Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Before I write this post, I just want to say, I'd anticipated writing that I'd tried this cure, it sucked and was the worst idea ever, that the weirdos online who pimp it out are insane, should be horse-whipped for making the suggestion and ridden out of town on rails.

That was what I anticipated. What happened...well.

I have reflux. Only, in my case, the problem isn't that my stomach produces too much acid, so much as when I'm stressed out it squeezes itself so tightly that the acid (and anything else that happens to be in there at the time) is pushed up into my esophagus. I guess that top sphincter isn't quite as airtight as my yarntainer.

Since it's not really heartburn, I don't feel it. At least, I don't feel it as pain -- I get headaches, a runny nose and cough. Until the reflux irritates the esophagus so much that it then irritates the vagus nerve -- which irritates my heart, giving me palpitations and making my heart skip beats. Sound familiar?

So yesterday I was doing research on others with this condition and came upon a weird treatment: olive oil and lemon juice. Two tablespoons of the former, a splash of the latter. Just...pound it, like a shot of something you'd want to drink. I thought this sounded insane, like a recipe for more pain and aggravation. Oil and an acid? Who thought that was a good idea?

I laughed about this to my friend, who is herself suffering from a stomach at present (and a gallbladder, which is aggravating her stomach), and she said she'd read the same thing for people suffering from gallbladder troubles. I said I'd try anything if it stopped the stupid palpitations and skipped heart beats, so she gets her uber-high quality, extra virgin, fair traded and grown on family farms in Palestine olive oil and tells me to try it.

I can't resist a dare, so I did it. No lie, it's like drinking your own room temperature spit, but it works. Like heck and darn that shit works. My stomach felt like it was lined with lead, and I was belching EVOO, but that's an improvement over belching fire. I took two doses this morning, and tonight I actually ate dinner and have had only a handful of skipped beats (usually when I forget myself and slouch) and no palpitations.

Dear God, who'd have thought it? Olive oil and lemon juice. Color me boggled.

I will do two shots a day for the next week. Hopefully, that will help my poor inflamed nerve settle properly. Poor, poor vagus nerve, it just wants to do its job and be left in peace, and look how badly I treat it!

It's a nasty cure, to be certain, but I think I deserve it for the shabby way I treat myself sometimes. Stress, poor eating habits, ignoring the headaches and runny nose... I deserve the oil and lemon. And probably a good flogging, besides.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oh, good gravy.

I tried to buy a multi-vitamin today, something to help boost me up as I'm thinking I might just be a bit run down from all this driving in my car to get to another building so I can sit on my a$$ all day, typing. Buying vitamins is a trial for me, due to my food allergy. It's amazing the things they can find to put soy in (flavored bottled water? Really?), and vitamins...sigh. Particularly women's formulations -- they just love cramming soy down the throats of women, don't they?

So I hie me to the health food store and hunt down my usual brand. Which has now changed it's base formula, which means it now no longer states in the allergen info that it doesn't contain soy. The only brand I can find is massively more expensive, but has an allergen free guarantee -- it's free of the Big 8 (cow’s milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat), and they test at the factory for bad proteins. Still and all...vitamins. And I am run down.

Thankfully, I still have an old bottle of the vitamins I used to take. I'm ok for about a month and then I will have to invest. Gah.

Aside from vitamin issues, I've been thinking about getting back into shape again. I realized how weak I've gotten in the past few years. It's been ages since I worked out (well, I walk, but that's more for my circulation and sanity than physical fitness), and I'm starting to feel it. My singing voice is falling out of tune because my core is so weak. Since I hear a rumor my college choir director is getting the band back together next spring, and I love singing choral music, I have to get my abs back into fighting trim.

The problem is that it has been so long since I worked out, I've forgotten how it goes! I guess I'll have to start simple -- bicep curls, a few Pilates moves for the abs, squats -- until that gets too easy and I need something more complex. I figure that will be part of what I do to keep myself busy when my temp gig runs out -- maybe at the end of the next week. I'm not really sure as no one's told me yet what's going on. Alas. I could use some more free time, and maybe a return to the 7 am wake up hour. This getting up at 5:45 is for the birds. If I ever have a kid, that kid is sleeping in until at least 8. I'll benedryl them into submission if I must.

But as they say your fitness goals should be measurable and specific, here's mine: I want to do 10 push ups. Standard ones, not the girly "oh, you've only got a quarter of the upper body strength of a guy" ones. I'll let you know how that goes.

Speaking of kids, remember the massive clover plants of my last (ancient) post? Well, they've borne flowers:

You can't tell much by that picture, can you? So here's another one:

The little one at the bottom is a regular clover flower. The Monster Clover plant put out flowers at least twice the size of average clovers. I love it. Ginormous clovers. It's like all the best parts of spring mushed up and forced to bloom in a cluster of gigantic, creamy goodness!

If I had a lawn to call my own (heh, like that's liable to happen ever) I'd only have non-mowing plants. You know, those low-growing violets and clovers and other small ground cover that's way prettier than grass and a lot less maintenance. I'd try to get my clovers to grow massive and scary like these clovers did, and produce huge globes of soft happy, just because I could.

Show me a person who hates clover in their yard, and I'll show you someone with no soul. No soul, I tell you!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I was going to post a picture of the project I'm working on now...

but it's a gift, and I don't know if the intended recipient reads this blog or not. So....

Look at this massive clover I found!

Seriously, this patch had insanely huge leaves. Just look how it dwarfs my over-grown man-hand thumbs:

I love clover flowers, though, so I think I'll go back by in a week or two, see if the flowers are monstrous, too. Enough to make a body wonder what's under the soil just there. And since I know the neighborhood well, I'm not going to do any test pits. You know. Just in case there is something there that I don't really want to know about.

To give you a taste of the 'hood's flavor, here's a shot of one section of sidewalk:

Actually, that's the sidewalk leading up to the monster clover patch. But doesn't it just scream Ask me no questions, I won't stab you repeatedly and dissolve you in an acid bath to get rid of the evidence before the coppers arrive?

In the knitting news, I've been working on a gift project. It's helped me recover some of my knitting mojo, which had taken a huge hit in the past two weeks. Since I've been working in an office, I've been catching up on my infectious diseases rota -- first it was a sinus thing, then it was my vertigo again, now I seem to have caught my mother's cholera. Look it up if you're curious. I warn you, it may be TMI. It is TMI, no 'may be' about it. Sorry. But, you know, optional. Google at your own risk.

Anyway, I didn't go to my second volunteer gig today (the archives) due to my extreme "tired of this shit"ness, and came home to do a quiet afternoon of rest. I sit for an hour, then needed to go to the store for Vitamin Water Zero, lemon flavor (seriously, my aunt said it and I thought she was delusional, but when you have the vertigo, drink one or two of these things -- it really makes the spinning stop) (in a good way). I am at the mall, buying fresh war paint at Sephora when I get a call from my mother that I have to take the Phew to baseball. Fine, says I, I can do that. I'll pick him up after I go to the grocery. I head that way and am making my way through the produce (lettuce and tomato for tacos) when I get another call. Nieceling's car has run out of gas; can I get the gas canister and take her some precious, precious hydrocarbons?

Long story made short: My quiet afternoon was not to be. I didn't get home until after 6. My brother got home and took his son to baseball, I rescued the girl and all was made right with the world. But I still haven't gotten to do as much knitting and sitting on my butt as I'd have liked. And tomorrow is a long shift at the temp office (8 hours; not a killer shift, but still. Long.)

At least there's nothing doing this weekend. Yet. God knows what car troubles we have in store for us. All we can do is pray they are not severe, are cheap to repair and quick to fix.

There's a saying to the effect that there are no athiests in foxholes, and I can only say that can also be applied to owners of old cars as well, particularly owners of old cars who live in large cities with crap bus service.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pimp My Cluedo

Oh, yeah, baby.

Whatcha think? I'm pretty chuffed. I mean, the box itself is sloppy, but with a little bit of deco duct tape and a complete lack of concern for archival properties of your materials and you can make the thing turn out!

To be precise, I used these:

Duct tape in what the label called "Lace Vegas" (yeah, right) and a roll of contact paper in nearly matching black and white scrollwork flowers. The tape was to make the box square (you don't want to know the pressures some of those sides labor under) and the contact paper was to do this:

back my cards. They're printed on photo paper (which I will, eventually, laminate to protect the surface from scratches) and you can see through them. So I plopped them down on the contact paper, face up, and trimmed them out. I figure the pattern suits the semi-Victorian feel of the new Sherlock.

I went ahead and backed my weapon tokens and the little colored blots they give you for in case you decide you don't want to steal the pieces out of another Clue game to play, too. Trimmed and tucked up in the bunged-up box -- considering how poorly suited to the task the board I used is, I'm amazed it hangs together at all -- and the thing actually looks halfway good. Makes all the work I put into a properly made box feel a bit...overdone.

I actually had to make a...I don't know what to call it, but the lid was too large by about a half an inch in one direction. So I had to take two strips of board, tape them sideways (which together equals 1/2 inch) and then tape them into the lid of the box to make it fit properly on the bottom. I figure that's neither here nor there, considering I'm only doing this to keep my pirated version of Cluedo safe from kitty claws. I'm not handing this down to posterity.

Heck, grip it too hard and it crumples. I'll be lucky if I'm not making a new one in a year. If I do, though, I'm using better board. Seriously, this crap was torture to work with. It was like trying to build a model of the Golden Gate Bridge out of play dough.

In other news, I've had a very busy weekend so far. Went to a play last night. Not a play I'd normally attend, given my druthers, but it was pretty good. And the sheer wall of sound generated by a gospel choir with a back-up band shifted some of the swelling in my sinuses, relieving the vertigo I'm experiencing at present. If I'd known all it took was a huge drum kit and bass guitar to get that crap to shift, I'd have been playing Parliament's greatest hits at volume. Maybe some disco, too. That's got bass backing it up.

I also took a pet CPR and first aid class today. Tip for anyone out there thinking of taking the same class: Do not be kind or gentle with the creepy dog dummy that looks more like a decaying bear than any sort of dog. Well, come to that, don't be too gentle or kind when performing compressions on a real dog; you've got to push from your shoulder to get proper compression on the heart, which is apparently a slippery little devil in their chests and must be firmly spanked. But, yeah, from the shoulder, not the elbow, unless -- like me -- you want to be unable to close your hand properly for several hours. My forearm is sore.

I hope I am not rendered unable to knit by this injury. I need to get working on a gift for a friend, and I can't take the time to recover from repetitive CPR injury! Although I will confess, it was worth taking the class if only because we got to practice putting splints and bandages on a particularly compliant bulldog. I had to giggle at what we must have looked like -- I had the impression of two little girls, done with playing lame tea deciding to pretend to working in the trauma room of the ER, bandaging gang members, getting harassed by handsome cops who think we hear things in recovery, and maybe marrying doctors who we then divorce to become glamorous divorcees who go to parties and drink grown up drinks like martinis while wearing long gloves with sequins.*

No? Just me then.

Poor dog. I'd have felt sorrier for him if I hadn't thought he was secretly enjoying the attention!

*It's entirely possible that I watched too much television as a child.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Where I've been and what I've been doing.

I've been trying  to make a box for my Sherlock: Unofficial Cluedo set. Not working well. When I'm done with it (probably tomorrow), I'll post you a picture so you can see how sad my box making skills have gotten. Days were, I could knock one or two out an hour -- allowing for glue-drying time.

Then again, to cut myself some slack, I'm using sub-par materials. You can't expect a DaVinci using water-soluble markers and a little bit of mud, can you?

I've also cut the heck out of my aunt's card table. I hope she doesn't want it back.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Nerd Queen, Redux

I have the best friends:

Yes, that is the unofficial Sherlock Cluedo set, as created by this incredibly talented tumblr person. That and one of my knitting coven ladies has a husband who works for a graphics company. My board is on foam backing. Swanky.

Here's a close up of the cards and stuff:

Now my Clue/Cluedo collection is complete: I've got the art gallery Clue, Harry Potter Clue, Classic Clue and mid-90s Clue.

Why, yes, I do love playing Clue. Why do you ask? Seriously, though, it's my favorite game. I think I'm going to build a box for my Sherlock Cluedo and put it on the shelf with the rest of my Clue collection (I looooove Clue, have I mentioned that?) And play it, on occasion, because why have a bunch of Clue games if you aren't going to play with them?

Maybe I need to get out a little more.

In other news, there is very little. I re-watched Midnight in Paris again, and was once again nearly brought to tears at the realization that someone out there (Woody Allen, in particular) gets it and can express what it really is to be a writer. While watching it, I realized why I failed so hard at the writing group concept -- I don't want a critique group (I can dissect my words faster and with less kindness than anyone), I need more of  a support group. Somewhere I can go and get reassurance that yes, what I'm going through is normal for a writer, and I shouldn't let it worry me overmuch.

Everyone in the writer's group wanted to critique and be critiqued all the time and wanted to limit the talking time. Editors were invented to tell you why your work is crap and how it has to be re-written, I want a group of creative people (because, let's be honest, as Hemingway said via Woody Allen, writers are competitive -- so I'm not sure it's entirely wise to surround myself exclusively with writers) who can sit around and kvetch about the creative process, how fickle the Muses are and how helpless we are in the face of our creations which will, when all is said and done, be what they will be whether we want them to go that way or not. Like children.

It's not that a critique group can't be useful, I just don't think it's particularly so for me. Your mileage may vary.

So, anyway. That's what my week's been like. At least I haven't woken up to burning plastic again (that was our motor, by the way, melting into a lump -- it's been replaced, at cost, because the tech was out the day before it melted and didn't find the problem then.) There's something to be said for that.