2014/09/15

Hot, Itchy Albatross

Da Goddess @ 18:27

Well! Where to start?

Let’s see. Friday we headed down to San Diego to get set up for Ren Faire. The drive itself was okay. I’m still having a hard time with drives. It makes me hurt. Plus, it was hot. Very hot. And humid. Now, don’t tell me 30%+ humidity isn’t humid because you live somewhere it’s always 50+ humidity-wise. When you live in a normally dry climate, humidity in the double digits is ALWAYS a shock to the system, especially when the actual temp is like a dodgeball game between high double and triple digits. We’ll add to that equation a lot of dust and leaves and pollen and tons of manual labor in a largely breezeless environment. That should put you in the rough neighborhood of where we were. It was not pretty.

While I mostly did little more than “supervise” setup (poor King Arthur and our guild guys had the all the heavy lifting), I did have small jobs to keep me busy in between chats with friends. There’s really only so much I can physically do at this point. I felt rather useless. I was the albatross around their necks. I don’t like not being able to help more. But them’s the cards I be dealt.

Once we got to the motel, I showered off, noting the changing level of brown in the water as it gradually stripped the dirt away. It’s amazing how dirty you get when loose soil and leaf detritus mingle with sweat. After the shower, I settled into bed and actually fell asleep without any trouble. That may have been the first time in many months it’s happened. I still dreamt of pain, but I wasn’t waking up every 30 minutes! Hallelujah! We take our victories where we find them.

Saturday was a beast. A BEAST, I tell you. I barely made it through 40 minutes of gate duty and that was with shade. Only it wasn’t just the heat getting to me. My pain level was threatening to derail the entire day. Common sense dictated I head back to the guild, take my meds, and sit the hell down. Which I did. Gladly. Attendance was fairly light due to the insane temps. 104° with humidity over 30% again. In. the. shade. Oh joy! Because of the light attendance, faire became more of a kind of gig just for ourselves. I missed the usual flow of kids and families, but it was fun to be able to take in a show and talk with friends from other guilds. (Best part of the day was getting a wave from the stage from my new little toddler friend, Zoe. She’d been super shy earlier and would only smile after I started playing peek-a-boo with her. Her mom and dad are Old English folk dancers and are new to this faire. Mom had her in a sling during one of the performances. Very cute!) However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy and relieved to be back at the motel. Ahhh, air conditioning (kind of — the a/c was being somewhat cranky at first)! Shower! Food! Bed! And then I couldn’t sleep. I may have had a full hour’s sleep at some point.

I had planned garb pretty well for the weekend. No long sleeves. No leather. Saturday’s garb was double skirt, blouse, sea vest, boots. Elizabethan enough to be period appropriate, so maybe “bethan” as opposed to ELIZAbethan. Sunday? I was barely “bethan” adjacent. Single skirt. Blouse. Boots. No bodice. No sea vest. I felt for everyone who had to wear full garb. Like our queen and her court. And the knights who were in battle gear (including armor). Saturday, 15 people (all guests, I believe) were treated for heat-related symptoms, three of which were transported to the hospital. Don’t know the count for Sunday, but my guess is there were fewer incidents as the medic had time to be a-wandering and a-visiting (see below).

Sunday (yesterday) was just as hot and just as humid and just as sparsely attended. Again, the nice thing with light attendance is the opportunity to hang out with other people and get to know each other. We have a new guild member. She was our waitress at dinner a month or two ago and we invited her to come play…and she did! She’s a great addition to the guild. We also have two prospective members who jumped right into our literacy gig and played alongside us with a nice family who stopped by. Then there were my favorite musicians at faire. I had a chance to get to know them better and I don’t remember the last time I laughed that much while feeling so awful. They’re a delightful couple who are just loads of fun and talent. I even got serenaded! As well, I got to spend time with our faire neighbors, listened to wonderful stories, heard a couple of disgusting tales from a medic, drank the equivalent of a lake of water and gatorade, and survived it all. Teardown went quickly and the drive home was uneventful. Thank God! Shower at home was one for the record books. Extra special plus was Fletch crawling up into my lap when I finally got to sit down. It was sweet. Fell asleep early, but I woke up wracked with pain (isn’t that a funny saying? I mean, the definition of wrack is to cause extreme mental or physical pain and yet we say “wracked with pain.” This, it would seem, means I’m in extreme pain with pain. Hmmm.). King Arthur, too.

Today’s been a challenge. Celia has conjunctivitis and went to the vet to be treated. On the way home, she pooped everywhere. She was covered with shit. KA called and had me prep the shower. Who was elected to brave giving the sea witch a shower? Me. And you know what? Celia was an absolute rockstar throughout! When we were done and it was time to dry her off, I wrapped her in a towel, held her close, and she just melted in my arms. Rarely does she allow one to hold her so close. I’m sure she was relieved it was over. Now she’s clean, dry, well-fed, on the road to recovery from conjunctivitis, and snuggly.

Our recovery day didn’t start out easy, but we’re now all mostly settled in for nothing but rest. I say mostly because there is laundry. I figured I was already wound tighter than an eight day clock, in pain, etc., so I may as well just get it done. My hope is to finish the second load and leave the rest for tomorrow, provided I can move then. Until then, I’m sitting still as much as possible, slathering myself with Benadryl cream because of the heat rash on my legs, drinking lots of fluids, and watching TV and movies.

Oh yeah. One last thing: I took my camera out of the bag Saturday and never took a single photo. Sunday? The bag remained closed. Ummm hmmm. It was THAT HOT.

2014/09/11

Never Forget: September 11

Da Goddess @ 08:09

There is an unease in my heart today. I cannot forget the morning of September 11, 2001. I cannot forget waking up and watching the world fall apart. I cannot forget the confusion on the face of my children. I cannot forget the pain on the faces of those who lost loved ones. I cannot forget the way neighbors came together in sadness and shock to offer comfort to one another, whether or not they knew them. I cannot forget. There is unease in my heart today as I remember how strong we rose from the ashes of tragedy and how easy it has been for some to forget, for them to contort reality into something other than what it was and is. There is unease in my heart today.

Never forget! Never forget the lives lost. Never forget how we turned toward one another instead of away from one another.

Never forget! Never forget that freedom is not easily won, nor is it easily kept. Those who have it must protect and nurture it. Those who don’t have it will always try to rip it away from those who do.

Never forget! We cannot pretend events were anything but what they were. Lives were lost. Hearts were broken. Never forget!

There is an unease in my heart today because I cannot forget. Because I will never forget.

A few posts from the past, with videos and important links:

Remembering 9/11

Never Forget

September 11 – We Never Forget

11 Years Later

Count To 3,000 and Keep Going – September 11 Remembered

Even while we continue to heal, we must never forget.

2014/09/08

Wills and Kate Expecting Second Baby!

Da Goddess @ 04:24

Prince George is going to have a baby brother or sister!

Sadly, Kate is once again hyperemetic and requiring a bit of extra monitoring. Hopefully this will pass quickly.

Having been through the same thing while pregnant with Little Dude, it’s not at all fun. When you get to the point where you’re green around the gills all the time, requiring bed rest, medication, and even the occasional trip to the hospital, you begin to wonder if it’s all worth it. The answer is, YES! It’s just hell going through it.

Here’s wishing Kate better days ahead soon, a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby!

P.S. Wondering if Prince William ever calls Harry a royal pain in the ass…

TJH: Inspire – Mother & Daughter Art Collaboration

Da Goddess @ 04:15

I know Pam will like this, but I’m betting there are others who will enjoy this as well: mother of toddler uses her daughter’s drawings as the foundation for paintings.

I now wish I had thought of this. What a beautiful way to look at the world, to be inspired, to encourage your child’s imagination and love of art! Well done, Ruth Oosterman!

2014/09/07

So Much Nothing

Da Goddess @ 01:34

I’ve been adjusting to another round of increased pain meds this week. Between P.T. and the drives to P.T. (really, driving makes my neck and back so much worse…and I’m just the passenger!), I’ve been having the worst time knocking the pain down to a manageable level. So, the doc has me on another two week course of Oxycontin to go with all my regular meds. It’s either that or I’m miserable. Except that I’m kind of miserable anyway, what with it making me sleep all the time. Poor King Arthur! He’s stuck with this lump of nothing all day long.

Also started reading a new book that’s rather interesting. “Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson. It’s very good and I’m having trouble putting it down. Kind of like the last book I read, which was “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein. Do yourself a favor and pick that one up immediately! “Verity” is simply heroic and joyous and heartbreaking and everything in between. It’s beyond words. I’ll have to let you know what I think of “Life” when I’m all through with it.

Been on a bit of a Stephen Fry tear again. I can’t help it! He makes me happy. As does Craig Ferguson. Sigh. I was supposed to go audition for Ferg’s new game show, but my back said, “No, No, Nanette!” Bother.

There’s a great piece on Joan Rivers over at Vulture. Man, she was the best! She was way ahead of her time. Always.

I’ve become the cat beacon once again. Fletch has returned to sleeping on my head, or at least nearby. Celia is often close, too. Perhaps it’s my pain level they’re sensing and are trying to comfort me through. Who knows? They haven’t left many clues as to the why.

OOOH! Also found a great article about a new Viking ring-fortress that was recently found in Denmark! Color me intrigued! P.S. I love that Viking kings had names like Bluetooth and Forkbeard (and yes, I knew this because I’m weird).

What else? Hmmm. Oh, yes. King Arthur and I went to his daughter’s to have dinner and see the baby. It’d been so long and she’s so big now! Doing a lot of cruising and crawling and eating and being adorable. I miss those days with my kids. They really were great babies and they’ve grown into great adults. So very proud of them. Just as KA is proud of his daughter.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this weird dream I had yesterday: King Arthur and I were at Burning Man (he was watching a doco on it when I fell asleep), but we were there early to set up and had faire garb with us (hmm, could be because faire is coming up again and we have to get ready for that). At some point, KA did something mean and had me in tears and I refused to go to meet up with our group because I didn’t want them to see me crying. Somehow or other, I ran into him at a beer stand (??) and he wept profusely and begged me to forgive him. I was still upset and set off to distract myself with entertainment. I passed Par1s Hi1t0n (???!?!?!!) who was dressed like a total hooch in the middle of the desert on my way to see Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi (????!) on the big stage. Eventually, I went back to our car because my back hurt so much (yes, even in my dreams I hurt…which is normal, except for last week when I was dreaming of my life before I got hurt) and began freaking out because I couldn’t find my medication anywhere. Talk about crazy ass dream! I’d like someone to sort that out for me. Also include an old high school boyfriend, a former LV boyfriend, Shemar Moore, a brother I have never had, and some unknown people who were in two groups: either hassling me or exceedingly kind to me. Oh, and a sculpture I made out of trash and recyclables for my Burning Man art project (because you MUST participate). If anyone can make heads or tales out of that nonsense, please do tell!

2014/08/30

Transnistria

Da Goddess @ 11:15

I’d never heard of Transnistria before seeing it mentioned on Atlas Obscura. Thankfully, they featured a blog post from Bohemian Blog and it’s rather fascinating.

Instead of me explaning where it is, I’ll simply “Shatner, comma, it.”*

*Shatner, comma = self-explanatory.

2014/08/27

Shagged by a Rare Parrot

Da Goddess @ 21:09

I love watching docos on television. One series I really love (though I hate that it exists for obvious reasons) is Last Chance to See with Stephen Fry from the BBC.

We shouldn’t have to have shows about this being our last chance to see anything! In this day and age, with such awareness of how interconnected all life forms are, we shouldn’t have to witness extinction of so many species. On the other hand, thank goodness we have shows like this so we have a better understanding of what we risk losing if we continue to behave so carelessly toward the animal world. Hell, we do the same to one another. The point is, what I’m really trying to say is this: we’ve spent the last 100 years being very poor stewards of the wild and we’re paying for it dearly. We’re losing so many natural treasures, but we do have people willing to trek ’round the world to document efforts to preserve as much of each dwindling species as possible.

Stephen Fry is an absolute delight. He’s both informative and curious, thoughtful and pragmatic; he’s also very funny. In other words, he’s the perfect host for the show.

One of the best segments from the Last Chance to See: Kakapo episode was the following.

I’d just been reading about the kakapo this past weekend. It’s a funny little bird, looking part parrot, part owl. Endearing in every way.

I have more thoughts. Many more. But, I’ll get to those soon enough. For now, enjoy the video.

2014/08/18

I Want a New Camera!

Da Goddess @ 13:25

There’s nothing wrong with my camera. No. Not really. But I would give my left hip for higher resolution, full frame sensor, and a greater ISO range.

So, since the Canon 5D Mark III is waaaaay out of my price range (everything is, but this really, really is), I figured, why the hell not get more entries for the giveaway?!

Best Local Wedding Photographers

Go ahead. Click on the link. Because, why not?

2014/08/12

Oh, Robin! Life Ain’t Easy and We Will Miss You

Da Goddess @ 02:39

Even if you think it is, you don’t know what’s going on inside them that they haven’t shared with you.

From one of my Facebook posts:

One of the greatetst gifts ever given to me was a friend I found while waiting in line to see Craig Ferguson. Each day she reminds me she understands what I’m going through, reminds me that it’s okay to cry, and reminds me that she’s there if I need her. I do the same for her for all the same reasons.

While sitting on a bench, before being herded into pre-show line, I’d reached into my purse and grabbed a lemon drop. I turned to her and offered her some. I told her I had almost said, “have a sweetie?” Right away she got the reference (Saving Grace, 2000) and we were fast friends. I knew I should have just said it because it was instinct that told me she was a kindred spirit.

Her grace and her love of life are not diminished because of her illness. In fact, I think her illness makes her shine ever brighter. She’s my hero.

We all need friends like that. We all need each other. While love can’t cure depression or addiction, it goes a long way to helping people realize they are not alone.

Living with chronic pain sucks. Whether it’s physical pain or emotional pain. It sucks. It sucks the life out of you. It eats away at your heart and your head. It hurts those around you. Depression is a common cohort with chronic pain. You fight it. And fighting that kind of battle every single day wears you down. (I almost said, “wears you the fuck down”, but didn’t want to offend anyone.) That’s the truth, though. And having good people in your bunker, fighting alongside you is one of the best tools in your arsenal.

No one gets through this world alone. I think we forget that all too often. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends when you hurt. You never know…they may be going through the same thing and may be emboldened enough by your admission to open up and release some of their own burdens. In a way, just by being honest with someone you could end up saving two lives: yours and theirs

True story. My friend, my new, dear friend. She has no idea how much I admire her. She’s one of my heroes. Her life is difficult. Her illness is greatly debilitating. And yet, I’ve never known her any other way and I found her to be one of the liveliest and loveliest people on the planet. She shines. She SHINES! She is one of those people blessed with the gift of love that simply pours out of her.

Had it not been for Craig Ferguson, we’d never have met and my life would be poorer. But we did meet and because of her, I laugh when I feel like crying, cry when I really need to, and spend an awful lot of time thanking God and Craig for bringing this amazing woman into my life.

She sent me a message earlier tonight thanking me for making her load lighter. I wanted to weep. It’s she who lightens my load. Truly, she does.

I have other friends like her. You know who you are. I just wanted to take a moment out of my day to write about her as we ponder the death of Robin Williams and why it strikes so deeply for us. Perhaps it’s because you could always sense a sadness in him, even as he laughed. Perhaps it’s because we understand the depth of the pain he felt. Wanting to take your life is something I understand. Not been there recently, but I have been there. An attempt was made many, many, MANY years ago. Now? Now I try to surround myself with people who aren’t afraid of me and my ever-lovin’ mo-fo’ing pain. (I try not to talk about it non-stop, but they know and they support me.) Life is short, but it’s also too long to hang on to those who have no time to say an occasional prayer for you or who can send you good vibes.

My wish, for everyone, is that they have at least one friend who is there to remind them that they are loved. It’s not a cure for pain. It’s not a cure for depression. It’s not a cure for addiction. But it might just be the one thing that makes someone stop and think long enough to keep them from taking their own life.

Many people say (regarding Robin’s death), “oh, another addict died because he took his own life. A celebrity. And people will make a big deal about it because of his celebrity. They’ll cry like they knew him.” And that’s true. But here’s the thing, for some of us, Robin Williams was a part of our lives for more than 30 years. He made us forget our problems at times. He was the reason we sat in front of a TV with our families way back when. He drew parents and children together. United them in laughter. He was a part of our lives, doing what others failed to do. So his loss does leave us feeling like there’s a hole in our hearts. It’s okay for us to mourn him, just as we mourn anyone else. Not because he was a celebrity, but because he stood for something precious to us.

Robin, thank you for the laughter. Thank you for the tears. You were such a part of our lives for so many years, it’s as if you were part of our families. It hurts us that you’re gone. But we all hope you’ve found peace now. THANK YOU, Robin Williams. Thank you. You’ll always be in my memory as a man who had the world by the balls. I’m just sorry your hand cramped up.

Robin Williams RIP

2014/08/08

I Hope He Washes His Hands

Da Goddess @ 19:04

Anthony Weiner is opening a restaurant in New York.

I…can’t…it’s just…It’s NOT a hot dog joint. There are no footlong anythings on the menu. And, it supposedly is to help people gain culinary and hospitality skills. Well, good. Except, it’s him. I can’t even with this man. How can we trust him to keep his hands to himself? Or, er…how can we trust him to NOT keep his hands on himself and also to not molest those seeking his assistance? Let’s just hope he’s only administrative (although, I question any organization that wants to have anything to do with him at all).

I played around with the jokes for a bit, but I simply cannot imagine anyone ever taking him seriously ever again and the jokes just keep rolling through my head.

I. must. resist.

Okay, you have the fodder. Make your own jokes. Thanks.

It’s International Cat Day!

Da Goddess @ 16:51

Not that we don’t celebrate cats each and every day here, but it’s nice to know other people celebrate, too.

International Cat Day is a thing, people. C’mon, do your part to make nice with the pussies of the world!

International Cat Day model Celia

2014/08/05

Sea of Poppies

Da Goddess @ 19:44

The sea of poppies at the Tower of London is stunning.

The FugGirls also have a slide show of the Tower of London.

What a beautiful tribute to the lives of those lost in war. The magnitude of the ocean of red is breath-taking and heartbreaking. Paul Cummins, the artist who came up with the idea, and Tom Piper, the stage designer who made sure it all worked out properly, did a beautiful job with this memorial. I honestly don’t know of any other memorial this amazing.

There were also one million poppies dropped as part of the World War I centenary remembrance ceremony.

One hundred years. We do not forget.

2014/08/03

Rollercoaster

Da Goddess @ 22:05

Life is like a rollercoaster these days. I start feeling a little better, steadier, and back off the meds a bit. And then the pain creeps back in. It’s frustrating. So I slowly add back in a med at a time, limiting them so I know which helps more than the others.

It’s a tough endeavor to break the pain cycle and do it effectively. And do it so it doesn’t fall off quickly, setting off on the cycle all over again. I really don’t know how to make it stick at this point.

Granted, I’m not in tears 100% of the time right now. That’s GOOD. But there’s a huge uptick in pain to the point where it’s threatening to cause, at the very least, welling up.

Heat packs. Ice packs. Meds. Up and walking. Then back to the big comfy couch or the recliner. That’s the pattern at this point.

I’ve slept a lot over the last 10 days. The sleep isn’t always very restful and the dreams are weird. That’s the nature of pain. I just go with what feels best and hope more of it will increase my odds of healing me enough to take me to a level of pain I can live with.

So that’s where I am right now. If you need me, you’ll likely find me on the sofa or in my chair, heat or ice pack in place, meds on board. It’s not exciting or glamorous, but it’s what I got to work with.

2014/07/30

It Makes Me Happy

Da Goddess @ 00:09

If we’re going to have to listen to Pharrell’s song “Happy” all the live-long day, please let it be because of this video. It’s the best!

Until someone comes up with something better, this is the only version I like. (Only valid entry that could possibly beat this one would have to include: Queen Elizabeth, Prince George, Prince Philip (Duke of Edinburgh), Prince Harry, Prince Wills and his lovely wife Dutchess Kate, adorable prancing puppies, frolicking foals, cavoriting kittens, maybe an albino hedgehog or two, and possibly Harry’s goat. They’d all have to be dancing, singing, playing, etc.

So, really, until any of you can make the above happen, I’m sticking with the nursing home version because it’s made of awesome genius.

2014/07/28

My Life as a Slug

Da Goddess @ 20:48

So here I sit, for last — gah, I gotta do math? (I’ll show you!), however many days. My back has been miserable. MISERABLE. But I’m slowly getting back to feeling better. Not normal. Just. Better.

The meds are doing what they’re supposed to do. It still hurts, but not as much. Each day is a tiny bit better than the last. However, there are some crazy fun (NOT!) side effects. Side effects like constipation. Side effects like swelling in my legs and feet. Side effects like constipation. Oh, I already mentioned that? It’s that bad. If I take anything, anything at all, I chase it with stool softeners. Doesn’t matter what it is, it could be Benadryl, I will still take stool softeners with it. Because it’s like there’s a boulder in my gut. I keep waiting for my own mini-ressurection. I mean, I remember this from when I had surgery years ago. The dachshund, the “broken” toilet bowl, the barking. (I tried finding that post but it’s gone, gone, gone in the lost archives, I guess.)

Anyhow, it’s not fun, this constipation thing. It is, however, somewhat exciting because each time I go to the bathroom it’s a bit like playing Wheel of Fortune.

I’ll let you just think on that for a bit. No need for graphic details from me.

Basically, my lack of movement (actual physical movement) is contributing to my other lack of movement. All that comes down to my back and the medications and my general feeling of noooooooooooooooooooo! It’s just how life goes sometimes.

While I started off with a full head of steam for this post, it’s quickly dwindled to a mere trickle as I wandered off to find my dachshund poop post. I’m easily distracted these days. I don’t remember where I was headed other than to complain how crappy (or not) life is at the moment. I’m sore. I’m tired. I’m stopped up. I’m cranky. Blah blah blah.

P.S. I had to laugh last night as I watched a show and one of the people kept saying her mother had “installed a love of cooking in me.” At least twice I yelled at the screen, “it’s INSTILLED! INSTILLED! INSTILLED!” but the woman didn’t seem to hear me. I have lots of time to ponder such things at length and it’s not as fun as it sounds.

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