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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on Yesterday at 08:29:17 PM »
This is going to be a short update because I’m running on fumes after a crap night’s sleep last night.  I was awake until about 3, but I didn’t take anything because I’ve had it with pills.  Hopefully I’ll do better tonight, since there’s stuff I need to get done tomorrow, including what I hope will be my last post-op appointment.

I decided against going any farther than the bill box today.  I’d probably have enough walkies for a short shopping trip today and the two-bus-each-way trip to the doctor tomorrow, but I figured it would be smarter not to take any chances.  Among other things, I want to do everything I can to ensure that tomorrow’s appointment will be the last, which means as much rest and recovery time for the foot as possible.  As it is, I’ll be cheating and not wearing the boot all the way there.  Hopefully I won’t be wearing it at all on the way home.

One thing I did accomplish was getting in touch with the condo office about the misspelling of my name on the label beside our door buzzers.  Property manager Shirley invited me to use the label maker to fix it.  I asked when would be good for me to stop in, explaining that I’m recovering from foot surgery and want to be sure she’ll be there before I start watching.  No response.  So I just removed the mistaken labels and called it good for today.

The delivery that should have been in yesterday’s mail is now scheduled for some time between today and Thursday.  Today didn’t happen.  There is no longer any tracking information, so I get to wait and hope.  Go Amazon.
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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 07, 2023, 08:38:29 PM »
Last night I was out like the proverbial light shortly after going to bed at 11  However, I must have needed lots of sleep because, other than a brief pitstop, I had no trouble sleeping until almost 8.  Even then I was in no hurry to get up.  I have been even more stuffed up than usual, so maybe I’m fighting a cold or something. ‘Tis the season for colds brought on by temperature changes.

I went shopping!  It was just to Target, and it ended up being a lot less time on my feet than Sunday was, but still, shopping!  By myself!  I restocked on half & half and ice cream, both of which I was completely out of as of this morning's coffee, and I picked up some Aspercreme, which is a topical lidocaine cream, to see if it would help with my foot.  (It does, somewhat.) 

While I was there, I got more glucosamine/chondroitin supplement pills even though I'm nowhere near out of them.  This quarter I'm getting 5% rewards on one of my credit cards for whatever I get at  Target, so I decided to take advantage of that and the fact that the pills were in stock, which they aren't always.  I meant to look for more bread, but I forgot.  I won't be out until after Friday breakfast, so depending on how the foot feels after my appointment on Thursday, I might get off the bus one stop early and shop then, or I might wait until Friday or even over the weekend.  I could ask James, but I'd rather do it myself because sometimes I'll luck into something I like the sound of but he wouldn't think I'd like.

It was raining lightly while I walked to and from Target, but by the time I went out to the bill box, we had some actual sun.  According to the forecast, it will be sunny on Thursday, when I'll be standing out at bus stops, but I can't help thinking that's too good to be true.

I keep seeing TV commercials for the bunion surgery I had.  It’s called lapiplasty, and it’s being described as new even though what I had 15 years ago was mostly the same.  Hard to believe Thursday’s appointment should be my last.  I'm nowhere near fully healed yet, but if I'm done with the doctor side of things, at least that helps me believe there will be an end in sight at some point.
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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 06, 2023, 06:23:14 PM »
This is going to be a short update because I’m felling a fair amount below 100%.   Last night the foot hurt enough that I took an acetaminophen along with one of the pills intended to improve the pain killing.  I'd done that before, but this time I woke up with what I think was a pill hangover.  Even though it had been about nine hours since I took the pills, I was feeling lousy enough that I went back to bed for a bit.  That helped, but I'm still kind of groggy. 

I've decided to postpone going out again until tomorrow, when I'll be out of both half & half and ice cream.  I'll only need to go across the street, so that should be fine.  While I’m there, I might pick up some Aspercreme or something similar.  I’d like to be able to anesthetize the foot without putting pills into my system.

James came home way early because his insides were rebelling.  I said he should go to bed, which seemed reasonable to me, but he refused and instead sat on the couch and slouched/leaned over so he was almost in my space.  I told him again to go to bed and started moving my stuff around so I could sit with my feet up.  He decided it was time for a floor nap.  Maybe an hour later he finally decided to go to bed, and he's been there since.  I guess it had to be his idea.

The closest I came to productive was doing the balance transfer to pay the credit card that’s at the same bank as my checking account.  At least the website has gone back to recognizing my Firefox as a valid browser.  It started getting picky for no reason, and now it’s stopped, also for no reason.  Whatever works.
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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 05, 2023, 08:56:43 PM »
Firefly the regular TV way never did come back.  I ended up moving myself, my laptop, and an adult beverage upstairs.  When James got home, he tried and failed to find a way to fix or work around the problem.  We’ll probably get stuck running a cable between the TV and one of our laptops, just like upstairs, which is really not what I was hoping for.  Also, there’s a lot of stuff in front of the TV and on the shelf below it, and getting the cable set up without knocking a bunch of it over will be a challenge.  Theoretically it’s a smart TV, but the browser part is almost unusably slow.

The adult beverage helped me get a good night’s sleep, at least until about 6am.  Interestingly, James, who crashed on the couch again, found himself in the same boat.  After he made a quick pitstop, the cats yelled at them, so he fed them before he went back to sleep.  That didn’t stop them from lying to me about poor starving cats when I got up at shortly after 8.  Silly beasts.  I managed to eat breakfast even though my insides were kind of unsettled, and then I hit the road for the acting thing.

I got to where I was going to be picked up extremely early – even earlier than I’d anticipated because what must have been the train before the one I was aiming at pulled into the station right after we got there.  There was a New Seasons market diagonally across the street, so I went over there, used their restroom, and spent almost half an hour browsing their shelves.  I saw a few interesting things, but nothing I was willing to pay their prices for or carry around for the rest of the day. 

By the time I finished that, it was only slightly too early to let organizer Colin know I was ready for him to pick me up.  He turned out to be quite a bit older than I was expecting, which I don’t call a bad thing.  I’ve worked with some awesome young filmmakers, but most of them haven’t been all that. 

The acting thing itself was a lot of fun.  The premise was that we were the voices of the spirits of sacrificial victims who lingered on in a forest and made droning/chanting sounds.  To keep it interesting, the organizer used playing cards to give us ways to vary our droning.  The diamonds were for conformists who tried to match the people around them, the spades were for rebels who tried to be different from the people around them, the clubs were for stubborn mules who tried to stick to what they were doing, and the hearts were for free spirits who did whatever they felt like vocally. 

We did a bunch of 3-4 minute recordings, changing cards and locations within the semicircle around the mikes - there were 10 of us - as well as some other specific instructions, like one round where some of us droned at the top of our vocal range and others droned at the bottom of theirs.  The guy who let us use his basement is also active in the local filmmaking scene, and he's supposed to get in touch and let me know when and where people are getting together.  This summer Colin will be making a short kind of teaser film for the full-length version he's aiming at making in a couple of years, and he might be calling on me for a part in that.

It's good to be back in slippers after a long few hours in shoes.  Most of the shoe time was in places that were on the cold side, which worked out to my benefit by reducing the amount the foot swelled, but it still turned into a lot for the first time in almost two months that I went outside the complex for anything other than a post-op appointment.  Colin was kind enough to give me a ride all the way home, which made the end of the outing a lot more pleasant.

Now that I’ve demonstrated to my own satisfaction that I can do a reasonable amount of walking and standing, I’ll start planning some more limited excursions.  For example, tomorrow I’d like to go to Target for a few things, including more ice cream.  Hopefully they’ll have my flavor in the lowest-price brand I favor.  The next time I eat some, that will finish off the current container, and I don’t want to be completely without even if it’s technically not ice cream season.
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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 04, 2023, 08:52:09 PM »
Last night was another sketchy-sleep night, so I don’t know how much of an update I’ll manage.  Not that I have a lot to update about.

It was laundry day, which was facilitated by James crashing on the couch last night.  I hope he didn’t stay down there because his snoring got so loud a couple of nights ago, even though when he asked, I specifically told him he didn’t need to stay downstairs.  Besides, with all the white cat activity, his noise wouldn’t have disturbed me because I was already disturbed.  Anyway, he produced a bunch more stuff barely in time for the second load.  I’m glad he made it.  With what he added on top of what else will be in the hamper box by next Saturday, it would probably have gone to three loads, which would have taken forever.

Today's foot progress is switching from the floppy all-felt slippers to my regular ones.  The design is like ballet slippers, but the uppers are made from stretchy fabric, and the soles are harder and have less traction.  They definitely feel different, but not uncomfortably so.  I've been busy with things that involved getting up off the couch, but fortunately when the time came to hit the bill box, I found that not having my feet up didn’t have much effect on the way the outdoor shoe fit.

I’ve been spending most of the day watching a Firefly marathon.  Annoyingly, part way through Xfinity lost its connection.  I’ve switched to watching on my laptop by streaming, but I’m thinking about moving upstairs to a real TV.  It hasn’t yet been two hours, and I’m hoping that the connection will come back before I get totally fed up with not being able to do anything else, computer-wise, while I watch.
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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 03, 2023, 08:32:19 PM »
I don’t know how much of an update this is going to be.  I had another sucky night’s sleep last night, but I decided not to surrender to the call of the pill.  I got to sleep eventually, and woke up just in time to beat James to the bathroom.  He’d have come and gone first, but he got up late in spite of the cats yelling at him.

Sleep is such an uncertain thing these days.  I think that's a good sign, depression-wise, because when I'm depressed, what I want to do most is sleep.  I'll have to see what happens as I get closer to being able to do all the walking I want, so I can go out and do more stuff.  Hopefully that won't just speed up my metabolism and give me more energy, and therefore more trouble sleeping.

I did some walking outside that I didn't absolutely have to.  I had something to go into the outgoing mail, so I made a special trip to the bill box.  I could have waited for James to take it, but I wanted it to go today for sure, and when James takes something, I have just a shadow of a doubt that he'll remember.  I've decided that I should have taxes taken out of my Social Security, just in case, and that was a form that had to be mailed.  It's less painful to lose that 7% up front than it would be to wind up owing because (at a guess) about 30% of our combined taxable income didn't have anything withheld.  Anyway, the hard part of the shoes is getting the front edge of the opening past the toe joint that had the most work done on it.  As long as I'm careful with that, the rest isn't so bad.

We started getting the rain that’s in the forecast for the next most of a week, on and off.  Fortunately I was able to find rainless times for both of my trips to the bill box.  Hopefully I’ll get that lucky on Sunday, which also has the drippy cloud notation.
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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 02, 2023, 08:17:32 PM »
Here comes a short update for one of those days.  A night that started out bad didn’t help.  When I tried to sleep, I was wide awake and full of energy, so I ended up taking a pill.  I'll be glad when I'm able to look forward to the possibility of being more active even if I still don't do as much as I could.  At this point I'm still staying in bed later than I need to based on when it gets light, simply because I don't feel any imperative to get up, and it's so nice and warm.

Taxes are done, and between federal and state, we'll be getting back almost $2,000.  I'm not 100% sure, but I think next year I'll be able to cut to the chase with my Social Security and simply do the calculation for how much of it is taxable based on the appropriate percentage.  I'll do it with their worksheet first, because it will be the first year when all I'm getting is Soc Sec, but if it works out the way I expect, I'll do it the easy way going forward.

The shoe went on a tad more easily, and I'm hoping it will continue to show signs of improvement as time passes.  I'm surprised how long it's taking for the incision to stop looking raw, though it is well placed to keep getting rubbed by whatever I happen to be wearing on the foot, and by the covers when I'm in bed.  So far I've remembered plies for another whole day.  Hooray for me.
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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 01, 2023, 08:31:45 PM »
Last night’s sleep wasn’t half bad, even with a bit of “help” from white cats.  I think spending my last couple of hours upstairs by myself watching that TV is helping me relax and get to sleep more easily.  I still have my evening bathroom routine to do, but by itself it doesn't wake me back up nearly as much as starting from downstairs.  When I go to bed at my usual 11, I tend to need a quick loo trip at about 4, but as long as the cats don't decide it's time to start yelling at me to feed them, I can get back to sleep.  This morning, oddly, I was almost ready to get up at 7:30.  I didn’t do it, but I was almost ready.

I put a chunk of today into getting ready to do taxes.  It's so freakin' complicated this year!  For some reason, having made a contribution to my IRA in addition to getting Social Security has added a whole layer of complexity.  The good news is that it should be a world easier starting next year - no more Oregon state taxes, just Social Security income for me, only one income statement for James... 

I got my last piece of tax-related paper in today's mail, and I think one piece of mail waiting for James is his, so I should be able to finish off the whole mess tomorrow.  I've already seen that the IRS, who strike terror into the hearts of everyone else, will be OK with catching any mistake I make, so I feel like I have a bit of a safety net.  There is a part of me that wants to throw up my hands and take it all to a professional, but I think I can resist the temptation.

Lunch today was one of the frozen portions of the string bean and sausage thing I made before I had surgery.  I ate the whole thing, which is more than I’ve had for lunch in quite a while.  We’ll see if I have any appetite for dinner.  If not, it can be lunch tomorrow.

I got into both shoes!  The right one was still quite a bit snugger than it should have been, but not too snug to be comfortable to walk in.  The hardest parts were getting it on and off because of the relative narrowness of the opening. 

The walk to and from the bill box was much easier without the heavy, unbendable weight.  Something isn't quite back to normal in the leg.  I'm guessing that being unable to flex the ankle for four weeks has affected the tendon that runs up the back of the leg, because it catches a bit when I walk, particularly down stairs.  My plan, if I remember - big if - is to do pliés in kind of a modified second position a couple of times a day until I feel them an equal amount in both legs.
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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on January 31, 2023, 07:21:17 PM »
Here comes a short update for yet another boring day.  I did start out fairly well rested, which was a plus.  Last night I dozed off several times in front of the TV, and I still dropped right off when I was ready to sleep.  That’s not always the case.  One of life’s petty frustrations is going to bed exhausted and still being unable to get to sleep.

This morning I did something I very rarely do because I hate to so much:  I threw out some food.  It was just a slice and a half of pizza that had dried out to the point that biting into it hurt the roof of my mouth.  Even the pepperoni was brittle.  It was time – possibly past time – but I really really hate wasting food.

In foot news, I got out to the bill box again.  Either I did a better job of fastening the boot or the foot is doing that much better than yesterday, but it’s a lot less sore than it was when I finished the trip yesterday.  I did ask James to pick up the pill refills I got notified about this morning, since I don’t think I have that much walkies in me yet, but that trip is easily four times as far – maybe five – as the one to the bill box.  Also the foot is even closer to fitting into the loose shoe.  If there’s as much difference again tomorrow, I should be able to put it on, even if it is still too snug to walk in comfortably.  Every little bit helps, both physically and psychologically.
10
Lysander's mother was dead.

His birth mother, he supposed, considering Oma had been more of a mother to him than Lisbeth ever was, but still. He had felt a complex confluence of feelings when he heard of the news of her passing in a letter.

The letter's author further complicated those emotions: Dorothea Pfeiffer... Lisbeth's daughter and Lysander's half-sister.

On some level, it made sense. His mother had been young when she returned to the village pregnant after her Munich trip. It didn't make any sense for her to not live a life after she left the village for the final time. But the fact that he had a half-sister... Lysander was overwhelmed by all the emotions he felt because of that information. He almost didn't know what to do with them. He spoke with August, because of course he did. He had been hoping for some sort of insight on how to sort all of this out, but his husband's experiences with re-meeting Ziggy after so many years of amnesia hadn't been terribly applicable. August always had a twin brother; he just forgot Ziggy for a few years. Lysander was forty-five and just now learning that Thea existed.

After speaking with August, he had gathered a group. His husband, his best friend, his grandparents, and his daughter. He had wondered if bringing Johanna into this was a bad idea, but ultimately, he decided to include her. His daughter was seventeen and gearing up for her own Munich trip. She was as much of an adult as he had been at that age, maybe more so. After filling everyone in on what he learned, Johanna had threatened to meet Thea in Oberammergau if her father didn't go, and while the other adults in the room hadn't offered up anything as drastic, they ultimately agreed with her. It would be good for Lysander to meet his sister.

Good for who, he had wondered at the time. Good for Johanna to have an aunt? Good for August so he didn't have to feel bad every time he went to visit Ziggy? Good for Oma and Opa who wanted any connection to their late daughter that they could get? Lysander wasn't entirely sure what he was going to get out of this meeting. It wasn't like he had a connection to Lisbeth. The only reason he even knew what she looked like was because Oma and Opa still had photographs from her childhood. Lisbeth had barely been a person to him, let alone family.

But those were the thoughts that he had in the middle of sleepless nights that he kept to himself. There really wasn't any harm in meeting Thea. She seemed lovely from her letters. Who said he had to get anything out of this connection other than meeting a nice woman? This didn't have to be about him. If Thea wanted to meet her family in the village, who was he to stand in her way?

Eventually he wrote back to Thea and confirmed that he was more than happy to meet her in Oberammergau, a small town near the base of the Alps. There was a café many villagers used as a meeting spot when bringing outsiders home, so he gave her the address and made arrangements to meet her there and lead her back to the village. When the day arrived, Lysander felt like a ball of anxiety. He was normally cool under pressure, but something about meeting family for the first time had knocked him off his axis.

Luckily, he made it to Oberammergau without splinching himself (he checked), and after stepping out of the alleyway near the café, he spied a short-haired woman in paint-covered overalls and boots standing across the street, just outside the coffee shop. He lingered for a moment, taking in his first sight of his half-sister, Dorothea Pfeiffer. He looked for similarities between him and her, the shape of her eyes or the way that she walked, anything that would visibly prove they were truly family, but he didn't find anything. Not yet anyway. Maybe by the end of this trip, he'd notice something.

Lysander looked both ways before crossing the street. As he arrived on the other side, he smiled.
"Thea?" he asked as he approached the woman he was pretty sure was his half-sister. "Hi. I'm Lysander." He started to extend a hand to shake hers, but he froze before he could get there. Was he supposed to greet his long lost half-sister with a handshake? A hug? Something else?

Yeah, this reunion was going to be awkward, there was no getting around that.
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