Moonlight Scotch Broom plants were on sale at the local nursery and, since there was one on the property when I got it (way overgrown, but did not make the move from the patio area to the side yard) I thought it might be nice to have a new one -- in the side yard, as originally intended.
The hole digging went much more smoothly than I expected, so now I'm enjoying one of my birthday presents (bought with a gift card): Family Guy: Star Wars Trilogy. I'm not generally a Family Guy fan* but it is really good (especially the first one, Blue Harvest).  I highly recommend it to any Star Wars fan.  (And for any of my friends, you're welcome to borrow mine.  :)

*I once dated a guy who disliked South Park because of Cartman, but loved Family Guy. I, on the other hand, dislike Family Guy because of Peter, but love South Park. The humor of this was not lost on me, as both are extremely similar, boorish and unpleasant. 


Me and Work

Last weekend, I did an experiment about working first, then playing later. It worked in the sense that I got lots done (and needed to). It also confirmed for me that my internal rhythm does not suit that particular saying. I worked the entire weekend and did not actually get any "play" because of several factors:
- If I am "on a roll" and getting somewhere on my neverending to-do list, I won't stop because of some arbitrary stopping point. This is why I work late during the week and why I rarely go into work early. My most productive time is in the afternoon, so it's hard for me to stop working during that time.
- I have a strong habit of needing to "finish" a task before I stop. This often manifests as needing to finish the chapter or a scene before putting a good book down, finishing a knitting row or sequence before putting knitting down, finishing a task at work before stopping for the day, etc.
This, paired with my morning attention patterns:
- I'm often late for work because I get distracted and start emptying the dishwasher (which, of course has to be finished before I leave), reading an article in a magazine, taking out the trash, etc.
- The above distraction at work as well makes it difficult to get a lot accomplished in the morning. I'm checking my email, catching up on what I missed online at the end of the day before, etc. (I rarely get online in the evenings anymore. It really screws with my bedtime.)

The conclusion is, I'm not going to feel guilty anymore that I play first and work later. Life is too short to fight your inner nature, and as long as I get stuff accomplished sometime and it doesn't negatively affect others, who cares when I get it done?


A Case for a Hermitage

1. When you are a hermit, no one comes to your house, so they don't see the cat hair on the couch or the drips of spaghetti sauce on the stove top or the crumbs on the counter and think "TSK. Doesn't she ever tidy this place?"

2. When you are a hermit, you don't see anyone, so they don't look at your clothes and your hair and think "TSK. There's a stain on the collar of his shirt. And his hair is much too long. Would it kill him to get a haircut?"

3. When you are a hermit, you don't interact with anyone, so you don't have to be afraid of accidentally offending someone or hurting someone's feelings, as if you were some sort of lumbering cave troll who backs into someone's favorite heirloom vase and sends it tumbling to its doom.

4. When you are a hermit, you don't tell anyone what you do, so you can spend your time as you really honestly like. If you feel gardening that day, you can spend the whole day covered in dirt. If you feel like sitting in the sun reading a book, you can do that without someone thinking, "What a lazy bum. Doesn't she know there is grass to be mown, weeds to be pulled, leaves to be raked and plants to be watered?"

When you are a hermit, you are insulated from judgment. Sure, the people in the town 40 miles away, where you go to get supplies think, "Strange old duck. Half the marbles have rolled away," but they only think that on the day you go into town, every 3 months or so. And the rest of the time, you're free to be yourself.


More Hobbity Goodness

I swear, this is not going to become a Hobbit Blog. Eventually, when my knee is better, we'll get back to pictures of tasty food, camping trips, maps of motorcycling trips, etc. But for now, I'm (quite literally) sick and tired and will post a cool link instead of saying something pithy.

Hey, look at this cool link for some beautiful Russian illustrations of The Hobbit! I love the furry legs on Bilbo and Smaug is gorgeous. I'm pretty sure the dwarves would object to being depicted like something out of Snow White, but the simplicity of the drawings is lovely.


Hobbity Goodness

Filming has begun on The Hobbit! SQUEEEEE!!

When I heard Martin Freeman had been selected to play Bilbo, it seemed the perfect choice.
The director, Peter Jackson, said Freeman was born to play the role. "He is intelligent, funny, surprising and brave, exactly like Bilbo, and I feel incredibly proud to be able to announce that he is our Hobbit."

It thrills me silly to think that they have made such a good start. (Granted, they've been having other troubles up to this point.) A good start on the translation of the story is what I mean.

I'm not sure how much I'm going to follow the production. I love knowing how movies are made, but I usually see that stuff after I watch the movie. Here are a couple spots to follow the news:
The Hobbit (movie) website
The One Ring dot Net

And finally, for your entertainment, click here for an interesting comparison of production promotion photos from the LotR movies and the Hobbit movies. Taken a decade apart. :)



Surgery Update

Well, that wasn't a particularly successful "thread." It turned out that feeling crappy and having to lounge far enough back that my knee is above my heart is a pretty good deterrent for getting online.
Here's the update:
It's almost two weeks after the surgery. I initially had a bad reaction to Percoset and was switched to Vicodin, but even the milder side effects of that were intolerable to me. A week after surgery I ditched the pain meds in favor of ice and Tylenol. I'd resort to a drink if it were a particularly hard day.
I've been doing PT for the last 9 days. It took me a bit to figure out how to work in 3 one-hour (45 min. exercising, 15 min. icing) PT workouts into my schedule, but I think I've managed it. I just got back from my second PT appointment and while I've got good range of motion, I've got to continue to work on it and I've got to concentrate on maintaining a good, natural heel-toe motion when walking. Tough to do with a brace and a crutch, but I'll work on it.
I slept all the way through the night last night... Yippee! Actually, yesterday was a good day. I worked from home (went in to work the day before) and had my knee iced and elevated most of the day. The swelling had gone down considerably and I was in less pain.
Today, not so great, as I am out and about and not being able to be as diligent, but... oh well.

I'll update this post later after my appointment with the surgeon in about an hour...


Surgery Thread

This story will be told in installations, as I am too tired for long term computer use today.

Yesterday afternoon, I had my first real surgery, with IVs and anesthesia and whatnot. It was surgery to replace my ruptured ACL and to trim back torn pieces of my miniscus.
The process went very smoothly and all the nurses and doctors were funny and professional at the same time. I wasn't hungry all morning, since I had stuffed myself with pad thai the night before. When they took me into the surgery room, I lay down on the bed and they laid wonderfully warm blankets on me. The anesthesiologist (a very funny guy who also volunteers to help poor children in Guatemala) started applying sensors to my body and said something about me feeling a sensation when the anesthesia starting to enter my bloodstream, and then... nothing. I woke up from what seemed like a deep sleep (I think I even had weird dreams) in a strange room. Oh, yeah, I thought, I had surgery today. It was the recovery room, of course. I have to admit, it feels very weird to think of being unconscious and people doing thins to me and my body without my direct knowledge.
From what I hear, I was very pale coming out of surgery, but my color gradually returned as the time progressed. My mum was able to come in and sit with me both in pre-op and in the recovery room. Stacey also came by and helped by keeping my mum company and then helping us by leading the way back home. (Thank you, dear Stacey!)
So far, I've done a lot of sleeping and taking pain pills on a schedule. Mum made a yummy barley, mushroom, and parsnip soup and plying me with yummy eats like sauteed Portabella mushrooms on toast. I've been drinking water pretty constantly (I was going to the bathroom every 3 hours last night) and have been getting handier with the crutches.
So, every side effect but one have been minimized. I'm not nauseous and the pain is well managed, but I get tired very easily. In fact, I feel another nap coming on.

Later, a description of how I got the injury, what the surgeon did and how she fixed it.

Thank you, everyone, for your help and support!


Double Take

Here's an interesting website for the graphic designers in my acquaintance:

Copycat Covers

Not only similar covers -- nearly identical ones! Tells me there are too many books being published or two many artists not being hired.


The Approaching Cliff

I've been at work both days this weekend and have realized why I'm actually looking forward to my knee surgery. It's because for good or for bad, this pace of work will STOP. Granted, part of the reason for this pace of work is because of the impending surgery. There's a reason my house gets dirty and cluttered when I'm busy and this time, it can't. It can't because dirt and clutter that accumulates before the surgery will be there for weeks after it.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to the change. I know it's not a vacation, but with the right preparation, it can be a welcome lull in my life.


Shrinking or Just Wrong?

A couple decades ago, I would have sworn on a stack of Bibles that I was 5'-8". Then, a few years ago, Krissy and I were fooling around with measuring our heights and I discovered I was really 5'-7".  I have to admit that though I made the mental change and stated the more accurate height when asked, I didn't really believe it. Must be some kind of mistake! Yesterday, decided to check again. Yup, I am definitely only 5'-7" (less at the end of the day).
So, my question is... did I shrink already, or was I just wrong the whole time?
The things we ponder in the night.


Tucked In Tight

The forcast is for snow, and lots of it.
With such forewarning, I was able to plan to bring some work home with me and to get done some things that needed to be done in the office (couldn't be done at home). That, of course, meant I stayed late at work (after going in early, too!), but when things need to get done, they need to get done.
Even though it was late-ish, I decided I could also get some shopping done. In less than one hour, I stopped at four stores, got exactly (or nearly so) what I wanted. First stop: Target - which did not have the footie pyjamas I wanted for my convalescence, but I ended up getting some pretty pyjama pants and some groceries, so "mission partially accomplished." Second stop: Costco - got in under the wire (8:24, closing at 8:30) and bought enough chicken for catfood for a couple months. Third stop: Home Depot - asked the guy bringing in the carts for directions and he pointed me directly towards the de-icing salt (not the ideal kind, but [shrug]). Fourth stop: Petsmart for dry catfood, not really needed right NOW, but will be in a week or so. I would have made a fifth stop - the ATM - within that hour timeframe, but there were orange cones in front of it, which I took to mean (from a distance) that it was out of order. Whirlwind shopping trip, but I felt incredibly accomplished after that.  :)

The chicken for catfood has been weighed, divided up, and put into the garage freezer for future use. The pyjama pants turned out to be the right size, even though I didn't try them on. (Whew!) Adult Footed Pajamas have been researched and purchased. I have food for days, my work with me, a "to read" pile as tall as I am and have buttoned up the house.

Snug as a bug in a little tiny rug...


(I think the cats will be happy too.)

Postscript (6:30 the next morning) :  I am underwhelmed by the snow.  It looks like about 1/2" here.  I'll get some work done here and then go in.  :/


It's Late

I'm going to reward myself for getting a ton of things done today in spite of heavy snow and heavy cats by going to bed now instead of doing my exercises for the next half hour.

Yup, I'm a slacker.


Who's Coming to Dinner?

No, not literally. (Though I do hope to have a Spring Dinner Party this year...)

I was just telling my friend, belsum, how the gracious Tim Gunn would be on my list of celebrity dinner invitees, if I ever had the opportunity to have one. My celebrity dinner invitees would have to be thoughtful, intelligent, unique, and I would have to have diversity. No collection of famous architects. (Sorry, but [gag]!)
I don't have a comprehensive list, but here's the start:
Tim Gunn
Jodie Foster
Stephen Hawking
Elizabeth Moon
Jon Stewart (I think Stephen Colbert's fascinating too, but to invite them both would skew the dynamics at the table)
Condoleeza Rice (Damn, I'd love to invite Colin Powell too. Would that skew the dynamics?)
Brian Jennings (but he'd have to sit at the opposite end of the table from Jon Stewart or their hi-jinks would hi-jack the party.)
Jane Goodall
Dave Grohl

I'll stop there, since having too big of a dinner party (this would be a party of ten, including myself) would mean I wouldn't get to talk to all of them. It was interesting limiting things: keeping it to live celebrities and an equal number of men and women. I also love diversity. Some people got nixed (Michelle Obama, Neil Gaiman, Michelle Yeoh, etc.) because I already have someone who is too similar on the list. I have two scientists at the table, but they're really different sciences. I do not have an artist, an athlete, a doctor, or a chef on there yet. I'm considering Alton Brown or Michael Rhulman, but would need a lady invitee to fill out the other seat and I'm just drawing a blank at the moment. It has to be someone I have confidence would bring good conversational skills to the table in addition to wit and intelligence.

How about you? Who would you invite?


An Inconvenient Cat

I'm trying to do the (painful, since my quads are full of lactic acid) wall squats and every time I am in the "sitting" position, Martin comes over and meows at me. When the 10 second interval is over, I stand up to pet him, he runs away. I think it's because the sitting position looks like it has a lap -- always a cat-friendly position, right? Err... no, Martin.


Cold Reboot

Last June, I started a website to keep myself accountable for exercising and getting myself back in shape.  It had limited success, as work took over my life in mid-July, but the intention was there.  I tried to restart, but was waylaid by a few health problems, primarily a knee-injury from five years ago flaring up again after I re-injured it at the end of October.  Now, after visiting the doctor (yeah, I know, I *never* do that!), the diagnosis is "ruptured ACL and torn meniscus with bone bruising".  I'm scheduled to get surgery on Feb. 17th, and after that, I'll have extensive PT.  I've decided to use that accountability website to keep myself on track for that.  After some thought and some avoidance of pre-op exercise (to strengthen the muscles in anticipation of some loss of muscle as a result of the surgery), I'm also going to keep myself accountable for that as well. 

Hey, it worked today.  I did my exercises.

If you are curious about how I'm doing, the link (Active Accountability) is in the right-hand sidebar. >>>>


I've been moving through some old and familiar ground over the past six (twelve?) months or so and today I ran across two articles that speak to the solution*.

What I've learned since 2007: Part 2 (Part of a series of a young woman relating the mental transformation she experienced while struggling with her weight.)

The road that led from there to here (Single Dad Laughing can be hyperbolic and dramatic in his prose, but as his aim is to speak to a large audience and promote thought, these are acceptable flaws.)

Both speak about learning to love yourself and the transformative effect it can have. I can't say I'm dramatically on one end of the scale or the other, but I have experienced the process, and from experience know that like an addiction, the potential for backsliding is always there.

Here's hoping I'm moving in the "right" direction.

* The word "solution" seems way too pat, but it gets the idea across.


Taste Testing: Cat Edition

Yesterday, I went into the pet store to stock up on cat litter and one of the three catfoods I mix for my boys' dry catfood bowl.  (It's related to my own resistance to doing the same thing all the time, not so much a request from the boys.)  After wandering around for quite a while looking for Friskies Dental Diet, I find out that it's been discontinued.  Nooooooo!  I've been feeding them Dental Diet for nearly 7 years now and they love it and their teeth are great! 

Much put out, I went to look for an alternative*.  Of course, there's nothing even remotely similar (especially that nice big kibble size), and the packaging is all skewed to appeal to touchy-feely types ("would you feed your pet something you wouldn't eat") or sciency types ("scientifically proven!") or the mainstream (as seen on TV).  It really put me off, but I ended up looking more at the touchy-feely stuff, since I'm more inclined to think esatz "pure ingredients" was slightly more believable than "science" that I didn't know the background for.  The mainstream stuff I dismissed as the kitty version of junk food.  Sure, I would like to live on Cheetoes myself, but for how long would that be?  Granted, Dental Diet was a Friskies brand and though not advertised much, would have been found with the mainstream stuff.  I purchased small bags of three different possible substitutes and put out a small bowl of each.  Interestingly, the one I was slightly favoring is the one they've barely touched.  The picture above (taken this morning) is the 12 hour results so far.  Top to bottom are the catfoods shown below left to right.  Interestingly, the boys seem to like the one with avocado in it.  Hmmm!
* If anyone hears of a good alternative, let me know!

UPDATE: The results are in. I originally gave them 50 g of each food. At the end of 24 hours, the following amounts remained:
Wellness Indoor Health - 48 g (boys ate 4%)
Blue Buffalo Indoor Health - 17 g (boys ate 66%)
Avoderm Indoor Hairball Care Formula - 9 g (boys ate 82%)

Looks like Avoderm is the clear winner, with Blue Buffalo an acceptable alternative. Wellness got a big "no thank you!" so I'll be dropping that off as a donation for the Cat Care Society.


Another One for Jen A

I thought of Jen when I saw the snow on this wooden bench.  :D