ladysprite: (new)
The problem with falling out of the habit of journaling is that it's doubly hard to pick back up because so much has happened that I feel a bit embarrassed and lost about where to jump back in. And yet, I like writing in more than sound bites, so here I still am.

Health-wise, things are going well. 3 acupuncture sessions in, off all meds, and still smooth sailing. I was reading a book on medicine in the 1840's, and it was a fascinating and timely reminder about how much as doctors we don't understand at any given point in time and practice. Not knowing how a treatment works doesn't make it not work. I'm sure my MD would put my improvement down to placebo effect; I honestly don't care.

I've been accepted into the hospice certification program - I just got the link to start the first online CE module yesterday. I'm giving myself the weekend as downtime, but then next week I get to tuck in and start learning.

[ profile] umbran started a new job this week, thank goodness. Just another 6 month contract, but it means we're at least going to be able to keep our heads above water through the end of the year.

Our garden is finally thriving, since we fenced the beds to keep our yard bunny out. The grapes in particular are scarily vigorous; I'll have to learn how to make jam in a month or so.

On the outside, life is good. On the inside, I'm dealing with one of the worst PTSD flare-ups I've had in a long, long time - over shopping for work clothes, of all the stupid things. The upside of all the work I've done over the past few years is that at least I can recognize it for what it is, even if I can't then stop it, and I know that I can ride it out.

And in the meantime, I have my practice, and silks classes, and crafts to play with and books to read and friends to see and scavenger hunts to prepare for and games to play, and a trip to DC to plan for this fall, and bread pudding to bake, and life to live....
ladysprite: (new)
In other news, I finally feel like I'm making progress in silks again.

I've been at the same class level for a while now - this isn't unexpected; if nothing else, my school only has 5 levels and each class session is only 8 weeks. The further up you move, the longer you stay at that level as you work on gaining finesse and strength and mastering more complicated moves. But for the past couple of sessions I've felt more frustrated than enthusiastic, and it was starting to spoil my fun.

Part of it was being sick - missing at least a couple of weeks each session because I was too weak or dizzy or nauseated, and having to take it easy on the weeks that I did make it in. Part of it was having too many people in class, and sharing a class with students who were either close friends with the teacher or were just far more willing to grab and hold the instructor's attention than I was - I admit that, in a group setting, I have a strong tendency to yield attention and spotlight at the first hint that anyone else wants it, and it's difficult to the point of painful to ask for my share of time and attention. And part of it was just feeling like I wasn't getting any better.

But for the past two weeks I've been physically better than I have for months, and it shows. And we've gone from 5 students (and me getting shunted to the shortest silk on the lowest point so I was just physically incapable of attempting half of the wraps) to two students. And it's clear that my teacher wasn't utterly oblivious, because she's spent the past two weeks clearly and deliberately asking me what I want to work on, drilling me on those things until I feel like I understand them and have them in my muscle memory, and giving me detailed feedback and support.

This is the school I love and remember, and this is the hobby I adore. I'm learning again, moving forward again, and while I may never actually master this crazy art form, at least I feel like I'm not wasting time and energy and money anymore....

(Also, new userpic. Only 10 months after chopping off all the hair...)
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Today applications opened up for the first-ever certification program for Veterinary Hospice and Palliative Care. While hospice has been a recognized field for a few years, this past year the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care met, brainstormed, and came up with a curriculum for what they (we) believe vets should know and provide in order to consider themselves official, recognized hospice practitioners.

And the result is a year-long, 115-CE-hour program that will cover everything from end-of-life communications to advanced pain management to peer-reviewed case studies to euthanasia techniques. And at the end of this, if participants pass a test, we get to put some extra letters next to our name and be recognized as Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarians. Leaders in our field, extra-trained and special at what we do.

In particular, if we make it into this round, we get to be the World's First CHPVs.

I just spent the last hour revising my resume, filling out the application, hunting down and scanning in my license, and trying to decide whether a decent cell-phone selfie counts as a "passport-sized photo" for official purposes. And then I threw all that out into the ether and now I get to wait.

There's no reason for me not to be accepted. I meet the application requirements (licensed vet for 3+ years, member in good standing of the IAAHPC). My money spends as well as anyone's.

But... I really want this. Aside from the letters, aside from the distinction, I want to *know* these things. I want to be good at what I do. I want to learn.

I do not want to wait.

I had forgotten how obnoxious waiting for acceptance/rejection letters was....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Three months and approximately $5000 later, Western medicine found nothing wrong with me. My doctor ultimately told me I was just "depressed and anxious" and that I needed to see a therapist. He put me on antidepressants, and when they didn't work, tripled the dose. He referred me to someone whose first available visit is in late October, and said I should just "live with this" until then.

This past Monday I went for my first acupuncture session. The acupuncturist cautioned me that what she was doing wasn't a guarantee, wasn't a miracle cure, and usually took at least a few sessions to take effect.

I haven't been sick since then. This is the first time since March that I've gone for more than 48 hours without throwing up. I'm still being cautious, eating carefully, and taking the meds that my doctor prescribed (though if I'm still doing well, I'm planning on stopping them after tomorrow's acupuncture session), but for the most part I feel.... completely normal.

I'm sure my doctor will tell me that it's just the antidepressants kicking in finally and that I'm having a delayed positive response from them, or that it's a placebo effect and I'm only getting better because my anxiety is being placated by having some form of treatment to latch onto, but frankly, screw him. You know what I'm going to go do now?

ladysprite: (steampunk)
I'm mostly writing this up for my own reference, but for those of you playing along at home? Still sick.

It's been... going on 3 months now, more or less. Still throwing up almost every day. Mostly at night, but sometimes during the day too. I'll have gaps of sometimes up to 2-3 days where I'm symptom-free, but it always comes back. Some days it's mild, some days I'll spend an hour or two sicking up everything I eat.

No correlation to what I eat, though some foods (ice cream, chocolate) are guaranteed to trigger it.

At this point, my doctor has declared that, since all of my tests came back normal, this is probably just due to "anxiety" and has told me that I need therapy. Telling him that I'm not anxious and have been seeing a therapist for over half a decade has just been shrugged off.

Tests I've had done:
-endoscopy and biopsies, celiac test, cortisol levels, protein electrophoresis, basic CBC/Chem (x 3), ultrasound, abdominal CT (with and without contrast), head CT, abdominal MRI (with and without contrast), thyroid function tests, Vitamin D levels, gastric emptying study

Treatments I've tried:
-prochlorperazine, amitryptilline, propanolol, ondansetron, at least one other I can't think of.

Treatments I've declined:
-reglan (that shit is scary, yo)

I have an appointment set up with an acupuncturist, and the names of two other specialists that my gastroenterologist is willing to refer me to (I think he's just happy to get rid of me, since I refuse to test positive for anything or just roll over and accept a diagnosis of 'puking because I'm sad and scared'). Meanwhile... I guess I'm learning to live with this.

It could be worse, I guess.
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Hey, folks!

So life is a kind of hectic mess right now, and I've fallen off the blogging bandwagon (as seems to be happening a lot lately), but there's something going on that I'm really excited about that I could use all y'all's help with.

I've gotten the official permits and jumped through all the hoops, and I'm going to be running another charity raffle at Arisia 2017 - this time, to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Association in memory and honor of Sir Terry Pratchett.

Last time we ran a charity raffle at Arisia we raised over $4000. I want to beat that this year. And if I want to do that, I'm going to need some boss prizes.

So - any of you folks who make stuff, want to donate a thing you've made? Writers, want to donate an autographed book? Jewelers, crafters, sewing mavens, you name it - I need your stuff! People with contacts in any fan-related area, want to put in a good word for me with your friends and ask them to donate? Every penny we raise goes to charity, every donation is tax-deductible, and will earn you my immense praise and gratitude and a spot on the 'I Donated' Whiteboard of Awesome at the con!

I know it's a bit of a ways out, but the earlier I can get to work on this the better the raffle will be....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Grr. I wanted to share a video here, but LJ and flickr don't play well together, and there's no way to share a video directly from my computer, so y'all will have to settle for a link to the flickr account.

But check it out; my latest favorite trick. (one-and-a-half star drop, for those who speak aerials.....)
ladysprite: (steampunk)
No matter how much I intend to keep up here, it's a hard habit to get back into. Especially when life keeps piling stuff all over me, good and bad. It's hard to find the time and intention to sit and write, when my spare moments feel like they're getting parceled out like the last few rationed doses of medicine in an apocalypse.

That said, there's stuff, and life, and it's going.

[ profile] umbran's contract was terminated last week, due to complications of a corporate buy-out, so we're back to being a one (not-so-steady) income family. He's already had a handful of interviews, so hopefully this will only be a temporary setback, and goodness knows we've ridden this merry-go-round before, but it's a complication that I could really live without right now.

Hospice, on the other hand, is thriving. Last week and the week before I had maybe one day in clinic each week, and spent the rest of my time seeing house calls, averaging 2-3 a day. Which, for boutique medicine, is pretty good. By the end of the first week I was finding a pretty good rhythm - wake up, answer emails and phone calls that came in overnight, prep charts for the day; head out to morning visits; come home to write up charts, grab lunch, and process anything that needs processing, then back out again for afternoon/evening visits and errands. And the more I do it, the more I love it. And it's amazing to have enough clients to stay steady like that.

Next month registration opens for the first-ever Hospice Certification Program - the program itself will start in June and run through next year; if I make it through the whole thing I'll be part of the world's first round of Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarians. I'm equal parts excited and terrified; I want so much to learn, but at the same time it's been about a decade and a half since I've taken a formal class or a standardized test, and they'll also be requiring written case studies, and I've never done anything like that.

Meanwhile, I'll also be back in the hospital tomorrow. The initial treatment helped for a little while, but I'm back to throwing up almost everything I eat, so now I get to spend 4 hours having a gastric motility study done. If this doesn't give us the answer.... I honestly have no idea; we've ruled out just about everything possible. We're past looking for zebras and into unicorn hunts, and I'm running out of both ideas for what to try next and energy to push my doctors to keep looking. (And if my husband doesn't find a job soon, I'll also be out of health insurance.)

Silks. I love silks. We had a substitute instructor this week, which meant things being explained in new ways, and we have a smaller class in general this semester, which means more time to actually practice. I had to give up on my idea of a second class, given the financial situation, but with any luck I'll be able to pick that up next semester instead.

In general, for all of my lamenting about health and financial woes, life is pretty good. I have good friends and good hobbies and good books to read. I love my job and my husband and my friends. We're entering the time of year when I'm able to start going out and doing stuff - there's a sheep-shearing and wool festival this weekend, a steampunk festival next weekend, friends' seder last weekend. gishwhes registration is open (anybody want to play?); larps are running, grapes and rhubarb are growing in my garden.

Now to just get the last few kinks ironed out....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
It's been a hell of a few days.

I lost my wedding ring at this past weekend's game. It's been found, thank every god, by the site caretaker, but I still spent a few days hysterically feeling like I needed to cut my hand off in atonement for losing a hundred-year-old family heirloom.

[ profile] umbran's contract ended early, AGAIN. It's becoming pretty clear at this point that we'll be dealing with this for the rest of our lives - unemployment, COBRA and insurance nightmares, emotional rollercoasters, contract jobs that swear up and down that they'll convert to permanent, and then having the carpet yanked out from under us again. At least, having been through it before means that we're used to it and we know how to cut back and cope, but.... it'd be nice not to have to go through this every year.

Silks is.... it is. I'm starting to get frustrated; while my teacher is good, the clash between her teaching style and my learning style has started to grate again. Combine that with the fact that I've been either out or on limited activity for a couple of months due to illness and the fact that the other people in my class are just frankly pushier or better self-promoters than I am, and the end result is that I spend most of my time in class getting ignored or being told not to try things.

I can't change classes; the only other class is on our game night, so I'm stuck in this class with this teacher if I want to keep up with silks. I had hoped to add a second circus class to help me feel like I was making progress - working with a different apparatus and teacher can help me just feel better, get out of my own mental rut, and think laterally. But now that I'm the only source of income we have (and, with a new business that source isn't that impressive), adding a second class suddenly isn't an option anymore.

On the other hand, things could be a hell of a lot worse. I'm getting my ring back tomorrow. I'm getting better physically; I'm eating and working out again. My husband has done the contract job hunt dance before, and has a couple of leads. And if my biggest whine is that I can't afford a second circus class, I'm leading a pretty charmed life....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
I need to admit something here.

After 20+ years of being a purist when it comes to LARP - sticking exclusively to theater-style games, wanting nothing at all to do with live combat - I finally have to admit that there's fun to be found in boffer games.

I still have zero interest in actually participating in combat; my abuse history makes it so I just have a massive mental block against hitting people, even in pretend. And I'll probably never actually be an actual, formal player in any of the campaigns; despite most of the assertions that one can be fully involved in the game while never engaging in combat, it seems that that still means 'you can play the healer.' I get enough of that in my day job, thank you.

But I've lucked into a couple of groups out here that are willing to work around my anti-hitting-things policy to let me play as an NPC - picking up a handful of semi-scripted roles over the course of the weekend, to help drive the story. While I can't hit people, they're slowly learning that I can be their go-to girl for emotional gut-punches, driving plot, and providing color. And it's turned out to be a lot more fun than I anticipated.

Usually I like playing deep, complex, extended parts, but there's something kind of liberating about only needing to be in a given role for a couple of hours. And knowing that I'm going out for a specific purpose gets around a lot of my worries and anxiety about having my character be useful, or feeling like I'm pushing my way into a space where I'm unwelcome. Plus, it means I get to try a lot of roles that I normally wouldn't think of myself.

If anything, I feel a bit like I'm being catered to by the GM's, and I'm not sure why they put up with me. I'm an utter princess - I won't fight, I won't play scenes past 2am, I won't camp or stay onsite, I won't write my own scenes or characters, I do my best to avoid anything that would have me interacting with rules in any way. And yet they invite me back, and save the juiciest parts of the story for me (immortal Atlantean exile? scion of an alternate-reality Roman ruling family? literal nightmare fodder? Go for it!).

Whatever the reasons they indulge my whims and reward my unreasonable demands with more and shinier parts, I'll take it. (In fairness, this also means that I take parts that involve me standing in the biting cold near midnight, in a game with Actual Real Ghosts, playing a character with a sheet over my head like a Charlie Brown Halloween special, shouting 'BoooooOOOOooooo!' in an attempt to convince the players that I, too, am a fearsome spirit.)

Okay, that last bit was actually ridiculously awesome too. Sometimes the one true way to be cool is to embrace the dorkitude of a situation, and make everyone else wonder why they're not cool enough to have sheets on their head.

Anyway. Boffer larps. Not as bad, or as shallow, as I thought. Still not PC'ing, but I'm glad I got talked into at least joining in some way....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
I've been taking lessons in aerial silks for a year and a half now, give or take, and I am still as thoroughly in love with it as I was after my first class. And, while I find circus arts in general hugely appealing, I've never felt the draw of another apparatus... until now.

A little while ago I wound up taking a 'survey of circus' class, that let us students spend a day at a time trying out a bunch of new things, dabbling in acrobatics and jump rope and hula hooping and pole and a handful of other things, including Spanish Web.

Spanish Web, for those of you not familiar with it (which is probably everyone; I know I'd never heard of it), is an extremely variant form of aerial rope. There's one long, thick rope to climb, and a second short loop at the top. The performer puts their hand or foot through the loop, and someone at the base keeps the rope under tension, spinning at speeds varying from 'slow and luxuriant' to 'ludicrous.' By then hooking a hand or foot on the longer rope, the performer can make all sorts of beautiful shapes with their body.

While spinning around.
Hanging by their wrist or ankle, 20' off the ground.

We didn't get to do much other than climb up and gently spin once or twice during survey class, but it seemed like a lot of fun in theory, so when my circus school offered a 3-week mini-session on Spanish Web, I leaped at the chance to sign up.

I'm two weeks into the session now, and it's amazing. It's harder than silks - rope is stiff and harsh and rough and difficult to manipulate and no fun at all. And trying to remember to keep your shoulders engaged and your eyes fixed on your hand (or on nothing at all) and feet together and core tense while *also* trying to remember the steps of a given wrap or move while *also* spinning like a top is at least one or two more details than I'm used to having to focus on at a time, even now.

I'm all over bruises from my instep to my shins, and I've got a heck of a rope burn on my right ankle (from climbing down, of all things; I'm used to just being able to slide down the silks). My feet feel like I ran a half-marathon in stiletto heels. But I also got to spin like a music-box ballerina, and learn how to stand on a vertical rope with my body parallel to the floor. This is freaking magic.

One more class is all I get. But it's still amazing as all get-out.... and maybe if I ask nicely, they'll start offering private lessons to follow on.....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
I missed posting about it here, because I've been swamped with work, but this past week was the one-year anniversary of my practice.

One year ago I saw my first patient through Autumn Care & Crossings Veterinary Hospice, taking the idea from idle whim to cautious concept to actual business. And I couldn't have done it without the help of more friends than I can list, my amazing husband, and a lot of other professionals who held my hand along the way.

I have a practice. It's successful - I'm getting word-of-mouth referrals, and making enough of a profit to cut back on my relief work to less than half-time. It's a year in and it's still going and getting bigger and better.

I'm celebrating this milestone by making a donation to the MSPCA in honor of every patient of AC&C that's passed away over this past year. And next year is going to be even better - the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care is starting their certification program this June, and I'll be taking part in that, becoming one of the first certified hospice practitioners in the world.

A year. Wow. How the heck did that happen? Whatever else is going on in my body and my life, I am still lucky beyond words....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
I took yesterday almost completely off, for the first time in a long, long time (movie, dinner out, shopping, but no work and no LARP), and slept for almost 9 hours last night. And today I feel.... more human.

It's still weird; if nothing else I'm not used to needing that much rest. 7 hours is usually my ideal; any more than that and I start feeling queasy. But I'll take it.

I'm more like myself today. I woke up and took a friend up on their invitation to go to the local rock gym; now I'm belay-certified and can climb whenever I like (so a note to any friends who climb - I'm available as a partner!). I'm still low on stamina and learning on the baby-walls, but everybody starts somewhere.

I put together a menu plan for the week; I reconciled my business bank accounts with Quickbooks; I have a cake in the oven and I've been working on a crafting project for a swap that ends in a couple of weeks.

Tonight I start a new circus class - a 3-week mini-session in Spanish Web. I've had a grand total of about 5 minutes' experience in spanish web before, but I adore the spinning and I hope my shoulder is up to the strain. My hands will almost certainly hate me after both climbing and aerials in one day, but I want to take advantage of my energy while I have it.

I have no idea how I'll feel tomorrow, and I have no idea of how to adapt if my body suddenly needs an extra two hours of sleep every night. But I'll enjoy feeling mostly-normal while I can....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Some habits are harder to form and keep than others. Especially when those habits take time and energy, and you're incredibly depleted on both.

I spent last weekend in PA at a fairly awesome Deadlands-themed LARP, where I realized that most of my late-1800's themed costuming matches my current cotton-candy hair far better than anticipated, spent much-needed time reconnecting with old friends I haven't seen in far too long, and got to play out an amazingly dramatic and angst-filled romance plot. And I'm grateful beyond words that in my current fatigued state, I can still fill my extroverted heart and soul to overflowing by curling up half-asleep in the lap of a friend while people around me laugh and talk and generally surround me with joy and noise and happiness.

And then home, to work. And work, and work, and work. I'm filling in at a clinic that's chronically overbooked and under-staffed, so I'm generally lucky if I get out less than an hour before closing, and every work day this week has been followed by a late-night house call after work hours. And I love what I do, but that's draining as hell. And I know I could say no, but... I don't want to. Because I'm still growing my business, because I feel like what I do is important, because it feels good to be needed, because a lot of things.

Meanwhile, it turns out my doc put me on the wrong dose of supplement, so no wonder that's not working. Taking 2000 IU of Vitamin D when you're supposed to be taking 50,000 is kind of significant. So hoping that fixing that will help. And if it doesn't, I get to put my foot down and demand a referral to an endocrinologist.

Right now, though, it's the weekend and I don't have any house calls booked (at the moment) and I'm looking forward to at least one day of nothing more strenuous than going to a movie and maybe out to lunch...
ladysprite: (steampunk)
The last two days were just a wee bit hectic - long work day followed by a house call Monday; long work day, voting, and hosting tabletop game yesterday.

I'm glad I voted, though I'm sad at how things turned out in my state. And I'm selfishly amused at the woman staffing our polling place who commented about how nice it was to have 'young folks' like me out voting; I felt a bit like I broke her heart when I told her I was over 40 years old.

And I'm glad I mustered the energy to make dinner for our gaming group. Feeding people is a goodness, and half of why I like hosting our game is the chance to cook for everyone who comes over. I don't have the energy for multiple courses or desserts right now, but at least I can put dinner on the table.

Energy-wise... middle of the road. I'm making it through the work day, and I'm not afraid of dozing off behind the wheel quite as much, but I'm nowhere near normal. As long as I'm engaged I can keep moving forward, but as soon as I slow down I run out of steam and fall down, and I have zero energy reserves. My doctor said to call him after ten days off my meds; by my count that'll be Friday, and I don't know what to tell him. I'm... a little better? Maybe? Maybe this is as better as I can get; maybe this is just normal for my age and activity level; maybe this is something worth investigating further. I don't know; I just know that I don't like it.

Today has been mostly downtime for me, at least. My plans cancelled last-minute, so other than an hour or so of work emails and phone calls I've had the day to myself. Working out, spinning yarn, mani/pedi (which mostly means an hour or so to read), and running errands. Hoping to have enough energy to make it to silks class tonight. Thankfully, we have leftovers for dinner and I'm doing house calls tomorrow, so I don't need to worry about cooking or packing bentos later tonight.

Right now, though, my hardest decision is whether to spend the next hour reading or spinning....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So it turns out yesterday's car failure wasn't a one-time problem. Which is reassuring, in a way; at least it means I wasn't an idiot who left the dome light on or something equally inane and avoidable. On the other hand, it also meant that when I tried to head out to a house call an hour away this morning, my car just blinked and died.

Thankfully, I have a AAA membership, a husband who was able to stay home to wait for them to arrive, and another (16+ year old, rattletrap, wheezy, pathetic) car that I could make the trip in. One new battery later and my car is back in healthy shape.

Other than that, it's been a pretty quiet day. Still dealing with severe fatigue - I slept about 8-9 hours last night, and still crashed out for another hour or so after my house call. But I also made it to circus school for an hour or so, and cooked dinner. So. Progress? I don't want to get my hopes up, but I don't want to wallow in futility or panic either.

Circus practice was good, at least. My stamina is still crap, but I'm getting it back slowly, and I'm finally getting the hang of windmills. And it felt good to have the time to cook; I have a fondness for overly-baroque recipes, and tonight was a good opportunity to play around in that space (poached chicken breasts that start with a brine in the poaching liquid and then are more-or-less sous vide).

We'll see where this coming week takes me.

Oh - and for anyone wondering what aerial windmills are....

video - not of me - hidden here.... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Once again, time for my favorite game, what did I learn in the past year? So... what did I learn in 2015?

I learned that I can run a business.
I learned how to use Quickbooks.
I learned that publicizing myself is emotionally challenging, but necessary.
I learned that my clients trust and respect me enough to recommend me to their friends.
I learned how to do my first double-dive on aerial silks.
I learned the basics of aerial sling.
I learned how to draw blood and give IV injections without a tech to help me.
I learned better and smoother ways to premedicate animals for euthanasia.
I learned how to place subcutaneous ports.
I learned how to place nasogastric feeding tubes.
I learned that I can rock a pixie cut.
I learned that my spinning has become consistent enough to be not just usable but objectively good.
I learned that I can make an entire dress out of construction paper.
I learned the story of the day my mother was born.
I learned that if you tell people it's for a scavenger hunt they will let you get away with almost anything.
I learned how to make broomstick lace.
I learned that my Spanish is good enough that I can converse easily with native speakers after a day or two of acclimation.
I learned that sometimes depression will hit you, no matter how objectively good your life looks on the outside.
I learned how to use Hair Product.
I learned that I have enough professional expertise to write a blog that people actually find kind of useful.
I learned that my friends trust me and my skills, and will turn to me for help when they need it.
I learned that those same friends love me, and appreciate me.
I learned that it's almost impossible to fit a full-sized stretcher in the back of a Honda Civic.
I learned just how much paperwork goes into the day-to-day running of a veterinary practice.
I learned that tomatillos and Napa cabbage grow remarkably well in my yard.
I learned to get comfortable with video chats.
I learned that Peter Beagle is an amazing man, and that meeting your childhood angel is just as amazing and heartbreaking and healing as I imagined it would be.
I learned that the hardest thing about owning your own business is managing your downtime.
I learned how to drive a snowmobile.
I learned that gabapentin is a better medication for chronic pain in animals than tramadol.
I learned that nopales are delicious.
I learned that the only way to solve a problem with Mass Health Connector is to go through your state representative.

It seems like, most of all, I learned - or at least started to learn - to see myself the way other people see me. It'll take a long time to finish this lesson, but it's a good path to be on right now....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So tomorrow is the day that I go back through the year and think about what I've learned. But this has been such an eventful, change-ful, complex year that there's more going on in my head than I can just sum up there.

I've had so many good things happen this year. I went from 'hey, maybe I'll start my own practice' to a business with over a hundred clients, turning a profit, and on the path to be one of the first certified veterinary hospice practitioners in the world. (Dude. How many people get to be part of the world's first ANYTHING?)

I've gotten good enough with my crafting to win prizes for my crochet and my spinning. I remember the first skein of yarn that I spun, and how frustrating and lumpy and ugly it was. I've gotten good enough with aerials that my teacher is pushing me to perform, and to branch out into other apparatuses.

I cut my hair for the first time in almost 30 years. And in the process, I shed not just a foot of hair, but most of those 30 years of body-baggage. It's bizarre, but somehow getting rid of the one part of my appearance that I took the most pride in changed my body image enough to let me see myself with new eyes.

At the same time.... I lost another dear friend to cancer, and I'm still facing emotional aftershocks from that. My father started facebook-stalking me and having family members send me threatening messages. My husband was out of work again, and is still doing contract work. I spent nearly a year fighting to get the health insurance that we've been paying for all along, and dealing with collections agencies in the meantime.

My new car was rear-ended by a semi, and the trucking company is still refusing to take responsibility for the accident, and are fighting any request to pay for the repairs. I'm still dealing with residual pain from my spinal surgery. I've had pneumonia twice.

I've dealt with depression before, but this year it got bad enough to actually seek out meds. And owning my own practice has led to some toxic mental and behavioral patterns around work hours, as well as anxiety when calls don't come in as frequently as I hope they will.

It's been a roller-coaster of a year. I'm not the same person I was at the start. But... I think I like who I am right now.
ladysprite: (cooking)
"Better Homes & Gardens Five Seasons Cranberry Book," BH&G Test Kitchen

Ye gods, I am so far behind on this it's not even funny. I've actually been doing a decent amount of cookbook-project cooking; I've just been failing to write it up. I'm pretty sure I used this book over a month ago now....

Anyway, this is somewhere between a magazine and a cookbook. I picked it up for 50 cents, I think, at the library's Book and Bake Sale a while ago, mostly because, well, I really like cranberries. Sadly, once I got it home I realized that most of the recipes call for canned cranberry sauce, of which I am less fond.

Still, there are some good-looking desserts in here. And I was tempted to try one of them. But, because this project is about challenging myself, and because I felt obligated to live the full 1971 experience, and because my husband didn't say no when I asked if he'd be willing to eat them, instead I made "Stuffed Burger Bundles."

These are, essentially, large meatballs filled with a mixture of stuffing (standard, Stove Top bread stuffing) and chopped cranberries, baked in a sauce that's a mixture of evaporated milk, cream of mushroom soup, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. I figured they'd probably taste like nostalgia, given that half of the meat my mom cooked as a kid was baked in a combination of cream of mushroom soup and Worcestershire sauce.

You guys? These were kind of gross.

The meatballs themselves were okay, though the stuffing, having been double-cooked, had lost any texture and was more just a poorly-integrated panade. But the sauce was fatty and gloppy and weirdly salty-tangy and bleh. Overall, the meal was edible but not anything I'd ever want to experience again.

And I am never buying another can of cream of mushroom soup.

Though I may come back to this book and make the cranberry dumplings; those actually sound like they might taste good....

Of Course.

Nov. 22nd, 2015 12:06 pm
ladysprite: (tangy)
A little while ago a client gave me a PetSmart gift card as a thank-you for helping them through a particularly emotional end-of-life visit. It was sweet, and an utter surprise, and I decided that since it was a gift I was allowed to use it for something frivolous, rather than stocking up on cat food and kitty litter.

So yesterday [ profile] umbran and I were out running errands, and I decided to bring the gift card along and get a treat for our cats. And I found the coolest, cutest little toy/furniture thing.

It's adorable. It's this little S-shaped bed/cave/scratching pad, and it's got sections of carpet and rope and burlap, and they can lie on it or hide under it, and it's exactly the kind of thing I'd never actually spend money on but have kind of always wanted to spoil my cats with, so I went ahead and got it for them and proudly brought it home and displayed it in my living room for them.

.....and they won't touch it.

I've tried moving it around, and putting it by their current (battered cardboard) scratching pads. I've tried hiding food on it and under it. Rubbing it down with catnip got one cat to sit on it briefly, but other than that.... nothing.

These are cats who lurk next to boxes as they arrive, sometimes not waiting until they're unpacked to climb inside. Who covet their $5 battered cardboard scratch pad and fight over who gets to nap on it. Who have, on occasion, tried to climb inside sandwich bags.

Go figure. My cats are too humble for fancy toys like this.


ladysprite: (Default)

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