I have thoughts on family and friend dynamics

especially around the holidays but I can’t seem to get my head round them properly to put them out there…here. What I really need, I suspect, is some good couch and coffee time with a girlfriend to flesh that out, but well, friend dynamics…so.

Enjoy my year in photos because too much bad shit happened for me to do the actual wordy version others are doing.

It takes one minute and covers trips to Fredericksburg, Austin, Kerrville, London, Wales, Dublin, San Jose, doctors, hospitals…

Features our dogs after their surgeries, family, friends, new car, old car…

Sprog life events like graduation, turning 18, first time in first class and using his passport…

Two of three quote alongs, two of three costumes for the year

See it here

Song, appropriately, “Hell of a Season” by the Black Keys

SEE YA 2013 DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YA

Routine

I’ve always been a person that thrived with routine. I don’t know if it’s the Capricorn in me coming out or what, but somehow in the midst of the artistic chaos that is the rest of me, the floor is always based on some sort of routine. I always wake up the same time every day (unless I’m sick) usually even without aid of an alarm clock. I typically stick with a rotation of foods for breakfasts and lunches and try to take my vast numbers of supplements and medications at the same time and in the same manner. I also have certain days for certain chores which includes shopping days.

Mornings
Wake: 6:30 am (I am currently in sinus hell-worse than normal-so I may or may not get out of bed when I wake up)
Coffee
Nose spray
Dog walk on the bayou
Feed dogs
Make breakfast

-avocado and orange
-berries and almond yogurt
-sweet potato and egg
-smoothie
Take pills
-Allegra
-Vitamin D
-Vitamin B
-Flax Oil
Mid Morning
-Oregano Oil
Lunch
-leftovers from dinner
-whatever else I can rustle up in the kitchen
Take More Pills
-Vitamin D
-Mucinex D (depending on how bad the sinus is)
Afternoon
-Piece of fruit or almonds for snack
Dinner
-cook at home at least 5 days a week (one night vegetarian-everyone eats it)
Bedtime
-Eucalyptus steam for the faceholes
Take More Pills
-Estrogen
-Topamax
-Other hormones

Do y’all have a daily, weekly, monthly routine?

the mutant

If you follow me on twitter, you may have already read, but I recently had some bloodwork done at the behest of my new GYN. I’m not sure she’s permanently going to be my GYN (GAWD I miss my Dr. that situation sucks ass) as her office staff SUCKS and getting blood drawn somehow required 12 vials and two visits to complete as well as them utterly fucking up my estrogen script. Oh and I still haven’t received any word back on my pap. But anyway…the results of my bloodwork were of high interest in this house because my younger husband (by 4 years at the present on my birthday, Monday, it goes back to 5) has an issue with his triglycerides and he was SURE that I would too, since we live together and all. Not sure how he thought that my being a vegetarian and him not wouldn’t have ANY effect whatsoever but apparently, those facts, not so much a concern for him.

Y’all will probably be completely un-shocked to find that my triglycerides are not the same as my husband’s, in fact, mine are much lower and my cholesterol numbers overall are really good, which is happy making since I have been such a total slug about exercise. Maybe someday when I can breathe again, I’ll be able to exercise consistently again. Maybe. At any rate, the numbers I expected to be good were good, the numbers I expected to be bad were bad (my testosterone level is terrible, thanks endometriosis!) and the number the Dr expected to be shit was complete shit. Namely, my vitamin D. In describing my migraines/headaches, her first assumption was that I would be vitamin D deficient and lo, I am so deficient I don’t even register. Obviously, I am now taking mass amounts of vitamin D supplements to try and sort that situation out but thankfully, my calcium levels are still good which bodes well for bones (even though I already have some osteoarthritis in my neck) and also apparently for my cardiovascular health (a nurse friend mentioned that because of this next part). So even though a deficiency is bad (ironically low vitamin D means you catch the flu easier. APPARENTLY SO SINCE I JUST HAD THE FLU FROM HELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH) it could be worse.

And then, then I found out that I have a genetic mutation I wasn’t aware of. It’s the MTHFR gene and essentially my body doesn’t process folic acid and vitamin B12. Which explains why I am so nearsighted (seriously? genes are weird) but also means that I have an excess of homocysteine in my blood stream and obviously a deficiency of B12 (and other B vitamins). High homocysteine levels can lead to heart disease so hey, that’s a bad thing. I’m not going to freak about it because my other markers are all good (low blood pressure, good cholesterol, good calcium) but it is a new weird thing about me to be sure. I am tying to learn as much as I can about it and how to best handle the situation, ie when to take supplements for best chance at absorption, what foods are naturally high in B vitamins to add to my diet, things of that nature.

More pills, more abnormalities, more illness…2013, we aren’t getting off on the right foot here.

a few things

It’s been a week since I launched my site and in that time I’ve also set up a twitter @JustE_Photo and as of today a FB page either of which could use some love so feel free to follow/like if you so desire.

Friday we bought Sprog his first car. Holy crap y’all. As much as it worries me and as much as it stresses me out that he’s driving on his own? I am so happy to never look at another car posting on Craigslist again. I’ve referred to Craigslist as Walmart in writing and OH MAN is it ever. I swear that looking at those listings was simultaneously making me dumber and threatening to make my eyeballs bleed. SO AWFUL. And the cars? For what they expected people to pay? Can we just say delusions of grandeur? People be huffin paint or hittin the crack pipe.

This is his baby

It’s a ’94 Honda Accord which would be one year older than he is and has manual windows and door locks. It also had the lowest mileage (102,000) of anything we read about or looked at, with close to perfect interior and minimal body issues. The trunk does seem to be leaking and it looks like it’s been popped in the butt (which is causing the trunk leak) but everything else is structurally sound (knock on wood) and he is super excited about it so that is the good thing. It passed state inspection with flying colors and the boys spent all weekend working on it. In fact we all did as a family. I scrubbed the interior out with a bucket of hot water and bleach as well as cleaned all the windows and helped Sprog Armorall it after its disinfecting. The boys changed out a non working interior light and reverse lights, removed the moldy trunk liner and checked out some stuff under the hood. I helped Sprog recondition the headlights and then on Sunday my softhearted husband bought the kid a new stereo system and back speakers since the old one wouldn’t work with his iPod and one speaker was blown out.

Today we are headed to the courthouse to try and get the title/registration so he can finally drive it. It’s been sitting since Friday and it’s making him CRAZY.

Next week is my last insurance approved PT appointment and my therapist and I will sit down and evaluate if we will be going back to the insurance to extend or if they will end. I am really worried that insurance will fight me on continuing…my headaches are SO MUCH BETTER now that I am worried what will happen if I stop and the last two visits my collarbone has been out again so I’m wondering what is going to happen with that alignment once he’s not there forcing it back into place every week.

Finally, I haven’t even started decorating for Halloween this year. I KNOW. I would like a break from stress for a moment so I can get my creative back, please.

because sometimes the internet leads you to do terribly awesome things

Yesterday I FINALLY got my family pic session with the boys. Not all of them are great and it was hot as balls but at least some of them are viable, which is better than what I had before. I probably will force them into a morning session here soon, hopefully the weather will be more kind.

Anyway, I had this idea of photos taken while I jumped piggy back on Sprog or Willy (or both as it ended up) because I thought it would be so cute and so Sprog took the pic of me jumping on Willy’s back and magic happened.

IMG_4262

I set the camera up for him and then he just shot away, this is the last frame he captured. It’s SO 70’s Farrah Fawcett shampoo commercial and I love it. Of course I had to immediately share it on instagram and that’s when Maggie said that unicorns or Willy being made into a centaur had to happen.

Her command=this craziness

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I’m pretty proud of my admittedly amateur Photoshop work there. Looks pretty good for a mash-up of our pic and a pic of Hugh Jackman as a centaur that I found on the internet. Did you know there is such thing as Centaur Erotica? I sure as hell didn’t.

more about the poor tail-less lizard

So if you follow me on twitter, you know that Fred is not well, she’s not well at all. In fact, last week before The Blathering, I was pretty well convinced that she wasn’t going to make it through the night but damned if she’s not a tough OLD broad. She’s around 18 at this point and our old vet told us that they usually go from kidney failure around 15.

Anyway, she’s been not eating and generally lethargic for over a week now so Willy found an animal hospital that would take her and I brought her in.

fred

Here she is at the vet, looking more alert than I have seen her in days. She also was scratching the shit out of my arms. Where her tail stops in the picture is where her tail stops period. I’ll spare you the gory-ish details of her scarred over stump.

Anyway, this vet is not an avian and exotics vet (I MISS YOU DR CRUZEN) but he did his best and we paid a lot of money ($311) to really come away with no answers. She hasn’t been using her right side to walk so we got some x-rays to see if there was a break but unfortunately, she looks good there. In fact, for her age, she looks DAMN GOOD. Mama takes care of her babies, even the cold blooded ones. Anyway, she hardly even has any bone loss, there is no breakage. Her lungs sound good and he didn’t see any mouth sore or anything which leaves doing blood work and that would’ve been another $200 and if the blood work turned up the kidney failure that is highly probable at this age, there isn’t anything they can do for her anyway. So instead, I opted for a broad spectrum antibiotic to just cover that base as a last ditch effort to save her.

Beyond that and any possible neurological issue (like a stroke maybe?) we are flying blind here. She’s still not eating on her own and I’m not going to have her starve to death while we wait the 14 days on the anti-biotic so yesterday I whipped up some “baby-food” for her out of collard greens, calcium powder and apple sauce and proceeded to spoon-feed her while sitting in front of her space heater.

By the end of it I was covered in green goop but she had actually ingested three or four spoonfuls of food so at least it’s something. I’m going to try again every day to make sure we’re getting something in her and then we’ll soak her in the bath every couple of days to see if we can get her digestion going.

The amount of time and money we have spent caring for this animal is insane to me, she’s a lizard. It’s not like she’s a dog, it’s not like she comes to me with her tail wagging when I’ve had a shitty day…but everyone that has ever seen her, in person, always tells us how cute she is and how much personality she has, which must be part of it. And she does respond to my voice, visibly. The other part of it is that I can’t allow anything to suffer on my watch, cold blooded or no, if there is anything at all I can do about it.

Accent Vlog

Here is my accent vlog, apparently it’s make a whole bunch of videos week around here :-)

we be vloggin

If you’ve ever wanted to know what I sound like, what Sprog sounds like, how much of a dork I am, how we interact with one another in the car, what his actual name is or how incredibly bad I am as a videographer with an iPhone in a moving vehicle, these two videos ARE FOR YOU!

Behold, Sprog and Raven Vlog.

and PT Confessions

The videos have been updated! Flickr only allows 1 min 30 second video length so I’ve moved them to YouTube.

riding in a car with a boy

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Now that Sprog has his learning permit, we spend a lot more time in the car together. I used to try and get all my errands done during the day, while he was at school (usually with D) but now, he wants to be the one to ferry me around to all the errands I need doing so he can drive. After my initial OMG MY BABY IS DRIVING depressive state, I’ve moved on to really cherish this time with him. He tends to open up a lot about his life and his thoughts when we are running around town together and I love to hear what he thinks without trying to drag that shit out of him with a crowbar. I learn a lot about how his weekends go with his father, about how school goes (if I ask him when he’s in his bedroom, the answer is a grunt or shrug), about his friends, about girls etc. He asks me for my advice! He listens to my opinions. HE TOLD ME I WAS A GOOD MOTHER! I also find out random things like how he thinks Frank Sinatra is a beast. Other than Kristie who also is in possession of a totally randomly awesome teenager, who has a kid that thinks SINATRA IS A BEAST? Last night after making that claim he busted out singing a Sinatra tune and then said we needed two mounted dash cams so we could Vlog our car trips together because they are so random and people need to share in our genius.

“WE NEED TO VLOG OUR CAR RIDES TOGETHER.” Can we just savor that for a moment?

Oh y’all…how is it possible that he graduates in 1.5 years and might possibly run off to college and break my now bigger heart? I enjoy my kid so much. I really can’t explain the depths of cool I think he is.
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36 is never too late to learn

Every house I’ve lived in, I’ve always required a gas stove because I figured I could always cook when we inevitably lost power during a tropical storm or hurricane (we used to get those a lot, now we are in a drought so bad we are draining lakes to have water, WTF?).

The other night we had a storm and it actually rained! HUZZAH! Not enough to really make a lick of difference in the whole wicked drought thing. BOO! Unfortunately along with the rain came a crap ton of thunder, lightning and wind and so our power went on and off multiple times. The dogs freaked out, Maddie convinced it was the end times tried to bury herself into Sprog’s couch or bolt out the back door again because the UPS beeping scares her so badly or maybe it was my insane cussing from the kitchen that was doing it this time. See, I was mid baking of one full loaf and 8 mini loaves of chocolate chip zucchini bread AND I was broiling up some nachos for dinner.

A BEAUCOUP PROBLEMO CALVIN!

1) In pitch blackness broilers like to burn things, like chips, cheese or oh hey YOUR ARMS as you try to get the damn pan out of the oven.

2) The oven is DIGITALLY CONTROLLED so if the power stays off, there goes the oven and the broiler and OH YEAH YOUR TIMERS, YOU DUMBASS-good luck on knowing how long your baking had left.

3) Hey what temp is the oven when the power comes back on? YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE! HAHA!

It was 10 rounds of restarting the oven, 10 rounds of me screaming and cursing the heavens all the while trying to calm the dogs, rescue the burnt/burning nachos, yell at my son to get out of the damn storm and tell him no he was not chasing the storm on HIS BICYCLE UNDER THE POWER LINES AT THE BAYOU. Meanwhile, Wills is trying to find the candles and the matches and the lights are cutting in and out like a damn discotheque from a german stereotype 80’s show. UGH.

The power did finally come back on and stay on and the loaves did finish baking and seem none the worse for the experience

Mini loaves

but I can’t say for certain because they already were a bit unusual being eggless, so I had a lowered expectation from the outset.