In honor of Stacy

In high school, our friend Stacy created a newsletter about herself called Stuff That Has Happened to Stacy. It was actually quite advanced given the limitations of early-90s graphic design software and her issues that arrived after graduation continued to make me laugh. It was a lot like an entertaining blog, come to think of it. (Goes out searching for Stacy on Google…no, I don’t think she’s a track star…duh, look in the alumni database. Will get to that later.) Anyway, for lack of a better subject here (Camera Phone Post 3?) and yes, I know it’s not as entertaining, Stuff That Has Happened to Amy:

No Dogs in the Bed! Well, Walt gets up there when I get up for work, but I have strict demands that the blankets are up so I don’t have dog hair in my sheets. And even Casper put her paws on the bed last week to see when I’d get up. That’s really bizarre for her!
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People with Big Noggins.
Hey, I don’t care how big your head is. Just don’t perch a regular-sized hat on top, even if it is your favorite team!
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Don’t Offer Me a Salad. (That might become my header mantra at some point.) For all of you who wonder what the heck I eat, I give you a typical lunch at least a couple of times per week at one of the cafeterias at work. This is today’s fresh saute of mushrooms, spinach, red/yellow/green bell peppers, bok choy, diced tomatoes, onions, carrot shreds, and broccoli in a rose sauce on penne pasta (and of course with garlic!). Then I threw a few chow mein noodles on top. The cafeteria advertised this as a sausage jambalaya, but hold the sausage and I’m thrilled, I’m full, I have eaten lots of pretty-colored veggies that are very good for me, and I saved a buck over everyone who had it with meat! The sauces are different every day and I can usually eat for less than $4. Note my bottle of Crystal Light, cuz I believe in me.
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At Least the Editor Tried. At Kohl’s yesterday (David claims he hates all their stuff but he asked to go there. He asked me to read what was on his exterior jeans label, pulled two pair off the shelf that matched his label, and bought them. I hate him), I found this note taped to a rolling cart. What I find hilarious is that someone (NOT ME) tried to fix the grammar mistakes, but still missed some. It’s not just me, I swear! I resisted the urge to correct the rest (mostly because I lacked a pen), but I did turn a polo collar back down on a child mannequin because I think that collar-up-layered-polo nonsense is just STUPID.
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>Are you finished? >Just Wait ‘Til I Get Going! Where Was I?
(name the movie)

Cult, anyone? Yesterday after dining at Three Sisters, we stopped at Good Earth next door because I knew they carried Birkenstocks and I’m on a mission for comfortable shoes. This place is a natural foods store, crammed with all the goofy stuff I can’t find at Meijer, and upstairs (among the bulk herbs and books on cleansing your bowels) is a selection of Birks, Earth Shoes, etc. And there is a middle-aged guy who sells them to you in a rather goofy way. At one point some people in the essential oil room burst into rousing song, after random people offered their opinions on my feet. Everyone seemed to know each other a little too well, and later we relayed our odd shoe store experience in a generic way to a friend who said Oh, Good Earth? That guy is weird. Anyway, I tried on lots of shoes, and decided I really like Earth Shoes but not exactly the ones they had there (I bought some online instead), while David was reading about how to mend himself in the forest with the plants around him. The goofy guy pretty much forced David to take off his Birks to repair the edges, which have been beaten to hell over the years. This caused us to wait even longer and not be able to go to another store which closed in the meantime, but I thought the picture was funny.
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And that was one of several ridiculous parking stops between the cafe and the grocery, where I did buy bulgur and dishwasher rinse that was not tested on animals.

Gassy Ass. I saw this on a car at the Post Office. I suppose it’s like my Mend Your Fuelish Ways bumper sticker, but mine’s way classier. And not a ribbon.
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This is way too easy

If anyone has been following the argument in the comments of a recent post about why I think my brother is weirder than I am, they will notice that we have been offering photographic evidence. I give you so many exhibits one wonders how he could possibly be challenging me:

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I have plenty more where those originated.

Meanwhile:
Me: I’ve never danced in a trashcan, so I’m cooler than my brother.
David (playing piano, but I’m not singing along): Come on! I thought you said you knew all the words to Flashdance!

Ending suffering, or, some people suck

This morning a knock at the door got us out of bed (well, Walt’s barking at the knock did). Our next door neighbor brought us a “very tame” rabbit. He thought it was mine (a reasonable assumption on his part), and apparently David thought it might have been one of mine that escaped (doesn’t he know I would have NOTICED if one of my bunnies were missing from the house?), but of course it was a stray that made it down to our part of the street. I think I saw it yesterday down the street on my way home from work, and at the time I thought it was a cat since stray rabbits are relatively uncommon (but more common than you would think, trust me!). I guess I forgot about it by the time I parked the car or I would have gone back to check. I could have spared it a night out in the rain and perhaps helped it more.

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Well, “very tame” generally means “very sick,” and this bunny was no exception. I could hear its respiratory distress, it smelled terrible, and it didn’t want to eat. It sat hunched in the carrier, a bad sign for a rabbit. I have enough experience now that I didn’t even examine it, just transferred it from the neighbor’s arms to mine to the carrier, and could tell it had a day or so to live. I got ready for work and took it to the vet on the way, calling ahead to let them know.

Bunny was either starving to death or had a terrible illness that caused it to waste away. My vet said 90% of the rabbits she sees that come in like this, cachexic, have cancer, and the other 10% are in kidney failure. The smell was from caked on urine and feces, another sign that bunny was too ill to posture correctly or keep itself clean. It was mouth-breathing, which rabbits only do in extreme oxygen starvation situations, either due to pneumonia or end of life issues.

We decided to gently euthanize poor bunny. I don’t even know its gender. It seems strange to me that creatures find their way to my door (in this case, because the neighbor, who I don’t know well, parks behind my car with a rabbit license plate frame or because he sees them through the window of the bunny room), but I’m glad this one did. I wish it had come sooner when it had a decent chance to be healed.

People suck. Whomever owned this rabbit either let it go and it became ill as a result, trying to fend for itself, or it became ill at home and they let it go because they didn’t want to deal with the illness. It’s not only against the law to release domestic animals to the wild, but it’s just plain ridiculous that a person can think the animal will be fine, that they don’t have ability and responsibility to keep a creature from suffering. This lop was beautiful at one time and could have been a lovely companion for a person with a heart. Now it’s dead before I even had a chance to get the picture I took off the camera.

Driving with the brakes on

will land you over $700 in Jeep repairs. So if you smell something burning, and you can’t figure out what’s wrong with your car, assume it will cost a lot once the mechanic figures it out, because by then the brakes are melted to the axle or something like that. Oh, and the throttle control might still be busted too, which will run another $200. What was I saying about being lucky?

It’s Captain Spaaaaacemaaaaaan! Okay, I know it was Captain Caveman. David’s Tyvek-type suit is donned when he’s spraying lacquer in the shop. It even has a blue oval sticker on the left chest like it’s a NASA outfit.

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Oh, and after posting that my feet were doing fine overall, I have some weird new pain on the side of my foot this week that is making it hard to walk. Maybe I should quit blogging. The universe seems to think it’s being taunted.

Getting on my broom

We went to my grandfather’s 80th birthday party this weekend. We ate way too much as usual and then half the partygoers played poker while the rest of us sat at the other end of the table chatting (and a couple knitting) and eating more junk.
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My grandma always talks about my hair, so long and thick, don’t cut it, etc. I mentioned that I was considering a new style (or rather A style), but it was hard to commit to something when I had a perfect situation: wash it every three days, let it air dry, and I don’t even comb it some mornings. It just goes back in a ponytail so I don’t bother. (I’m basically as lazy as I could be other than shaving my head, which I’d like to do but I think my head is shaped too oddly for that. Plus, it probably doesn’t come off as well in corporate America like it did at the women’s college I attended.)

When Grandma heard I didn’t comb my hair in the morning, she said, “So then you just hop on your broom and go?”

I found this pretty funny, but yes, it alarms some people.

Then Grandma braided my hair.

Later I found out my family thinks I’m weird, at least weirder than the average person in the population. I was surprised for some reason, but at least my peers (other grandkids my age in the family) were considered weird as well. I couldn’t believe my brother and I were considered equally weird! Come on!

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Don’t I look like I’m sneaking into some other family’s picture?

Foot fe tish issues

Let’s just see how that title affects site searches. Edit: very badly, so I put a space in the title!

I usually get a new pair of slippers for Christmas. I wear them every day at home; I like to take off my shoes as soon as I’m in the door and get comfy, but the floor’s too dirty to go around without slippers. (It could be freshly swept and mopped and I still wouldn’t want to go around without footwear. Issue #1.) This year I asked for slippers from a different company than my usual brand since the old company started selling rabbit fur items and I didn’t want to patronize them. Somehow I still got multiple other gifts from that company, but that’s the way it goes.

Anyway, the new slipper place sent a catalog of supposedly comfy shoes and appliances, including items to wear to deal with bunions, corns, hammer toes, etc. I can’t speak to bunions and corns, but I do have a “mallet toe,” which is basically a toe that curves down sharply at the last joint. It’s similar to a hammer toe but a different joint is involved.

(That x-ray is not my feet. It was just a lot less gross looking than putting up a picture of actual feet. The middle toes are mallet toes.)
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Seeing the appliances got me thinking about whether such an item would help me. But what does it help? Frankly, I am not bothered by 32 years of a mallet toe. Every once in awhile a new pair of shoes will cause a blister on top of it, but I wear very sensible shoes (I’m boring like that, Issue #2) and rarely have a problem. To read about mallet toes online, you’d think I ought to be hobbled and scheduling surgery.

Also, I hate feet (Issue #3). I think my brother used to torture me by putting his feet on me. I am forever grossed out by the image of my dad cutting his toenails on newspaper in the family room. My mom has this funky sideways toenail (which I may get someday too due to the same surgery I had on my toe) that just freaks me out. David can touch me with his feet sometimes, but only if I can’t see them nor feel the nails. And I better think they’re clean. It’s not necessarily better when he wears socks because I sense all the dirt and hair that must be on them from wandering the floors in our house or the day of sweat if they just exited work boots.

After reading about how treacherous mallet toes are, I wondered if the reason I only wear sensible, comfortable footwear is because my body knows if I picked heels and cute things I’d be in pain. See, I’m highly evolved, not lacking in fashion sense. Mallet toes are normally caused by bad footwear choices. Being lucky enough to be born with my toes all curled backwards against my feet and around each other and then wearing a bar between my shoes to straighten out legs and feet, I didn’t have the chance to screw up my toe via bad shoes. Mom says I was too crowded and I looked like I’d be crippled when I was born, but frankly I walk fine, ran track (poorly but I doubt it was related) and get around like anyone else. An orthopedist once found one leg longer than the other, but as long as I row starboard and not port, I’m not in pain. And I can even go port now and then.

Many foot things stand out in my life. The moon boots I had to wear because they were practical, per my Dad. And how relieved I was in 6th grade when my mom and I were in cahoots to buy new fashionable boots for me and stash them away as a Christmas gift so it would be too late to return them. The bread bags I had to wear in the moon boots because they leaked (I have met others subjected to this same punishment). The monster feet slippers with crashing sounds my high school roommate gave me. My frequent purchase of men’s shoes because my feet are too big (11) to find women’s shoes about 90% of the time. Once I found a pair of women’s size 10.5 hiking boots and they’re awesome. Nothing else fits as well and I’ve never seen that size again. Hence, the crying jags when I attempt to shoe shop. The jelly shoes that were popular when I was a kid and that I wasn’t allowed to have because they were bad for my feet (which led me to believe that all girls in jelly shoes had uncaring, ill-informed parents).

There you go. Feet and I are not friends. And if someone ever finds a very comfortable, semi-stylish, work-appropriate non-leather shoe in my size, please tell me. VERY comfortable is required. Lots of support. My feet hurt when I don’t wear tennies to work, and it’s hard to get away with those most days.

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Strangely enough, two other local bloggers (Must Be Motherhood, Distracted by Something Shiny) talked about feet and shoes this week while I was drafting my post. Is it the time of year for robins to return (saw the first one yesterday) and feet topics?

Goodbye, Annabelle

This has been a really bad week and the hurt is still a little raw on this one.

My ongoing illness morphed into the flu a week ago, such that I didn’t leave bed for days. I managed to throw food at the rabbits a couple of times and finally had to call for help when I just couldn’t do it myself anymore. David, otherwise a terrible nurse because he’s so paranoid about catching the illness, went in to feed and clean the rabbits with Dawn’s phone coaching. He came to get me and said something was wrong with Annabelle.

My poor girl was limp on her side in the cage. I hadn’t been in there in just over a day. I cleaned her snotty nose so she could breathe better and tried to assess what was going on, but she was basically nonresponsive. Her breathing and heart rate steadied a little (I thought… who knows) after I cleaned her up a bit and supported her. We headed to the emergency clinic in a winter storm. David had to scrape tons of ice off the car while I huddled in it with Annabelle (and her pal Joey in the carrier in the backseat) trying to keep myself vertical. I was really sick.

The long drive to the bunny-safe, more humane emergency clinic in town in the terrible weather behind us, the technician whisked Annabelle away in the fleece bed in which I’d brought her. The vet told me he was surprised she lived through his quick exam. Her heart rate was half normal and her body temperature was not even registering on the thermometer (it measured down to 93, and normal for a bunny is about 102). She was in shock. He could try fluids/incubation to see if we could bring her back overnight, but I asked for euthanasia.

She fell asleep in my lap with the sedation and Joey climbed on her a couple of times. I still don’t know if I should have tried something. Would I have acted differently if I had been well? I would have found her illness much sooner in the day, I assume. I have a lot of bunny experience, but not with shock, and since the vet wasn’t a bunny expert (critical in many emergencies but maybe not in this one?) and acted like she could die at any moment, it made sense to help her be comfortable in this safe way.

One of my bunny vets did the necropsy the next morning. Annabelle had the most advanced liver disease she’d ever seen, as well as advanced kidney disease. Were these the cause of her mild incontinence and wobbliness now and then? Was she in shock because of the end stages of these diseases? Did I cause more problems by feeding her extra pellets since she didn’t keep weight on easily? It’s probably normal that her last bloodwork didn’t really signal the problem because rabbits with organ disease typically don’t show much in the chemistries until failure is imminent. But what might I have learned or done a few hours earlier had I not been sick?

Many of you will remember that Annabelle had one eye due to being shot in the other one just before she was found and brought into rescue. She still had the pellet lodged in her head all this time, and despite the ongoing URI issues she faced, none of that factored into her final illness according to the vet.
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Joey is doing well, hanging out in the same fleece bed where Annabelle spent her last night. It’s so hard to lose these guys when they are so happy and healthy one day and then they crash the next.

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So much for my lucky streak

Good thing I had all that good luck in February, because last night I discovered my furnace had stopped working. After a motor on fire and a $400 bill, it’s warm in the house again. I shouldn’t have taunted the universe with my good fortune!