Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Lot

I am a high-anxiety person. I always have been.

These days, I take two Lexapro a day to handle it, and it works--I don't have the crying and stress I used to. I can handle things. But no drug is a miracle...there's still work involved. There are still days where the worry takes over everything else.

A week ago today, Archie got out when I got home from work. I tried to catch him, but he got spooked and ran from me. I haven't seen him since.

A couple of days after that, my usual fall allergies started causing a slight soreness in my throat.

I'm handling it.

There has been no crying, just an effort at finding my cat and bringing him home. Signs posted, bushes searched. I bought a harness and leash for Popcorn and we've been on a few excursions trying to scent out his brother. I update friends on Facebook and reassure them that I'm okay. I'm fine. He'll come back.

He will.

Meanwhile, my allergies turn to a minor cold. My throat hurts, talking is more difficult each day. I cough a little to move everything around in there. But I'm a Good Employee, so I go to work. My kids need me. My bosses need me to be there for my kids. I don't want to burden the school by bringing a sub in. Besides, I have all of next week off to relax and rest. I can make it.

So I get up early and do my job. I'm tired and maybe a little cranky, and I sit at my desk more than usual. But I get through the day with no incident and when I get home I curl up on the couch with a book and an extra-clingy Popcorn.

Yesterday, shortly after starting my drive home, my car beeped at me--loudly--a few times. A warning light came on. I looked at the computer, and found it was low tire pressure. "No problem," I thought.

I needed an oil change anyway, so I called Mazda and set an appointment for this morning. "Make sure they check my tires," I said.

I'm so handling it.

This morning, I got up, showered, fixed my tea, packed my lunch, made my smoothie. I fed Popcorn, checked outside for Archie, put on my makeup. My eyes were a little bloodshot, and I was coughing a little, but I gathered everything up and walked down to the car. I was going to drop off my car and get the courtesy shuttle to school a few miles away.

But nothing went according to plan. That tire pressure? Turns out I drove over some sort of screw, and that tire was flat. 

Still, I handled it. I called to change my service appointment. I called USAA for my roadside assistance. I texted my vice principal, who lives a mile or two from me, asking for a ride to work.

I didn't hear back from her in time. Dad had to drive Mom to her chemo appointment and couldn't help me right away. I would be massively late for work. I sat here at my computer, and thought to myself that maybe this stupid flat tire is a sign. Rest, Meg.

But I'm a Good Employee. I don't take sick days lightly. I've taken one this year, and it was because I thought I had strep throat, which is very contagious. I hemmed and hawed for a few minutes. What if my boss gets mad at me for taking a sick day? What if I can't get a sub so last-minute? What will happen if I have the 8th grade class take one day off from working on The Nutcracker production we're doing next month??

These are the questions that run through my brain, on full volume.

The answers are: She won't. People will cover, and it will be okay. Not great, but okay.* The show will go on.

*Turns out the job was taken by a sub within a few minutes, so hooray. 

I'm so bloody anxious about handling everything, that it takes the universe literally forcing me into staying home to take care of myself.

As I stood by my car waiting for the service guy to arrive, coughing and ducking out of the rain under a metal parking cover, it hit me full in the face: it's okay. I am legitimately allowed to take a sick day when my throat feels like this, and I'm so bloody tired, and my cat is missing, and my tire is flat. It's okay to curl up on my couch with some hot chocolate and a book and a box of Kleenex (because my nose is running, too) and just breathe. 

It's okay. And yes, I'll need four new tires now, which will deplete my savings again, but that's why I have savings. Yes, my cat is still missing, but I'm confident he'll find his way home at some point. The Nutcracker will be okay if I miss one day.

I have to remind myself of this, and I will have to throughout the day. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay.

That's anxiety, and it's maddening.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Well, Then

In the entire history of my blogging, I don't think I've ever gone so long without an update. It's not lack of ideas or interest, it's really just lack of time and energy. I'm working long days and spending my free time doing all the other things I need and want to do, like working out, playing my piano, reading, etc.

And let's face it, this blog never had a huge audience, but now it only gets read if I post the link on multiple social media, and provided it's not something I've already discussed on all of those social media sites already. I barely even blog about my adventures anymore, simply because I post them on Instagram in real time.

Blogging has become obsolete in a lot of ways, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel. I've put a lot into the Little Pink Blog, and I hope to keep going. It's a document of a large chunk of my adult life.

So stay tuned, if you are still tuned in. Meg's True Adventures are still ongoing.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Forgotten Women

For some time, I've had Songs and Sweet Airs: Forgotten Women of Classical Music on my Amazon Wish List. Recently, I had the pleasure of borrowing it from the library, and I've been reading it over the last week. 

In premise, it may sound interesting to you--and it is. But there is one caveat. The author, Anna Beer, uses a lot of music theory-speak, which is fine by me, but may be confusing to anyone who doesn't know what strophic form means, or what a cantata is. 

That said, the main take-away I'm getting from this book is that I--feminist, musician, music teacher--am sorely lacking in knowledge of women in music history.

Sure, I learned about Hildegarde von Bingen, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Clara Schumann a little in college. But that's it. I've sung a few choral works by women composers here and there, but for the most part, my performing life has been filled with the works of men. 

I'm setting out to change that. I've been looking for reasons to blog more, and this is one way to do it: I will be searching out female composers and listening to their surviving works, documenting here what I learn of them. 

For a start, I leave this gem I've just found tonight on YouTube, by Germaine Tailleferre. I know nothing of her...yet.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Labor of Love

Today is Labor Day, so I enjoyed a nice lie-in while Popcorn repeatedly stepped on my breasts in an attempt to get breakfast at the usual time (Popcorn doesn't understand "weekends").


Eventually, I got up and gave the boys their wet food, and now I'm relaxing with a cup of tea.

As I perused Facebook, the story of Alex Wubbels, the Utah nurse who was unlawfully arrested for refusing to let a detective take blood from an unconscious patient, came across my feed again. I've been seeing it for several days now, and like everyone else, I was shocked and outraged at the treatment she received from the detective. She was doing her job, and not breaking any laws. The detective was, of course, completely in the wrong.

Her story has reminded many people of something that was driven home to me in a very personal way to me this summer. Nurses are amazing. Of course, you get the occasional Nurse Ratched...


...but as my mom lay in a hospital for nine days in July, prepping for and then recovering from surgery to remove a tumor from her colon, I learned anew why nurses are so important.

When Mom was moved out of the ICU to a regular room after her surgery, one of the nurses, upon seeing her, gave her a hug, a kiss on the cheek, and said, "I'm so happy to see you again!" She was always cheerful, always ready to help Mom with whatever she needed. Mom loved her, and it made a stressful situation more bearable to have someone who so obviously cares for her patients on hand during the recovery process.

The other nurses were just as fantastic--attentive, efficient, caring. When Mom was in the pre-op area, one of the surgical nurses came in to talk to her. He was inputting information on the computer and talking quickly, and I could tell Mom was unable to hear him well, without her hearing aids in. I (nicely) interrupted him and said, "Just FYI, Mom's hard of hearing..." He stopped, smiled, and said, "Well, then, I can do this over here." He pulled a chair up next to Mom and wrote information down on paper instead of inputting it at the computer.

The little things were nice, but I also found that the nurses were willing to do just about anything to ensure the well-being of their patients, and they are fierce advocates. When Mom was first admitted, we didn't have a set surgery date, so she was fasting well before she needed to. She was scared, confined to a hospital room, and uncertain of what was next, and meanwhile, her blood sugar was plummeting. Anxiety started to take hold. It was a nurse who called the doctor in charge over and over until she got through, and insisted to him that Mom be given something. Mom went on a liquid-only diet, but at least she got some needed calories.

Nurses work twelve-hour shifts, three days on, which, when you think about it, has to be exhausting. They are on their feet, they help lift patients in and out of bed, they clean up toilet messes, vomit, and goodness knows what else. They are yelled at by difficult patients, ordered around by tired families, and they take orders from busy doctors who bustle in and out. It is the nurses who truly know how their patients are faring, and it is nurses who are the first to advocate for those patients. To see Alex Wubbels quietly, firmly telling a police detective that she cannot and will not let him take blood from a patient because he did not have a warrant or patient consent should surprise no one.

Nurses work holidays, miss first days of kindergarten, comfort grieving families, patiently answer every question under the sun--or offer to get an answer from a doctor. They deal with bureaucratic red tape and doctors with superiority complexes. They are exhausted, frustrated, and yet they take a deep breath and walk into that patient's room with a smile and a calm demeanor, because they know that patients need reassurance and calm along with the pain meds and IV fluids.

I am, of course, in awe of Dr. P., Mom's surgeon, and Dr. D., her oncologist. Dr. P. did amazing work getting a grapefruit-sized tumor out of Mom's colon, and ensuring that everything went well. Dr. D. is an expert in oncology and every time Mom sees her, she leaves feeling reassured.

But it was the nurses who, every day, made Mom comfortable, helped her get to the bathroom, made sure her needs were met. So on this Labor Day, I'm thanking them, and all of the nurses who work so hard for their patients. Alex Wubbels is getting national attention, but I'm sure she'd be the first to agree that she is no different than any other nurse out there.


P.S. Mom is doing great. She's had two rounds of chemo, and the third is tomorrow. She's had a chemo rash that was pretty uncomfortable, and she naps every day because of the fatigue, but otherwise, she feels really good and her prognosis is good. She's still got her Fightin' Pants on, and she's still staying active in her social activities, as much as she can. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Fun With Cystitis

I woke up at 6:00 on Saturday morning to Popcorn peeing on my pillow.

Besides being an unpleasant way to wake up on a day you're supposed to be able to have a bit of a lie-in, it was also a problem because 1) Cat pee = stinky, and 2) Popcorn and Archie are both really, really good about using the litter box. Usually.

I gave it another day and nothing happened, but on Monday, he was leaking a bit of urine and straining to go potty when he didn't actually need to. So it was off to the emergency vet (because of course I don't notice that he needs a vet until all the main veterinary offices are closed) for a check, to rule out blockages.

Amazingly, I was not at all anxious, really, just ready to get him mended.

Fortunately, he has no blockages--which can be fatal in cats, and quickly. He does, however, have Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (crystals in the urine) and he needs a few days' worth of meds to help things along.

Popcorn is a sweet, adorable, loving cat who turns into a total hellion when you try to give him medicine.

Millie wasn't exactly a fan of taking meds, either, but at eight pounds, she was easy to subdue. Poppers is twelve pounds--a block of muscle. I've taken to mixing the more foul-tasting medicine into his tuna, which is working.

I've also sprayed my bed and my couch with anti-marking spray and so far, the bed has fared well. The couch got peed on today (sigh) while I was at work, but I managed to get it out and eliminate the smell.

Ain't pet ownership fun?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

39

Thirty-nine is the sum of consecutive primes (3 + 5 + 7 + 11 + 13).

It is the atomic number of yttrium.

There are three songs called "39," by The Cure, Tenacious D, and Queen.

There were thirty-nine signers to the United States Constitution.

Pier 39 is a famous tourist attraction in San Francisco. 





As of yesterday, I am 39 years old. Pushing forty, I suppose, but that doesn't really bother me. Age is a number, not a diagnosis. Besides, I've got a fantastic trip to The Netherlands planned as my 40th birthday present...though I'll be going closer to my "half birthday" than to my actual birthday!

I had a great birthday. I woke up to a text from my parents--a video of them singing Happy Birthday to me from their recliners over their morning coffee. I had a bit of a lie-in with Da Boyz (which was lovely after the fun-but-hectic first week back at school). Sarah texted me asking if she could take me to lunch, so we agreed on the Cheesecake Factory, where we ate...a lot. I had the salted caramel cheesecake, which was heavenly. And Sarah, of course, had notified the wait staff before I got there that it was her friend's birthday. 

Archie, bird-watching.

Popcorn, on my shoulder, makes me happy...

All that gooey salted caramel. YUM.

This is 39.

Sarah had a hot fudge sundae.

Thank you, Sarah!!

After lunch, I did a bit of shopping in the Galleria. I needed a few work items and found some slacks, a darling plaid skirt, and some great blouses. I also found the t-shirt below, so of course I bought it, and yes, I will wear it to work (on Casual Fridays).


After that, I went to Mom and Dad's, and they took me out for Thai food at a place I like in Lincoln. Though I wasn't overly hungry, I had some room by then, though I had plenty of leftovers for today and didn't eat another bite of anything once I got home!

Throughout the day, I followed the news from Charlottesville, Virginia, with a heavy heart. It's horrifying to me that in the year 2017, we still have people who believe that the white race is genetically superior (though looking at some of the pictures of people who believe this, carrying their Polynesian-origin tiki torches, one wonders just what their definition of "superior" is...). 

All in all, my birthday was quite satisfying on the home front, however, and I am blessed to have so many lovely friends who called and texted throughout the day. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Year in Casa Meg (and Thirteen Years of Blogging)

Thirteen years ago today, I started this Little Pink Blog, and it has seen me through many adventures...England, Washington, living in California, visiting Canada, The Epic Week, fostering the Peanuts Gang, going to Arizona, the lives and losses of Harley and Millie, and, of course, the addition of Da Boyz a few months ago.

I have revisited my beloved London (finally), donned my Fightin' Pants for Mom, and, one year ago today, I took possession of a 900 square-foot condo that had been home to ten guinea pigs, a chinchilla, and a dog...as well as three adult-sized humans.

A year ago today, I walked into an empty condo with my parents and said, "Mind you, it needs a lot of love, but...here it is!" I'm glad that at least their first time seeing it was when it was empty, because had they seen it with the tenants in, they'd have run screaming.

Believe me, I was questioning why I wasn't running screaming.

It took about six weeks to make the place livable--mostly because I had to work with the schedules of the guys I hired to paint and install the new floors. The cleaning took several days, and the moving was kind of done in chunks--one big move with a hired crew for all the large items, but the rest coming in small trips in Sylvie the 3 from my parents' house.

I lived about a month without a couch, and several months with a tiny TV on one of my night stands, but finally, things started coming together. From that first time I walked into what was officially my condo to now, the changes have been astounding. It feels so much lighter and roomier than it did those first two times I saw it. A year in, I can say with all honesty that I love my little home, with its quirks and improvements, my balcony garden, and the two ginger dudes who leave cat hair everywhere and overflow my life with love.

So there's nothing left to say, just pictures to share.

The sliding glass door was open, hence one billowing curtain.

Mom and Dad got a new TV and gave me their old one, which suits me just
fine. :) 

My office. 

Yes, that is a large inflatable donut. I use it to float in the complex pool on
hot days.


I bought inexpensive covers for the sofa cushions, in colors that match my decor.







Evening with Da Boyz.


Getting blinds made this place so much classier. 

I love my couch. I love my wall gallery. Love, love, love.

This is My Spot. 

Looking out through the window.


Inexpensive pitcher, silk flowers...shot of pretty color
in a black-and-gray living room.

My new dishwasher is so nice. So quiet. So lovely.

The view from the kitchen. 

My main bathroom. 




The top of my dresser, and two pieces of art by Yours Truly.

I have told the boys about their late sister. I'll never forget her.

The pillows are usually stacked like that, and yes, they are perfect for dozing.

So this is how you manage two litter boxes in a 900 square-foot condo. They're
in the tub of the second bathroom, given privacy by the curtain. I keep a six-inch
gap for the boys to get in and out. I scoop every day. This pic was taken after
I completely emptied, washed, and refilled both boxes.
My sweet little garden.


Archie

Popcorn