s been reduced to something livable. Mom’s physical distress is no longer psychic distress as well. Especially in older patients, especially when they’re isolated (as we’ve all been for waaaay too long [but necessarily]). There’s a level of emotional pain that comes with unaddressed physical pain (as I’ve said in my previous post and many others before it) that only becomes more debilitating with loneliness and age and loss of autonomy. To have a doctor refuse to address the problem is a slap in the face and is cruel beyond reason. People don’t let animals suffer like that! At least now Mom is feeling better and, hopefully, this flare-up can just become a distant memory for a good long while.

Thirdly, I had my three months follow up to my diabetes diagnosis. And cholesterol problem. And…blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. My labs were fantastic and my doctor declared me his most improved patient for the quarter. I went from extreme danger zone heart disease-wise to “this is what I call healthy and normal” range. My blood glucose levels are more in line with what they should be (there’s still room for improvement) and the doc was impressed with my reduction of my A1C. I went from “so far out of range to somewhere close to acceptable” according to him and that’s good enough for me for the moment. No changes in meds. No changes in anything else, although I asked again for an appointment with a nutritionist. I know that’ll do me a world of good.

I also got referrals to physical therapy for my neck and back (work comp won’t approve/cover it, but MediCal will) and to dermatology for multiple skin concerns. First and foremost, the two areas on my nose that are suspiciously awful from time to time. One lesion has finally stopped scabbing over (never did anything to it to make it get scabby in the first place) and the other has become the current problem. I know 100% that this is the result of unfettered access to copious amounts of warm California sun exposure in my youth. The endless sunburns. The endless exposure without sunscreen (remember when you bought Coppertone because it was a suntan lotion and not a sunscreen?). The years and years of carefree days spent browning like a holiday turkey or ham. Yep. It’s finally caught up with me. I knew it would. And the time is now. I’ll let you know how this plays out.

So, despite the need for referrals, my health has taken a turn for the better. In three months, I managed to undo however many years of unchecked nasty cholesterol and diabetes and am hanging out in a much better health neighborhood. I’m proud of myself. I wish I could say my glucose numbers were better, but that’s a necessary gradual change. Still, I’m regularly under 200 and that’s a major accomplishment for someone who started out over 400! I’m no longer drinking two gallons (+) a day. I’m not feeling the need to sleep all the time (or at least now it’s because I’m tired for other reasons). I don’t feel like I would rather curl up and die. I have real, actual days of not wanting to nap! This is a big deal for me. The last several years were awful and I didn’t know why. Then, BAM! The truth of the matter was made painfully evident via lab work. Now, I’m like a real person again. I’m thrilled!

I don’t know how I managed to ramble on for so long. I guess there’s just that moment between semi-awake and total sleep where the brain can somehow form complete thoughts and demand to let them out. Lucky you! And now you know more about me than you did yesterday, probably more than you ever wanted to know (and I didn’t even get into the embarrassing stuff). But there it is.

Now it’s time to crawl into bed. The Dick Van Dyke Show will wait. I’m going to take full advantage of the sound of rain on the roof to get in some quality zzzzzzzzzs. Fingers crossed!

Here’s a quick phone snap of the late afternoon sky before the storm came in. Sheesh! SoCal has such awful, ugly skies, right? XOXO

Before the storm

2021/01/17

2021 – Day 17 Bad News + TJH: Inspire

Da Goddess @ 00:01

My sis has the covid. I wish I could have it for her. I’m the one who has fuck-all to do. She’s the who holds it all together. She handles everything with Mom. She’s the one who gets shit done. And now she’s sidelined by this fucking virus.

My fingers are crossed in hopes that she recovers quickly. Honestly, she’s the last person in the world I’d have expected to get it because she’s so vigilant about handwashing and sanitizing. However, she’s also the one who is out and about, trying to keep the water from sinking the ship.

If you have a spare moment, please say a prayer for her. Thanks.

P.S.

Single line contour drawing of my big sister

This was my attempt to draw a quick sketch of my big sister — though I’m not sure why I gave her short hair. Her hair is currently long and gorgeous these days. No color or highlights, just natural. It’s my favorite hairstyle she’s ever sported. I don’t know why I’m going on about the hair; it just feels like it’s important to acknowledge the beauty of her locks for some reason, even though I bollocksed it up in the sketch.

Carry on.

2021/01/16

2021 – Day 16 TJH: Inspire

Da Goddess @ 01:58

Each night as I head to bed, I turn off the lights in the living room and key my phone to bring up a blank note page so the light from it gets me to the bedroom without me tripping over anything (like the cat). If you don’t move your finger across the screen, it goes out fairly quickly, so I’ve taken to scribbling away with my thumb. Well, that got me thinking about the single line contour drawings I used to do in my art classes as a warm-up exercise. Now, I challenge myself to complete at least one quick little character every few days.

Below is one that wasn’t meant to resemble anyone known to me. I rather like this guy. He has no name yet. Feel free to suggest one or ten.

I’ll post more in the future, I think. I’m having a lot of fun with this and it’s sort of opened my mind to a more creative headspace.

Single line contour drawing

Basic technique used: a single line (I’ve been using my left thumb), while looking at the drawing or without. If using a reference subject (person, photo, fruit, etc.), try drawing looking at the subject only. Then try another while glancing back and forth from subject to your drawing. After you do this several times, you’ll discover your blind drawings improve a great deal as you become more confident in your ability to control your hand/drawing tool.

I’ve been doing this on my phone and in a sketch pad. I’m amassing quite a collection of doodles. It’s fun and it’s a really wonderful way to engage your brain in something other than television. It’s a bit of art therapy.

A bit of advice: Don’t judge your drawings. They’re not meant to be the Mona Lisa or Venus on the Half-Shell. They’re just a way to let your brain have a bit of a rest.

Another tip: if you’re using a reference subject, try to get your paper or phone or whatever you’re using as close to the same level and angle of the subject. By not moving your head up and down so much, your brain and hand better translate what you see to what you capture in your drawing. There’s less distortion in the translation, if you will.

Reminder: don’t judge your efforts! Just let go and have a little fun!

2021/01/15

2021 – Day 15A TJH: Inspire

Da Goddess @ 01:48

There may or may not be a 15B. Only a good night’s sleep will tell. Until then, here’s the awful sky I have to look at night after night.

Just another sunset

Just another sunset

2020/12/04

Morning

Da Goddess @ 14:33

The other morning I set about on my walk, dressed as warmly as I dared against the chill. Yes, the chill. My jacket zipped up tight and scarf wrapped close around my throat.

The kittens greeted me with pitiful pleas for food and water, which I set up in the shelter of the laundry room. As they tucked into their breakfast, I made my way out the gate and down the lane. The breeze was light, but carried with it the promise of a bone deep cold. It happens.

Stepping out on the main road, out of the protection of the trees that line our quaint country lane, I was made aware of that promised chill. I took a deep breath and moved briskly on my chosen route. All was quiet. Temporarily. Within a minute, the sky filled with a giant flock of crows and their calls soon drown out everything else.

I continued my walk, crossed the busier, more hectic, and more essential road that leads my neighbors to and from work and errands. Around the corner and up the hill I walked, grateful for the morning, the breath in my lungs, the sureness of my feet, and even the sounds of the glorious birds on their way to wherever it is they go for the day. They soon passed and I heard a surprised yip. Looking to my right, there was a startled coyote. Loping a small circle in a neighbor’s yard, he seemed to be weighing his options. In a moment of resolution, he sprinted across the street in front of me and into the fallow fields. When he’d made it to the end of the first field, he turned to look at me, slowed to a sassy trot, and made his way to the next farm.

I had to smile. We two alone had shared that encounter, both satisfied with walking away none the worse for it.

Up ahead I could hear the early chorus of frogs in the creek bed. They never fail to cheer me. No matter how close I get, they keep up their song, knowing they’re safely hidden from view.

At this point, my book is open so I can read as I walk. A collection of short stories by authors known and unknown. I’m getting perilously close to the end and find myself speeding along in spite of the fact that I don’t wish to ever run out of stories. They’re all heartbreaking in their own right and I consider tracking down other volumes in this series.

Before I know it, I’ve reached the point where my path turns back on itself and I head for home. I’m beginning to feel a little too warm for my jacket (despite it still being in the mid-fifties) and shrug it off before tying it around my waist. I leave my scarf where it is because I know it’ll help wick away any sweat that may begin to form.

I pass the creek again and say a silent farewell to the frogs and look in the distance to see if the coyote might be lingering nearby. I’d like to see him once more before I’m out of range. Alas, he’s nowhere in sight. What can you do? I pray he’s found a good place to hunker down for a long nap.

I cross the big street in between sets of cars. From north, they have lights on, but from the south they don’t seem to bother. It’s one of those things you notice after a while. It’s been almost two years of this and I’m always surprised by new details that emerge while I’m out.

Before long, I’m back at my lane. I stop to check the mail, gather what’s there, grab one of our garbage bins, and make my way up the little hill that leads me home. At the gate, I punch in the code. The gate shudders briefly and then starts its journey along the track. I step over the track and the outside world fades away.

I’m home. Another walk completed. Another group of memories settling into my head and heart. The kittens thread themselves between my legs, the goats bleat for their morning meal, and my legs threaten to stage an all out revolt against the climb up the twelve steps up the stairs to my door.

Just think! Two years ago, I could barely make it up this staircase without holding on to the railing. Two years ago, I would practically cry out in pain after one trip up! I still have pain and there are days I don’t trust my legs to hold up this body on that simple task. The difference now is that I have fewer days like that than I did when first I moved in. My muscles have relearned some of their essential functions and I’m more willing to test them every chance I get.

Once inside, I hang up my jacket and scarf, say hello to my sweet ginger companion, wash my hands, and begin the process of checking my blood glucose level, setting out my medications, filling my water mug, and getting on with my day.

Again, two years ago, this would have seemed impossible. And again, there are days when it is. But I’ve managed to make it happen, slowly but surely. The magic of this place, this particular home, has made me believe it would…be. That I would be. That I could.

Mornings never used to be my favorite time of day unless I was just getting off work or just heading home after a night out with friends. I’ve come to treasure the quiet and the beauty of the just-waking world. Once I’ve borne witness to this magnificence, once I’ve fed my body and soul, once I’ve medicated myself toward better health, once I’ve completed my chores, I can nap with my head full of images for my dreams.

Morning has broken

Morning has broken

2020/11/24

Tiny Hearts

Da Goddess @ 02:21

Both kittens have these delicate faces with little hearts for noses. They’re absolutely adorable and I hate having to leave them outdoors. But having them in the house is not an option; Fletch’S physical and mental wellbeing is priority one. That doesn’t mean I can’t love these two little darlings and play with them every chance I get.

Tiger Lily and a heart for a nose

P.S. When Fletch is on the porch and either/both cat(s) are around, it’s always nose touch followed by Fletchy hissing. Everyone then retreats to a neutral place and settles in.

2020/11/22

TJH: Inspire – Sunrise

Da Goddess @ 07:12

Believe it or not, these are from two consecutive mornings. I was surprised by how very similar the clouds were. What are the odds? I went back and forth a number of times to verify these were taken on different days. Yep. Go figure.

Sunday sunrise

Sunday sunrise

Saturday sunrise

Saturday sunrise

2020/08/22

TJH: Inspire – I Can Haz Anything I Wants With This

Da Goddess @ 18:24
Fork Kitty

Fork Kitty

Sometimes, playing with your flatware is almost as fun as playing with your food. Actually, combining the two is just super awesome!

Reminds me of those mod cats from the 50s and 60s.

2020/08/13

TJH: Inspire – SoCal Poolside Sunset

Da Goddess @ 19:45

Don’t hate me because it’s beautiful here.

After a very hot and very busy day, I managed to crawl downstairs to stick my feet in the pool and listen to the landmate’s baby goats. While I was luxuriating in the cool water, this happened:

2020/06/25

TJH: Inspire — Winging It

Da Goddess @ 00:46

I find a lot of interesting things on my walks.

I’ve found:

1. A snakeskin, but no snake, which is weird out here in the country. That’s the only evidence I’ve seen of there being any snakes around at all in the year and a half I’ve lived here. I’ve seen more snakes in suburbia than I have here. I think that’s odd.

2. Coyotes. There’ve been singular sightings and sightings of several hanging out in one general area. But, the most frequent sightings are of the three coyotes who stick together. I love this group! I’m assuming they’re a mama, papa, and their pup. I could be completely wrong, but the size of each makes me believe I’m right.

3. Birds. I see so many, especially crows, but also lots of hawks, bluebirds, doves, woodpeckers, orioles, hummingbirds, mockingbirds, ONE raven, and others that I can only guess at the species. I’m trying to make notes so I can look up the descriptions and possibly identify them, but sometimes I forget. Okay, mostly I forget. I’m trying.

4. The occasional surprise. Gloves, always a single glove. Dead bunnies. Dice. CO2 cartridges from those homemade soda machines. There’s always always always a ton of them at the side of the road. And this little item below:

2020/03/03

TJH: INSPIRE — Always on My Mind

Da Goddess @ 16:46

Ever have one of those days when someone is always on your mind? You know, the kind of day when you can’t shake the feeling you need to talk with someone, but can’t and it makes it even more difficult to get that someone out of your head?

Yeah, it’s been one of those days.

2019/10/03

Happy Birthday, LD!

Da Goddess @ 00:23

He’s not little any longer, but he’ll always be my Little Dude.

Happy 23rd!

This photo was taken back in 2010. Can’t believe how time has flown. From this cute kid to a man in what feels like the blink of an eye.

2019/10/02

The Unbearable Lightness of Being…Adorable

Da Goddess @ 01:57

Cuteness

I find this unbearably adorable. That’s it. Nothing more. Just…this.

Except, this:

Cuteness

2019/10/01

Be Glad This Isn’t The Movie Version

Da Goddess @ 01:37

Mmm yummy

This is our trash bin. The big one everyone uses. This is not the worst of the maggots we’ve had, but this IS close. I’ve never had maggots in or on trash bins until I moved here. I can only think this is due to several factors:

1. We’re rural-ish. Lots of animals and fruit and flies and stuff flies like.

2. There’s dog poo and cat poo and tiny human being poo being discarded. Flies like poo.

3. I’ve found myself in an alternate universe where maggots are everywhere and that’s considered a great thing.

In the past, I’ve been known to wash out the bin with water and bleach. This helps…for a few days. But only a few days. When the landlord’s parents were here, they also went after the maggots. Since then, I’ve seen fewer. Thank God. Maggots make my skin crawl. I’m 100% behind their function and place in the world, but that doesn’t mean I want to see them on a regular basis.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is this: if I have to see maggots, you do as well.

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