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There’s something embarrassing about having an affliction commonly associated with young children.

Especially when I didn’t get ear infections as a child.  I know my ear drum burst once, but I don’t remember it, and I don’t remember ever having another ear infection.

I remember constantly having pink eye, but not ear infections.

WebMD has taught me more than I ever wanted to know about the physiology of the head and face, to the point where I’ve decided that I need to focus on clearing my nose and throat, rather than worry about my ears, in hopes that in doing so it will allow the gunk that’s making my ears hurt to drain in the way they’re supposed to.

In the mean time, I’m feverish, tired, and it hurts to open my mouth to eat or talk.

But I’m actually feeling better.  I guess that’s what happens when I was actually able to breath and sleep all night long.

I’m know this is a mild thing, but it’s what’s consuming my life right now.

*Various whimpering noises*

So the allergies/head cold is totally kicking my butt, to the point where WebMD is telling me that I have an ear infection.  Or thyroid cancer.  But probably just an ear infection.

I’m considering it karma because I’ve known that Lulu’s had an inflamed ear for a while, but haven’t done anything about it*.  Do you think the wipes I’m using for her ear would work for my ear?

I’m hovering at that annoying point of feeling good enough to y’know, actually do stuff, rather than spending the day in bed.

I got up this morning, got ready, took the dogs out and saw I had a half hour before I had to leave for church, so I sat down on the couch with a book, and promptly fell back asleep.  And didn’t wake up until church was over.  Whoops.

I feel horrible about this too.   I have a friend, who I first met about three years ago, soon after I moved into my house/ward.  He was on crutches at the time–he was  a marine, and had been injured in Iraq.

The story loses some of it’s drama when, after talking to him for a bit I found out that he was an explosives expert, and had been hurt in a training exercise.

But still.

A year of crutches/physical therapy later, and Phil went on a tour of duty to Afghanistan.  Which, happily, he returned from, and decided that his time in the marines was up.

So, what does a good Mormon ex-marine boy do next?  He goes on a mission.  His farewell was today.  In my ward.

And I missed it.

Phil, if you are reading this, I am so sorry.  I wanted to be there, I really did.

You are going to be an awesome missionary.

*I am not an awful dog mom note: The inflammation in Lulu’s ear is more like a hot spot that happens to be located on the flap of her ear.  She’s not showing signs of vertigo or nausea.  She just scratches her ear.  A lot.  I’m treating it with some OTC wipes, and they seem to be helping–except now she runs away when she sees me coming, because she doesn’t want me messing with her ear.  Sigh.

Lost and Found

It’s been a rough few days.

Yesterday, we worked to the point of a) exhaustion and b) where we didn’t know what to do next.  The trailer is–well, it’s hard to say.  I form a different opinion of how bad things are every time I go in.  All I know is that Dad wants the B-I-L’s opinion before deciding how next to proceed.

After spending all day yesterday on the phone, trying to describe to various salespeople what parts we needed, Dad and I went on a shopping trip to the city.  Mom opted to stay at home and watch the dogs. Notice dogs is plural.

When we returned home after a few hours, the first thing I did was go and check on my babies, and found the dog–singular.  Max had gone missing.

I can’t even begin to explain how out of character this is for my little boy.  Max is my velcro dog.  Yes, I often can’t find him, but that’s because he’s directly behind me.  But, Mom put the dogs in the backyard, went shopping, and when she came home, only Lulu was there.

Max isn’t as smart as I think he should be–but that’s because I make an unfair comparison to my last black and white dog, who was at least half border collie.  But he’s smart enough to know my parents house, and to know when we are here, that this is where he needs to stay.

Well, thank goodness for small communities that still believe in raising children free range, because while I was crying, and searching, and crying, and making lost dog posters, and crying, and praying, Mom was gathering the neighborhood kids into a search party.  And while they didn’t Max, a couple of the boys told their mom that they were looking for him.

Well, the mom happened to see an employee of a local sandwich shop grab Max as he was trying to cross the highway, so she knew who had her.  The mom was then able to get us into contact with Max’s rescuer, and I once again have two dogs.

I know that I’m not going to have Max and Lulu forever.  I know that they were five years old when they came to live with me, and they haven’t gotten any younger.  I know that they are just dogs–if there is anything as just a dog.

Right now, though, Max and Lulu are my reason for living.  There are days that they are the only reason I get out of bed.

I know that I need something else to hold on to, but right now, I’m glad that I just have something.

And I’m so glad that Max is home.

But why did the new day dawn?

I am really starting to hate 8:30 am.

Really.

8:30 is the arbitrary time that the dogs and my body have conspired to be the latest I can sleep, no matter how late I stayed up the night before.   In bed at midnight? Up at 8:30.  Finally getting around to going to bed at 4? Up at 8:30.

I’m not complaining.  I learned that lesson when I tried to complain to Sis, and she started mocking me.  “I wish I could sleep ’til 8:30.  I wish I could go back to bed, and then get up at 8:30!”

Anyway…

I don’t know what it is about Sundays that makes me feel all shy and tired.  Yesterday was spent in hiding.  Yes, I could blame it on sinus problems that caused my entire face to hurt from the inside, but really, that came after I decided not to go to church.

This morning, I found a text on my phone from a member of the bishopric asking if I was coming to church.  Whoops.

The sinus thing, and the generic Sudafed I took to allow me to breathe at all kept me up to the wee hours.  Late enough that I caught myself narrating my life again:

“The slight breeze carried the sickly sweet smell of glaze from the donut shop.  Life had settled down, to the point where all was quiet.  I decided that I needed to take the dogs out one last time before it got too late.  Max ran down the stairs–unusual for him, not matter how neglected the chance for a walk is.  Lulu paused on the second floor landing, sniffing at a  rail on the balustrade.  Even I, with my weak human senses could see where a dog had marked.  Odd–I didn’t think there was a dog on that floor.  Was it Max?  That’s not the kind of place he would normally mark…”

I decided that rather than simply narrate, I should be doing some writing.  After getting a few paragraphs down, I figured I better work on my story.  Which meant that I needed to review what I had written the last time I was up in the wee hours of the morning writing.

Long story short, I kept a single page.  And that…well, I’ve decided that I want to tell that part of the story from a different point of view, so it’s more just reference material now.

Crap.

I’ve been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of going back to school.  Pretty much constantly for the past little bit, as this blog can well attest.  One thing that’s moved from the disadvantage column to the advantage column is the idea of elective classes.  I realized that I could take creative writing courses, to hopefully help focus my writing, and help me with the all-important plot.  I love my characters, and I feel like I know them like my best friends–better, actually, because I created them, their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and I even know the secrets that they would never dream of telling another soul.  I just don’t know what they are doing. I know how they interact with each other, but I don’t know why.

And these are kind of important things to figure out if I’m ever going to be an author.

Confessions, and a letter from PostSecret.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I attempted to kill myself.  Honestly, that’s all I’m ever going to say about it.  I’ve only verbally told a handful of people, and it feels strange to be putting this out where the whole world can see it.  Suicide in western culture is a shameful secret, one we keep from ourselves.

Off and on, since then, I’ve purposely put myself in danger, half hoping that something would happen to me.  I once explained it to a therapist by saying “I’m not going to step in front of a bus, but I’m going to take my time getting out of the way if I see a bus coming.”

PostSecret today featured a very touching letter and response.  I would like to share with everybody.

Suicide prevention is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  Depression is a painful disease, but it shouldn’t be a fatal one.  Frank is, of course, Frank Warren, of PostSecret.com

—–Letter—–

Dear Frank

I thought about sending a postcard but wanted to share a story without anonymity. I’m a senior at Cornell University and at your PostSecret Event here two years ago, I shared the following secret: “My main motivation for applying to the PhD program in Clinical Psychology was to honor the memory of my three cousins who took their lives by acquiring the training to help alleviate the despair of others.”

Recently I received an offer of admission to the USUHS in Bethesda, Maryland where I will be joining the Suicide Behavior and Prevention Laboratory. As soon as I received that offer, I remembered the secret I shared with the audience that night and how deeply meaningful it will be to follow through.

It makes me smile to know I’ll be moving so close to where all the secrets are sent and being only a few miles away from someone breaking down barriers in the mental health field in a way science has yet to discover.

—–Response—–

I still have good memories of the Cornell PostSecret Event in 2008. And being a basketball fan I enjoyed watching Cornell’s team go deep in the NCAAs last week. But I’ve also been distressed to see the lopsided media coverage of student basketball compared to the half dozen student suicides at Cornell this year.

According to Yahoo, 7,573 news stories were written about Cornell Basketball in the past 30 days. During that same period, only 275 stories were written about the six Cornell students who took their own lives.

Suicide is a secret that we collectively keep from ourselves. But if we can find the courage to tell the painful stories, together, we can take the actions that will bring help and hope to those of us who suffer in silence.

This year over 1,000 college students will kill themselves. March is the month with the highest rate of suicides. Here are five ways you can fight back today.

1. Support the Pick-Up-The-Phone 30-City Tour with headliner Blue October.

2. Tell your story (or your friend’s story) and learn how Active Minds can help you fight suicide at your school.

3. Join Congressman Kennedy, HopeLine founder Reese Butler, Jamie Tworkowski and myself in Washington DC, April 12th, for the 6th Annual National HopeLine Network Capital Hill Press Conference.

4. Text “Suicide” to 20222 to make a $10.00 donation to HopeLine.

5. Share this message on facebook and Twitter.

Sparkles

My sister has a friend who’s into the whole new-age mystic healing stuff, and she warned Sis, upon hearing that we were going to the Gem Faire, that crystals put off energy, and it could mess with people who aren’t used being around it, so bring chocolate to stay grounded.

I have a hard time believing that, say, lapis lazuli (which is a rock, by the way, not a mineral, and therefore, not a crystal) gives off any energy except to make people say “oohh, pretty blue”–but, after leaving the Expo center, eating chocolate did make me feel better.  Of course, eating chocolate always makes me feel better.

The expo was a bit overwhelming.  There were TONS of people there, to the point that the entire parking lot was full (there was also a scrap-booking exposition, and a golf exposition) and things were pretty crowded.  It also didn’t take long for all the sparkling beads to get to be too much, so we just focused on jewelry that had already been completed, with some side adventures for valuable gemstones.  I loved all the ammonite, but that didn’t really surprise me–I’ve always had a thing for fossils, and I love the idea of fossils as jewelry.  I found a booth selling ammonite rings, and a ring made of–I don’t remember what it’s called, but people think it’s a fossil but it’s not.  It looks very ferney and delicate.  Dad, a little help here?

UPDATE:

Dad remembered the name of the formation–Dendrite, and I was able to search online for dendrite rings.  This isn’t the ring I fell in love with, obviously, the stone is different, but so is the housing, but it’s a close approximation:

The stone of the ring I fell in love with looked like an antique Japanese painting.  Very lovely, and Sis agreed that she could see me wearing it everywhere.

And back to the original post:

I wanted the not-fossil ring, but it cost $45, which I most definitely don’t have.  I did come away with a blue and orange beaded necklace, that’s long enough for a flapper.  I’ve been having fun figuring out different ways to wear it.

I also have to say, Dad, that I was reminding myself of you.  We were looking at a booth that had geodes and obsidian and stuff like that, and I saw some cross sections of stalactites.  I mentioned to Sis that the stalactites bothered me, I didn’t like the idea of cutting up a cave for cheap trinkets. (Okay, so I didn’t notice the price, they could have been very expensive trinkets.  They were pretty–they looked like the inside of a geode.  But still…)

Okay, so on to the news from yesterday.

Uncle Ornery, one of my mom’s brothers (not his real name, obviously) was scheduled to have minor surgery yesterday.  In bout of stupidity that has lasted a couple of years, he lost, among other things, his driver’s license.  So, Mom’s been acting as his personal chauffeur.  She took him to the hospital in the town 50 miles away from where she lives (35 from where he lives), dropped him off, and headed home.  Just as she got home, she got a phone call, basically Ornery saying that they weren’t going to operate, that his white-blood cell count was too high, and the doctor thought it might be leukemia,  “but I’ve got another ride home, so don’t worry about me.”  Ornery had an appointment at the Huntsman Cancer Institute today for more tests.

Long story short, it’s not leukemia, his red-cell count was too high as well.  So, they took some blood, and scheduled another appointment for two weeks.

I guess I should also mention my Grandpa in all of this.  A few years ago, Grandpa began showing all of the symptoms of leukemia, but tests revealed that he was cancer free, month after month, and year after year.  I’ve never heard a name put to what Grandpa has, but his appointments at the Huntsman Cancer Institute have gone from every two weeks to every three months. Also, grandpa’s only sister died of leukemia.  So, there is a genetic predisposition towards the disease.

I don’t really know what’s going to happen.  Because of the stupidity, Uncle Ornery lost his health insurance, his cattle (which were his main source of income) and most of his money.  He’s said that if this gets too expensive to treat, he’s just not going to do it–but he doesn’t want a handout from the government.

I’ve been avoiding the whole health care reform debate, but I think that this discovery is very timely for Uncle Ornery. If a deal to lease his water rights goes through, he’ll be given a considerable income, and now, insurers can’t turn him down for having a pre-existing condition.

Anyway, I don’t want to turn this into a big debate over health care, and even if I mentioned that particular caveat to Ornery, he’d still grumble about how democrats are ruining this country…

Of course, it’s not coincidence that I gave him the code name of Ornery…

Love and Support

So, I guess I lied in yesterday’s post.  Probably not so much as to anyone reading, as to myself.  If last night/this morning is any indication, I still have emotional hangovers.

Yesterday was amazing.  It turns out that the grumpy side of the family is a lot less grumpy when a certain uncle and his children don’t show up.  I ended up laughing at myself; part of the reason I was so excited for the party was for the opportunity to eat meat, I’m poor so that doesn’t happen very often.  So guess who ended up choosing fish on both trips through the buffet line?  Yeah…

One of my cousins was there, who has only started returning to family parties recently.  His story isn’t mine to tell, but he’s been through a  hell that I can only imagine.  He made a point to talk to me, and get my phone number, and let me know he’d been worried about me.

This cousin and I are about as different as two people can be while still being related. I think the easiest way of saying it is that his problems came about from doing too much, while my problems are caused by doing too little.

We didn’t get a chance to talk at the party, but we did chat on Facebook last night.  What he had to say was very touching, and I needed to hear it–and not just because he kept telling me how strong and smart I am.

After our conversation, as I was trying to go to sleep last night (the insomnia’s back.  So frustrating.) I was thinking about this cousin.  In my mind’s eye, I pictured all the people supporting me and cheering me on, and it was nice to be able to add his face to the throng.  I thought about all that he’s gone through, then pictured him with one hand firmly grasped in that of the person who helped him the most, and the other outs outstretched towards me.  I then looked past his help, and saw a long chain of people, all supporting each other. It was a very comforting image.

I don’t know why I have to keep reminding myself that humans are social animals, and we rely on the strength and support of friends and family.  I don’t like to make people go out of their way to help me, but the thing is, as far as emotional support goes, oftentimes, I don’t even realize when I’m offering it.  We are at our best when we are helping and being helped by others.

Even having realized this, I’m still being bad and skipping church today.

Um, I should probably mention the new theme/header.  I was just getting tired of the dictionary page, and was ready to celebrate spring.  I also like that you can jump between posts with this theme without going back to the home page.

What? I need to write a post for today? Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

I’ve had a hard time finding motivation to do much of anything the past couple of days.  Even this blog–

I did spot a homemade mason bee house on the morning walk this morning, and I started to write about mason bees, but I don’t know enough about them to have any sort of authority, and I wasn’t willing to do the research to find out more.

Life’s just been odd lately.  I can’t really explain it.

Moving on…

There is a unit in my condo complex that has been vacant since August/Septemberish.  It seemed to me that the family who occupied it moved out overnight, then the next day, there was a notice on the door saying that the property had been repossessed.  I’ve rolled my eyes as the various take-out menus, flyers for companies soliciting tutoring help, and phonebooks have piled up on the doorstep of a property with a lock box clearly placed on the doorknob all winter long.

A few days ago, I noticed that all the clutter had been cleared away, and a new sign had been put on the door.  Specifically:

Okay, so the shot is a little blurry.  Heaven forbid that I run downstairs and take another picture…

Basically, it’s saying that the property was winterized on March 1st, so don’t try to turn on the water, etc.

To recap:  This property has been vacant since the end of last summer.  I know it’s been shown a few times, but units in the same building (even the one directly below it) have been bought and sold since it became available.  It got stupid cold in November/December, but the rest of the winter has been very mild.  And they waited until March to winterize.

Yup.  Makes perfect sense to me.

I have no right to complain, and yet I still do.

I’ve had a bad sinus headache the past couple of days.  I’ve been blaming it on allergies, but in reality, it’s a bit early for that just yet.

I’ve been thinking about it, and I realized that I’ve been sick a lot since I lost my job.  I think it’s more the depression than anything–granted, I don’t know much about physiology, but I do know that if I don’t have the motivation to get out and move around, my body is going to think that there is something wrong, and react with a headache or fever.  Or it could just be the hypochondria.

Either way, I feel like I’m in a precarious situation, in this or any economy.  The depression is hindering my search for a new job, but if I was working, the depression wouldn’t be so bad, and I could afford to explore stuff like acupuncture. I know that after what happened on Monday, it’s a bit surprising that I’m curious about acupuncture, but I’ve stumbled across several articles, including one on Depression: The Lonely Dance that say it’s an effective treatment.

I’ve been in this position before, and it’s never fun.  I don’t know if living alone is making it better or worse.  The last time I was here, I had three flatmates, but my own private bedroom.  I really only came out of my bedroom to eat, use the bathroom, or do laundry.  This time, I do have Max and Lulu to take care of, so I have to get out of the house to take them for walks at least three times a day.  This also means I have to get dressed, and make at least a minimum effort to make myself look presentable.

I hate this.  I hate it.  I hate that I don’t know how to change it.  I hate feeling so powerless.  I hate that just as  I was starting to make progress, it feels like I’m back at the beginning.

I know I’m selfish.  I know I’m spoiled.  I know how lucky I am to be living when and where I do.  I know in the big scheme of things, what I’m going through isn’t really all that important.

I’m also starting to get a little to emo-y, so I better stop.

Adventures in Cori-Land.

On the scale of good day/bad day, I’m gonna call yesterday a draw.  It was interesting, though.

I woke up yesterday morning to the sounds of a little dog retching–and me yelling “Get of the bed!” which, of course, she never does.  Yes, this has happened before.  Count this as one of the things no one told me about owning an inside dog.  And that whole thing about dogs eating their vomit–yeah, that doesn’t happen at my house.  Fortunately for Lulu, she threw up on the cheap comforter that I use as an extra blanket, not on the beautiful quilt my mom made.

So, I started a load of laundry, then off to the library.  I love libraries in general–just not the Orem City Library.  Don’t get me wrong, it has a fantastic collection of books, but the layout is quite literally disjointed. It consists of three stories in two different buildings, connected by a sky-walk on the main floor, and a grassy park-like area in the basement.  It took me a long time to figure out what was where–and I still haven’t entirely figured out the alphabetizing system in the fiction wing.

I was quite proud of myself for walking through the non-fiction section, past my beloved popular science books, and the biographies–I’ve been trying to read more fiction, with the hope of inspiring my writing.  I was even proud of myself for picking up an interesting looking fantasy book, then putting it down.  Again, I wanted something to help inspire my writing.

I found myself looking at books whose authors names started with “Mil”, and I remembered a certain author.  I’ve read everything he’s published so far, and had enjoyed all of his books.  I remembered that the last I heard of him, he had a new novel scheduled for 2010, and I wondered if it was out yet, and if the library carried it.  The problem was, I couldn’t remember his name.  I knew his first name was David, and the last two letters of his last name were the same, but I had no idea where to look for his books.  I went to the library catalogue computer, with the intent of looking up the title of one of his books, whose name I could remember, but unfortunately, the catalogue was down.   Oh well, no harm, no foul.  I ended up checking out four novels.

On the way home, I stopped at the Wal-Mart to get my oil changed.  For future reference–10 am is a good time to get your oil changed at Wal-Mart, they weren’t busy, they were able to get me right in, and they were done with my car in less than 20 minutes.  Monday is not such a good day to do it though–weekly shipments of goods usually come on Tuesdays, so they didn’t have an air filter for my car, or a few other things that they claimed I needed.  The whole time, I was trying to remember the name of the author.

So, back home to two very excited dogs.  I was in the middle of making lunch, and suddenly shouted “MITCHELL” at the top of my lungs.  I just remembered the name of my author–David Mitchell.  And no, his new book isn’t out yet.  It’s a good thing my next door and downstairs neighbors work, and aren’t home in the middle of the day…

I spent most of the day reading, then, when 4:00 rolled around, I headed down to the church where they were doing a blood drive.

Now, if you haven’t picked this up from my blog thus far, I am a crazy person.  And, as a crazy person, I’m scared of all sorts of things.  One of the things I’m scared of is needles and blood.  Especially when the blood in question is my own. (I count that as one thing, because what I’m scared of is a foreign object entering my body, and losing blood as a result of it. The most experience I’ve had with this type of thing is needles.) I’m also not a big fan of seeing blood that belongs to other people or animals.

Now, despite this fear, I’ve donated blood in the past.  The first time, I passed out.  The second time, I threw up.  The third time was without incident, as was the fourth and fifth, so I figured I was past any sort of medical drama involved with taking blood.  My body disagreed.  I got as far as the part where they prick your finger to check blood type and haematocrit levels before I started to feel light headed.  I complained about it, and put my head against the wall to try to steady myself.

I guess I must have then passed out, because I remember the phlebotomist asking if I was going to.  I mumbled that I might, then it was like I was hearing things through a tunnel, with all the noises far away.   The next thing I knew, someone was talking about throwing up, and telling me that it was okay if I needed to.  I’ve decided that “phlebotomist” doesn’t mean “someone who draws blood” as much as it means, “crazy health profession wizard”, because I didn’t need to throw up until it was suggested to me.  I came to with my head in a garbage can full of vomit, and an ice pack on my neck, and no knowledge of how either got there.  Needless to say, they didn’t let me donate blood.

They were, however, kind enough to force me to let me lie down, on the bus, next to the people who were able to successfully donate blood, until I was steady on my feet.  I swear they were reading my mind–they could tell when I was starting to feel like I could sit up, and suggest it to me just as the thought was entering my mind.  They handed me water when I was thirsty–even though I didn’t ask for it, and they could even tell when I was ready to get up and leave, without me suggesting it.  They also suggested that I take an ice pack with me–which has since disappeared.  It’ll be a fun little surprise for me when it shows up again in about four months.

On the plus side of this adventure, I met a guy who’s lung collapsed 6 years ago, and he’s had the hiccups ever since. “I don’t mind,” he said.  “I got use to it after the first year.”  The rest of us, not so much.  His hiccups were the kind that sounded like small screams.  He claimed they were worse after eating, drinking, or when he was stressed.  Well, this was also his first time donating blood–so guess who was stressed?

I spent the rest of the day resting and recovering, and having my sister calling me a wimp on Facebook.  I’m embarrassed about the whole thing, but I’m not going to give up donating blood–even if my body is begging me to.  My family has had too much of a need in the past.

While I was laying in bed last night, trying to go to sleep, I realized that I didn’t turn the TV on at all yesterday.   With everything that happened, I guess I didn’t need to.  My goal, now, for the rest of the week, is not to watch any television.

Hulu so totally doesn’t count.  I watch it on my computer, not my TV screen.  That’s totally different.

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