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Monday, September 19, 2011

I Own Very Few Articles of Clothing That Don't Have Paint Spatter Somewhere

Paint is always close at hand in my world.  The other day Klee asked if I wanted to toss out the hideous pink curtains that came with the house.  I had been using them as drop cloths for painting the cabinets.  He figured, since the cabinets were done, I was done painting, so the curtains could go.

Oh, Klee.  The painting is never done...

Klee's old nightstand (which spent a year outside)

I found the paint at the rejected paint
stand at Lowes ($2.00!)
The knobs were on sale at Anthropologie

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gripe Water

One of the little vials in Elliott's medicine cabinet is called 'Gripe Water', intended to sooth his fussiness.  Though, it has never proven to be much more than a placebo, I like the name.  I sure could use some gripe water right now.

I've mentioned my battle with Lyme disease before.  A couple of years ago, I spent about six months in aggressive antibiotic treatment under the direction of two physicians in Chico, Ca.  I had been plagued by mysterious symptoms for almost 20 years, with little relief.  But, with the treatments in Chico, I made dramatic improvements.  It felt like I was being given my life back.  At the time, my doctors said I would probably need consistent treatment for at least a year, and they recommended IV antibiotics as well as hyperbaric chamber treatment. However, my marriage ended, which dramatically affected my financial status, so my treatment ended as well.  The cessation of treatment was actually a blessing, as it would have been very bad for baby Elliott if I had been on those meds during my pregnancy.

Even though I wasn't able to complete the therapy, I felt so much better for a very long time.  But, it's all coming back.  I was warned that Lyme is a very stealth and sneaky adversary.  I knew it would resurface.  It's just that I've had time to forget what it felt like.  So far, the symptoms I'm recognizing include:

  • Foot and hand pain.  Especially when I wake in the morning, the pain in my feet is similar to the feeling you get after walking all over Disney Land for days with bad shoes.  The bones feel bruised and feet feel swollen, even though there is no visible swelling.  The hand pain is more like arthritis.  They ache and hurt when I try to open things or grip anything tightly.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome.  Unbelievably irritating!
  • Back pain.  My spine is very stiff.  Notable pain in my ribs, shoulders, and lower back. I know some of this is Elliott-related.  I would attribute it all to him if I hadn't felt it all before.
  • Hip pain.  This is unique.  My hips ache and occasionally seem to give out.  I do think some is of this is a result of pinched nerves related to Elliott though.
  • Fatigue.  This is one of the worst symptoms.  I dread it.  
  • Brain Fog.  I was so happy when the brain fog lifted during my six months of treatment.  I want that back.  I feel myself sinking into the fog and, again, I dread it.
  • Black outs.  More specifically, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia and Hypotension.  Sucks.
  • Anxiety.  This is already an issue for me, made worse when I'm sick.
  • Night sweats.  
I have no insurance, but it wouldn't really matter since Lyme is a highly debated diagnosis in the insurance and big medicine world.  Doctors that are aware of the depth of this illness are rare, and those that have the knowledge and willingness to treat it are even more scarce.  But they're out there.  I don't intend to give in to this bug.

I'm just so very pissed at this reality!  I hate it!  I tend to push through as much as I can.  I still create (I find it therapeutic), mother, play; but it's all a lot harder.  I hesitate a little more at planning outings... Will it hurt?  Will I get too tired?  Will I be irritable and bitchy?  Unh.

I would like to note that I know of several others that attended Monterey Bay Academy, that have been tested and diagnosed with Lyme disease.  It was rampant in Santa Cruz county in 1989/90, and is still endemic in that area.  You do NOT have to see the tick, feel a bite, or see a bull's eye rash to have the disease.  Less that 40% do.  If left untreated it becomes chronic and neurological.  It is rarely alone, Lyme disease usually brings a host of co-infections with it, which also must be addressed in treatment.  Bartonella is a common one.  IF YOU LIVED AT OR NEAR MBA/SANTA CRUZ COUNTY and have suffered a mystery illness, please consider Lyme, and get tested by a Lyme literate doctor.  Palo Alto is a good place to start.

Ok, so that's my gripe.  Peace out.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Office (Devil Birds Included)

View from my bed
Before I get started, I have to comment on the duck.  I'm sitting here, on my bed, and I hear a quack from the creek below.  How completely cool is that!? (I never know what punctuation to use when I'm both questioning and excited. There needs to be a third option.)  And the duck is not alone!  I have been spied on by both deer and wild turkey.  And, somewhere in those trees is a horrid screeching devil bird and some form of bear-dog.

I also believe it is skunk season, as I have passed far too many aromatic road-kills these past few weeks.  I always liked the scent of a distant skunk.  Kinda feels like home (weird?).  But, up close, it loses that homey charm.

I really want to share my latest project with you.  Please excuse my tangent-riddled brain.  She's tired.  Also, the lyme symptoms are back and doing a number on her clarity.

Well, we've been working on our backyard this month.  I can't even describe how calming it is to finally have life out there.  (I will show you before and after pics in a future blog.)  One of the major improvements, of course, is the grass!  It arrived on our driveway in one big square pile of dirt burritos. I wanted to surprise Klee when he came home from work, so I managed to muster my superhuman strength, which seems to kick in when I'm in project mode, and lugged each of those muddy rolls to the backyard.

I was delighted to find a large wooden pallet at the bottom of the heap.  I couldn't wait to play.  As the ideas developed, I knew that one pallet would not suffice.  So, Klee and I set out to scavenge for more.  They're everywhere!  But they aren't all for the taking.  Some businesses reuse their pallets, so we had to make sure via lookout man and getaway van that they were free to take.  We collected all different sizes and color shades. Treasure hunting is kind of our thing.

So that's a whole lot of typing to tell you that I made some cool stuff out of wood pallets... and other materials like a big cardboard piece, tin cans, rebar twisties, etc..

Since Klee and I are both creative types, we decided to designate a wall in our bedroom to be our "ideas" wall.  We weren't sure just how we would go about this until our magic pallet appeared.

The great thing about pallets is that they are pretty much pre-assembled (take that Ikea!).  However, you will most likely want to embellish yours.  In this case, I cleaned and lightly sanded some of the really rough spots.  Then I applied just one coat of paint, as I wanted the character of the wood to show through.  I backed it with a large piece of cardboard, covered in fabric, which I had laying around (I have crap like that stashed all over the place).  The purpose of the fabric and cardboard was to serve as a pinboard, possibly sparing the wall from unsightly pricks.  This turned out to be mute, however, as I then proceeded to use eight screws to install the piece.  Mama likes her power tools.

Once the pallet was mounted, I played...
My tin can project (in process)

Card Klee gave me, telling me I was
courageous; and some shells
 from our beach trips

Sentimental frame, postcard, jars of rocks, and vintage
hat which I bought at a thrift store in Santa Cruz
when I was about 17 years old 

And, what idea wall is complete without a desk?

I plan to add glass to the top.  It turns out,
a desk with large gaps, has some drawbacks 

And, cool antique kitchen cart, which Klee and I found on an unrelated treasure hunt a while back.

The wall has two square windows which I've only slightly covered.  I will most likely add to them eventually.
I used wire, curtain rings and
fabric-like paper

It's still a work in progress, but, I guess that's the whole point of an "idea" wall, right?  It will change with each new piece of inspiration, or project.

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